Archive for March, 2004

Arrogant Protestant Ignorance On Parade

March 31, 2004

I’m not a Roman Catholic (more a Deist Methodist), but I would think this were offensive if it weren’t so laughable. (Hat tip: Fr. Jim Tucker who found it at Ship of Fools’ Fruitcake Zone).
On a related note, Belle Waring at Crooked Timber links to a wicked riff by Michael Berube on the Left Behind series.
(I have to be careful not to be too scathing as I know several otherwise smart and educated friends and colleagues who have read those stories and not only liked them, but found them to be spiritually meaningful. For a more fun story about the end times, I instead would recommend this latter-day Heinlein).

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Best of Hubble

March 31, 2004

I feel like I’ve linked to this before, but even if I have, it’s worth repeating (note well: large download; requires Shockwave plugin).
(Hat tip: Jerry Pournelle)

Paris or Marge?

March 31, 2004

When I saw the title to this post at Transterrestrial Musings, I thought for sure that Rand had also seen the March 29 entry at Gravity Lens (probably will be archived here soon), regarding the Maxim covers that simultaneously featured both Marge Simpson and Paris Hilton. Apparently, the Marge version is selling out faster than the Paris version. Maybe there is some hope for Western Civilization.

Musician Jokes

March 30, 2004

Got this Canonical List of Musician Jokes from the Larry Niven listserv (subscribe here).

Ancestral Accomplishments

March 29, 2004

Looks like Alan Brain is on this earth against the odds.
His grandfather survived four years of active duty as a sniper on the front lines in World War I and lived to tell the tale to a young Mr. Brain.
I don’t have a similar tale of wartime courage about either of my grandfathers, but my maternal grandfather, Joseph M. Hill, MD, did manage to save the lives of thousands in World War II thanks to a method he developed of freeze-drying blood plasma. (See pp. 44-45 of this file, and the second paragraph of this one).
I wonder what stories my hypothetical grandchildren will remember about me?

Classical Readings

March 29, 2004

Father Jim Tucker, a libertarian Catholic priest in the diocese of Arlington, VA (where I lived during law school) points to this site, where you can hear audio clips of Greek and Latin classics with their original “classical” pronunciations (as I learned them in high school).

Heinlein Wrote Fantasy?

March 29, 2004

It’s true, the master of hard-SF wrote a few fantasy stories.
New Troy has a review by Robert Wilfred Franson of The Man Who Traveled in Elephants, one of Heinlein’s fantasies (collected here and here).
Franson points to this vignette shared by Spider Robinson about the story in Requiem: and Tributes to the Grand Master:

[Says Robinson, presenting a battered old paperback for Heinlein to autograph]: “Mr. Heinlein, sir, I fetched this particular book because it contains my single personal all-time favorite story of yours of all time, sir.”
He is used to people gibbering at him; he nods and waits politely. “It’s called ‘The Man Who Traveled in Elephants’ –” and his face sags slightly and I panic oh hell what did I say wrong fix it fix it “– I mean, hell, that’s just my opinion, who am I –” and then I break off, because whatever he is doing with his face is the opposite of frowning.
“That,” he says slowly, “is my personal favorite–and no one’s ever had a nice word to say for it until now.”

As they say, read the whole thing.

Old Photo Blogging

March 29, 2004

While Glenn has been busy photoblogging with modern digital cameras, TangoMan at Gene Expression is blogging about the century-old color photographs of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudi-Gorskii, “Photographer to the Tsar.”
I didn’t even know that there was a color-photography process as early as the 1900’s and 1910’s. But there was, and TangoMan links to the page explaining how three different grayscale images were taken with blue, green, and red filters and then projected onto a screen using the same three filters. (Commenter Jesse also points to these links on “autochrome” technology).
Laws of physics being what they are, it shouldn’t be surprising that similar filtering and combining techniques are being used to beam us color pictures from the surface of Mars one century later.

Sunday Song Lyrics

March 29, 2004

If you’re not a regular reader of the Volokh Conspiracy, you should be. Lots of smart commentary on matters of law, policy, and culture with a libertarian bent.
This year, Juan Non-Volokh has been posting a different song’s lyrics each Sunday. His musical tastes seem to be as eclectic as mine. This week’s selection is Prelude to a Kiss, by Duke Ellington. Go read the lyrics. If you can avoid having any sappy thoughts about someone you love or have loved as you read them, then you are hopeless.

More Good News From Mars?

March 25, 2004

It appears that both the Mars Express orbiter and an earthbound team have independently detected Methane in Mars’ atmosphere, on the order of 11 parts per billion. This is exciting news, as it points to the possibility of life, or of vulcanism (or both).
(Hat tip to Fred Kiesche at Martian Soil who turned me on to new blogroll member MainlyMartian).