Sunday, June 21, 2009

This chart appeared in a Wired Article and I thought I would post it here. It is an interesting perspective that deserves consideration. The entire article can be found at

A History
1516 Thomas More's Utopia
1794 Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason
1825 First US commune
1848 Marx & Engels' The Communist Manifesto
1864 International Workingmen's Association
1903 Bolshevik Party elects Lenin
1917 Russian Revolution
1922 Stalin consolidates power
1946 State-run health care in Saskatchewan
1959 Cuban Revolution
1967 Che Guevara executed
1973 Salvador Allende deposed
1980 Usenet
1985 Mikhail Gorbachev's glasnost
1991 Soviet Union dissolves
1994 Linux 1.0
1998 Venezuela elects Hugo Chavez
2000 Google: 1 billion indexed pages
2001 Wikipedia
2002 Brazil elects Lula da Silva
2003 Public Library of Science
2004 Digg
2005 Amazon's Mechanical Turk
2006 Twitter
2008 Facebook: 100 million users
2008 US allocates $700 billion for troubled mortgage assets
2009 YouTube: 100 million monthly US users

Is the Internet the beginning of the distingration of the state? Comment if you wish.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

The Leopard (Everyman's Library Classics) The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is, first and foremost, a beautifully written story. What Dickens achieves by his wonderful descriptions of the grim, dilapidation of an over-crowded and underfed Victorian London, Lampedusa attains by invoking the sun-drenched hills of Sicily. But whereas Dickens excels at setting his scenes visually, Lampadusa works all the senses, using touch, taste and smell, especially smell, to conjure up incredibly powerful and sensual scenes. The consumption of a macaroni pie around an evening's formal dinner table, for example, becomes the vehicle for revealing the interior world, social status, emotional desire, and even the sexual appetite of his characters: "Tancredi, in an attempt to link gallantry with greed, tried to imagine himself tasting, in the aromatic forkfuls, the kisses of his neighbour Angelica, but he realized at once that the experiment was disgusting and suspended it, with a mental reserve about reviving this fantasy with the pudding." Lampadusa has produced a tidy story, expressed in exceptionally accomplished prose, of a noble Sicilian family in decline, left behind on history's dust-heap as it were. But beyond the scented scenes and crinolined coquettes, there is little but nostalgia and an undercurrent of bitterness (the scent of defecation and the sour taste of vomit recur throughout) to take away. Depth comes from the author's supreme unease with modernity itself, with the ill-mannered, the uncultured, with foreigners, and even with the concept of a united Italy, dominated, of course, by Northerners. 'The Leopard' is evocative to be sure and quite enjoyable, but lacks a certain gravitas to merit 'great book' status.

View all my reviews.