February 19th, 2008

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Certainly not my experience -

According to a report from the National Endowment for the Arts, the
annual household spending for books in 1985 was $33 and for 2005 was
$28. That's for an entire household!

That seems impossible to believe, since just my yearly book purchases should put it higher than that.  :)

  It shows, perhaps, how statistics can be manipulated, or maybe book buying really has become that pitiful.  When you factor in how the cost of books has risen, $28.00 is about the price of one good hardback.   It is a sad statistic, no matter how you look at it.  On the other hand, I wonder what the annual household spending is for computers.   Perhaps, that tells the story.

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Early Wednesday evening!!

The lunar eclipse begins early.  The suggestion is to be up on a hill if possible for the best view, so if it is not raining or cloudy, it sounds like picnic time.

When the show begins and ends

Wednesday evening's lunar eclipse will begin in the eastern sky.

Partial eclipse: 5:43 p.m.

Total eclipse: 7:01 p.m.

Total eclipse ends: 7:51 p.m.

Partial eclipse ends: 9:09 p.m.



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The Universe is Intelligent!!

This is from Jon Carroll today.   Check out the link in his column.  

Jon Carroll:

"Speaking of the Big Bang, which I did in a recent column, reader Ann Ceraldi sent me a link (links.sfgate.com/ZCLY) to an article about photons that made my ears bleed. I suspect this is old hat to the quantum physicists among you, but to me, all new.

Photons, as everyone knows, are little bundles of light energy. (Light also comes in wave form, but I so don't want to get into that.) Someone proposed doing a "double slit" experiment. Get two tiny slits side by side, and send a very small beam of light through them. The photons, in theory, would have to choose between Slit A or Slit B.

So, given the random nature of inanimate stuff, one might expect an equal distribution of light chunks behind Slit A and Slit B. But no, the light forms one big circle as though there were no slits at all. Why should this be? No one knows. The researchers then conducted further experiments (available at the link; I could not hope to explain them) and concluded that photons are "entangled," which means that photons "must be able to communicate ... through some means that is unknown to us."

Not only that, they can apparently communicate with each other ) across the universe. What? This could be a hoax, although it sure doesn't look like one and a search of the urban legend site Snopes.com doesn't turn up anything. So maybe, like the man said, the universe is not only weirder than we know, it's weirder than we can know."


The above reminded me of Pythagoras, who I thought on his deathbed shouted out, "The universe is intelligent," but I could find nothing on-line to accord with that.  I enjoyed reading about Pythagoras.  He created the word "philosopher," and called himself that, "a lover of wisdom."    By that definition, I think most of us could quality as philosophers, lovers of wisdom.  Yes!    The rain begins!!

I check out the website Jon Carroll suggests and come away with this paragraph.  Entanglement is my word for the day.

"Entanglement is not something we encounter in our everyday world.  The concept of locality does not hold for the entangled state like it does for everything in our  experience.  We encounter things that have a particular location, we can say that a particular thing is here and not there.  We certainly do not encounter things that are in two places at once.  However, this is possible on the quantum level.  Two photons that are in an entangled state can be separated across the universe, but they are still connected together.  In this experiment, with each measurement that was performed, the way the photons were entangled changed.  This caused the very strange results that were observed.  We like to think about photon p as being in one place and photon s as being in another apart from p.  But this is not really the case..  We have to start thinking in ways that aren't consistent with what we experience in our larger scale world.  Entanglement seems to play a very important role on the quantum scale of the world,  so we need to think about it in new ways."

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(no subject)


When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.

Audre Lorde



the sea ranch chapel

Poem by Jane Hirshfield -

"The Envoy"

One day in that room, a small rat.
Two days later, a snake.

Who, seeing me enter,
whipped the long stripe of his
body under the bed,
then curled like a docile house-pet.

I don't know how either came or left.
Later, the flashlight found nothing.

For a year I watched
as something -- terror? happiness? grief? --
entered and then left my body.

Not knowing how it came in,
Not knowing how it went out.

It hung where words could not reach it.
It slept where light could not go.
Its scent was neither snake nor rat,
neither sensualist nor ascetic.

There are openings in our lives
of which we know nothing.

Through them
the belled herds travel at will,
long-legged and thirsty, covered with foreign dust.

    - Jane Hirshfield

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Jane Hirshfield

In the book After by Jane Hirshfield, she has some short poems, she calls Seventeen Pebbles.  I give a few.

After Degas

    The woman who will soon
    take a lover shaves her legs in the bath,
    Would knowing or not knowing she does this please him more?

Ecstasy: Czechoslovakia, 1933

The actress was only seventeen,
    and so the director arranged
    to have her pricked lightly with pins
    at the needed moments.

Character and Life

    The young novelist held underwater
    the head of the character in his book he loved best.
    In the book, and as he wrote,
    he counted until he was sure it was finished.


The lake scarlets
    the same instant as the maple.
    Let others try to say this is not passion.


    Its vision sweeps its one path
    like an aged monk raking a garden,
    his question long ago answered or moved on.
    Far off, night-grazing horses,
    breath scented with oat grass and fennel,
    step through it, disappear, step through it, disappear.

Global Warming

When his ship first came to Australia,
    Cook wrote, the natives
    continued fishing, without looking up.
    Unable, it seems, to fear what was too large to be comprehended.

Insomnia, Listening

Three times in one night
    a small animal crosses the length of the ceiling.
    Each time it goes all the way one way,
    all the way back, without hesitation or pause.

    Envy that sureness.

    It is like being cut flowers, between the field and the vase.

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one more poem by Jane Hirshfield -

Once I enter a book, it is hard to stop.


A good argument, etymology instructs,
is many-jointed.
By this measure,
the most expressive of beings must be the giraffe.

Yet the speaking tongue is supple,
untroubled by bone.

What would it be
to take up no position,
to lie on this earth at rest, relieved of proof or change?

Scent of thyme or grass
amid the scent of many herbs and grasses.

Grief unresisted as granite darkened by rain.

Continuous praises most glad, placed against nothing.

But thought is hinge and swerve, is winch,
is folding.

we call the mountain in the lake,
whose existence resides in neither stone nor water.

    - Jane Hirshfield

calder mobile miniature

Bhutan -

Bhutan, as part of their emphasis on Gross National Happiness over Gross National Product, considers the preservation of nature one of the pillars of happiness.  Our CA governor might take a lesson from Bhutan.