Bog Weather Nonsense

Raining this morning. And Bogs bitchin’ this morning at gym about the weather getting “cold”. 

Stupidity. Disgusting even if we know we can expect no better from Bogs. 

Cold is not a thermodynamic or meteorological quantity. It cannot be measured. It can, however, be observed since it is a sensation. If a person shivers observers can observe that person to be “cold”.

I discount here the noun form that refers to a viral infection. Clearly not what the Bogs are misusing. And the natter on it is a separate matter. 

The term “hot” is a bit different. It is ambiguous in the sense that its proper thermodynamic meaning applies to all conditions above absolute zero – zero degK. 

Otherwise it is not meaningful and thereby a useful word to Bogs since it is another sensation that can talk about as if it were a measurable.

Duhhhhhhhh.

Warm is essentially the same as “cold” and hence no further nattering.

No wonder we are a third world nation.

Fog Fiction List

One day. Legal holiday. Back in my youth this wouldn’t be so but evidently things are so bad that the proles and serfs need all the slack they can get.

Second day of fog. Most enjoyable. I sit and look at how the light gets dispersed and try to figure out the phase function and from that the distribution of particle size. Loads of fun and lots better than what the poets talk about.

Ran across an article [Link] on LifeHacker entitled “10 Books You Pretend to Have Read (And Why You Should Really Read Them).” It rather bemused me. First of all I have not claimed to have read a book that I hadn’t read since I was in high schule. And then I did read one of those synopsis books. That was because it was an assigned book, usually from “English” class, and hideously unreadable.

So I was moved to comment on the list, which is rather strange, partly in what’s on the list but mostly what isn’t.

1) Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

I admit I haven’t read this book. In fact, I don’t remember the author and have no memory of ever having heard of the book. 

2) Dune by Frank Herbert

Read this one when it first came out. Horrible. At least in comparison to Heinlein’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” which came out the same year but superior to the first Tolkien book which was also popular that year. Probably indicates I have a great distaste for fantasy. Technically, I can’t even call this science fiction; Herbert has too strong a mystical streak. Some of his other stuff is much better.

3) Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon

I actually read it. Also horrible. And if there was any humor in the book it eluded me.

4) Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Read this five or six times. Masterpiece. Of course by itself it’s an incomplete story. You have to read all the Foundation books. 

5) Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Another one I have never heard of.

6) 1984 by George Orwell

Read this one. Overlong for the story. Very British. And it wasn’t even assigned in a course.

7) Last and First Men and Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon

I read them and didn’t like. Discovered Stapledon wasn’t for me. A bit too much “Golden Age.”

8) The Long Tomorrow by Leigh Brackett

Passable. Some of her other works much better.

9) Dhalgren by Samuel Delany

Superb. Wonderful. A juvenile for adults.

10) Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

Another one I haven’t heard of by an unknown author.

About half of these are by unknown (to me) authors, and several of the rest are almost orthogonal authors. Why no Heinlein or Anderson? Is the list deliberately chosen to be of lesser authors? I don;t know who built the list but they are definitely suspect.

 

First Sundae

The new year is dawned. And it’s ice cream day and dihydrogen oxide falleth from the skies. Not clear which of those are good and which bad, but it definitely is a mixture.

A lot of people bemoaned how bad last year was but then I can’t recall a good year in many years. Maybe this will be the year we destroy ourselves and we no longer have to worry about such things?

In celebration of not engaging in the festivities (???????????) of last evening, I have a few articles to inflict. First, [Link] I see that the Icelanders have opened a temple (?) to the Norse gods and it has a membership that is a significant fraction of the national population. Not sure if this is attractive but it definitely is a welcome alternative to the sad state of christianism that I see here in Greater Metropolitan Arab. 

In a similar channel, I have an older article [Link] about how rabbis in Israel have denounced christistmas trees. I was particularly taken by a couple of semi-quotes

“He called the tree “idolatry”, warning that it was a “pagan” symbol that violated the kosher status of the building, including its food hall.”

and

“This is not about freedom of worship,” Dokow told the Technion’s students. “This is the world’s only Jewish state. And it has a role to be a ‘light unto the nations’ and not to uncritically embrace every idea.”

It’s somehow refreshing for a rebbe to denounce a christianist practice as idolatry, pagan, and refer to the denouncement as bringing light. 

Of course, the tree is originally a northern European practice adopted by the church of Rome to assist in coercing natives to accept christianism. What is intriguing is the implication that it drags that paganism along with it? Of course, I suspect the good rebbe considers all of christianism to be the worst form of paganism. 

The light bringing however, is common to most religions and denomination. For some reason the whole illumination of the shadows is associated with superstition and mysticism rather than reality. Seems rather a paradigm of religion, doesn’t it?

Gad, the new year has already started out on a good footing, hasn’t it?