These are quite creative. I wonder who invented them?
These are quite creative. I wonder who invented them?
It was spotted in Utah, of course (note the mountains in the background).
Yeah, we had that family living next door to us for a while.
Look closely, it appears not to be a claim for a polygamous family . . . oy. Surely, it is a joke.
A lot of punchlines possible, e.g., ‘if the squirrels weren’t slow, maybe they wouldn’t be endangered.’
Still a rather unique sign, no?
I wonder where it is? This sign marks habitat in the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Maryland for the Delmarva fox squirrel.
Update: Well, maybe not wholly unique; World Wildlife Fund has this one — again, without a note about location.
No, we’re not joking.
May 11 is the anniversary of the birth of Richard Feynman (born 1918, died 1988).
In 2014, his birthday falls on Sunday, Mothers Day. Mothers Day is one of the designated-by-law days to fly the U.S. flag — so fly your flag! You can tell your mother it’s for her — but it’s also for Richard Feynman.
Why Feynman Day? To celebrate invention, physics, interesting characters, and that essential, American quality of je ne sais quoi.
In addition to his winning the Nobel Prize for Quantum Electrodynamics (QED), Feynman popularized the critique of science and other enterprises with what we now call Cargo Cult science, or education, or whatever, where people follow the dance steps, but without the rhythm and music.
Those two things alone would make him a remarkable man. But, like a product offered for $19.95 as a good buy in a 2:00 a.m. infomercial, with Feynman, there’s more. With Feynman, there is always more.
I got alerted to Feynman in the first days of the old Quality Paperback Book Club, when they featured his new memoir, Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! QPBC was hot on the book, and with a title like that, how could I resist? When I got the book a week or so later, I read it within two days, while attending law school and working full time. I remember Feynman.
Norton published the book — and their description, alone, should make you want to read it:
A New York Times bestseller—the outrageous exploits of one of this century’s greatest scientific minds and a legendary American original.
In this phenomenal national bestseller, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard P. Feynman recounts in his inimitable voice his adventures trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek, painting a naked female toreador, accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums and much else of an eyebrow-raising and hilarious nature.
All true, and that’s not even the half of the outrageousness, all done with great good humor, about a life lived in great good humor through what should have been a memorable age, but often was just terrifying.
I think sometimes that Feynman’s calm, alone, borne of that great good humor and insatiable curiosity, may have gotten us through the birth of the atomic age and the Cold War.
Feynman was a giant, and we don’t revere him enough. Consider:
A special postal cancel was authorized by the USPS (United States Postal Service) to honor the 80th birthday of Richard Feynman. This cancel was used in Lake Worth, Florida. For this special day the post office was renamed “Feynman Station.”
The Feynman Diagram used for the postal cancel on this envelope depicts what is known as a “bubble process.” It shows a high energy particle, for example, a cosmic ray (a) from a distant supernova, which emits a high energy photon, for example, a gamma ray (b). The photon, in turn, creates a particle (c) and an anti-particle (d) that exists for a brief moment and then recombines.
As Feynman liked to point out, an anti-particle is the same thing as a particle with negative energy traveling backward in time (which is why the arrow at (d) points backwards, i.e. to the left). So you could say the photon created only one particle that, at first, traveled forward in time (the bottom semi-circle) and then reversed and went back in time (the top semi-circle) and annihilated itself! By inventing diagrams like this, Richard Feynman made it much easier to understand what is going on in the interactions between sub-atomic particles without getting lost in tremendous amounts of tedious math
There’s more — a lot more. Feynman outlined our current generation of computer memory devices — in 1959. No, he didn’t patent the idea. He did patent an idea for a nuclear-powered spacecraft. Another delightful story.
Feynman served on the board that approved science books for the California school system — his stories of that work will shock some, but it will make others shake their heads as they recognize the current crop of cargo-cultists and political bullies who dominate textbook approval processes, knowing nothing at all about what they are doing, or why.
No, I didn’t forget his brilliant work on the commission that studied the Challenger disaster, for NASA. There’s so much stuff to glorify!
In history, Feynman should be remembered much as we remember Thomas Jefferson, as a renaissance man in his time, a man who put great intellect to great work for his nation and all humanity.
The sages say we shouldn’t have regrets, but I do have one. When the Challenger Commission was meeting in Washington, D.C., I was working on another commission up the street. I knew Feynman was ill, but our work was important, and we’d heard his disease was in remission. I didn’t goof off a day and go to any of the hearings to see him, to get an autograph, to meet the man. I though I’d have other opportunities to do that. Now I regret not having met him in person.
In print, and in film, I know him well. In our family, reading Feynman is something everybody does. Feynman’s memoir was one of the last books I read to our son, Kenny, as he was growing up, and growing into reading on his own. Even reading about Feynman, together, was an adventure. Our son, James, took us into the real physics of Feynman, and though I struggle with it more than James, we still read Feynman, for humor, and physics.
What would be appropriate ways to mark Feynman’s birth? At some future date, I hope we’ll have public readings of his books, showings of the documentaries about him, recreations of his lectures, perhaps. And then everyone can get in a circle, beating drums and singing about getting some orange juice, before sending postcards to our friends in Tuva.
Richard Feynman, we still need you, and miss you dearly.
There will always be “More” about Richard Feynman, if we’re lucky:
Much of this is an encore post.
Found on Twitter:
Maybe there’s a John Waters movie in the story.
Jerry Vile strikes again. The artist (and volunteers) stuck about 100 plastic lawn flamingos painted to look like vultures — one can imagine Vile lovingly glueing on the feathers — on the front lawn of the Detroit Institute of Arts. A banner was also erected, reading “Happy Bankruptcy: You’re Getting Flocked! Vultures by the Scads, LLC.”
It’s Vile’s latest prank that targets Detroit’s bankruptcy and the threat of selling the DIA’s artwork to appease “creditor vultures.” Within the past year the artist has put out an ad for Detroit’s liquidation in Metro Times, rolled out an oversized can of Crisco in front of the Joe Louis fist, and placed price tags on public art throughout the city.
The only statement the artist has made so far about the vultures is a post on his Facebook page that says, “Sssssshhhhhhhh. Can’t wait to get a look at Beal’s face when he pulls up to work tomorrow.”
Negotiations are ongoing in regard to an $816 million so-called “grand bargain” — funded by numerous foundations, the state, and the DIA itself — that would spin the DIA into a new nonprofit and prevent the sale of any city-owned art. Meanwhile, Lansing is setting up a board that could oversee Detroit’s pensions and finances for 20 years, and also potentially appropriate $194.8 million from the state’s rainy day fund toward Detroit’s bankruptcy.