"I know it will be called blasphemy by some, but I believe that pi is wrong."That's the opening line of a watershed essay written in 2001 by mathematician Bob Palais of the University of Utah. In "Pi is Wrong!" Palais argued that, for thousands of years, humans have been focusing their attention and adulation on the wrong mathematical constant. Two times pi, not pi itself, is the truly sacred number of the circle, Palais contended. We should be celebrating and symbolizing the value that is equal to approximately 6.28 — the ratio of a circle's circumference to its radius — and not to the 3.14'ish ratio of its circumference to its diameter (a largely irrelevant property in geometry).
Hey, I always think that twice the pi is a good thing :-)
Mathemeticians Want to Say Goodbye to Pi
hat tip: The Papa
The completely artificial and faux-pious construct of "biblical" patriarchy continues to wreak havoc on Christian families and is embittering and handicapping a generation of precious young women. We will be reaping the consequences of this humiliation far into the sunset, and apparently we will acknowledge it only when it's too late.
Amen and amen.
I've been at the Okla-home for nearly four weeks now. It's been one of the sweetest times of my life, waiting for and then greeting our little preemie granddaughter, Ava June. Wasn't it just yesterday that I was posting her parents' wedding pictures and making sure CJ had all the kitchen stuff she needed? And now they're a family of three...a perfect little family with a perfect little girl that doctors predicted shouldn't be here yet and certainly shouldn't have been strong or well enough to come home yet. We've been reminded that God uses doctors but He doesn't consult them on timing. On my way home from the hospital on Friday, knowing that Ava was just a couple of hours behind me, I was flooded with the praise chorus:
Don't know why that particular one flooded my heart, but it's exactly what I'm thinking and feeling this weekend...
This week I made the prediction, on Facebook, that the winner of the next election and the next president of the United States will be my state's governor, Rick Perry. I am a far cry from endorsing him, but I just feel it in my bones. That said, I'm growing increasingly interested in Michele Bachmann, a woman for whom I have tremendous respect. I don't know that she has the money or the backing to go the distance, but I'd be willing to bet that she has a future.
Yes to Hobby Lobby. LOVE that store. I'm glad to have one close to my house, but the one in Midwest City OK is the best one I've ever been in! And while I'm not one of those who will never shop on a Sunday, you gotta love a company that still has the courage to stay CLOSED on Sundays.
While I've been in Oklahoma, I've crocheted two baby blankets...one for Ava and one for Van. It's been a long time since I crocheted, and it was nice to have something to do to help pass the hours in the hospital as we waited for Ava to be released. Now I think I shall make one for Savannah, slightly larger since she's almost 1!
I'm also venturing into another area from which I've been absent for a long time...I'm going to make curtains for Ava's room. This would have been standard operating procedure for me a few years back, but it's been so long that I may have to re-teach myself to thread the machine!
During my long drives in the past three weeks, I finished A Patriot's History of the United States and Song of Saigon. Both were excellent listens. Echoing my previous recommendation of the former, let me add two points: 1) It's very long. But then the history of the US is, well, long. If you get the audio version and the thought of 50+ hours is daunting, choose the 2X speed. The narrator reads slowly enough that even at double speed it's perfectly understandable. It takes a few minutes of getting used to, but it really helped me to have this option. 2) If you really think you can't get through it all this summer, listen to the second half. We've all gotten much more misinformation about history in the 20th century than in the first few, so a review of the 20th from a non-leftist position will be extremely valuable if you got, as I did, the public school version.
Thoroughly enjoyed watching, via Netflix, the 4-episode Daniel Deronda.
I'll be returning home on Tuesday, with just enough time to do laundry, repack, and stock our van with enough groceries to get us through our one-week stay in Red River, New Mexico. We always enjoy the cool respite from the south Texas heat and the time to do absolutely nothing but rest and visit (well yes, and cook!). This year there will be more than 40 of us congregating in the little mountain motel--I can hardly wait to get going!
Okay, time to pay attention to the littlest Snippet...here are some favorite moments from the past three weeks. Hope your week is fabulous!
|This was the very first time CJ got to hold her little one, 24 hours after delivery.|
On June 5, CJ gave birth to little Ava June, weighing in at 3lbs 4oz at 32 weeks gestation. She has lived her short life so far in the NICU at OU Children's Hospital in Oklahoma City. When I knew that CJ was either going to deliver right away or be on bedrest for several weeks, I drove up from San Antonio to move in with them and do whatever I could, and I'm still here. So many of you are and have been praying for Ava since before her birth, and I can't tell you how much that means to me. Many others have helped CJ and Tony with food and drinks, preemie clothes, offers of places to stay, gift cards for the extra expenses...thank you so much. You've been "angels unawares."
If you'd like to follow Amazing Ava's Adventures, let me know and I'll add you to her Facebook page where you'll see updates and more pictures.
|Ava, just moments old, being wheeled out of the delivery room on her way to the NICU|
|CJ was under general anesthesia, so just minutes after she woke, Tony shows her the video of the birth|
|Ava's first evening|
|24 hours after birth, Ava finally gets to be held by her mommy|
|First day of being dressed in real clothes, a reward for reaching the 1500 gram milestone|
|Granny gets to hold Ava|
And...ten days before Ava was born, Granny's House was the scene of another birth. Kristen and Dave welcomed Donovan Mitchell Slaughter into their hearts and ours. Van's birth was very different from Ava's, yet we know with certainty that God had his hands on each one. Kristen's delivery took place in the same room that his big sister Carrie was born in seven years ago, and true to her nature, the delivery was a party, complete with our SuperMidwife Janet, lots of family and friends, Taco Cabana, and homemade cookies! Van weighed twice what Ava did...but we're sure she'll be catching up soon. Here are some pics from his Birth Day party...
|First, the two mommies who didn't know they'd be delivering cousins ten days apart!|
|Tummy views, 30 and 40 weeks|
|This was pretty much the position for the whole labor|
|You'd think we were watching a movie, huh?|
|Minutes after Donovan's birth, but he wasn't named until several hours later|
|Welcome, little one!|
|Janet weighs the little guy|
|Okay, something about this picture reminds me of the Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion! The uncles were not present for the birth but were admitted minutes afterward to greet the newest male in the family.|
|Six Slaughter kids!|
Spitting and urinating chimps 'replay Aesop's fable'
Over the past few weeks, America’s colleges have sent another class of graduates off into the world. These graduates possess something of inestimable value. Nearly every sensible middle-aged person would give away all their money to be able to go back to age 22 and begin adulthood anew.
But, especially this year, one is conscious of the many ways in which this year’s graduating class has been ill served by their elders. They enter a bad job market, the hangover from decades of excessive borrowing. They inherit a ruinous federal debt.
More important, their lives have been perversely structured. This year’s graduates are members of the most supervised generation in American history. Through their childhoods and teenage years, they have been monitored, tutored, coached and honed to an unprecedented degree.
Yet upon graduation they will enter a world that is unprecedentedly wide open and unstructured. Most of them will not quickly get married, buy a home and have kids, as previous generations did. Instead, they will confront amazingly diverse job markets, social landscapes and lifestyle niches. Most will spend a decade wandering from job to job and clique to clique, searching for a role.
No one would design a system of extreme supervision to prepare people for a decade of extreme openness. But this is exactly what has emerged in modern America. College students are raised in an environment that demands one set of navigational skills, and they are then cast out into a different environment requiring a different set of skills, which they have to figure out on their own.
Worst of all, they are sent off into this world with the whole baby-boomer theology ringing in their ears. If you sample some of the commencement addresses being broadcast on C-Span these days, you see that many graduates are told to: Follow your passion, chart your own course, march to the beat of your own drummer, follow your dreams and findyourself. This is the litany of expressive individualism, which is still the dominant note in American culture.
But, of course, this mantra misleads on nearly every front.
College grads are often sent out into the world amid rapturous talk of limitless possibilities. But this talk is of no help to the central business of adulthood, finding serious things to tie yourself down to. The successful young adult is beginning to make sacred commitments — to a spouse, a community and calling — yet mostly hears about freedom and autonomy.
Today’s graduates are also told to find their passion and then pursue their dreams. The implication is that they should find themselves first and then go off and live their quest. But, of course, very few people at age 22 or 24 can take an inward journey and come out having discovered a developed self.
Most successful young people don’t look inside and then plan a life. They look outside and find a problem, which summons their life. A relative suffers from Alzheimer’s and a young woman feels called to help cure that disease. A young man works under a miserable boss and must develop management skills so his department can function. Another young woman finds herself confronted by an opportunity she never thought of in a job category she never imagined. This wasn’t in her plans, but this is where she can make her contribution.
Most people don’t form a self and then lead a life. They are called by a problem, and the self is constructed gradually by their calling.
The graduates are also told to pursue happiness and joy. But, of course, when you read a biography of someone you admire, it’s rarely the things that made them happy that compel your admiration. It’s the things they did to court unhappiness — the things they did that were arduous and miserable, which sometimes cost them friends and aroused hatred. It’s excellence, not happiness, that we admire most.
Finally, graduates are told to be independent-minded and to express their inner spirit. But, of course, doing your job well often means suppressing yourself. As Atul Gawande mentioned during his countercultural address last week at Harvard Medical School, being a good doctor often means being part of a team, following the rules of an institution, going down a regimented checklist.
Today’s grads enter a cultural climate that preaches the self as the center of a life. But, of course, as they age, they’ll discover that the tasks of a life are at the center. Fulfillment is a byproduct of how people engage their tasks, and can’t be pursued directly. Most of us are egotistical and most are self-concerned most of the time, but it’s nonetheless true that life comes to a point only in those moments when the self dissolves into some task. The purpose in life is not to find yourself. It’s to lose yourself.
Our kids are going to get plenty of the mealy-mouthed "find your passion" talk at every turn. Let's resolve to teach them that true fulfillment is found, as Jesus said, in losing yourself--preferably by throwing yourself into service of others--and that "finding yourself" is a by-product and not a requisite of a life well lived.
It's Not About You
Labels: Social Observation