#58: That unworldly sky

Kind whales, polite trees, temporary lagoons, and a surprisingly helpful carrot.


Lovely Linky Bits

Thoughtful reads and so forth.

Annie Dillard’s Classic Essay ‘Total Eclipse’
“Now the sky to the west deepened to indigo, a color never seen. A dark sky usually loses color. This was a saturated, deep indigo, up in the air. Stuck up into that unworldly sky was the cone of Mount Adams, and the alpenglow was upon it. The alpenglow is that red light of sunset which holds out on snowy mountaintops long after the valleys and tablelands are dimmed. ‘Look at Mount Adams,’ I said, and that was the last sane moment I remember.”

What Humpback Whales
Can Teach Us About Compassion

“Ascribing Buddhist-like qualities to humpbacks seems particularly apt in light of recent revelations about how these large baleen whales use their superpowers for good. Humpbacks, it turns out, deliberately interfere with attacking killer whales to help others in distress. They don’t just defend their own babies or close relatives. They intervene on behalf of other species—a gray whale calf with its mother, a seal hauled out on an ice floe, even an ocean sunfish. Humpbacks act to improve the welfare of others; the classic definition of altruism.”

An Interview with Mathematician and Author
John Mighton

“People used to measure time with candles, their hours weren’t even fixed. But gradually time became a more and more precise thing and it went on forever and we became more and more obsessed with the idea that work should last for all time. We began to think work had no value if it didn’t last. You can have an amount of immortality that dwarfs any other amount, depending on the structure of the Universe. And what the hell are we looking for? Maybe we need to go back to a kind of idea of immortality that people used to have, that it depended on what your family thought of you, or your city state, or your reputation among your children—a kind of biological immortality. We don’t value that enough.”

Curiosities & Delights

Some things to be glad about.

The pretty and practical politeness of trees.
The visual art of Kurt Cobain and Sylvia Plath.
Where your fingers got their names.
Don Draper’s penthouse and other Mad Men places.
A delightfully helpful carrot.
Here’s how to remember if you did the thing.
Virginia Woolf’s notes on the 1927 eclipse.
The interestingness of male orangutan faces.
And speaking of orangutans, here’s where to adopt one.

Moving Pictures

Video treats upon which to press play.

Arnold and his paper towel magic.
Battle of the alpine horns.
The man who swims to work.
Temporary lagoons in the desert.
And life in rural Japan.