Word Wednesday.



A discourse or declamation full of bitter condemnation: Tirade.

Origin: Middle French philippique, from Latin and Greek; Latin philippica, orationes philippicae, speeches of Cicero against Mark Antony, translation of Greek Philippikoi logoi, speeches of Demosthenes against Philip II of Macedon. Literally, speeches relating to Philip. (1592).

That was the kind of outburst Stefan had to put up with for five years as I worked on the Wharton bibliography, wading through file cards and fits. The explosion would usually be followed by an overly detailed explanation of what I was reading, then a philippic of one form or another. No wonder he was sick of everything Wharton.” – The Edith Wharton Murders, Lev Raphael.

Word Wednesday.


Adjective: not reputable or decent; dubious, shady.

[Origin: French, literally, cross-eyed, squint-eyed, Old French losche, from Latin luscus blind in one eye.]

And so it is with old HPL: the very model of an 18th century hipster, born decades too late to be one of the original louche laudanum-addicted romantic poets, and utterly unafraid to bore us by droning on and on about the essential crapness of culture since Edgar Allen Poe, the degeneracy of the modern age, &c. &c. &c.

– Equoid: A Laundry Novella, Charles Stross.

Word Wednesday.

Obscurantism. Words1


1. Opposition to the spread of knowledge: a policy of withholding knowledge from the general public.

2a. A style (as in literature or art) characterized by deliberate vagueness or abstruseness. b: an act or instance of obscurantism.

-obscurantist noun or adjective. (1834)

Yes. Because once you get away from the original words, the purest of theories just become rumours. Then we don’t know anything. From one approximation to another inaccuracy, the truth unravels and obscurantism takes over.” – The Ghost Riders of Ordebec, Fred Vargas.

Word Wednesday.




1. Boldness or daring, especially with confident or arrogant disregard for personal safety, conventional thought, or other restrictions.

2. Effrontery or insolence; shameless boldness.

3. Usually, audacities. audacious or particularly bold or daring acts or statements.

1400-50; late Middle English audacite < Latin audāc-, stem of audāx daring.

Adamsberg was beginning to take in her plan, based on two elements which were usually in contradiction: audacity and finesse. Together they made up an unpredictable force, like a battering ram with the delicacy of a needle. – Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand, Fred Vargas.



Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor was available yesterday, downloaded and read! The ending is abrupt, and somewhat upsetting, because you definitely won’t feel like you’re done reading yet. Brought home some dead tree, too:


© C. Ford.

I’m not usually a zombie type, but we’ve been watching iZombie, so…

Word Wednesday.




1 a: Silly, idle talk. b: something insignificant or worthless. Nonsense.

2. One that twaddles: Twaddler.


Twaddled; twaddling. – Prate, babble.

Origin: probably alteration of twattle (1550s), idle talk.


“What ineffable twaddle!” I cried, slapping the magazine down on the table; “I never read such rubbish in my life.” – A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle.

The Best Bookstore Ever.


A bookstore you can sleep in. My dream come true. The Book & Bed Hostel is established in Tokyo, with another one now in Kyoto. Your sleep cubicle comes equipped with an outlet, a light, a privacy curtain, clothes hangers, and a wireless connection. There’s also beer.


Book & Bed is a self-described “accommodation bookshop” with beds built into bookshelves. When the first Tokyo location opened last year, bibliophiles were obviously overjoyed because, for the first time, it was socially acceptable to wander into a bookshop, pick up a book, and then doze off to sleep. Now, the popular concept hotel is getting a 2nd location in Kyoto.



beds are embedded into bookshelves and surrounded by over 5000 books.

Rates are low and start at just 4,445 yen (about $40) for a compact bed. But if you’re a light sleeper, or privacy is your big thing, the Book & Bed hostel may not be for you. Sleeping areas are semi-private with just a curtain separating you from other book dwellers. And bathroom areas are shared too. In fact, the bookshop hostel doesn’t promise “a good night’s sleep.” Instead, the promise “the finest moment of sleep”: dozing off in the middle of your treasured pastime, immersed in books.




Book & Bed.

Book & Bed on Instagram.

I think I’d want to stay…for always. What a wonderful idea. Via Spoon & Tamago.

Nano Lord Voldemort.


Auburn Engineering graduate student Armin VahidMohammadi won first place in a national research organization’s Science as Art competition for his depiction of an engineered nanomaterial as a character from the “Harry Potter” movie series.

VahidMohammadi, a doctoral student in materials engineering, created a digitally enhanced image of his research that bears a resemblance to Lord Voldemort, the villain in the “Harry Potter” series. After submitting the image for consideration to the Materials Research Society’s Science as Art competition, he won first place out of 168 submissions. The award comes with a $400 cash prize.

“I am honored to have my work showcased and recognized by such a prestigious organization,” VahidMohammadi said. “It was exciting that the competition allowed me to connect materials science with popular culture in a way that the general public can appreciate.”

Held since 2006, the Science as Art competition offers materials engineers and students the opportunity to transform their research into images renowned for their aesthetic qualities.

Using a scanning electron microscope, VahidMohammadi was examining particles of an engineered nanomaterial when he noticed a particular particle that resembled Lord Voldemort. He colorized the image and digitally enhanced it by adding eyes and teeth.

The particle pictured is known as Ti2C, which is a member of a family of two-dimensional, layered materials called MXenes. Ti2C has a wide array of applications, including as electrode materials for batteries and supercapacitors. The particle shown in the image is five microns in length, or roughly 10 times smaller than the width of a human hair.

Very cool work, this! It would make a great poster.


Word Wednesday.




1. A leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.

2. (in ancient times) a leader of the people.

verb (used with object), demagogued, demagoguing.
3. To treat or manipulate (a political issue) in the manner of a demagogue; obscure or distort with emotionalism, prejudice, etc.

verb (used without object), demagogued, demagoguing.
4. To speak or act like a demagogue.

1640s, from Greek demagogos “popular leader,” also “leader of the mob,” from demos “people” (see demotic ) + agogos “leader,” from agein “to lead” (see act (n.)). Often a term of disparagement since the time of its first use, in Athens, 5c. B.C.E. Form perhaps influenced by French demagogue (mid-14c.).

Demosthenes: A demagogue must be neither an educated nor an honest man; he has to be an ignoramus and a rogue.

Demosthenes [to the Sausage-Seller]: Mix and knead together all the state business as you do for your sausages. To win the people, always cook them some savoury that pleases them. Besides, you possess all the attributes of a demagogue; a screeching, horrible voice, a perverse, crossgrained nature and the language of the market-place. In you all is united which is needful for governing. -The Knights, Aristophanes.


The peculiar office of a demagogue is to advance his own interests, by affecting a deep devotion to the interests of the people. Sometimes the object is to indulge malignancy, unprincipled and selfish men submitting but to two governing motives, that of doing good to themselves, and that of doing harm to others. … The motive of the demagogue may usually be detected in his conduct. The man who is constantly telling the people that they are unerring in judgment, and that they have all power, is a demagogue. – The American Democrat, James Fenimore Cooper.

Fellow Travelers.



Most people are aware of Sen. McCarthy’s red scare, the hunt for commies under every rock and pillow, but it wasn’t the only hunt McCarthy engineered, there was the lavender scare also, which yes, Cohn helped out with, in spite of being gay himself. There was a terrible purge of people, many of whom decided to die rather than face decades of abuse, turned backs, and no way to find employment ever again. In 2008, Thomas Mallon wrote Fellow Travelers, a historical fiction which centers on two people living and working during the lavender scare. The choice of title is a laden one. Now the book has become an opera:

You can read all about it at The Advocate.

Word Wednesday.



Noun. Intransitive verb, footled, footling.

  1. To talk or act foolishly.
  2.  To waste time: trifle, fool.



  1. Lacking judgment or ability: Inept <footling amateurs who understand nothing – E.R. Bentley>
  2. Lacking use or value: Trivial <footling matters>

v.”to trifle,” 1892, from dialectal footer “to trifle,” footy “mean, paltry” (1752), perhaps from French se foutre “to care nothing,” from Old French foutre “to copulate with,” from Latin futuere, originally “to strike, thrust” (cf. confute). But OED derives the English dialect words from foughty (c.1600), from Dutch vochtig or Danish fugtig “damp, musty;” related to fog (n.).

It was a unique machine. By the time of his last try, Marc had grasped the point of it: you had to make up a question in your head, then consult the oracle. He had hesitated between ‘Will I get my medieval accounts finished in time?’ which he found too footling, and ‘Is there a woman somewhere who will fall in love with me?’, but he didn’t want to know if the answer to that was no, so he had finally opted for a question which didn’t commit him to anything: ‘Does God exist?’.  – Dog Will Have His Day, Fred Vargas.

Word Wednesday.



1: menacing; threatening.

1525-35; from Late Latin minātōrius, from Latin minārī to threaten. “Expressing a threat, 1530s, from Middle French minatoire, from Late Latin

minatorius, from minat-, stem of minari “to threaten”.

Now Molly put an arm about its neck, and she kissed it again, this time on the long flat cheek, and yet again, on the heavy supraorbital bone, and she looked up and past it, and into Yattuy’s face, and her expression slowly changed from the utmost tenderness that she had shown to the Beast, to a grim minatory glare; gone was the fond lover, and in her place was this stern and vengeful queen.” – Throne of Darkness by Douglas Nicholas.