Am still too tired and burned out for proper blogging, which will resume towards the end of the week, but I finally got the draft of Sci-Ence! Justice Leak! sent to my crack proofreading team last night, and so my slow plugging of this book continues.
Today, the chapter headers. Every chapter in the book starts with a quote, some short and some long. Here are the quotes in order.
“Art is not the application of a canon of beauty but what the instinct and the brain can conceive beyond any canon. When we love a woman we don’t start measuring her limbs. We love with our desires – although everything has been done to try to apply a canon even to love”
THIS IS AN IMAGINARY STORY (WHICH MAY NEVER HAPPEN, BUT THEN AGAIN MAY) ABOUT A MAN WHO CAME FROM THE SKY IN A BIG BLUE BOX AND DID ONLY GOOD.
IT TELLS OF HIS TWILIGHT, WHEN THE GREAT BATTLES WERE OVER AND THE GREAT MIRACLES LONG SINCE PERFORMED, OF HOW HIS ENEMIES CONSPIRED AGAINST HIM AND OF THAT FINAL WAR IN THE BLIND WASTES BENEATH THE MEDUSA CASCADE; OF THE WOMEN HE LOVED AND OF THE CHOICES HE MADE FOR THEM; OF HOW HE BROKE HIS MOST SACRED OATH, AND HOW FINALLY ALL THE THINGS HE HAD WERE TAKEN FROM HIM SAVE FOR ONE.
IN THE BIG CITY, PEOPLE STILL SOMETIMES GLANCE UP HOPEFULLY FROM THE SIDEWALKS, HEARING A
DISTANT WHEEZING, GROANING SOUND.. BUT NO: IT’S ONLY A SAW, ONLY A MACHINE. THE DOCTOR DIED TEN YEARS AGO. THIS IS AN IMAGINARY STORY…
AREN’T THEY ALL?
“Biography lends to death a new terror”
” ABSTRACT. This paper argues that at least one of the following propositions is true: (1) the human species is very likely to go extinct before reaching a “posthuman” stage; (2) any posthuman civilization is extremely unlikely to run a significant number of simulations of their evolutionary history (or variations thereof); (3) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation. It follows that the belief that there is a significant chance that we will one day become posthumans who run ancestor-simulations is false, unless we are currently living in a simulation. A number of other consequences of this result are also discussed.”
Are You Living In a Computer Simulation? Nick Bostrom. Philosophical Quarterly , 2003, Vol. 53, No. 211, pp. 243-255.
“Nice to know there are some consistent things in this universe, eh, Lois?”
“What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.”
“The only thing I can think of to do in that situation is what I usually do, which is lie and pretend I totally meant that to happen all along. Like, instead of a real gun, it’s a magic crime-solving gun, and how I always knew Despero’s secret plan was to take over the universe. I might even mention a few proper detective phrases, like ‘dusting for prints’ or ‘checking the carpet for hairs’. Once I get started, I can keep it up for hours. That’s why I, Ralph Dibny – I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – am, or was, the World’s Greatest Detective! In your face, Batman, you truth-telling beeeyotch.”
“Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.”
“The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which noone shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.”
Constitution of the Liberal Democrats
“The first thing to realise about parallel universes, the Guide says, is that they are not parallel.
It is also important to realize that they are not, strictly speaking, universes either, but it is easiest if you don’t try to realise that until a little later, after you’ve realised that everything you’ve realised up to that moment is not true.
The reason they are not universes is that any given universe is not actually a thing as such, but is just a way of looking at what is technically known as the WSOGMM, or a Whole Sort of General Mish Mash. The Whole Sort of General Mish Mash doesn’t actually exist either, but is just the sum total of all the different ways there would be of looking at it if it did.
The reason they are not parallel is the same reason the sea is not parallel. It doesn’t mean anything. You can slice the Whole Sort of General Mish Mash any way you like and you will generally come up with something that someone will call home. ”
“Since he [Kirby] never got to complete his epic, New Gods and the other two are crammed with ideas and characters he intended to develop, explore and later explain. Even hanging around him, as I got to do in those days, I didn’t understand everything he included in those early issues, and still don’t.
But I’ll bet I would have, by the time he’d finished.”
“If the Universe came to an end every time there was some uncertainty about what had happened in it, it would never have got beyond the first picosecond. And many of course don’t. It’s like a human body, you see. A few cuts and bruises here and there don’t hurt it. Not even major surgery if it’s done properly. Paradoxes are just the scar tissue. Time and space heal themselves up around them and people simply remember a version of events which makes as much sense as they require it to make.”
“There’s this expression called postmodernism, which is kind of silly, and destroys a perfectly good word called modern, which now no longer means anything.”
”Dear Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall,
Or Whomsoever It May Concern:
I recently received your letter of acceptance to Hogwarts, addressed to Mr. H. Potter. You may not be aware that my genetic parents, James Potter and Lily Potter (formerly Lily Evans) are dead. I was adopted by Lily’s sister, Petunia Evans-Verres, and her husband, Michael Verres-Evans.
I am extremely interested in attending Hogwarts, conditional on such a place actually existing. Only my mother Petunia says she knows about magic, and she can’t use it herself. My father is highly skeptical. I myself am uncertain. I also don’t know where to obtain any of the books or equipment listed in your acceptance letter.
Mother mentioned that you sent a Hogwarts representative to Lily Potter (then Lily Evans) in order to demonstrate to her family that magic was real, and, I presume, help Lily obtain her school materials. If you could do this for my own family it would be extremely helpful.
Harry James Potter-Evans-Verres”
“In the beginning, there was only one. A single black infinitude. …so cold and dark for so very long …that even the burning light was imperceptible. But the light grew and the infinitude shuddered…and the darkness finally screamed, as much in pain as in relief. For in that instant a multiverse was born. A multiverse of worlds, vibrating and replicating…and a multiverse that should have been one, became many”
Crisis On Infinite Earths #1, page 1
“When I was a boy, I always saw myself as a hero in comic books and in movies. I grew up believing this dream.”
“And as the sun, that had been too afraid to show its face in this city, started to turn the black into grey, I smiled. Not out of happiness. But because I knew… that one day, I wouldn’t have to do this anymore. One day, I could stop fighting. Because one day… I would win. One day, there will be no pain, no loss, no crime. Because of me, because I fight. For you. One day, I will win.”
“Whenever you get creators talking about some inherit fall or failure in the medium or in any particular genre, they are mainly talking about their own flaws and failings in their own creativity. You can’t blame the medium: “I guess there weren’t that many super-hero ideas. I guess that we’ve used them all up.” It reminds me of the ancient Greeks when they were coming up with all these myths in the first place. The world of ideas is inexhaustible and infinite. You just have to find them, which an awful lot of people are not prepared to do. They’d rather let someone like Jack Kirby do all the hard work and mining and the back-breaking; mining an industry for thirty or forty years and then the nuggets that he happens to throw to the surface always find them and they put a new spin on them. They don’t want to do the hard work themselves. This is not a blanket condemnation of the whole industry. I think it’s fair to say there are a number of people in the industry who are much happier sort of working with stuff that’s already been placed, rather than to try and build up their creative muscles and do some of that work themselves. But that’s just my own particular feeling I’m sure.”
“A raised weight can produce work, but in doing so it must necessarily sink from its height, and, when it has fallen as deep as it can fall, its gravity remains as before, but it can no longer do work.”
Hermann von Helmholtz
“For me, part of what it means to understand quantum mechanics is to explore the space of possible stories that can be told about it. If we don’t do so, then we risk making fools ourselves by telling people that a certain sort of story can’t be told when in fact it can, or vice versa. (There’s plenty of historical precedent for this.)”
Scott Aaronson, Quantum Computing Since Democritus
“In Omega we have in the first place the principle we needed to explain both the persistent march of things towards greater consciousness, and the paradoxical solidity of what is most fragile. Contrary to the appearances still admitted by physics, the Great Stability is not at the bottom in the infra-elementary sphere, but at the top in the ultra-synthetic sphere. It is thus entirely by its tangential envelope that the world goes on dissipating itself in a chance way into matter. By its radial nucleus it finds its shape and its natural consistency in gravitating against the tide of probability towards a divine focus of mind which draws it onward. Thus something in the cosmos escapes from entropy, and does so more and more.”
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
All-Star Superman#1 by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Jamie Grant
“You heard it direct from the mouth of science itself, nothing but nothing can escape the deadly gravitational pull of a black hole!”
Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #1, by Grant Morrison and Pasqual Ferry
“But there was war, even there. There was a war in Heaven. And the wrong side won. The Dark Side won.”
Seven Soldiers: Mister Miracle #1, by Grant Morrison and Pasqual Ferry
Oh?’ asked the dog, sounding rather withering. ‘Listen, Fitz. Learn to think of all these things as stories. And stories can’t contradict each other because, in the end, they’re all made up. Nothing can take precedence then. All right?’
‘I’m not sure I know what you’re on about.’
‘Well, you reckon the world you live in takes precedence over the world you’re reading about. So you’ve established a hierarchy, yeah?’
‘Of course! I’d be out of my tree not to!’
The dog was looking sceptical again. He gave a kind of shrug and started nibbling the herbs once more. ‘Maybe. But think how happy you might be if you didn’t have to make those choices about what you should invest belief in. Here in the Obverse you can think of it all as a kind of fugue.’
‘Hmm,’ said the dog, chewing. ‘No contradictions anymore. Every story holding equal sway. It means there are always alternatives. And it means no natural ending.’
Fitz took his last drag on his cigarette and ground it out on the window sill.
‘I don’t believe it.’
‘No?’ asked the dog.
‘No. One reality has to be more valid than the other. It has to be realer.’
The little dog laughed and said, ‘Well… what if you found out that the one you’re in was the less real one? What if you found out that you yourself are less than real?’
Fitz laughed and looked at the moon.
‘You’re one hell of a dog. Do you know that?’
‘Oh, yes,’ said Canine primly.
Doctor Who: The Blue Angel by Paul Magrs and Jeremy Hoad