“stare stupidly,” 1785, American English, of uncertain origin. Perhaps [Watkins] from gaw, a survival from Middle English gowen “to stare” (c. 1200), from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse ga “to heed,” from Proto-Germanic *gawon, from PIE *ghow-e- “to honor, revere, worship” (see favor (n.)); and altered perhaps by gawk hand (see gawky). Liberman finds this untenable and writes that its history is entangled with that of gowk “cuckoo,” which is from Scandinavian, but it need not be from that word, either. Nor is French gauche (itself probably from Germanic) considered a likely source. “It is possibly another independent imitative formation with the structure g-k” (compare geek). From 1867 as a noun. Related: Gawked; gawking.
Sautoy’s works remind me of another mathematician Ian Stewart of the ilk who write for the general audience. Stewart’s book entitled “Why Beauty Is Truth: The History of Symmetry” is a real delight to read. I also realised how little I originally understood mathematics when I first read Stewart’s “The Problems of Mathematics”.
My recent visit to Beijing brought to mind a number of themes relating to international legal theory/history. Themes that I’ve not, at least since I’d started my doctoral project, had the opportunity to read and reflect upon. Themes such as Cháogòng tǐzhì (‘Tribute system’) and Sinocentrism. These themes are arguably defunct as appropriate descriptions of international order or international ideology these days, but, I think those themes continue to serve as useful prisms through which to understand some aspects of contemporary Chinese diplomacy.
There are two things the Internet does really well.
1. Reproduce the world onto a digital screen. (Or a hodgepodge of simulacra)
2. Reproduce us onto a digital screen. (Or a mirror of feelings subject to the screen image)
Their effects are both powerful – only needs ‘one occurrence’ to make long term and perhaps life-long memory. As well as intoxicating – engendering a need for ‘frequent occurrence’.
Should we be concerned with reproducing these kind of images and our consumption of them? Are there problems with this sort of lifestyle and such intensive media immersion? If so, exactly how would we address and define these ‘problems’? Continue reading →