haiga, haiku, philosophy, photography, science

Mortality and Defiance

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~ Mortality #1 ~
Emergent
from dancing atoms,
life is short.
~ Mortality #2 ~
I live life
with defiant joy,
all the way.

Defiance ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #328

An earlier version of this post responded to a challenge inspired by Basho’s last haiku, written when he knew he was dying.  Contributors were asked to imagine Basho writing a haiku for his closest followers from his deathbed.  While I admired the resulting excellent sad poems, I defied the expectation of sadness and imagined Basho rallying briefly to encourage his companions with a pair of short haiku in 3-5-3.

My response to the previous challenge bungled the initial line of Mortality #2.  My first thought was that Basho might tell his followers to

Live your lives / with defiant joy, / …

Telling people like me how to live is a reliable way to elicit angry defiance, so I rejected my first thought, neglected to defy my own fondness for alliteration, and settled on

Let’s live life / with defiant joy, / …

despite some misgivings.  Hmmm.  Wish I had used

I lived life / with defiant joy, / …

as what Basho might say on his deathbed.  Hmmm.  I can use it now in the present tense because I am still fairly healthy for my age, in defiance of the odds against those who bungle things more consequential than a line of poetry.  So I use it in the revised Mortality #2 here, with defiant joy.

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history, photography, STEM

Beyond Measuring the Earth

Geometry began with practical measurements over moderate distances.  Boundaries of Egyptian farmers’ fields had to be restored after the Nile’s annual floods.  A taut rope between two posts marked where an edge of the base of a pyramid would be laid.  And so on.  This prosaic technology inspired ancient Greeks to create something weird and wonderful.
 

People like Pythagoras and Euclid reimagined the pyramid builders’ rope as perfectly straight (not sagging a little), so thin that it had no thickness at all, and extending forever beyond the posts.  Crazy.  They called it a “line” and found that they could reason about such things, proving new statements by deductions from what they already knew.

Those ancient geometers discovered much that was true and good and beautiful in the imagined world of points and lines, and a few of them took the first tentative steps toward using their discoveries to help answer questions about the experienced world of posts and ropes and much else.  Eratosthenes kept the promise made by “geo”+”metry” when he measured the circumference of planet Earth, even tho it was impractical to try to wrap a tape measure around it.

Modern STEM is rooted in ancient geometry (among other things), and a long hard slog has progressed from measuring the Earth to understanding it.  Our understanding is not perfect and never will be, but maybe it is good enough to help us save the Earth.  From us.  I hope we can rise to that challenge, and that I have risen to this one:

Geometry ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #269

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Image Sources

  • The colorful frame around the image is upsized from my much smaller diagram for Bhaskara’s elegant proof of Pythagoras’ Theorem.  The resulting fuzziness of the points and line segments is a reminder that we cannot experience the ideal perfection of geometric shapes.  But we can refer to the shapes when we tell each other stories about what we experience!  (Tho often hard to read w/o wrangling equations, scientific theories are among the best stories we can tell.)  The colors of the line segments tie the image to the theorem’s bottom line w/o using letters that would clutter the diagram:
      a² +  b²  c²
  • The Blue Marble image overlaid on the diagram was downloaded from NASA Visible Earth: The Blue Marble.   Making NASA’s image cost a lot more than making mine.  That’s OK.  It was money well spent.
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language, math, photography

Perpendicular: Upright or Uptight?

Calling 90 degrees a “right” angle is a little misleading.  Yes, spatial coordinates should usually be based on perpendicular lines.  But 90 degrees is often just one angle among many, and perpendicular may not be right for the job.
 
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Perpendicular ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #269

 
 

The ceiling should be perpendicular to the wall
(and the wall to the floor).

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Even the klutz who built my house got it right.

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The right angle for slicing a pizza depends on
how many slices are needed.

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© sabelnik | 123RF Stock Photo

 
 

Willing to count a circle as a “line” perpendicular to any chosen straight line thru the center?  (I am.)  If so, then spatial coordinates should almost always (not just usually) be based on perpendicular lines.  Want to navigate on a really big pizza?  Use polar coordinates.

flowers, haiga, haiku, photography

Haiga with Several Time Scales

Haiku poems commonly deal with events on short time scales.  In a split second, the frog jumps into the pond.  In minutes, the sunset fades.  In days, the cherry blossoms fall.  How about decades?  How about millennia?  They can show up too, along with the split second that a camera’s shutter is open.
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Sunlit Moment
|Mums are good silk fakes.
|Rock is real and will outlast
|both mums and viewer.

I dithered over whether to respond to

Scale ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #268

with the material above.  With small differences in format, it was posted 2020-04-17.  Tho usually reluctant to repeat myself, I’ve noticed that bloggers I respect sometimes do repost things they feel are still relevant.  I’ve also noticed that 11 months is quite a while on a cyberspace time scale.

Oh well.  It’s rare that I settle on a combination of angle and settings that I really like before the light fades or shifts.  Seize the moment.

haiga, haiku, photography, seasons

Hope at Sunrise

Patrick Jennings’ challenge #259 salutes the sun in the great outdoors.  Sunlight is both a source of hope and something to hope for.  The same is true in more intimate settings, and the New Year got off to a good start at sunrise on 2021-01-01.
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Hope ~ Pic and a Word Challenge #259

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Morning Sun on Winter Wreath
|Bird, bow, and berries
|scatter rays of hope to me.
|Today may be good.