Random Thoughts

All through the month of March, from 11:57 PM to midnight, visitors in Times Square can see artist Marco Brambilla's vision of Apollo 18, the mission that never was.

We may sometimes think science is in the doldrums today - young people nostalgically believe the 1960s and 1970s were some kind of Golden Age of Space Exploration - but things are much better now. Between 1965 and 1975 the budget for NASA was cut in half.(1) 

In 1993, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan gave us "defining deviancy down", a clever bit of alliteration based on the work of sociologist Emile Durkheim from his defining work of 1895. Durkheim wrote that crime is normal, it is going to happen, but by defining what is deviant, a community decides what is not and creates a reasonable standard for living together. 
This is my first posting, and already I'm in trouble.  The pull-down menu for "Field" belies an excruciatingly conventional taxonomy of human endeavour.  If I want to deliver a critical comment on Economics, it'll have to go under "Random Thoughts".  Same with Sociology, Science Fiction, ... most everything I want to talk about now that I'm retired and no longer constrained to discuss only Physics.  I suppose I could just list everything as Physics, since that will always be my model for everything, but then no one would read any of it. 
Nothing justifies the killing of people for expressing ideas no matter how repugnant one finds them. However, these things don't happen in a vacuum. These things are not simply the fault of the minority other person and their refusal to see how superior the majority is and adopt their ways.  The Marianne LePen's of France are more the reason for this than Charlie Hebdo is.  Charlie was just a soft target that those cowards decided to attack.  Hearing a major political candidate advocate for the deportation of a large group would tend to make radicalism more likely. 

Cartoon Credit: Dave Brown (Source)

Twitter: https://twitter.com/steveschuler20

Many consumers today feel out of touch with how their food is produced and are disturbed by a lot of what they hear about it through their social networks or other sources of information.If it is necessary to assign fault for this phenomenon, I think we could blame Jethro Tull

Ian Anderson and Martin Barre of the more modern Jethro Tull

Nonsensical but oddly beautiful Bing and Google translations from Facebook posts in a variety of languages:


In the mid-1960s the Elizabethan morality play space western known as "Star Trek" debuted and series creator Gene Roddenberry was cagey about when exactly it took place (thus the reason to use 'star dates'), but it had to have been in the 23rd century if later writers were getting their information relayed correctly.  Regardless of the exact dates of their five year mission, the public was energized by the future - and the gadgets it contained.

Portable computers were completely believable and wireless communications already existed. A fax machine was clearly on the horizon, since the teletype had already existed since 1915 and a fax just required a phone line - but medical diagnosis was not even close to "Star Trek"'s future yet.