Saturday, May 10, 2008

Works Cited

Before his blindness, Borges was so shy that, on the few occasions when he was asked to lecture, he sat on the stage while someone else read the text...

Readers will immediately notice that the same phrases, sentences, paragraphs and on occasion, pages recur throughout the book. The first reaction may well be that Borges, who was earning his living by writing hundreds of articles for diverse publications, was merely cutting corners by repeating himself. This is quite clearly not the case... Borges nearly always uses the same sentence to make a different point, or as a bridge between points C and D that are not the points A and B that were linked the last time the sentence was used. The repetitions are part of his lifelong fascination with the new way old elements can be reassembled, by chance or design to create new variations, something entirely different, or something that is exactly the same but now somehow different.

Eliot Weinberg, Preface to Jorge Luis Borges: Selected Non-Fictions

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Works Cited

Of course it may be objected that Wellington himself was Irish, but a patriotic English pen does not stoop to answer such quibbling.

Susanna Clark, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

That's Like Saying Def Leppard has an Awesomeness Problem

I want to say I like My Name is Earl because it's sweet and funny, but I just like Jaime Pressly.

I tried to prove the Pythagorean Theorem a few days ago, but got distracted. I had the scratch paper lying on my desk and noticed it again today. It hit me. You can draw four triangles congruent to the original triangle in the square of the hypotenuse, along with another square in the middle with sides length (b-a) with b and a being the legs of the original triangle. You add the triangles' area (4*.5*a*b) to the area of the middle square, and blam: a^2 + b^2.

Awesome. I was up late last night graphing things using spherical coordinates. They're wicked fun.

Office Chat

Joshana: You know who wrote White Christmas?

I think Bing Crosby improvised it.

Joshana: Irving Berlin.

Scott: Ok.

Joshana: What is the Jew most famous for? The world's most popular Christmas song. His dad must be spinning in his grave.

Yeah. Plus the seldom heard third verse is about the Jews controlling the media.

Works Cited

It must be said, however, that Sir William Pole's patronage was a somewhat mixed blessing. Though liberal in his praise and always courteous and condescending to the shop-people, he was scarcely ever known to pay a bill and when he died, the amount of money owing to Brandy's was considerable. Mr Brandy, a short-tempered, pinch-faced, cross little old man, was beside himself with rage about it. He died shortly afterwards, and was presumed by many people to have done so on purpose and to have gone in pursuit of his noble debtor.

Susanna Clarke, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Works Cited

Almost twenty years ago, Carl Hempel posed a dilemma for those attempting to define the physical in reference to microphysics. On the one hand, it seems that we cannot define the physical in terms of current microphysics since today's principles of microphysics are, most likely, not correct. Despite some physicists' heady optimism that the end of physics is just around the corner, history cautions prudence... Yet on the other hand, if we take microphysics to be some future unspecified theory, the claim that the mind is physical is extremely vague since we currently have no idea of what that theory is. Geoffrey Hellman sums up this dilemma nicely: "either physicalist principles are based on current physics, in which case there is every reason to think they are false; or else they are not, in which case it is, at best, difficult to interpret them, since they are based on a 'physics' that does not exist." Faced with this dilemma, what is a physicalist to do?

Barbara Montero, "The Body Problem"