Archive for November, 2011


November 13, 2011

I am wondering whether writing short, frequent posts will keep this blog alive, since long essays or ramblings don’t seem to do it.  I am having the busiest semester ever.  But I still want to keep a sort of record, incomplete though it may be, of my random thoughts.  Let’s see how long this experiment will last.

I’ve been grading papers, although not enough to make more than a scratch in the backlog, giving a large public talk where I teach, in which I “came out” as a science fictionwriter, working on a new version of a course that involves field trips, a very strange and fascinating experience for this theoretical physics person, wading through acres of legal papers for other stuff, and attending to child, dog and household in general.  Not necessarily in that order.  In fact, definitely not in that order.

So, random thought #1: I really want to go visit Occupy Boston and support them, but can only do so if I warp spacetime, which does not seem feasible at present.  My institution held a teach-in that was atended  by at least a hundred students and was very inspiring.  I am wondering if I dare to hope (since environmentalists have also joined the bandwagon) that ultimately this movement will take up climate change as well.

An interesting critique that came up was that the movement was too unfocused and didn’t have a few main issues to fight for.  I don’t know if this is a valid criticism but I do know that when you are fighting against an entire system and not just a certain manifestation of it, you might have to be multi-pronged.  If the mini-movements that constitute Occupy feed off and reinforce each other with positive feedback loops, we may yet get a tipping point toward the future we want.  The complex, multifaceted and systemic problems we face are very modern problems and I doubt that we can confront them with the old, tired, linear mindsets.  Or so it seems to me at this juncture.

Randon thought #2: I’m thinking of Ettore Majorana’s disappearance and wonder what really happened to him.  I hope that he stayed alive and ended up living the way he wanted to, as elusive as the neutrinos he studied.  Somebody needs to write a play about him.

So much for a short post!  This is at least short-ish.  Let’s see if I can write something soon.