I’m in Honolulu.
Although I moved to the Big Island a very, very long time ago, I have not been to Oahu often. Usually I just visit the airport when I can’t get a direct flight from Kona or Hilo to the mainland. Last night was my second overnight on Oahu. The first was in 1995.
Of course I see Oahu on the news all of the time. There are a million or so souls here, nearly 80% of the state’s population. And it’s a small Island to hold so many people, just under 600 sq. miles. By contrast the Big Island has a population of about 130,000 spread out over 4700 sq. miles.
Oahu has the feel of a middle-to-large mainland city. The downtown area is dense and crowds the water fronts. There are many tall, narrow hotels and a few office towers. It seems very Asian, even compared to Hilo. It may be the area where I am staying, a hotel about a half mile inland from Ala Moana. When I say Asian, I mean Asian, not local Asian. This particular area has a lot of Korean store fronts. I’ve taken a cab half a dozen times since my arrival and all of the cabbies have been Vietnamese. They have been polite but not talkative.
The weather has been nice but not spectacularly so, partly cloudy, high around seventy-five, a bit breezy. The inland mountains are a jagged spine, not easily recognizable as volcanic, at least from my vantage point.
I read Neil Stephenson’s review of The 300 today. It’s a good review, crediting the SF/fantasy world for both creating the movie and ensuring its success. Stephenson says that much of the movie’s appeal is it’s complete lack of irony. I agree.
Where I disagree is his characterization of parts of the movie as having gone over the top in comic-bookish imagery.
We believe that there is a hard, bright line between reality and imagination. We believe that the material world is ore real than our own imaginations. The ancients did not. To a heroic pagan culture acts of heroism and knavery formed the dark and light of the world, the oceans, mountains and stars were a shabby stage for the actions of men.
Steve Weinberg has written a generally positive review of Dawkins The God Delusion:
Weinberg considers himself a proponent of atheism. Scientists really shouldn’t wander outside their field. Weinberg writes
“A friend at the University of Kansas has formed a Flat Earth Society to demand – in mockery of the demand by Kansas creationists that schools present “Intelligent Design” as an “alternative” to evolution – that Kansas public schools teach flat-Earth theory as an “alternative” to spherical-Earth theory.”
Weinberg should see the obvious error here. The shape of the earth is something that is. evolution is an explanation of how something came to be. Simple geometry and an observant eye can determine that the earth is spherical. Evolution requires, among other things, a long time to work out, and the notion that the earth was millions of years old didn’t gain scientific acceptance until around the turn of the 18th century.