Frêsh Fish

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Darwin’s Radio

I am reading Darwin’s Radio (1999) by Greg Bear and thoroughly enjoying it. I am about 120 pages into this 430 page novel. The key concept is endogenous retroviruses. (Note – I am now on page 312 of Bear’s work. The first 2/3’s of Darwin’s Radio is great, but like a lot of recent novels the last 1/3 is becoming a major disappointment.)

Given that the novel was written in 1999 when I suspect I wasn’t reading as much as I am now, I doubt I would have found Bear on my own. There is a etiology to my now reading Darwin’s Radio.

Neil Stephenson – Asimov (Foundation Series) – Foundation and Chaos (Greg Bear) – Darwin’s Radio (Greg Bear).

How I came to Stephenson I no longer remember. But after reading 5 novels by Neil totaling over 4,000 pages let me warn – “Just say no to Stephenson.” I have noted in other places that Stephenson is an exceptional writer with amazing stamina and unsurpassed descriptive skills but for all of his gifts he has a persisted lack of a unified plot and provides little in the realm of thought provoking ideas. This is a persistent characteristic of all five of Stephenson’s novels.

Many compared and contrasted Stephenson to Issac Asimov stating that Asimov’s Foundation series was better. While Asimov doesn’t even come close to having Stephenson’s descriptive talents he does provide an abundance of contemplative moments, moments where the reader pauses to ponder.

After Asimov’s death, The Asimov Estate commissioned three renown science fiction writers to write a continuation. The second in this commissioned trilogy is Foundation and Chaos by Greg Bear. I actually liked Foundation and Chaos by Greg Bear better than any of the six prior Asimov novels.

After finishing Foundation and Chaos, I looked up Greg Bear on Google and examined a list of novels Bear had written. Having an interest in genetics and such, the title, Darwin’s Radio struck my fancy. God must love me a lot because Darwin’s Radio is a winner.

This is a snap of me taken in front of a mirror.  I can't remember how I did this.  Boo.

Copy & Paste

I banter around the term endogenous retrovirus like I know what I am talking about. False. My college biology left me long ago. My crude conception of endogenous retrovirus is that it is some type of biological information that has been able to attach itself directly to one’s DNA. In some cases this information lies dormant within the DNA bundle and is pasted on unnoticed from generation to generation until triggered by some type of event.

To get a better feel for endogenous retroviruses lets consider some concepts that are more familiar – cancer and HIV.

With cancer something outside of the cell causes changes to the cell’s DNA. With cancer nothing tangible crosses the cell membrane. It is the original cell’s DNA that initiates the change. With HIV, which is a retrovirus, an outside agent crosses the cell’s membrane and then begins to attach itself to the cell’s DNA. Once HIV has initiated a change in the DNA of the original cell, the cell begins to express this change immediately. With endogenous retroviruses, the cell’s DNA is changed but the expression is dormant. Actually endogenous retroviruses are ghosts of prior retroviruses that the cell has been able to overcome or adapt to.

© 2009 big box industries

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Story & A Snap

I had a special word for it that I have forgotten. It is when someone hasn’t blogged in awhile and then when they start blogging again they have to apologize with something weak about why they were too cool, or busy, or something to blog.


Well my excuse is that I have been doing lots of interesting things and such but I didn’t have any snaps to accompany the entries. I like to have a story and a snap when I blog.

Actually a snap from 04 2008.

Ubiquitous Gonzo Digital Photographer

The first snap is of my bathroom window from the outside. You can see the ubiquitous gonzo digital photographer, Robert d. Snaps, in the bottom left window frame. He was focusing on the crystal that hangs on fishing line in the bathroom near the big window. At special times of the year, and then only at special times during the day, this crystal brings all the pretty colors inside to dance.

There is also a study of yellow and blue in this offering. Note the yellow towel hanging over the door in the bathroom. Also note in the frame with the ubiquitous gonzo digital photographer, Robert d. Snaps, that there are two blue balls hanging to the left of the photographer. Note also the dash of yellow in the bottom left of that frame.

I like how there are reflections from both in front and behind the photographer all in the same snap. Wow!

Next is a little game that any photographer can play. You take a snap and then the next snap is a bigger snap of something that occurred in the first snap.

Say what?

Actually a snap from 04 2008.  Things are blooming slower this year.

Blue Balls

And just for phun I thought I would throw in a little counterpoint.

This is the view from my tub.  Wow.

Life Is Good

© 2009 big box industries

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Godel, Escher, Bach

I have just finished Foundation & Empire – Isaac Asimov. This was the last for me of the hodge-podge of six novels that make up The Foundation Series.

The characters and stories in the series are already getting away from me. What I am left with is the essence of The Series.

To me the essence is found in the concept of The First & Second Foundations. Institutions evolved to save the Corpus from a prolonged decline. Although not explicitly detailed, there is also, a trinity, a trinity, we want a trinity, a Third Foundation, that ever so carefully watches over The Creation.

The First Foundation is material in nature and is known and acknowledged. The Second Foundation is psychic and hidden. The alleged Third Foundation is even more removed than the first two and is only discovered after thorough contemplation.

Actually a snap from 02 2008.  Things are blooming slower this year.

Master Phat 2008

Actually, the numbering of The Foundations is misleading. The ordering should be reversed, with The Third being The First and The First being The Third. With this slight modification we are ready for a Father, Son, and Holy Ghost – A Trinity.

Within any organization of some standing there will always be a trinity, three circles of influence, three orders. There will be the actually organization itself in its entirety. The first order is the face of the organization that meets the world. The second order within the organization is the executive branch, the organization's officers. Further removed is the third order which is the received doctrine and dogma of the organization based on its prior history.

This organizational ordering corresponds to the Freudian terminology of Super Ego, Ego, and Id.

Soon I will reread The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. Selfish depicts a scenario where we have The First Foundation being the body, The Second Foundation being the gene, and an as of yet undefined Third Foundation, (genius – the genes in us), which is the goal of the first two.

© 2009 big box industries

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Before The Hare

Hopes and dreams in darkness put for when the sun spins warmly round again. Old friends, with us once, and now back again.

I like plants. I have bulbs all over my yard. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I have hidden what? But it actually makes The Coming more interesting because each year I am surprised once again by the sparrow-milk and rabbit-feathers.

Today was a beauty. While meandering in the back I spied the first crocus bloom of 2009.

I am doing all this with the DOW down about 360.

1st Crocus of 2009

The flowering quinces have been out for awhile.

Saw some white quinces last year and now have a yen for a few whities.

Love My Quinces

© 2009 big box industries

Monday, February 09, 2009

Beneath the Veil

Should I show it all, it all being torn and tattered and such a mess? Yes, yes, show the mess.

I am one of the few I know who uses thoughtful alt tags.

Lux Luma

We start with the first observation that the above is a lie. 2/08/09 is not the time of the Full Moon.

To support this I offer the full moon tables for 1900-2100. The Full Moon will be this afternoon at 14:51. Amazing that it is all figured out through 2100.

Even the picture is a lie. I saw the Moon last night when it was first on the rise.
Quick, with camera in hand, I went out back to see what I could do. The results for sundry reasons were poor.

Of course with flash.  Did others with high ISO but they were either out of focus or blurred.

Lux Luma Revisited

After shooting I tried for a poem. I haven’t, pen to paper put, in a while. The results the same old romantic sop.

Feckless Folly

Early she comes
tease, tease.
I think she wants me, Y?

And eye in awe
did allegiance
pledging troth to begotten wonder.
Begotten not made.

More might come
if I did dwell
but off to feck
forlorn and forsaken

It is a sadness
she can not
but try she does
it is her fashion.

What really transpired was that the Moon came up rather early. It was still twilight when she crested the horizon in the East. It was a big moon. I was impressed. There the moon was, early, teasing me to do something. Ergo, I took some snaps and wrote a poem.

Lastly, it is always nice to know that I was not the only one.

© 2009 big box industries