Sunday, November 18, 2018

Gemmological Footnote

In 1955, the noted gemmologist and contrarian Sir Nelson Goodman, in a brief note published in the proceedings of the Devonshire Horticultural Society, questioned the received wisdom concerning the colour of emeralds.  “Everyone says that they are by nature green,” he noted, “simply because they have always been green.”  (Note that, in Sir Nelson’s quaint dialect, “been” and “green” actually rhyme.)  “But our observations to that effect, however numerous and of however long standing, may equally be marshaled to support the thesis that they are in fact grue:  which is to say, green prior to 18 November 2018, and blue thereafter.”

In the half century or more that has elapsed since that time, all sorts of philosophical fuss about “projectible predicates” and whatnot (green but not grue  enjoying this rather circular distinction), but in all of that, thinkers lost sight of the basic facts of the matter: are emeralds in fact green, or grue, or what?

We need wonder no longer, for the great day -- 18 November 2018 -- has arrived at last.

And it turns out that  last night, all over the planet, and into the deepest recesses of intersteller space, quite at the stroke of midnight, every last emerald  did in fact turn blue.  Or rather, “grue”.

So now we know.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

March of the Penguins !

Alluding to the current kerfuffle over the northward-tending “caravan”, the lead editorial in this week’s New Yorker  quotes the following startling statement from POTUS:

“They’ve intercepted wonderful people
from South America 
and from other parts further south.”

I rushed to my globe and immediately confirmed that the only point south of South America is … Antarctica.
And the only beings in Antarctica are… penguins.

Coming soon to a border near you.

The penguins are on the march!

[FLASH UPDATE]  It turns out the Administration (or rather, its IC elements) may have been after bigger game than penguins, when they cast their nets south towards Antarctica.  Those with appropriate clearances can view the following video:

Geheimnisvolle Antarktis