Sunday, May 6, 2007



"Noli turbare circulos meos"
"Do not disturb my circles"

Well. I was mulling over things that make me anxious. That began last night while watching the old horror movie, The Fly. I didn’t see it as a kid, but remember everyone at school telling of it, and the “Help me!, Help me!" scene. (Night before I saw old scifi of giant spider!!)

The Fly is a remarkably focused movie, very CSIsih too, though it was mentioned that Vincent Price’s scenes had to be reshot sometimes as he couldn’t stop laughing.

The hark back of the rock crushing the fly in the spider’s web, and the printing press crushing Andre, and the observation by Price that the Inspector, who crushes the fly, has now committed murder in self similar fashion to Andre’s wife, who operated the press, is one of those things we’d dwell on in English class. The Inspector, hoisted as it were, finds it agreeable to find that Andre commited suicide, and his wife innocent…a happy ending. But what anxiety she expressed over flies, believing of course that one was her transformed husband.

The problem of teleportation, explored in the movie, that things don’t get translated exactly, is a common place in uploading and downloading computer things. Computers work it out with ieteration. Multiple copies keep refreshing until errors drop out.

Which is how spacecraft communicate back to earth. One transmission will likely be error filled, so many are made of the same thing, and it works out.

Now, tonight I watched back to back, the robot rovers on Mars, and the probes going out to Pluto. And I thought, how anxiety ridden are these NASA scientists? They seem a happy bunch…so long as their spacecraft are reiterating!!

And I tried to think of someone from history that somehow expresses anxiety, and how to deal with it. By it, I mean something like the news stories coming out of Iraq.

And I thought of Archimedes. As I recall, Archimedes came up with ideas for the defense of Syracuse against the Romans. Sort of like Leonardo’s military inventions, but Syarcuse falls and a Roman soldier happened upon Archimedes engrossed in his mathematical studies, and killed him (see illustration).

Well, clearly Archimedes could set aside it all, and stay focused on his scientific pursuits.

An aside: I once worked moving things with forklifts, and my foreman often was aggravated by the shops as they wouldn’t put what they wanted moved on a pallet so we could move it, and he would say, I can here him talking on the phone…"Put it on a pallet and I’ll move it.” Very Archimedian…

Tree in the Door
May 5, 2007

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