It's hard to believe that my access password still works... Anyway, I've left the University of Minnesota and am currently at the University of Hawaii. No plans right away to resume full-scale blog writing again, but perhaps... Anyhow, I'm contactable with my last name at phys.hawaii.edu if you want.
All the best and cheers, Mike
I've decided to put this blog on hiatus for a while. Will revisit it in the Summer and look at moving the blog to a new server. Cheers, Mike
Well, I'm off of the ice, out of Antarctica. Back to Christchurch, definitely becoming a familiar town for me. A favorite Indian place, a favorite Thai restaurant, and I even found a Halloween costume for next year. Am waiting for a seat on an airplane flying north, to Auckland, and then on to LAX. Haven't been any seats the last couple of days, but hopefully tomorrow...
Though it's a beautiful, green place to stay, I miss people back in the states. And I have to start teaching again in a few days.
"When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." - Sinclair Lewis
Canadian troops battling 10 foot tall pot plants. In Afghanistan.
It wasn't that many years ago when I visited, camping in the parks, walking through the cities, enjoying the hospitality of the people. This is a country that has been destroyed. The bakers have been arrested for charging more than the governement says they should for bread.
It's been a while since I've seen any US coverage, though there are comments from Zimbabweans living in Minneapolis if you click into the BBC's articles, though there isn't much for a full-on genocide in Sudan either...
Who would have ever guessed? Wal-Mart is launching a plan to try to sell 100 million compact fluorescent lightbulbs to its customers. This sort of scale distribution could have a quite measurable energy-use reduction nationwide! (Horrible confession: I have a stack of CFLs that I haven't installed yet. I know, I know, but I just haven't gotten to it.)
Okay, maybe it seems weird, but here goes:
It's a rainy, grey day here in Maryland. Am visiting the University of Maryland for a CREAM collaboration meeting and to do a little work on the recovery tools. I went ahead and parked right outside the building and risk the parking ticket rather than lumber half-way across campus with bags of parts and tools. My previous PDA died in a downpour when water pooled in a small pocket of my backpack in which the Treo 90 was located. (That was the non-phone Treo, little Palm-like with a keyboard. Rather obsolete, but useful. Got a Treo 650 as a replacement for that PDA and my old Verizon phone as well.) Since then have been reluctant to walk around without an umbrella in heavy rainfall with electronics in my (claimed waterproof) backpack.
Anyway...was here over the weekend to get some work done, but the lab here has a new lock, so nope! no work done. Spent a few hours watching Battlestar Galactica (the new one) episodes on disk. And then found that the new Dr. Who (Bad Wolf!) was on the Sci Fi channel at the hotel. (And the doctor regenerated after (spoilers!) Rose wiped out the Daleks. Hey, wait, didn't Sylvester McCoy wipe out the Daleks as well?) So, SF TV and then wandered down into DC to find some Afghani food. Once again, not quite devoted enough to make it to the Holocaust Museum. I've been feeling as though I'm a bad person for not feeling like dealing with the emotional content (I'm confident that I can deal with the historical content) of that museum.
What were those fundies whining about?
A special thrill was seeing Outsiders and Others be selected as best Art Gallery. My little ones have had their art hung there and they just held a most excellent sale and silent auction there last Saturday. Darn it, it looks like I wasn't the high bidder though...
Coloradans for Marriage, an anti-civil rights group, lists all of the good things about marriage. I suppose that they're really just looking out for gay people, to keep them from the problems we straights have. Isn't it sweet?
So, for part of my Spring Break, I'm visiting my folks down in Northern Georgia for a few days, then going to try to get a little R&R in back home. Maybe work on my home network...there are a couple of additional machines to network and I've been meaning to get my wireless network back up. (For months now!)
Anyhow, it's been warm, definitely Spring here in Hartwell. The daffodils are almost all passed already. While the heaviest snow of the season falls in the Twin Cities... (Though there should still be some left for me to shovel when I get home.)
It's nice seeing my mom with email and web access too!
Could you tell? I sat in my office typing and searching on it while one of my students edited a document on the other side of my desk. Thought I'd skip a few days and spend the time on something more work-productive, but then...more coverage of global warming...here the accelerated melting of the Antarctic ice cap. Remember, that ice is sitting on land, not floating, so it contributes directly to ocean levels, unlike the Arctic ice which is floating and hence doesn't increase ocean levels when it melts. See, 3rd grade science was useful!
We do ask where the good Germans were while the Nazis tortured and murdered first their political opponents and then their scapegoats. I'm afraid that we probably need to ask ourselves the same question. We can't plead ignorance, or plead that we were just following orders. I'm reminded of the tale of the investigative reporters in Explaining Hitler, Ron Rosenbaum's brilliant examination of the theories of Hitler. They worked at the Munich Post and revealed the evils of the Nazis all through the 1920s until 1933 when it became too late for peaceful resistance. It's a story that should be better known.
Well, I cared about the biathalon and the cross-country skiing, though not really skeleton (scary as it looks). Otherwise I think the Nation did a good job highlighting the horror that was the television coverage of the games and the bizarre spectacles that have eclipses even the curling competition. Who indeed came up with the Bode Miller concept? Fired, I trust.
A police raid of the Austrian cross-country and biathalon teams. It does offer a strange vignette of life in the Olympic village, with blood transfusions, IV drips, and needles everywhere. Reminds me of my old place in Alphabet City.
Maybe coming to America sometime soonish... Once the last memories of GM's attempt at diesel cars in the early 1980s is completely erased.
Me, I often have quite a bit of ear wax buildup though I do clean my ears on a daily basis. (Was that too much information?) Anyhow, this Canadian Medical Journal article details the emergency removal of earwax with a supersoaker loanded by a local four year old. It was "an off-label use" of the device. Not generally recommended, but something to add to your emergency medicine knowledge...
An interesting year for sure. Was just realizing that I had missed the one year anniversary of my blog. October 7th, 2004. First few entries were weirdly self-conscious, but I think since then I've pursued a path of many links with only a few comments. This is probably because I work for a living and do not have unlimited time.
Lots has happened though since I started this. A summary you will not find here though. Sorry, I know that blogs are supposed to detail our struggles with the inner demons, but that's my business. Now speculating about whether the outer demon of Karl Rove gets indicted early this week or late this week and whether or not Mr. Halliburton joins him...
What has Mike been listening to lately? What music has he been enjoying? Well, in a fit of U2 bashing, I listened to Negativland and their take on I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For (see also, the Letter U and the Numeral 2) along with U2's Boy and War. Putting those old cassettes on the stereo reminded me of how low-fi cassettes are/were and also that U2 didn't suck initially. They may never have been good musicians, but the band that put out War and Boy was a quality act.
Swell Maps, what should I say about Swell Maps? Been listening to Jane in Occupied Europe all morning today. (Discography of Swell Maps, from Nikki Sudden's webpages.) Good quality stuff. The CDs are back in print...
The Clash and Duran Duran in the same magazine...
If you missed some of the great post-punk acts, there are two indepensible resources for you. (Well, there are probably more than that, but who is counting?) Trouser Press zine and their published guides, which are now available online, and Rip it Up and Start Again (Guardian review, PR from the publisher, order it from amazon.co.uk (find your own link), or wait for the US edition which is rumored to have sections deleted from it) which is an amazing piece of journalism.
Should I praise the Mila Vocal Ensemble again? They'll be back on Praire Home Companion pretty soon and appeared on stage with Garrison at the St. Paul Labor Day Picnic. Will post an update when the PHC appearance is confirmed.
I should also put in a pitch for CD Baby. It's a resource for distributing independent CDs inexpensively. Good stuff, good folks, deserving of our business. They have audio samples for most tracks.
And the Cassandra Complex...In Search of Penny Century... Satan, Bugs Bunny, and Me. Other than the discography there isn't much info out there on the web. I suspect that there may not be all that many fans of Moscow, Idaho.
India...New Mexico...twice, including at the moment: Bloomington, IN...Maryland...headed to Maryland...Wallops Island...Palestine, TX...and Fort Sumner, NM again. There are definitely times when I travel too much!
It'll probably be a while before I write on the blog my reactions to the suffering, the horrific living conditions of the urban poor, and the stench of sewage in the streets. Good food, and good science at the meeting, only go so far...
"The depressing thing about tennis is that no matter how much you play, you'll never be as good as a wall. I played a wall once. They're fucking relentless." --- Mitch Hedberg
Never thought at the time (1991-1995) that these would still be here.
d...@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu (dolan andrew patrick) writes:
>I have heard a bit about Euhemerism, the basic premise of which is that the
>myths are just distorted recollections of actual historical persons whose deeds
>have acquired a supernatural aura with the [passage of thousands of years.
>I would be interested in learning bout any books or poapers that write about
>the Greek Gods and Goddesses (as well as the perasonailities of other
>mythologies) from the point of view of history, as well as any estimates
>of the age that the historical personages may have lived in - i.e. - what
>point in time. Were the tales of the \Gods just propaganda created to
>keep the masses pacified by telling them that their royal family was
>of supoernatural origin? I understand that someone called Banier wrote about
>this but have not come across any of his writings.
Certainly the historical reality of treating natural rulers as divine is
well established. In addition to the divine right of kings and the living
god emperors, you also had Alexander the Great inserting images of himself
into the local temples of newly conquered regions. A number of classical
writers either explicitly, or more often, implicitly treated the gods as
historical figures of old whose stories were magnified by time and their
propaganda. In _Sacred History_ this premise appears quite clearly. Many
later writers treated other relgions and myths in the same way, see for
example Bocaccio's _Geneology of the Gentile Gods_. Someone did this sort
of analysis of the Judeo-Christian thing - historical figures whose actions
were given religious significance only after many years had passed. Banier?
The name rings a bell, but I'd have to check back on my lit theory notes
to find anything of substance.
Laboratory for Astrophysics and Space Research, University of Chicago
NB: I have long since forgotten what I once knew about Sacred History alas.
"Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad." - Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
A great party over the weekend for friends, and a quiet dinner today for family. The kids were spoiled with all of their gifts though! In-line skates, x-country skis, books, movies, crafts, clothes, and silly stuff. Then off to Wisconsin Dells for a couple of days of indoor waterparking.
I've been sick for a few days. The twins' strep plus a touch of pneumonia and allergy to the antibiotics. Not too fun. Leni took decent care of me and watched the little ones when I couldn't.
Well, I made it back to the US on Saturday early morning. Customs didn't take too long, but I definitely got the once over (people who know me typically don't go through security with me out of fear of getting the full treatment that I usually get). I like the airport beagles though. Very friendly. Of course they aren't needed if you set off the custom's department profile. What? Do I look like a drug dealer or something? I even have a nice new passport (old one filled up) without the more "interesting" country stamps and visas in it.
Anyway, noticing the large number of, well, large people at the airport reminded me that I had returned to the land of obesity and junk food. (I'll be polite, I'm overweight as well and at 6'6" not exactly a paragon of human minimal-impactness.) Eating in Argentina, I consumed these huge steaks, piles of fries, small salads, huge pizzas, and deep-fried empanadas. Just like the locals. Just like the thin locals. Obviously there is something more complicated that just quantity of food in play here. More thoughts on this at some later point.
It's been most of a year since I've down here, at the Auger Observatory campus. Town looks a bit different. Some new businesses, new house construction, and a couple of new complexes of cabins on Rte. 40 coming into town. It'll be a different sort of meeting, focusing on the science results rather than the hardware and initial calibrations. The array is a bit under half built, but we're looking to present science in August (at the every-other-year International Cosmic Ray Conference (ICRC) which should not be confused with the International Committee of the Red Cross).
Hotel el Cisne, where I'm staying and which used to be the default place for the surface detector electronics folks to stay, has been bought by the local big guy who also owns the Rio Grande hotel and restaurant and a bunch of other local businesses. We had some bad experiences renting 4x4 trucks from him back in the early days of the experiment construction. A certain truck fire comes to mind...
It was a wet drive down from Mendoza yesterday. Rain and hail most of the five hour (I took the slower route) drive. Just a short pause as I went through San Rafael. If I get my talks pulled together this afternoon, might take a drive up in the mountains or go fossil hunting (though they can't leave the country).
The horse skull I hung (4 years ago?) in the SDE office remains up there. And the shocked looks when it first went up...
I'm off to Argentina, to the Auger Southern Site (Malargue, Mendoza Province) for the Auger Collaboration meeting. It remains to be seen if I'll have a chance to post much here while I'm there. Good internet access, but the meetings will fill the days. We're discussing the first science results from the experiment. They'll be presented this summer at the international cosmic ray conference (ICRC) in Pune, India. After ten years working on the project, I'd be nice to see science results presented.
Anyway, let me know if I need to have some Argentine wine for you when I'm down there. I'll keep track and promise to do my best to drink it.
Well, I did a conference call and meeting. They were exciting.
Now, hearing Scalia ranting, wanting to execute nine year olds, that was even more fun. Reminds you of how important that next one, or two, or three, SCOTUS appointments will be.
And Ashcroft is now an official swear-word replacement at least on Aerolineas flights. Damn, it is a slow news day.
We were warriors then, and our tribe was strong like a river" - Hunter S. Thompson
Anyway, the oddest thing is that there have been about 250 links to Mila from my blog's pair of mentions of them. How many people are out there reading this? Judging from the hits on linked pages, quite a few, from comments, relatively few.
Anyway...back to writing an exam for my Physics 3071W students. Should I include a hint here on the blog for them?
Hint: The area under the speed vs. time graph is a measure of distance travelled. The integral of v(t) dt is s(t) in other words.
David Byrne / Brian Eno / Hugo Ball
GADJI BERI BIMBA CLANDRIDI
LAULI LONNI CADORI GADJAM
A BIM BERI GLASSALA GLANDRIDE
E GLASSALA TUFFM I ZIMBRA
BIM BLASSA GALASSASA ZIMBRABIM
BLASSA GLALLASSASA ZIMBRABIM
A BIM BERI GLASSALA GRANDRID
E GLASSALA TUFFM I ZIMBRA
GADJI BERI BIMBA GLANDRIDI
LAULI LONNI CADORA GADJAM
A BIM BERI GLASSASA GLANDRID
E GLASSALA TUFFM I ZIMBRA
For some reason, tonight after waking up, tossing and turning, with bad dreams and with general unhappiness at myself, I sat at this computer sending email (in an apology of sorts) and thinking about the Talking Heads song I Zimbra. From Fear of Music. Always liked it and Life During Wartime off of that album. Life During Wartime is also a fantastically good novel by Lucius Shepard. Sort of science fiction, sort of an attempt to exorcise the ghosts of Vietnam with a magical realist Central America and the next war of "liberation." Seems all the stronger with the current events. (Oddly enough, there's a Life During Wartime blog which seems to be mostly bitching about the economy, the election, and bad jobs.) Anyway, back to I Zimbra. Hugo Ball doesn't get many liner note references. Now, during the 1980s, or even back in the day of the Cabaret Voltaire and Dada over Zurich.
Glossolalia of a sort, wasn't it? The Dadaists certainly made that connection to the Pentecost but I'm not too sure that David Byrne intended anything along those lines. Nor is it Sumerian eliminating a non-casual link to Stephenson. African rhythms and the "nonsense" words of Hugo Ball. (You didn't expect this posting to lead anywhere, did you?) The first time I heard the song I assumed that the words were in a language, prolly some African language. Glancing at the liner notes, I caught the vaguely familiar H. Ball and had to look it up. Was England's Dreaming already written at that point? No, it couldn't be, Jon Savage was still working on the official biography of the Kinks at that point. (Look it up!)
So, I Zimbra got me to look up who the heck these dadaist were. A few years later, in my college library I discovered a copy of the Futurist Cookbook by Marinetti and that led to a whole 'nother world of weird books for me. The line from the Talking Heads to the Situationist Internation to the Temporary Autonomous Zone is far from straight (perhaps like the roads in Boston, paving over old cow paths) but the connections are there. Which brings us to Fight Club (see A., I'd have to bring it up in the blog eventually) where the connections between fascism (a la Marinetti and, well, a bunch of blue collar folks unifying with two shirts, black, one pair boots, black...) and the Temporary Autonomous Zone (if a fight club isn't one, then the Code Duello meant nothing).
So, is that in some way a positive fascism? A friendly fascism? Certainly George Bush and company are more sinister than any Project Mayhem. Where we were supposed to be revolted, we cheered for the waiters and projectionists and testicular cancer survivors. And we hated ourselves for it. The Futurists wanted impressive architecture, and we got ovens, we wanted Pax Americana and got Iraqis in black hoods, like Hugo reciting his poem Karavane in the photo to the left.
"Our cabaret is a gesture. Every word that is spoken and sung here says at least one thing: that this humiliating age has not succeeded in winning our respect. What could be respectable and impressive about it? Its cannons? Our big Drum drowns them. Its idealism?That has long been a laughingstock, in its popular and its academic edition. The grandiose slaughters and cannibalistic exploits? Our spontaneous foolishness and our enthusiasm for illusion will destroy them.” - Hugo Ball
Drove down to my folks' place (northern Georgia) on the 23rd and 24th of December. Had a fun time on I-24 in KY and TN as neither state bothered to plow the highway. They just had the national guard out rescuing folks instead. Of course it would have been okay if it wasn't for the southern drivers who couldn't stay on the road... Oh well.
Merry Christmas everyone!
The first "officially" missing day in my blog releases some amount of pressure. I had been thinking about how I would be able to update my blog daily from the side of Aconcagua when I climb it this Austral Summer. Now I will not have to worry about that. (FYI, the best climbing guide is definitely Aconcagua: A Climbing Guide but you do need to check on updated permit requirements.)
Well, I've been good for a whole month. Posted something for each day (though more than once I had to backdate (me bad)) for a month. This is working better than journaling usually does for me. I've done a writing journal for as long as two months, but wasn't able to make web links in it. Hmmmm...actually that journal would have been preweb. Right around the time of early gopher and veronica. Remember those days of the internet?
Anyway, it's been an interesting month. Onwards and upwards.
"It's unheard of, an adventure like this in the midst of the 20th century..." - G. Debord
When I first posted that on the web, it was indeed still the 20th century and the term Y2K hadn't entered the consciousness of even the most forward-looking swindler. Guy Debord is dead now, by his own hand, and within the integrated spectacle that isn't likely to fall to any known force. But is the web something different? A candle held up to the spectacle? Or spectacles held to the spectacle? Darned if I know, but it's fun to post up here my own little sound effects directed at the universe. Hey universe, listen up.
"Whatever represses pleasure will be destroyed by it." - R. Vaneigem
Paris in 1968 is not Minneapolis in 2004. Surely true. People are asleep, dreaming? The rain falls on empty sidewalks lit by the glow of televisions in the windows. Late capitalism has perfected the dreamy idle of clerks without customers, lovers waiting in vain, and the McDonalds monopoly game. Running in the streets proclaiming the end of history (herstory?) would be just absurd.
"Our aim is wakefulness, our enemy is dreamless sleep." - ToPY
But online, no one knows if you're serious. Why not? Why not let a thousand foolish ideas bloom? Declare the end of profane time, but go to work plenty early to get those memos finished. Ponder the politics of reductionism, but send your $20 to the ACLU.
Clearly the unasked and unanswerable question about blogs relate to who extracts utility from them other than the writer? Well, I'm not going to address that here. since my llack of understanding of psychology is exceeded only by a lack of understanding of psychology terminology. Okay, no more flailing about on that issue.
Instead, more intro in the form of what this blog is not about:
1. A few of the blogs I have glanced at in the past had to do with cancer experiences---blogs while in chemo, surgery recovery, or in radiation therapy. None of them really grabbed my attention much I have to admit. (To each their own and all.) I've been dealing with an inoperable brain tumor over the course of the last year and a half or so, but there just isn't much to say. Chemo sucks. It's pretty nasty feeling sick and low energy most of the time. Likely I'll live long enough to see my twins grow up some. End of story.
2. Though I like to think of myself as a good filter of internet oddity, google does in fact exist and nothing odd that I'm finding is all that buried. I do work for a living after all!
3. Journals. I've keep journals a few times in my life, but never really had a lot of interest in sharing them. Writing journals and personal journals. My little five year old gals keep journals at home (they dictate) and at school (they write) and those I do have a tendancy to share. When I was a-courting my (ex-) wife, I found we essentially kept running journals to share with each other by writing long emails, paper mail, and collecting interesting items to send to each other. On the other hand, romancing the world sounds bizarre, sappy, painful, and way off.
4. Learning to type better. Nope, had a chance in high-school to learn to type correctly. Have survived with two fingers on each hand and a thumb. To type with, that is, the rest of my digits are just hanging around while typing.
On the other hand (as it were) I'd like to address music, politics, science, books, and movies at various times.
"When you read this I am alive. I am here on this page. I am here. I am HERE!" - Brion Gysin
My webpages (first coded in 1993 (how many geek points does that get?) but not updated much since 2001 (I missed the commercial space flights, Hilton in orbit, and the whole first contact)) should be linked here as well.
My linkage for the presidential race coverage...
Who the heck are all these people who are switching their votes? Everyone I know has been planning to vote for Kerry or Nader, except for this one person who thinks global warming is good and is fixed on Bush.
Finally, the obvious humor in our presidents is getting some coverage
And an interesting observation from the first pres debate...
Ignoring the road to hell, what I'm going to try to do here is post some of the thoughts and links that cross my computer screen, desk, and brain. Anyway, first I'll need to set the stage...
I haven't really updated my web pages in a few years which sort of makes a mockery of the whole "instant and real-time" nature of the web. Though I suspect that blogs will ultimately be viewed as the pet-rocks or chia-pets of the naughts (2000-2010, aughts?, zilches?) I, for one, am unafraid of being less than hip in this regard. Let me burn some karma for having seen Patti Smith at CBGBs and Liz Phair in a friend's living room.
Copying information directly from the Department of Homeland Security index, here are my official specifications...
Employer: University of Minnesota
Research area: Small, fast moving things that come from space
TSA alert level: RED (most of my colleagues won't go through security near me)
Quest: Holy Grail
Hometown: Newington, CT
Last seen: Drinking coffee
Known or suspected hobbies: cooking, dining, vino, roasting coffee, reading, writing, traveling, flying kites in Antarctica
Most incriminating work-related book in office: Jane's Manual of Mines and Mine Clearance
Most incriminating book at home: The Temporary Autonomous Zone (TAZ)
Music playing on the stereo: Dead Can Dance
Thoughts on Cat Stevens: "Well, since the government deported him, I feel so much safer from terrorism."
Biggest spider I've ever seen (outside of a museum): This huge, nasty wolf spider walking on my dorm-room desk when I was in college---dropped a copy of the CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics (weighs about 8 lbs for the non-science geeks out there) and the spider walked away.
Is that enough background for the moment?