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War and Peace: TL;DR

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masodo's musings

War and Peace in paper-back Few folks would argue that to commit oneself to reading a 12~1500 page novel is a daunting assignment, to say the least. This is however, something I have intended to do and something I am pleased to say I have finally accomplished.

War and First Edition In the interest of full disclosure: Rather than curl up in some well-lit nook to pour over this monumental tome in hardcover form, I chose rather, to listen to the "Golden Voice" of David Fredrick Case (a.k.a. Fredrick Davidson) read Leo Tolstoy's - "War and Peace" aloud to me - via the Blackstone AudioBook - on my daily commute. At nearly 60 hours of playing time this too proved to be a serious commitment to task.

A brief synopsis of this Leo Tolstoy masterpiece follows: 

Napoleon’s invasion of Russia in 1812 and follows three of the most well-known characters in literature: Pierre Bezukhov, the illegitimate son of a count who is fighting for his inheritance and yearning for spiritual fulfillment; Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, who leaves his family behind to fight in the war against Napoleon; and Natasha Rostov, the beautiful young daughter of a nobleman who intrigues both men.[Amazon]

All-in-all I must say, this was a very rewarding exercize and well worth the effort. The book is in the public domain and is available to read on-line if you are feeling adventurous. LibraVox also has available AudioBook versions if you wish to have the story read aloud to you, thanks to community volunteers.


Tolstoy's notes from the ninth draft of War and Peace, 1864.

Many people will ponder tackeling a reading of this - currently rated, "ninth longest" - book and will quickly decide on any of several thousand other things with which to while away the hours. If you are one of those who, after picking up the book - finding it simply too arduous - fliped to the back of the book, you have been unwittingly blessed with a fine bit of philosophical verbiage from the brilliant mind of Leo Tolstoy; a bit of wisdom that has long been the reward to those who travel through the narative on the authors intended path. If you go through life having never read War and Peace I suggest you at least examine the following, closing chapter. Rather than a "spoiler" you are most likely to find the encouragement to discover how Tolstoy masterfully laid the foundational context for this rather mind-bending look at reality versus history:


WAR AND PEACE by Leo Tolstoy

Second Epilogue
CHAPTER XII

    From the time the law of Copernicus was discovered and proved, the mere recognition of the fact that it was not the sun but the earth that moves sufficed to destroy the whole cosmography of the ancients. By disproving that law it might have been possible to retain the old conception of the movements of the bodies, but without disproving it, it would seem impossible to continue studying the Ptolemaic worlds. But even after the discovery of the law of Copernicus the Ptolemaic worlds were still studied for a long time.

    From the time the first person said and proved that the number of births or of crimes is subject to mathematical laws, and that this or that mode of government is determined by certain geographical and economic conditions, and that certain relations of population to soil produce migrations of peoples, the foundations on which history had been built were destroyed in their essence.

    By refuting these new laws the former view of history might have been retained; but without refuting them it would seem impossible to continue studying historic events as the results of man's free will. For if a certain mode of government was established or certain migrations of peoples took place in consequence of such and such geographic, ethnographic, or economic conditions, then the free will of those individuals who appear to us to have established that mode of government or occasioned the migrations can no longer be regarded as the cause.

    And yet the former history continues to be studied side by side with the laws of statistics, geography, political economy, comparative philology, and geology, which directly contradict its assumptions.

    The struggle between the old views and the new was long and stubbornly fought out in physical philosophy. Theology stood on guard for the old views and accused the new of violating revelation. But when truth conquered, theology established itself just as firmly on the new foundation.

    Just as prolonged and stubborn is the struggle now proceeding between the old and the new conception of history, and theology in the same way stands on guard for the old view, and accuses the new view of subverting revelation.

    In the one case as in the other, on both sides the struggle provokes passion and stifles truth. On the one hand there is fear and regret for the loss of the whole edifice constructed through the ages, on the other is the passion for destruction.

    To the men who fought against the rising truths of physical philosophy, it seemed that if they admitted that truth it would destroy faith in God, in the creation of the firmament, and in the miracle of Joshua the son of Nun. To the defenders of the laws of Copernicus and Newton, to Voltaire for example, it seemed that the laws of astronomy destroyed religion, and he utilized the law of gravitation as a weapon against religion.

    Just so it now seems as if we have only to admit the law of inevitability, to destroy the conception of the soul, of good and evil, and all the institutions of state and church that have been built up on those conceptions.

    So too, like Voltaire in his time, uninvited defenders of the law of inevitability today use that law as a weapon against religion, though the law of inevitability in history, like the law of Copernicus in astronomy, far from destroying, even strengthens the foundation on which the institutions of state and church are erected.

    As in the question of astronomy then, so in the question of history now, the whole difference of opinion is based on the recognition or nonrecognition of something absolute, serving as the measure of visible phenomena. In astronomy it was the immovability of the earth, in history it is the independence of personality- free will.

    As with astronomy the difficulty of recognizing the motion of the earth lay in abandoning the immediate sensation of the earth's fixity and of the motion of the planets, so in history the difficulty of recognizing the subjection of personality to the laws of space, time, and cause lies in renouncing the direct feeling of the independence of one's own personality. But as in astronomy the new view said: "It is true that we do not feel the movement of the earth, but by admitting its immobility we arrive at absurdity, while by admitting its motion (which we do not feel) we arrive at laws," so also in history the new view says: "It is true that we are not conscious of our dependence, but by admitting our free will we arrive at absurdity, while by admitting our dependence on the external world, on time, and on cause, we arrive at laws."

    In the first case it was necessary to renounce the consciousness of an unreal immobility in space and to recognize a motion we did not feel; in the present case it is similarly necessary to renounce a freedom that does not exist, and to recognize a dependence of which we are not conscious.


~~~~~ THE END ~~~~~

Download in PDF
Download in PDF From Archive.org

tag:historic pub_dom educational read listen musing living]

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Digging Up The Roots of Cyberspace

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masodo's musings

Port 70After over twenty years, I finally did it...

It has been that long since the dial-up modem took me into the esoteric world of the Trader's Connection Bulletin Board system of Indianapolis, Indiana. That was the first hub connection to the internet I was able to access and set me back $4.95 every blessed month. Of course there was a freely available dial-up connection to the Indianapolis/Marion County public library but access to the world outside of their facility was mainly connections to other Libraries across the U.S.

LYNX iconT-CON (as the BBS came to be known) offered a portal to the upstart "world wide web" via the venerable, text only, internet browser known as "LYNX" and while websites were all the rage, it was GopherSpace that was "where the action is."

It was in that era when I learned the basics of internet page building. Not too many years later I was cutting my teeth on the LINUX operating system and hosting my own website servers. Through it all I was longing for the early days of inter-web exploration and vowing to build up a GopherSpace location in an effort to do my part toward keeping that means of communications viable. Without further ado... I am pleased to announce this long awaited dream of mine is now on-line:

 gopher://InfinitelyRemote.com 

Imagine a world where the internet does not track you with cookies. Imagine an internet without advertising (if you dare.) GopherSpace is that internet. GopherSpace stood as early predessor of the internet of today. This undeniable resurgence of the Gopher Protocol could possibly represent the roots of a brand new World Wide Web. And after all who ever said there could be only one? If this sounds like something that might interest you why wait... Get yourself a copy of LYNX browser installed on your system and "Gopher IT!"

    [----------------------------------------------------------------------]

      iIIIIIi       iIIIIIi     Welcome to the InfinitelyRemote GopherHole!
     IIIIIIIIIi    IIIIIIIII             How did you end up here?
     II     iIIi  iIIi    II
    IIi      iII IIi      iII     contact: gopher@InfinitelyRemote.com
    II         IIIi        II           (if you think you should.)
    II         IIIi        II
    IIi      iIIiIIi      iII    This service has been prepared as an edu-
    iII     III   III     IIi    cational exersize - much content has been
     IIIIIIIII     IIIIIIIII     assembled from questionable sources  ---
      iIIIIIi       iIIIIIi      browse accordingly. ;-)      & Enjoy!

    [----------------------------------------------------------------------]

A rare interview with some of the founders of Gopher:
Mark McCahilll and Farhad Anklesaria

 

Description -English: A rare interview with some of the founders of Gopher: Mark McCahilll and Farhad Anklesaria, also including some early screenshots.    Date     2 November 2013, 21:43:08    Source     https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oR76UI7aTvs    Author     Kevin Henninger, Mark McCahill, Farhad Anklesaria and John Goerzen (jgoerzen@complete.org)
 

 

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A Visit From St. Nicholas

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masodo's musings

A Visit From St. NicholasI just got it into my head that I would seek out a public domain version of the book, "The Night Before Christmas" by Clement C. Moore, find a librivox audio book of the same title and create a video with these elements.

In my search for the audio I came upon the story read by none other than Dick Van Dyke and knew his was voice for the project.

The book chosen was a 1912 edition published by Haughton Mifflin Company in PDF format which I dismantled and re-asembled in a format more suitable to a video's aspect ratio.

The presentation's timing and transitions were handled in Windows Movie Maker (I was surprised it was still working in Windows 10.)  And here we have it - BlogDogIt's latest youtube video:

Enjoy!

The Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPeaB07FNnY

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Happy Holidays

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masodo's musings

'tis the season...

Seasons Greetings

Wishing you all the best for a happy, healthy, prosperous New Year! - Mike
:D

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Inay - for us all

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masodo's musings
Inay: motherFrom the exotic shores of the Philippines and Singapore comes a daughter's unabashed tale of heartache and loss. Christine Asuncion has compiled for us entries from her journals, replete with bits and pieces of her soul, to relate what it means to lose the single most important person in your life. Christine shares some experiences and life lessons as she introduces the world to a lady dearly missed by all, despite many of us (until now) never yet having the pleasure to meet.

After becoming a fairly recent reader of Christine's rather copious collection of blog entries I was thrilled to see she had published a book and immediately clicked on over to Amazon to make the purchase. I got the paperback (which I patiently await) and was granted the Kindle version as a reward for purchasing the hard-copy. I wasted no time reading this work and was enormously pleased with Christine's ability to evoke a wide range of emotions from even this crusty old barnacle.

While much of the content of this book has been previously available in blog form it was an extra special treat to have these words arranged and presented as narrative, highlighting the special bond of mother and daughter. This was an enjoyable albeit brief read (but apropos in this respect.) A work that was no doubt cathartic for its author is sure to bring some healing light to all who read it.
 

The book is available as a free PDF download by visiting
Christine's article entitled "first book."


Inay: mother
by Maria Christine Tankeh Asuncion (Author)

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Background on BlogDogIt

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masodo's musings
ThinkI have long been an avid fan of Lenovo computers, having begun this grand and glorious cyber-adventure with an IBM 286 model. Lenovo - I've been told - took over the IMB computer manufacturing business circa 2005.
 
Ever since the IBM Think Pad™ hit the scene the "Think" background/wallpaper has been seen on many a lap/desktop. After spending so many years absorbing this constant admonition I decided to mix it up a bit and create a more light-hearted replacement.
 
Free Wallpaper
 
Click on the image above for the full-sized image. Save a copy to use yourself and 'knock that chip off' your PC's shoulder. ;-)

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Needing to Cut-Back

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masodo's musings

Shortwave Audio ArchiveIn preparing to erect a random length, long-wire antenna (to enable consumption of shortwave radio waves) I was thinking that, when the time comes to actually hear the world, it might be fun to record some of the SWL sessions on the off-chance I catch a prize.

It would be nice if I could come up with something to share at The Shortwave Radio Audio Archive someday. I am also looking forward to further investigations of the HFUnderground website for some tips on where to fish in this sea of frequencies.

https://www.hfunderground.com I was counting on using an old laptop recently equipped with Fedora 28 and Audacity recording software but right-off-the-bat I discoved a problem: the laptop had only a microphone jack for input. In order to tap directly into the audio signal that drives the radio speakers there needed to be an "AUX" or "Line-In" connection. If I were to try plugging the radio's audio signal into the microphone input of the computer it would overload the input circuit and the resulting recording would be very bad indeed. However, if I were to turn the volume on the radio way, way, way, way down I might accidentally be able to record something but I would like to be able to listen as well as record.

I know, I could buy a USB external sound card and gain the needed "Line-In" port for like 30 bucks but I wondered if my dilemma could be easily solved using what I already had on hand. An investigation led me to learn of the need for "attenuator circuitry"; an electrical way to drop the power of the radio audio to levels more amenable to the microphone input of the laptop.

Talk about a "rabbit hole"... serious audiophiles and electronics engineers abound on the internet and detailed information for building the most perfect attenuator possible is readily available to anyone willing to study. I was just looking for the bubblegum-and-bailing-wire solution but sadly this was a case of finding #TMI (too much information.)

Thanks to Rick Chinn http://www.uneeda-audio.com/pads/ for breaking it down nicely enough for me to find just enough information to decide how I'd do it. If you are like me and believe "if it's on the internet it must be true"™ then here is one more bit to throw on the pile:

Hypothetical Stereo L-PAD 12(ish)db Attenuator

In the interest of full disclosure: I have not used this device to do anything but create this spiffy graphic, but according to what I have learned, I can't imagine this would not do what I need. In the mean time I have decided to pull into service an old Windows XP machine with a proper SoundBlaster card for the recording job. Some day I hope to actually test this circuit and let you know how it does - or if you try it out first let me know how it did. #NotRocketScience
 

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Boss God

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masodo's musings

I promised a follow-up article to "The Truth About God" and although I know (pretty much) the ideas I wish to convey, the approach to doing so has been somewhat elusive. With today being officially "Freethought Day," I figured it best to simply begin the task and work my way toward the end. To wit...

Earth Moon Boss God

A proposed discussion of God will probably elicit eye-rolls from the vast majority of potential readers while a minority might actually be intrigued. Those with long-held traditional beliefs may have zero desire to explore what others of differing ideals would have to say on the subject of a "Supreme Being."

Religion is big business. There seem to be more religious based institutions and houses-of-worship than coffee shops, which suggests to me that folks must need their God as much as (if not more than) their coffee. Like coffee, God seems to be available in several popular flavors: from the trendy to the traditional, chances are somebody, somewhere has a God for you.

Flying Spaghetti MonsterIt is this apparent discrepancy in God's identity that no doubt, turns many people away from a quest for the truth about God. With so many options on what to believe, many have determined the "safe bet" is to disregard the whole debate and live their lives like none of this matters. Others of course, will cling to their beliefs like nothing else matters. The fact of the matter is that God is Real whether we believe in Him or not .

Him. So many talk about God in the third person; like "He" is somehow apart from mankind. Big Bossman God, watching over his creation just waiting for someone to screw-up his hard work. "He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake." Oh wait, that's Santa Clause... "meh, same difference," some would say. Me? I really don't think God is that cute or concise.

I say God is REAL. More properly God is Reality; God is the reason for Reality. So many believers speak of God as existing somewhere "out there" - separate from "His Creation" - This cannot be. For God to be the Supreme, "He" must encompass the outermost. (Now stick with me here...) If it were possible for God to create a dwelling place that existed apart from his own essence then the space which contains that place would be greater than He. Therefor, "Everything that exists does so within this Supreme Being." Any quest for truth must begin with this undeniable fact.

Another essential fact - often overlooked, surprisingly - is that our existence is a series of consecutive "NOW" moments in time. Nothing can ever be any different than it is in each moment. A recognition of expectation that the next moment "will be" is perhaps the quintessential, defining characteristic of humanity.

Science has made tremendous strides in defining the boundaries of our universal existence to the extent of our ability to perceive. Religious beliefs are a testament to many aspects of our reality which are beyond our ability to readily perceive. A recognition that we all exist within the Reality that is God will go a long way toward understanding the truth of human equality and should bolster the cause of "COEXIST" - as if it were even a choice.

Not A Choice - COEXIST

 

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The Truth About God.

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masodo's musings

GodSantaAdamDarwin-sm.jpg

     Do you believe in God?  Yes   No   Unsure

Regardless of how you answer this question, mankind has found it desirable for you to be identified with one of these labels:

  • If you answer "Yes" you are considered a Theist.
  • If you answer "No" you are an considered an Atheist.
  • If you answer "Unsure" you are considered Agnostic.

Given this reality:

  • Many theist will have the unwavering opinion that their beliefs are true and those who do not agree are somehow wrong (or at the very least misguided.)
  • Many atheist will have the unwavering opinion that their beliefs are true and those who do not agree are somehow wrong (or at the very least misguided.)
  • Many agnostics will have the unwavering opinion that their beliefs are true and those who do not agree are somehow wrong (or at the very least misguided.)

This may be the one religious "Trio" we can all agree on.

Triquetra.pngA realistic examination of a human being's existence will show that any one of these labels may well be applicable to an individual at any given moment. Labels can shift when the devout worshiper has a moment of doubt or a died-in-the-wool atheist is caused to wonder (if even for an instant,) when the agnostic feels a pull from one side to the other for instance. This is certainly a topic that has worked to shape human civilization throughout history and affects us all (for better or worse) on a daily basis.

One troubling aspect of the entire debate - if we can at least agree on the "debatability" of God's existence - are the great many defining characteristics ascribed to the role of a "Supreme Deity." Whether known as God, Allah, Jesus, Mohamed, Buddha, Vishnu, Yahweh, Zeus, Jupiter, Allah, Xavier, Waheguru, Jah, Ngai, Baal or countless other "handles", people around the world have found at least some benefit in the recognition of forces that permeate the universe which appear greater than what can be entirely comprehended by mere mortals. Even the unbelieving atheist is not generally willing to disregard the fact that science, in its attempts to explain all that is, falls short in a great many troubling ways.

Many folks simply take it on "faith" that their God is real. Many claim to be looking for signs or proof before they will subscribe to such notions. Still others will entirely turn away from any such thoughts, preferring to live their lives devoid of any and all fruitless struggles and attempts to know the unmistakably, unknowable. 

Quest.pngAnother of those timeless human conundrums is embodied in the question, "Why are we here?" Any answer to this is undoubtedly going to be in "essay" form. In many ways the world's religious institutions owe their very existence to the persistence of humanity's desire for an answer to that very question. Whether the question is asked at the personal, internal level: "Why am I here?" or on a more cosmic scale: "What does it all mean?" any answer we are likely to come up with in our present situation - particularly if expressed in a global forum - is going to result in quintessentially unresolvable matters of opinion with an "agree to disagree" outcome at best. If only it were possible to actually and truly "agree" on our rights to "disagree" this world would be a far better place (of course you may disagree with this assessment.)

I believe in absolute Truth; that there is to be found a common, universal explanation for all that "was, is or ever will be." I intend to explore this reality from the standpoint that:

  1. we cannot all be right (but what if we are?)
  2. we cannot all be wrong (but what if we are?)
  3. we are all in this together (whether we want to be or not.)
  4. knowledge of Truth is a reasonable expectation (even if many of its aspects are ultimately, unknowable.)

Oh, and yes... God is Real.

To be continued...

 

 

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Always Remember

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masodo's musings

RealVideoI kicked-off my Real.Video channel - named InfinitelyRemote - today with this video BlogDogIt has had imbeded for several years...


Always Remember: September 11, 2001
This video is a chilling tribute to those involved that fateful day.
Many thanks and apologies to
http://footygi.com - the original source for this video. This is no longer available for viewing on that website (as far as I can determine.) It is so important to never forget what we all experienced that day.
Always remember that freedom comes with a price. God Bless America!


https://www.real.video/channel/masodo

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