July 08, 2004
A few astronomy tidbits from the past few days: Astronomers who analyzed data from some of the farthest galaxies say that their models about how the galaxies should have looked turned out to be quite wrong.
Also, other astronomers are having trouble figuring out why Saturn's moon Tritan looks like it does.
It turns out that the more we know, the more we know that we don't know, as usual.
I am all for the advancement of scientific knowledge, yet I find odd comfort in these little evidences that we really don't know all that much.
I do wish that evidence of our collosal ignorance of the universe would translate into a little human humility, but that is a bit much to ask.
I am always suspicious of certainty. And if the scientists can't be certain, who can be? What is wrong with luxuriating in our ignorance--for wouldn't it be a dull world if we had everything solved?
Went into town to the Polk County fair for a while tonight. Despite the threatening rain, there was a good crowd. When it started to come down in earnest, I left.
I am ambivalent about the fair, anyway. Sometimes I am in a mood to talk, but tonight, I just wanted to go home and sit in front of the TV and watch the Twins.
So many people! So much catching up to do. Plus, a shocker: The girl who sat next to me in band in high school introduced me to her granddaughter.
TOMORROW, I am headed down to Willmar to speak to a stevne. A stevne is a gathering of Norwegian-Americans from a particular valley of Norway. I spoke to one last summer--and then the word got out, and I have been on the stevne circuit since. This is my fourth.
I look forward to driving down Highway 71 all the way--will leave early so I can take pictures on the way with my...
NEW CANON REBEL digital camera. Since my old digital camera (two years old) was stolen last week, it was the perfect time to upgrade to a new fancy one. I have taken 100s of pictures in the past few days, very few of them worth developing, but who cares--its digital, you can just erase them if they don't turn out.
July 06, 2004
Just watched the Twins beat the Royals 4-0. My favorite pitcher, Johann Santana, pitched a complete game shutout, allowing only three harmless singles. He struck out 13 Royals. It was Santana's first complete game in his career, and he now leads the American League in strikeouts.
Last night, Radke shut out the Royals 6-0. The Royals are struggling, but you have to beat the bad teams to win pennants, and the Twins are doing that. It is very encouraging that their starting pitchers are doing better than they have in two years.
The Twins don't get much credit around the league, but they keep winning enough to stay in first place.
It is fun to watch rookie phenom Joe Mauer swing the bat. He hit three balls on the nose tonight, but they all were caught. His swing is classic--a sort of Ted Williams swing, pretty to watch even when he misses the ball. Mauer is going to be something to watch over the next few years. He also is great on defense, and the pitchers love working with him behind the plate.
The past few days have been rainy and cool. We needed the rain, but now renewed sunshine would be welcome, as well as a little heat to get things growing.
The cloudy weather makes me sleepy! I took a four hour nap this afternoon, a rarity.
I think continual rain makes people a little cranky. Sunshine is a great anti-depressant. I notice the difference right away when the sun comes out--everybody's mood gets better.
So, John Kerry did the obvious and chose John Edwards as his running mate. An unexciting choice, but probably the best one he could make. I was hoping for Hilary just to spice things up a bit this fall, but here we are with four white males again.
I suspect the first woman president, and perhaps the first black president, will be a Republican, just as the first female prime minister in England was Margaret Thatcher of the Conservative Party. When the liberal party choses a minority as its leader, people always suspect that they did it just to be progressive and nice. When the conservative party does it, the thought is: "Boy, they must be over-qualified if they rose to the top of the stodgy party."
Kerry is probably doing the best he can with what he has. He is aloof, a patrician, not a real man of the people. However, if he plays it right, his liabilities could become assets--just as they did in the primaries. Nobody else in the Democratic field seemed dignified enough, so the Democrats flocked to the only candidate they had with any gravitas.
That was Kerry, with his booming, if boring, voice.
A debate between Kerry and Bush would be something I might watch. The folksy Bush vs. the snooty, if smooth, Kerry.