Monthly Archives: November 2009
No, I have not suddenly fallen among the creationists – the headline is a quote from “The left Hand of Darkness”, a superb novel by Ursula K. LeGuin . So it looks like we need a better word for all of the earth and the planets and the moons and stars.. Oh wait. We have one: It’s Cosmos .
But it is a cosmos unfinished: It was born in the Big Bang – not an explosion, despite the name, since ‘explosion’ means that matter violently expands into the surrounding space. The Big Bang was an expansion – it was when space came into existence. And, as one of my favourite podcasts reminded me some time ago, the process isn’t  finished – like they say, the universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding, and that’s a pretty awe-inspiring thought if you ask me.
And of course that means more room for awesomeness.
- It’s a strange thing – LeGuin’s stories with rather plausible ideas of time dilation and hermaphroditism are dismissively called “soft fiction” or “social fiction” while writers like, say, Niven or Pournelle are called ‘hard sf’ writers while they go on and write about FTL space ships – the idea of Faster Than Light travel is about as scientific as the tooth fairy.
- As the Bad Astronomer Phil Plait reminds us, today would be Carl Sagans 75th birthday
- And propably never will be.
“”This was the noblest Roman of them all.
All the conspirators, save only he,
Did that they did in envy of Caesar;
He only, in a general honest thought
And common good to all, made one of them.
His life was gentle, and the elements
So mixd in him that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, This was a man!”
70 years ago, on 8 November 1939 Georg Elsers assassination attempt on the life of Adolf Hitler failed. Undoubtly had he succeeded he would not be rememberes as a hero  but as a madman who killed a great german statesman – after all, the biggest crimes of Hitler and Nazi Germany where still to come. Had Hitler been killed in 1939 history would have, I’m afraid, looked quite favourably upon him.
Unlike the conspirators of the 20 July plot Elser did not plan for a coup d’état or to take power himself; Elser, who acted all alone, had no illusions that Hitlers assassination could stop the Nazis. He had hoped that after the death of the top Nazis more moderate elements would rise to the head of the Nazi party.
More than 60 years after his death Elser was finally recognized – in a ceremony during which a small Else memorial was unveiled – as somebody who ‘did not simply look away” during the “Third Reich”.