History


La Morte di Caesare by Vincenzo Camucci (1798)

The Ides of March was made famous by Shakespeare in the play Julius Caesar (Act I, Scene 2), where a soothsayer warns Caesar “Beware the Ides of March”. Julius Caesar, was of course, assassinated in 44 BC on the 15th of March, a date known as the Ides of March. It’s really not so bad and ominous as days go if one understands more about the Roman calendar. The Romans didn’t count calendar days like we do. They used a reverse-count to reference days, always before and never after. Three days had names. The beginning of the month was called the Kalends, the middle called Ides, and they also had Nones, meaning 8th day before (or 9th day before and including) the Ides. The Nones occur on the 5th except by this rhyme: “March, July, October, May. The Nones are on the seventh day“. From this, it’s clear that for Nones on the 5th, Ides are on the 13th (short months), while for Nones on the 7th, Ides are on the 15th (long months). The Roman method of counting days was inclusive, so the Kalends, Nones and Ides would be counted as one of the days. For example March 3 (5 Nones) counts 3,4,5,6,7 (or 5 days) for the total. Romans would say like the following, apparently logical in Latin for them:

March 1: Kalends of March
March 2: 6 Nones of March (Ante Diem VI Nones)
March 3: 5 Nones of March
March 4: 4 Nones of March
March 5: 3 Nones of March (Ante Diem III Nones)
March 6: 2 Nones of March or Pridie Nones of March
(Pridie is Latin for “day before”)
March 7: Nones of March
March 8: 8 Ides of March (Ante Diem VIII Ides)
March 9: 7 Ides of March
March 10: 6 Ides of March
March 11: 5 Ides of March
March 12: 4 Ides of March
March 13: 3 Ides of March (Ante Diem III Ides)
March 14: 2 Ides of March or Pridie Ides (day before the Ides)
March 15: Ides of March
March 16: 17 Kalends of April (Ante Diem XVII Kalends)
March 17: 16 Kalends of April
etc…
March 30: 3 Kalends of April (Ante Diem III Kalends)
March 31: 2 Kalends of April or Pridie Kalends of April
(day before the Kalends)
April 1: Kalends of April

So, after Kalends one counts days before Nones, after Nones one counts days before Ides and after Ides one counts days before next Kalends. It’s a bit different for long and short months, but here’s a rhyme to help out:

On March the 7th, May, July,
October too, the Nones you spy;
Except in these, those Nones appear
On the 5th day of all the year.
If to the NONE you add an 8
Of every IDE you’ll find the date.

Fortunate for Shakespeare that the day Caesar was killed had such a nice ring to it that he could pen the famous line “Beware the Ides of March”, for if Caesar had been killed on the next day it would not have sounded as ominous to say “Beware the 17 Kalends of April”. Nevertheless, aside from it being the day of the death of Caesar there is nothing particularly foreboding for most of us about the Ides of March itself, and each month has an Ides as the Romans referred to them.

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Keep on Trekkin

As I did at the end of 2013 & 2014, so I do again here at the end of 2015 to recount some travel experiences, which I don’t normally write about here. I need not give the whole setup again for the premise of such entries and see my blog from the end of 2013: Travels of Spocklogic. The notables this year (travel blogs I finished or made additions to) include:

feature-Erice2014-lgFeature-Indian_Wedding

Feature - Washington DC-1

Feature-China_2014

Feature-Spocklogics_TravBuddy_Meetups

 

That’s the summary for 2015. Some are carry overs from 2014, but I finished the blogs in 2015, after my last post on travels (see: Travels of Spocklogic II) in December 2014 or earlier if I made additions. As I alluded to in recent entries, I will take a break from this Cogito Ergo blog for a while in 2016. I’ve had 20 years of internet exposure and been blogging for 10 years (see: 20 Years of Internet and Mapping the Internet). I hope to return again with a fresh perspective down the line. There’s plenty to explore in the Cogito Ergo blog archives until then (see the link to: Browse Blog Posts). Best wishes for the New Year 2016! See you in the future…

bones-travels-through-time

kirk-and-spock-travel-back-in-time-to-2014

As I did at the end of 2013, so I do again here at the end of 2014 to recount some travel experiences, which I don’t normally write about here. I need not give the whole setup again for the premise of such entries and see my blog from the end of 2013: Travels of Spocklogic. The notables this year are a couple of blogs I finished and some reviews that may be of interest:

spocklogic_Lyon-France_travel_blog.
spocklogic_Wroclaw-Poland_travel_blog.

spocklogic_Kirin-Hot-Pot_review.spocklogic_Long-Chao-Shou_review.
spocklogic_Ram-Pam-Pam-Pam_review.spocklogic_Raclawice-Panorama_review

That summarizes some travel selections for 2014. I did travel to Italy also in July 2014, and have some links to share for photo collections I put together for a special year in Erice to celebrate a 40th anniversary of the International School of Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy (ISAMS):

Rino: 40 Year Erice Celebrations (2014) – Erice, Italy
2014 Erice Workshop: 30 July – August 5 – Erice, Italy
People (2014) – Erice, Italy
Places (2014)
– Erice, Italy

In addition, I traveled to China again this year in November 2014, but am still working on my travel blog for that, so it will have to wait until my 2015 account of my travels. I will make this type of entry something traditional at years end to cover where I have been and what I have done in travel ways. It’s all rather like the City on the Edge of Forever perhaps…

city_on_the_edge_of_forever-kirk&spock

 

 

vote copy

I think not for me in future ways…

With the midterm elections in the USA coming up, I thought I’d give my reasons why I’m not going to vote anymore. In simple terms I have come to the conclusion that it is pointless and a waste of my time. For most of my life I believed in all those words shown in the headline photo posted at the top of this page, but I have come to the conclusion that politics is a game played by the people in power and voters are used like tools to keep that power or to oust someone else and claim that power for their own selfish purposes. Most politicians are narcissistic I believe and think they are important enough to make a difference, but they rarely do. They lie, twist the truth, manipulate the public and, in their own self-importance, forget that they are supposed to be public servants. They are not thinkers, nor leaders, neither benefactors or patrons, and their efforts mostly self-serving. Plainly and simply, I refuse to sponsor people of such questionable morals and principles anymore who move position according to their advantage. It’s no wonder they all sound the same when they will say anything to gain vote in election time!

It is said we have a representative government in the USA, and that may have been true at some time in the past, but that day has past and it is only the appearance of a representative government now. John Locke would be shocked to see what has become of the Enlightenment (Age of Reason) in the late 18th century and what the current state of democratic government has evolved into. I suppose a host of others might join him in their shock : Bacon, Voltaire, Rousseau… These people were the seminal thinkers that formed the basis of thought in the Constitution reflected by the founding fathers of the United States of America. Politics, of course, has always been a dog-eat-dog business, even going back to the days of Jefferson and Adams, but at least for a couple of centuries in America the personages were genuine, faults and all. Today we have a collection of ingenuous robots who stick to party lines and endeavor to indoctrinate followers (fed by vitriol from partisan media) like it was some sort of cult. I just don’t want to have anything to do with it and the hypocrisy that goes along with it anymore.

In my opinion, voting does not matter. Statistics bear this out mostly from a mathematical perspective anyway as few elections are really all that close. Even those important ones that are, such as the 2000 presidential election, the popular vote decided Al Gore, but this was ignored and George Bush was made president by the electoral college. Of course not all voting is on big stages – president, congress, representatives, governors. In more local ways, such as mayors, councilmen, sheriff or such things there may be more impact from voting on a local politics scale. Such people are not as susceptible to the large scale influence of money and lobbyists that national scale politics has sold its soul to. However, scandals on local scale are prevalent enough to give one distrust that politics and politicians can do any good, even in localized environments. Incompetence seem more the rule than the exception, so why vote for the local bozo’s either.

I’ve followed politics all my life, participated in presidential campaigns when I was a young man – I had passion for leaders who would change the world for the better and take us in a direction that benefited humanity. I have not seen it happen and we waste resources on wars and conflicts abroad fighting ideologies contrary to our own, instead of reinforcing our  ideology at home and building the nation with beneficial domestic ways. I am disappointed at the state of the USA and world today. This obsession with terrorism is something I don’t understand. Yes it is important to stop it, but it is not the most important problem in the world today and we (as a collective humanity) are ignoring many other things. I looked up a statistic and some 10,000 people worldwide died from terrorism related incidents in 2013. For a world population of ~7 billion, that’s a 0.00014% casualty. Is the trillions of dollars spent on fighting terrorism really worth it?

I don’t have any answers for these difficult questions. We know the dangers of the military-industrial complex, which is what we are in now. Politicians will deny that and spin any yarn, so as not to offend anyone, and keep themselves in office to bloviate and feed their OWN narcissism that THEY make a difference. Gandhi once said, “Become the change you wish to see in the world” and it’s an excellent principle, but one that politicians don’t adhere to in their petty partisan ways. I just don’t believe any politician anymore about anything, and think they do more harm to our society than good. Inflexible, partisan, stale, boring and tedious would be good adjectives. Why would I want to cast any vote for people of that demeanor. I consider it a waste of time or investment of effort to consider the issues anymore. Nothing will get done the way THE PEOPLE want it, and the power politics will decide in partisan and party lines, with but a vague difference in realty from the truth or some sort of solutions to advance our thinking to make the world a better place, which should be the end objective even in compromise.

Here’s a state of the world to consider when you go to vote ( http://www.worldometers.info/ ) and think about that and what politicians have done for you and others domestically and abroad with the changes that are needed for society and humanity in future ways…

WWII-propaganda

I suppose it is a question people abroad ponder, but it is a question pondered in the USA too. There is always some debate on the intent of the Founding Fathers and direction of the nation, but this is generally a fringe topic. Concentration in so-called ‘news’ is usually hyperbole, sensationalism, or something in the day to grab a headline. Sometimes there is good debate that is great. It is appropriate to inquire this time of year what it means to be an American and what American’s think of their own country. The Pew Research Center has done come statistics on this recently, and it is worth looking at:

Most Americans think the U.S. is great, but few say it’s the greatest – Pew Research Center statistics are used in the video below to try to answer what Americans think of their country, but there are always intangibles that enter into an equation and make a difference that way. Anyway, here’s a video summarizing that Pew Research Center study:

For the statistics mentioned in this piece, on the surface it seems alarming, but remember that statistics can be deceptive and used to promote an opinion by selectively sampling the data. In a perfect world the media would present what was a story in analysis from mathematics, but there is bias and in my opinion regarding the media (ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, FOX, CNN, etc…) so the media ‘cherry picks’ to make a point. It is rather base and a simple minded method, but effective for ratings. For me, I find the major players in talk TV as bad as the politicians they critique. Liberal, conservative or middle of the road matters not to me, but what does matter is that something constructive is done over time and perhaps progress made.

I have traveled the world in my time and encountered many a perspective on America in foreign lands. The perception is always different from the reality, but even that reality has multiple pundits with a viewpoint. That is the really great nature of America – Free thought and expression, even against the government. I just wish such thought was not so partisan much of the time – Left vs Right, and it accomplishes what? I find the political system in America a blind following: Republicans to Republicans and Democrats to Democrats. They are equally contemptible for their inaction to achieve anything.

I am an American and I think we should solve problems, not by party lines, but as human beings and what society needs for solutions today and tomorrow. In my opinion I don’t think there has been a good President in America since Franklin Delano Roosevelt, but even his initiatives have seen their day. Yes there has been progress in many ways since then, but not by presidential influence and more from grass roots and movements by the people for man as a whole – that is what makes America great.  What do Americans think? They think freedom is good and support that endeavor, whether implemented well or not, and fight for what is right in ways beyond the ordinary. Americans, in fact, strive for the extraordinary –  a rather unique concept in the world and one that has been in development since 1776.

In the beginning there was an idea to share information and seeds of the internet were born sometime in the 1960’s. Segue to the early 1990’s and there is altavista & webcrawler for search engines, no advertisements and the start of the internet for everyone. There were modems that worked over the telephone line and squealed their functionality with signature precision. They were slow, but the internet didn’t need speed back then as it was mostly text based information. Then it all began to change: AOL, Friendster, Myspace, Facebook and the people didn’t really want information, they wanted to socialize. That was the real revolution of the internet.

The_internet-2007

The Internet (c. 2007)

 

The_Internet-2010

The Internet (c. 2010)

 

The_Internet-2013

The Internet (c. 2013)

 

Interesting from a certain viewpoint (don’t think physicality in the construction similar to the continents, but where you are and where you go to online based on the map designations). In this sense, it’s another travel dimension of sorts! It’s rather like the the maps you see in the Age of Discovery in the centuries past when men explored the world in sailing ships. The maps were crude at first but became more refined over time. There is a perspective here to be appreciated and that is the following: All things human begin from the fundamental to the advanced – that is how our species learns and understands. We seem to be better at this in some ways, especially technology, but not so good in other ways, especially getting along with each other.

A final comment: The internet is capable of breaking down barriers like class, religion and wealth and everyone can participate (in principle). The reality is that the human species does not use the brain it has developed and the instances of this are too numerous to mention in the thousands of years of civilization. Although Carl Sagan did not live to see the full potential of the internet age, I like what he had to say about humanity in general – The Frontier Is Everywhere:

We were hunters and foragers. The frontier was everywhere. We were bounded only by the earth, and the ocean, and the sky. The open road still softly calls. Our little terraqueous globe as the madhouse of those hundred thousand millions of worlds. We, who cannot even put our own planetary home in order, riven with rivalries and hatreds; are we to venture into space?

By the time we are ready to settle even the nearest other planetary systems, we will have changed. The simple passage of so many generations will have changed us; necessity will have changed us. We are… an adaptable species. It will not be we who reach Alpha Centauri and the other nearby stars. It will be a species very like us, but with more of our strengths, and fewer of our weaknesses; more confident, farseeing, capable and prudent.

For all our failings, despite our limitations and fallibilities, we humans are capable of greatness. What new wonders undreamt of in our time, will we have wrought in another generation, and another? How far will our nomadic species have wandered, by the end of the next century, and the next millennium?

Our remote descendants, safely arrayed on many worlds through the solar system, and beyond, will be unified, by their common heritage, by their regard for their home planet, and by the knowledge that, whatever other life may be, the only humans in all the universe, come from Earth. They will gaze up and strain to find the blue dot in their skies. They will marvel at how vulnerable the repository of all our potential once was, how perilous our infancy, how humble our beginnings, how many rivers we had to cross, before we found our way.

References:
The internet 2007 – http://xkcd.com/256/
The Internet 2010 – http://xkcd.com/802/
The Internet 2013 – http://jaysimons.deviantart.com/art/Map-of-the-Internet-1-0-427143215
Carl Sagan – The Pale Blue Dot

 

 

drspock

I don’t often write about my travels in this WordPress blog (Cogito Ergo) as I have another site for that (TravBuddy). In this year of 2013, I completed a number of travel blogs on that site that are worth noting and I give the links to them here. Mind you, I don’t know that any of my travel blogs are ever really completed. Each one is like a child I nurture and raise up, but always needs attention in future ways. Anyway, I suppose I list them here for my own reference and also to offer it to others who may be interested in my travels. There is some connection of the blogs, one to another in embedded personal ways, but are also self-contained. Here they are:

Spocklogic_DC_Travel_Blog

.

Spocklogic_Italy_Travel_Blog.

Spocklogic_Switzerland_Travel Blog.

Spocklogic_Germany_Travel Blog.

Spocklogic_Travel_Topics.

Spocklogic_China_Blog.

Some of these blogs have been posted for some years, and I either added to them, made them more complete, and/or formed connections between them. Some of them are entirely new in 2013. They do tell a story in total I suppose and maybe that’s why I decided to make a sort of review of the Travels of Spocklogic here. They were also all the blogs featured on TravBuddy for me this year. My Italy blog (L’Avventura Dell Italia) seems never-ending and I have some more work to do on it, but the majority of important events are there for the most part. The last one in this list, the blog on China, is something I am still working on too, but intend (or hope) to complete it before the end of 2013. I suppose this collection of blogs forms a personal journey of sorts that I tried to form this year regarding my life and relation to travel. When I finish the China blog, maybe I will know what I have been endeavoring to understand and ultimately discover in my life. It’s not a teaser, or cliffhanger, but maybe more a matter of what I will embrace. Sounds enigmatic I suppose, but not really. It’s my personal perspective, the choices I make and what is ultimately best for me in a world of possibilities…

knowyourspock-1

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