Wednesday, November 30, 2011

When I Have Fears, by John Keats

John Keats (1795 - 1821)

In class, I mentioned the English poet, John Keats. The beautiful poem I spoke of is a sonnet:

When I Have Fears That I Might Cease to Be
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love!—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Russell's Teapot

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

Russell's Teapot was mentioned in class a few weeks ago, so I think that I should provide a link that explains the reference for those unfamiliar with it: Russell's Teapot.

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Hi, Folks:

This post is to provide a link to an interview by Stephen Colbert with Neil deGrasse Tyson. It is about science. It is about education. It is an hour and twenty-four minutes long, and worth every moment spent in attending to it.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is the finest ex tempore speaker on science that I have ever heard. His grace--and beauty--of thought, his eloquence, his generosity, and his human decency are extraordinary. He is magnificent. Watch this interview and listen to it well. Play it again--watch it or not, listen to it (I listened to it as I washed dishes and made and ate brunch and played with my dog; it is the ideas behind the words that must be grokked). Then play it again. And again. If you have vocabulary questions, save them and ask me, if you wish. If you have questions about the content, remember them to ask me, if you wish to ask me; or find someone else to ask who can help with the content of his talk, conceptually and concerning English vocabulary and meaning.

My admiration for Neil deGrasse Tyson is extensive, and I think he is one of the finest minds and one of the finest human beings of our time. I think that there is an enormous amount to be learned from his words and manner, and the clarity with which he presents his thoughts and the depth of his thoughts had me spontaneously applauding repeatedly as I watched this interview.

I hope that you will catch his meanings and be intrigued and entertained. I hope that you will learn from this video, if you have not yet explored the ideas discussed therein. I would like to assist, if I can. Please feel free to watch this interview and to bring questions to class. I would be pleased and honored to try to help you to enjoy his comments, and I wish the world at large might learn more from the fine mind of Neil deGrasse Tyson.