Cupola.

I’ve started reading Merezhkovsky’s «Воскресшие боги. Леонардо да Винчи» (translated as The Romance of Leonardo da Vinci [text]), and since it’s set in Renaissance Florence of course I’m reading up on that city and its history, which led me to bring up from the cellar a book I probably haven’t looked at in two decades, Florence: A Travellers’ Companion (part of the excellent Travellers’ Companion series — the focus is too posh and anglophile for my taste, but they have well-chosen excerpts from historical descriptions and lots of images), and my eye was drawn for obvious reasons to this entry:

[30] A Welshman introduces the word ‘cupola’ into the English language in 1549; from William Thomas’s Historie of Italie . . .

(William Thomas (c. 1507-1554) was a hot-blooded Welsh humanist who fled to Venice after stealing from his Catholic patron. He stayed in Italy for four years, and then returned home to become Clerk to the Privy Council and personal adviser to Edward VI. He was executed for treasonable opposition to the marriage of Mary to Philip of Spain.)

Within the citee are manie goodlie temples and other edefices, amongest the whiche the cathedrall churche [the Duomo] is an excellent faire buildyng. For the walles without are all covered with fine white and blacke marble, wonderfullie well wrought, and over the quere is an whole vaulte called Cupola, faceioned [fashioned] like the halfe of an egge, risyng betwene.iii. iles and the body of the churche: so artificially made, that almost it semeth a miracle. For it is so high, that the pomell on the toppe beyng able to conteigne .vii. persons, seemeth a verie small thyng to theim that stande by lowe. And the compasse of it by the base, is about .160. paces. Besides that the floore vnder this vaulte rounde aboute the quiere is laide with fine marble of diuers colours so faire, that it yeldeth a delite to theim that walke vpon it.

The steple standyng besides the churche, is likewyse of fine marble a verie faire and square tower, equall in height to the circute of the base, with diuers stories and thynges grauen in it, so artificiall and costlie, that it deserueth singuler praise.

I checked the OED, and sure enough, that’s the first citation (as of the 1893 entry): “1549 W. Thomas Hist. Italie f. 137v Ouer the queere is an whole vaulte called Cupola, facioned like the halfe of an egge.” The etymology is “< Latin cūpula little cask, small vault, diminutive of cūpa cask, tun.” Thomas was a lively writer (and also wrote an Italian grammar); I’m sorry he came to such a hard end.

Comments

  1. Um I’m not seeing why cupola should draw your eye. I don’t think I’m a particularly ecclesiatical-architecturally minded (I’ve never been to Florence), but it’s a perfectly familiar term to me.

    In New Zealand (Nelson Lakes National Park) there’s a Mount Cupola, with a tramping hut on its flank. Named for the egg-shaped dome of its top, near Mt and Lake Angelus.

  2. No, no, not the word itself — of course it’s familiar — but a Welshman who introduces the word into the English language in 1549, now that gets my attention.

  3. Trond Engen says:

    I thought Russian had no cupola.

  4. January First-of-May says:

    Um I’m not seeing why cupola should draw your eye. I don’t think I’m a particularly ecclesiatical-architecturally minded (I’ve never been to Florence), but it’s a perfectly familiar term to me.

    Same, but this might be colored by the Russian cognate купол, which is a relatively common word (though probably more generic in meaning than the English term).

  5. It’s not the word, it’s the Welshman!

  6. January First-of-May says:

    It’s not the word, it’s the Welshman!

    I already understand this by now – the comment was written in direct response to what was then the only other comment, but was (as common in my case, for some reason) accidentally not posted for several hours.

    I still think that the Russian term is probably more generic than the English one, though (it appears that the English translation of купол is “dome”).

  7. For some reason, Russian Wiktionary says that it doesn’t know etymology of word кумпол (top of the head, vern.)

  8. David Marjanović says:

    it appears that the English translation of купол is “dome”

    Yes, same for German Kuppel.

  9. January First-of-May says:

    Russian Wiktionary etymologies are almost universally copied from Vasmer (with some later commentaries); if it’s not in Vasmer (and this particular word isn’t – probably because it was too recent and/or too vernacular for him to have known of it), the lack of an etymology isn’t much of a surprise.

  10. German Kuppel …. thinking …. Russian купель is apparently unrelated (from the word for bathing), but worth mentioning for its OCS written form кѫпѣль.

  11. Jen in Edinburgh says:

    What I especially like is ‘so artificially made, that almost it semeth a miracle’

    i.e. made with so much art/skill

    But why not a Welshman? Would you be surprised by a Scot? 🙂

  12. it appears that the English translation of купол is “dome”
    Yes, same for German Kuppel.

    Is this because Dom was already taken as ‘cathedral’ (not in Russian, even I know дом is ‘house,’ but in German, Scandinavian etc.)?

    Although in Italian cupola means ‘dome,’ in English – at least in architecture & structural engineering – if you think of a Renaissance dome as being in the shape of a reclining breast, the cupola (aka lantern) would be the nipple on top. Brunelleschi became famous not so much for his cupola (though it’s terrific and was won in a separate competition from the dome), and not even for coming up with the idea of a dome for Santa Maria del Fiore or how to span the crossing, huge though it is, but for figuring out how to construct it. There’s an excellent little book Brunelleschi’s Dome, by Ross King, that I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned before. If you can’t speak of ‘the greatest ever,’ Brunelleschi is the architect I’d least like to have never existed.

  13. David Marjanović says:

    Russian купель is apparently unrelated (from the word for bathing), but worth mentioning for its OCS written form кѫпѣль.

    “To bathe” is still kąpać in Polish.

  14. When I was in Army basic training, our drill sergeant gave us a long lesson in how to arrange our cubicle–as I eventually realized was the name of it, as he kept calling it “yer cupola.”

  15. “To bathe” is still kąpać in Polish.

    Which of course means “to drip” in all the other Slavic languages – but it turns out it does in Polish as well. Why use two words when one will do. (According to GT “kąpać”can also mean “run ” or “bicker” – amazing stuff).

  16. John Cowan says:

    But why not a Welshman? Would you be surprised by a Scot?

    I think it’s because of the date. In 1549 it was still completely true, as the old man of Carmarthenshire said to Henry II, that “Whatever else may come to pass, I do not think that on the Day of Direst Judgement any race other than the Welsh, or any other language, will give answer to the Supreme Judge of All for this small corner of the earth.” (Gerald of Wales), but it was the beginning of the end. It’s true that an originally Welsh family was ruling England at the time, but Henry VIII had shown what he thought of Welsh culture in the Laws in Wales Acts:

    His Highness therefore of a singular Zeal, Love and Favour that he beareth towards his Subjects of his said Dominion of Wales, minding and intending to reduce them to the perfect Order, Notice and Knowledge of his Laws of this Realm, and utterly to extirp all and singular the sinister Usages and Customs differing from the same, and to bring the said Subjects of this his Realm, and of his said Dominion of Wales, to an amicable Concord and Unity…

    (To be fair, Henry was chiefly concerned with the chaos and unlaw of the Welsh Marches, which got worse over time; it was not unknown for individual Welshmen to petition to have Norman-English law applied to themselves and their families, a law which knew how to hang murderers rather than simply making them pay galanas ‘weregild, blood-price’ in amounts that grew increasingly paltry with inflation.)

    So here we have a Welsh-speaker not only writing in English, but introducing a new word into it, which is unusual enough when anyone does it, much less an L2 speaker. We might rather have expected the introduction of a Welsh word, had cupolas been been a feature of Cambrian architecture.

    (To my mind, one of the cool things about domes is that the top is not load-bearing, and you can put anything there. The Romans used to leave it open, making an oculus ‘little eye’, but that wouldn’t do in more hostile climates. Unfortunately the Oculus in Manhattan, the World Trade Center’s rebuilt train station, though covered with slatted glass, doesn’t open, and it leaks: a classic example of architectural overreaching. What’s more, it isn’t even a dome.)

  17. January First-of-May says:

    Which of course means “to drip” in all the other Slavic languages

    No, that’s капать, as opposed to купать; I suspect that the Polish is probably kapać, without the diactritic thingy.

    (I’m reminded of the story of a guy from… New York, I think… who one day decided to get some pączki from a Polish neighbourhood, but misread the store labels and ended up at a store that sold paczki [packages] instead. It took the storeowner a while to persuade the guy that he was in the wrong place.)

  18. Uh, that’s exactly what I wrote? PL kapać means both to swim and to drip, whereas all the others have ku/ka?

    So I guesse the guy in the paczki story can’t tell a bakery from a store that sells parcels, whatever that is? He’d be delighted to hear there is now a food truck in Midtown that sells them, thus obviating the need for the trip to Greenpoint. ( Which btw is delightfully Polish in a very lived in way – you hear the language constantly which surprised me as I had expected something more like Little Ital)

  19. January First-of-May says:

    Uh, that’s exactly what I wrote? PL kapać means both to swim and to drip, whereas all the others have ku/ka?

    I’m fairly sure that Polish has /ka, with ą /ɔ̃/ (from Proto-Slavic *ǫ, which probably sounded similar) regularly corresponding to u in other Slavic languages. That ogonek is important.

    (Incidentally, I checked the site where I found the story, and it was not actually set in New York but in Philadelphia, so your [presumably] New York recommendations would have been irrelevant.)

  20. David Marjanović says:

    Yes: “bathe” is kąpać, pronounced almost with [ɔm], and corresponding regularly to купать of the same meaning.

  21. John Cowan says:

    Little Italy, for non-New Yorkers, was once an Italian neighborhood, but now although the stores and restaurants on the ground floor are still Italian, the occupants of the upper floors are mostly Chinese, making it in effect Chinatown North. Greenpoint is in the extreme north of Brooklyn, right next to Williamsburg.

  22. Oh that makes sense now – did not even see the ogonek before, talk about poor visual placement for a diacritic mark.

    While we’re on the subject of nasalization in bakeries, I learned the hard way about its importance in Portuguese when I tried to order pão – but said pau – which is not only wrong it happens to be a slang word for penis. I later figured out that literally every new PT learner makes this particular mistake, but it takes skill and dare i say talent perform it at a freaking bakery.

    Oh and bakeries and packaging stores are as easy to tell apart in Philadephia as they are in New York 😉

  23. What John said – Little Italy has dwindled to little more than Mulberry Street and some of the absolute worst restuarants in New York CIty that cater primarily to the undiscerning tourist, But what I was really driving at the fact that the Italian language is rarely if ever heard the way Polish is in Greenpoint (and, incidentally, the way Italian is heard in Toronto’s Little Italy). Even in New York, there’s less foreign language in public spaces than you might imagine; outside of Chinese, Korean, and Spanish there’s virtually none. So I always quite enjoyed the experience.

  24. Even in New York, there’s less foreign language in public spaces than you might imagine; outside of Chinese, Korean, and Spanish there’s virtually none.

    Either it’s changed remarkably since I lived there or we moved in very different circles. Did you take the subway? Because I heard everything from French and Italian to Armenian and Georgian on the lines running to Queens and Brooklyn.

  25. the Italian language is rarely if ever heard

    Naturally, since few Italians or even people of Italian descent live there. But there are almost a million Italians (in the broader sense) live in NYC as a whole, making it the largest Italian city in North America. The population is mostly dispersed, but WP lists 25 areas of concentration.

    I am quite sure that I don’t merely imagine the languages spoken around me. The Census Bureau’s 2018 survey showed that of the 8M people in NYC, about 4M speak English in their homes, 2M Spanish, 0.4M Sinitic languages, 0.2M various IE languages of India, Russian 0.18M, French and French creoles the same. 85K speak Yiddish and 47K speak Hebrew. There are about 800 languages in all.

  26. And to think that I heard it on Mulberry Street.

  27. I thought it was clear that I was relaying a subjective impression, what with the whole “than you might imagine” element. Maybe I should have said “than I imagined it would be.” Some of this is no doubt informed by the way ethnic diasporas function in Canada; I’m sure Hat would argue that living in Hell’s Kitchen and commuting on foot was a factor..Maybe a better way to put it is how much crossover there is between the ethnic communities and the “mainstream” culture. And New York had less of this than I expected to encounter.

    And honestly Brett, the very fact you remember a specific instance of hearing Italian on Mulberry street suggests it isn’t a common occurrence. Imagine saying “to think I heard Mandarin on Canal street”.

  28. And honestly Brett, the very fact you remember a specific instance of hearing Italian on Mulberry street

    That wasn’t a memory, that was a riff/quote.

  29. Curtis Booth says:

    I first learned the word as a child from its railroad use. From the Wikipedia:

    The most common caboose form in American railroad practice has a small windowed projection on the roof, called the cupola. The crew sat in elevated seats to inspect the train from this perch.

  30. And New York had less of this than I expected to encounter.

    I would agree that you are more likely to hear foreign languages spoken in the London Underground or the Vienna Subway System than in New York. In Vienna I often get the impression that less than 25% of commuters speak German as their first language. So yes, if you are coming from a major European city, New York may not seem that cosmopolitan. But compared to most of the US, or to your average East Asian public transport system, New York is still incredibly linguistically diverse.

  31. Language: Did you take the subway? Because I heard everything from French and Italian to Armenian and Georgian on the lines running to Queens and Brooklyn.

    It’s quieter once it’s above ground. In Manhattan you couldn’t even hear the public announcements, let alone the language of your fellow passengers. New Yorkers like superlatives, how about: Waiting on the local platform while an express roars through is the loudest event known to man. The IRT was built by the Italian Futurists.

  32. David Marjanović says:

    Oh, pretty often you can’t hear the station announcements on the trains in Berlin either, where the subway trains are nowhere near as loud as in NYC. Often they’re just very quiet, and they only say them once.

  33. Trond Engen says:

    Station announcements is universal humour. I’ve shared smiles with locals on underground trains in several cities.

  34. The only Czech I remember from my stay in Prague a couple of decades back is “dveře se zavírají.”

  35. My cousin and I were once waiting for a train at a major junction station, where both subway and above-ground lines converged. It was the dead of night, and the place was practically deserted, but it was still impossible to make out many of the announcements. At the time, it felt like we had stepped into a scene from a weird dystopian film. With that thought in mind, I wrote this:

    Heavy plate glass doors, which hummed and slid back whenever a human form or a gust of subterranean breeze passed near, separated pairs of tracks. There were few passengers present. The trains ran infrequently, and there was little reason to tarry at the station. But as Yarec and Ris traced their way cautiously, inconspicuously towards their outbound track, they were surrounded by voices. Scratchy voices, of conductors probably long dead, echoed off the slick tile walls. Their messages, announcing arrivals and departures hours or days ahead of time, overlapped to become an unintelligible morass.

    On track nine… Arriving from Rand… Track six… At fourteen oh seven… The train from Stardhaven will be delayed until… Arriving from… Track change, please take notice… Nine forty-six…

  36. Lars Mathiesen says:

    dveře se zavírají — the battle cry of one of my fellow students, who had marinated himself in Czech beer for a few weeks and brought back only this. I’ve been wondering about the spelling (well, not really) for 40 years.

  37. John Cowan says:

    In NYC the informational messages are done by a female voice and the commands like “Please stand clear of the closing doors” by a male voice, on the idea that people are more likely to obey a man than a woman.

  38. “Stand clear of the closing doors, please” has such a wonderful music to it. Of course since it’s played at every station it doesn’t have much effect, but there is a backup system; the conductor screaming at you to move your ass away from the door. (The doors are manually operated; on smaller trains the driver can do it by themselves)

    Back around 10 years ago you could still get on like a N train in Queens and the driver would announce every station himself, including the available transfers, but the PA system was just not up to the task2. In any event, that type of information is more effectively delivered by visual display and the subway has a very good one and it’s always obvious at a glance what stop you’re at and which one comes next. The driver still does special announcements as well as service changes – this is usually done in a monotone but at breakneck speed and is very hard to understand; delays invariably result in one of “being momentarily held by the dispatcher” and “we are delayed due to train traffic ahead of us”; the latter of these especially is often deployed euphemistically when the train collides with a person, which happens with distressing frequency (on average 3 times a day).

    And finally, NYC Subway messages are impenetrable to anyone but locals – e.g. trains are described as “uptown-bound” vs “Queens bound” or instead of A/C and E, or they’re distinguished as local vs. express which will not help you unless you already know which line is which. And, in fairness, transit should serve residents not visitors, but I still pitied anyone trying to make sense of the chaos, though it has to be said all of this is much easier to do with a smartphone.

  39. on average 3 times a day

    Good lord, I had no idea!

  40. Trond Engen says:

    Poor fellow.

  41. I had no idea either – probably because I didn’t recognize that euphemistic language was being used. I might have stayed ignorant forever if I hadn’t been on a SF Caltrain that a guy jumped in front of; the difference was that the conductor forthrightly explained what happened. Suicide by train is incredibly common, even if the majority of collisions involve glancing or incidental contact.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/17/nyregion/nyc-subway-tracks-delays.html

  42. John Cowan says:

    hen the train collides with a person, which happens with distressing frequency (on average 3 times a day

    Sorry, I really need published evidence for this one.

    The total number of subway-related homicides, suicides, and accidents between 1990 and 2003 was 668, according to this peer-reviewed article in the Journal of Safety Research, which is freely downloadable. The raw data comes from the Chief Medical Examiner’s office, not the MTA. If your figures were correct, the death rate would be about 20 times higher, unless you suppose that people are hit by trains without experiencing a fatal injury. (Some electrocutions are non-fatal, though.)

  43. You already intuited the answer – the figure cited in the NYT article includes every instance of contact, including e.g. people getting bumped by the train as a result of standing too close to the platform edge. But even the number of fatal accidents is something like 50 a year? One incident from around 2012 or so sticks in my memory -some kids from Long Island had entered the station on the wrong side, and rather than exit the station and re-enter across the street they attempted to save $2.50 by crossing the tracks, which is incredibly dangerous even in the absence of any arriving trains due to the electrified third rail. But tragically for them, a train arrived at the very moment they were on the tracks.

    Every time I’m back in NYC, incidentally, the state of disrepair into which the subway has fallen under Cuomo shocks and infuriates me anew, but this last thing, hiring 500 new subway cops in order to combat fare evasion is somehow the pure distilled essence of the disdain with which the subway is treated by political figures in NY.

  44. John Cowan says:

    The only figure I can find in the NYT article (I had to use “lynx” to read it past the firewall) is this:

    This year [through September 2018], there have been 621 subway incidents involving a person who is on the tracks or struck by a train.

    That sounds plausible, but it includes all incidents in which no one was killed.

    But even the number of fatal accidents is something like 50 a year?

    That’s pretty much what the above study says. Here’s another peer-reviewed study which counted the number of subway-train-related fatalities between January 2003 and May 2007 as 211, also consistent with 50 deaths a year. However, “accident” is equivocal; in fact, about half the deaths were judged suicides by the M.E.s involved.

    In any case, “three collisions a day” is wildly too high: more like one fatal accident (excluding suicides and the rare homicides) every two weeks, during which time straphangers take about 80 million rides.

  45. It may not be entirely Cuomo’s fault. A lot of New York – the steel in its bridges and tunnels etc. as well as the terracotta apt building decoration that falls off – wasn’t built to last more than (say) 100 years. Of course it doesn’t get enough maintenance but the other subway tradeoff is that it’s open – hooray – 24 hours a day. The London Underground is very much better looking, but half the time it’s out of action; Christmas Day (‘no service’) & Boxing Day (‘restricted service’) are notorious examples of that. What are you supposed to do? Walk? Take a cab (‘restricted service’)?

  46. David Marjanović says:

    it’s open – hooray – 24 hours a day

    And yet, NYC is absolutely choked with cabs.

  47. Full of people too posh to take the subway (which they don’t want to pay taxes for).

  48. And those who can’t manage the 1:1 slope of the subway and elevated stairs, let it be said. Or who need to cross Manhattan at points other than Houston, 14th, 42nd, 53rd, or 63rd Streets and can’t wait for the excruciatingly slow buses.

  49. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    I had to use “lynx” to read it past the firewall

    I have never used Lynx as I don’t think it was available for the Mac OS when I started using the web. However, I did use WannaBe, which I liked a great deal for accessing pages where the images were unimportant; it was incredibly fast compared with other browsers. However, it’s effectively dead for current versions of the Mac OS, but on the other hand it does appear possible to instal Lynx now. I must check it out. Something that annoys me with more and more websites is that they want to instal cookies and also to disable my ad-blocker. Does Lynx overcome those annoyances? Is it lightning-fast?

  50. Stu Clayton says:

    Something that annoys me with more and more websites is that they want to instal cookies and also to disable my ad-blocker.

    That’s the way many of them finance themselves, just as newspapers, television and radio channels do. I’m amazed how many people nowadays expect everything for nothing. I’ve started donating more often to this and that site I find useful, most recently to archive<dot>org.

    On the other hand, I’ve heard that Democrats want to provide everything up front for free (paid for only by taxpayers in the background). If all these something-for-nothings are Democrats, then there’s a good chance of defeating Trump after all.

  51. David Marjanović says:

    I’m amazed how many people nowadays expect everything for nothing.

    The annoying part is not that I get to see ads, as long as they don’t move. (I can barely read if something keeps moving at the edge of my field of view.) The annoying part is that I have to download all this crap.

  52. Yes, exactly. If they’d keep ads reasonably unobtrusive and wouldn’t try to add crap to your computer, people wouldn’t feel the need to have adblockers.

  53. The idea of advertising is that it has to lodge in your head without your desire to give up any real estate upstares. Ergo it must be intrusive and as people learn to screen out unobtrusive ads, the more obtrusive will appear.

  54. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    I’m amazed how many people nowadays expect everything for nothing.

    Am I unduly sensitive to be annoyed by this unwarranted attack. Where did I say “everything”? Where did I say “for nothing”? I just asked f Lynx would give me a bit more control over my life.

    For what it’s worth, anyone who wants to read what I’ve published in journals can get it for free, and I don’t get a penny. Nor do I ask for a penny. If anyone doubts it, quite a lot of people do want to read what I’ve written (though they probably don’t include anyone who posts here). According to ResearchGate,

    Congrats, Athel!
    With 81 new reads, your research items were the most read research items from your department.

    Although it doesn’t say so, it’s referring to the seven days up to 30th December.

  55. Stu Clayton says:

    Athel, I wasn’t attacking you, sorry if it sounded like that. I meant no more than what I said: I’m amazed at the widespread phenomenon of something-for-nothing. I myself am not annoyed by the “please disable your ad-blocker” requests (because the sites get paid for ads), or even (for other reasons) by their desire to use cookies. Whenever it seems too much hassle, I just move on to other sites.

  56. Stu Clayton says:

    According to ResearchGate

    Well, finally ! Several years ago I set out to find things that you had written, because of some of your comments on something in the Maturana ballfield, can’t remember exactly. I didn’t find anything.

  57. I’m amazed at the widespread phenomenon of something-for-nothing.

    But that’s an inherently aggressive and unpleasant way of putting it. Are you really and truly amazed that people don’t like obtrusive ads?

  58. 81 new reads in 7 days?

    I remember checking out a thick history book from a large university library.

    It turned out I was its first and only reader in seventy five years that book spent on the shelves.

  59. John Cowan says:

    For many years Lynx was the only browser I used. It asks you about each cookie it receives, and you have four choices: accept/reject this cookie, accept/reject this and all other cookies from the same site. As far as I can tell your acceptance does not persist beyond the particular Lynx run.

    However, JS-based sites are not usable, as Lynx has no JavaScript engine, and as far as I know there is no text-mode browser that has one. It would be interesting to merge QuickJS or Duktape with it.

    I once revisited a library that I had often used as a child. I found a book there that nobody else had taken out in the intervening decades: my library card number (which was apparently still valid) was the last one hand-written on the paper flap inside the book cover.

  60. Athel Cornish-Bowden says:

    SFReader: 81 new reads in 7 days?

    Bear in mind that what you and I call a read is not what ResearchGate calls a read. For them a read is scored if someone asks for the text, even if, having received it, they discard it or forget about it without glancing at it, or if they do glance at it and decide after a few seconds that it’s of no interest.

  61. Stu Clayton says:

    Are you really and truly amazed that people don’t like obtrusive ads?

    I am, given that people of my age grew up with them on TV, every 10-15 minutes. It didn’t stop them from watching tv. When you consider that they help finance the programs, it even seems reasonable.

    I’m no longer dismissive of flyers in my mailbox, and the people who distribute them. I give them very little of my speaking time, but I try to be nice about it now. People don’t do this because they want to, but rather in order to earn a little cash. I earn loads-a-money, but that doesn’t entitle me to look down on those who can’t.

  62. I once revisited a library that I had often used as a child.

    Great heavens, you lived in or around GB as a child? If I knew that, I’d forgotten. (That used to be my wife’s mailing address, though she lived next door in Monterey.)

  63. Bear in mind that what you and I call a read is not what ResearchGate calls a read.

    Still impressive.

  64. Well, finally ! Several years ago I set out to find things that you had written, because of some of your comments on something in the Maturana ballfield, can’t remember exactly. I didn’t find anything.

    You can find anything Maturana-related listed here: http://bip.cnrs-mrs.fr/bip10/circle.htm. I had heard of Maturana (and Varela) before entering the field, and met both of them in the 1980s, and my wife knew both of them very well from the 1960s onwards, but I was pretty vague at the beginning about their work. However, I’ve gradually become educated. Our principal collaborator in Chile did his PhD with Maturana.

    If you can’t download some of them directly it’s because Elsevier has taking to making you sign an undertaking not to make papers they’ve published freely downloadable. However, they don’t seem to mind sending them in response to a specific request, and if you send a request by email for the current review that you’ve asked for at ResearchGate I’ll send it when it’s published — not yet, as I don’t consider articles to be published until they have volume and page numbers (very 20th century of me, I know). I’m pretty sure these will be 188, 1-50, but for the moment that’s just an educated guess.

  65. Slate or Salon, I forget which, hosts ads that they obviously don’t take care to check, and many ads are formatted to seem like news-bits. I clicked on one and sprang a malware trap that I escaped only via a total shutdown. Since that experience, I feel justified in blocking ads. If you run an online magazine, and make it your business to vet all the ads you host, let me know and I’ll make an exception in your case.

  66. Slate or Salon, I forget which, hosts ads that they obviously don’t take care to check, and many ads are formatted to seem like news-bits. I clicked on one and sprang a malware trap that I escaped only via a total shutdown. Since that experience, I feel justified in blocking ads.

    Calling Stu… Stu to the malware phone, please…

  67. John Cowan says:

    My family had a house (and I still have it) over the border in Austerlitz, N.Y. My parents went up there during the long summer vacations that we all had because they were professors. Gale I go up there when I can; it used to be every long weekend, but now less often.

  68. Ah, invaders from New York! The good people of the Commonwealth have things to say about that.

  69. John Cowan says:

    Yes, they say “Give us your money!” Which we do, in exchange for food from the Big Y, Guido’s Fresh Marketplace, and the (late, alas) Castle Street Cafe, home of the bessssst burgers in the worrruld, not excluding my own. It’s Vermont where New Yorkers are seen as imperialists.

    We were staying at the house when I came to visit you; it was in the middle of a vacation week.

  70. David Marjanović says:

    I don’t think I’ve experienced malware in ads. But I’ve seen ads escape my adblocker and cover content. I can report them to Google for covering content; that replaces them with a notice which says “this ad has been closed by Google”… and takes up the exact same space as the ad, so I need to reload the page.

    I wonder who the people are who actually buy something because they saw an ad on an unrelated website.

  71. Are you really and truly amazed that people don’t like obtrusive ads?

    I am. I can’t stand ads. When you’ve blocked them, you get used to never seeing any. Occasionally I get a little message and I unblock one temporarily so I can get to a website, usually the Daily Telegraph obituaries or some such, but that’s it. If we’ve all got to pull together and help out Google by looking at its advertising… well, it’s time to end the world.

    I accept all cookies and then clear them out from Chrome every other day or so. I hope that’s enough to stop bad things from happening, that and the heat-seeking missiles in the garage.

  72. I am.

    I think you mean “I’m not.”

  73. I think you mean “I’m not.”
    Thank you. Yes, it seems I do.

    I’m no longer dismissive of flyers in my mailbox, and the people who distribute them.
    Stu, you can love the distributor and still hate the half-a-dozen Chinese menus.

  74. Stu Clayton says:

    Without menus to distribute the distributors wouldn’t earn anything. You make it sound like separating the sheep from the goats. I see it more as separating the sheep from their wool – then they must shiver while pressing their little noses against the display windows of knitwear emporia, watching the Christmas parties in full swing.

  75. Stu Clayton says:

    Athel, thanks a lot for the link to your Maturana-related papers. Even the titles promise what I might have expected. By the way, I might never have known of Maturana/Varela, had it not been for Luhmann’s discussions of their ideas, which were take-off points for his own.

    At Researchgate I requested access to two things: “Basic math for biochemists” and “Contrasting theories of life”.

  76. Without menus to distribute the distributors wouldn’t earn anything.
    Not as menu distributors. Come to think of it, this is the decriminalising of drugs argument: without illegal drugs to distribute drug dealers wouldn’t earn anything. There’s something to it, but many would find other sources of income. You wait until the winter is over to separate goats from their wool and then you give them knitted coats to wear for a few weeks.

  77. Stu Clayton says:

    So the goats must wear the hand-me-downs of their dead relatives ?!

  78. Like me they’re happy to wear the hand-me-downs of sheep too, alive or dead, but an oil-cloth covering is useful in wet weather. There’s a Welsh manufacturer of goat outfits, coats for goats. They’re quite expensive, so best to make your own.

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