Volcano, voting, vision

3 August 2007

Title of this post notwithstanding, I still prefer Dewey Decimal.

The 21 July eruption on Kilauea is still going strong, though I haven’t been anywhere I can see it recently. So far, looks like a fairly small amount of lava has been erupted, and it isn’t headed toward my house.

Meanwhile, an encroaching hazard of another kind is receiving somewhat less media attention. Election reform and in particular electronic voting machine oversight seem to be low on the list for discussion, compared with number of dollars raised by candidates.

As I prepare for a talk at work tomorrow night on the history & philosophy of science (I think I hear the yawns starting already), I ran across an outstanding optical illusion on APOD a couple weeks back. As they say, it is a good example of how good we think our perceptions are contrasted with how good they actually are. Or perhaps something deeper, say Benjamin Cohen’s example of teaching his engineering students about what we can perceive and what we can’t.

Kind of reminds me of a poem by Stephen Crane.

I saw a man pursuing the horizon;

Round and round they sped.

I was disturbed at this;

I accosted the man.

“It is futile,” I said,

“You can never-”

“You lie,” he cried,

And ran on.

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