Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Comet C/2017 01

Please click HERE to view the track and location of Comet C/2017 01 in the 3D Solar System Simulator.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Young America in Literature: A Calvinist Assumption

A key theme in American literature is a play on a Calvinist assumption that people, and especially people with power, are up to no damn good. This theme comes to us from the Old Testament and St. Augustine, and from St. Thomas Aquinas on natural theology--though, in respect to Aquinas, the conclusion is essentially Calvinist; by way of example, see Thomas Jefferson in his opening remarks both to the Declaration and to The Virginia Act of Religious Freedom. Technical analyses of the idea can be found in Wittgenstein.  See, for example, On Certainty; though Wittgenstein's many circumspect remarks on the human condition, recorded in Ray Monk's biography and elsewhere, are rather more pertinent to the matter here.

In Moby-Dick, the theme is played out as Ishmael works through his youthful non-involvement, takes responsibility for himself, goes into survival mode, and brings to bear a mature skeptical attitude in an assessment of the people he finds himself with on board the Pequod: what an evil madman Ahab is, what an unaware cypher Mr. Flask is, what a moral coward (at bottom, and ironically) Mr. Stubb is, what a "bureaucratic" conformist Mr. Starbuck is, and what a lot of brutes the crew are... In "Benito Cereno", Melville plays on this theme as Captain Delano naively walks among the slaves who have taken over Cereno's ship, and how, after much narrative suspension, Delano finally figures out what's going on and takes control of the situation... In The Confidence-Man, Melville repeatedly plays on the theme, presenting a series of scenarios where people (with one or two exceptions) fail to see that they are being conned by the devil.

In The Scarlet Letter, it comes in the form of too-slowly identifying various "enemies"-- Chillingworth, the community, its moral foundations, its leadership, its theocratic system--and failing to take appropriate action.

In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, it comes in the form of the various misadventures experienced by Jim and Huck, and concludes with Huck heading out West as the appropriate response to the underlying fraud that riddles society, and so on.

Richard Basehart as Ishmael in Moby-Dick

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Online Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) Simulator

AGC was the main computer system of the Apollo program that successfully landed 12 astronauts on Moon. There was one AGC on each of the Apollo Command Modules and another one on each Lunar Module. There was also a second backup computer system called Abort Guidance System (AGS) on the Lunar Modules, which is simulated by Virtual AGC, but not the current version of Moonjs.
Astronauts interacted with AGC by using DSKY, a combination of 7-segment numerical displays, indicator lights and a simple keypad,

Please click HERE to enter data and toggle the controls.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Bishop James Pike and Philip K.Dick

A brief sketch on James Pike (narrated by Leonard Nimoy):

Pike is Philip K. Dick's subject in The Transmigration of Timothy Archer, which is not a science fiction novel, but rather an inquiry into the intellectual credulity and psychological weaknesses that led to the destruction of Pike and his family, and which is told against the backdrop of the dynamic social fracturing that characterizes Berkeley in the 1960s. Smart, skeptical, lucid, learned, humorous, philosophically comprehensive, sharply drawn--Dick unequivocally denounces Pike and the "New Age" phantasm into which Pike (and so many) had fallen, and which ultimately led to Pike's death.


The Transmigration of Timothy Archer is not (as the Amazon description states) part of the VALIS Trilogy.

Monday, October 2, 2017

The Philosophy of Composition

In a composition there's always "room" for another part, another chop, another angle, another version, another layer, another interpretation, another expression, another suggestion, another perspective, another scale, another inversion, another translation, another conversion, another voice, another counterpoint, another change, etc.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Terrance Lindall Retrospective and Gala Dinner

The Terrance Lindall Retrospective 1962-2017
December 16, 2017- January 8 2018
Catalog available
Reception December 17th (Subject to change) 4-6 PM admission $10
Followed by “Dinner With the Devil”,
with musical interludes by Peter Dizozza and Bienvenido Bones Banez
A sumptuous dinner plus music and light entertainment, TIX $500

Dinner includes a guided visit to the rare book library and treasure rooms with a look at one of a kind rare treasures including a collection of over 400 17th c. English wax seals including that of King Charles I on a 1635 document regarding land that is now Edinburgh Airport, and a wax seal of Oliver Cromwell on the marriage contract of his daughter. Also, a 17th c. English beheading ax, a magnificent 17th. Torah scroll of the book of Genesis (23 feet long), a magnificent 17th c. French tapestry border depicting Mary, Jesus and John. Plus 17th c. Milton Books, and  afurst edition of Edward Young's Night Thoughts featuring William Blake's illustrations.

Please click HERE for complete information.

Saturday, September 30, 2017


       The Forbidden Libation

In this shallow and shining pool
Oblong, coffin-regular and warm,
Buoys the duck with constant smile,
In prospect sharing and co-eternal
With the piddling trickle of yonder
Faucet brightly glimmering, a star—
Old Time alone sings such stars,
Angel signs, arch appurtenances—
Coursing in a firmament to mortals unknown
And to poetasters untasted, that sea,
Innocent pool oe’r which Junior first elevates
Then plunges the plastic cup!
Crying an oath, echoed in a splash,
Down thrusts the handled vessel
Whose displacement tosses soapy
Yet potable delight towards wall,
Pale curtain and linoleum floor
(Did Archimedes begin thus?)
Then pulled aloft, brimming full
Of liquid mass proscribed by lore
Scarcely regarded in the impending
Spontaneity of the bather’s next act...
To the lips approaching, suddenly,
With a grimace, a snort, and a wince,
Forbidden resolution, flowing abandon, folly:
Thus sipped! Ha ha ha ha ha ha!
And Mommy, thou shall never know!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The medium is the message, continued

Collected, analyzed and packaged, your ideas, opinions and concerns sent to you by a third-party provider...

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Vitasta is reading Emanations

Please click HERE to learn more about Emanations: I Am Not a Number.
Please click HERE to learn more about Vitasta Raina's novella, Writer's Block.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Allegory of Political-Ontological Invasion and Spiritual Erosion

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is certainly one of Philip K. Dick's best novels. Here is a Palmer Eldritch digital painting by artist Sally Marsh.

Another image inspired by this frightening novel can be viewed HERE.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Man and Superman

None of the dogmas of modern science are immutable. Gigantic factories, office buildings rising to the sky, inhuman cities, industrial morals, faith in mass production, are not indispensable to civilization. Other modes of existence and of thought are possible. Culture without comfort, beauty without luxury, machines without enslaving factories, science without the worship of matter, would restore to man his intelligence, his moral sense, his virility, and lead him to the summit of his development.

                                       – Alexis Carrel

Saturday, September 23, 2017

History of Japanese Woodblock Prints

By period and artist, please click HERE.

Katsukawa Shuncho, "No. 5, from the series
Twelve Months in Six Sheets 

(Jûni kô rokumai tsuzuki)", 1789-95

Friday, September 22, 2017

Formae Luminis

Soon as the force of that fallacious Fruit,
That with exhilerating vapour bland
About thir spirits had plaid, and inmost powers
Made erre, was now exhal'd, and grosser sleep
Bred of unkindly fumes, with conscious dreams
Encumberd, now had left them, up they rose
As from unrest, and each the other viewing,
Soon found thir Eyes how op'nd, and thir minds
How dark'nd; innocence, that as a veile
Had shadow'd them from knowing ill, was gon,
Just confidence, and native righteousness
And honour from about them, naked left
To guiltie shame hee
cover'd, but his Robe
Uncover'd more, so rose the Danite strong
Herculean Samson from the Harlot-lap
Of Philistean Dalilah, and wak'd
Shorn of his strength…

         --John Milton, Paradise Lost, 9.1046-1062

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Whispering Moirai

"When silence is prolonged over a certain period of time, it takes on new meaning."                        
                                                               — Yukio Mishima