I feel like such an idiot.
For days I’ve been thinking about the Leonids and when the best time will be to watch them.
And the best place.
Lying in my hammock staring skyward.
And it’s the PERSEIDS!
The Leonids aren’t until NOVEMBER!
Plus the Leonids make me think of Brezhnev.

Scientists decipher cave painting

Here is the text:

Man wife car air conditioner broke. Wife go dealer fix. Mechanic quote. Wife say, Wow! Expensive!

Wife by nother car instead.

Man say how two people drive three car?

Wife say it good deal. Only little bit more than compressor.

Man say so why we need big car broke air conditioner then?

Wife say, for big IKEA stuff.

Wife say, that remind me…

Man say, look, many fat mammoth! I hunt now!

The Law of Conservation of Cats

The law of conservation of cats, also known as the principle of cat/feline conservation, states that the number of cats in an isolated system (closed to all further adoption or other forms of acquisition of new cats) will remain constant over time. This principle is equivalent to the conservation of energy, in the sense when energy or cats are enclosed in a system and none is/are allowed in or out, its/their quantity cannot otherwise change (hence, its quantity is “conserved”). The number of cats in an isolated system cannot be changed as a result of processes acting inside the system. The law implies that the number of cats in an isolated system cannot be altered, although it may be rearranged in space and changed into different cats; such that every time a cat “owner” lets one gray cat out of the house, a second gray cat will come back into the house, and for every red cat that exits the house, another red cat will enter, and especially if a red cat and a gray cat both leave the house at the same time, another red cat and gray cat will stumble all over each other rushing back into the house before the door can close, no matter if it is four in the afternoon or three in the morning, even if they have been let out and in fifteen times in the past hour, becauseĀ  the number and color of cats going out of the house must be equal to those coming back in.

That mushroom/fungus thing I was mentioning

You know, the alternate life form thing post, there is apparently a whole theory of that, you can read about it here. The shadow biosphere, kewl.

That really ticks me off, when other scientists beat me to the punch like that.

Weekend of scientific research

Research conclusion: garden clippers go way more easily through the tip of your left ring finger than they do through rose canes.

On a related note, got less cello practice in this weekend than I’d planned for. So I fired up the theremin instead, as my wife was out of town. Turns out when I run it through my distortion pedal, I get Russian short wave radio. Even when the theremin is turned off. The pedal itself, with all the other cords, cables and wiring, appears to suffice.

Careers in Science: Noetical Hydrology

Does the tear absorb the ocean or does the ocean absorb the tear? This question is the domain of the noetical hydrologist. Taking a walk along the creek with his younger daughter, the noetical hydrologist finds himself discussing death and grief with her. “I watched you when grandpa died,” she says. “I read in a magazine how long it takes to get over the deaths of various people – friend, parent, spouse, grandparent, and we were both right on the money. I needed about four months. Eight months for you, I think. You always used to be funny. Then you were so sad. Then, afterwards, you were funny again, just not quite as funny as before.”

The noetical hydrologist’s daughter says this to him. The sun has set and the sky is glowing above the cornfield while clouds gather for a rainy night. The noetical hydrologist wonders, is she wise beyond her years or am I just dull? Neither, he decides. She’s the way she belongs, as is he.

Does the tear absorb the ocean or does the ocean absorb the tear?

Careers in Science, IV: Theoretical Astronomy

The theoretical astronomer looks at the sky one night and thinks about watching the tears of St. Lawrence in August and remembers, as every time he thinks about the tears of St. Lawrence falling in August a girlfriend with a birthday then and with whom, one year he broke up on that birthday. As mnemonic devices go, unpleasant yet effective. They were backpacking, and she sang Happy Birthday to Me all the way back to the car.

Maybe it doesn’t sound all that bad, but it’s what the theoretical astronomer thinks of when he remembers what a dick he was. He has done worse, too. But anyway.

The universe being infinite, maybe, he posits a planet somewhere upon which he could make amends for all his dickish behavior. Then he posits another planet somewhere the mere existence of which makes amends unnecessary, as this planet is so special its mere existence forgives him.

In theory.

The theoretical astronomer wakes in his bed and can’t remember having gone inside. His father’s ghost stands beside his bed. The theoretical astronomer posits a planet populated by ghosts posited by another theoretical astronomer on another distant, ghostless planet, and wonders if he, the first theoretical astronomer, is on this planet now.

I’m sorry, dad, he says.

His father’s ghost kind of shakes his head. Don’t waste your time being sorry.

But I am sorry. For being so blind to what you needed and wanted and hoped for, and not asking.

His father’s ghost shrugs, sort of, and says, What we hope for is our problem, not others’.

Yeah, well, I was a dick. I not only failed to try anything, choosing to run away instead, I had a weak character and was afraid, and so on. But worst of all I never talked to you, I elevated you rather than understood you. I never understood you or even understood that this was an option I would have been capable of pursuing.

Don’t beat yourself up, says the theoretical astronomer’s father’s ghost. What is, is. Our bad actions and inactions are our hell. The good ones are our heaven.

I’m sorry you’re in a box by the rubber boots, says the theoretical astronomer.

I’m not in any box, his father’s ghost says. My ashes are. I’m here, now, and wherever someone thinks of me.

I am sorry. I wish I could have reduced your pain. Instead I worshipped you.

And I loved you, says the theoretical astronomer’s father’s ghost. That’s why I let you make your own mistakes and was stingy with the advice.

I mistook it for aloofness.

Another shrug. Maybe it was. I’m not… I wasn’t perfect.

Yeah, well. Who is?

The theoretical astronomer’s father’s ghost faded from view. The theoretical astronomer wished he would have stayed longer.

He always wished that.

Outside, although the sky was bright, stars continued to fall. This the theoretical astronomer knew.