A humorous story from a North Dakota boy. Krista often teases me about how North Dakota will come up in any conversation I’m part of. (Yes, I’m proud of my roots!) So, of course I’m going to share this great story from Scientific American about Brian Schmidt, an astrophysicist who won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for co-discovering dark energy:
"When I won this, my grandma, who lives in Fargo, North Dakota, wanted to see it. I was coming around so I decided I’d bring my Nobel Prize. You would think that carrying around a Nobel Prize would be uneventful, and it was uneventful, until I tried to leave Fargo with it, and went through the X-ray machine. I could see they were puzzled. It was in my laptop bag. It’s made of gold, so it absorbs all the X-rays—it’s completely black. And they had never seen anything completely black.
They’re like, ‘Sir, there’s something in your bag.’
I said, ‘Yes, I think it’s this box.’
They said, ‘What’s in the box?’
I said, ‘a large gold medal,’ as one does.
So they opened it up and they said, ‘What’s it made out of?’
I said, ‘gold.’
And they’re like, ‘Uhhhh. Who gave this to you?’
'The King of Sweden.'
'Why did he give this to you?'
'Because I helped discover the expansion rate of the universe was accelerating.'
At which point, they were beginning to lose their sense of humor. I explained to them it was a Nobel Prize, and their main question was, ‘Why were you in Fargo?’”
Cracks me up.
As the business of reading technology continues along its trajectory, whether apocalyptic or utopian or both, perhaps those of us who continue to fancy ourselves concerned readers, however much we give into the new and shiny, might turn our attention and new to what one might call inner work — Nathan Schneider, in The Fabric of Our Identity
The World is not an idea as asserted by philosophers who have dedicated their entire lives to the exploration of ideas. First and foremost the world is passion. But passion is associated with sadness. Sadness does not only arise from death which makes us face the Eternity, but also from life which causes us to confront the Time. — Nikolai Berdyaev
We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know; God wants us to realize his presence, not in unsolved problems but in those that are solved. That is true of the relationship between God and scientific knowledge, but it is also true of the wider human problems of death, suffering, and guilt. — Dietrich Bonhoeffer, quoted in "Science and Being"
Man starts over again everyday, in spite of all he knows, against all he knows. —
From Parker Palmer’s column, "A Hymn to the Passing of Summer":
Here’s a poem that seems more beautiful to me every time I read it. It’s a poem to be read aloud, and slowly, a poem to be felt even more than understood, as one might feel a song…
by W.S. Merwin
This hour along the valley this light at the end
of summer lengthening as it begins to go
this whisper in the tawny grass this feather floating
in the air this house of half a life or so
this blue door open to the lingering sun this stillness
echoing from the rooms like an unfinished sound
this fraying of voices at the edge of the village
beyond the dusty gardens this breath of knowing
without knowing anything this old branch from which
years and faces go on falling this presence already
far away this restless alien in the cherished place
this motion with no measure this moment peopled
with absences with everything that I remember here
eyes the wheeze of the gate greetings birdsongs in winter
the heart dividing dividing and everything
that has slipped my mind as I consider the shadow
all this has occurred to somebody else who has gone
as I am told and indeed it has happened again
and again and I go on trying to understand
how that could ever be and all I know of them
is what they felt in the light here in this late summer
(W.S. Merwin received the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in both 1971 and 2009 and served as U.S. Poet Laureate in 2010-2011.)
Gatsby le magnifique. Dope.
Photo by Jean-François Bodart
If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart? — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, from The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956, as quoted in this On Being episode "The Problem of Evil"
Reason alone, one way or another, eventually turns into reasoning together. It sees the light of day. It meets its own history. It strikes up a conversation. And it’s never the same afterward. — Nathan Schneider, from God in Proof