Friday, 23 June 2017

On Travelling to Work - 2

Driving to work takes effort: concentration on the road and arriving safely. When one arrives at work this level of effort and concentration continues into the work of the day. At the end of the day, that effort and concentration continues as one drives home again. From leaving home to returning home again, one is expending effort and concentrating. The working day is extended as a result by the work that it takes to get to and from work.

Going to work by train or bus, if undertaken in the right frame of mind (and in the right circumstances: on trains and buses that are not overcrowded or uncomfortable) can (or perhaps should) be an extension of the leisure time one has at home.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Epictetus - 27

From: The Golden Sayings of Epictetus (translated by Hastings Crossley) - from Project Gutenberg.

Asked, Who is the rich man? Epictetus replied, "He who is content."

It is hard to combine and unite these two qualities, the carefulness of one who is affected by circumstances, and the intrepidity of one who heeds them not. But it is not impossible: else were happiness also impossible. We should act as we do in seafaring.
"What can I do?"—Choose the master, the crew, the day, the opportunity. Then comes a sudden storm. What matters it to me? my part has been fully done. The matter is in the hands of another—the Master of the ship. The ship is foundering. What then have I to do? I do the only thing that remains to me—to be drowned without fear, without a cry, without upbraiding God, but knowing that what has been born must likewise perish. For I am not Eternity, but a human being—a part of the whole, as an hour is part of the day. I must come like the hour, and like the hour must pass!

Sunday, 11 June 2017


In my experience, centaurs are almost always represented as the head, arms and trunk of a male and the body of a horse (presumably also male!). I do not recollect ever seeing a female centaur. Looking into this, I find that they are not mentioned in early Greek mythology but that centauresses or centaurides are mentioned in later Greek literature. After all, without female centaurs, where would any centaurs come from? I found this image somewhere, some time ago. I doubt if the ancient Greeks had this sort of image in mind though.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Seeing things differently

In his Jayne Lectures of 1968 - which appeared as 'Induction and Intuition in Scientific Thought' (which was later incorporated in 'Pluto's Republic') - and in his book 'Advice to a Young Scientist', the Nobel prize winning biologist Sir Peter Medawar (1915-1987) describes four types of experiment.

They are:

* Baconian (or Inductive) Experimentation.
This type of experimentation is typified by the phrase, "I wonder want would happen if … ?"
All investigations, Medawar suggests, begin this way.

* Galilean (or Critical) Experimentation.
This is the type of experiment where "actions are carried out to test a hypothesis or preconceived opinion by examining the logical consequences of holding it." Here Medawar's words reflect the ideas of Sir Karl Popper (1902-1994).

* Aristotelian (or Demonstrative) Experimentation.
This type of experiment is "intended to illustrate a preconceived truth and convince people of its validity."

and then there is...

* Kantian (or Deductive) Experimentation.
This type of experimentation is based on: "Let's see what happens if we take different view" and consists of "experiments in which we examine the consequences of varying [our] axioms or presuppositions."

Taking a different view is not just useful or important when it comes to scientific experiements. It makes a big difference when just looking at the world.

Here are some images to make one think (differently):

and what about this...?

Monday, 29 May 2017

Sun and Moon... and Mercury

The sun comes out during the day and the moon at night... well, not quite. Here is a picture I took of the moon late one afternoon. The colour of the sky and that of the moon are continuous with each other giving an interesting transparency effect. On another occasion, I took a photograph of the sun (using, of course, appropriate filters and precautions). I did so to catch the transit of Mercury on 9th May last year. It can be seen as the tidy dot in the lower left quadrant.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

On Travelling to Work - 1

There are two ways to get to work: by private transport or by public transport. Private transport usually takes the form of travelling by car; public transport, the bus or the train. Some, of course, choose different forms of cycling. If one can't afford a vehicle, one has little choice than to go by public transport. Those who can afford a car often buy one and drive themselves to work.

However, if one becomes very wealthy one may decide to hire a chauffeur so that one no longer has to drive oneself. Here I think that there is a sense of coming full-circle here. Doesn't a bus or train driver chauffeur those who travel by public transport? So, don't knock public transport; it's much the same, to my mind, as being chauffeur driven.