I haven’t blogged much over winter (although I have been writing other things). If I had to state a reason, I could say something about work-life balance, but that wouldn’t make me look good. Instead, I’m blaming the English language.

Let’s face it, there are too many letters in the alphabet. Here’s my theory: if there were half the letters, I could write twice as much in the same amount of time. So, in an attempt to help ALL English speakers, below is how I’m suggesting the alphabet should be.

A – keep
B – keep
C – discard (use S or K)
D – keep
E – keep
F – keep
G – keep
H – discard (I don’t have a reason)
I – discard (use E)
J – discard (use G or maybe I)
K – keep
L – keep
M – keep
N – discard (similar to M)
O – keep
P – discard (similar to B)
Q – discard (similar to K)
R – keep
S – keep
T – discard (similar to D)
U – discard (use O)
V – keep
W – discard (use V)
X – discard (use S)
Y – discard (use I or E for vowels, G otherwise)
Z – discard (use S)

All together there will be 13 letters. (13 is prime number — who could have a problem with that?) If you learned the classic nursery rhyme when you were young, you will see it can be made to work. Try it:

“A B D E F G K L M O R S V. Nov I kmo me A, B, Ds, vom’d o kome and blae ved me.”

I think the history books will show that April 1st, 2018 was a pivotal day for the English language. Of course, I’m available for TED talks and Noble Prizes.

GD Konstantine (a.k.a. GD Komsdadene)

 

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I have always been grateful for all opportunities to either start something new or to renew something established. Last year, some people close to me went through some serious health issues. I don’t know what the future holds, but as I see them recovering, I feel that the time for renewal is here. For me, it has also been a chance to refocus on what is really important.

The other day, while walking through the Toronto Botanical Garden, I saw another kind of renewal. Spring bulbs are starting to show their colours. (The photo below shows some of the crocus plants poking out through the ground.) I hope wherever you are, and whatever season it is, you and your loved ones are well and getting better!

By the way, the next post will be a lot less serious.

Spring Bulbs

Whenever I hear someone talk about the “purpose of art” I think of the following quote from Richard Serra:

“If you rob art of its uselessness, then what you are doing is not art,” says Serra, adding: “I’m interested in sculpture, which is neither useful nor functional.”

With that in mind, I’ll end here before I say something useful and this blog post loses its artistic integrity.

The photo below is a sculpture of Richard Serra’s (‘Tilted Spheres’) found in Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.  (If I remember right, the plates are 2″ thick steel.)

Serra Art YYZ

The quote is found on page 149 in the book “50 Sculptures You Should Know”.

50 Sculptures You Should Know
Written by: Isabel Kuhl, Klaus Reichold, Kristina Lowis, Christine Weidemann
Prestel
2009
ISBN 978-3-7913-4338-9
Website

As I write this, 2017 is just about to finish. The title of this post comes from Lucy Stone. Stone was an American suffragist who helped put women in her country on the path to the right to vote and improvements towards equality. She figures prominently in the fifth chapter of Adam Grant’s excellent book, “Originals.”

There is much to say about 2017 and there are many others who will say it better than me. So, I will just focus on a wish for the future. Speaking to her daughter, Lucy Stone’s final words were, “Make the world better.” A goal for all of us in 2018 and beyond.

Best wishes to everyone for a great year!

 

The photo was taken at a local supermarket.  I’ve got nothing more to say.

Nothing for Nothing

There are many books that tell the story of physics that cover topics from the unimaginably small quantum scale to the equally unimaginably cosmological scale of the universe. This book is my favourite.

Neil Turok is a physicist and the director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics  in Waterloo, Canada.  The book is based on a series of lectures that he gave as part of the 2012 Massey Lectures that were broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (http://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/masseys). Years ago, I heard those engaging lectures. Reading the book is equally engaging.

Besides the explanation of the science of the universe, the book is book is full of the author’s insight about life. Below is an example that seems to be appropriate for our times:

“It is all too easy for us to define ourselves by our language, nationality, religion, gender, politics, or culture. Certainly we should celebrate and draw strength from our diversity. But as our means of communication amplify, these differences can create confusion, misunderstanding, and tension. We need more sources of commonality, and our most basic understanding of the universe, the place we all share, serves as an example. It transcends all our differences and is by far the most reliable and cross-cultural description of the world we have.”

There is more he writes that I could include, but for brevity I’m going to stop here. For another example of why I believe it is worth listening to Neil Turok, here is a link to his TED talk (the one where he won the 2008 TED Prize): https://www.ted.com/talks/neil_turok_makes_his_ted_prize_wish

Title: The Universe Within
Sub-Title: From Quantum to Cosmos
Author: Neil Turok
Publisher: House of Anansi Press
Copyright: 2012
ISBN: 978-1-77089-015-2

Here in Toronto, we are in the middle of summer. The weather has been good recently — not too hot and not too much rain. A sign of summer is people driving their cars with the windows open. I have observed that the people with the lousiest taste in music play their music the loudest. I’m not sure why. I suppose I could study them, but that would mean spending time with them and their music. I’d rather enjoy my summer and let some mysteries of the world remain mysterious.