David Jones, artist and poet (1895-1974) begins his PREFACE TO THE ANATHEMATA :

'I have made a heap of all that I could find.' (1) So wrote Nennius, or whoever composed the introductory matter to Historia Brittonum. He speaks of an 'inward wound' which was caused by the fear that certain things dear to him 'should be like smoke dissipated'. Further, he says, 'not trusting my own learning, which is none at all, but partly from writings and monuments of the ancient inhabitants of Britain, partly from the annals of the Romans and the chronicles of the sacred fathers, Isidore, Hieronymous, Prosper, Eusebius and from the histories of the Scots and Saxons although our enemies . . . I have lispingly put together this . . . about past transactions, that [this material] might not be trodden under foot'. (2)

(1) The actual words are coacervavi omne quod inveni, and occur in Prologue 2 to the Historia.
(2) Quoted from the translation of Prologue 1. See The Works of Gildas and Nennius, J.A.Giles, London 1841.

01 October 2008

Spiders and flies and the World Wide Web


"When you think of a spider in nature, you think of it in its interactions with an environment, not in isolation. The spider sees and feels its way around, moving from one place to another in a meaningful way. Web spiders operate in a similar way. A Web spider is a program written in a high-level language. It interacts with its environment through the use of networking protocols, such as the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) for the Web. If your spider wants to communicate with you, it can use the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) to send an e-mail message.

Spiders aren't limited to HTTP or SMTP, though. Some spiders use Web services, such as SOAP or the Extensible Markup Language Remote Procedure Call (XML-RPC) protocol. Other spiders scour newsgroups with the Network News Transfer Protocol (NNTP) or look for interesting news items in Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds. While most spiders in nature can see only light-dark intensity and movement changes, Web spiders can see and feel using many types of protocols."