" All good conversation, manners, and action come from a spontaneity which forgets usages and makes the moment great. "
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Back in the day


Peter Minuit Buys Manhattan

Peter Minuit was the director-general of the Dutch colony of New Netherland who is credited with the purchase of the island of Manhattan in 1626. According to legend, he persuaded the natives—perhaps a Metoac band of Lenape known as the Canarsee, who were actually native to what is now Brooklyn—to "sell" the island for a handful of trade goods worth approximately 60 guilders. In 1846, that price was converted by a New York historian to what US dollar amount?



A Strange Loop

Proposed by cognitive scholar Douglas Hofstadter, the concept of a "strange loop" involves a paradox that arises when, by moving up or down through a hierarchical system, one finds oneself back at the initial starting point. Examples of such feedback loops in various media include the well known M. C. Escher lithograph Drawing Hands and the novelty song "I'm My Own Grandpa." Another conceptual example is the liar paradox, which is what?

Born on a day like today



Pontormo was a Florentine painter and one of the creators of mannerism, an artistic style characterized by distortion of elements such as scale and perspective. The agitated, almost neurotic emotionalism of Pontormo's work reflects a profound stylistic shift from the balance and tranquility of the High Renaissance. The artist was a recluse for much of his life and kept a diary in which he chronicled his obsessions. As an orphaned boy, he apprenticed with what famous Florentine painters?

Last updated on Monday, 24th May 2010

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