Vanakkam….Namaskar….Slamalaikum….Namaste…. This week has been busy, so I’ve had little time for blogging, but things are getting done where they need to be. That includes work on study notes, and my weekly Bengali quizzes as my pre-semester learning review continues. I’m halfway through the Great Courses lectures on Indian history with three discs to go before finishing, and have at the awesome Sharmishtha Basu’s suggestion found a book on the subject by historian Romila Thapar. I’m also practicing unfamiliar but damned useful study methods so as to make them customary in all my learning. Some methods are better supported than others by evidence, and it’s those that should be favored, as those lead to more solid and reliable learning. Part of that involves giving myself time to pause from Internet use and think, while also absorbing as much as I can in the time that remains. After all, thinking is useful, but you can’t think well without good content to think about!
Still, I try to post on this site at least once, twice, or more each week, as I’m not on blogcation this time of year. I’m making plans that I’ll announce soon once I formulate them on the future of this blog toward the end of this year, as it’s been close to eight years since this site’s founding, actually my third blog, my second to be created using WordPress. This one was created on December 28, 2008, and it’s now-defunct predecessor on January 15 of that same year. Barring accident or misfortune, the next major blogcation this year will be during November, when Election Day rolls around and my country’s future for at least the next four years is decided by the utterly insane American political process. It’s a process worthy of Lovecraft’s madness-inducing alien gods, and Nyarlathotep only knows how it will turn out!
*tentacles crossed metaphorically*
Tf. Tk. Tts.
Image of the Fortnight
Anti-Vaxxers, Conspiracy Theories & Epistemic Responsibility
Getting ready for study this weekend, focusing on vocabulary and lectures, so I’ll be minimal on text here. I’m still recovering from the coolness and yummy food of Friday’s Greek Fest celebration, and seeing Marvel’s Civil War movie in the theatre immediately afterward. I’m enjoying a new video lecture course, on Indian history, by the Great Courses. I’ll post a review of it when I’m done. Enjoy the weekend, and I’ll try likewise!
Image Of THe Week:
When Can I Die on Mars?
This week I’m engaged in working on my study skills and putting them to use at the same time, and we are still getting Rickmeister Fluffington used to my parental unit and to Gorgeous, the most sedate and least scary cat in the house. Ricky is getting on wonderfully with Eccles, which is good given Eccles’ aggressively kittenish playfulness. No jumping on other cats’ heads or attacking fluffy tails for you, Doctor Eccles! The objective of the next week is to get pictures of Ricky trying to hide, either behind the couch, or in my spare room, amusingly in plain sight while thinking himself invisible. He reminds me of old Rocky, who used to try his cloaking device technique of jumping onto my desk and slowly creeping up to me, which of course never worked 🙂
I know that officially I’m supposed to be on a self-imposed spring break until the next study semester, but preparation is needed. I must catch up with practice on earlier material, lots of immersion in the subject, including speaking the language(s) however badly at first. Learning languages is not easy, especially three of them, and you cannot succeed if you are not willing to accept and exploit setbacks. It’s important to use “break time” to ready myself for more advanced material, to make demonstrable progress whatever the subject once study officially resumes. It’ll be fun, and it has been so far.
Tf. Tk. Tts.
Image Of The Week: Evaporating Peaks In 3D: Pillars In The Monkey Head Nebula
G’day! I’ve good news this Caturday: We have a new play-buddy for Eccles, a new cat we named Ricky! He’s part Maine Coon and part Tabby, but looks Maine Coon though a bit on the small size. At four years of age, he’s in Eccles’ peerage, and though a bit skittish around other cats, once the two get used to each other they should get on famously. Ricky was brought home from the shelter just yesterday, and can hide like a ninja. I’ll update this post with pics of the new arrival once they’re available, when he’s used to being here and accustomed to the other cats…and oh, not hiding like a ninja!
Tf. Tk. Tts.
(Update: 2016.04.05) I finally have pics of Ricky!
Image Of The Week: Vibrant Gaseous Ribbons: The Veil Supernova Remnant
Carl Sagan On Extraterrestrials | Blank On Blank
Welp. This morning, I resume regular posting on the Call, and a bit on the Checkerboards next week with some new 13 word stories I’ve come up with.
And it’s about time, I’d say.
I’ve a few useful and for the most part reliable ways of generating ideas; on days when the weather permits, I go for a twenty-minute walk and pay attention to what happens with my thoughts as I go. If I can, I walk for up to an hour or so a day when feeling in need of inspiration.
But actually getting ideas like this requires that I really turn a problem, question, or goal, over in my mind before just letting the brain’s diffuse network handle the workload via the subconscious.
Other times, I may listen to music, though it’s important to listen to tunes that take minimal subconscious processing, with the same general requirements and effects as walking. These and other methods tend to work more often than not, and at the very least I get some useful exercise out of the deal.
I’m still on a study break on new material for at least another month, but am catching up nicely on overlearning what’s already been covered in previous units. I’m tempted to translate some of the wordplay I’ve come up with into Bengali, and will when I make the time to.
I’m posting from here on every other day or every third day on this site, and more than I have lately on others. I’ve got a lot of stuff to show you all now that I’ve caught up on business in life!
May your days be bright and full of joy, and your nights full of cool things to gaze up at.
It was a long wait, and it’s good to be back.
Tf. Tk. Tts.*
*(“Be well. Be safe. Be brilliant as the stars.”)
Image Of The Week: Celestial Lightsabers: Stellar Jets In HH24
xkcd: Gravitational Waves
I’m listening as I type this to a fractal music piece, Eyesight, by Fractovia. What’s fractal music? It’s a series of musical tones generated to be self-similar, having roughly the same audible structure no matter the playing speed. It’s something I occasionally listen to, though it can sometimes sound random and even jarring and takes some getting used to at first.
This week, I’ve added a new page to this blog, one sorely needed, I regret since the creation of this site on December 28, 2008. It’s Reason & Purpose… and it lays out in broad terms what could be called this blog’s mission statement. I make no secret of my religious nonbelief, and there exists on this site previously posted material discussing religion or politics, but henceforth I’ll restrict that to scientific claims made by religious leaders and politicians, those that are in principle testable. The God question is, I believe, inherently unsolvable. As it is possible to conveniently define God in any way, even those ways that cannot be disproven, the issue can never be definitively affirmed or refuted by evidence, and so is outside the realm of science. And it is science, not religion or politics, which is one of the rightful foci of this blog. Believe or vote however you like. You will anyway.
Thus do I bring you this edition of the Astrophenia on a fine winter fortnight’s morning. There’s a chill in the air and the stars are out. I hope you’ve brought your viewing instrument of choice along for the ride.
Image of the Week:
What Are Alien Megastructures?