Pablo Casals, was asked why, at the age of 95, did he still practice the cello 6 hours a day?
Casals answered, “Because I think I’m making progress.”
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My favorite word is Phlogiston, I like the way it sounds and even the way it’s spelled, but most of all, I like what it means.
It is an element, completely without substance, that was presumed to exist. When combined with another element, the new compound had the quality of flammability.
Phlogiston has achieved mythic status as a metaphor for obsolete theories–for something believed to exist and its name survives long after the mistake is proven. You must be alert for opportunities to use the word since they don’t come up in conversation very often.
Do you have a favorite word? Please share it and its story.
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A number got a new name recently. A pedaflop is one quadrillion calculations per second.
When I was a kid the largest number that had a name was a decillion. Beginning with a billion, the series, each a 1000 times greater than the preceding number is, trillion, quadrillion, quintillion, sextillion, septillion, octillion, nonillion, and decillion. (in the U. S that would be 1 followed by 33 zeroes, in the UK 1 followed by 60 zeroes.) The number did not have much use since it exceeded the number of atoms in the universe. In those days a billion was unimaginably large.
At some point a number was named that was 1 followed by 100 zeroes. It is a googol. I thought the search engine was named for the number. But that spelling is Google, probably after Barney Google.
Hard to imagine what we’ll ever need numbers that large. But we do need ever larger numbers to measure Bill Gates’ pocket change and the national debt.
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I don’t wear a watch, I don’t have a dashboard clock, I don’t have an alarm clock, the my microwave is not plugged in, when I plug it the clock blinks 12:00. My computer and my cell phone know when Daylight Saving Time comes and goes. For the first time in my life I did not forget to change any of my clocks—because I don’t have any clocks that needed to be changed. Is Freedom no clocks left to watch?
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Am I the only one who thinks Donald Trump is late to the party? Raising a question of the President’s birth certificate. Can’t his publicists come up with something a little fresher to get you back in the news?
Preview of things to come: The Bareass Bookseller of Quartzsite, Arizona.
Below: Business as usual at the Oasis Bookstore.