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Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Time Event
9:50a
The Firebird of Koschei the Deathless

You know, I often wish I had a long green flying-cloak I could use to summon springtide, or, better yet, terraform Mars. Then, I could merely swoop through the thin, chilly skies of that rust-locked planet, or soar down the Valles Marineris, or overtop the Everest-shaming grandeur of Olympus Mons, and spread a sylvan garden, kingly with oak, gorgeous with grass, flower-gemmed and rich with heavy pinelands clad, flowing in my wake, and butterflies would be my heralds.

The only drawback of the terrforming Mars by the sylph-cloak method, of course, is the risk of rousing the wrath of the Firebirds, the lava-based life-forms native to Mars, who brood in their malice in the dead volcano craters of that remote, blood-red orb.

Any members of the NASA terrforming team using magical sylphcloaks to plant earthlife on the Red Planet, will, of course, each be issued her enchanted Finnish stag, whose breath can revive the dead. We are hoping the Russian space agency will provide them.
11:39a
On the Same Topic
A question for any friendly materialist out there willing to answer.

Randall says: i believe matter exists. It's just Occam that leads me to the assumption that nothing non-material exists.

Mike Flynn answers: 

Obviously, you believe Ockham's Razor exists. Is it material? If so, of what matter is it composed? Of course, few understand what Brother Ockham, OFM, really said. In modern terms, he said, "Don't have too many terms in your models, or you won't understand your own model." He placed no limitation on reality, which he said could be as complex as God desired. The Principle of Parsimony was not original to Ockham, and bears his name only because he famously applied it to the then-consensus model of cognition. It is a metaphysical principle, and thus, non-material.

But given that you also believe in Truth, of what material is Truth composed? Is it earth, water, air, or fire, or some compound of these? How much does it weigh? (All material objects have mass and, in an acceleration frame, weight.) How long is it? (All material objects have extension.) Where is it? (All material objects have location - which makes the materiality of photons/electrons problematical.)

In what material sense can we say that Stone's Theorem (that every metric space is paracompact) is made of matter?

I wanted to give Mike's question its own journal entry, to emphasize it.

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5:55p
Green Earthfriendly Tip of the Day

According to Ben Bova's column, ethanol derived from corn, when used for fuel, produces more carbon-dioxide than gasoline. (hat tip to the Sci Fi Catholic)

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