Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Meteorologist said
(not the Weather Man)
The Meteorologist said,
(with data to prove it)
that the wind would blow
and the snow would fall -
5 centimeters in the lower Valley.

The air was full of birds -
What the meterologist said had
reached their tiny ears.

In the fields a flock of starlings
(close to two hundred)
spread out over the bottom of the pasture
and worked their way to the top,
diligently bobbing, greedily feasting
on worms, or bugs, or beetles.
a gift of Spring.

Two dozen blackbirds chattered
in the trees next door,
suddenly falling silent as three crows
came swooping by
and taking up their story again
as the cawing disappeared in the distance.

A flock of geese rose up from the river,
circled twice around the valley
and eventually headed west by north-west
off to the northern lakes.

The robins, quiet and genteel,
searched out their own dinner
around the bottom of the apple trees -
quite oblivious to the thirty seven shiny black crows
that cawed rudely through the tops of the walnut trees

while the hunter went looking
for his blunderbuss....

Tonight the meteorologists, abashed,
enjoy the fine weather........
Windless, snowless, a gentle rain.
I hear the garden sighing with pleasure.

Or perhaps that is the meteorologists

Post Script

It is four a.m.
I waken to the sound of the wind,
ferociously circling the house,
slipping under the open window,
rippling across the bed,
assaulting my nose.

I hear the Meteoroligist's
self satisfied chuckle.

But this morning the sun is shining
and there is no snow....

Friday, March 27, 2009


Old Books, New books, Lists of books....

Here is Maclean's current Canadian best seller list


1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Anne Shaffer and Annie Barrows, - which I have read and enjoyed immensely!

2. The Kindly Ones, by Johathan Kittell. This sounds as if it would be a small, sweet read, but no, - it is 900 pages based on a Greek Tragedy, and examines the morality of an S.S. officer, who tells of his involvement with the horrors of the Holocaust with no apology and from the point of view of the Nazi German. I doubt if I will read this, and yet I feel I should!!

3. Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult - a novel about the care of disabled children.

4. Old City Hall by Robert Rotenberg, which immediately appealed to me because I used to work in an Old City Hall, but I discovered it held no memories for me and will pass it by.

5. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. A must for its charming reviews and its promise of more to come about the heroine - an eleven year old girl named Flavia, a mystery solver!

6. The Associate by John Grisham - bound to be good.

7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, - well, I think it's out of my league.

8. Cutting for Stone by Abraham, a novel with Egyptian overtones, I believe.

9. Fall by Colin McAdam - and its reviews interested me not one wit.

10. Through Black Spruce by Joseph Boyden. An novel about aviation in remote areas. Sure to catch the eye of a Flyer.

The Non Fiction is a mishmash of success stories, stories of failure, books on the economic woes which beset us, a book about the Yankees (Baseball) and the one the I have ordered from the library, - The Inheritors by David E. Sanger. It is a book which analyzes and forecasts the Obama years.

How does this Canadian list compare to other countries? I am sure we are not so global that we all read the same books, but certainly there are some that entertain or educate people in all countries. The Kindly Ones is a translation of a novel written in French by an American author and I think it has a moral message for all people.

I don't seem to have time to read during the day, but my night time reading is still dominated by Peter Ackroyd, - the Clerkenwell Tales and still The Sacred River.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

This morning at the breakfast table Charles and I were discussing the amazing things we had read about the Hologram Theory, and, in passing, how it affects the structure of the breakfast table. Or is that an oxymoron considering the possibility that what appears to be the breakfast table is only an illusory perception.

The very same son who alerted me to the Hologram Paradigm also introduced me to The Galaxy Zoo. I was immediately drawn to its amazingly beautiful images of far away galaxies and as soon as I was recruited as a citizen scientist, (one of about 150,000 people who do duty by observing and classifying the various types of galaxies, stars and other phenomenon)I was busy classifying too, with awe and wonderment. Are these stupendous galaxies really all part of the Hologram???

The Galaxy Zoo files contain almost a quarter of a million galaxies which have been imaged with a camera attached to a robotic telescope (the Sloan Digital Sky Survey). In order to understand how these galaxies — and our own — are formed they need help to classify these images according to their shapes — a task at which the brain is better than even the fastest computer.

The galaxies can be elliptical, spiral, cigar shaped, disks - some close together and merging. All of them most wonderfully beautiful and glowing with unbelievably gorgeous colours.

There is a short tutorial and then you are off on your magic carpet on a fascinating inspection tour of space.

And you never know when you might find something unusual and out of the ordinary.

From Galaxy Zoo....

"One of the most exciting discoveries from the original Galaxy Zoo was something we never expected. Hanny Van Arkel, a Dutch schoolteacher and Galaxy Zoo volunteer, posted an image to the Galaxy Zoo forum and asked "What's the blue stuff below?" No one knew. The object became known as the "Voorwerp" — Dutch for "object". The original images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey couldn't tell us what it was, so we took follow-up telescope observations, in optical and ultra-violet light, as well as measurements from the Swift satellite.

The Voorwerp is shown above but you can read more about it and see additional examples on the Galaxy Zoo blog article: The Mystery of the Voorwerp Deepens!.

The Voorwerp is only one of the many interesting and wonderful objects that users found in Galaxy Zoo 1. Teams of astronomers — and of Zooites — are working hard to follow up on these. It's something that is unique to a project like the Zoo. Computers will slowly get better at classifying galaxies, but looking at an image and asking "what's that odd thing?" remains uniquely human".

So if you haven't come across The Galaxy Zoo, why don't you arrange to take the tour?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In the past few weeks two of my children have spoken to me about The Hologram Paradigm. I'm not sure if their motive was to startle me, or merely to share information.

Well, it does startle me, and I find it very difficult to get my head around these
fantastic new ideas, - and I use the word fantastic as describing what seems to have slight relation to the real world because of its strangeness or extravagance.

Quantum Mechanics and the String Theory have never been clear to me, - I grew up with particles and relativity and these strange new theories make my head spin, - slightly. The fact that physicist Alain Aspect and his research team discovered that under certain circumstances subatomic particles such as electrons are able to instantaneously communicate with each other regardless of the distance separating them, whether they are ten feet or ten billion miles apart does not communicate to me with instant clarity, although I can see that this might be an explanation for telepathy.

As I continue puzzling and reading I come across a portion of work written by Michael Talbot on the Universe as a Hologram which blows away my Memory File Drawer Theory and leaves instead a blank space waiting to be filled.

Michael Talbot informs that a fellow name Pibram was drawn to the holographic model by the puzzle of how and where memories are stored in the brain.

Well, I had wondered about that too, and thought my Theory was quite reasonable, - when you can't remember something the drawer is stuck! Simple...

However, I feel it necessary to try to understand how Pibram explains memory storage. And this is what Michael Talbot has to say about it.

" For decades numerous studies have shown that rather than being confined to a specific location, memories are dispersed throughout the brain. In a series of landmark experiments in the 1920s, brain scientist Karl Lashley found that no matter what portion of a rat's brain he removed he was unable to eradicate its memory of how to perform complex tasks it had learned prior to surgery. The only problem was that no one was able to come up with a mechanism that might explain this curious "whole in every part" nature of memory storage.

Then in the 1960s Pribram encountered the concept of holography and realized he had found the explanation brain scientists had been looking for. Pribram believes memories are encoded not in neurons, or small groupings of neurons, but in patterns of nerve impulses that crisscross the entire brain in the same way that patterns of laser light interference crisscross the entire area of a piece of film containing a holographic image. In other words, Pribram believes the brain is itself a hologram.-->

Pribram's theory also explains how the human brain can store so many memories in so little space. It has been estimated that the human brain has the capacity to memorize something on the order of 10 billion bits of information during the average human lifetime (or roughly the same amount of information contained in five sets of the Encyclopaedia Britannica).

Similarly, it has been discovered that in addition to their other capabilities, holograms possess an astounding capacity for information storage--simply by changing the angle at which the two lasers strike a piece of photographic film, it is possible to record many different images on the same surface. It has been demonstrated that one cubic centimeter of film can hold as many as 10 billion bits of information.

Our uncanny ability to quickly retrieve whatever information we need from the enormous store of our memories becomes more understandable if the brain functions according to holographic principles. If a friend asks you to tell him what comes to mind when he says the word "zebra", you do not have to clumsily sort back through some gigantic and cerebral alphabetic file to arrive at an answer. Instead, associations like "striped", "horselike", and "animal native to Africa" all pop into your head instantly.

Indeed, one of the most amazing things about the human thinking process is that every piece of information seems instantly cross- correlated with every other piece of information--another feature intrinsic to the hologram. Because every portion of a hologram is infinitely interconnected with every other portion, it is perhaps nature's supreme example of a cross-correlated system."

My word! What next, I wonder......

If we allow, for the sake of argument (Talbot says) that the superhologram is the matrix that has given birth to everything in our universe, then was it by Design or by Chance????

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I went down the hall with the express purpose of making my glasses sparkle and glow, but something distracted me and then I forgot this important aspect of Sunday morning, and I played the organ throughout the church service, seeing but darkly!

Although I think I played Amazing Grace with some elegance and emotion, inspired by Il Divo.

Afterwards, in the grocery store, it came upon me that all was not as bright as it should be, (including mine own dear self) and I resolved to clean my glasses as soon as I got home.

But alas, the little old dog met me at the door, apparently in dire need to go for a walk, - and we found the leash and the walking shoes and away we went. Only arriving back in time to get lunch, - in a haze, still darkly....

After lunch I put the telephone and the glasses beside the couch and Casper and I laid ourselves down for a small nap after the morning's musical exertions. I dreamt I lost my friend who I was taking back to the Care Facility, and I wandered in the dark looking for her in vain.

Finally I woke, gratefully, and I thought how glad I was that dreams relinquish us from their terrors and anxieties. Then I went to put the kettle on for tea, and was inspired to lighten things up with some freshly baked orange muffins.

I put on my glasses to check on the amount of baking soda in the recipe, and somehow the day lost its brightness, and became heavy, and dreary.

Casper needed to go out again, - we left the muffins in Charles' care and I took off my glasses and away we went, finding pleasure in the mildness of the afternoon and the small tufts of green showing up along the lane. In the distance there is a lovely tree that every March seems to have an aura of spring around it, long before the leaves are ready to unfurl, and as we walked it occurred to me that perhaps this encouraging phenomenon is caused by the large evergreen behind it and across the road, lending its colour to the bare branches.

We saw the quail, in pairs, skittering after each other, and two woodpeckers courted shyly in the neighbour's walnut trees.

We had tea, and sweet warm muffins, and while Charles read the paper I leafed desultorily through Theodore Roethke, looking unsuccessfully for a poem.

Carelessly, I had once again donned those dirty, filmy spotted glasses.

I lifted my head from the book and looked across the valley, where nothing was as sharp and clear as it should be. The sap is rising in the golden willows, but they were not glowing ...

Oh, ENOUGH - at last I rose and found the glass cleaning spray, and polished those spectacles within an infinitesimal inch of disintegration.

Our nice Welsh preacher this morning spoke about God's gift of the Grace of Endurance, but I felt somewhat unappreciative of this gift today, - a whole grey day when the Gifts of Awareness and Common Sense would have saved me from its dreariness.

Tomorrow I will wear my rose coloured glasses, and search in the garden for more signs of spring.