Thursday, October 13, 2011

Habibi by Craig Thompson

Many thanks to Irfan for passing along this news item about the graphic novel Habibi, a 750+ page book with a Nights-esque relationship.

Here is the book's website:

This website is from Minnesota Public Radio and features an interview with the author:

"Thompson spent seven years researching, writing and drawing his latest book "Habibi," a love story that takes place in a Middle Eastern desert. MPR's Euan Kerr met up with Thompson recently, who explained that his childhood in a strictly religious family in Wisconsin has had a lasting influence on his work.

"The book is like a mash-up of the sacred medium of the holy books, like the Koran and the Bible, mixed up with the vulgar story of pulp medium of comic books, which would have been my two biggest influences growing up, the Bible and comic-books," Thompson said.

"And then there is a nod to "1,001 Nights" and this sort of theme of Sheherezade telling stories for survival, and one story folding in on an other, so that you lose track of where you began."

Thompson also makes use of the magic squares designed by Arab mystics, who found meaning in the shapes, designs and even narratives in numeric patterns.

"It's basically mystical sudoku," he says. "Sudoku has its own narrative, it's a mathematical narrative, and I exploited that for the sake of the book."

Habibi is a complex interweaving of the sacred and the profane, touching on themes of power and politics, human trafficking, environmental exploitation and the joys and sadnesses of love. Critics have raved about its beauty."


Here is a critique of Habibi in the post "Can the Subaltern Draw?" - on this blog:

"I find that Habibi is a tragically familiar Orientalist tale that a reader can find in books by Kipling or many a French painter."

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Flying Carpet is Now Real

A student at Princeton just made a real Flying Carpet, sort of. Are magic lamps next?

From: International Business Times:

"Forget The Arabian Nights: This ‘Flying Carpet’ is Real"

By IBTimes Staff Reporter | October 1, 2011 7:33 AM EDT

As soon as you hear the phrase "flying carpet," your brain, in a fraction of second, draws a picture of characters out of The Arabian Nights sitting on it. However, the time of The Arabian Nights is over, and a flying carpet has landed in the real world.

A Princeton University graduate student with origins in India has designed a miniature magic carpet made of plastic, which took flight in a laboratory there.

According to a BBC report, the 4-inch (10-centimeter) sheet of smart transparency is driven by ripple power, waves of electrical current driving thin pockets of air from front to back underneath it.

The prototype, described in Applied Physics Letters, moves at speeds of about a centimeter per second. Improvements to the design could raise that to as much as a meter per second.

Talking about his creation, Joah Jafferis said: "It has to keep close to the ground because the air is then trapped between the sheet and the ground. As the waves move along the sheet, it basically pumps the air out the back." "