pause to wonder

Curiosity, reading, thinking.

Tweets @pausetowonder

And the Days are Not Full Enough

And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
        Not shaking the grass.

-Ezra Pound

Greece at the Beginning of the Peloponnesian War (431 BCE).

Perry-Castañeda Library Historical Atlas by William R. Shepherd

The greatest satisfaction you can obtain from life is your pleasure in producing, in your own individual way, something of value to your fellowmen. That is creative living!

When we consider that each of us has only one life to live, isn’t it rather tragic to find men and women, with brains capable of comprehending the stars and the planets, talking about the weather; men and women, with hands capable of creating works of art, using those hands only for routine tasks; men and women, capable of independent thought, using their minds as a bowling-alley for popular ideas; men and women, capable of greatness, wallowing in mediocrity; men and women, capable of self-expression, slowly dying a mental death while they babble the confused monotone of the mob?

—   How to Avoid Work – lovely 1949 guide to doing what you love (via explore-blog)

(Source: , via explore-blog)

Humour, chocolate, Nobel Prize for physics… connection?

"Eric Cornell, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001, told Reuters: ‘I attribute essentially all my success to the very large amount of chocolate that I consume. Personally I feel that milk chocolate makes you stupid… dark chocolate is the way to go. It’s one thing if you want a medicine or chemistry Nobel Prize but if you want a physics Nobel Prize it pretty much has got to be dark chocolate.’

But when More or Less contacted him to elaborate on this comment, he changed his tune.

'I deeply regret the rash remarks I made to the media. We scientists should strive to maintain objective neutrality and refrain from declaring our affiliation either with milk chocolate or with dark chocolate,' he said.

'Now I ask that the media kindly respect my family's privacy in this difficult time.'”

- from an article about a study investigating the correlation between chocolate consumption and winning the Nobel Prize by Franz Messerli of Colombia University


Observing the Sun Like Never Before

Wow. You’ve never seen the Sun quite like this. NASA visualization artists have taken video images from the Solar Dynamics Observatory and used a beautiful gradient filtering method to bring out details often lost to scientist’s eyes.

Magnetic turbulence, originating deep within our star, causes loops of energized solar material to erupt from the Sun’s surface. But they can be very hard to detect with the bright star behind them. So by processing these images through a gradient filter, the resulting video is both hauntingly beautiful while allowing obscure details of solar storms to be viewed by researchers.

Full screen, HD … you know the awesome drill.

(via io9)

Musee des Beaux Arts by W. H. Auden

About suffering they were never wrong,
The old Masters: how well they understood
Its human position; how it takes place
While someone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along;
How, when the aged are reverently, passionately waiting
For the miraculous birth, there always must be
Children who did not specially want it to happen, skating
On a pond at the edge of the wood:
They never forgot
That even the dreadful martyrdom must run its course
Anyhow in a corner, some untidy spot
Where the dogs go on with their doggy life and the torturer’s horse
Scratches its innocent behind on a tree.

In Breughel’s Icarus, for instance: how everything turns away
Quite leisurely from the disaster; the ploughman may
Have heard the splash, the forsaken cry,
But for him it was not an important failure; the sun shone
As it had to on the white legs disappearing into the green
Water, and the expensive delicate ship that must have seen
Something amazing, a boy falling out of the sky,
Had somewhere to get to and sailed calmly on.

Breughel's painting "The Fall of Icarus"

Rod Serling on Writing

Discusses various aspects of writing with a group of students.


The crowd in Times Square watching the Curiosity landing. It’s amazing to see so many people come together for such a phenomenal moment.
(via @bluemilker on Twitter)


The crowd in Times Square watching the Curiosity landing. It’s amazing to see so many people come together for such a phenomenal moment.

(via @bluemilker on Twitter)

London’s Chap Olympiad 2012

London’s Chap Olympiad describes itself as a celebration of eccentricity and athletic ineptitude with the emphasis on panache and style over sporting prowess.

Events include:

  • Moustache Wrestling
  • Bounders
    Chaps approach a row of ladies and are given two minutes to behave like utter cads. The winner is the bounder who receives the loudest slap accompanied by the wryest smile.
  • Hop, Skip and G&T
    Contestants must leap into a sandpit holding a brimming gin and tonic. The remaining liquid in the glass is measured and points deducted for spillages.
  • Cucumber Sandwich Discus
    A plate of cucumber sandwiches is hurled across the field, with extra points if the sandwich remains edible.
  • Umbrella Jousting

ironing board surfing:

ironing board surfing again:

umbrella jousting (of course, what else?):

White Ravens on Vancouver Island, Canada

According to legend, Raven was originally white and had a beautiful voice. Unfortunately, the Gods were unhappy with the greed and corruption on earth and decided to take away the fire. Without heat, the earth was turning into a frozen hell. Raven volunteered to fly to the sun and bring back the fire. Up he flew with a branch in his bill. As he neared the sun his feathers were all singed and his larynx was half-cooked, but the branch ignited. Raven returned to earth a hero, but became shy and reclusive because of his blackened feathers and the loss of his beautiful voice. From that day on, all Ravens were black, but occasionally a white offspring is born to remind everyone of the great sacrifice made by Raven.

- photographer Mike Yip { }