Hey, look, Rosetta Stones is now just over a year old! Outstanding! I think that means I can start filching from it now, and reposting stuff here for those who missed it, or would like to relive the adventure again. Don’t worry, I’ll be subjecting Rosetta Stones to the same treatment, so if you have a few favorite posts from ETEV’s past, you’ll probably see those come round again.
Right, then. Onward, ho. Our first selection will be a reprise of my very first written piece for Scientific American, which appeared on the guest blog over a year ago. From there, the stars! No, wait, those aren’t particularly outcrop-rich and a little too hot for field work. Right. From there, the planets! And the moons! Geronimo!*
*+10 Geek Points to those who know where “Geronimo!” comes from.
Amanda Knief shared this on Facebook. It really drives the point home: the Second Amendment was written in a time when one person couldn’t so easily unleash catastrophic destruction. We need to have serious conversations about this, not this kabuki theater where politicians posture and ultimately can’t even pass the slightest control measures because they’re pants-pissing scared of the NRA.
Here’s another one for you bagpipe aficionados. I actually found it a long time ago, then forgot which it was, then didn’t listen to that part of my playlist for ages, then got a pleasant surprise when I finally did that bit. And I was all like, “Oh, hai, I’d better do that as the Sunday Song for my bagpipe loving peeps.” So here ’tis:
In keeping with our “alive” theme, here’s a lovely song by Katra with alive in the chorus.
Doctor Who fans will have one of the above three responses immediately. Non-fans will look on blankly and go, “Harf?”
And yeah, the Weeping Angels are creepy and “Blink” was a freaky episode. But I have to tell you, as far as monsters go… I still have a hard time with shadows. Fans of the Tennant years will know exactly what I mean. The rest of you just bloody well need to stop staring at the rest of us and watch the show.
Resistance is futi – no, wait, that’s Star Trek. But the point still stands.
All I knew of Naguib Mahfouz was this quote. These words, this simple sentence, reminds me of something very important: people have a tendency to waste their one precious life by clinging to a pathological fear of it. This quote reminds me to live, and not be afraid to live.
Mahfouz was an Egyptian writer and a bureaucrat who was never afraid to stir up a little controversy. He wrote what he felt moved to write. His books may not even stand a chance of being published in his native country, but he didn’t write with that in mind. He wrote what needed to be written. You don’t need to know more about him than a brief description of his novels and what happened to them to know that.
He pissed off fundamentalists, not only by not following their narrow interpretations of acceptable behavior and thought, but by standing up for Salman Rushdie even though he didn’t like his book. They put him on a death list as well. He called Khomeni a terrorist. He said, “no blasphemy harms Islam and Muslims so much as the call for murdering a writer.” They tried to kill him: he lived. A long life, a brilliant life, a life devoid of wife and kids for a long time because he was married to his writing. A life in which he won a Nobel prize for the words he wouldn’t compromise.
He didn’t fall prey to the malady of fearing life.
Stupid trees. They’ve been giving me fits. It all seemed very simple: volcano go boom, trees fall down, end of story. But we all know it’s more complicated than that. And, of course, this is the first time I’ve written a Mount St. Helens post with Dragon. But I eventually wrestled data into some semblance of order, extracted a story about the bizarre directions bits of a lateral blast can move in, and Dragon did an admirable job figuring out what I was talking about. Smiles all round.
So, anyone want to hazard a guess as to which direction the blast was coming from in this photo? It’s hard, I know, but you can do it!
You should’ve done brilliantly, especially if you, y’know, read the post. Stay tuned for the next time we return to Mount St. Helens, because that’s probably when I’m going to please the pyromaniacs in the audience. Heh.
So, two posts up on Rosetta Stones so far this week (and I promise you, I’m going to try to get to our next Cataclysm post tomorrow – it’s harder to write with Dragon, but we’ll get there). The first one is a kind of self-congratulatory thingy: I ended up getting linked by NASA Earth Observatory. I know, right?! So of course I had to link it and poke some fun at myself and give the credit to the person it really belongs to: our own RQ. If she hadn’t asked me about Tolbachik, I wouldn’t have written anything about it, and NASA EO wouldn’t have gone, “Oh, hai, we could use that!”
If you wish to donate, please go here. Only read the first few paragraphs of the request for donations if you’ve got enough tissue to see you through – you’ll probably end up mingling happy and sad tears. Also,
Boston Atheists and the Secular Coalition for America (Massachusetts Chapter) has officially co-sponsored this campaign. They pledged $500 and will be doing the local groundwork to help up get these funds to the victims and their families. Thanks to Zachary Bos and all the people that help make the Boston area a great place for non-believers to live.
The Humanist Community at Harvard is also chipping in, as they do have a community member who has been directly affected and will need funds. Thanks to Conrad Hudson, Greg Epstein, and the folks at Harvard Humanists.
It’s good to see everyone coming together to get this situation handled. A few tear apart: many put back together. A lot of people are showing the best of themselves right now. A lot of people are showing why it’s good to never give up hope for humanity.
I’ve updated our main Boston page. Let me know if there are any other orgs helping out that we should be aware of.
Rage settles to righteous anger. Shock becomes determination. In the aftermath of a disaster, we have our chance to rise to our feet, scrub our faces dry on a sleeve, and roll up those sleeves to get to work. We help heal the wounded, comfort the bereaved, fix the damage, and set things as right as we can.
If your faith in humanity wavered, remember: some people ran toward the blasts. The Red Cross had all the blood and funds it needed within hours. People all over the world stepped up immediately to do whatever they could. A few would rip apart: many will put back together.
We will come together and lift each other up. Fall seven; up eight. That’s us. That’s people.
I’ve listed as many resources as I could find. Let me know what I’ve missed.