Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Jupiter–Venus Conjunction

Venus and Jupiter, the two brightest objects in the night sky (excluding of course the Moon), were very close tonight – just a third of a degree apart (for reference, the full Moon is about half a degree in diameter). We will not see a closer Jupiter–Venus conjunction until 2039.


I positioned myself at a spot whence, I calculated, I would see the two planets set over the Shard. But my trigonometric efforts were in vain; clouds obscured the view while the sky was still quite bright and the planets some distance above the horizon (at the upper left in the photo below). Oh well, I'll try again tomorrow.

Whenever I see Venus in the evening sky, I think of these lines from Terrapin Station by the Grateful Dead:
Counting stars by candlelight / All are dim but one is bright / The spiral light of Venus / Rising first and shining best...

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Courgette Flower

Lately I have been remiss about posting because of my exams (which end in four days), but I couldn't let summer solstice pass by without comment. So here is a photo of our courgette flower, opening up to the midsummer sun.


We only planted the seeds in late spring, but the plants are already producing male flowers. Hopefully we will soon have female flowers, with fruits to follow.

Monday, June 1, 2015

The Hungry Leaf

Our Venus flytrap plant has been gorging itself this summer: here we see a single leaf which has trapped and digested no fewer than three insects, and is open again for business.


Speaking of insect-trapping, I recently read about the dementor wasp which, by injecting a cockroach with neurotoxin, "steals its prey's free will." Of course Spinoza might ask, Did the cockroach have free will to begin with?

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Impeccable Lettering

Sometime back Priyanka asked me to send her "something with impeccable lettering".

By rights, such a request coming from a professional illustrator, wont to taking artsy portraits and painting fancy murals, should have rendered me paralysed with performance anxiety. But I reminded myself that I know her since when she was doodling about high school exams, and her own artistic output was all too peccable.

Thus emboldened, I produced a series of 99 3"×3" cards which can be arranged to form words and phrases of your choice – or, if you prefer, simply laid out in alphabetical rows.


Friday, May 8, 2015

154 Parts

The kind of line which only a philosopher could come up with:
The book is long, and sometimes complicated. I have therefore separated my arguments into 154 parts, and given each part a descriptive title.
Reasons and Persons by Derek Parfit