Summer Solstice Monday

Funny – I thought yesterday was summer solstice; d’uh, it’s actually today – the time of year when the natural light is out that much longer (even at the hour in which I’m writing this blog). See, I like summer for this one reason – the light (not the humidity – so help me Gosh, definitely not the humidity – I’ll can swallow the heat, but not the perpetual dampness that summer in NYC can bring).

Finally finished reading Brian Greene’s “The Elegant Universe”. Took forever, but I did it. Greene’s a good writer; very poetic stuff in trying to understand the mysteries of the universe and the possibility of one theory to explain all the theories of physics. Greene’s a string theorist and is real smart and it shows. Lovely. My only quibble is that try as I might, I still have trouble understanding the scientific explanations (yep, I’m the one who undermines the Asian-American stereotype by having not been good at higher mathematics and physics (which was not my best science subject)).

Then again, I liked how Greene showed how the latest thought in string theory specifically and physics in general almost cross into philosophy: what is reality; if Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle says that the subatomic world is awfully uncertain, what can we be certain about at the normal level?; if Einstein says things are relative at the galactic level, that’s just… powerful stuff; are there alternate dimensions (Greene says yes; and there are bunches of them) – and what does that really mean for the rest of us (umm, besides being fodder for sci-fi consumers); and what is the meaning of what science is leading us? I liked this one line from Greene, which I’ll note here:

[S]cience proceeds along a zig-zag path toward what we hope will be ultimate truth, a path that begun with humanity’s earliest attempts to fathom the cosmos and whose end we cannot predict. – Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe, p. 20, 2003 paperback edition.

It just sounds nice, that’s all. Although, keep in mind – the book is actually written before 9/11, so there was this odd reference to the World Trade Center (an analogy used to explain something about wormholes, if I recalled correctly); nothing bad, really; notably, Green’s 2003 preface notes that the latest scientific developments are still taking time (doesn’t help that particle accelerators take time to be built and cost serious moola), so his book is hardly out-of-date.

Greene’s from NYC, and he’s currently teaching at my Alma Mater, after having done stints at
other Ivy League institutions and Oxford (yeah, he’s really really smart); in fact, Alma Mater offers “Physics for Poets” (which I heard was no easy class anyway), so thanks to the good Prof. Greene, I guess I can now fully accept that physics can be poetic – no doubt… (sidenote – local PBS in NYC will be showing Nova’s version of “The Elegant Universe” in July – so, set your VCR’s – the three-part series is watchable, in a not-too-explanatory style, but-ok-for-the-junior-high-and/or-not-too-scientific set of folks out there)….

My streak this weekend sucks (pardon my language) – I managed to miss the Madonna interview on 20/20 this past Friday and the Clinton interview on 60 Minutes yesterday. Gee, I hope Barbara Walters and Dan Rather (forget Madonna and Clinton) will forgive me. (I had other things to do, to say the least).

Let’s go Mets; let’s hope we can at least be positive (maybe; hopefully; ideally; eh, whatever goes). The hometown National League team swept the Detroit Tigers this weekend; can we dare look forward to the upcoming games against the Yankees? Can Jose Reyes stay healthy and keep the team energized (and be mature about it)? Can the team owner himself keep things going without resorting to making things go bad? Hmm…

Have a good week….

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