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Why some of us push our bodies to extremes

This book is about people willing to do the sorts of things that most others couldn't, shouldn't or wouldn't. While there are all sorts of reasons why people consume substances, the author notes that there are those who treat drug-taking like an Olympic sport, exploring their capacity to really push their bodies, and frankly, wanting to be the best at it. Extreme athletes, death-defiers and those who perform incredible stunts of endurance have been celebrated throughout history. The most successful athletes can compartmentalise, storing away worry and pain in a part of their brain so it does not interfere with their performance. The brain releases testosterone, for a boost of strength and confidence. In bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism (BDSM) play, the endogenous opioid system responds to the pain, releasing opioid peptides. It seems some of us are more wired than others to activate those ancient biological systems, be it through being caned in a dungeon during a lunchbreak or climbing a sheer rock wall at the weekend. Back in 1990, sociologist Stephen Lyng coined the term 'edgework', now frequently used in BDSM circles, as 'voluntary pursuit of activities that involve a high potential for death, physical injury, or spiritual harm'.

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IBM’s Deep Blue and the Automaton Chess-Player, 1997–1769
John Sharples

sense. As Simon Schaffer states, automata in eighteenth-century European science appeared ‘as machines in the form of humans and as humans who perform like machines’.15 Yet by its novel action of mechanising a game widely thought to require rational analysis, the machine stepped into novel territory. For George Walker, inspired by Mary Shelley’s ‘moral indictments of artificial life’,16 the machine was a ‘timber Frankenstein’,17 although commentators before Shelley’s novel were generally much more guarded in their Promethean claims. The existence of the machine

in A cultural history of chess-players
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Exploding heads and the death of the chess-player
John Sharples

occurrence. Like Frankenstein’s monster, such uses of the past reinvigorate what has gone before, rarely taking ‘exactly the same shape they possessed before’.18 Each image omits another aspect of the chess-player. The chess-player, as individual, cultural, or monstrous body, resists summation to a single word. Yet the term chess-player provides a form in which the individual and the historical can meet and be held as one, which can be grasped. Conveyed through historical items and settings and through projections of the physical, moral, and mental attributes of chess

in A cultural history of chess-players
Laura Chrisman

philosophical focus on Kantian notions of subject formation. Thus she reads Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as an example of oppositional critique. This is articulated in the way it criticises Victor Frankenstein for his substitution of theoretical for practical reason, and his attempt to invent ‘a putative human subject out of natural philosophy alone’ (p. 275). Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park, like Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, charts the movement of a woman from social margins to centre. The centre in this case is the country estate of Mansfield Park, which owes its maintenance

in Postcolonial contraventions
Locating monstrosity in representations of the Automaton Chess-Player
John Sharples

-players embodied an intellectual anxiety, functioning as omens of human obsolescence and warnings about the value placed on human activities, as well as performing wondrous spectacle, seemingly indicative of human scientific achievement. ‘By the apparent m ­ echanisation of rational analysis, the show of the Turkish automaton … broached the issues of determinism and free will’ – both obsessions of Enlightenment philosophy.6 Particularly since the shift in c­ ontemporary 128 Machines c­oncerns solidified by E. T. A. Hoffmann’s ‘Automata’ (1814) and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

in A cultural history of chess-players
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‘What rough beast?’ Monsters of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland
Kieran Keohane
Carmen Kuhling

the political graffiti on the streets of Rome. Monster – from monstrere/monter – means to show, to put on display, as the monstrance ritually displays the sacred host, for example. Monsters demonster-ate boundaries, the mysteries that lie beyond the limit of what can be known (as in the usage ‘here be monsters’ on explorers’ maps) and not only the obscurities beyond external limits but internal darknesses too, for the Other turns out to be the Other in the interior. Mary Shelly’s (1987) monster created by Dr Frankenstein represents the paradox and ambivalence in the

in The domestic, moral and political economies of post-Celtic Tiger Ireland
American monsters
John Sharples

, breaking society’s rules, or nonsocial, going beyond society’s norms); or within the individual’s normal physical context (where Other is perceived as non- or super-natural).8 Regarding these relationships, three literary monster-pairs can help visualise these relationships; first, Grendel and Beowulf, with Fischer analogously as both monster-slayer and monster; secondly, Dr Frankenstein and his creation, with Fischer the architect of a new type of play and the product of chess past; and thirdly, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, exemplifying two sides of Fischer’s personality

in A cultural history of chess-players
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Bogdan Popa

anti-communist opposition to both projects. Susan Stryker’s piece “My Words to Victor Frankenstein” illuminated an important genealogy of trans people who have historically been perceived as monsters. 1 While her conceptualization of “trans” as a term that is located in “an antagonistic and queer relationship to a Nature” was deeply

in De-centering queer theory
Jenny Valentish

sandcastles on the beach, lounges back on the ropes and then explodes forth in comedic timing to flatten someone, or spin them in the air before slamming them down. At one rumble, it takes four wrestlers to topple him over the ropes, swarming around him like helicopters around King Kong. ‘I still get my suffering thing in, and I get to protect Gore as well, because I’m more expendable than him,’ Alex says, sliding into storyline mode, one that’s a bit Frankenstein’s monster, a bit Marvel. ‘He has more of a mystique to preserve, whereas I can 176 Everything Harder pages

in Everything harder than everyone else
Open Access (free)
Gill Haddow

trend that can be traced historically to the ‘creature’ created by a scientist ‘Frankenstein’ in the gothic novel by the author Mary Shelley (Shelley, [ 1831 ] 1993 ). A precursor to a body that is created entirely by assembling different organs, the monster created by Mary Shelley’s ‘Frankenstein’ was a montage of materials from other human corporeal beings, but referred to as male nonetheless. In the introduction to the 1993 reprint, Jansson suggests: For Mary Shelley, however, two of the most important aspects of science centre upon the essential ‘masculinity

in Embodiment and everyday cyborgs