In ancient days two aviators procured to themselves wings. Daedalus flew safely through the middle air and was duly honored on his landing. Icarus soared upwards toward the sun till the wax melted which bound his wings and his flight ended in fiasco … The classical authorities tell us, of course, that he was only “doing a stunt”; but I prefer to think of him as the man who brought to light a serious constructional defect in the flying machines of his day. So, too, in science. Cautious Daedalus will apply his theories where he feels they will safely go; but by his excess of caution their hidden weaknesses remain undiscovered. Icarus will strain his theories to the breaking-point till the weak joints gape. For mere adventure? Perhaps partly, that is human nature. But if he is destined not yet to reach the sun and solve the riddle of its construction, we may at least hope to learn from this journey some hints to build a better machine.
Sir Arthur Eddington, 1927
27 Mar 2013 Leave a comment
22 Mar 2013 Leave a comment
From a “Dear Abby” post in The Province (Vancouver, BC) February 11, 1990
No problems here today–just happiness and bursting with pride!
In 1985, a young man wrote to you, wondering if he should go back to college. He said, “I am a 36-year-old college dropout whose lifelong ambition was to be a physician, but it will take me seven years, and in seven years I will be 43 years old.
Your answer: “And how old will you be in seven years if you don’t go back to school?”
Abby, that made a tremendous impression on my son, who was 29 years old at the time. Danny had been toying with the idea of going back to college to study ornamental horticulture and landscape design, but he thought he was too old to be going to classes with students so much younger than himself.
Well, Danny clipped that column and went back to college, and every time he became discouraged, he would read it again. As you can imagine, it is now yellow and worn, and finally had to be wrapped in plastic to hold it together.
This morning Danny Anderson graduated from the university–with honors!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
21 Mar 2013 Leave a comment
16 Mar 2013 Leave a comment
It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.
15 Mar 2013 Leave a comment
A round man cannot be expected to fit in a square hole right away. He must have time to modify his shape.