“William D. Rogers, a lawyer who helped plan the Kennedy and Johnson administrations’ approach to Latin America and then served as a principal policymaker for the region during the Ford administration, died Sept. 22 near his home in Upperville, Va. He was 80.
Mr. Rogers, a devotee of fox hunting, died during a hunt after suffering a heart attack while riding his favorite horse, Isaiah, his son William said….
His son William said his father was declared dead almost immediately by a doctor participating in the fox hunt. An Episcopal priest was called, the hounds were collected and the hunters gathered for a short service on the spot.
‘One by one, they rode past him and tipped their hats,’ William said.”
“At any time, God can cancel a life. ‘So teach us to number our days,’ as the King James Version has it, ‘that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.’….
The ancient Hebrew word for the shadowy underworld where the dead go, Sheol, was Christianized as ‘Hell,’ even though there is no such concept in the Hebrew Bible. Alter prefers the words ‘victory’ and ‘rescue’ as translations of yeshu’ah, and eschews the Christian version, which is the heavily loaded ‘salvation.’ And so on. Stripping his English of these artificial cleansers, Alter takes us back to the essence of the meaning. Suddenly, in a world without Heaven, Hell, the soul, and eternal salvation or redemption, the theological stakes seem more local and temporal: ‘So teach us to number our days.'”
The reference to “numbering our days” recalled Saturday morning’s Yom Kippur entry on the days numbered 8/09 and 9/12. Here is another such entry, courtesy of the Pennsylvania Lottery:
For a midrash, see last year’s 7/07 and 2/10 as well as this year’s 7/07 and 2/10.
On Oct. 10, Stephen King opens the new season of “Selected Shorts” at Symphony Space as the host of readings from “The Best American Short Stories 2007,” which he guest-edited. (www.symphonyspace.org.)
"The lunatic, the lover, and the poet, said Shakespeare, are of imagination all compact. He forgot the mathematician…. Those who win through to the end of The Magic of Numbers will be for the rest of their lives in touch with the accessible mystery of things."
"Lear becomes almost lyrical. 'When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down/ And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh/ At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues/ Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too/ Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out– And take upon's the mystery of things/ As if we were God's spies.' That is a remarkable, haunting passage."
"We may recall the ideal of 'dryness' which we associate with the symbolist movement, with writers such as T. E. Hulme and T. S. Eliot, with Paul Valery, with Wittgenstein. This 'dryness' (smallness, clearness, self-containedness) is a nemesis of Romanticism…. The temptation of art… is to console. The modern writer… attempts to console us by myths or by stories."
— Iris Murdoch
"The consolations of form,
the clean crystalline work"
— Iris Murdoch,
"As a teacher Quine
was carefully organized,
precise, and conscientious,
but somewhat dry
in his classroom style."
“– …He did some equations that would make God cry for the sheer beauty of them. Take a look at this…. The sonofabitch set out equations that fit the data. Nobody believes they mean anything. Shit, when I back off, neither do I. But now and then, just once in a while… — He joined physical and mental events. In a unified mathematical field. — Yeah, that’s what I think he did. But the bastards in this department… bunch of goddamned positivists. Proof doesn’t mean a damned thing to them. Logical rigor, beauty, that damned perfection of something that works straight out, upside down, or sideways– they don’t give a damn.”
“By equating reality with the metaphysical abstraction ‘contingency’ and explaining his paradigm by reference to simple images of order, Kermode [but see note below] defines the realist novel not as one which attempts to get to grips with society or human nature, but one which, in providing the consolation of form,* makes the occasional concession to contingency….”
* “The consolations of form” is a phrase Kermode quoted from Iris Murdoch. Webster does not mention Murdoch. Others have quoted Murdoch’s memorable phrase, which comes from her essay “Against Dryness: A Polemical Sketch,” Encounter, No. 88, January 1961, pp. 16-20. The essay was reprinted in a Penguin paperback collection of Murdoch’s work, Existentialists and Mystics. It was also reprinted in The Novel Today, ed. Malcolm Bradbury (Manchester, Manchester U. Press, 1977); in Revisions, ed. S. Hauerwas and A. MacIntyre (Notre Dame, U. of Notre Dame Press, 1981); and in Iris Murdoch, ed. H. Bloom (New York, Chelsea House, 1986).
Larry Summers, former president
of Harvard, was recently invited, then disinvited, to speak at a
politically correct UC campus.
A Guest Lecturer Speaks:
"This is so pathetic. I used to write long disquisitions on the ethical dimensions of behavior like this, but years of it can make a girl get very tired. And that's because this stuff is tiresome, and boring, and wrong, and pathetic, and so very indicative of the derailed character of academic life. It's more important to keep punishing Summers for a comment he made years ago– and apologized for many times over, and essentially lost the presidency of Harvard over– than it is just to move on and let free exchange happen on campuses. I doubt Summers would have devoted his time before the Regents to theorizing gender (not that I would personally care much if he did– I was not so mortally wounded by his observations as others were), and he is a brilliant man with much of value to bring to a visit with the Regents. But what does that matter when the opportunity to mob a politically incorrect academic presents itself?" —Erin O'Connor on Sept. 15, 2007
“Scorsese, 64, a native New Yorker, thought of being a priest and went to the seminary after high school. But he changed his mind and built a catalogue of great films, many of which are considered the best of their time.” — Washington Post, Sept. 12, 2007
Burt Hasen, a New York painter who drew inspiration from his experience working with maps as a military technician during World War II, died on Friday [September 7, 2007] in Manhattan. He was 85 and lived in Lower Manhattan….
During the war he served in the Air Force in the Pacific, where his duties involved close study of aerial maps, an activity that lastingly influenced his work. His densely worked canvases often had an overhead perspective….Toward the end of his life, many of his seemingly abstract paintings were based directly, and in detail, on maps….
In 2006 Mr. Hasen, his wife and the other tenants of a five-story building at 7 Dutch Street near the South Street Seaport made news when they organized against their landlord’s attempt to evict them from the rent-regulated lofts they had occupied for more than 30 years. They subsequently had their leases renewed.
“For every kind of vampire, there is a kind of cross.” — Gravity’s Rainbow
I learned yesterday from Jonathan Westphal, a professor of philosophy at Idaho State University, that he and a colleague, Jim Hardy, have devised another geometric approach to logic: a system of arrow diagrams that illustrate classical propositional logic. The diagrams resemble those used to illustrate Euclidean vector spaces, and Westphal and Hardy call their approach “a vector system,” although it does not involve what a mathematician would regard as a vector space.
"There is one story and one story only
That will prove worth your telling….
Dwell on her graciousness, dwell on her smiling,
Do not forget what flowers
The great boar trampled down in ivy time.
Her brow was creamy as the crested wave,
Her sea-blue eyes were wild
But nothing promised that is not performed. "
"In a letter to Harriet Monroe, written December 23, 1926, Stevens refers to the Sapphic fragment that invokes the genius of evening: 'Evening star that bringest back all that lightsome Dawn hath scattered afar, thou bringest the sheep, thou bringest the goat, thou bringest the child home to the mother.' Christmas, writes Stevens, 'is like Sappho's evening: it brings us all home to the fold.' (Letters of Wallace Stevens, 248)"
— "The Archangel of Evening," Chapter 5 of Wallace Stevens: The Intensest Rendezvous, by Barbara M. Fisher, The University Press of Virginia, 1990, pages 72-73
"Evening. Evening of this day. Evening of the century. Evening of my own life….
At Christmastime my parents held open house on Sunday evenings, and a dozen or more people gathered around the piano, and the apartment was full of music, and theology was sung into my heart."
The New York Times online, Friday, Sept. 7, 2007: Madeleine L’Engle, Children’s Writer, Is Dead
"Madeleine L’Engle, who in writing more than 60 books, including childhood fables, religious meditations and science fiction, weaved emotional tapestries transcending genre and generation, died Thursday [Sept. 6, 2007] in Connecticut. She was 88.
Her death, of natural causes, was announced today by her publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux."
In “Week 251” (May 5, 2007), John wrote:
“Since Spekkens’ toy system resembles a qubit, he calls it a “toy bit”. He goes on to study systems of several toy bits – and the charming combinatorial geometry I just described gets even more interesting. Alas, I don’t really understand it well: I feel there must be some mathematically elegant way to describe it all, but I don’t know what it is…. All this is fascinating. It would be nice to find the mathematical structure that underlies this toy theory, much as the category of Hilbert spaces underlies honest quantum mechanics.”
In the n-Category Cafe ( May 12, 2007, 12:26 AM, ) Matt Leifer wrote:
“It’s crucial to Spekkens’ constructions, and particularly to the analog of superposition, that the state-space is discrete. Finding a good mathematical formalism for his theory (I suspect finite fields may be the way to go) and placing it within a comprehensive framework for generalized theories would be very interesting.”
In the n-category Cafe ( May 12, 2007, 6:25 AM) John Baez wrote:
“Spekkens and I spent an afternoon trying to think about his theory as quantum mechanics over some finite field, but failed — we almost came close to proving it couldnt’ work.”
A fully epistemic model for a local hidden variable emulation of quantum dynamics,
by Michael Skotiniotis, Aidan Roy, and Barry C. Sanders, Institute for Quantum Information Science, University of Calgary. Abstract: "In this article we consider an augmentation of Spekkens’ toy model for the epistemic view of quantum states …."