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Love, “that wound of frightful intimacy.” Roland Barthes.

The bottle that found its destination

 In 1914, Briton Thomas Hughes, at the age of 26, after embracing his wife Elisabeth and his daughter Emily, aged two, left for the front to join the Second Light Infantry Company of Durham, part of the Third Corps of Expeditionary Forces of the British Army.  Once embarked, he wrote a brief letter to his wife, folded the paper into an envelope, and put it in a ceramic gin bottle and he threw it into the sea.  Twelve days later he was shot down in French battlefields. War ended, and then came the Second World War which also concluded, and the bottle continued sailing.  In April 1999, in other words 85 years after soldier Thomas cast his love letter to the sea, Steve Gowan, an Essex fisherman, found the bottle by chance in his nets in the Thames.  He removed the cork, read the message and, without hesitation, he traveled 17,700 kilometers to New Zealand to find Emily Crowhurst, daughter of Elisabeth and her deceased father.


Multiple Seats for Airlines Project

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To make available space in aircraft seats more efficient, and above all, to take advantage of my contact with a member of an important airline company to whom I hoped to present my invention, I devoted my time to the project of a multiple, eccentric seat, configurable in a hundred different positions (including one fit for a crash), and that could be used simultaneously by four passengers.  I drew life-size blue prints so that those who participated in the project could place themselves on it, and the closeness or distance between the individuals could be mathematically evidenced.
   To travel comfortably by plane, be welcomed at airports and received on arrival by our loved ones, was a historic event which took place on the maiden voyage of February 5, 1919, between Berlin and Weimar, via Leipzig, and perhaps may have occurred in some subsequent journey of the legendary airline PANAGRA, when governments had not yet imposed arbitrary measures on behalf of our security. 
   Since then romanticism exponentially multiplied the number of passengers, while internal capacity of aircrafts remained relatively stable.  To make matters worse, the number of airplanes has been declining due to terrorism and the curiously called “friendly fire” of zealous guardians of airspace, so it became essential to put valuable idle inner space to use.  It was then that I conceived the idea of the multiple eccentric seats that would quadruple the available space within an aircraft, and which I baptized as “multiple cockpit seat”.  It was not a name picked at random.  The word cockpit first appeared in the English language in 1580: "a pit for fighting cocks" (or hole for fighting cocks), which perfectly conveyed the meaning of the apparatus. 
    I suggested the airline should fly an experimental aircraft exclusively fitted with these seats.  This alternative was negotiated, and I had to accept that the first eccentric multiple seat would be installed in a cabin on steel rails.
  The incompetence of one of the testers and (why not?) a boycott, locked the mechanism, making it impossible to rescue three of the crew members.
   Today, the experimental seat is exhibited at the Curiosities Museum in Maastricht, together with the mummified bodies of three of the four crew members who participated in the experiment.

The spell of the Hundblung lagoon


The former Aberdeen Bestiary (Aberdeen University Library of strange decoys), relates the adventures of a duck is believed to originate the legend of the Hundblung lagoon (see Myths and Legends of Ancient Australia). The manuscript, written and illustrated in England around 1200, is of particular interest since it contains notes, sketches and other evidence of the existence of the animal that gave a hard time to the hunters for over seven seasons. It is believed that the beast in question had inadvertently ingested a dog whistle, which eventually came to manage perfectly, which allowed him to boss round the dogs wildly in all directions away from the pastures where the flock remained hidden. As the whistle was inaudible for hunters, they started talking about a strange spell of the Hundblung lagoon, and gradually left the place. There is no evidence supporting the theory, which is preferred to take by certain to avoid believing that they were expelled by a duck with a dog whistle.

Legal Affairs

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   A man deliberately threw himself in front of a New York subway train.  He then files a lawsuit and wins $ 650,000 because the train did not stop in time to avoid hurting him (Peter Carlson, "Legal Damages", The Washington Post Magazine, 15-3 - 1992).
   The heirs of a man from Massachusetts, who stole a car from a parking lot, and immediately after killed himself in an accident, sued the owner of the establishment for failing to prevent the theft of the car.
   In a similar way, a Philadelphia fortune teller claims to have lost her powers after an electroencephalogram (EEG) was performed on her. According to what she said, the dye used in the procedure interfered with her ability to communicate with John Milton, the English poet of the seventeenth century.  A jury awarded nearly "a million dollars in damages".  The judge suspended the award, but the case continued, obstructing the system for five years, before it was discarded on the appeal.  “Fear of Living”, by Tana Wells. AGORA / Foundation Valparaiso Studies Center, 1996.

Ah, the intellectuals!


They bow to Power. “Plato, who courted the tyrant Dionysius the Elder of Syracuse, and as if that were not enough, also his son. Glory be to destiny that made things work: on both occasions, the missions of the author of The Laws ended in failure. One of them even resulted in a journey of initiation during which Plato tasted the charm of slavery. The Athenian philosopher had his imitators. Among the most famous we find Hegel, symbol of cooperation between Germany, then Prussia, and France: indeed, the worthy author of the Science of Logic in Jena hailed Napoleon as a savior, the spirit of the world incarnate, and so on. Today we might write bulky volumes counting idyllic relations between Freud and Mussolini, between Heidegger and Hitler,or between Sartre and Stalin, Castro or Mao.

  Cynismes, Portrait du philosophe in chien,
by Michel Onfray.