Thursday, November 23, 2017

Stellar Retrodictions, 2 of 2



Comments on the Stellar Retrodictions:

1:
Brother Quark:
Portrait of an angel – or a demon.

Hellerstein:
Anatomy of a star.

2:
Brother Quark:
This is a knotty one. Perhaps it is about a child inheriting a chaotic kingdom?

Hellerstein:
This is about hydrogen fusion.

3:
Brother Quark:
This is about the torments of the damned. But why does he put Hell in Heaven?

Hellerstein:
This is about the lifespans of stars.

4:
Brother Quark:
This is about the pitiful damnation of the petty.

Hellerstein:
This is about a small star becoming a white dwarf.

5:
Brother Quark:
This is about the violent damnation of the great.

Hellerstein:
This is about a large star’s supernova.

6:
Brother Quark:
Ghost of the petty.

Hellerstein:
Portrait of a white dwarf.

7:
Brother Quark:
Ghost of the great.

Hellerstein:
Portrait of a neutron star.

8:
Brother Quark:
War in Heaven!

Hellerstein:
This is about two neutron stars spiraling into each other, by emitting gravitational radiation.

9:
Brother Quark:
This is about the fall of angels, for the sin of avarice.

Hellerstein:
This is about a kilonova; two neutron stars collide, producing an explosion of every element on the periodic table, including gold and platinum.

10:
Brother Quark:
Portrait of Satan.

Hellerstein:
Portrait of a black hole.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Stellar Retrodictions, 1 of 2



Stellar Retrodictions
By Sumadastron the Time-Lost

1:
Alchemic furnace, far and bright
Affixed betwixt collapse and blast;
A beacon shining in the night
Until its heart burns out at last.

2:
Four water-making motes shall meet
To make a mote of lesser mass
And thus release a burst of heat
To hold aloft an orb of gas.

3:
The small and dim burn in the sky
A million million years afire;
The middle sooner bloat, then die;
The big by blast, so vast, expire.

4:
Too light to light the carbon way
Its heart grown small and hot and old
Its outer layers blow away
Evaporating to a coal.

5:
Its burnt-out core can fuse no more
For iron’s fire cools the place;
It falls, and with alchemic roar
The rest blasts outward into space.

6:
A stellar coal, self-immolate;
Why doesn’t it give up the ghost?
Its one support for its own weight;
The pressure of difference of motes.

7:
A smaller cinder, lower down;
Each teaspoon has a mountain’s mass;
An atom’s heart, as big as town;
An orb’s penultimate collapse.

8:
Two massive cinders in the night
In spiral dance around they race
Until they smash and blast out light
And shake the very shape of space.

9:
By second messenger afar
We hear a crash! The heavens ring!
O fatal chirp of fallen stars!
From stellar smash, alchemic bling!

10:
A star as dark as night
Where space and time both bend
With no escape for light
And all known law must end.


Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Why Truth?



Letter to friends and family, on Monday, November 20, 2017:


On this, my 60th birthday, I ask your indulgence to consider a dangerous philosophical question:
Why truth?
- and related questions:

Why justice?
Why honor?
Why honesty?
Why integrity?

- and so on. Why not their opposites: falsehood, tyranny, dishonor, lies and corruption?
I am not arguing in favor of those opposites; I shall leave that to Mr. Trump and his gang of dupes, collaborators and crooks. I am for truth, justice, honor, honesty and integrity, but I’d like to hear some reasons why. I question truth because I love it.
Trump and his gang have plenty of reasons for the lies that they love; though in truth those reasons are not reason; they are madness; for "why reason?" is another question in play here. Why reason? Why not madness?
Truth, justice, etc. all support each other; they argue for each other; but so do falsehood, tyranny, etc. The former group has a strategic, long-term advantage; but the latter has a short-term tactical advantage, as Mr. Trump’s gang has demonstrated. Truth can truly speak for itself, but falsehood can falsely speak for itself. Why favor one over the other?
I question truth because I love it. But why love? You can argue that truth, justice and reason lead to life, liberty and happiness; and these are true arguments. But why happiness? Why liberty? Why life?
Like I said, these questions are dangerous. I ask these dangerous questions because now they are political.
There is a paradox of origin at work here. Truth has true reasons for itself; those true reasons also have true reasons, and so on. But what starts the chain? Or perhaps it goes around in a circle, or a web. But what holds up the web? Something that’s not truth? But how reliable would such support be?
Perhaps the web of truth needs no support, it just floats. But that would not be proof; it would be faith. Must we take truth on faith? And leave falsehood to pride?