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As the natural light outdoors fades, a mundane miracle occurs. Tho I have no supernatural powers, I create light and see that it is good. There is much to celebrate in the simple act of flipping a switch, and the resulting light provides many other mundane miracles to ponder.
Before I close the curtains, a pine tree across the lawn is still visible thru the window. Conversely, a bird roosting in the pine could see the light fixture I have just turned on. Most of the light that my fixture throws toward the window goes right thru the glass, harmless and unharmed. My fist could not do that.
It gets better.
Some of the light that hits the window is reflected back. I see my fixture as a ghostly sphere, apparently hovering between me and the pine. Hmmm. Consider a single photon among the zillions that whiz from my fixture toward the window. How does it decide whether to continue on toward the pine or bounce back toward me?
I know. Photons are mindless particles that do not decide anything. They just do whatever a divinely perfect knowledge of physics would say they do, and a humanly possible imperfect knowledge of physics is rather good at saying what big groups of them do.
By far the best current human knowledge says that what a single photon does is unpredictable. Not just unpredictable because we do not know all the details about the laws of nature or how the photon is moving or what is in the glass where the photon hits it. Not just unpredictable because exact calculations are not feasible. Intrinsically unpredictable! On a photon-by-photon basis, even divinely perfect knowledge of the rules and the current situation does not determine what will happen in the next picosecond. Even God must wait and see.
Dunno whether I will succeed in posting more about intrinsic unpredictability and its consequences. (Don’t hold your breath.) Without wrangling equations, a great deal can be still be said about the quantum physics behind partially reflected light and its wider implications. See pages 173-176 of the excellent book Dice World by Brian Clegg (or web pages like the one U can visit by clicking here, if U do not have the book handy).
In response to
I want to add another line that starts with “A time to” in the Bible passage Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. The new line could be anywhere in the series.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to freeze and a time to melt; a time to be rigid, and a time to be fluid;
Don’t blink or you’ll miss it!
While I could not resist giving this post a silly title, I do respect the yin/yang wisdom of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 and have already proposed a related serious addition to the “A time to” lines. Those who have seen and liked yet another addition are welcome to comment with a line and/or a link.
Physically, JS Bach was in Germany thruout his life. His musical imagination ranged more widely, with trips to England and France and (especially) Italy. Later musicians’ imaginations took him to many more places. Brazil. Russia. New Orleans.
New Orleans? Yes!
Pianists Eyran Katsenelenbogen and Tal Zilber took Bach (and some other saints of music) to New Orleans. They later played souvenirs of that visit for an audience in China. Bach goes marching in about 12 minutes into the 14 minute YouTube video; the whole thing deserves to heard and heard again.
The image below is a screenshot (with a link to the video) that is better than what I got with the YouTube embed code. U can click on the image to follow the link and then click on “SHOW MORE” (just before the YouTube comments section) for easy access to each variation on the great song that is like an anthem for New Orleans.
Happy Birthday, Johann Sebastian! Hope U enjoyed the jambalaya.
Acknowledgement: I appreciate being pointed to the video from a post on the WQXR Blog by James Bennett, II.
Having an afterlife may be overrated.
Dyed and dried
soon after they died:
As Patrick Jennings remarks in
a world seen without imagination would be sadly plain and gray. Imagination can be fun.
It is fun when Patrick sees a reflection (of a dark building with a bright light) and imagines a dragon breathing fire.
It is fun when I see a decorative gourd and imagine a phallus going soft after sex.
It is fun to imagine being able to fly.
Both Patrick and I are adults who might enjoy imagining flight but would not jump off a balcony and try to fly. It is definitely not fun when a child (or a nominal adult with an assault rifle) acts on wild imaginings. How can wild imagination be tamed but not stifled?
While there seems to be no single simple answer, the methods of STEM do rather well. We soak imagination with other things, many of which have rhyming names: calculation; experimentation; observation; replication; validation; verification. Yes, it is hard work. We often get ourselves soaked, with perspiration.
Sometimes we get consternation, when we find that what we fondly imagine cannot happen.
Sometimes we get wings.
Image downloaded from Imgur has been lightly cropped.
I receive a huge number of appeals for donations, consider many of them, and respond to some. Guessing that U already get more than enough duns, I almost always refrain from forwarding those I like, let alone the others. The dun displayed below is so clever and funny that I will make an exception (and have made a donation).
The man who never put on the uniform to defend our country decided to blast his colleague Rep. Seth Moulton for helping fundraise for 19 veterans running for Congress, including me.
Party over country is all Barr understands.
Hey Andy, after I put the kids to bed, I fixed this for you.
Click on either of the dun’s images to visit the website of Amy McGrath’s campaign to unseat one of the Trumpublicans from Kentucky in the US Congress. It ain’t easy, but neither was flying 89 combat missions.
McGrath and Moulton are among the 36 candidates in Federal elections who are veterans endorsed by VoteVets. While the other 34 are not all Marines, they still fight for right and freedom. Cue the band.
From the hills of old Kentucky
to the swamplands of DC,
she will fight our country’s battles
in the air, on land and sea.
Set to fight for right and freedom
(beating back new fascist threats),
she is proud to stand among them:
thirty-six progressive vets.