Jun 2009 BLOG

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2009-06-28 The nature of Albrecht Durer

Last year when visiting the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, I was impressed with Four Apostles by Albrecht Durer (1526). When I came across a book on Durer yesterday, I could not resist picking it up. It is interesting to see that besides the self-portraits, human proportions, other biblical works, the famous Rhino etc. he had also made a woodcut in 1515 called Johann Stabius Map of the World which apparently was the first map of the world projected on to a sphere (a 2D projection of a 3D projection?)

Such works seem to be a convincing factor that he is likely to have been more of a humanist or a reformer than a Catholic. Since one of the four Apostles, viz. Mark is not an Apostle but an Evangelist, and since Durer had expressed a wish to meet Lutheran, there has always been a debate over the title which in some places is now called Four Holy Men in this age of political correctness, whatever that means.

2009-06-21 U can not touch the sacred

Spent a couple of hours at the lovely Soka University in Aliso Viejo reading astronomy papers and listening to a few speakers at the Symposium on the sacred rivers of India. One of the talks was on Dying in Kashi. There is so much that can be said on that topic. But the speaker, a Deepak Shimkhada hardly touched the topic. Later Saurabh mentioned how this is not a real university as it does not have labs. I think there is indeed something to be said about the attitude and rigour. Why do these people not use graphs and pictures? In sciences, irrespective of the possible politics in grants at least the proposals are reasonably well articulated. I wonder how the paper-reading folks would write proposals. If only to understand it I would like to see some.

2009-06-05 River of Gods - Ian Mcdonald

Sci-fi set in futuristic (2047) India with AI pervading all walks of life and with the theological traditions still growing strong including their technological incarnations.

There is a good mix of known science, speculative science, fantasy with standard stuff (like lovestories to show that its not just fantasy) thrown in.

Though many names have been changed and are in line with where we are going, some situations indicate that the same is already happening under a different avatar.

I enjoyed it particularly since I have been not many years ago to Varanasi where it is set, and I could relate to the make-up of the city of light and to the various locations where a lot of the action takes place.

River of Gods

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