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Mediterranean Travels to Autumn Inner Sea

Travels to Autumn Inner Sea and the Mediterranean Breviary

With Extracts from Predrag Matvejevic Mediterranean Breviary


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Et dès lors, je me suis baigné dans le Poème

De la Mer, infusé d’astres, et lactescent,

Dévorant les azurs verts; où, flottaison bleme

Et ravie, un noyé pensif parfois descend…

And from then on I bathed in the Poem of the Sea,

Steeped with stars and foamy as milk,

Gorging myself on the green and blue; where,

Pallid and ruined flotsam,

A drowned and thoughtful man sometimes goes down…

ARTHUR RIMBAUD, Le Bateau Ivre

LAND AND SEA:

Some day someone may classify coasts according to the ways in which they come together with the sea, that is, the places where their relations are stable and complete and where they are fragmentary and haphazard, the stretches where sea and land are at one with each other and where they bristle and always shall, the points where entry and access are possible and where no approach is tolerated. But how can anyone take so many forms and structures, so many groupings of land and vegetation, stone and light, so much resistance and concession and compress it into a system? The rocky headlands and reefy strands, pebbles and sand, straits more or less dangerous, inlets, creeks, and coves, caves and grottoes, fords and capes, cliffs, bluffs, and crags, precipices and promontories—we cannot dismiss them with concrete appellations; they need conceptual amplification, clarification. We need to explain, for example, why in one place masses of stone have remained whole and intact, while in another, though compositionally all but identical, they have fallen to pieces or been turned into detritus; how in one place they are smooth, flat slabs, while in another they have become boulders and crags, rough or blade-sharp. Epochs of prehistory, shifts and fissures in the earth, major rifts, rapprochements, and related phe- nomena, tectonic and architectonic, have left their imprints in the layers of rock. Certain sites—where the rock has completely crumbled or is decaying, where it has been stripped of all vegetation and crust, where its nerves and veins burst out on the surface—are literally dramatic…

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Many people have written in memoirs of picking up pebbles, weighing them in their hand, and using them to draw pictures in the sand. Some see this as mere child’s play, but adults do it as often as children. There must be more to it. Ancient sages and poets have celebrated the role of the Mediterranean in grinding pebbles smooth and sand fine…

WAVES

Of the sea and all that goes with it—its various states; the reflections of sky, sun, and clouds in it; the colors its bed takes on and the stones, sand, and algae along that bed; the dark and translucent patches on the coast; then farther out, the transitions between morning sea and evening sea, day sea and night sea, today’s sea and the sea eternal (to which any number of terms might be added)—all Mediterraneans have something to say, something they deem of the utmost importance…

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CHARACTER OF WAVES

Waves play an important role in the dramaturgy of the sea, its scenes and peripeteias. They have many names, varying not only from one gulf to the next but also according to whether we view them from ship or shore and what we expect of them. They combine with adjectives (or, less commonly, other nouns), which are for the most part descriptive: regular or irregular, longitudinal or transversal; they are connected with high tide or low tide, with the surface or the depths; they are solitary, frequent, fortuitous, rolling, choppy, cyclical (experts claim that the cycles of some waves can be measured in terms of geo- logic periods). What matters most from the deck is their size; their strength; whether they hit flank, bow, or stern; and whether masting, sails, and, especially, sailors can handle them. The distinctions that interest us here are of a different sort: how they break on the shore, how long they last after they have broken in the eyes of their beholders, whether they are the same when they return, how the sound they make differs when they hit sand and when they hit rock, how they sleep when they are tired and barely perceptible.

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All that remains of the huge waves tapering and dying on the shore is a gurgle or a lap, a splash on the pier or the hull of the boat, buoy, or reef, though this sound can last a long time and is most likely to be audible at night. Even though everyone recognizes it—this gurgle or lap or whatever one calls it—there is disagreement over whether it is a noise or a voice…

SPECIAL PLACES

Islands are special places. They may be classified according to such criteria as where they lie in relation to the coast, what type of channel separates them from the mainland, and whether or not one can row or swim across the channel (a measure of the extent to which thesea unites or divides). Islands also differ in the images they project: some seem to be floating or floundering, others look anchored, stonelike, and, though torn-off and incomplete remains of the land mass, quite satisfied with themselves, having escaped in the nick of time and declared their independence; some are in disarray and dissolution, others neat and trim, on the point of establishing an ideal order. Islands take on human characteristics and moods : they too can be solitary, quiet, parched, naked, barren, inscrutable, cursed, and even happy or blissful. They are defined not only by their similarities and differences but also by the company they keep…

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THE LAND

The land too differs from one region to another. Nor does it look the same when we view it from the sea and when we view it on the shore: the reddish soil among the rocks, the gray or ashlike soil that appears to be made of rock (while at points it is more or less sand, whence the name “white earth” on some Adriatic islands), the black soil, rare and highly valued in these parts, and finally plain, ordinary brown dirt, the kind that exists all over Europe, Asia Minor, and a part of Africa. The vegetation veils or unveils, dresses or denudes the land and its character, changing backdrops from one occasion to the next, depending on how much the rock has disintegrated under the burning sun and how much the water and moisture coming from the sea have furthered the process. Thus even the land is the creation of the sea, the Mediterranean…

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MYSTERIOUS INFLUENCES

No one writes about the Mediterranean or sails it without personal involvement. The city where I was born is located fifty kilometers from the Adriatic. Thanks to its location and the river that runs through it, it has taken on certain Mediterranean traits. Slightly farther upstream, the Mediterranean traits disperse and the mainland takes over.

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I am particularly interested in Mediterranean rivers and borders and the connections between them. I cannot explain why at some points the coastal area is so narrow and ends so abruptly and major transformations occur at so short a stretch from the sea. Cross a mountain and the bond with the sea is broken: land turns into hinterland and grows coarser, harder of access; people practice different customs, singing different songs, playing different games.

RIVERS

Mediterranean rivers flow down to the sea in their own ways: some are quite ceremonious, even smug about doing their duty, others seem caught off guard and flow along abashed, confused; there are those that are haughty and resolute and those that are timid or resigned; there are those that do not care to mix their waters with the waters of others and those that are only too eager to take part in affairs of the sea, set up an alliance with it. Nor does the sea accept them all uniformly or the coast suffer them to leave it in one and the same way. Some rivers tend to linger by the sea, forcing it to yield some of its territory; others plunge deep into the karst to emerge either at the coast itself or in the cold springs at rock bottom. Estuaries are of a dual nature: they let the river flow into the sea, and they let the sea make its way inland. The riddle of their reciprocity makes itself felt here and there in their deltas. When swimmers from nearby rivers swim in the Mediterranean, they claim they can recognize the water of their rivers in it…

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A HISTORY ABOUT MAN AND THE SEA

Everywhere the eye can see—from vista to vista, event to event— there are stories about the sea and the coast, the islands and isolation, the body and incarceration, about winds, rivers, and estuaries, about ourselves: the eternal rituals of rise and fall, departure and return, grandiloquence and parody, palingenesis and palimpsest, circlemaking and circlebreaking. The moment we try to penetrate these oppositions, they become eschatology or prosody, yet I do not see how we can avoid them. Putting them into words may represent the Mediterranean’s greatest achievement. Setting sail for distant seas and distant continents, the great seafarers have imitated their Mediterranean forebears by keeping minute records of their travels. The ship’s log and travelogue are among the earliest genres of literature, the earliest branches of science.

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Denizens of the north often identify our sea with the South. Something attracts them to it even when they remain perfectly loyal to their homelands. It is more than a need for warm sun and strong light. It may be what has been called “faith in the South.” Anyone, regardless of place of birth or residence, can become a Mediterranean. Mediter-raneanity is acquired, not inherited; it is a decision, not a privilege. Some even say there are fewer and fewer true Mediterraneans on the Mediterranean. Being Mediterranean entails more than history or geography, tradition or memory, birthright or belief. The Mediterranean is destiny.

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Metropolis and the Environment

Metropolis and the Environment

Aftermath of a mining disaster at Portman. Metropoly and the Environment: The Promise of Progress.
A Photo Essay by VCrown

“Not all the winds, and storms, and earthquakes, and seas, and seasons of the world, have done so much to revolutionize as Man, the power of an endless life, has done since the day he became forth upon it, and received dominion over it”.

H. Bushnell, Sermon on the Power of an Endless Life.



Metropolis and the Environment from vincent crown on Vimeo.

It is a legal maxim that “the law concerneth not itself with trifles,” de minimus non curat lex; but in the vocabulary of nature, little and great are terms of comparison only; she knows no trifles, and her laws are as inflexible in dealing with an atom as with a continent or a planet. The human operations mentioned in the last few paragraphs, therefore, do act in the ways ascribed to them, though our limited faculties are at present, perhaps forever, incapable of weighing their immediate, still more their ultimate consequences. But our inability to assign definite values to these causes of the disturbance of natural arrangements is not a reason for ignoring the existence of such causes in any general view of the relations between man and nature, and we are never justified in assuming a force to be insignificant because its measure is unknown, or even because no physical effect can now be traced to it as its origin. The collection of phenomena must precede the analysis of them, and every new fact, illustrative of the action and reaction between humanity and the material world around it, is another step toward the determination of the great question, whether man is of nature or above her.

Man and Nature or Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action. George P. Marsh. 1865

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History of Time

History of Time

… if one sets aside for a moment the rotation of the earth and its orbit round the sun, one could say that the earth was at rest and that a train on it was travelling north at ninety miles per hour or that the train was at rest and the earth was moving south at ninety miles per hour.

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… at 10 percent of the speed of light an object’s mass is only 0.5 percent more than normal, while at 90 percent of the speed of light it would be more than twice its normal mass. As an object approaches the speed of light, its mass rises ever more quickly, so it takes more and more energy to speed it up further. It can in fact never reach the speed of light, because by then its mass would have become infinite, and by the equivalence of mass and energy, it would have taken an infinite amount of energy to get it there. For this reason, any normal object is forever confined by relativity to move at speeds slower than the speed of light. Only light, or other waves that have no intrinsic mass, can move at the speed of light.

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… we do not know what is happening at the moment farther away in the universe: the light that we see from distant galaxies left them millions of years ago and in the case of the most distant object that we have seen, the light left some eight thousand million years ago. Thus, when we look at the universe, we are seeing it as it was in the past.

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… a particle of spin 1 is like an arrow: it looks different from different directions. Only if one turns it round a complete revolution (360 degrees) does the particle look the same. A particle of spin 2 is like a double-headed arrow: it look the same if one turns it round half a revolution (180 degrees)… there are particles that do not look the same if one turns them through just one revolution: you have to turn them through two complete revolutions! Such particles are said to have spin ½.

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… the lower the mass of the black hole, the higher its temperature. So as the black hole loses mass, its temperature and rate of emission increase, so it loses mass more quickly. What happens when the mass of the black hole eventually becomes extremely small is not quite clear, but the most reasonable guess is that it would disappear completely in a tremendous final burst of emission, equivalent to the explosion of millions of H-bombs.

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Disorder increases with time because we measure time in the direction in which disorder increases.

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… if there were a complete set of laws, that would infringe God’s freedom to change his mind and intervene in the world. It’s a bit like the old paradox: Can God make a stone so heavy that he can’t lift it? But the idea that God might want to change his mind is an example of the fallacy, pointed out by St. Augustine, of imagining God as a being existing in time: time is a property only of the universe that God created. Presumably, he knew what he intended when he set it up!

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Time Space The Universe

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Wired to Sustainability

Wired to Sustainability

The capacity to endure or how biological systems remain diverse over time. For humans it means maintaining the well being for the long term dealing with environmental, economic and social their impacts and dimensions.

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Sustinere: maintain, support, endure

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Lavadero Roberto: The Tower of the Ambitious (IV)

Photo Essay: La Unión, a Mining Sierra.

Chapter 2. Part D: THE AGE OF STUPID

The Age of Stupid. This is the title I attach to how education, politics, entrepreneurs and we, the Mass, are dealing with Our Environment: climate change, desertification, nuclear waste, rainforest,  unnamed activists, toxic waste, steriles, save the planet, effects of climate change……and bla, bla, bla,,,,still waiting for a Global Change.

YOU ARE THE INCONVENIENT TRUTH

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LINKS:

Photo Essay: La Union, a Mining SierraPortman: The Hands of God. Destiny, to HumansLavadero Roberto: The Tower of the Ambitious ILavadero Roberto: The Tower of the Ambitious II, Lavadero Roberto: The Tower of the Ambitious III

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Lavadero Roberto: The Tower of the Ambitious (III)

Photo Essay: La Unión, a Mining Sierra.

Chapter 2. Part C: ANATOMY OF GREED

Portman´s Successful Environmental Genocide can be defined, as well, as THE ANATOMY OF GREED. Using the words of a former Enron´s Executive:

We’re the bad guy. We’re the criminals. And don’t think it’s just this company. There’s hundreds of Enrons out there, a thousand, cooking the books, inflating the earnings, hiding the debt, buying off the watchdogs……seduced by the company’s “get rich quick” mantra.

Just change Enron for Peñarroya and Portman Golf: and there you have it.

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LINKS:

Photo Essay: La Union, a Mining SierraPortman: The Hands of God. Destiny, to HumansLavadero Roberto: The Tower of the Ambitious I, Lavadero Roberto: The Tower of the Ambitious II

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