Thursday, November 01, 2007

Astronomy: my first non-disappointing comet

Went to the astronomy lecture and viewing at the
Institute of Astronomy last night with my son, and queued up with many others to see Comet Holmes, which has undergone some kind of terrible bad hair day and is half a million times more fuzzy than it was last week -- and now an easy naked eye object.

Fan of astrononmy though I am, I have to admit that most objects in telescopes are a bit of disappointment -- Mars, the Moon, Jupiter and Saturn are about the only really good ones. But this here comet Holmes was definitely the most non-disappointing comet I've seen. Here's some pictures.

Lived faithfully a hidden life

Just finished listening to an abridged version of George Eliot's Middlemarch. The abridgement didn't bring out all it could've -- especially the book's modern-sounding theme, that noble ideals sometimes lead to disappointing lives -- the noble outcomes being subverted by naivety, pride, mistakes, or unforgiving convention.

The abridgement kept Eliot's original ending in full, which was a kind of resurrection for this subverted idealism, and a lovely quote:

that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to
the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.