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Reptiles M. C. Escher's 1943 lithograph Reptiles makes reference to the classical Greek elements. In the four corners, starting at the bottom left and proceeding counterclockwise: potted plants represent earth, a flask and glass represent water, a book represents air (possibly—more about this in a moment), matches and cigarettes in a cup represent fire. The dodecahedron may be a reference to the Universe as a whole or to the fifth element aether (Plato's Timaeus sets forth a correspondence of the elements with regular polyhedra).

I'm guessing that Escher's choice of a book for air derives from any of several Western esoteric traditions which associate air with cognition and communication. I'm less drawn to an alternative interpretation that elemental air is shown by "air blowing out of the nostrils of the lizard" because that departs from the regularity of depicting the four earthly elements at corners of the scene. In an artwork this carefully and deliberately composed, what is the book in the upper right doing if not representing air?

Air is by its nature challenging to depict visually. Consider for example the artwork for Pink Floyd's 1975 album Wish You Were Here.

Escher's own notes on Reptiles in M. C. Escher: The Graphic Work are straightforward and don't say anything about the elemental symbolism. Escher does however say that "The little book of Job has nothing to do with the Bible, but contains Belgian cigarette papers." Last week, Google's AlphaGo played a match against the world's top-rated Go player Ke Jie. In several respects, it played out like last year's match against Lee Sedol: AlphaGo won, the human player was gracious in defeat, and the match attracted a lot of attention in countries where Go is popular. One difference though: China forbade any live coverage of this year's match. Chinese authorities issued these censorship instructions on May 22:
Regarding the go match between Ke Jie and AlphaGo, no website, without exception, may carry a live stream. If one has been announced in advance, please immediately withdraw it. Please convey the gist of this to sports channels.

Again, we stress: this match may not be broadcast live in any form and without exception, including text commentary, photography, video streams, self-media accounts and so on. No website (including sports and technology channels) or desktop or mobile apps may issue news alerts or push notifications about the course or result of the match.
From The Independent's report on a recent poll of registered voters in the USA:
Voters polled were also asked "do you think America's best days are ahead of us or behind us?" A majority ‑ 62 per cent ‑ said yes, they are.
The other 38% think our best days lie on an imaginary time axis. Pianist Yuja Wang, on Béla Bartók:
I find him a mysterious person and I'm trying to understand him. There's always this background theme of people not getting what they wanted, this longing, that interests me.
There are two types of people: those who find Bartók straightforward and those who don't.

From an essay about Bartók (written for the BBC by Frank Whitaker in the 1930s): He does not pose and he has no fads.

I like when the character of something can be suggested by saying what it lacks. Around 15 years ago a friend and I were out to dinner, our conversation turned to Darwin, California ( population 50 or so ), and when the owner of the restaurant came to our table I asked her to tell my friend what she liked about Darwin. She got a big smile on her face and said, "No police. No churches." Sikorski MH-60 or a variantThis machine was hanging out where we wanted to climb today. First time I've ever had to go to different rocks because of aircraft noise. My buddy's dog didn't wanna get out of the car.

Phone camera pic. Blades appear misshaped due to rolling shutter. The US Director of National Intelligence answering a question in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today:
Senator Graham:Do either of you know anything about Bitcoin?
Director Coats:You know, I tried to figure out what it was and I never got a good answer, or at least one that I could comprehend.
click for large image of the whole lizard
Chuckwalla (Sauromalus ater) on my deck this afternoon.
Overall length about one foot.
First time I can remember seeing one of these on my lot.
Handsome lizard, or what.
The use of interchangeable parts was a key innovation of the industrial revolution.

Interoperability was key to the success of the WWW. Servers and browsers didn't have to run on on the same machine or OS.

Needless to say, industry doesn't always function that way. It's often more profitable (at least in the short run) to lock customers into proprietary standards. And yet some companies get the value of interoperability. Sun Microsystems probably did better by making NFS and SPARC open standards than it would have by keeping them proprietary. The semiconductor industry has seen many instances where second sourcing worked to everyone's advantage—not the same thing as an open standard, but it is a step away from keeping it all to oneself.

I get that there may be no escaping the uneasy tension between the ways of commerce and the best interests of society. I'm not as extreme a critic of proprietary interests as, say, Richard Stallman is. But I do respect companies that evince a degree of enlightenment.

Friends have occasionally sent me links to photos they wanted to share, hosted on some Apple cloud service. These links have always been useless to me because they only worked with Apple products. I'm not surprised that this is Apple's idea of a photo "sharing" service, it's in character with the kind of company they are. More surprising to me is when people don't instead use one of the various nonpartisan alternatives.
1 milesThe long, lumpy dirt road to the Saline Valley used to always sport a "road closed" sign, the county's way of saying "proceed at your own risk".

Nowadays the message is implied by the condition of what signage there is: faded, crazed, and laced with bullet holes, as if to say the same fate might befall you.
I'm participating in an informal photography exercise that has me taking (and posting to a forum site) one pic every day for a week. As these pics are better presented in larger versions than what I can fit in this blog's column width, I'm posting them to
A few pics are there already and more will follow as the week goes on.