Monday, March 31, 2008

Grave Thoughts on Nietzsche

Nietzsche's grave in the churchyard of Rocken, Germany, might have to be moved so that a power company can access a vein of coal running beneath it. Ben MacIntyre of The Times muses that digging up the German philosopher might present an opportunity to save him from his sister ... and the unkind ravages of history. Of Nietzsche's sister Elisabeth, MacIntyre writes that she was "a lifelong anti-Semite who hijacked her brother's writings after his death and used them to serve the cause of Nazism, leaving a stain on his philosophy that has never been fully erased." That stain is very much undeserved, for as MacIntyre explains:
Nietzsche was no Nazi. He vigorously opposed German nationalism, as he rejected all mass movements; he had no time for ideologues, mocked the notion of a Teutonic master race and loathed anti-Semitism in all its forms.
Usually, I am against exhuming remains, particularly when the disturbance serves only to clutch greedily at more mineral rights. But in this case, I stand with MacIntyre and would welcome this action. But only if the philosopher's reburial was performed in accord with his own recorded wishes and, as MacIntyre has suggested, his memory is cleansed as well. Read more: Nietzshe and His Nazi Sister

Friday, March 21, 2008

Very Metal: The Most Complicated Thing Ever Built

Avi Abrams of Dark Roasted Blend has an article about CERN's Large Hadron Collider. The LHC is a 17 mile monstrosity that crosses the border of two countries. Per the article, one superconducting solenoid (CMS) alone contains more iron than the Eiffel Tower (which weighs about 7,300 tons!). The most interesting aspect of this project? How about the suggested possibility of TIME TRAVEL! Granted, it's the particles that traverse time, but it's still a heady concept according to research published by CERN scientists Arefieva and Volovich. The article has several photos, which alone are worth a look. Sheer words do not do justice to the LHC. Abrams has exclusive permission of CERN to use the photos, so I will not post any here. But I strongly urge you to visit Dark Roasted Blend if only to view photos with the article. They help to give a sense of scale to the whole project.

Monday, March 17, 2008

A New Breastplate

The Lorica (or Breastplate) is a prayer written in Irish and Latin that is often attributed to Saint Patrick. There are many variations of it (one can be found here), but I have decided to rewrite it in "honor" of the old saint who is said to have driven out the pagans. Now it has a nice Heathen slant...
A Heathen's Breastplate 
I arise today 
Heir to the strength of Asgard; 
Light of the sun, 
Splendor of fire, 
Swiftness of wind, 
Depth of the sea, 
Stability of earth, 
Firmness of rock. 
I arise today with mine own strength to pilot me; 
Thor's might to uphold me, 
Frigga's wisdom to guide me, 
Odin's hand to guard me, 
Heimdall's watch to shield me, 
Freya's love to bless me. 
Afar and anear, 
Alone or in a multitude. 
The ancestors are with me, 
before me, 
behind me, on my right, on my left. 
As sure as The Earth beneath me, 
The Sky above me, 
The Holy Powers within me. 
I arise today 
Rooted in the mighty traditions of my past. 
And I walk Midgard, 
Sending forth the blessings of this day's deeds to generations yet unborn. 
copyright 2008, BSW