lunadelcorvo: (Ganesha Remover of Obstacles)
"And when they seek
to oppress you
And when they try
to destroy you,
Rise and Rise again
and again
Like The Phoenix
from the ashes
Until the Lambs
have become Lions
and the Rule of Darkness
is no more "
lunadelcorvo: (Whammy?)
[Error: unknown template qotd]Given the vastness of the universe, and the sheer unlikeliness of our existence on this small, insignificant speck of rock out on the universal hinterlands, I think it is both improbable and arrogant to assume we are the only living beings out here. However, I also think we require a vastly more open perspective on what 'life' is. The chances that other life forms would be anything we might recognize as such are almost as slim as there being no other life at all.

That said, no, I don't think we have established with any certainty that we have yet found evidence of such life, either here visiting or elsewhere. I admit there are things we don't know how to explain, but I (personally) am leery of drawing conclusions; we just don't know. I'd rather say I don't know that claim I do (based on cultural perceptions & biases) and be proven wrong, or worse, let my claims blind me to clues that might point to a different answer.

So, yes I believe it is likely there is other life out there, but no, I don't believe in UFOs per se, because I do rely on empirical proof.
lunadelcorvo: (Olivia)
[Error: unknown template qotd]Forget tolerance. Teach people how to think rationally, apply critical thinking, ask questions, formulate their own ethics based in reason not faith. Give them that, I suspect you'll find tolerance isn't an issue any more....

I know, it's been said all over my f-list. But given a wrangle I got into with a pair of particular idiots, I needed to say it again!
lunadelcorvo: (Hobbes Dancing)
I happened, through too many successive clicks to list (starting from a post in a medievalist blog ranting against the "useless postmodernist critique of factual knowledge"), upon a perfectly delightful thing. It is SO reassuring as I struggle with the theoretical chaff I have been wading through of late, to see that serious scholars, in a variety of disciplines, are as disenchanted with the stuff as I am.

What follows is the text of an article, written by NYU Physics Professor Alan Sokal, and accepted for publication by an academic cultural criticism publication. The article is utterly meaningless, and was intended to be meaningless. It was submitted as a hoax, to see how far one could push the incomprehensible verbiage of postmodern criticism, and still be found credible. (titles are links to full articles)

"Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity"
This is the original "parody" article, published in Social Text #46/47, pp. 217-252 (spring/summer 1996)

"A Physicist Experiments with Cultural Studies"
This is the article in which the author revealed the parody, published in Lingua Franca, May/June 1996, pp. 62-64.

My favorite quote:
What concerns me is the proliferation, not just of nonsense and sloppy thinking per se, but of a particular kind of nonsense and sloppy thinking: one that denies the existence of objective realities, or (when challenged) admits their existence but downplays their practical relevance.

Social Text's acceptance of my article exemplifies the intellectual arrogance of Theory — meaning postmodernist literary theory — carried to its logical extreme. No wonder they didn't bother to consult a physicist. If all is discourse and "text," then knowledge of the real world is superfluous; even physics becomes just another branch of Cultural Studies. If, moreover, all is rhetoric and "language games," then internal logical consistency is superfluous too: a patina of theoretical sophistication serves equally well. Incomprehensibility becomes a virtue; allusions, metaphors and puns substitute for evidence and logic. My own article is, if anything, an extremely modest example of this well-established genre.
There are volumes more about both articles and the experiment itself, but these will get you started.

Also of interest: The Postmodernism Generator This page will create, fresh for you, a completely meaningless, but very high-minded-sounding essay, employing postmodern criticism in a manner frighteningly similar to how it is done with sincere intent. Now you, too, can participate in the questionable endeavor of postmodern epistemological critique! Enjoy!
lunadelcorvo: (Coffee is life)
... and I'm certainly not advocating this a any sort of broad-based nutrition solution. BUT: Some days simply require a peanut butter and Nutella sandwich. *nods* That is all.

Drat! I STILL don't have a chocolate icon...
lunadelcorvo: (Badass is in!)
[Error: unknown template qotd]
  • I once rewired an ethernet connection through the walls of the office I worked in using a paperclip, a disassembled ball-point pen, string and some tape.
  • I have also repaired a car engine (alternator, actually) using a crowbar, a hacksaw, and a nut and bolt scavenged from an old dining room table.
  • I have wired an electric circuit using pennies when making a battery-powered Statue of Liberty out of a Barbie doll, a Christmas light and a cut and shaped plastic comb for a switch.
  • I replaced a jewelry box hinge with an old pin-back and a straight pin.
  • And repaired a plaster-and-lath overhang with paper towels, coat-hanger pieces and spackle.

  • That's all that come to mind at present, but there are countless others. This is a long, and time-honored tradition among the women in my family, in fact. We even have a word for it:

    fa-HUM-mich* verb, etymology unknown. To jerry-rig, fabricate, fix, hot-wire, or otherwise finnagle something out of unlikely bits and parts.

    (*That's a phonetic spelling, since I don't think I have ever before in my life actually written it out before!)



Things I need to remember:
• Asking for help is not, as it turns out, fatal.
• Laughing is easier than pulling your hair out, and doesn't have the unfortunate side effect of making you look like a plague victim.
• Even the biggest tasks can be defeated if taken a bit at a time.
• I can write a paper the night before it's due, but the results are not all they could be.
• Be thorough, but focused.
• Trust yourself.
• Honesty, always.

Historians are the Cassandras of the Humanities



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