What you are you doing here?
You have already finished the reading assignments for this week, right?
quotes I like:
Two Years Before
This passenger--the first and only one we had had, except
to go from port to port on the coast--was no one else than a gentleman whom
I had known in my smoother days, and the last person I should have expected
to see on the coast of California--Professor Nuttall
of Cambridge. I had
left him quietly seated in the chair of the Botany and Ornithology
Department at Harvard University, and the next I saw of him, he was
strolling about San Diego beach, in a sailors' pea jacket, with a wide straw
hat, and barefooted, with his trousers rolled up to his knees, picking up
stones and shells.
...I was often amused to see the sailors puzzled to know what
to make of him, and to hear their conjectures about him and his
business. ...The Pilgrim's crew called Mr. Nuttall "Old Curious," from
his zeal for curiosities; and some of them said that he was crazy, and that
his friends let him go about and amuse himself this way. Why
else would (he)... come to such a place as California to pick up
shells and stones, they could not understand.
One of them, however, who had seen something more of
the world ashore said:
"Oh, 'vast there! ...I've seen them colleges and know
the ropes. They keep all such things for cur'osities, and study 'em, and
have men a purpose to go and get 'em. ...He'll carry all these things to
the college, and if they are better than any that they have had before,
he'll be head of the college. Then, by and by, somebody else will go
after some more, and if they beat him he'll have to go again, or else
give up his berth. That's the way they do it. This old covery knows
the ropes. He has worked a traverse over 'em, and come 'way out here
where nobody's ever been afore, and where they'll never think of
This explanation satisfied Jack; and as it raised Mr. Nuttall's credit, and was near enough to the truth for common purposes, I
did not disturb it.
Richard Henry Dana (1837)
"Years from now you will be more disappointed by the things
you didn't do
than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines.
Sail away from the safe harbor.
Catch the trade winds in your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover."
-- Mark Twain
"Oh, we would all like to sail through life with no thought of tomorrow.
But that cannot be.
We have our duties.
-- Mrs. Chasen (played by Vivian Pickels), in the film
Harold and Maude
I wish I knew, I wish I knew.
What makes me, me?
What makes you, you?
It's just another point of view,
a state of mind I'm going through.
So what I see is never true...
-- Cat Stevens, I Wish, I Wish (song lyrics)
"...if ears, tongues, and noses were removed, I am of the
that there would be an end of smells, tastes, and sounds.... I take
(these perceptions) to be mere (constructions of the mind)...
...(they) reside only in the consciousness.
Hence if the living creature were removed, all these qualities
would be wiped away and annihilated."
-- Galileo, The Assayer, 1623.
(quoted in Crowther, Six Great Scientists, 1995, p. 77)
1. Why is there something instead of nothing?
2. Why is the "something" governed by a set of laws?
3. And, why this particular set, instead of an infinite
number of alternative sets?
Why is there something rather than nothing?
And why is so much of it on my desk?
-- Natalie Angier
Live in the moment;
appreciate the past;
anticipate the future.
-- Me (although I am sure that I picked up the general idea somewhere...)
Just a line to show that I am alive & kicking
and going grand.
It's a treat.
From a postcard -- the
shows a color photo the Titanic, postmarked three days
before the ship sank, taking WJR with it.
"...100 billion galaxies, sparkling throughout space like
(the progeny of) quantum mechanics writ large across the sky."
-- Brain Greene,
The Fabric of the Cosmos, (p. 308)
"I may be just an anorexic duck and insignificant in the grand scheme of
but I'm all I've got."
-- The Duck, from the film
It is such a privilege to be born at all... such a very improbable
We have the privilege of being in this universe for a few decades. And during
that time it is an enormous privilege to be able to understand something
about the universe ... where we came from.
-- Richard Dawkins
Conversation between two students,
overheard on a campus elevator.
(St. Robert Hall,
LMU, April 26, 2005):
He: "Did you go to his office hours?"
"Yes. But the problem is that you go a professor's office hours
and you see at their office that they have hobbies. But before that
you thought that they were, like, um... really superior."
She: (Sounding quite let down.) "And
so the more you talk to them, the more you
realize that they are, like, regular people. And not really
"Then," (a pause), " ...you really feel like you don't want to study as hard anymore."
Some photos of
my mis-spent youth, and early career.