Friday, November 14, 2008


Oldie but a goodie book meme!

Kinda brain dead today. So ...

Grab the closest book. Turn to page 23. Find the fifth sentence. Put 'er here, in the comments! Expand on it if necessary. And tell why that book is layin' around! :-)


"The second reason that the speculative mood and mania are exempted from blame is theological."

-- from John Kenneth Galbraith, A Short History of Financial Euphoria (New York: Penguin, 1990; reprint).

Expansion -- and how timely!

(He continues: "In accepted free-enterprise attitudes and doctrine, the market is a neutral and accurate reflection of external influences; it is not supposed to be subject to an inherent and internal dynamic of error. This is the classical faith. So there is a need to find some cause for the crash, however farfetched, that is external to the market itself. Or some abuse of the market that has inhibited its normal performance.")

Why it's around:

It's one of my favorite books on how markets operate, and I use it in my work pretty regularly.


"No doubt it is our discomfort that has led us to relentlessly spiritualize the plain meaning of these text - against the specific advice of James 2:15"

From Ched Myers' Sabbath Economics. The sentences leading up to that excerpt reference Jesus' proclamation of his purpose (to bring Good News to the poor)...

"Only real debt-cancellation and land-restoration could represent GOOD news to poor people. Similarly, a Jubilee gospel is usually unwelcome news to the wealthy - as in the Magnificat's annunciation that God...has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty..."

Great stuff.
"They open their mouths and thrust out their tongues in response to adults who do the same."
From Kaplan and Sadock's Synopsis of Psychiatry. Chapter 2: Human Development Through the Life Cycle.
Comment: Nyahhhh!
It'd have been more interesting if I didn't give the book name. It's lying around the office, first one in arm's reach, 'cause I was just showing a chart from it while teaching a bright-eyed resident yesterday.
The amide barrier is 21.0 kcal/mol (88 kJ/mol) (Weil et al., 1967) and is easily measured by NMR Spectroscopy (cf. Chapter 10); the thioamide barrier is even higher, 25.1 kcal/mol (105 kJ/mol); in this case the two steroisomers can be separated (Walter et al., 1966)."

From Sterochemistry of Organic Compounds by Ernest L. Eliel & Samuel H. Wilen.

This book is next to me because my work involves the induction of stereochemistry in organic compounds using organometallic stannylenes (ie. particular types of compunds containing tin)

Basically, some organic molecules have a "handedness", like right hands and left hands. They differ in handedness, but they are identical in every other way.

As it happens, the body can recognize the handedness of some molecules. So, some medicines for example, can be useful as say, the right handed version of the molecule, but be ineffective or even deadly as say, the left handed version of the molecule (or vice versa). In fact, this was the reason for the problems with thalidomide in the 1960's and 70's.)

So chemists want to have reactions to create molecules with only one type of handedness or another, rather than creating mixtures of both. My work is attempting to use a particular type of tin compound called a stannylene to do that.
"One way to grasp the meaning of change on so phenomenal a scale is to imagine what would happen if all existing cities, instead of expanding, retained their present size."

Toffler, Alvan. 1971. Future Shock. Random House.

He's talking about population growth, urbanization, and how change accelerates, culminating in this: "Such changes in the ratio between old and new have...and electric impact on the habits, beliefs, and self-image of millions. Never in previous history has this ratio been transformed so radically in so brief a flick of time."
Lunch offers police a rare respite (below).

National Geographic mag january 2006

Catching up on some back reading.
“Bonifice VIII, the ‘prince of the new Pharisees’, takes a terrible share of the guilt for the damnation of Guido da Montefeltro, whom he incited, allegedly by means of preventive absolution, to treachery.” From: Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord: A Theological Aesthetics, Vol. 3: Studies in Theological Style: Lay Style.

As cringe-making as this may be it is generally pertinent to this blog -- and those on the other side which represent the “new Pharisees.” Balthasar is discussing a passage of Dante’s The Divine Comedy, where Dante is damning the Pope for absolving agents before they sin in carrying out awful errands for the Pope. Balthasar says Dante “longs for the purification of the church”… and “His anger over her defects has nothing sectarian about it”… but “he sees himself cheated of his rightful inheritance of the Spirit and of the riches of Christ, and who, on behalf of those who have been led astray, indeed on behalf of the Lord of the Church himself, laments the dereliction of the holy city” (the Church).

OK, so why I am reading this mouthful of walnuts is that Balthasar’s work, The Glory of the Lord, is theology framed by the third transcendental: not by The Truth (doctrinal theology) or by The Good (moral theology) but by The Beautiful (thus, aesthetic theology). Balthasar suggests that we come to God first by vision (the baby sees the smiling mother; the disciples see God in Christ before being taught what is right or good; Paul sees Christ on the way to Damascus before learning what is right or good). And then he goes about in seven volumes.

I am recovering from surgery. What can I say. Next week I will not be around so much.

One contention can be made that the various authors of “American Descent” jump the gun and cannot tie their notion of The Truth or The Good to anything that is convincingly Beautiful: like watching my gay friends give their love to the church, to the state, to their work colleagues, to me, to each other, to God. Or how they cannot channel the beautiful feeling that so many have of just “seeing” Barack Obama elected, even before he does anything.
"Start folding in, from the tip of the triangle toward the long edge, until you're left with the size headband you want to wear." from The Pocket Daring Book for Girls: Things to Do by Andrea J. Buchanan and Miriam Peskowitz

Aside from a handful of Magic Treehouse books, this is the only book not packed in my house. It's full of boredom-busting ideas for my 6 year old daughter - ideas that hopefully will keep us all sane as we move from Chicago to DC on Monday.

I'm buying myself a new book for the move - haven't decided what yet.
I'm not going to cheat and find a different book, so here is line 5, pg 23:

"Billy Babcock".

(yes that's the whole line)

From an excerpt of Louisa May Alcott's "Jo's Boys" in The Penguin Book of Women's Humor, Regina Barreca ed.,

Why is it close to my laptop? Because it makes me laugh - from Anonymous, through Zora Neale Hurston (1909-1960) to Hannah Woolley (1623-1675) in 658 pages.

As soon as I find a nice bathroom book/magazine holder/basket, that's where it will be in the future, so that everyone can enjoy it.
Man! I love y'all.

Alan, Dr. ER, who did doctoral research involving certain chemicals and the effect of their commercial use on certain nontarget critters, was tickled with yers!
Schoolboys do not always drop everything in an effort to please their parents and teachers, but parents and teachers can be relied upon to put a damper on things.

From The Principle of Hope,Vol I by Ernst Bloch. The first section of Bloch's work is a general survey of the whole province of dreams and the imagination. Later on he takes on psychiatric theory from a Marxist perspective; for now, however, he is beginning at the beginning.
"Indeed, if men's judgments were right, custom should been sought of good men."

--John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion.

Here's the remainder of the passage: "But it often happens far otherwise: what is seen being done by the many soon obtains the force of custom; while the affairs of men have scarcely ever been so well regulated that the better things pleased the majority."

What can I say? I'm a Presbyterian seminarian. For better or worse, Calvin is always nearby.
"Repainting with colors that are historically appropriate to the building and district." From The Secretary of Interior's Standards for the Threatment of Historic Properties with Guidelines for Preserving, Rehabilitating, Restoring & Reconstructing Historic Buildings. Excerpt is from a section on recommended treatments for building exteriors. Grabbed it because it was the closest actual book I could reach without moving away from my desk that was not a dictionary, thesaurus, Bartlett's, or a software manual.
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