Ephemera Vol LXXII: Robot escape

A Library the Internet Can’t Get Enough Of (Kate Dwyer / The New York Times)

Photos of this library are viral perennials among book-lovers, nearly all of whom have no idea who it belonged to. It has been attributed to Umberto Eco and buildings in Italy and Prague.

In reality, the library belonged to Johns Hopkins professor Dr. Richard Macksey in Baltimore, who died in 2019:

Dr. Macksey’s book collection clocked in at 51,000 titles, according to his son, Alan, excluding magazines and other ephemera. A decade ago, the most valuable pieces — including first editions of “Moby Dick,” T.S. Eliot’s “Prufrock and Other Observations,” and works by Wordsworth, Keats and Shelley — were moved to a “special collections” room on the Hopkins campus. After Dr. Macksey’s death, a S.W.A.T. team-like group of librarians and conservators spent three weeks combing through his book-filled, 7,400-square-foot house to select 35,000 volumes to add to the university’s libraries.

Surprise discoveries included an 18th-century Rousseau text with charred covers (found in the kitchen), a “pristine” copy of a rare 1950s exhibition catalog showing Wassily Kandinsky’s paintings, posters from the May 1968 protests when students in Paris occupied the Sorbonne, a hand-drawn Christmas card from the filmmaker John Waters, and the original recordings of the theorists at that 1966 structuralism conference.

Looking at the situation in the Ukraine, it’s hard to see whether we’re seeing the runup to Hitler invading Poland, or Vietnam in Eastern Europe.

Putin Has the U.S. Right Where He Wants It (NYTimes)

Putin’s goal in the Ukraine is nothing less than a first step toward evicting the US from Europe, writes Fiona Hill, intelligence officer on Russia and Eurasian affairs for Presidents Bush and Obama, and member of the National Security Council under Trump:

Putin has a personal obsession with history and anniversaries. December 2021 marked the 30th anniversary of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, when Russia lost its dominant position in Europe. Mr. Putin wants to give the United States a taste of the same bitter medicine Russia had to swallow in the 1990s. He believes that the United States is currently in the same predicament as Russia was after the Soviet collapse: grievously weakened at home and in retreat abroad….

Kremlin officials have not just challenged the legitimacy of America’s position in Europe, they have raised questions about America’s bases in Japan and its role in the Asia-Pacific region. They have also intimated that they may ship hypersonic missiles to America’s back door in Cuba and Venezuela to revive what the Russians call the Caribbean Crisis of the 1960s.

Robot vacuum cleaner escapes from Cambridge Travelodge (BBC News). One person feared for the robot’s safety in the great outdoors, noting “nature abhors a vacuum.”

Hey hey, my my: Neil Young Demands Spotify Remove His Music Over ‘False Information About Vaccines’ (Rolling Stone)

“They can have [Joe] Rogan or Young,” Neil Young wrote in a letter to his manager and label. “Not both.”

It’s a great gesture and statement of personal commitment by Neil Young, but that’s really all it is. I doubt Young has many listeners anymore, compared with Rogan, certainly not enough to change Spotify’s mind.


AOC is the tank of the Democratic Party.