Friday, December 23, 2005

Reason's Greetings!

Happy Newtonmas!

Sir Isaac Newton, PRS

(25 December 1642 – 31 March 1727)

English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, alchemist, and philosopher

One of the most influential scientists in history

Most importantly, Newton wrote the Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica wherein he described universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, laying the groundwork for classical mechanics. By deriving Kepler's laws of planetary motion from this system, he was the first to show that the motion of bodies on Earth and of celestial bodies are governed by the same set of natural laws. The unifying and deterministic power of his laws was integral to the scientific revolution and the advancement of heliocentrism.

Among other scientific discoveries, Newton realised that the spectrum of colours observed when white light passes through a prism is inherent in the white light and not added by the prism (as Roger Bacon had claimed in the 13th century), and notably argued that light is composed of particles. He also developed a law of cooling.

Newton, often regarded as an "unrivalled mathematical genius", shares credit with Gottfried Leibniz for the development of integral and differential calculus, which he used to formulate his physical laws. He also made contributions to other areas of mathematics, for example proving the binomial theorem. The mathematician Joseph Louis Lagrange (1736–1813), said that "Newton was the greatest genius that ever existed and the most fortunate, for we cannot find more than once a system of the world to establish.

from Wikipedia

Saturday, December 17, 2005

On Earth, Peace!

Brahmanism: This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.: Mahabharata 5:1517

Christianity: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.: Matthew 7:12

Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother what which he desires for himself. Sunnah

Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.: Udana Varga 5:18

Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowmen. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.: Talmud, Shabbat 31:a

Confucianism: Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you.: Analects 15:23

Taoism: Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.: T’ai Shag Kan Ying P’ien

Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good: for itself. : Dadistan-i-dinik 94:5

Blessed Be!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Somethings require no comment

Thanks to doghouse riley at Bats Left, Throws Right for the image.

I just had to share.

OH GREAT, another just trust us from BushCo

from BBC:

Bush spying claim causes US storm

George W Bush
Bush's top aides say he did not break the law
Allegations that President George Bush authorised security agents to eavesdrop on people inside the US have caused a storm of protest.

The New York Times says the National Security Agency was allowed to spy on hundreds of people without warrants.

The NSA is normally barred from eavesdropping within the US.

Republican Senator John McCain called for an explanation, while Senator Arlen Specter, Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, said he would investigate.

"There is no doubt that this is inappropriate," said Mr Specter, also a Republican, adding that Senate hearings would be held early next year as "a very, very high priority".

The allegations coincided with a setback for the Bush administration, as the Senate rejected extensions to spying provisions in the Patriot Act. (more)

Friday, December 09, 2005

Robert Sheckley 1928-2005

from WikiPedia:

Robert Sheckley (born July 16, 1928, died December 9, 2005) is an American author. He first appeared in the science fiction magazines of the 1950s with stories and novels, fantasies that are often moralistic (in the sense that they have a moral), but more often absurdist and broadly comical

During a recent visit to Ukraine for the Ukrainian Sci-Fi Computer Week, an international event for science fiction writers, Sheckley fell ill and had to be hospitalized in Kiev on April 27, 2005 [1]. His condition was very serious for one week, but he appeared to be slowly recovering. The official web site of Robert Sheckley [2] ran a fundraising campaign to help cover Sheckley's treatment and his return to the USA. However, only a large donation from a Ukrainian businessman allowed him to pay the hospital bill and return home.

On November 20 he had surgery for a brain aneurysm, and on December 9, 2005 he died.

from Locus Online:

SF writer Robert Sheckley died today in Poughkeepsie, New York, at the age of 77. One of the field's great humorists, Sheckley was a prolific short story writer beginning in 1952 with titles including "Specialist", "Pilgrimage to Earth", "Warm", "The Prize of Peril", and "Seventh Victim", collected in volumes from Untouched by Human Hands (1954) to Is That What People Do? (1984) and a five-volume set of Collected Stories (1991). His first novel, Immortality, Inc. (1958), was followed by The Status Civilization (1960), Journey Beyond Tomorrow (1962), Mindswap (1966), and several others. Sheckley served as fiction editor for Omni magazine from January 1980 through September 1981, and was named Author Emeritus by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2001. Sheckley was hospitalized earlier this year in Ukraine, then recovered sufficiently to return to the US, though he was unable to attend the World SF Convention in Glasgow where he'd been scheduled Guest of Honor.

from SFWA site:

*************************** Robert Sheckley (1928-2005) ***************************

Robert Sheckley passed away at Vassar Brothers Medical Center Poughkeepsie New York on Friday, December 9, 2005. He was 77.
He was first hospitalized while in the Ukraine in April of this year. He returned to the US in late May, and recovered in the summer. On November 20, he had surgery for a brain aneurysm at Mount Saini Hospital.

Robert Sheckley wrote scores of novels and hundreds of short stories. When Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America honored Sheckley as Author Emeritus in 2001, then President of SFWA Paul Levinson said that Sheckley's "writing helped our genre grow up by giving it an irresistible sense of humor."

Funeral information will be available later today. The arrangement is being handled by Simpson-Gaus Funeral Home of Kingston, New York.

Funeral Arrangements:

Arrangements by:

Simpson-Gaus Funeral Home
411 Albany Ave

Kingston, NY 12401


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Blog Against Racism Day.

from Rexroth's Daughter at the dharma bums, this sad and wondrous meditation on racism as the American disease. Read it and take a moment to remember those who gave their lives for freedom in this their own country. And weep for your country.

We Still Have a Dream
Chris over at Creek Running North has asked that bloggers blog against racism today. I was trying to come up with something that was current and meaningful, but kept tripping back to 1963: The year that changed my life. It wasn't the war in Vietnam that radicalized me when I was a kid in the 60s. It was the civil rights movement. There was something about the image of fellow human beings being attacked by police dogs or with fire hoses that seared the brain of this eleven year old. There were things that happened in 1963 and 1964 in this country that were so horrific, so inhumane, so abjectly cruel that it shook our country to its constitutional roots. How do I blog against racism today? I invoke the names Medgar Evers; Carol Denise McNair, Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley and Carole Robertson; and Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman. They paid for our racism with their lives
Medgar Evers was assassinated 6/12/63


chris at Creek Running North adds his own essay on a life lived in a society suffering from racism in the small and in the large things of life

Racism in Pinole

Pinole is a town under siege. An island of rusticated charm in a burgeoning megalopolis, our traditional way of life is under attack. We are hard up against the deepening crime of Richmond, the most dangerous city in California according to recent rankings. A short ride on the local bus, or in a (presumably stolen) car along Interstate 80, and the barbarian hordes are at our gates, had we gates, which we do not. So we are vulnerable.

Or so some of my neighbors would have it.

Two years ago we fought a development on church land immediately behind our house. Those neighbors who, like us, were adjacent to the project, thought mainly of engineering and traffic concerns. The plan would have shunted storm runoff into our property - likely destroying our foundation – and killed the live oak that overhangs our yard. Landslides would have threatened others' houses. Our next door neighbor would have had the project's traffic driving five feet from her bedroom window. We killed the project for those reasons. (more)

from Neil Shakespeare, this visual tribute to Fredrick Douglas: