Thursday, January 17, 2008

Cabinet of Curiosities

While taking a brief and well deserved rest, Walking The Berkshires reminds us of the upcoming Cabinet of Curiosities carnival.

The Harvard Museum of Natural History is probably the largest "cabinet of curiosities" that I have been to. Entrance is free on Sunday mornings, and if you are in the Boston area, it is well worth your time, especially if you have children.

crystal structures Scorpiones



morpho butterflies Labradorite

Previous posts on the HMNH here and here

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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

After the Storm

We had a bit of a nor'easter on Monday.

After the Storm

when the wind is from the north, the trees get a coating

After the Storm

snow on neighborhood trees

After the Storm

the neighbor's birch tree

After the Storm

grey skies, sun on the next hill

Winter is beautiful.

Shoveling is not....

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Friday, January 11, 2008

If It Hasn't Got A Tail It's Not A Monkey*

Two interesting essays on the conundrum that is Evolutionary Theory.

First, from Lee Harris at TCS Daily, Why We Are Still Arguing About Darwin

And from New Wineskins, The Myth of Time + Chance = Mankind

Both pose interesting observations about the Theory of Evolution. Excellent quotes, "Thou shalt not act like a monkey—this is the essence of all the higher religions, and the summation of all ethical systems." from the first essay.

And What’s glossed over in that budding scientific understanding of complex and self-organizing systems, fractals, chaos theory and the like is whether all types of ordered complexity can be created this way. from the second.

Personally, the issue is a non-starter for me. If you really believe in a Sovereign God, then that God is sovereign over all things, and questioning his methods is an exercise in hubris. You weren't there, so claiming one method over another as correct is silly. I am not smart enough to tell God what to do, especially in retrospect.

Besides, if you really are tied to a literal reading of the first two chapters of Genesis, then the "lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night,... [that] serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years..." were made on the fourth day. If the Sun was not made till the fourth day, then a literal reading of Genesis precludes the creation happening in seven 24 hour periods, because there was no 24 hour day before the "fourth day".

To stake all faith on the ability to precisely understand one small passage is counter-productive. If you perfectly understood everything, you wouldn't need faith.

* with apologies to VeggieTales (click the middle title, "Monkey")

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Snow in Bagdad, First Time in Living Memory

The Far Left gets stuck in an infinite loop as they can't choose between blaming the administration's Iraq War policy or Anthropomorphic Global Warming.

Al Gore was found stationary in a corridor, staring blankly ahead muttering, "global bushing... george warming... global bushing...."

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

New Books for a New Year

Recent acquisitions, some for reading, some just a artistic reference;

From Dover Books

Philosophy and Civilization in the Middle Ages by Maurice DeWulf

Form and Design in Classic Architecture by Arthur Stratton

A Manual of Historic Ornament by Richard Glazier

Masterpieces of Medieval Open Timber Roofs by Raphael Brandon & J. Arthur Brandon

Great Bridges: From Ancient Times to the Twentieth Century by Wilbur J. Watson

Book of Old-Time Trades and Tools Anonymous

And the following condensed from the writings of Leonardo da Vinci

A Treatise on Painting

Leonardo on Art and the Artist

Leonardo on the Human Body

and The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2

For those of you interested in da Vinci, Dover has a wide selection of books and CD Rom image collections that include his work.

This probably means that I will re-read Kenneth Clark's excellent biography Leonardo da Vinci, which was one of last year's books.

There are a number of books that were purchased or given to me last year that I need to read or finish;

Edward Hopper (Exhibition Catalogue) which includes excellent biographical information and several essays.

The Ten Books on Architecture by Vitruvius. I have been reading through this, and it was fairly easy going, up until the section on acoustics....

Joseph Cornell: Shadowplay . . . Eterniday from the show last summer at The Peabody Essex Museum

I'm planning to post some thoughts on the Hopper and Cornell books later on.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

and the New Year's greetings from those I daily read...

The Glenn and check out his FORECAST FOR 2008: A 100% chance of alarmism.

Charles Johnson, Party in Bagdad

New Year's Day links from the folks at Maggie's Farm

Ann Althouse

The Moxargon Group's Year in Review

And I'm sure there are many more out there, but as my resolution for this year is to have a more disciplined mind, I'm going to shut down the computer and stop looking at political garbage.

(Hmmm, that may mean turning off the internet for the whole year... ed.)

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