Buying Sheets

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At MfL, we are always interested in finding out how things are made and we wanted to share some of our recent findings from our research into cotton sheets. Despite the marketing hype, it is not the thread count alone that is important.  Rather, it is the thread count number and the quality of the thread.  As a result, your 1000 thread count cotton sheets may actually be of a lower quality than a 500 Egyptian cotton thread count sheets.  While we love super-fine Italian linens and recommend purchasing Frette and Pratesi sheets if they are within your budget, for those looking for high quality Egyptian cotton sheets, we recommend Andiamo Brand 500 thread count Egyptian Cotton sheets.  You can find them at many online retailers and will often find them on sale.  Here is a link to one online retailer that consistently stocks them.

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Here Is One More Question to Add to the Growing List of Things to Talk About Regarding the Court’s Decision to Revoke Martin Shkreli’s Bail: Was It Primarily Intended to Protect Clinton’s Safety or her DNA?

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Regardless of what you think of Martin Shkreli, and it is frankly hard not to have strong opinions about the guy, a Brooklyn judge’s decision on September 13, 2017 to revoke his bail privileges based on a Facebook post (now deleted) in which he offered, according to the A. P.,  “to pay a $5,000 bounty for a Hillary Clinton hair with the follicle” raises a whole new host of issues to consider.  While most of the discussion will be focused on what counts as protected speech, and particularly if the original post was intended as satire, a less pressing though nonetheless interesting question regarding whether the judge’s decision was also intended to protect Clinton’s DNA needs to be discussed.

While Brooklyn-based artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg has undoubtedly received less press than Shkreli and his antics, her DNA-based portraits  , have left many of us thinking about the very real issues related to identity theft in an age of mechanized biological reproduction.   So what exactly was the judge protecting with this ruling?  Clinton’s safety or her DNA, or both?

Although Shkreli’s original Facebook post has been removed, there have been several reports on its contents from different sources.  According to The Hill, which is the publication that broke the story, the contents of the post read: “The Clinton Foundation is willing to KILL to protect its secrets. So on [Hillary Clinton’s] book tour, try to grab a hair from her. I must confirm the sequences I have. Will pay $5,000 per hair obtained from Hillary Clinton. Payment after the sequence matches. Good luck, patrollers.”

Links to Legal Documents Filed in Shkreli Case

Shkreli 2015 Complaint

Shkreli 2015 Indictment

Shkreli 2017 Motion to Revoke Bail

 

 

 

Science and/as Fiction

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Science and Fiction – A New Series from Springer Nature

This collection of entertaining and thought-provoking books will appeal equally to science buffs, scientists and science-fiction fans. It was born out of the recognition that scientific discovery and the creation of plausible fictional scenarios are often two sides of the same coin. Each relies on an understanding of the way the world works, coupled with the imaginative ability to invent new or alternative explanations – and even other worlds. Authored by practicing scientists as well as writers of hard science fiction, these books explore and exploit the borderlands between accepted science and its fictional counterpart. Uncovering mutual influences, promoting fruitful interaction, narrating and analyzing fictional scenarios, together they serve as a reaction vessel for inspired new ideas in science, technology, and beyond. Whether fiction, fact, or forever undecidable: the Springer Series “Science and Fiction” intends to go where no one has gone before!

For more information about the series: http://www.springer.com/series/11657

To read Paul Nahin’s recent contribution to the series, Time Travel Tales:

https://archive.org/details/28dec1

Re: Portraiture as a Site of Many Meetings

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The following is excerpted from the Afterword(s) to Portraits and Conversations, my recent collection of fictional essays:

One thing that I find interesting about portraits as a genre of painting is that they are most often considered to be a unique combination of an objective documentation of an individual and the painter’s subjective description of the same individual; another unique attribute of many portraits is that they are assumed to serve as representations of both the physical and psychological characteristics of the individual being portrayed.  The extent to which a specific portrait is interpreted by a viewer to be primarily an objective or subjective description varies depending on a number of factors: the context in which the portrait is presented, the biographies of the artist and sitter, the media selected for the portrait, and the artist’s use of that media.  Whether photographic portraits exist in the same way is open to question since the photograph is usually perceived to have a different relationship to objects and their potentially objective representation than a drawing or painting or verbal description.  Conversations are likewise a unique meeting place of subjective and objective interpretations.  The perspective from which one hears, or overhears, a conversation affects the meanings of the verbal statements in a variety of ways.  “To say nothing of her” is, for instance, an utterance that can be interpreted differently depending on how, why, and in what context it is received.  

About Portraits and Conversations

Why Do You Read Science Fiction?

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Johannah Rodgers
February 11, 2017

I read science fiction for reasons that change on an almost daily basis. Initially, and not all that long ago, I started reading science fiction because I quite unexpectedly found myself working on a fiction project related to the genre of science fiction. Before that time (2008?), I did not think that I had ever read science fiction. This was, of course, not true. However, it was what I believed.

I study, write about, and write prose, both fiction and nonfiction, which are part of what we call, generally, literature. Having studied and been educated in the history of Western literature, I tended to draw distinct lines between “literature” and “non-literature” (whatever that is?!). [In the 80s, it was possible to make a distinction between two categories that were related to one another by capitalizing the first letter of one and not capitalizing the first letter of the other. I believe this practice in some way related to Lacan’s work, but I’m not sure.] Anyway, in the past, I made a clear distinction between Literature (capital L) and literature (lower case l). What literature was did not concern me. However, over time, it increasingly interested me, for various reasons, all of which related in some way to this question: why is it that given the choice to read works of Literature would anyone choose to read works of literature instead? I still don’t have a complete answer to this question, but having spent some time and energy investigating it, I have more of an understanding of what is involved in formulating answers to that question.

Here is the very short version of the answer: literature (lower case l) is a living genre; Literature is not. This fact has mostly to do with economics and economies, but it also has to do with educational systems (defined broadly) and nation states. In other words, the reasons behind how and why and which books are studied and what their import is perceived to be. Literature and literature exist in some relation to one another and sometimes overlap. However how and why these two categories meet is dependent on numerous factors. In particular, the medial environment and affordances of a given culture in any one point in time.

My research and writing are increasingly focused on writing as a medium and as media and on thinking about writing as a set of and systems of technologies. It is these interests, along with the fact that I wrote a writing textbook entitled Technology: A Reader for Writers, that have led me to read more science fiction. What I have learned in the process is that I always read science fiction. However, I did not always know that I was reading science fiction.

Like most people, I read science fiction because I enjoy it and I am interested in it, both as a creative writer and as someone who thinks and writes about technologies and societies. However, I also read and study science fiction because I think it is important socially, culturally, and in the context of literary studies generally.