Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Meanwhile the wife of the French ship's captain has gone into labor with her first child. Dr. Maturin goes over to help deliver the baby. When there are complications he says that he needs to stay on the ship to help with the delivery.
After the baby is born Maturin and Dillon spend their evening eating and drinking some good wine courtesy of the grateful French captain. This is their first chance to honestly discuss their past in the United Irishmen. Neither was involved in the uprising, but they regret how it ended and all the friends they lost. Maturin says he no longer believes in political revolutions.
At one point Dillon asks Maturing if he is really becoming Captain Aubrey's friend. Maturin says that he really appreciates the Captain's good qualities. Dillon says that he can't like the Captain. He is resentful that he didn't get a command. He despises the Captain's eagerness to go after enemy ships to condemn them for profit, partially because he, Dillon, already has money. He also suspects that the Captain may not be truly brave as he let an enemy galley go in a previous engagement, even though he needed to to save a ship in the convoy. Dillon admits that his criticisms may have no basis in fact and are even contradictory. But he says he can't help how he feels. This doesn't mean he won't do his duty though.
In the end he apologizes for having spoken so freely to Maturin. It shows however, that Maturin knows what he is doing as he becomes more involved with the Navy and as he and Aubrey become closer friends.
I also noticed in several scenes how the author describes Maturin's reptilian gaze when he is startled or before he understands the situation.
Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
We've been watching Museum Secrets on the Smithsonion Channel this evening. They have been showing the American History Museum in New York. Many of the displays with the stuffed animals were pioneering efforts in the 1920's to show the animals in more lifelike poses than they had before. They even had much better taxidermy methods, which had been developed by Carl Akeley, who started his career working on the preservation of Jumbo the elephant. Unfortunately, Akeley never saw the opening of his exhibits. He died in Africa before they could open.
And here are my pictures I took while visiting the museum in 2008.
Friday, December 07, 2012
Thursday, September 27, 2012
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Constitution Day Mont Alto, a set on Flickr.
We've been having these discussion/opinion boards on campus the last few years. This was the guns on campus question. I thought there would be more opinions. I know people have very strong opinions on this.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
I got this in the Everyman Edition, where it is bundled with Independence Day and The Lay of the Land as The Bascomb Novels. This summer Ford has released a new novel, Canada. I heard an interview with him on NPR. I thought before getting this book, I would check out his previous work as part of my new frugality.
Saturday, June 23, 2012
I just finished House of Stone, the final book the the reporter, Anthony Shadid. It recounts his efforts to rebuild the home of his great-grandfather in the small village of Marjayoun in southern Lebanon. Sadly, as the book came to press Shadid was killed while covering the uprising in Syria for the New York Times.
Interspersed in the story of the reconstruction, Shadid recounts the history of his family from the time his great grandfather built the home shortly after WWI through the emigration of his children to the USA down to the present day. It's an amazing story of courage and persistence through some really bad times. Amazingly, most of the family settled in Oklahoma, where they have prospered first as merchants, then as professionals.
I didn't realize how big a shock it was to the Middle East when the Ottoman Empire fell. All of the people from different religions had lived together peacefully for centuries. They were separated into different countries, many of which were controlled by European powers like France and Great Britain, who had their own agendas. The lawlessness and fighting that were unleashed are still with us today.
We hear in the news of reports of fighting in and between Israel, Syria, Lebanon, and the other countries. The old problems have never been resolved.
Shadid gives a vivid picture of life in the village today. The friends and workmen he describes struggle to maintain their lives in very difficult circumstances.
Through much of the book Shadid wrestles with his own life after a divorce. He is often guilty about being so far away from his daughter. In the epilogue we find out that he had remarried and had a baby son. In many ways I wish he hadn't gone on that last reporting mission to Syria. This is a book I can see myself rereading for its many dimensions.
Friday, June 08, 2012
I had heard previously of Edward Conard's book about capitalism. (He was a partner with Mitt Romney in Bain Capital). I like Fallow's analysis of why Conard's world view is wrong. It takes more than just low tax rates for innovation to work. I believe, like Fallows, that we need all of these things to make the system work:
My list would start with: openness to immigration and outside talent; strong university-based research systems; world's largest domestic market as incubator; rule-of-law and culture of venture capital (as opposed to absolute income share for venture capitalists); supportive "innovation in a garage can lead to glory" concepts and the related ideal of mobility and opportunity; and so on.
Saturday, June 02, 2012
My local public radio station just announced a switch to an all-news format. Some of the shows they are introducing, such as On the Media and Dianne Rheem, are ones I either download as podcasts or listen on other stations over the internet.
To be honest, I don't listen to the current classical broadcast they have. It just doesn't have the passion that I remember from the old Robert J. Lurtsema shows from years ago. Too much chamber music and not enough heart in it! And on many days I have noticed that they pipe in music from another station rather than have a local host.
Overall this is a good move that should increase the audience. Now that there is so little public funding, the station has to pay more attention to the audience.
Friday, May 04, 2012
First, don't bring home brochures, pamphlets, and other freebies from conferences. There were so many things that I was certain I could use in class or in a research project, but never touched. From now on I will only take home free pens, pencils, and paper.
Then I realized that I should not keep old editions of textbooks. When I get a new one it's time to throw out the previous edition, even if there are good notes in it. The same goes for old editions of computer manuals. Better yet, buying software books is a fool's task since software is updated so often. Better to use the online documentation.
I really need to prune out the extra course handouts and supplements at the end of each semester. I will try to give fewer handouts and put everything on the course website for sure.
Finally, I need to really prune out all papers after they are no longer needed. If I make it all digital, or as much as possible, then I can just lose things in the computer!