Empty Photographic Frames : Punctuating the Narrative

Nancy Pedri, who is Associate Professor in the Department of English and Literature at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, is a comparatist. And, as such, is one of the few scholars to have examined the implications of empty photographic frames in multimodal narratives. “In its capacity to open up the possibility for variance in meaning, […]

Holes in doughnuts – the philosophical implications (part 1)

Achille C. Varzi, who is Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, New York, is interested in the philosophical implications of holes and voids, prompting a unique investigation into a special subset of hole-bearing entities – namely doughnuts (that’s ‘donuts’ US). “A doughnut always comes with a hole. If you think you can come up with […]

In search of Grollman’s remembered vacuum incident

My column this week in The Guardian, looking back at medical reports about the epidemic of penile amputations in Thailand, inspired this letter from a reader, which the newspaper published on November 23: I’m afraid your Improbable research piece (An epidemic of penile amputation, explained, 20 November) brought back to me something I foolishly read […]

From satire to proposal in 120 years

Ptak Science Books found an apparently serious engineering proposal that echoes a satire done more than 100 years earlier: John B. Prather launched an idea in 1945 for building a high-speed pneumatic passenger/freight train connecting New York City to Philadelphia. [It’s described in his] New York-Philadelphia Vacuum Tunnel, Preliminary Design Features and Economic Analysis… One […]

Problems With Aging Equipment

“Vacuum Erection Device Use in Elderly Men: A Possible Severe Complication,” R.L. Bratton and H.D. Cassidy, Journal of the American Board of Family Practice, vol. 15, no. 6, November–December 2002, pp. 501–2. (Thanks to Ig Nobel Prize winner Richard Wassersug for bringing this to our attention.) The authors are at the Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida. […]