Monday, 6 November 2017

NEAR TO THE WILD HEART (CLARICE LISPECTOR) AND TIMBRE OF SONIC WAVES

Joana remembered how once, a few months after she was married, she had tirned to her husband to ask him something. They were out. And before she´d even finished her sentence, to Octávio´s surprise, she had stopped- brow furrowed, gaze amused. Ah- she had realized- she´d just repeated one of the voices she´d heard so often when she was single, always vaguely perplexed. The voice of a young woman besides her man. As her own had rung out just then to Octávio: sharp, empty, soaring upwards, with identical, clear notes. Something unfinished, ecstatic, somewhat satiated. Trying to scream… Bright days, clear and dry, sexless day voice and days, choir boys in an outdoor mass. And something lost, heading for mild despair… That newlywed timbre had a history, a fragile history taht went unnoticed by the owner of the voice, but not by the owner of this one



Pitch, loudness and timbre are three characteristics of sonic waves that can be explained by physics magnitudes. Pitch is related with frecuency, high-pitched sounds with high frecuencies and deep voices (like if you are inside a clay pot) belong to the low frecuencies. Loudness, which is usually measured in decibels, corresponds with the intensity and the amplitude of the wave.
Lastly, the today physic concept is timbre, which is what makes you distinguish one sound from another, a violin from a piano, for instance. The timbre depends on the shape of the wave, each sound has a special shape that makes it unique. This peculiar shape never is the perfect armonic one that physicists draw. I didn´t know that, as the text suggests, the timbre is also influenced by the marital status of the focal point of the wave

Monday, 9 October 2017

MIDDLEMARCH (GEORGE ELIOT) AND AN OPTICAL PARABLE ABOUT SELFISHNESS

An eminent philosopher among my friends, who can dignify even your ugly furniture by lifting it into the serene light of science, has shown me this pregnant little fact. Your pier-glass or extensive surface of polished steel made to be rubbed by a housemaid, will be minutely and multitudinously scratched in all directions; but place now against it a lighted candle as a centre of illumination, and lo! the scratches will seem to arrange themselves in a fine series of concentric circles round that little sun. It is demonstrable that the scratches are going everywhere impartially and it is only your candle which produces the flattering illusion of a concentric arrangement, its light falling with an exclusive optical selection. These things are a parable. The scratches are events, and the candle is the egoism of any person 



I would like to add somethiung but the last two sentences make the fuction that usually makes my comment. The experiment can be done at home even if you haven´t got a housemaid. I recommend this amazing novel

Monday, 25 September 2017

SHROUD FOR A NIGHTINGALE (P.D. JAMES) AND THE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF ASTRONOMY

- Are you interested in astronomy?
- Not particularly
She smiled.
- Le silence éternel de ces espaces infinis m´affraie?
- Discomforts rather than terrifies. It´s probably my vanity. I can´t interest myself in anything which I not only don´t understand but know that I have no prospect of ever understanding.
- That for me is the atraction. It´s a form of escapism, even of voyeurism, I suppose-this absortion in an impersonal universe which I canñt do anything to influence or control and, better still, which no one expects me to. It´s an abtidaction of responsibility. It restores personal problems to their proper proportion


I think the both arguments are quite reasonable. Pascal is the author of the quote. Pascal´s brother in law will appear here in the future because he had an important tole in the progress of Science in the Pyu de Dôme

Monday, 14 August 2017

MY ÁNTONIA (WILLA CARTHER) AND THE TELLURIC GOOD VIBES

There in the sheltered draw-bottom the wind did not blow very hard, but I could hear it singing its humming tune up on the level, and I could see the tall grasses wave. The earth was warm under me, and warm as I crumbled it through my fingers. Queer little red bugs came out and moved in slow squadrons around me. Their backs were polished vermilion, with black spots. I kept as still as I could. Nothing happened. I did not expect anything to happen. I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.


The comunion with Nature is a common poetic subject, likewise the admiration of the Universe. I am not insensitive about Nature but I think it is more a atrezzo to another thing to contemplate: a son concentrated drawing, for instance 

Monday, 3 July 2017

THE OPOSSING SELF (LIONEL TRILLING) AND THE PHYSICS´ARROGANCE

Readers of literary bent, who have as an clement of their pathos
the belief that they arc persecuted by science[1], will set special
store by those parts of the novel that have the effect of exposing
the arrogance as well as the contradictions and absurdities of the
physical science of the day. Everyone who has ever studied litera-
ture knows that physical science was the basis of the vulgar
materialism of the nineteenth century. In this regard it is well
to remember that Flaubert had no principled hostility to science
as such — quite to the contrary, indeed. He takes note of the ridic-
ulous statements that science can make, but much of the confu-
sion that Bouvard and Pccuchct experience is the result of their
own ineptitude or ignorance rather than of the inadequacy of
science itself. It is not the fault of botany— although it may be
the fault of a particular elementary textbook of botany — that
they believe that all flowers have a pericarp, but look in vain for
it when confronted by buttercups and wild strawberry.


[1] It is not sufficiently understood that men ..f science have an analogous-
homologous?— pathos to support them in their own troubles: they believe that they
are systematically persecuted by the humanities.



Let´s not consider the reciprocal ‘pathos’ between Science and Humanities, which  is  against to this blog´s spirit. We have already talked about the novel Bouvard and Pecuchet here. When you read it you can´t raech any negative conclusion about Science, rather that negativity goes against those ‘hicks’ who are the novel´s protagonists.

Regarding the Physics´arrogance, there is a famous sentence by Lord Kelvin that says: "There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now, All that remains is more and more precise measurement." It was said on 1900,when the classic Physics was about to break down

Monday, 19 June 2017

BLOODY MIAMI (TOM WOLFE) AND THE DETRITIVIS

The maggots! . . . Once, when she was six or seven, Magdalena had come upon a little dead dog, a mutt, on a sidewalk in Hialeah. A regular hive of bugs was burrowing into a big gash in the dog’s haunch—only these weren’t exactly bugs. They looked more like worms, short, soft, deathly pale worms; and they were not in anything so orderly as a hive. They were a wriggling, slithering, writhing, squiggling, raveling, wrestling swarm of maggots rooting over and under one another in a heedless, literally headless, frenzy to get at the dead meat. She learned later that they were decephalized larvae. They had no heads. The frenzy was all they had. They didn’t have five senses, they had one, the urge, and the urge was all they felt. They were utterly blind.
Let´s deal today with a nasty topic. Science sometimes stains and it is disgusting. Even the ugliest creature  with a nasty job is important for the ecosystems. Detritivis ( named in this way because they eat detritus) are fundamental to the food chain.
Every child has some time found a earthworm digging the soil. This moment is very important for the later man, because  he cans react in two different ways to this discovery. The boy with Animal Fisiology Aptitudes gazes with attention and even tries to touch the earthworm with a little stick. The boy without Animal Fisiology Aptitudes doesn’t play again with the sand for a long time.
Earthworms are able to concentrate the snake´s revulsion but without their majesty

Monday, 5 June 2017

LIBRA (DON DELILLO) AND AN EXCESIVE CASE OF CONSERVATION OF LINEAR MOMENTUM

The thing he could not forget was the way the hat jumped from the slim man’s head. The heavy thudding surprise, the sudden insult. Even after you think you’ve seen all the ways violence can surprise a man, along comes something you never imagined. How much force do bullets have to exert if they can hit a man in the chest and make his hat fly four feet in the air, straight up? It was a lesson in the laws of motion and a reminder to all men that nothing is assured




We are in favour of a thorough compliance  of all kinds of laws, including the scientific ones, because  otherwise everybody knows that chaos overcomes. But the opposite can also have drawbacks, just like that Spanish student who, in doubt , writes more tildes than necessary. We also know from science that there are errors by defect and excess. The  Principle of Conservation of Linear Momentum explains curious phenomena, but we believe the incident that is narrated in the text is impossible from a scientific point of view