Photo reblogged from with 9 notes
FIRST LINES FROM NEW BOOKS OUT TODAY: JUNE 18, 2012
“In this Olympic year I have taken the opportunity to demonstrate some of the unexpected ways in which simple mathematics and science can shed light on what is going on in a wide range of sporting activities. The following chapters will look into the science behind aspects of human movement, systems of scoring, record breaking, Paralympic competition, strength events, drug testing, diving, riding, running, jumping, and throwing.”
Mathletics: A Scientist Explains 100 Amazing Things about the World of Sports by John D. Barrow
“When they first took their seats on the tiered wooden benches and saw the American prairies stretched before them, the sweep of the Great Plains, the sagebrush, and the Rocky Mountains rising in the distance, audiences were struck by the sheer boldness of the effect, and moved by the associations and spirit it evoked. Painted on a band of canvas forty feet high, the backdrop had taken a team of stage artists several weeks to complete. The re-creation of the Far West ran in a half circle, directly across from the crescent-shaped grandstand, on the far side of a dirt arena on third of a mile in circumference.”
Prairie Fever: British Aristocrats in the American West, 1830-1890 by Peter Pagnamenta
“Let us start with a flashback to the 1660s—to the earliest days of one of the world’s first scientific academies, the Royal Society of London. Christopher Wren, Robert Hooke, Samuel Pepys, and other ‘ingenious and curious gentlemen’ (as they described themselves) met regularly. Their motto was to accept nothing on authority.”
From Here to Infinity: A Vision for the Future of Science by Martin Rees
“September 29, 1984, has gone down in history as the day of the San Michele blitz. On the basis of the revelations of Tommaso Buscetta, 366 arrest warrants were issued covering an unsettling number of crimes, among them 121 murders. On that Saturday, in a single night, entire Mafia clans were transferred to seven maximum-security Italian prisons.”
Cosa Nostra: An Illustrated History of the Mafia by Massimo Picozzi
OUT TODAY IN PAPERBACK
With a stern heel the rider cracked his boot into the side of the horse and the pace quickened again. The rider could see the grass bend and split apart around the frame of his pursuer. He reached down to the cuff of his boot to draw out his knife. As soon as his hand felt it missing he could remember it was back, far in the distance, tossed under mud and ashes at what remained of his fire. He had been riding for days that turned into weeks and each night he would settle a camp and build a fire the way they taught him in the war. The boys down from Boston would complain about the heat while he and the others from Carolina would carry on in laughter about how they must have never had the privilege of a southern summer all sticky and humid. Building up the fires at night would gather a crowd hiding away from the swarms of mosquitoes and the fever brought down on some of the men from that pestilence that walked in the darkness. Those moments were only weeks gone for the rider but they felt so much longer past as if they belonged to some world he could no longer be a part of, belonging to another breed of man. One without regret, or conscious, or all those human sins that the good preachers back home would rouse souls with.
For so long he had a life shaped by the regularity and plainness of service to the farm his family had drawn some acres of wheat from and then to the dreaded routine of service to his country. Now his life had become full of wandering. Across the black waters below Baton Rouge and the sun starched plains that stretched like some endless stream he rode. He rode in the back of train cars with only stops and the back parlor of saloons from St. Louis to Lincoln to Cheyenne to keep him still for more than a moment. He would hide his face under the wide brim of his tan wool felt slouch hat or underneath a thick handkerchief he kept round his collar. Most folk would leave him alone if they thought he was an enlisted man he reckoned. He would catch some staring at him with faces that were part fascination and disgust at the sight of the scar along his jaw. When the shine of a new morning wore heavier on him than the events of the previous night he would stir himself up and put together himself enough to avoid suspicion.
At Boise he sold the Springfield rifle he had taken with him from the barracks and the small case of rounds they had been using for practice. The money got him a horse that just been broke, a saddle, tack, a knitted wool blanket and dried venison packed in a small tin to keep out rain. He left before the night sky had begun to diminish, leading his horse along the well worn hunting trails that coil through the steep hills leading to the mountain pass. For days he rode through the foothills without seeing a soul. If he stayed along the path following the sound of coyotes crying for one another at night he thought surely he could make to down into the valley before the shining sea and from there…
You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place. Like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way ever again.
Happy birthday Anne Frank (12 June 1929 - March 1945)
The rider poured out over the edge of the mountain as though it had given him back to the world. Only rain descends down the slick mess of soft earth as quickly as he did. The rider’s hands tightly formed into fists, moving like a boxer’s would, firmly wrapped in the reins to steady the horse’s stride.
Steady! yelled the rider with a harsh jab of his spurs into the hide.
Back and forth the rider pulls at the reins to break out the horse from its frantic gallop. Hooves twisted over broken branches and slid along loose patches of overgrown grass, charging towards the bottom of the slope. His arms were heavy from drawing at the reins. The horse’s head snaps back with a wild and ferocious motion at each sharp tug the rider made to break his stride. Still the horse refused and let out a braying whine. Foam spilled out from the horse’s mouth as it churned in breath after breath. The rider could see panic washed over the glassy eyes of the animal. Out from the very edges of his vision he kept watch at the woods passing on behind. He too was frightened. Moonlight shined in through cracks in the canopy, moving in flashes to the rider as he searched out for the eyes that had been stalking him in the darkness. Nights like these he would look up at the sky dotted with polished stars
The summer had been warm and dry and of all the nights for the heavens to open up, he thought to himself. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered. He could begin to feel the fatigue in the horse as each step became shorter, more cautious, on the slick and shifting ground. As the horse paced down from the slope into a small clearing of tall grass grown up to past the mud-covered soles of his boots the rider looked back and saw a faint outline of the shadow that had been trailing him. A brief glimpse of the beast’s frame caught in the pale light was all it took and the rider knew the wolf was still there. As quick as it came into sight the tall grass swallowed the dark shadow of the hulking frame up to hide below the edge of visible light.
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