Speaking With a Forked Tongue
My regular readers will likely have noticed that I thoroughly enjoy chasing down the truth behind things which are commonly accepted as facts. I am fortunate to have the gift of being able to spot cracks in arguments as well as glaciers.
I am currently heavily engaged in a legal matter concerning a witness in court who, shall we say, seems to have been somewhat uninterested in assisting the court in its determination of the true facts.
There is a phrase about not telling the truth, not now so common as when I was a child, but still in frequent use: "he speaks with a forked tongue".
Party Like It's 1776
"These colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states"
"And why do we measure areas with square centimeters ?"
"Because it would be much harder to fit in there round centimeters, silly!"
(From a conversation with my daughter)
University of New Mexico professor Geoffrey Miller is a social/evolutionary psychologist so it's no surprise he is clueless about people - like what it takes to have the willpower to get a Ph.D, beyond his own subjective opinion. And it's even less of a surprise he made an unscientific conjecture. He may have been surprised anyone noticed. If social and evolutionary psychologists aren't finding racism in office clutter or in eating meat or telling us we evolved to like a car grill they don't get much attention. Unless it matches a confirmation bias, no one believes that surveys of psychology undergraduates are meaningful, much less scientific, after all.
Architectural Folly And Trumpery
In 1984 Prince Charles provoked controversy when he called a proposed extension to London's National Gallery a "monstrous carbuncle".
What is good and what is bad about architecture? Science and engineering can tell us how strong a building is, but not how beautiful or ugly. Psychology might help, but should we have regard to science when we design a building ?
... there is one prize that the profession does its best to avoid winning. The Carbuncle Cup, for the ugliest building of the year, was launched by Building Design magazine in 2006, "for crimes against architecture".
My readers may wonder what I have been doing. The answer is I have been working on my thesis is the area of astrophysics. With much help from my advisor Dr. Anuj P. Sarma I am finally finishing.
Compassion in Adversity
It is not our petty squabbles that define what it is to be human: it is our compassion in the hour of adversity. The Oklahoma tornado demonstrates this.
"There are empty spaces where there used to be living rooms, and
bedrooms, and classrooms. In time we'll have to refill those spaces with
love, support and community."
I wish to express my sympathy to all those affected by the tornado, and my admiration for all who are engaged in rescue and assistance.
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
Fred Astaire is, of course, beyond compare. As a dancer, he had already set the bar for everyone and then he set it a lot higher when he appeared in 1951's "Royal Wedding" at age 52. Echoing a Voodoo shaman, he animated what most of us regard as inanimate and poked a little fun at younger competitor Gene Kelly in the process when he danced with a hat rack the way only a genius can.(1)
But he blew minds when he danced on the ceiling in that same movie, to the tune "You're All The World To Me", written by "Brigadoon" lyricist Alan Jay Lerner.
Like all great illusions, it relies on our grounding in science. Gravity works, people don't dance on the ceiling. Audiences raved over it.