Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wolves, Books, Moons

Things are better, by the way, since my last post. They tend to do that. They get better. No more images of wolves peering in from the edge of the darkness. I'd be less vague were it my own life, but it is not. Or at least not mine alone.

So, I'll be vague. But things are better. Trust me.

Finished an excellent book last month, good enough that it deserves a passing mention. Gary Shteyngart's Super Sad True Love Story is a dystopian novel set in the very near future, in the waning days of the United States, a country that is broke, stuck in a military quagmire in Venezuela, and run by one party: the Bipartisan party. People are benumbed by commerce, by social media, glued to iPhone-like apparati that continually stream credit ratings, net worth, and f*ckabilty rankings to the masses.

The words alone and lonely seem to appear on almost every page.

No one reads books anymore. People find them smelly.

It's a very funny book, and very telling satire, but the truth worth of the book is that a turn of the page can find the book leaping to melancholy, to anger, to delicate lyricism.

Anyway, this isn't a book review, merely a recommendation, so I won't blather on. But you should read this.

My favorite moon, Saturn's Enceladus, has a unknown power source near its South Pole, one that vents geysers of water ice into Saturn's rings from huge cracks in the ground called the "tiger stripes." They've known that for awhile. What's new is that Cassini (the space probe currently orbiting Saturn) has found the power source is 10 times more powerful than anyone expected. Here's the key quote from the JPL report:

“The mechanism capable of producing the much higher observed internal power remains a mystery and challenges the currently proposed models of long-term heat production.”

Trippy. It churns out 15.8 gigawatts of energy, the equivalent of 20 coal-fueled power stations. What's hiding under those tiger stripes? Stay tuned.


Lynnea said...

glad to hear things are better. keeping the wolves at bay is the toughest job of all.

funny, that book sounds more realistic than dystopian, if you think about it.

Rudi said...

You wrote: "But things are better. Trust me."

I will trust you.

I am happy for you. Trust me. :-)

Gwilym Williams said...

"No one reads books anymore"

I read books. So that's two of us.

I'm pleased things are better. They could of course be worse. For example we could be sitting for two nights running with temperatures in the low 30'sF on a piece of wood that was once the roof of our house all alone and floating around in the Pacific some 10 miles off the coast of Japan..

All is relative.

Sarah Sometimes said...

I'm glad things are better, too. Have been away from blogging of late but will be back. Anyway, I'm still out here reading.

Clowncar said...

Lynnea, it really is a realistic vision. Pangs of recognition all the way through it.

You can trust me, Rudi. We're ot out of the woods, and perhaps never will be fully. But we can see the daylight.

Well put, Gwil. Seeeing such heart-wrenching images does kinda put things in perpective.

Good to hear, Sarah. Say hi to New York for me. Give the Chrysler Building a big hug.