Q192: We understand each other

"It is wrong to claim that nations and human beings come to blows because they do not understand [one another].   They come to blows because they understand."

— Romain Gary 

(Note:  I don't speak French, so this translation might not be the best, and yes, I'm aware of the pun.)

For certain values of real...

Here's something that may bother you for a while afterward.   First, watch the video below.   It purports to be a video of a UFO sighting over California.    Decide whether you think the UFO is real or an obvious fake.  Once you are sure of your opinion, click here to learn the surprising truth about the video.

[Heads-up for those with kids around:  there is 90% of a profanity in the person's reaction at the end of the video.]

What your modem was doing.

Ever wonder what your modem was doing while it was connecting (assuming you are old enough to remember using a modem).   Here's a breakdown of what all that noise was about.    Reading through this, I can even remember what each part sounded like.

(click image to enlarge)

ht:Steve Gibson

Q191: The Scales of War

"Since it is God that turns the scales of war, there is great uncertainty in the issue of battles."

— Flavius Josephus, reporting Antipater's advice to his son Herod

~ · ~

"Kings do not use to requite men for those kindnesses which they received when they were private persons, the height of their fortune making usually no small changes in them."
— Josephus

~ · ~

"With whom is what is righteous, with them is God himself."

— Herod, to his men before a battle

~ · ~

"If we allow that this was done by the will of God, we must allow that it is now over by his will also, and that he is satisfied with what hath already happened; for had he been willing to afflict us still more thereby, he had not changed his mind so soon."

— Herod, before battle, encouraging his men not to worry about a recent earthquake

~ · ~

"For it is a constant rule, that misfortunes are still laid to the account of those that govern."
— Josephus

Q190: More Josephus

"[...T]he principal scope that authors ought to aim at above all the rest, is to speak accurately, and to speak truly [...]"

— Flavius Josephus

"[...I]f you now fight manfully you may recover your liberty, which, as it is a thing of itself agreeable to all men, so it proves to be to us much more desirable, by its affording us the liberty of worshiping God."

— Josephus, reporting the words of Judas Maccabeus

Stand clear of the elephant

I think there's a moral in here ... somewhere.    Josephus on the death of Eleazar Avaran, one of the Maccabees:

"But when his brother Eleazar, whom they called Auran, saw the tallest of all the elephants armed with royal breastplates, and supposed that the king was upon him, he attacked him with great quickness and bravery. He also slew many of those that were about the elephant, and scattered the rest, and then went under the belly of the elephant, and smote him, and slew him; so the elephant fell upon Eleazar, and by his weight crushed him to death. And thus did this man come to his end, when he had first courageously destroyed many of his enemies."

— Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 12.9.4

So, it isn't funny (I keep telling myself that.  Well ... maybe it's a little bit funny.).   Eleazar died a heroic death and it was seen as such at the time.  I take away something sort of like "pride goeth before a fall", but not in a negative sense.    Eleazar's victory was genuine — he was doing exactly what he should have been doing; it's just that the very fact of that victory opened him up to defeat.     

Have you noticed how often this is the case?    Just when you are on top of the world, that's when trouble comes along.  And not just that:  the trouble would have passed you by and left you alone if you hadn't let your guard down because of your success.   From now on, I'll say to myself in that situation:  "make sure to stand clear of the elephant".

Q189: Gravitation

"Pick a flower, and you move the furthest star."

— Slashdot user "osu-neko",  discussing gravitational interaction between bodies

Q188: Josephus

I'm reading through Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews.   Some bits I came across:

"[I]nnocence is the strongest army."

— Flavius Josephus

— · —

"Your bodies are mortal, and subject to fate, but they receive a sort of immortality, by the remembrance of what actions they have done."

— Josephus, reporting the words of Mattathias (father of the Maccabees)

Artist: Cody F. Miller

While looking around for teaching materials, I came across this artist.   He has some very good takes on various Bible stories and characters.

"Hosea and Gomer"

"The Annunciation"

"Prodigal Son III"

"Sarah and the Promise"

See more...

Mechanical computers

I was aware that, before electronic computers, they used to use mechanical computers to automate hard math problems, such as fire control for warships. Seeing this set of videos, however, really made me appreciate how unbelievably clever some of these mechanisms were.  

Q187: Getting it down on paper

"Writing is nature's way of letting you know how sloppy your thinking is."

— Dick Guindon