‘What good is a newborn baby?’ asked Benjamin Franklin in 1783 when people questioned his enthusiasm for the recent invention of hot air ballooning. His predictions that the balloons would become significant for transport was unusually wrong. 250 years later, Loon is a balloon system in the news for delivering the internet in Kenya and elsewhere. Balloons are helping transport information.[Read more…] about Uncomfortable Thoughts
Kalends and Ides
Caveat emptor: the things that flow through my consciousness are not always pleasant, complete let alone right.
The Romans left quite a legacy. Is that because they took the time to chisel their notes in the stones they built with? Calendars were a great invention and the Roman version remains dominant in global diplomacy and business. And it’s fundamental in many administrative regions of the world. Taxes tend to be assessed on 365 day years despite domestic use of different systems such as lunations in Muslim and Mosaic households. The ‘ides’ notion probably lost appeal after Brutus backstabbed Julius Caesar in 44 BC. And besides, Shakespeare told the world to be wary of them.
Hard to avoid thinking about calendars in a leap year. And reflecting on calendars brings time into view. And view is the right word. We lived for a while in the coyote-barking foothills of the San Gabriel mountains. Our zip code was the unforgettable 91011 which I could never remember, near where the astronomer Edwin Hubble spent the late 1920’s. He developed a view of nebulae fleeing from his 100 inch telescope. We met many who worked in Nasa’s JPL and Caltech and all spoke with passion of their pursuits of galaxies, now that they knew what nebulae were.[Read more…] about Kalends and Ides