Monthly Archives: May 2021

UFOs? OK. Alien Spacecraft? No so fast.

I found How Washington Got Hooked on Flying Saucers to be fascinating if somewhat depressing. “There is nothing new under the sun.”

This is a subject I have been watching from a safe distance for well over half a century, when I first read Martin Gardner’s Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science (Few books have influenced me more than this one).

I met J. Allen Hynek in my last year of high school, 1967-68, when I was a student in the Astro-Science Workshop (Still around although in a different format) at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium. This program was organized and run by Hynek. Hynek was a pleasant and interesting speaker, and a good teacher, but he never spoke to us kids about UFOs.

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Rang Gaeilge, 25ú lá Mí na Bealtaine 2021

Duinnín agus an Bhadhbh (tuilleadh)

  • Tháinig Dínny amach ón gcuilinn agus a lámha san aer.

    ‘Tá drochbhail ar na créatúirí istigh ansin.’ ar seisean.

    ‘Ná bog,’ arsa Jeremiah leis agus, gan béal an ghunnáin a bhogadh, chúlaigh sé gur thug sé stracfhéachaint ar a raibh istigh i gcairt Dinny.

    ‘Boscaí folmha agus beart sac. Sin uile atá ann,’ arsa Dinny.

    Chinntigh Lowney nach raibh Dinny armtha.

    ‘Suigh id chairt go nglaofaidh mé ort ‘

    Chrom an tAthair P’ádraig athuair ar an mbeirt a bhí ceangailte a scaoileadh saor.

    ‘Bhí tú ag súil go mbeadh gunnaí sa chairt?’ ar seisean le Lowney.

    Dinny came out from the holly with his hands in the air.

    ‘The creatures in there are in bad shape.’ he said.

    ‘Don’t move,’ Jeremiah said to him and, without moving the mouth of the revolver, move back to take a cursory glance at everything that what was in Dinny’s cart.

    ‘Empty boxes and a bundle of sacks. That’s all there is,’ said Dinny.

    Lowney made sure Dinny was not armed.

    ‘Sit in your cart until I call you’

    Fr. Patrick bent over the two that were tied up to release them.

    ‘You were expecting guns in the cart?’ he said to Lowney

    cuileannhollym gs cuilinn
    drochbhailBad condition; bad circumstances
    cúlaighBack, move back; reverse, retreat
    strac- = srac- Cursory, sketchy, slight
    féachaintlook, glance; appearance; aspect; trial, test; taste, small portionf
    CinntighMake certain; confirm, assure
    id = i do
    athuairAgain, a second time
    scaoilLoose(n), release, discharge; Undo, untie, unfasten

  • Léigh tuilleadh

A Newly Discovered Hittite City

Last night I watched A New Iron Age Kingdom in Anatolia, as part of the class I am currently taking on the Languages and Writing Systems of Anatolia. The lecture was about the archaelogy of Türkmen-Karahöyük, a mound in the Konya plain of what is now Turkey. The OI is leading the Türkmen-Karahöyük Intensive Survey Project (TISP), which is part of the Konya Regional Archaeological Survey Project (KRASP). TISP is a surface survey, a necessary first step at an archaeological site. However, it has already yielded significant results.

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The Lifetimes of Programming Languages

I started programming computers in February of 1967, when I was a junior in high school. After dropping out of grad school I began a 41 year career in information technology in January of 1977. I have seen a lot of computer languages come and go. So I read 5 Programming Languages You Won’t Likely Be Using by 2030 with some interest. The only one on the list I had ever used was Perl. It was kind of fun, but I did not get very attached to it 🙂

Meanwhile, some much older languages live on. Last year COVID-19 demonstrated how much the financial world still depends on COBOL:

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My First Peek at Renormalization

I have vaguely known about renormalization since the 1970’s, but had never seriously studied it. Out of curiosity I watched Renormalization and envelopes on YouTube Thursday evening. This was the final lecture of the Asymptotics and perturbation methods course by Prof. Steven Strogatz of Cornell University. I had watched the first two lectures of the course, but none of the others until this one. Fortunately, there were relatively few explicit dependencies on them, so I was able to follow this quite well. Here is the description:

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As I mentioned before, I am currently taking a class on the Languages and Writing Systems of Anatolia, focusing on the ancient Hittites and some of their neighbors and successors in the region. These languages have long been recognized as part of the Indo-European language family, but they have common features among themselves which are not shared with the rest of the IE family.

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Hittite Iron

I am currently taking a class on the Languages and Writing Systems of Anatolia, focusing on the ancient Hittites and some of their neighbors and successors in the region. One of our readings was Alfonso Archi, “When Did the Hittites Begin to Write in Hittite?” in Pax Hethitica: Studies on the Hittites and their Neighbours in Honour of Itamar Singer. On p. 39 I read:

The words of the Tabarna, the Great King, are of iron. They are not to be thrust aside, not to be thrust aside, not to be broken. He who changes (them) his head will be cut off
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