Icosian Reflections

…a tendency to systematize and a keen sense

that we live in a broken world.

February 6 Links: Photographs and a Cactus Doctor


On Thursday, I wrote a post, the first in a series of "not everyone doing harm is evil", and a reader commented on Facebook with an NPR interview that I hadn't actually read, but which definitely fits right with the main thrust of my post:

You know, David, when my child has a nightmare, I don't come to her in the middle of the night and say, look, you're a moron for believing there's a monster under your bed. I acknowledge that the fear might be real, even if there's no monster under the bed. And we -- I sort of help her deal with the fear. (...)

Anyway, more at Thursday's post, and now back to your regularly-tardy linkwrap...


I'm a sucker for clean designs, and these re-imagined Harry Potter volumes are awesome:

Book covers -- minmal, laser-cut designs

Same covers, glowing blue in the dark

Illustrations on inside pages

...by Kinsco Nagy, a graphic-design student in Hungary.

Along the same vein, some nonzero percentage of my readers may be interested in the Bibliotheca project, a similarly-beautiful of the most-printed book of all time.


But of course, books spend a lot more time being stored than being read, and sometimes, that storage ends up being really cool, too:

That's a trailer for Cold Storage, a documentary about the Harvard Depository, which warehouses the bulk of Harvard's second-largest-in-the-nation library collection. Related: UChicago's Mansueto library, where books are retrieved for your reading pleasure by robots:


Elsewhere in "things being moved by cranes", ever wonder where New York subway cars go to die?

A car hits the water, after being thrown from a ship into the ocean by a crane

More evocative images from Next Stop: Atlantic, by photographer Stephen Mallon. Apparently, the practice is pro-ecological and not pollutative -- the nooks and crannies of the cars (which are stripped down to bare metal before being dumped) allow for the growth of coral reefs:

Coral has begun to grow on the inside of a subway car.

Coral has completely taken over this car, which is almost unrecognizeable.

These last two found elsewhere on the web, not via Stephen Mallon. Though, seriously, check out the rest of his stuff.


Another photographer finds something unexpected in the ocean: Alex Cornell, on a trip to Antarctica, finds an upside-down iceberg:

A glassy blue iceberg, free of snow.

(more images)


In other ice news, the Japanese army built a thirty-foot-tall Star Wars snow sculpture for the Sapporo Snow Festival as a training exercise, reports Quartz:

Thirty-foot-tall snow sculpture, featuring Darth Vader, three storm troopers, TIE fighters, and the Death Star.


Related, by way of being "what?": a doctor for your cactus:

"We're here to save your cactus, no matter what the problem is," Mr. Leblanc said, his sales pitch interrupted by his ringing cellphone: "Hello, this is the cactus doctor." (...)


The work can be painstaking and dangerous. Mr. Leblanc has performed surgery 30 feet in the air, erecting scaffolding just for the procedure. Other times, his crew works on limbs, weighing hundreds of pounds, that can easily snap off. An entire morning can be consumed by the tugging and adjusting required to shift a leaning saguaro just a few degrees.

Straightening a cactus typically costs about $700, and more invasive procedures or replanting a cactus can cost upward of $1,000. (...)


Also in jobs: GiveWell, an organization that profiles evidence-based charities to provide independent, in-depth evaluations of their business and efficacy, is hiring for four positions, including a summer internship.

I know at least one person who had positive things to say about his internship at GiveWell (though he didn't end up working there long-term), and if you or a friend is interested, I could put you in touch.


And, not at all related, but just included because I found it hilarious: Nebraska lawmakers, debating a bill making it easier for military spouses to get gun-permit laws, unanimously (38-0) adopt an amendment that extends the privilege to same-sex spouses, despite the state's constitutional ban on gay marriage.

"Is not the Second Amendment sex blind? Color blind?" [Sen. Paul] Schumacher [of Columbus] said. "What great evil would come from saying a partner of somebody in the military ... is entitled to exercise their Second Amendment rights to carry a concealed weapon in this state?"

What great evil indeed.