Thursday, March 27, 2008

Book 12, Infinity and Beyond

I picked up another from the "marginal" pile. I saw that it was written by Ben Bova and knew that I had read one of his Mars books as well as the fact that he had edited Omni Magazine. Faint Echoes, Distant Stars gives a lot of information in a very objective manner.

Much of what Dr. Bova touches on is controversial at the very least. He talks about the origins of humankind's perceptions of our world and the lights in the sky.

The author explains the currently accepted version of the creation of the solar system. His description of the "accretion disk" and the way that planets coalesced by a combination of collisions with other bodies and attracting "dust" from the elliptic is vivid and exciting. One would think that this kind of book could be mind numbing.

I learned about exobiology and astrobiology and that there are life forms on this planet that are as alien to us as anything that we can likely imagine. Have you ever heard of an extremophile? I sure hadn't.

Wait, that boy I saw in the discipline office yesterday was pretty alien with his waist band at mid thigh and his grungy thermal underwear on. Ewww.

As a write of speculative fiction, I wondered how object Dr. Bova would be. I knew I liked his writing. I really tend to avoid non-fiction but I find myself coming around to it more and more. (Thank you very much Jane!) After studying art history and reading some of the "oh my God I want to shoot myself" texts I had really wanted to stay as far away from research as I could. I really liked this book. I liked how the author tried to look at each item he discussed from divergent points of view. I also liked his fond homage to Carl Sagan, long one of my heroes.

At times, this text is funny as it discusses how the political structure in the US impacts the funding for space exploration and scientific discovery. To see US politicians quoting about the "giggle factor" and "little green men" is really laughable. I bet some of them see plenty of little green men after a four martini lunch.

Mark is fond of saying that humankind has such a hard time understanding the infinitely large and the infinitely small. Reminds me of the Niven/Pournelle book Mote in God's Eye."

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I'm puny today. I had to have dye injected into my shoulder today and then have an MRI. I am so scared of needles. I must say that the doctor was really cute and nice and I only cussed once.

MRI's don't usually bother me very much. I tend to fall asleep inside the "jackhammer" tube. I've had probably a dozen of them over the years. I've learned that amenities are worthwhile. The last two I've had were "open" MRI's and weren't terrible. The last one actually had a straight shot at CNN. Some of them have piped in music and earphones. The one today was a dog. The air flow wasn't very good and I got a little panicked. That is new. I had to have him pull me out. Having this contrast in my shoulder already and not wanting to be stuck again, I was resolved to get the test over. I did actually come close to dropping off a couple of times which makes the time pass so much faster and THEN I got a ginormous cramp in my right butt cheek about the same time that I had a massive hot flash. That was rough. I did my Lamaze breathing and counted. The tech was a cute little guy with braces. He was ever so pleasant and I felt bad because I thought I had acted up. He told me that I was really pretty good.

Hopefully, I'll get my results back on Tuesday. Several doctors think it is a torn rotator cuff or a labral tear. I don't think either one is a fun day at Six Flags. I just hope that the district will not continue to withhold treatment. I hate having to involve legal types (except F.G. and that's just because I think he's cute!) to get what I should get. If I have to have any kind of surgical intervention, I hope that the district will facilitate me getting taken care of over the summer so that I don't lose any instructional time over BS.