20th July 2005


Originally uploaded by Me!.

Methodical, systematic… he took the miscellaneous, the multifarious, the various and sundry and he gave order to life.  He finished the job that Adam and Eve had only started, and he did it in Latin.  Adam and Eve could never get past the conjugations really.

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20th July 2005

Scotty’s gone…

Dilithium crystals did him in.  Beamed up at 85, James Doohan, whom we all knew as Scotty.   

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18th July 2005

Fractal of the Day

Clint Sprott scores with a fractal of the day on the society for chaos theory site.  Chaos theory in psychology and life sciences…  blood splashing crimson on the concrete, rorschach strange attractor… I wonder if the XBO is aware of the discipline?

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15th July 2005

Messiness, Miscellany, and Mad dogs

It seems to me like the chaotic distribution of my footwear across the house when I return after a day’s absence may have certain algorithmic properties that only an Australian Shepherd is capable of getting its teeth into. And while the efficiencies achieved in the random accessibility from the floor of a single shoe from any pair are astounding, one intuits that a tidy storage of all pairs, each together, in a common repository such as a closet would save time when it is necessary to find a complete pair of sneakers.  Also it would reduce insole destruction-by-puppy-teeth, a value-added benefit.

Oddly, I am sure the dog doesn’t think the distribution of shoes is messy, but rather that it has order and beauty best appreciated by creatures closer to the floor than the housemonkeys that provide the food and water.

Thanks to David Weinberger for sparking that thought…

Thanks to Dorothea Salo for the word "housemonkeys."

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27th June 2005

Rolling, rolling…

Boschcrop_1Of the seven or eight thousand species of dung beetles, the most interesting are the ball rollers, and they are interesting chiefly for their taxonomy.  Back in the day, some wit or wannabe classical scholar actually named these little fellows "sisyphus," as in "sisyphus rubrus" and "sisyphus spinipes" (the chief difference between these two being whether or not they bury the ball with their egg in it).

Today the CBO is carrying on in the classical tradition rolling references from Sisyphus to Beckett (Krapp’s Last Tape, among other works… I think I’ll forego explication for once).

Unicorn tapestries, daughters of the moon, Homer Simpson, Edward Munch, James Olney, BSE prions and Buffalo Springfield.  We expect no less from the CBO, who reminds us:

… that memory and narrative are, like, real real important, but not necessarily indispensable. Whew, that’s
a relief! Because now I can’t remember why I started writing this. Or
what it’s even about. If anything. So I suppose I’m more in the Samuel
Becket camp. It’s a fact, after all, that he won the Nobel Prize for
Literature in 1969 and I did not. I feel that connects us more deeply
than had we been brothers.

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25th June 2005

Whatever happened to the canals?

Chasms?  Faces?  Volcanoes?  Ice-caps?  Hardly the Venice of the solar system.

Thanks to the CBO for the real estate tip.

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11th June 2005

Meth Mouth

The New York Times presents information on a dental disease epidemic ravaging the heartland.

The drug itself, a synthetic stimulant that can be manufactured just
about anywhere, causes dry mouth, Dr. Shaner said, and that in turn
allows decay to start, since saliva is unavailable to help control
bacteria in the mouth. The drug also tends to leave users thirsty and
craving a constant supply of soda pop and other sugary drinks, which
spur the decay; Mountain Dew, he said, has become the preferred drink
of methamphetamine users. At the same time, the drug’s highly addictive
nature causes many users simply to stop doing what is needed to take
care of themselves, including the brushing of teeth.

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10th June 2005

Philosophers, Theologians - Take Note

Rebecca Goldstein has something of epistemological importance to share.


I like to think that the shallower aspects of the intellectual scene of the last century have played themselves out. I mean in particular the assaults on objectivity and rationality, which often take the form of attacks on science. There’s nothing less exhilarating than reducing everything to social constructs and to our piddly human points of view. The pleasure of thinking is in trying to get outside of ourselves—this is as true in the arts and the humanities as in math and the sciences. There’s something heroic in the idea of objective knowledge; the farther away knowledge takes you from your own individual point of view, the more heroic it is. Maybe the new ideas that are going to revitalize the arts and humanities are going to be allied with the sciences. It’s not, of course, that novels will all address scientific themes—that would be ridiculously restrictive. But I hope that the spirit of expansiveness that’s associated with the pursuit of scientific truth can get infused into the arts and humanities.

posted in Anti-intellectual Thuggery, Arts and Literature, Math and Science | 1 Comment

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