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August 20, 2007


schwarzkopf.jpg [image: Elizabeth Schwarzkopf]

"Hey, humanist, tell me something I don't know!"


"1) In 2006, the rate of growth in the GDP of India’s economy (9.2%) was almost three times as great as that of the United States’s (3.2%).
"2) At Christmas 1941 Chester Kallman wrote out for Auden on the small card which accompanied his present some dialogue from The Magic Flute. He chose the moment in the opera where Pamina insists on joining Tamino in the trials of Fire and Water, vowing to stand by him and be a faithful, steadfast partner: 'Tamino: "Hier sind die Schreckspforten | Die Noth und Tod mir draen." | Pamina: "Ich wird an aller Orten | An deiner Seite sein."' The quotation must have touched Auden deeply. In an undated letter, written from Swarthmore in 1944 or 1945, when their mood of their relationship had degenerated even further, he pleaded with Kallman to come and visit him, explaining: 'I need your interest and your help more than you know (or allow yourself to know). I've never forgotten what you wrote on a card with my Christmas Present in 1941. (quote from Pamina). I believe you meant it, hence my appeal.'
"3) There is no current scientific consensus about exactly why ice is slippery. The effects of friction on ice's surface? A ultra-thin, slidey layer of water on ice's surface? No-one has established a dominant explanation. Moreover, scientists now believe that there are at least 12 different types of ice, each with a different molecular structure. Some of these types of ice do not occur on earth.
"4) At the nanoscopic scale, 'a number of physical properties change when compared to macroscopic systems. One example is the increase in surface area to volume of materials.... Materials reduced to the nanoscale can suddenly show very different properties compared to what they exhibit on a macroscale, enabling unique applications. For instance, opaque substances become transparent (copper); inert materials become catalysts (platinum); stable materials turn combustible (aluminum); solids turn into liquids at room temperature (gold); insulators become conductors (silicon). A material such as gold, which is chemically inert at normal scales, can serve as a potent chemical catalyst at nanoscales. Much of the fascination with nanotechnology stems from these unique quantum and surface phenomena that matter exhibits at the nanoscale.'"
5) "A third of the world's population (that is, around two billion people) still 'don't have affordable access to light after the sun goes down' — SunNight Solar".

"OK. And?"

Posted by njenkins at August 20, 2007 03:45 AM

With the exception of interspersed quotations, all writing is © 2007-09 by Nicholas Jenkins