Tropical Storm Isaias is now affecting, and is in the process of leaving, Hispaniola, and will spend the next few days transiting the Bahamas pretty much at the worst possible angle. During that time it will turn into a hurricane. Expectations are that it will not likely be a major hurricane, but the trend lately has been for hurricanes to be worse, or speedier, or both, than expected, so expect worse. By next Monday afternoon, the hurricane will be in a good position to make some sort of landfall in South Carolina or North Carolina. It will hug the coast as a hurricane or a storm all the way to Massachusetts and possibly beyond.
You are in motion. You may not realize this, but you are, even while you think you are standing still. Long ago physicists realized that everything is in motion, but they probably were not thinking of you. But I am thinking of you, and you are in motion.
Let me sharpen the point of this polemic so you get it right away. You are on a subway platform (a subway is like a train but it runs underground, in case you are in the Midwest or something) and you are in motion. When you move around on the platform, you may randomly bump into someone, and then maybe they bump into someone else. And so on. Every now and then, somebody is bumped off the platform and onto the tracks, and right away the subway (underground train) comes by (the engineer is a guy named Murphy) and runs that person over.
Did you see that part where you are in motion, and that actually caused someone to get run over by Murphy’s subway?
If you don’t vote, that is not not doing something. You are in motion, remember? Just “sanding there” not voting has consequences. You didn’t vote, you knocked someone off the subway platform. Get it?
I live in a suburban townhouse complex. Those of you who have always known me will know that I wasn’t born in one, never lived in them for most of my life, and it may be a bit of a surprise, but I almost never chose where I live (or what car I drove, for that matter) partly because there are other things I chose to choose instead. Anyway, here I am in this suburban townhouse complex in an outer ring white flight bedroom community of the Twin Cities. It is campaign season, and it is time for me to put out my campaign signs. Maybe a BLM sign and maybe a Vote Climate sign. I’ll probably mix them up, move them around, keep them visible and busy. Keep them in motion. Because I am in motion, and I confer some of that motion to my lawn signs. (I quickly add: In this political district, lawn signs do vote. You should see them on election day, springing along on their spindly little legs over to the polling place at the community center. But I digress.)
Naturally, the lawn signs cause a controversy. Sort of. Two things are in motion at the same time. Someone complained about lawn signs. The representative from our HOA’s management company swings into motion. A lawyer is consulted. The presumption is that the signs are bad. The presumption is that they are illegal. Oh no, wait, look it up, they are not illegal. But there are limits. Limits I say! Limits on time and limits on space, and damn well better move them when the vast green lawns are getting their grooming. Those who go beyond the limits must be told “No, no, that is a no-no!” We don’t want controversy. We don’t want the “liberal media” (yes, that term was actually used by the lawyer) to write a story about us! No no. Heavens no.
I’m on the board of the HOA, so I see this stuff in motion.
Meanwhile, I sit on my porch, with my lawn signs out there. My actual neighbors come by. “Hey, can I get one of those signs?” “Hey, can I get one of those other signs?” The signs cleverly stashed in my garage are in motion. They are marching on their spindly legs across the neighborhood and planting in the lawns everywhere. This is a sign of something, I figure.
So I delve into the email flurry about the law and the signs and the perception and the liberal media. I say, look, change your attitude. We need more, not fewer, signs. Do you not realize that sitting there in your Daly City inspired little townhouse in the white flight bedroom community suburb and grumpily scanning your neighbors’ lawns for signs of signs is exactly how you knock people, innocent people who did you no harm, and often, innocent people who actually require your protection and not your attack on them, off the subway platform into the unforgiving path of Murphy’s subway car? Do you not get this? “More signs!” I say. Put them in motion!
Move over, people who think they are standing still, and are satisfied with that, who even think it is the way to be. Everything is at risk right now. Every thing. Move purposefully, because you are, right now, moving randomly. There is no still. There is only do.
He wrote a graphic novel: March (Trilogy Slipcase Set) by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and illustrated by Nate Powell.
He was on an episode of Arthur.
If you don’t know what a Minecraft seed is, you don’t want to bother with this post. But if you do ….
Spawning in or near a village provides game play opportunities that are otherwise hard to come by. If you want to materialize in such a location, and are using version 1.16.1, try one of these seeds. To use the seed, enter the number as it is here (including the negative sign if there is one) in the seed box under “options” when you are creating a world. The version of Minecraft you are running matters. These seeds are for version 1.16.1
Spawning within or in sight of a village:
This spawns within sight of a village on an open landscape near desert and water. There is a mineshaft at about 416 ~ 128, beneath the desert and ocean region.
Spawns right in the middle of a village.
There is a river running through the village, and down river not too far is a mineshaft. The nearest point to the mineshaft is on the surface near 68.90 ~ -261.54
Spawning near a village:
The village is 207 blocks away.
Sparsely populated forest village with some rugged terrain.
Go right around or over the steep sided squarish mountain the village is next to to find a cave with plenty of surface charcoal. There is a mineshaft nearby as well, north of the village, also on the other side of that mountain.
Even though you are in a forest, there is ocean within 400 blocks, where you will find a buried treasure at about -40, -325. Dig around, you’ll find it.
This map also has one of the more spectacular mountain-ocean interfaces.
The village is just over 300 blocks away. There is a mineshaft close by. There is a large house with a library inside. Go to the front steps, then measure out about 8 paces from there, and dig straight down, and you’ll hit the mine system.
The spawn point is near a fairly deep cave with a lot of potential, inclining lava.
A Village is just over 100 blocks to the northwest, but you’ll have to go through thick woods and rugged terrain. Head for high ground, you’ll probably find some path blocks there to give you a clue as to where it is.
There is a tall house with a second floor only reachable by an outside stairway. The lower floor has a bed and a crafting table. Go to the front of the house and head out about five or six blocks and dig straight down. That will be your mineshaft. You will have to dig down just over 40 blocks, but it is a spectacular mineshaft with many hazards including water and lava.
You will spawn on a small island off an elongated, mountainous peninsula. Head north, crossing the water. After going around a big mountain you will find a village.
In the village is a squarish house with a red carpet and a brewing station in it, with some grass overgrowing the floor. Directly below the red carpet is a void containing a special prize. You’ll have to dig down about 16 blocks or so.
To locate the nearest underground mineshaft, locate the house on stilts that has the cartography table in it. Go to the back of the house and move about 15 paces (blocks) north. Then walk west about 21 paces, through the garden area. You will need to dig down about 40 blocks, then you will be in part of the mine.
Head east from the village, along the shore, to find large island mountain with a huge void in the middle of it. Off a low rocky peninsula of the island, facing east, is a comma shaped sandbar/island. Just off the sandbar, under the water and under the sand, is a buried treasure that has lots of goods stuff in it.
You will spawn at about 15.50 63.00 41.50 just a short distance from a desert village. There is a mineshaft not too far away. One point within the mineshaft is 277.48 26.00 35.11. Happy digging.
Spawn at -168 82 204
Nearest village: -226 74 128 (Medium size village with nearby cliffs and good terrain, and water.)
Another village: 170 64 157
Mineshaft not too far away at -383 74 304
Point inside the mineshaft: -404 24 295
Buried treasure on a small island at 425 66 473
Spawn at 231.50 70.00 3.50 and travel from there to a desert village at 63.00 63.00 106.68.
There is a nearby mineshaft. If you can dig your way to about -48.85 15.00 87.80 you will find an interesting integration between a large natural chasm and the mineshaft. Careful. The floor is lava!
Bonus village at -790.54 63.94 748.07.
Bonus adventure seed!
Try this seed: -8376010895890193196
You will spawn here: -3.50 110.00 -1.50. Good luck with that.
My title is slightly misleading but meant to tell you what this essay is about. I want to talk about recent reports that SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, is airborne.
The concept of airborne in thinking about pathogens is probably the single most misunderstood thing in epidemiology, not by epidemiologists but by regular people. It is also probably the most evocative, and stupifying. Recently, the word “airborne” has been used in discussions of Covid-19, and this led to many extreme reactions. Like this:
Input: Bla bla bla Covid-19 bla bla bla airborne.
Output: All the credible experts have agreed that Covid is airbone! it is no longer spread by contact, but now it is airborne! The Fauci mutation probably made it airborne! And so on!
SARS-CoV-2 is spread by shedding from an infected person’s respiratory system and getting into a new host’s respiratory system via droplets of mucus that go from hand to hand, hand to mouth, mouth to hand, mouth or nose to surface, surface to hand then hand to mouth, etc. Human upper respiratory bodily fluids (snot, etc.) get on stuff and then people touch stuff and then it get into their respiratory system. This is how most cold and flu infections are passed on, generally. That is not airborne spread.
Among all the many viruses that give us colds or the flu — the many strains of influenza, rhinovirus, coronaviruses other than SARS-CoV-2, etc. — this is how infection happens.
Again, this is not airborne spread. It might be airborne in your head, because you imagine someone sneezing, into the air, droplets of virus-containing spittle and snot flying around in the air, and since that stuff flies through the air it must therefore airborne. But that is not what airborne means, and the distinction is important.
There is probably a certain amount of true airborne transmission in any of the above mentioned categories of virus, including the flu and more common colds. But it is rare enough that these diseases are not said to be airborne.
So what is airborne then, if it is not simply flying snot particles?
Airborne spread requires several things to be true often enough that an observable number of cases were spread in this way. First, the virus must be aerosolized. This means that the virus is embedded in a very small gobs of snot, perhaps near 5 microns, droplets that are small enough to be suspended in the air. Larger drops will fall out of the air, these smaller drops will float in the air like they were part of the air. They act like a gas in the air.
The droplets also have to be small enough to get into the parts of the respiratory system that the virus targets, which for SARS-CoV-2 is not too much of a limiting factor since it likes to inhabit the upper respiratory tract. But, since it also can invade the lungs, there would be the possibility that airborne transmission would be more associated with a more serious infection, if and when it happens.
Airborne spread also requires that the virus can live in the air long enough to get to its target. The longer the virus can live in the air, the worse of a problem it is because it can travel farther, through ventilation systems, down hallways, etc. There is no evidence that SARS-CoV-2 does that like, say measles, the king of airborne infection does it. Whatever environmental conditions are experienced by this suspended droplet have to NOT kill the virus. IV light kills SARS-CoV-2, so it is not going to get far during the day, outside, when the sun is out. SARS-CoV-2 might like certain humidity levels. None of this is really known for SARS-CoV-2, but it is a virus of type that we generally know about. Other forms of coronavirus are known to survive a while in the air, so that may pertain here. Be cautious in reacting to what you hear though. Detecting a virus some distance away from a sneeze does not mean that the virus is viable or capable of infection
Also, the virus has to be out there in the air in sufficient numbers to actually cause an infection. One would think that it only takes one single virus to infect someone, but generally it takes a much larger number. There seems to be a threshold for most viruses. The body dispenses of the first N viruses, then after that it gets harder, and eventually the system is overwhelmed. Maybe. The point is, virus experts will tell you that is has to be a large number for most viruses, and this is certainly true for SARS-CoV-2.
Truly aerosolized, viable, in sufficient numbers.
Finally, note that if SARS-CoV-2 was mainly airborne, we would know it by now. You can look at it, epidemiologically, and say, no, the main form of transmission is not airborne. That does not mean that there is not an airborne component, but it means that airborne is not the major way of spread. That has not changed.
What does the new research tell us?
Well, by the standards of peer reviewed scientific research, pretty much nothing, because that research is still in its infancy. But here is what happened. Several cases of infection have been reported that can be best explained by airborne infection. How many? So few that some would interpret that as potentially useless data. These may be cases that are simply misreported. Somebody licked someone else’s tongue and refuses to admit it. Does that really happen? Well, ask any expert on the epidemiology of sexually transmitted diseases about it. Of course it can. Most rare cases can be explained away or ignored.
But in this case, a large number of experts have settled on a provisional consensus: They see enough cases of possible airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 to ask the overarching institutional authorities like the CDC to seriously consider it and look into it. Yeah, that is it. Important, concerning, should shape policy modestly for now, requires more consideration. The smart money is on SARS-CoV-2 being transmittable via aerosol, though that will probably not be the main modality of transmission in most settings. That is my bet. Airborne transmission can happen, and will happen in some cases. More on that below. But, this is provisional.
What this does not mean.
This does not mean that there is a new mutation. Repeat: this is not a new mutation. This has been there all along, and the fact that it has not been obvious since the beginning means, as stated, this is not the new mode of transmission. This does not mean that the virus has changed. Probably.
This also has no impact on mask wearing. Airborne transmission will go right around the masks most people wear, but we already know that if airborne transmission is happening, it is not the main way the virus is spread. This is NOT AN ARGUMENT TO NOT WEAR MASKS so don’t go making that argument or you are a full-on jerk. Ignorant jerk. I know you won’t, but if you see that argument being made by others, that is what you are seeing. That argument is so stupid, you can expect Trump to make it soon.
What this might mean.
This is the important part of all this, worthy of careful consideration. Assume that normal near-distance non airborne transmission is the normal and most common form of transmission by a large margin. We assume that if people are kept a minimum of 6 feet away from each other (or 10 if you like) and do not share objects with their hands and faces, i.e, social distancing, that transmission will be minimized. This works for social gatherings, according to some, especially if masks are worn.
However, over longer term, while people are avoiding infecting each other by keeping their mucus to themselves, a low level background transmission via the air could be happening at a small level.
It would be rare. Say one hour of exposure within a single medium size room with modest air circulation has a one in a thousand chance of one infected person giving the disease to one other person in the room. (I am totally making up all these numbers, but just bear with me.)
But now, we take that room and put between zero and three infected people in it, and 30 target non infected people. But we put then in that room for 8 hours, and do that for 185 days. This configuration of people might sound familiar to you.
This is a classroom full of students social distancing. But wait, you say, if they are social distancing, they can’t fit 30 people in the room. But you would be wrong in some cases. Elementary schools with the pod system have four classes of 30 (including teachers) in the room. They will get their social distancing by spreading out into larger rooms in closed high schools or other places (gyms, etc.), so the main class of about 30 is still in one room. Maybe not. The point is, in the worst case scenario, we divide 1,000 by 8 (hours) then again by 185 (days) to get a baseline on transmission probability (though the math is slightly more complex than that) to arrive at this conclusion: Transmission within the classroom where there are one or two virus shedding individuals on any given day is nearly inevitable if there is a low probability of airborne transmission. Most classrooms may have zero infected people most of the time, but in a given school there would be several classes. In a given school system, maybe dozens and dozens.
If the air circulation does not remove the viruses, maybe they are being spread across the school. Students passing in halls, or any classes where the kids are reshuffled add to the dynamic, families with multiple kids (or both kids and staff) in the same school, etc. add to the dynamic.
You can do a similar calculation for restaurants and bars. Regular inside dining and bar hopping even with social distancing and mask wearing is probably not recommended if there is a low level of airborne transmission. More limitations on how retail shopping happens may be recommended. Certainly, unnecessary retail shopping maybe an unnecessary danger.
The final meaning of it all: When it comes to basic day to day life, under the current conditions of caution and distancing, this airborne problem would not have that much of an effect because it has to be rare. We know it is rare (if it is real) because if it was common we would see it. But, under school or large workplace reopening conditions, or reopening of indoor dining and shopping, etc., it may be a factor that causes two really bad problems.
1) More outbreaks, and some insidious ones. The school children, some getting very sick and maybe dying, others never becoming ill, passing the disease on to their families. Ignoring the airborne problem may involve asking our children to kill their grandparents, then live with that for the rest of their lives. You might get sick because you needed to shop for a new comic book or try out the headphones at the electronic store instead of ordering on line.
2) Not discussed anywhere else as far as I know, but I would think obvious: if we set up a situation where the rare airborne transmission has a better chance of actually transmitting the disease, we may also be setting up a positive selective environment for that. In other words, we may help make SARS-CoV-2 more airborne by giving it this chance. That is pure speculation on my part, but speculation based on some damn powerful theory (Darwinian evolution). It is not a chance I’d like to take.
The Battle of New Orleans, one of the major battles of the War of 1812, was fought on January 8th, 1815. The War of 1812 had ended the previous December. Awkward. In South Africa, the “Second Boer War” broke out for a number of reasons, but the common thread was about how the various territories of the region should be organized and governed. War was declared in October 1899, and formally ended on May 31st, 1902. The political and ideological struggle continued, and it was not until 1910 that the first official agreement to address the initial reasons for the war emerged. But even after that the struggle continued. The American Civil War ended on April 9th, 1865. A half dozen major battles and 16 months later, the fighting in that ended war petered out. The ideological struggle related to that war continues today, and thousands have died over it, after it was over.
A purely ideological war (though not without material casualties) is the war against the teaching of evolution in American public schools. There was a lot of action in that war throughout much of the 20th century. On December 20th, 2005, the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania decided Tammy Kitzmiller vs. Dover Area School District in favor of the science of evolution being taught unfettered, and identified the last breath of a pseudo-scientific creationist doctrine as an expression of religion. Sure, people still continued to fight over the issue, but after the Dover decision, there were very few significant fights in public schools over evolution, the battles being brought to state legislatures, where they never took root because of Dover. Fighting continued, ideological battles continued, just like in all those other wars, but the war on evolution in the US public school system ended in December 2005.
I declare the war on science over this month, July, 2020. Nice round patriotic number. We can pick a date later after history has sorted out some details. But the war ended when this happened: American anti science forces having spent months telling people that Covid-19 was a hoax, not really deadly, not really as bad as it seemed, and that masks did not really matter … well, they started wearing masks. Pence and Trump surrendered the war when they said wear masks. The people in my local grocery store, that had been not wearing masks, masked up. The end. War over.
Most of my friends are pedantic skeptics, just like you dear reader, and you won’t let me say that the war on science is over because bla bla bla bla. That is why I wrote the little introduction at the beginning of this blog post. If we treat every thing like we were Wikipedia editors, than every thing would be slightly to very warped and things like wars would never be over. Get over it. This war is over, even if sporadic fighting continues until the Sun expands.
By the way, did you notice that there are some wars that actually unambiguously end, like World War II? Do you know why they get to end but other wars, from a pedantic perspective, never do? I’m not sure but I think those are wars started by individuals, or small groups of different kings or leaders, then when the opposition (usually, the good guys) catch up to them and put them down, the war ends, more or less instantly. But I digress.
There is still a fight, there are still more fights over science and justice and all that. But the systematic Republican controlled war on science in America got won. By us.
And if you like that kind of talk, I’ve got more for you in a minute.
The person who said those words was the Vice Presidential running mate on the Equal Rights Party ticket (though he did not ask to be). He was a criminal; born a slave, but escaped. He’s on a stamp. Two stamps, I think. He wrote this book, this book, and this book. And, he gave a few speeches.
Here are some great kids, and by “great” I mean “great, great, great, great, great!” kids giving his Forth of July Speech, originally delivered on July 5th, 1852. By Frederick Douglass
Don’t be fulled by the children’s brevity. Nobody was brief in 1852. Here is the full speech: Continue reading I shall not presume to dwell at length about the associations that cluster about this day….
I read the news today, oh boy. To coin a phrase.
Here is what my local paper’s headline said: “Socializing is a must for many on the 4th.”
Digging in we find that “For some, it was a time to throw caution to the wind and reclaim normalcy as they headed to a lake cabins, parks and backyard barbecues…Across the state, Minnesotans are making their own decisions while health care and government officials hold their breath…”
The quest for normalcy is powerful enough to make people dishonest with themselves, so you get sentences of this form: “I heard the Virus did/didn’t really do this/that/other thing, so I guess it is OK if I whatever-whevever [fill in idiotic decision here].”
Let me tell you what normal is. You go a week without a funeral. Several weeks. Maybe months, or a year. Normal is not when one of your relatives, friends, work associates, one of the kids in your child’s class, or the parent of one of the kids, or the old person that lives two doors down but you never talk to much but they just took her away in the ambulance, or a checkout person who’s name you never knew, or two of the nurses at the hospital your kid was born in, etc. etc. … normal is not when one of those people dies on average about every 14 day or so (but sometimes with longer gaps, sometimes in clusters) at the peak of Your Local Epidemic.
If you want to achieve normalcy during the 365 days between moments of must, when you must do the thing that is least recommended by people who must be much smarter than you are, then you must not. This applies to gatherings on the fourth, it will apply to all the holidays throughout much of the year. Next winter holidays, like Christmas and New years, or before that, Halloween which seems to have become the local Spring Break party holiday among America’s 20-somethings, or the most traveled day of the year, Thanksgiving, if you must seek normalcy the grim reaper must seek your family and fiends.
And eventually, not your parents, cousins, children, or neighbors. But you. Ask not for whom the germ theory tolls.
Natalie Maines, Emily Strayer, and Martie Maguire are now The Chicks, having dropped “Dixie” like a hot confederate statue.
This is March March, their recent song and video.
This is the description of Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man by Mary Trump.
In this revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him, Mary L. Trump, a trained clinical psychologist and Donald’s only niece, shines a bright light on the dark history of their family in order to explain how her uncle became the man who now threatens the world’s health, economic security, and social fabric.
Mary Trump spent much of her childhood in her grandparents’ large, imposing house in the heart of Queens, where Donald and his four siblings grew up. She describes a nightmare of traumas, destructive relationships, and a tragic combination of neglect and abuse. She explains how specific events and general family patterns created the damaged man who currently occupies the Oval Office, including the strange and harmful relationship between Fred Trump and his two oldest sons, Fred Jr. and Donald.
A firsthand witness to countless holiday meals and family interactions, Mary brings an incisive wit and unexpected humor to sometimes grim, often confounding family events. She recounts in unsparing detail everything from her uncle Donald’s place in the family spotlight and Ivana’s penchant for regifting to her grandmother’s frequent injuries and illnesses and the appalling way Donald, Fred Trump’s favorite son, dismissed and derided him when he began to succumb to Alzheimer’s.
Numerous pundits, armchair psychologists, and journalists have sought to parse Donald J. Trump’s lethal flaws. Mary L. Trump has the education, insight, and intimate familiarity needed to reveal what makes Donald, and the rest of her clan, tick. She alone can recount this fascinating, unnerving saga, not just because of her insider’s perspective but also because she is the only Trump willing to tell the truth about one of the world’s most powerful and dysfunctional families.
During the rally in Tulsa, Trump jokes. (Read the following with your best internal Trump voice)
“I know some of you, maybe many of you. Many many. Maybe, I know, many of you will get COVID. The Chinese Flu, I call it. I call it the Chi-Neez flu. I know many many of you will get it because you are here with me today. All crowded in. And boy, do I love to see the crowd. All crowded in together.
Please, though, don’t die before November 3rd, alright? I need you to vote. Not that I need you, really, I’ll win anyway. But it would be nice if you lived long enough to vote.”
Over the next 30 minutes the penny drops. Thousands of pennies drop. The crown starts to leave, then streams out, like Minnesotans to their cars halfway through a Twins game during a bad season.
And from there on it, Trump, all of it, dwindles away.
The penny drops idiom
—used to say that someone finally understands something after not understanding it for a time.
I had to explain it to him three times, but finally the penny dropped.
Very good video, show it to your Uncle Bob:
Trump’s fake justice department is going after John Bolton, to stop the publication of his book “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.” It is said the book contains significant damning evidence of Trump wrongdoing.
Important subplot: Trump says he officially classifies all conversations he ever had with Bolton about anything. Therefore, if Bolton reveals any conversation at all, that he is a criminal, and will hopefully be prosecuted.
This is what dictators do. They play with the law. Trump, as dictator, could just declare Bolton to be a traitor and have him arrested and sent to Gitmo (maybe Trump doesn’t know he has that power?) but he plays around with it like this, makes the point more clear: Anyone who interferes with Trump’s power is in trouble.
And that, dear fellow voter, includes you.
Superlative: The Biology of Extremes is almost as extreme, or shall we say, hopeful, in its marketing-cover claims as the animals discussed are outlandish. If the cure for cancer was going to be found in a shark, we would have already found it. But despite what the book promises on its cover, Matthew D. LaPlante’s book is a detailed, engaging, and informative look at ongoing and recent scientific research from the perspective of an experienced journalist.
There are three categories of science book authors: Scientists, who write the best ones most of the time, science-steeped (often trained-as-scientists) science writers, who can write some pretty good books, and journalists who delve into the science and sometimes write amazing books, other times write books that are good books but not necessarily good science books. Superlative: The Biology of Extremes is in the higher end of the last category. It is about the scientists, the teams, the work more than the cells and polymers.
Also, LaPlante has another set of credentials: He is deeply, severely, hated by Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck. Oh, also, the book is at present deeply on sale.
Animal Beauty: On the Evolution of Biological Aesthetics (The MIT Press) is sort of the opposite.
This is a series of essays by biologist Chrisiane Nusslein-Volhard, engagingly and skillfully illustrated by Suse Grutzmacher (and translated by Jonathan Howard) about the aesthetic sense talked about by Darwin, its evolution, distribution, function, meaning, across animals. The essays take a Tinbergian approach to explore most aspects of how thinks look or are looked at, how paterns, colors, and other features play ar ole in sexual selection, and how the underlying genetic connect to these important surface features, allowing us to understand the phylogeny of this physical-behavioral nexus. This is the scientist talking about the science. The book itself is also a bit unusual, as it is designed to fit comfortably in a pocket or purse. Take it to the dentist office or hair stylist! (When the Pandemic is over.)
Dear Professional Physicist,
I have a new theory of the origin of the universe.
You’re old theory vs my new theory)
I would like you to stop what you are doing and listen to my theory, which simultaneously explains why everything you know is wrong, but that’s OK, I know what is TRUE INSTEAD.
There are still some details to work out….
No, but seriously, check out this new book: The Cosmic Revolutionary’s Handbook: (Or: How to Beat the Big Bang) by Luke Barnes and Geraint Lewis.
If you read a lot of books about cosmology and the universe, you will not find much new in this book, but you will find new ways to think about all that old stuff. If you really do have a new theory of everything, this book will give you some useful advice on how to buy your ticket into the physics game. Like, that you have to make sure your theory of everything works in a way that does not result in the night sky being as bright as the day sky, or makes light do something it does not do, and so on. Also, do not use many different TYPE FACES AND all caps in your write-up.
Interestingly, one of the things the actual-cosmologists-authors do NOT say is something I often hear from pro-physicists about TOE-pushers. They don’t say “if you don’t have a mathematical formula for your theory, it isn’t a theory.” I hear that all the time and I always thought there was something wrong with that. Seems to me that a totally wrong mathematical theory is too much of a likelihood.
The best overview of this book, which you SHOULD read, is from the authors themselves who made a video talking about the book. Here:
See? Visual proof that this is a good book. Check out The Cosmic Revolutionary’s Handbook: (Or: How to Beat the Big Bang). As of this writing, on sale now.*