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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How Many Jourmals From Pakistan Do You Read?

This is the time when I am supposed to say that I read at least two or three... in Urdu as well as English. However, that is not the case. I do know someone who studied Urdu, but it was not I. (I hear a collective sigh of relief.)
What could be in a journal from Pakistan, except news of wars and terrors?

What about DAWN?
Lake Manchar: Pakistan's floating village
Danial Shah — Updated Jul 16, 2015 02:38pm
Manchar Lake, the floating village of Pakistan, lies 18 kilometres west of Sehwan Sharif on the Indus Highway. It is claimed to be one of the biggest freshwater lakes in Pakistan, and the only lake that is home to fishermen living on wooden boathouses for hundreds of years.

The lake spreads over an area of 233 square kilometres, and gets its water from the Kirthar hill torrents and river Indus. The fisher folk, known as Mirbahar or Mohannas have been living here for centuries and survive on the available fish stock in the lake.

A thinly carpeted road towards the west on main Indus highway leads to Manchar Village. The village is small, mainly comprising of a main market that is crowded with fishermen in groups, sipping chai, watching TV and discussing local politics.

The market has one mosque, a few roadside restaurants, a grocery shop and a vegetable shop...


We asked Allah Wasayo if we could spend the night in the floating village in one of the boathouses, to which he offered us his own boat, a dinner with his family and a ride in the middle of the lake. We negotiated a price for the services and the experience they were about to give.

We were dropped at the shore to bring groceries for the dinner that his family would make for us, and later hopped on a bigger boat, which Allah Wasayo took in the middle of the lake, away from the shore.

The boathouse is simply a wooden boat with a big compartment in the middle, which acts as a living room, with a compartment for storage and sleeping on one side. One boat allows eight to 10 people to sleep on. Every fishermen family owns a boathouse and a smaller boat to commute...


The fishermen who live on the lake are poor, and give all the fish they catch to the contractor who hires them at a minimal daily wage. The lake is now heavily polluted, and receives less freshwater and more toxic water – mainly drain water from Main Nara Valley (MNV)...

Extremely good, I think. And there are more such illustrated reports.
This is one of the best sites I think I have ever seen.


Friday, July 24, 2015

Continuous Transportation

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige


We are very proud to annonce that our project, KNARR™ Cargo Airship, won the category ‘Speculative Objects/Concepts‘ of Core77 Design Awards ! The judges in this category included such luminaries as Branko Lukic, author and founder of Nonobject Design & Innovation Studio, and Banny Banerjee, founder of Stanford University’s Design for Change Lab.

“The judges felt that this design proposal was highly visionary, spoke to a very real issue, and demonstrated brilliant execution. Even though the notion of a dirigible is not new, the application and adaption of the concept for the delivery of oversized components for large-scale wind energy generation places it in the category of a new paradigm. If this project were to get support, and become viable, it would be instrumental in bringing about a large transformation in wind energy production.” ...


Thoughtless Thoughts

In The Intercept:

Wesley Clark Calls for Internment Camps for "Radicalized" Americans
Murtaza Hussain    July 20 2015, 10:12 a.m.
Retired general and former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark on Friday called for World War II-style internment camps to be revived for “disloyal Americans.” In an interview with MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts in the wake of the mass shooting in Chatanooga, Tennessee, Clark said that during World War II, “if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war.”

He called for a revival of internment camps to help combat Muslim extremism, saying, “If these people are radicalized and they don’t support the United States and they are disloyal to the United States as a matter of principle, fine. It’s their right and it’s our right and obligation to segregate them from the normal community for the duration of the conflict.”...

First Congress has to declare that a state of war exists.

Right now, the War on Terror has the same legal status as the War on Drugs.
The immense grey area of a popularly designated "War" makes it even easier for the state of Constant War that this lobbyist for War and Its Continuance desires.

Failing that, go back to being a cable-TV-talking-head-general-body-counter.


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 4th To The Present

Had the place all spruced up.

Our friend, Gil, was there from July 1 through July 3. Then She-who-must-be-obeyed went to pick up Mother, and she arrived that afternoon.

Various desultory family stuff occurred.
My wife and I decided that we would pretend to be the butler/gardener/chauffeur and the cook/maid/charwoman for the weekend just for a lark. Well, we had a dry run in the previous week, but this would now be a full dress rehearsal with an audience/full house.

She-who-must-etc. had to leave early on the 4th, so she made the dinner, then ate her own at 5:00 PM, and took off to go home and get ready for a trip to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island the following day.

That left Mater and me, the butler, to deal with a dinner fully prepared, and an audience that was not quite half way through the cocktail hour.

My nephew corralled them all into dinner.

After all had eaten, there was surprise that Cook had not made preparations for a fine dessert.

A good time for all.

I came back later to do repairs on the dock. My friend gave me advice on how best to replace a series of upright columns that supported the hand railing, and I made plans. We would have to stand in the water - ruling out electric tools - and drill new holes in the 4"x6" boards that supported the planking on the dock, and line up those new holes with holes cut in 4"x4" posts, then stick a 1/2" carriage bolt through them, put a washer and nut on the end, and tighten with a deep socket.

Checking Lowe's, Home Depot, and Lumber Jack, I found everything I needed. I bought augers and drill bits, but soon discovered my grandfather and father had a complete array of augers from 1/16" through 20/16", all about 10" long.
I also found drill bits,  but they had not been sharpened, so I used a new one.
(nb:  4"x4"x8' posts at Lumber Jack were $3.18 less than anywhere else!!)

I also found 2 hand drills,  one was the kind that uses circular motion of the hand to a circular motion of the drill chuck:
 example of a hand drill

the other was more ancient yet and was a gear driven manual drill with a breast or stomach plate allowing one to apply force with the body as well as the left hand while turning the gears with the right hand:
 an example to show what I have termed the breastplate (the red curved plate on the upper left)

The actual tools:

They worked very well, and the repairs were done in 3 hours.

two of the new posts

There is more to do. Much of the planking has to be replaced. Now with high water, the waves thrown by passing freighters knocks some of the old planks off. 
They are old. My father said they were from wood rescued from old Detroit Western High School when it burned back in 1935. I believe it. They could no longer hold paint over the winter, so porous they'd become.

I found myself experiencing an odd feeling as I used my grandfather's tools. I mean, I had done many, many chores around the old pile, but I had never really used these old tools. And now I felt very much knocked out of time a  bit, and sort of wavering in the world between where the everyday-ego put me and where the memory-ego put me.

I was in the realm of the ancestors.
For the first time in my life, I had a glimpse of what power ancestors may indeed have upon the present; not just memories, but feelings that are strong and which remain strong unless we trivialize them with popular psychological nonsense.

I tried to just go with the feeling. This is the exact time when people say things like "I feel at one with my grandpa" or "I am channeling my grandfather" or "I am communing with the past", and then feel all very inspired to some very blurry and undefined end.

I think it is better just to let the feeling or intuition - whatever it is - flow along while you bob up and down on it like a rowboat filled with lazy fishermen sleeping after lunch in Muskamoot Bay... returning home at 5:30 PM smelling of strong drink, and not having the truth in them!

Gandalf stopped by to have a beer and try to get me to go on another adventure. This time I turned him down quite definitely.


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Religious Problems

 Ladies In Chechnya

Source: Causcasian Knot

Residents of Chechnya state confusion with celebration of Eid al-Fitr

July 2015, 19:21 

The republic's clergy have failed to timely inform the public about the first day of Eid al-Fitr, said residents of Chechnya. According to their story, they believed the information of the Muftiat that the first day will be July 18, not July 17.

The end of the month of Ramadan was announced only in the evening on July 16; and it created problems for many residents of the republic, local residents assert.

"Our Muftiat has once again 'distinguished' itself. Until the last moment, nobody said about the final day of Ramadan. Initially, all agreed that the first day of Eid al-Fitr will be on July 18; and people were calm, thinking that they still have 24 hours left. But at night on July 16, after the evening namaz (prayer), suddenly they told that Ramadan was over; and the first day of Eid al-Fitr falls on July 17. All people immediately rushed to marketplaces and stores aiming to buy the missing foodstuffs; it was a huge hype," a citizen of the republic named Askhab told the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.

"The end of the month of Ramadan is defined, same as its start, by the appearance of the 'new' moon in the sky. It happens only late at night. Initially, it was supposed that the first day of Eid al-Fitr will fall on Saturday. But in the evening it became known that the appearance of the new moon was noticed; and Islamic scholars defined July 17 as the first day of the holiday. Therefore, we had such a situation," the spokesman of the Spiritual Administration of Muslims (SAM) of Chechnya explained to the "Caucasian Knot" correspondent.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

La Vida Boliviana

When I read the quote below and I try to understand it in an analytic manner, it makes very little sense to me.
However, if I try to understand it silently, using the tacit understanding and empathy of the body and my memory of such silent understandings of the past, then it shines.

Regardless of whether we think it nonsense or genius, there is a great truth here in that there is an unlimited number of therapies for helping people... an infinite number, actually, for a new way of helping will pop into being from the void tomorrow.

At the end, there is a great truth, which I emphasized.

Bolivian Express
Constellating the Unconscious
29 Jun, 2015 | Valeria Wilde
You walk into a room and see a group of people in a circle watching a young lady in the middle moving her right foot back and forth, crying desperately. Next to her is an elderly woman dancing with a big smile, surrounding the lady with wide open arms. Also in the circle is a young man trying to reach the crying woman, but he seems invisible to her. She is too consumed by her tears and begins to shout that she cannot stop dancing ballet as yet another woman tries to comfort her without success.
What would you make of this scene? The common assumption may be that you are watching a cast of actors rehearsing a play. For some conservative observers, however, it would be easy to believe that an evil force has somehow possessed these individuals. The truth is that this is a session of an unorthodox therapy called, Family Constellations.
Bert Hellinger is the founder of this therapy, which is heavily influenced by systemic psychotherapy, psycho-genealogy, and transgenerational psychotherapy. Usually the practice takes place in a room with a large group of people who are standing in a circle. The subject selects individuals from the group to represent members of his or her family system.
In what follows, the spontaneous actions of those selected reveal the inner conflicts that the subject of the therapy is attempting to solve. As the session advances, these actions change and evolve, shedding light on a way to resolve the inner conflicts at hand. Organically, a natural order is eventually reestablished in the family portrayed at the heart of the circle.
“There is a force that overtakes me and does all the work through me. That’s why a phrase or a movement comes to me,” says Rosa Scardino, a Family Constellations therapist currently working in La Paz. This force, which is known as the collective consciousness, is what prompts the actions and behaviour of the people participating in the therapy.


Healing is our duty in this lifetime...


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

What Does Likud And Netanyahu Think Of The USA?

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon  (photo by REUTERS/Adnan Abidi)

In AL Monitor:
Israeli defense minister says Iran deal will set off nuclear arms race in region
By the afternoon of July 13, Jerusalem had come to terms with the fact that Iran and the superpowers had apparently reached an agreement. As far as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Minister of Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz are concerned, this is the moment of truth. The public debate will heat up intensely over the next few days, culminating in Netanyahu’s anticipated visit to the United States in September to attend the UN General Assembly meeting. He is planning a bitter battle on Capitol Hill as he treks from senator to senator in an immense, unprecedented effort to prevent Congress from approving the agreement and to override the president’s veto with a 67-senator majority.


Al-Monitor:  Why not step out of the box and try to believe that the Iranians can change their spots? Maybe becoming closer to the West through the current agreement could dull some of their sting and make them more like the responsible adult?
Ya’alon:  All anyone has to do is listen to the Iranians themselves. Did you hear [Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei two days ago? That’s the situation, and it’s not about to change. Khamenei admitted that he was forced to enter into these negotiations. He called it “drinking from this cup of poison,” and said that it showed heroic flexibility. He said that he had no choice but to go speak to the Great Satan, Kerry and the United States, but never once did he abandon the path, the revolution or the ideology. Anyone expecting McDonald’s to open a branch in Tehran tomorrow is sadly mistaken...

A McDonald's opening in Teheran...
The summit of our desires as citizens of the USA is a McDonald's opening in Teheran...

To put it into terms that the typical American can understand:  a McDonald's in Teheran.


The Uses Of Barbarity

Zombie Apocalypse Bloodletting?

Why does ISIS conduct so many grisly executions of people, whether they be combatants or villagers? Is it merely for the shock effect that the accompanying videos will have on the West?

That is hardly to be believed. The shock-effect of the ISIS iconography of violence is a side effect, a neat trick that makes it ever so much more appealing to the people behind the executions, but it is doubtful that it is the main purpose of such barbarism, for the shock-effect may increase the push for military intervention, not decrease it.

The main purpose of ISIS' cruel violence to human beings - not to historical artifacts - is to produce soldiers who suffer from PTSD.

The men and women who have committed the atrocities will return home to their own countries; some will be witting agents of destruction, but by far the greater portion of returnees will be unwitting "Manchurian Candidates" who will be haunted by their crimes - not "brainwashed", but rendered compliant to anyone who is able to give them relief - and who will be driven to desperation to find some way to stop the constant revisiting of the horrors they committed.

They will find surcease of pain through talking with ISIS agents, who will counsel them in the therapeutic ways of violence against their neighbors...

One of the goals of the great satanic ISIS to to create an army of the damned stretching across the face of the earth, never resting from their pain, never finding escape from their damnation, ever prey to the unscrupulous manipulation of someone who promises some form of salvation.


Monday, July 13, 2015

The Grass Is Always Greener... Or Deader ... Depends

Remember when Japan, Inc. was all the rage? When kids just had to learn Japanese and learn all about the Tokugawa Shogunate?

Then there was a real estate bubble and financial problems in the 1990s, and when was the last time you dug those Japanese flash cards out of the drawer in the old desk?

Then China took center stage, and Tiger Mothers threatened us with super-mom child rearing techniques, and we absolutely had to learn Chinese, and indeed the future was redder all the time.

Then the China stockmarket correction...

In David Stockman's Blog:
Bubble Finance Update——Cracks In The Façade Are Growing
by Joseph Y. Calhoun • July 12, 2015
... It was a mere five years ago that Thomas Friedman of the New York Times was extolling the virtues of the enlightened ones running China and pining for the kind of control they had over policy. Friedman opined that the Chinese would eat our lunch by “overtaking us in electric cars, solar power, energy efficiency, batteries, nuclear power and wind power.” ...

I do not necessarily agree with anything but the fact that there is a lot of nonsense in the Media, and the necessity of talking 24/7 about "weighty topics" breeds a lot of monsters.
A stockmarket is a casino, and a correction is not the end of the world... although it could grease the skids, as it were.

Japan is a fine place. China is a great country. I am learning Chinese at a snail's pace. I spent some time last week with a young family whose mother is from Chengdu...
And Chengdu is the home of Chuandong prison where Tenzin Delek Rinpoche, a Tibetan monk political prisoner, died yesterday.

What do we make of all this?
Less talk, more living.
China will take care of China. We have our own problems and our own burdens of guilt, real or imagined, to be reconciled. Let us do that first.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Talk Is Usually Cheap

 Going Up or Coming Down?

Donald Trump wants to make America great once more.
His supporters respond to that message, and they fervently wish to make America great once more. The devil-in-the-detail is how does one go about doing such a thing as "making so-and-so great once more"?

How do we go about making anything take on a moral quality? How do we re-claim a virtue or a good quality?

In the past few weeks, I have read that our society needs to learn humility again. In the aftermath of certain Supreme Court decisions, I have read that certain segments of the population may need to withdraw into a "Benedictine" virtual cloister to be able to live in a world of same-sex marriage and ObamaCare.
There was also some nonsense about universal service in various capacities on the theory that The Selective Service System of World War II was a paradigm for the teaching and learning of the virtue of loving one's country and one's society; a bit of nonsense that omitted the role of unspeakable evil's ability to call forth an opposition of self-denying feats of strength from us, the common men of the world.

I do not criticize a call to virtue, but I do think that such appeals fail to realize that being virtuous is a long-term experience that requires a lot of time and effort.

Furthermore, if our country is no longer "great" or lacks some other old-timey virtue it once had,  we should ask ourselves how it came about that those wonderful qualities were lost or lapsed. Can such virtues, once in abeyance, be switched on again within seconds? Are we ourselves in any way responsible for the diminution of virtue, or was it all due to other people who are lazy in a moral way?
And no matter how intensely we want something, if that "something" is Virtue, it takes years of commitment on our part.
Remember the old saying "Whatever does not kill us makes us stronger"?

That pretty much can sum up how Virtue is learned: we face the worst, and we emerge intact, yet we are changed.

Mr. Trump has recommended fighting ISIS by bombing the heck out of Iraq's oil fields.

I think that interesting suggestion makes it clear that Mr. Trump believes that Greatness is a virtue that,
(1) someone else caused to lapse, and
(2) is somehow still floating around in our souls fervent with desire, and
(3) can be decisively re-invigorating by quick actions, and
(4) the ends justify the means...

for since "bombing the heck out of so-and-so" is not in itself a virtuous act, it is the fact that WE bomb the heck out of so-and-so that is the Virtuous Act.

If Trump is elected, I will go "short" on this place.


Friday, July 10, 2015

Papacito Trump's Nightmare: Ultraje !

USA / Mexico Border

The slow, old-timey, chaste, and rural USA lies helpless next to the slumbering giant - el gigante dormido - who threatens little Miss USA's innocence.


Ramadan Mubarak

رمضان مبارك

A musaharati, or dawn awakener, strikes his drum to wake observant Muslims 
for their last meal before the day's fast in Sidon's Old City in southern Lebanon 
just before dawn, Aug. 27, 2010. (photo by REUTERS/Ali Hashisho)

Al Monitor
Gaza's Ramadan drummers
Asmaa al-Ghoul     Posted July 9, 2015
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Children wait on their balconies for the musaharati​, the man who roams the roads, beating drums to wake up the neighborhood to have the predawn suhoor meal and get ready to fast until sunset.

Both children and adults watch for the musaharati, as people stay up all night long during Ramadan. When he appears, he is greeted with cheers and some even go out on the street to offer him gifts. However, things are not always what they seem, and those who bring others joy might not necessarily be happy themselves. This is the case of 23-year-old Louay Jaber, who chants religious hymns as he roams the streets of al-Rammal to wake up the neighborhood's residents.

Jaber waits all year to work during Ramadan, as he has never found any other secure job. “We wait all year long for this month. During the rest of the year, we take up jobs here and there, mostly in construction. However, with the ban on cement into Gaza, it is almost impossible to find a job nowadays,” he told Al-Monitor...


Films I'm Not Sure I'd Really Like To See

A combination of Mel Brook's The Producers:

"Springtime For Hitler" Number in The Producers

and Blake Edwards' Victor Victoria:

Julie Andrews in Victor Victoria

to create Hitler Hitleria:



Continuous Transportation

Un État de Transport Continu
inspiré par le film Transperceneige

Mangapehi Station, New Zealand

Mangapehi Station, New Zealand


Thursday, July 09, 2015


 Revolving Door Panopticon Liminal Prison  (tm)

A threshold is a limen, and liminality

In anthropology, liminality (from the Latin word līmen, meaning "a threshold") is the quality of ambiguity or disorientation that occurs in the middle stage of rituals, when participants no longer hold their pre-ritual status but have not yet begun the transition to the status they will hold when the ritual is complete ...

Thus, one stands on the threshold of change, but has not yet crossed over.

To my mind, this can happen over and over again if one has not crossed firmly over the threshold. Then one is in a state of Revolving Liminality - formed after the metaphor of a Revolving Door in which one attempts to cross over and over but cyclically remains within the cage of tubular glass.

There are many well known thresholds, such as the passage from childhood to adolescence, complete with the rites of passage into puberty.
If one does not make it over the threshold, there are consequences. And often an individual must try to make it over the threshold year after year in an obsessive ritual of passage in the revolving door which holds them captive.

Some thresholds are not so well defined.
Not everything in Life can be captured in words and images. There are thresholds we must cross that only the silent and tacit understanding of the body and blood and mind can see, for they are invisible to the eyes of our rationality. We cannot even express them.
The rites of passage have been so much discussed that we think we know them a mile away, but we only can spot a handful of them. For example, very few in our society can perform even rudimentary passages in the realm of the Holy; we remain stuck at childish and jejune pictures of God and a Heaven packed with angelic choirs.
Or we cast away the awesome part of our perceptive natures, and we live in atheistic ignorance.

Thresholds are outside morality.
It is the crossing or not crossing that enters the realm of morality.

Crossing the threshold is good, and if the threshold is understood, society celebrates it as so.
If it is a solitary threshold, then it amends our soul.
If the threshold is not crossed, the repetition becomes fraught with danger and explosively destructive emotions, so much so that sometimes the failure to advance turn into repetitive evils and serial violences. (Recurring nightmares of PTSD could be so interpreted. What the threshold to be crossed is not clear, and that is one reason why there are hundreds of therapies that are applied, and each of them work for a certain number of sufferers.)

The good mentors are hard to find in the modern world, the ones who teach silent understanding as well as the explicit.



BRUTAL, de Wenceslao Robles

Level 5A


I look at this poem and do not believe I had a hand in creating it some years ago.
Actually, it was not even yet a year past, but it seems to me a fortune of years.

Today we are so pressed on all sides, it does me especially well to remember the powers that spring from the Holy and its sublime awesome which encompasses us.

When lilies of the field are pressed
between the good book's pages,
in sweet Lord Jesus' raiment dressed,
their seed endure for ages!

God's seed endures forever, blown on the wind of grace;  
it will always bloom again and grow to His embrace.

The wheat upon the open plain,
stretch forth their heads to pray;
costume themselves in diamond rain,
and their winnow fan array.  

God's seed endures forever, blown on the wind of grace;  
it will always bloom again and grow to His embrace.

Currents of the His saving waters,
sweep in the ebb and flow;
they bring a saving grace to me,
and to the flowers to grow.  

God's seed endures forever, blown on the wind of grace;
it will always bloom again and grow to His embrace.

See me at the harvest,
see me at the bee;
lay me up in in bundled straw,
yearning to be free!

And when the harvest's over,
and no more stalks to scythe,
yet buy some time with lemonade,
and we shall be alive!


I like the way it moves from the sublime to the homey refreshment of lemonade. We go up, and we come down.


Patch, the Fireworks Pirate

When the Odd Parliament that is the Michigan legislature removed the ban on all fireworks a couple of years ago, it was stated here and elsewhere that injuries would increase.

They seem to have done so. Two NFL players appeared to have lost some fingers.
But perhaps it is only high-profile celebrity injuries that increase, not all injuries. Maybe all injuries are staying at a nice level of morbidity.

Of course, the "rational" libertarians of fireworks say that allowing all fireworks will lead theoretically to fewer injuries, for the buyers will be sure that they are well versed in the safety procedures of fireworks.
This extra margin of safety apparently comes about by removing the black market in fireworks.

The apologists blame strong drink. Drinking is to blame for fireworks injuries, not the fireworks themselves. This puts the fireworks lobby at odds with the liquor lobby... and believe me, I think the liquor lobby will win this test of wills.

I do not care how well tutored I am in explosive devices; I shall not play with them. When I was
a kid, I burnt my finger on a sparkler. Butter was applied to assuage the pain. Never used a sparkler again.
I did go and watch fireworks, however, but I am not drawn as a moth to the flame. This year I went to bed at 9:30 and missed an entire festival of light - according to my mother - down the river.  As I went upstairs, she asked me whether I thought they were the fireworks set off by her stockbroker's neighbor.

Now I have found that when parents reach a certain age, they not only ask a lot of rhetorical questions, but they make rhetorical statements - statements that do not really require a thoughtful response, because you have no idea what they are talking about.

So I said they probably were.
I fell asleep within 10 minutes, and even the constant stream of explosions could not keep me eyes open.


Onos, Dovim, Trey, Patru, Tano, and Sitha

Quintuple star system 1SWASP J093010.78+533859.5 in the centre. 
Centre de données astronomiques de Strasbourg 

Those are the names of the six suns in the novel Nightfall by Isaac Azimov.

Wikipedia: Nightfall (Asimov short story and novel)
"Nightfall" is a 1941 science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov about the coming of darkness to the people of a planet [named Kalgash in the novel, Lagash in the short story] ordinarily illuminated at all times on all sides. It was adapted into a novel with Robert Silverberg in 1990. The short story has been included in 48 anthologies, and has appeared in six collections of Asimov's stories.[citation needed] In 1968, the Science Fiction Writers of America voted Nightfall the best science fiction short story written prior to the 1965 establishment of the Nebula Awards, and included it in The Science Fiction Hall of Fame Volume One, 1929-1964.

The short story was published in the September 1941 issue of Astounding Science Fiction magazine under editor John W. Campbell. It was the 32nd story by Asimov, written while he was working in his father's candy store and studying at Columbia University. According to Asimov's autobiography, Campbell asked Asimov to write the story after discussing with him a quotation from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

If the stars should appear one night in a thousand years, how would men believe and adore, and preserve for many generations the remembrance of the city of God!

Campbell's opinion to the contrary was: "I think men would go mad."

Onos – Yellow dwarf – similar to the Sun
Dovim – Red dwarf
Trey and Patru – Class A or F Main Sequence Stars, described as "white" – binary star system
Tano and Sitha – Class A, B or O Main Sequence Stars, described as "blue" – binary star system
The Last Sun is Eclipsed, Bathing the Observatory of Kalgash in Darkness

And today
Astronomers make a real five-star find
Astronomers have found the very first quintuple star system consisting of two sets of eclipsing binary stars and one solo star.
by Michelle Starr July 8, 2015 10:53 PM PDT

Five stars are inextricably linked in a star system unlike any that has been seen before.

Located just 250 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Ursa Major, the system 1SWASP J093010.78+533859.5 was the subject of a 2013 study led by Marcus Lohr of the Open University in the UK. At the time, Lohr and his team thought the system consisted of four stars -- two binary stars gravitationally locked together, which would have been rare enough in itself.

Presenting at the UK Royal Astronomical Society's National Astronomy Meeting 2015 in Wales on July 8, Lohr revealed that the system actually consists of five stars -- two binaries and fifth lone star -- the first of its kind ever identified.

The two binaries, as Lohr and his team noted in the 2013 paper, are a type of binary called an eclipsing binary. These are binary stars that orbit around each other so that they eclipse each other in our line of sight from Earth, blocking some or all of the other star's light.

The team identified these stars from archived data from the SuperWASP project. This uses low-coast cameras located in the Canary Islands and South Africa to image almost the whole sky every few minutes. Although the data is low-res, it provides an accurate measurement of the brightness of stars over time...
Just one more Red Dwarf and we'd have six stars.

The viability of such a system has been investigated:
and in

Life imitates Art.


Masters Of The Dwang

Old House In Waikato, New Zealand

I received a comment from New Zealand which contained a puzzling expression:
"...cowboy builder... "

(see post Home From The Holidays,

Since the writer had just denied facility in foreign lingo, this was a puzzle, for it was an assertion and a disavowal - was it not?  "Cowboy builder" is surely from far away climes and long ago palavers of mankind.

I looked for it in New Zealand newspapers, and found the following in the Waikato Times:
What became of the cowboy builders and the shonky jobs?
They came thundering over the horizon and across the Canterbury Plains in a swirl of dust and heat and beating hooves, nail pockets flapping wildly in the wind and spirit levels at the ready in the saddle holster. A posse of cowboy builders and renegade chippies mounted up and rode for the corrals of the Christchurch CBD, that earthquake-ravaged, dodgy city of the South.
From every point of the compass they came, holed up for years in the dead end gulches of shonky jobs. The "Do It Yourself Boys" - masters of the celebrated dwang, joist haulers and concrete-pad lads, warriors of the skill-saw and angle grinder, the chisel champs and jackhammer jocks, the under-cut boys; the "no-job-too-small-for-cash crews" camped out in the wastelands of far-flung suburbia. Meanwhile, across the ditch, from Caboolture to Gundagai, the bad boys of the rivet-gun and crow bar gangs hearing the call - saddled up and rode out. Not one Trade Certificate between them.
A scenario maybe that belongs to a chemically induced state of euphoria or short film treatment of the same. The DIY tradition lives on, last vestige of colonial self-sufficiency whose origins go back to settlement times and a healthy distrust of authority.
In Australia there existed once upon a time the sugar bag carpenter. I met an old codger at a pub in Bondi Junction - claimed he was the last of that old breed, and I believed him too; in fact, I wrote a poem about what he told me that sweltering summer afternoon on the eve of the new millennium. The poem, Sugerbag Carpenter subsequently appeared in my collection, Unmanned (1999). The poem kicks off like this:
Them days all you needed was a blunt saw & an axe thrown in a sack. If you could drive a 3" nail through a pound of butter you got the job and that's a fact - ask Bob the Builder who shook the hand of Banjo Patterson though no one believes him...
(I emphasized "cowboy builder" and similar things.)


Oh, a dwang is a noggin between studs.


Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Home From The Holidays

Finally returned from the 4th of July long-long weekend.
Of course, we have no cable, no internet, and no telephone other than cellphones. The island is in a spot where the signal from the US is mostly lost, and the signal from Canada is very infrequent, since the territory of Bjekwanong lies between Canada and our place.

I decided I will start up my poetry blog again. I let it drop about a year ago, when we started the job of cleaning and selling my mother's condo, and then moving her closer.
Then my brother died suddenly.
This was followed by my wife's sister's passing early this year.

Things are better.