Here is a beautiful video of SaFire, one of the world’s top hoop artists.
Posted in Art
Tagged Hooping, SaFire
So WordPress challenged everyone to write a blog post every day in 2011. For me, it was an excuse to get back into blogging. And for the most part, it’s worked. But posting every day is getting old. And on top of that, the topic suggestions from WordPress have ranged from asinine to insipid. I pity whoever is responsible for churning out 365 days of “write about what color shoestring you would never wear in public,” and “write about the three things you would change about your nose.” Good grief.
See you Monday at the earliest.
I often wonder if I’ve made the right choices in my life. My mistakes follow me daily. I guess they have nowhere better to go. Sometimes I think I’ve chosen the wrong career for my talents. But sometimes I love what I do so much that I cannot image not doing it.
Physics has turned out to be more difficult than I originally thought. And truth be told, in most respects I’m mediocre. I teach quantum mechanics this fall, a subject I studied in depth in graduate school. quantum mechanics is the science of atoms and subatomic particles. And since the world is made of atoms, quantum mechanics is the framework on which everything we know about nature is built. For example, it explains why the Periodic Table is periodic, and why different atoms have different characteristics. Without quantum mechanics, physics and chemistry simply do not make sense.
I’m excited about teaching this subject. It’s the hardest, most fundamental, and most important branch of modern physical science. What I do in the classroom between now and April 30 will help shape the lives of every student in the room. If you’ve never taught, let me tell you the sheer magnitude of this responsibility can be overwhelming.
My dad would tell me to get my head out of my ass and just teach the class. Then he would cry and tell me that he loves me. That kind of works. Human contact can solve almost any problem. But it also helps me to remember why I love this subject. I recently found words that articulate it for me. They are from Marvin Chester’s Primer of Quantum Mechanics:
For what purpose, dear reader, do you study physics?
To use it technologically? Physics can be put to use; so can art and music. But that’s not why you study them.
It isn’t their social relevance that attracts you. The most precious things in life are the irrelevant ones. It is a meager life, indeed, that is consumed only by the relevant, by the problems of mere survival.
You study physics because you find it fascinating. You find poetry in conceptual structures. You find it romantic to understand the workings of nature. You study physics to acquire an intimacy with nature’s way.
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords continues to show progress as she recovers from a gun shot wound to her brain. Looking beyond the completely ridiculous political fallout from the assassination attempt, here is a woman facing the abyss, and fighting to hold on. To me, she is becoming an inspiration. Very few human beings face anything like what stands in her way.
What happened to Giffords hits deep for several reasons. The shootings make us think of the people we love, and the horror of seeing anyone close to us killed or severely injured. It underlines our mortality and the utter lack of a guaranteed tomorrow. Think of anyone you love, anyone close to you, anyone with whom you’ve shared joy and pain. Unless they are in the room with you as you read this, you do not know at this very instant if they are alive. And you do not know if either of you will live to see each other again. The improbability of dying on this particular day often dulls our sense of mortality. What happened in Tuscon throws it back in our faces.
There is also a political dimension to all this, even if the shooter was insane. There were two ends of the bullet’s trajectory. On the receiving end was a representative of our Republic. No matter what was in the mind of the killer, this was an attack on our government.
But more importantly it was an attack on people loved by other people. We can if forced to live without a constitutional republic. We cannot live without the people we love. Giffords is not struggling to recover so that she can cast votes in Congress. She is fighting to be with the people she loves and who love her. In this, we should imitate her.
Here is another remarkable performance from Cirque du Soleil. The performer is Elena Lev, working with the Alegria troupe. Elena trained initially in the Soviet Union. She is one the top hoop artists in the world.
This is one of the most extraordinary things I’ve ever seen. Ever. The entire thing is amazing, but at 6:40 this girl accomplishes a skill of such strength, beauty, and grace that it left me speechless.
President Barack Obama has called for a national moment of silence Monday morning at 11:00 for the people killed and injured in the shooting incident yesterday in Tuscon, Arizona.
This is a good opportunity for all Americans to band together in opposition to those willing to commit murder to advance their political goals. The incident in Arizona yesterday was an attack against the principle of self-government. We should not tolerate such acts, nor those who encourage them.