23 October 2004
Hypatia of Alexandria
Letters written and addressed simply
to the philosopher were delivered to her. She taught
mathematics and natural philosophy. She is credited with the
authorship of three major treatises on geometry and algebra and
one on astronomy. She invented several tools: an instrument for
distilling water, an instrument to measure the specific gravity
of water, an astrolabe and a planisphere.
She wrote that
All formal dogmatic religions are fallacious and must never be
accepted by self-respecting persons as final.
Reserve your right to think, for even to think wrongly is
better than not to think at all.
22 October 2004
"Few will have the greatness to bend
history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion
of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the
history of this generation. It is from numberless diverse acts of
courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man
stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or
strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of
hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of
energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep
down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
Robert F Kennedy
In March of 1968, the tragedy in Vietnam had begun to unfold,
but most of the losses of war were still in the future. Robert
Kennedy thought he could help his nation avoid them. Already
most famous Senator at 43, he had a promising career ahead of
him, if he would be patient. But he risked his career to oppose
Lyndon Johnson, a fellow Democrat and current president, in his
own party’s primary. RFK gave his life for this decision, and
the war continued seven more years.
21 October 2004|
Next year, your laptop computer could run on diesel fuel. David Arnold and Mark Allen (working at Georgia Tech)
have built a microscopic generator out of silicon, using the same laser etching technology that is used to make
computer chips. Their thought is to pair this with the microscopic jet engine already demonstrated by
Stuart Jacobson at MIT.
The jet engine burns fuel to spin a turbine. The spinning will be transferred to Arnold and Allen's electric generator.
The combination will replace batteries with a fuel tank that is ten times smaller. The biggest remaining challenge:
how to cool the jet exhaust so you can actually carry this thing in your pocket.
(Article from New Scientist )
20 October 2004
Portrait of the Artist as a Prematurely Old Man
It is common knowledge to every schoolboy and even every Bachelor of Arts,
That all sin is divided into two parts.
One kind of sin is called a sin of commission, and that is very important,
And it is what you are doing when you are doing something you ortant,
And the other kind of sin is just the opposite and is called a sin of omission and is equally bad in the eyes of all right-thinking people, from Billy Sunday to Buddha,
And it consists of not having done something you shuddha.
I might as well give you my opinion of these two kinds of sin as long as, in a way, against each other we are pitting them,
And that is, don't bother your head about sins of commission because however sinful, they must at least be fun or else you
wouldn't be committing them.
It is the sin of omission, the second kind of sin,
That lays eggs under your skin.
The way you get really painfully bitten
Is by the insurance you haven't taken out and the checks you haven't added up the stubs of and the appointments you haven't kept and the bills you haven't paid and the letters you haven't written.
Also, about sins of omission there is one particularly painful lack of beauty,
Namely, it isn't as though it had been a riotous red-letter day or night every time you neglected to do your duty;
You didn't get a wicked forbidden thrill
Every time you let a policy lapse or forgot to pay a bill;
You didn't slap the lads in the tavern on the back and loudly cry Whee,
Let's all fail to write just one more letter before we go home, and this round of unwritten letters is on me.
No, you never get any fun
Out of things you haven't done,
But they are the things that I do not like to be amid,
Because the suitable things you didn't do give you a lot more trouble than the unsuitable things you did.
The moral is that it is probably better not to sin at all, but if some kind of sin you must be pursuing,
Well, remember to do it by doing rather than by not doing.
- Ogden Nash
"The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us
and incorporated into our common life."
Jane Addams is
known foremost for creating a "settlement house" in 1889.
Immigrants from diverse parts of Europe were served with housing, day care,
education, a library, art, concerts and theater. Hull House in
Chicago transcended the notion of charity to become a teaching community for
tolerance and international brotherhood.
When World War I broke out, Addams became a prominent advocate for peace,
and was founding president of Womens’
International League for Peace and Freedom.
18 October 2004
Jack Lalanne turned 90 last month. He still works out in the gym from 5 to 7 each
Lalanne was the original TV diet and fitness guru, urging a mass audience to more physical activity since 1951.
He studied anatomy before others had the good sense to combine science and
fitness, and was an early advocate of weight training.
Lalanne attributes his long long life and health to (1) swimming, (2) vegetables, and (3) handfuls of supplements each day.