29 June 2009

Another installment from the Book of Irreverent Revelation

1. Just learned over the weekend, since I was able to watch some shows on the History Channel at my PIL this weekend, that Nikola Tesla was eventually given the patent on radio. Marconi may have beaten him to the airwaves by sending the first transatlantic radio signal, but Marconi used about a dozen and a half of Tesla's patents to get there.

Kind of along the lines that holiness attracts, genius, at least at this level, seems to repel. Maybe it's because genius is so close to madness. I find Tesla fascinating, but also a bit scary and creepy. If you have electricity in your house, thank Tesla.

Aside from his work on electromagnetism and electromechanical engineering, Tesla has contributed in varying degrees to the establishment of robotics, remote control, radar and computer science, and to the expansion of ballistics, nuclear physics, and theoretical physics. In 1943, the Supreme Court of the United States credited him as being the inventor of the radio. Many of his achievements have been used, with some controversy, to support various pseudosciences, UFO theories, and early New Age occultism.

Tesla engaged in reading many works, memorizing complete books, supposedly having a photographic memory. Tesla related in his autobiography that he experienced detailed moments of inspiration. During his early life, Tesla was stricken with illness time and time again. He suffered a peculiar affliction in which blinding flashes of light would appear before his eyes, often accompanied by hallucinations. Much of the time the visions were linked to a word or idea he might have come across; just by hearing the name of an item, he would involuntarily envision it in realistic detail. Modern-day synesthetes report similar symptoms. Tesla would visualise an invention in his brain in precise form before moving to the construction stage; a technique sometimes known as picture thinking. Tesla also often had flashbacks to events that had happened previously in his life; this began to happen during childhood.

2. June is a bad month for celebrities. But, as my Irish family always maintained, death comes in threes, so the rest of Hollywood should be safe for awhile. Unless you consider Billy Mays, that would throw off the entire theory (since Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and MJ were the first three).

3. ABC is changing it's name to OBC...the Obama channel. All Obama, all the time.

4. Love is in the air. First it was my daughter and her school friend, but now my son has a little girl friend at T-ball.

5. A Swiss team has unveiled a solar plane. Neat and cool, but with current technology, at least what I understand (and that's not too much so take this with a grain of salt) is that in order to fly a plane with passengers you'd need a skyscraper's surface area worth of panels. Not really practical. However, there are other applications for this type of thing.

6. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button was just that: curious. Strange thought experiment that somehow was made into a movie. Kind of a chick flick, but hubby really liked it (must've been the war scenes) while I was wishing the coin-flip on what we were going to rent would've gone to the X-Files movie.

7. Looks like Al Franken will be our next senator before the summer's out. At least Amy Klobuchar says he better be or she'll be mad, although she didn't threaten to leave for Canada in protest.

8. Researchers are looking for black matter deep under the Black Hills of South Dakota. I thought they were doing this in the Soudan mines in northern Minnesota. The mine is deeper than six Empire State buildings. Very cool, but now that I'm older the idea of going that far underground, unless there is a nuclear attack or the Three Days of Darkness arrives, makes me feel a little claustrophobic.

Scientists believe most of the dark matter in the universe contains no atoms and does not interact with ordinary matter through electromagnetic forces. They are trying to discover exactly what it is, how much exists and what effect it may have on the future of the universe.

Physicists have said that without dark matter, galaxies might never have formed. By learning more about dark matter, they hope to understand better whether the universe is expanding or contracting. My belief is it is expanding...still moving apart because of the Big Bang theory.

9. It's the Calvin Jubilee Year.

The Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches (FSPC) has officially launched a website in preparation of the Calvin-Jubilee-Year 2009, celebrating 500 years since the birth of reformer John Calvin.

The interactive portal features information all around the 500th anniversary of the reformer John Calvin - and in four languages.

Calvin was born in 1509. In the year 2009, the Protestant churches worldwide will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Genevan Reformer with numerous events.

To celebrate the launching of the internet portal, calvin09 announces two competitions. The first involves finding an official anthem for the Calvin-Jubilee. Interested musicians are invited to send in their compositions.

The second is a competition to find the best and most suitable sermon for the occasion. The most exciting sermon - which must be rich in content and share a surprising perspective of the relevance of Calvin in our time - will win.

"We hope and dream that calvin09.org will be as stimulating and relevant for the 21st century as the theology of John Calvin itself!"


RJW said...

Now we add Fres Travelena, impressionist-comic, Not hugely famous, he was a staple on Johnny Carson and on the Vegas strip. RIP.

RJW said...

I meant Fred.

swissmiss said...

I remember Fred Travelena. He kind of looked like Jay Leno with the moppy hair.

Further destroys my theory.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

A surprising Calvinist homily would actually be one that everyone can stay awake for and laugh! :-)

swissmiss said...

I'm at a loss for words with this. As you know my brother and SIL live in Geneva and are Calvinists. Are there any Calvinists who aren't going to Heaven?