Theory of Everything

Every Surfer Thinks He Knows the Secret of Everything:

This one, though, actually might have a read on it. I don't know enough mathematics to evaluate the claim that E8 construction could explain reality; perhaps one of you would like a try at it?

I will say, however, that "Holy Crap! That's it!" is a pretty good Modern English translation of Archimedes' "Eureka!"

Some Items

Some Items:

First of all, it's time for one of our periodic discussions among the various co-bloggers. We do this occasionally for various reasons. One of the items on the agenda this time will be getting someone to keep an email list, so I don't have to keep asking for everyone's emails, which I always lose before the next time I need them. :)

Second, let me thank Cassandra for providing this link, which I hadn't seen before. It's majestic. The last line is, of course, Gandalf's.

Third, I have gotten a lot of requests to do stuff lately. I'm sorry that I'm very busy and don't have the time I would like, as all of these things are worthy causes. Here are two of them, which I present only because they are in the last day or so's email, and I don't have to go searching for them.

OSD is running an "America supports you" text messaging thing.

Miss Ladybug is running an AnySoldier support project.

Sadly, the Project VALOUR-IT fundraiser, which I normally am glad to assist, is over already.

Thursday Lyrics

For bthun.

Been there, done that. Twice now.

This learned opinion notwithstanding, may I offer a few words that have restored my perspective on more than one occasion through years of raising two fine, but very different young men?

A mother, perhaps more than anyone else, puts so much of herself into her children. They represent her life's work. And so, when they grow up, it can be difficult to let them go, to know when that work is truly finished, to be at peace with what she has done and allow her children to venture forth and make their own mistakes, fall down, pick themselves back up, do things she wouldn't do herself, repeat all the dumb things she did (and warned them about repeatedly). This helped me to remember that while as a parent you never stop caring, more likely than not (as it says in one of those other mass culture poems that contains more than a grain of truth) no doubt my little universe will continue to unfold exactly as it should, even without my expert guidance :p

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you. goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is strong and secure.

So as it says somewhere in the Bible, rejoice in a job well done knowing you have been a good and faithful son father. And hopefully in the fullness of time, a grandfather.

And congratulations!


Against the Death of the West:

A famed author pronounces the final decline; but his reviewer points out that the fact of that very man's existence is reason for hope.

Admission to the Barzun-Trilling seminar, as it was known, entailed an interview with the two professors, which took place in Trilling’s Hamilton Hall office. This turned out to be genial, indeed conducted with a tone that suggested that in some sense we were equals, gentlemen and professionals, and serious about goals the three of us shared.

In that first interview I gained a distinct sense that what they wanted were seminar participants who not only would teach but had it in mind to write in a serious way, and to the extent possible be engaged in focused and shaping activity: No Waste Landers; no Bartleby the Scriveners; no William Steig figures curled up in protective boxes of sensibility.
So, amid decline, are new seeds planted.

Iran Nukes Forbidden?

Iran Nukes Forbidden?

I'd love to see a fuller explanation of the reasons behind this ruling, which is on IRNA here. Ayatollah Kashani says:

Islam bans shedding blood of nations; on the same ground, production of nuclear bomb and even thinking on its production are forbidden from Islamic point of view.
This is one of those times when I want to know why he says so. What's the justification for a ruling that even thinking of producing nuclear weapons is haram? I have no doubt that would be a fascinating conversation, one I'd like to have.

Loyalty a Factor in Heroism

From the AP: Breaking news from before any of us were born (to include the Wandering Jew, if he reads this weblog) -

Loyalty a Factor in Heroism

...then again, some lessons can't be stated (and internalized, and acted upon) too often.

Veteran's Day

Happy Veteran's Day:

As every year, the Birthday is followed by Veteran's Day. All the best to all of you who have served in uniform, and thank you for all you have done.

A Good Review:

Dalrymple gets a positive review here. He has a way of turning a phrase, so as to both praise the person of, yet totally dissent from the view of, an ideological opponent:

[J. S. Mill] was inclined to suppose, as many thinkers are, that most people either were or could become with sufficient education, like himself. In a way this does him honor, for he modestly supposed also that his own gifts were neither great nor exceptional, but this led him to imagine what is not very probable, that there would come a time when most people would be as deeply concerned with the moral foundations of human conduct as he. This in turn suggests that his knowledge of human beings in walks of life different from his own was not very extensive.
That's a brutal charge -- 'Mill was too ignorant of humanity to write about human nature' -- but delivered in a manner befitting a gentleman. We'd do well to emulate that courtesy.