Articles I’ve been reading

The ever excellent Ta-Nehisi Coates writes that Donald Trump is The First White President

I’ve enjoyed some of Lee Drutman’s writing before, and his piece on hyperpartisanship is an interesting one.

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What to play while you’re waiting for Miegakure

Miegakure is a 4D puzzle solving game. You move around in three dimensional space; but by swapping in and out one of the dimensions in four dimensional space, you’re able to navigate (albeit in a crude way) 4D space, and solve 4D puzzles.

If, like me, you encountered the XKCD comic way back in 2012 (or earlier?), then you’ve been wondering when Miegakure will get released.

I can’t see anything to indicate when the release date is, five years on. Basically, we’ll get it at the same time as Winds of Winter. But fortunately, someone has come up with something that’s almost as good. No, the graphics aren’t as beautiful, and no, the gameplay may not be as good. But it exists, which is a lot more than you can really say for Miegakure.

It’s called Brane (or Tetraspace? I’m not sure), and you should check it out. Some of the initial levels were easy, some I solved after multiple attempts, and some I’m still working through. Worth a look.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa

Katsushika Hokusai was a Japanese artist who lived in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. He had a prolific output across his lifespan in a whole range of mediums, including printing and painting.

By far his most famous piece is The Great Wave of Kanagawa. It’s part of a broader set of prints, Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji. Hokusai apparently frequently did this – creating a series of images, like a A Tour of the Waterfalls of Japanese Provincesamong many others.

It’s important context, because in seeing the TSVMF, it becomes apparent that even though the series centres on Mt Fuji (from what I understand, Mt Fuji had religious significance for Hokusai), it features so much more. Hokusai is interested in everyday people and their daily lives; so that even though every print shows us a new side of Mt Fuji, what it’s really showing us is a new scene of life in Japan. He foregrounds fishermen, porters, travellers and merchants, so much that at times it feels like it’s a step away from Where’s Waldo, spotting the small, familiar peak on the horizon. It’s delightful, and doesn’t detract from the prints where he hones in on the majestic peak.

You can see why Mt Fuji is so mesmerising – it has a distinctively consistent slope, and looks stunning – for example, this photo:

Mountfujijapan

That beauty’s captured in The Great Wave off Kanagawa, with the stunning overlay of the wave; using a perspective technique that differed slightly from traditional approaches.

Tsunami_by_hokusai_19th_century.jpg

It’s a beautifully crafted image, and stands monument to a lifetime of artistry. Even though it’s been emblazoned across every piece of memorabilia imaginable, the original image is still strikingly beautiful.

The Horde (in a comments section)

I’ve long been a fan of TNC (earlier instalments, among others, here and here). It’s nice to read an article on what his comments section did well, and how he did it:

If there’s a lesson to be taken away from the story of the Horde, it might be—depressingly—that trying to build a comment section that truly adds value to a writer’s work will inevitably become more trouble than it’s worth. For years, the Horde gave me hope for a better internet, but these days I tend to believe that comment sections are just tumors on otherwise good journalism, and that we’d all be better off without them.