Thursday, July 31, 2008

The commission of C. G. Jung

During an interview by John Freeman of Carl Jung, which later aired on the BBC televison series "Face to Face" in 1959, he asked him about whether he believed a third world war was imminent. Keep in mind that this was during the climate of the then ongoing Cold War. Jung replied, in part:
"We need more understanding of human nature, because the only real danger that exists is man himself. He is the great danger, and we are pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man, far too little. His psyche should be studied, because we are the origin of all coming evil."
What did Jung mean when he used the word evil? According to Genesis, evil was brought into the world when Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Christianity agrees that man is the source of evil in the world. But here the similarity begins to break. Christianity has a list of sins that I doubt Jung is as concerned about, especially when we consider the context of this statement. I like how Jung indicts all of man. It isn't just one segment of the population, or a few nations. In like manner, Christianity assents that all are guilty under the law. But, whereas Christianity provides a simple solution to the problem of evil freely available to anyone, Jung, however, leaves us with the problem and says the solution is to study human nature, and particularly the psyche of man, presumably to understand how to prevent the evil that may come from a lack of knowledge. In the final analysis, there isn't a simple solution, but Jung did recognize the problem.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Water water everywhere!

Today it has been raining off and on, and after coming home from work this afternoon I decided to clean around the house and noticed that the rainwater tank had finally overflowed! Then it began to rain again, but the gutters were overflowing. Why? Suspecting the downspout was clogged with leaves, I hooked up my extension ladder (which had been taken apart for "walking ladder" practice a few years ago) and cleared the hole. A great gush of water momentarily overwhelmed the pipe delivering the water to the tank. With the steady rain, the overflow from the tank poured out water like a bathtub faucet. Even knowing I had saved 1500 gallons, I didn't want to waste any and quickly filled up nearly 30 gallons of water in buckets. Had the holding capacity been larger, I am sure that many more gallons of water could be collected during the coming week. It is still raining steadily outside.

Friday, July 25, 2008

bike stuff

I still would like a fixed wheel bike, but there are a lot of considerations that make me think it won't happen anytime soon. 1) Monetary investment - the several hundred needed for a new bike (or parts for an older bike) can be spent on other things like vehicle maintenance, loan payments, food, college tuition, that are more important by comparison. 2) Functionality - while I like the uniqueness of a fixed wheel bike, it may not be suitable to the terrain, the slope of my driveway and other hills is very steep. 3) Time Investment - Learning how to convert an older bike from free wheel to fixed wheel would be fun, but could take many hours and days, time that could be spent reaping a larger rewards by doing other things. So I think I will put this to the side and use my low bottom bracket recumbents (with geometries like the BikeE, Tour Easy, the list goes on and on) to get around and out of the house, they have consistently been able to meet my needs for comfort and speed like nothing else. The BikeE is the best I have since its BB is lower than the EZ-3 trike. Of course, standard diamond frame bikes have the lowest BBs, but comfort is lost as soon as one leans their body forward and rests their weight on the handlebars instead of the seat and/or backrest. I am open to trying the RANS crank forward bikes, they fill out the spectrum of BB to seat height ratios, bridging the gap between diamond frames and recumbents (the BB is low enough that you can still stand on the pedals while riding).

There are many considerations important for bicycle comfort, among those I rank highest include: 1) sitting ergonomics/ pressure location (partially influenced by the degree to which legs straddle bike saddle/seat) 2) relative height of seat to bottom bracket and 3) angles formed by body and thigh across the pedaling motion. Randy Schlitter with RANS, more than any other person, has really created an ideal bike. I see a lot of people riding mountain bikes or cruisers with high rise handlebars, trying to get the same comfortable riding position of a recumbent without actually going 'bent. I tried that setup, and it was okay, but it wasn't reclined enough for me. As I need to remove things from my to do list rather than add to it, I'll be content with the bikes I have right now - if I ever get out and ride them!

Yesterday I made the first cuts for the grindbygg, partially finishing a stav and bete (post and beam). I realized I need another saw. It will take a lot of spare evenings and weekends to finish. I plan to finish the lawn work this weekend and determine which college classes could fit my schedule, but that is... another story.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mid-July report

It must be summer, I saw two daddy long legs outside yesterday while working on the lawn. Now my usual checklist of summer arthropods is complete. I scooped them up and placed them in a gallon terrarium for further observation. Though you might not believe me, when perched on a clump of moss, they really have a fairy tale aura about them. The fragile long legs, the intricate pattern of chevrons on their back; to the careful observer they are incomparable. Rounding out the list are the mosquitos and black flies that attacked me a few weeks ago and the dragonflies whose wings glanced my skin as they dove after the feast that I attracted to myself. I wish I could hire a mercenary army of them to protect me and dispense with the bug dope all together.

The lawn is halfway finished; and very soon I will begin building a grindbygg. I prefer to flirt with several ideas at once - I'd like to take steps towards finishing my BA in philosophy this fall, if the usual constraints of time and money allow. I'm embarrassingly close to completion already, and I feel the time is right. I would like to add a new bike to my already large stable. I don't have a fixed wheel bike, and they sound like fun. Sheldon Brown, the late famous advocate of fixed wheel bikes had a mountain bike that he converted to fixed wheel for winter riding. A fixed wheel bike with the geometry of a mountain bike (comfy seat, handlebars) sounds like a real treat.

The only way to get one is to make it myself. Sure, the Felt Dispatch is nice (with the easy 39x16 gear combo for 700c tires), but there is no other way to have an intimate understanding of a bike than to put it together oneself. A few tools, a few new parts, a used frame, a few DIY guides (1, 2, 3, 4), a lot of trial and error, and it is within the realm of the possible.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

How to/Parenting topics

How to stay on top of pet projects. (Answer: Try to make a schedule and stick to it.)
How to get your child to bed on time. (Answer: here.)

Some questions are more complicated though:
How to instill a love of art, music, and culture in your child.
How to instill a love of math and science in your child.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Jumping spiders

Is collecting photos of local jumping spiders an unusual hobby? The first is Sitticus finschi, which I took last year. The second is still unknown, but definitely a jumping spider all the same. I think it is Eris militaris based on a few sources 1, 2, 3.) I took that picture on the 4th of July, just a few days ago.

If I ever get a macro lens I could take pictures like this, or this, or this.