Wikipedia and Modern Knowledge
Photo Source: The first Wikipedia Monument in the World
This New Yorker article is one of those tremendous long reads par excellence, shifting through various captivating topics, informing and educating on these while also telling some remarkable stories.
From the game show ‘Jeopardy!’ (I dare say every country has at least one general knowledge game show on TV, even if the format is different) to Wikipedia and its accurateness (turns out it’s quite good, right there next to Encyclopedia Britannica, at least for science articles). It talks about the value of learning things by heart, long-term human memory, wisdom-of-crowds theory, the effect of instant access to information, why information is not knowledge and much more!
It left me with this thought: the average person doesn’t need to remember many things anymore, because it is all accessible instantly. Some still do it for the sake of competitions like ‘Jeopardy!’, almost like a sport, a past-time, something you choose to do, you don’t have to do. But I agree that information is not the same as knowledge and you might have instant access to the first, but I believe the second is not achievable unless you know things and make connections with your own brain between these things, as demonstrated below.
The Professor and the Madman
Reading more about how Wikipedia came to be, I remembered the movie The Professor and the Madman, about the creation of the Oxford English Dictionary, and I realised how surprisingly similar the two stories are, even though the events happened almost two centuries apart, one in the time of the post and the other in the time of the internet. Neither the Oxford English Dictionary nor Wikipedia would have been possible without inviting literally anyone who cared to join to contribute. It’s an inspiring story brought to life by great actors. Enjoy!
Chanel Métiers D’art Collection
If you, like me, don’t know what is the concept behind the Chanel Métiers d’Art Collections, read on! Despite my passion for the world of fashion, I’ve never even considered if or how these collections are different. Vogue France describes best what they are all about: honoring the fine craftsmanship that Chanel’s artisan partners bring to the house’s collections. With a runway show that takes place outside the traditional fashion schedule, each year, Chanel turns to a different location to pay tribute to the workshops that provide the house with everything from lace to silver buttons and fine embroidery work.
Among the selected few prestigious and long-term partners or subsidiaries of Maison Chanel showcased in the Métiers d’Art Collections are Desrues, Costume Jeweler and Accessory Maker, Milliner Maison Michel and Embroiderer Montex.
Here is the 2020/2021 full collection, presented last week at Chateau de Chenonceau known as Le Château des Dames, having had among its most prestigious chatelaines Diane de Poitiers, Catherine de’ Medici, and Louise Dupin, whose literary salon attracted the likes of Voltaire, Montesquieu and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
To Me, From Me
I wrote recently to someone that no one is ever going to give me better gifts than I can give myself, since no one knows better what I like, want or need, plus a myriad of other time-specific variables. With the best intentions at heart, knowing myself, I think it’s hard for a surprise gift to be a total hit, although it is exciting in a different way than getting exactly what you wanted, I’ll agree to that.
Still, for this reason, a while back I decided that I will take every opportunity to get a gift for myself too, not just for my dear ones, and I encourage you to do the same! Why wouldn’t we? I can’t think of a reason, all arguments are in favour.
I am always on my list, this holiday season, put yourself on your list too!
Portrait of a Home
I enjoyed this article about contemporary artists that have chosen the home as their muse, considered a safe space that conjures feelings of comfort and coziness (something we can all use right now). The article introduced me to the exquisite work of SJ Axelby and Lottie Cole and made me remember a favourite I’ve shared on the letters before – Janet Hill.
I was also reminded of the beautiful paintings of interiors by Vanessa Bell, Virginia Woolf’s sister.
I wish I could draw or paint, so I could transfer to paper the vivid images that I have in my mind when I think of my ideal future home. I would display these all over the walls of any current house I live in, and at the very least enjoy them as beautiful home portraits.
While we’re on the topic of paintings of the home (or dear objects found in it), artist and writer Jane Mount paints bookshelves focused on an author, like Jane Austen, or a movement, like Feminism, and you can buy art prints of these. She also does custom work, if you’d like to create your own ideal bookshelf. I love the idea, I think it would look great on a wall right next to my actual library and I also think it would make for a great gift for someone you know well.
My Ideal Bookshelf is her store, but also the name of her first book, a brilliant concept for a book about books, combining original bookshelves paintings by Jane Mount and first-person commentary from 100 writers about the books that matter to them most. In 2018 she published her second book – Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany described as a visual ode to the literary world. Both books sound fantastic, worthy of the ideal bookshelf of a bibliophile. (All puns intended!)
Les Produits Unique de Diptyque
I took my own advice this week and had a look at the website of cult French brand Diptyque (their history is fascinating!), best known to me for their candles. I was curious what else they create and I was not disappointed! I learned about products I didn’t even know existed, like the Hourglass Diffusers – by combining gravity and capillarity, turning the hourglass over offers a singular hour of perfumed, sensory experience.
The same goes for the Scented Ovals – a tender, freshly picked bouquet in a scented wax oval framed by a white ceramic ring and set with a rope to slip into drawers or hang in wardrobes. I could also list everything in their Prêts-à-parfumer range, like perfumed stickers for skin, perfumed ceramics to be worn with their brooches, or perfumed bracelets.
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