(Categorically Not! presenters and performers on 1st Feb. 2009)
The next Categorically Not! is on Sunday February 1st. The Categorically Not! series of events that are held at the Santa Monica Art Studios, (with occasional exceptions). It’s a series – started and run by science writer K. C. Cole – of fun and informative conversations deliberately ignoring the traditional boundaries between art, science, humanities, and other subjects. I strongly encourage you to come to them if you’re in the area. Here is the website that describes past ones, and upcoming ones. See also the links at the end of the post for some announcements and descriptions (and even video) of previous events.
The theme this month is Dark Matters. Here’s the description from K C Cole:
I almost forgot to mention that tonight marks the launch of the series of events called the College Commons here at USC. Here’s a news story about the programme. This academic year, I’ve been working on the committee working on shaping the ideas that have come up from the faculty (I had promised to tell you more about this), and we’ve announced the short Spring programme, which you can see here.
There is a featured part celebrating 1859:
Where do ideas come from, and how far do they travel? One hundred and fifty years ago, the astonishing year of 1859 saw not only the publication of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species, but such pioneering works as John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, Charles Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities, Karl Marx’s Critique of Political Economy, and Richard Wagner’s first version of Tristan and Isolde. This year also marked amazing advances in travel and communications, the first battles prefiguring the Civil War and the first trapeze act performed in Paris. Can we imagine the world 150 years from now, and imagine the place our ideas will have in it? Scholars from biology, anthropology, physics, literature, history, and gender studies, as well as poets and artists, will explore these questions together this spring.
Gosh, look what I found on YouTube, quite by accident. It is video of the first Uncertainty event I did with science writer KC Cole way back in 2006, and was one of the first Visions and Voices events at USC.
It has as features (about 20 minutes each) Jonathan Kirsch on Monotheism (and how it actually isn’t, really), some opening thoughts by moderator KC Cole, her interview […] Click to continue reading this post →
Today I was at a Catholic church, attending the First Communion of the daughter of some friends and colleagues. This was a bit of a nostalgia trip for me, since I was brought up in the Catholic tradition. The mass was entirely in Polish, and the congregation was almost entirely Polish, and I enjoyed saying all the English responses on top of the Polish ones and seeing how well they fit (I also did it sotto voce over the bits the celebrant said too). Yes, the rituals are evidently frozen into my memory.
It’s exactly the same structure as the masses I attended hundreds of times during my upbringing, and I’m amused that I remembered everything even without being prompted by the company of English speakers in my surroundings. Very enjoyable to see the kids all done up in their finery, all nervous but excited, as they know it is all about them. Fun to see other remnants of my childhood imagery in the form of a super-splendid Sunday hat – so rare these days – and generally people of a certain look that’s so familiar from Catholic churches I’ve see in several places around the world. With that and the excellent food and conversation at the reception afterwards, despite my being tired from having only two hours sleep last night (more later), it was a lovely day.
Well, here’s a turn up for the books. I pass the buildings of the Center for Inquiry (West) in Hollywood quite regularly on my to-ings and fro-ings, and always wondered what it was. About what were they inquiring? My inquiring mind wanted to know, but by time I got back to a computer, I’d forgotten all about intending to Google it. I was sort of expecting that it might be some, er, fringe organization, given the neighbourhood (not 1/4 of a mile away is the mother ship (or one of them) for the Scientologists, and a similar distance in the other direction is the “Scientology Celebrity Centre” too, where John, Tom, Kirstie, and others from the remarkably large movie star Scientology set presumably go and hang out and feel… celebrated).
Well, it turns out that it’s not like that after all, but a place where, as far as I can tell, serious reason-based inquiry into issues surrounding the places where, e.g., science, religion, culture and superstition intersect (such as, you know, real life) is encouraged. I like that poster of theirs I found, for example (image to the right).
The next Categorically Not! is on Sunday December 16th (upcoming). The Categorically Not! series of events that are held at the Santa Monica Art Studios, (with occasional exceptions). Itâ€™s a series – started and run by science writer K. C. Cole – of fun and informative conversations deliberately ignoring the traditional boundaries between art, science, humanities, and other subjects. I strongly encourage you to come to them if youâ€™re in the area.
Here is the website that describes past ones, and upcoming ones. See also the links at the end of the post for some announcements and descriptions (and even video) of previous events. (Above right: The artist Bob Miller speaking at the event entitled “Really?” on 23rd April, 2006. He died recently on Oct. 28th 2007, and this week’s event is dedicated to him.)
The theme this month is Beginnings. Here’s the description from K C Cole:
Every thing (and every body) began sometime. Even matter, space and time have a history. So do music, religion and galaxies (and along with them, musicians, religious scholars and astronomers.) Of course, how things begin determines to a large extent how they evolve and go on to influence both human culture and the universe at large. So for this monthâ€™s Categorically Not, weâ€™ll look at beginnings from three widely (and somewhat wildly) diverse perspectives.
When I first came to the USA, I recall being scared and shocked upon going to the hobbies section of a magazine shop and seeing all the different gun magazines. Come to think of it, it still scares me a bit, but I suppose I’m used to it – cultural differences and all that. Today I found something I’d not noticed before in the magazine section of Borders at Sunset and Vine that scares and shocks me a bit. I’m not sure I should just leave it at cultural differences. It seems more like a problem, to me. Let me see if it jumps out at you:
Is it just me, or is one of these magazines scarily out of place?* (Click for larger).
Er… I had in mind the other sense of the word “retreat”. Although the Catholic Church does officially agree that: […] the earth is roughly four billion years old and that species changed through evolution. But then it gets a little messy after that, as you know. Although not utterly … Click to continue reading this post →