Can be a he or a she

Midnight, Friday. Saskia the astronomer hugs the North Dome telescope at Sydney Observatory. "With telescopes, the fatter the better," she says. "That's why I love them."

Meanwhile the US magazine CIO asked kids what they thought of computer professionals. They responded: "Can be a he or a she." "Might have spiked hair." "Some are tall."

I immediately adopted these sayings as personal mottos.

I've been just stupidly happy lately, partly because of astronomy, partly because of this book I'm reading -- The Fabric of Reality, by David Deutsch. And partly, I think, 'cause I spent the weekend in Hobart, a town of which I am highly fond, with some people of whom I am also highly fond.

We spent a lot of time talking about Antarctica. Japan just became the last signatory to a treaty designed to protect Antarctica from land claims, mining and exploitation for the next fifty years. It's like the Prime Directive, and the ANARE people - young, with terrific skin and sky-high ideals - are totally Starfleet.

When I was a bit younger I used to hang round art schools, because the students didn't give a damn about anything but painting. Now I hang round scientists for the same devil-may-care frisson. The relentless coercion of market-obedient corporations gives me tinnitus. It's good to know that - for example - one can deduce the existence of black holes from megamasers; that the largest animal permanently resident in Antarctica is a wingless mite; and that knowledge - like DNA - makes crystalline structures across parallel universes, structures which can only be seen in the mind's eye.

Wednesday, 28 January 1998. Kind of puts things into perspective, no?
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