WIND MAP Think of a patch of ground on a sunny day. Sunshine pours down. The air gets warmer. Along comes a cloud, not a big one, but big enough to cast a shadow. The air in that shadow cools a little.
Now we’ve got a difference: cool air is sitting next to warm air—and the air that’s warming up is getting lighter. The air that’s cooling down is getting heavier, and as the warmer air rises, the sinking cooler air slips in to take its place. That slipping in? You feel it as a gentle push against your cheek; that’s the beginning of a breeze.
Breezes, blustery days, wind—all come from warm and cool air slipping, sliding, tumbling, like kittens at play, across the earth. Normally you can’t see this happening, but two designers, Fernanda Viegas and Martin Wattenberg, have just made a moving map of the wind. If you were a wind god gazing down at America, this is what you’d see. This isn’t a painting. It’s the real deal, taken from the government’s National Digital Forecast database.
Viegas and Wattenberg have been partners for a while. Their specialty? They say, “We invent new ways for people to think and talk about data.” These days they do it for Google in Cambridge, Mass.
And indeed, at their website, you can click on animated maps that will show you today’s wind patterns—an hour or so after the fact—but pretty close to real time, plus they show you wind maps from earlier in the week, so you can see how things change from day to day.
“I am convinced that the future is lost somewhere in the dumps of the non-historical past; it is in yesterday’s newspapers, in the jejune advertisements of our rejected dreams.”—Robert Smithson, A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, New Jersey
CHIODO SCACCIA CHIODO Hair of the dog is a colloquial expression in the English language predominantly used to refer to alcohol that is consumed with the aim of lessening the effects of a hangover. The expression originally referred to a method of treatment of a rabid dog bite by placing hair from the dog in the bite wound. Ebenezer Cobham Brewer writes in the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898): “In Scotland it is a popular belief that a few hairs of the dog that bit you applied to the wound will prevent evil consequences. Applied to drinks, it means, if overnight you have indulged too freely, take a glass of the same wine within 24 hours to soothe the nerves. ‘If this dog do you bite, soon as out of your bed, take a hair of the tail the next day.’” He also cites two apocryphal poems containing the phrase, one of which is attributed to Aristophanes. It is possible that the phrase was used to justify an existing practice, and the idea of similia similibus curantur (“like cures like”) dates back at least to the time of Hippocrates. In the 1930’s cocktails known as Corpse Revivers were served in hotels.
The phrase also exists in Hungarian, where the literal translation to English is “(You may cure) the dog’s bite with its fur”, but has evolved into a short two-word phrase (“kutyaharapást szőrével”) that is used frequently in other contexts when one is trying to express that the solution to a problem is more of the problem. Among the Irish and Mexicans, the phrase ‘The Cure’ (“curarse la cruda”, in Spanish) is often used instead of ‘hair of the dog’. It is used, often sarcastically, in the question “Going for a Cure?” In Costa Rica (Central America) the same expression is used but it refers to a pig as in: hair of the same pig (“pelos de la misma chancha,” in Spanish) referring to the same method to cure the hangover.
In Polish, hair of the dog is called “a wedge” (klin), mirroring the concept of dislodging a stuck wedge with another one. The proper Russian term is - опохмел (“after being drunk”), which indicates a process of drinking to decrease effects of drinking the night before.
In German, drinking alcohol the next morning to relieve the symptoms is sometimes described as “having a counter-beer” (“ein Konterbier trinken”).
A similar usage is encountered in Romanian, in the phrase “Cui pe cui se scoate”; in Bulgarian, in the phrase “Клин клин избива”; in Italian, in the phrase “Chiodo scaccia chiodo”; and in Turkish, in the phrase “Çivi çiviyi söker”. In all four cases the English translation is “a nail dislodges a nail”, though these phrases are not exclusively used to refer to the hangover cure.
In Swedish, drinking alcohol to relieve a hangover is called “having an återställare”, which translates roughly to “restorer”. In Norwegian, it is usually called “å reparere”, meaning “to repair/fix”. In Finnish, it is called “tasoittava” (stabilizing) and in Czech “vyprošťovák” (extricator). In Tanzania, the equally swahili phrase used is “kuzimua” which means “assist to wake up after a coma”.
TOP FIVE REGRETS OF THE DYING: Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives. She recorded their dying epiphanies in a blog called Inspiration and Chai, which gathered so much attention that she put her observations into a book called The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
"This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it."
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
"This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence."
3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
"Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result."
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
"Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying."
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
"This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again."