Occult Chemistry

In 6th century BCE the concept that matter is composed of discrete and not infinitely reducible units developed in India. Around 460 B.C. the Greek Democritus named these fundamental and irreducible bits of matter átomos, meaning “uncuttable.” Notions of this kind were at this point in history, more than anything, matters of pure Philosophy. As such, when the big daddy Aristotle weighed in and rejected the idea as worthless, “the atom” was pretty much stopped in its tracks. It would be a couple thousand years before Science picked up where Philosophy had left off. But before Science made its first excited indirect observations of electrons and protons and managed to put forward a widely acceptable model for the structure of the atom, another group stepped forward to ply their trade in the service of atomic knowledge. They were theosophists, known collectively as the Occult Chemists, and their goal was nothing less than “direct observation of atoms through clairvoyance.”

Eugenics- It’s too broad and prickly a subject to tackle in any meaningful way in the short strokes of a blog post frankly. Debatable issues, movements, historical consequences, ethical quandaries, scientific disciplines, philosophical attitudes all stem from or tangle with it like branches of a gnarled millennia old tree. One thing I can say for certain is that as with all Ideologies seeking to convert themselves into some dispassionate, quantifiable (and hence reputable) Science, Eugenics relied heavily on statistics. It follows that, as with all such endeavors, one of the chief concerns was how best to present said statistics in an affecting way. The Eugenics movement, being focussed as it was on issues of race, class, breeding, and illness (all sources of viscerally opinionated reaction in the annals of human discourse) was able to produce some doozies.

Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds

His name was Bernard Le Bovier De Fontenelle and his book, Entretiens sur la Pluralité des Mondes, (Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds) is a fascinating, though I suspect largely forgotten, bit of science history. Published in 1686, the book is remarkable, not so much for its literary merits as for the ultimate function its publication served. Conversations on the Plurality of Worlds holds the admirable distinction of being one of the first books of “popularized science” ever published, which is to say, a book of scientific ideas aimed directly at “the average reader” rather than natural philosophers. It became quite fashionable and in as much might be considered the Brief History of Time or Cosmos of it’s day. 

A couple of weeks ago I saw a link somewhere to a “list of fictional something-or-others” at Wikipedia. Might have been fictional expletives or fictional gods (which by the way is far too long a list since it could have been summed up easily in a single word, I’ll let you guess what that word is); I can’t rightly remember. I got the bright idea though to do a broad search for “list of fictional” at Wikipedia, thinking the results might make for a nifty little post. The search turned up a whopping 2150 results! That’s a lot of fictional stuff. Too much in fact. I mean how do you choose between fictional chimpanzees, fictional drugs, fictional robots, fictional universes, fictional narcissists, fictional books, notable mustaches in fiction, etc, in order to craft a cogent post? You can’t. So I scrapped the idea.

12.16. filed under: bits&bytes. fiction. theory. 9

Hammer & Tickle. An interesting article about the peculiar brand of humor spawned by the Communist system. It’s an accompaniment to the film of the same name being shown at the Tribeca Film Festival. If you prefer one liners...

Slapstick, bawdiness, and farts- all time classics of primate humor which stretch way back, well past Benny Hill, or even the glory days of the Stooges. About 4 million years back evidently.

Space alien poop is making us sick! Space alien backs bush for president! Stunned farmer comes face to face with the pansy from planet x! Washington think tanks are riddled with space aliens! These are just a few of the extraterrestrial gems served up by that comedy gold-mine, The Weekly World News. For more head to the source.

05.01. filed under: comedy. ideas. theory.

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