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Archive for November 21st, 2010

In the state of nature there is no property, no justice or injustice, only war.  And such a war as is of every man against every man.  Force and fraud in war are the two cardinal virtues.  Men are forced to co-operate by reasons of pure selfishness.  Law and morality are no more than organized violence.  The dominant urge of man is self-preservation, manifested primarily as fear, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.
  —  Thomas Hobbes
From: “The Leviathan
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Philosophy is written in that great book, the universe, which stands continually open to our gaze.  But the book cannot be understood unless one first learns the language and can decipher the letters of which it is composed.  It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures without which it is humanly impossible to understand a single word of it; without these, one strays as in a darkened maze.
  —  Galileo Galilei
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Loosely translates from the Latin, “Of all humans, there is no greater intellect”.
This is the inscription at the base of the statue of Isaac Newton at Trinity College, Cambridge, England.
Today I read “Introducing Newton“, written by William Rankin, (1993©).  The book is basically a dummies guide to Newton.  That doesn’t make it – or him – any less interesting.  It merely describes the level of the book’s content.
Let’s see: invents calculus (check), invents optics (check), redefines the study of physics (check), innovates astronomical dating (check), explains – tides, elliptical orbits and the earth tilting (check, check and check).  And in his spare time investigates God, the divinity of Christ and predicts the end of the world based on the study of religious texts.  Yup, sounds like a full life to me.  Oh, I forgot to mention he was mostly self-taught in math and science.
I guess the closest thing I can find on this side of the pond is our Thomas Jefferson and I’m pretty sure Tom suffers by the comparison.  Anyway, the book is very brief and offers a very readable story explaining the history of science and physics.  I recommend it as a primer to further reading on Newton.  I will look for more myself…  I only wish I had the math skills to more fully appreciate Newton’s work in the original.
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Today I took my daughter Sarah to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1).  It was Sarah’s second viewing.  She went to the midnight showing on Thursday night / Friday morning in full HP garb.
Obviously, we both enjoyed it.  I would definitely not take children under 10 years old as it is dark and (potentially) frightening for someone that young.  I don’t think it’s particularly frightening for teens or adults.
As a HP reader and movie go-er, I would say the movie is a definite must-see.  I’d give a B+ to A-.  I will have to re-read the book to make sure, but I felt it was fairly close to the book.  I am not the fanatic Sarah is.  She felt there were scene’s which were different than she imagined them in the book.  As someone who’s seen several adaptations (not just HP), that’s fairly common and I can accept them as long as they don’t grossly change the story-line.  I did not feel this happened, in this movie anyway, so I’m okay with minor changes.
I was very pleasantly surprised by the actors.  It really feels like I’ve watched them grow up – in the characters and as actors playing the characters.  I think the big three have shown marked improvement in this episode.  Kudos.
As for criticisms, and they are minor, there are two chase scenes – one flying and one in the woods – which are meant to convey speed and action.  They are shot choppy and close, so you don’t really see much and I found the choppiness distracting instead of engaging.
The movie was supposed to be long.  I didn’t find it so.  I felt it ended at a good point (a high note in the action), but there was definitely no resolution and I’m disappointed I’ll now have to wait another six or seven months to see the conclusion.
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