Archive for June, 2006

Albert Einstein: Genius. But Was He a Hero?

Posted in Deep Thoughts, Uncategorized on June 29, 2006 by legolasandfrodo

I recently finished reading a book about Einstein written by Stephanie S. McPherson called The Story of Albert Einstein.  It relates the story of his life and discusses, in brief, several of his theories.  Upon reading the book I received a fairly negative impression of his character.  He was rebellious in youth, considerably fickle and opposed authority not only in childhood, but also throughout his life.  I am going to give a short summary I have written of his life from information I have gained from McPherson’s and Cwiklik’s books on Einstein. I would like to explain his theories in a later post.

 

“Albert Einstein was born a Jew in Ulm, Germany, 1879.  His parents, Pauline and Hermann, put him in a Catholic school.  He excelled in science and math and could play the violin well, but failed miserably in all other subjects.  When his father’s business failed, his parents departed to Milan, Italy to begin a new factory.  Fifteen-year old Albert was left behind to study for his diploma, but suffering from boredom, he feigned illness so that he could go to Italy with his parents.  Right before his departure he was expelled from school for his rebellious behavior.  Albert fell in love with Italy and expressed his wish to denounce his German citizenship.  Permission was denied and Albert was sent to Zurich, Switzerland to study for engineering at the Polytechnic School.  While there, he denounced his German citizenship and became a man without a country.  He managed to stay in school this time but he earned a bad reputation for his behavior because he was, even at this early age, developing ideas about light and wanted to go far beyond the concepts his teachers discussed.  At the age of twenty-one he received his diploma but no professor was willing to work with him because of his ill reputation, so he found himself unemployed. 

 

While at the school he met a girl called Mileva Maric and fell in love with her.  When a friend suggested he get a job at the Swiss Patent Office in Berne, he disliked the idea but his relatives cut off his allowances and he found he had to support himself.  After being employed, he married Mileva Maric in 1903.  From then on he continued working with his theories and published his General Theory of Relativity and his Special Theory of Relativity.  Meanwhile, he generally ignored his wife until at last a gradual barrier began to develop between them.  Their first child, a girl, Lieserl, was born before their marriage and she disappeared soon after.  It is generally believed that they sent her to an orphanage!  Then Mileva gave birth to two boys, Hans Albert and Eduard. 

 

When Albert was offered an appointment in Berlin, he moved back to Germany.  While there, World War I broke out and Albert became a pacifist and created a statement against war.  Only six people signed, including himself.  His wife and children moved back to Switzerland, and Albert became attached to his cousin Elsa.  He divorced his wife and married Elsa several months later.  Elsa had been divorced once and had two grown daughters, Ilse and Margot, whom Albert adopted. 

 

As Albert saw the suffering and persecution of the Jews around him, he decided that the best way to demonstrate his support was to become a German citizen again, and he did.  And again, he worked at physics in his free time.  Later, at the outbreak of World War II, horrified at the German cruelty, he again renounced his German citizenship, took up an American one and settled in America and began teaching in Princeton University.  He felt that that was not enough; that only force would stop Germany and he renounced his views on pacifism.  Fearing Germany would develop an atomic bomb before the rest of the world, he wrote a letter to President Roosevelt urging him to quicken the development of the atomic bomb in America.  His third letter inspired the Manhattan Project.  Then he began working on his Unified Field Theory, but he died on April 18, 1955, before he finished it.

 

I read this definition of a genius last week and I think that it is a correct one:  ‘A genius is a person who has invested all his ability, fortune, thought and labor into one interest and therefore he excels in that one interest and men call him a genius.’  

 

“Geniuses” tend to excel in one thing, and since all other subjects are ignored except that one, they are usually undisciplined, unable to control emotions well and are entirely consumed by that one interest.  If that is the correct definition for a genius, Albert Einstein qualified for the title, but whether or not it is an honorable one is debatable.

 

McPherson wrote her book for children, and littered the facts with a good deal of her own opinion, which was very positive.  But the truth remained obvious.  Of course, I don’t mean by all this that Einstein's disposition was completely negative, but overall, he did not prove to have a strong character.

 

– Legolas

 

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Adventures and Catastrophes

Posted in Uncategorized on June 27, 2006 by legolasandfrodo

 

This weekend has been full of adventures (and catastrophes) for us. Our whole family went on a picnic to a valley that was about ten minutes away from our house. You can only go part of the way by car. Then you have to walk the rest of the way because the road ends. It is a beautiful place. It has a creek running through it and there are no people there except sometimes kids come to swim in the creek. I should also mention that there are lots of cows that graze there. They are so tame that they do not need to be tied up. We call it the Shire because there are perfect hillsides for hobbit holes.

 

Anyhow, at first it was a normal picnic. We grilled chicken and went for a walk up the creek. The adventures started with the Frisbee game. My sister had been winning all day and we were all very eager to beat her so when my Mom noticed that a couple of cows were ambling towards our picnic blanket, we just ignored them but Mom was a little worried.  We did not think that they would mess with our stuff. A little while later, however, we heard my youngest sister shouting and yelling, apparently at some animal. We paused the game and ran over to see what the matter was. Yes, you have probably guessed it: The cows had been in our melons! They had squirted the juice all over my sister's backpack and it was a big mess. Fortunately, they did not touch the watermelon so we were not cheated of our watermelon-seed-spitting contest!

 

After that, we continued our Frisbee game. Everyone was getting pretty competitive and when the Frisbee flew towards the creek, we all headed for it. My dad ran the fastest and he reached out for it, not realizing that he was running right off the edge of a very steep, high river-bank leading down to the rocks and what was left of the water. It was a long way to fall and we heard a terrible thump on the rocks below. We were very relieved to find that he was able to get up. We soon saw, however, that he had broken his right arm and he was unable to move it at all. His other hand was broken, too, but not as bad. He had a huge lump on the back of his head and was very dizzy.  Now his arm is in a cast and he is in bed. The other hand may have to be in a cast next week.  He will not be able to move it for several weeks which means he cannot drive or type and that is going to be hard.

 

We have been opening doors for him, brushing his teeth, typing his translations, feeding him and all kinds of jobs.  He is in soo much pain.  We feel very sorry for him. 

 

Frodo

 

I Went Traipsing Through the Universe

Posted in Science, Uncategorized on June 27, 2006 by legolasandfrodo

The other night Frodo and my Dad and I had a lively debate concerning the end of the Universe.  It was very interesting.  My Dad says that the Universe is finite, and, beyond it there is nothing.  We didn’t quite understand what Nothing was, or wasn’t.  It is all very well to say there is nothing, but it is harder than you think to imagine it.  We wanted to know what it was like.  This is a part of the conversation. 

 

I said, “Ok.  Let’s pretend that, despite the impossibility, we are standing on the edge of the Universe.  So…what do we see?”

 

“Nothing. Beyond the Universe there is nothing.”

 

“And what is Nothing? That doesn’t make sense.  When you look over the ‘edge’ what do you see and what stops you from going on?  Why can’t you take one more step?  What does nothingness look like?  Is it a color?”

 

“No.  It is simply nothing.  Look. It is like this.  I am making a circle with my hand.  How do you go deeper into the circle?  You can’t.”

 

“But that is different.  You can’t go deeper but you can keep going and come out the other side. So what stops you from taking one more step?”

 

“Listen, if it is nothing it can’t be somewhere, and if it is nowhere you can’t go there or it would be somewhere.

 

“Ok. But what stops you from going on?

 

Obviously, we didn’t understand each other.  Then I remembered that Albert Einstein said that the Universe is round, like the earth.  There isn’t an edge to come to and look over.  This put a whole new light on the matter.  My Dad agrees with him.  If this is so, then…

 

I argued – “Imagine that this ball is the Universe.  Inside it is Everything.  What is outside it?  If Everything is inside it then Nothing must be outside it.  But what is Nothing?  Nothing has to be the lack of Something.  If so, then it is empty space.  You have to have one or the other.  You can’t have lack of Something and lack of space.  So, if we have empty space, then what keeps you from going into it?  If somehow gravity stops you from going out of It, It is still there.  And just because it is impossible to go there does NOT mean it does not exist.”

 

Here we ran into a problem.  What we said seemed to indicate that the Universe is infinite.  We all agreed it is not.  I guess the problem was just that we couldn’t understand what ‘finite’ is.  It seemed to be impossible.  So…

 

“What do you think about this, Mom?”

 

So far, she had not really concerned herself in it.  Later she told us something that put her out of all our debates,

 

“I do not concern myself in things greater than myself.”

 

I suppose she is right.  Later I wrote a rather comic poem on the ‘End of the Universe.’

 

I went traipsing through the Universe
Without a single care,
All decked out in silver stars
And poppies in my hair
And wondering when I would ever reach
The other-side of Nowhere

 

And then I suddenly came to the end
Of the Universe; it’s true
I came to a stop at the end of the world
And found I could not go through
And I stood on the cliff of the Universe
And looked down on the beautiful hue

 

Of nothingness; it was amazingly grand
Trust me; It was really superb
Standing there on the edge of it All
As the wild winds around me whirred
And I don’t know why I’ve never been told
And I can’t imagine why I’ve never heard
Of the glorious end of the Universe.

 

And then I decided I’d try to go on
And see what happened next
And what lay beyond
And what I would find
When all else was gone

 

But that was the End; the End of it All
I looked and I looked but there wasn’t any more
Beyond there was Nothing, an invisible wall
An undetectable barrier, an imperceptible door
A door that was shut and would open to none
And I wondered what I had taken all that trouble for

 

Just to come to the End and find it was locked
And have to turn back just when I didn’t want
To gaze out in the distance, to where I couldn’t walk
It really was such a discouraging thought
To never be able to find what I sought
At the Utmost End of the Universe

– Legolas

 

War

Posted in Uncategorized on June 26, 2006 by legolasandfrodo

 

As England the Spanish Armada laid low,

And sunk and battered Philip’s fleet,

So today is a war raging silent and slow,

Soon the two greatest powers will meet.

Alexander the Great cut the Gordian Knot,

And thus found the clue to Persia,

But the door to salvation is easier locked,

To open it takes a man of more courage.

Marco Polo, the wonderful Asia found,

And found more than he thought he would see,

But to travel the Universe forty times round,

Would only be half of God’s Sea.

 

 -Written by Legolas

 

Chapter Five is Here

Posted in Uncategorized on June 25, 2006 by legolasandfrodo

 

Chapter Five of the story I am writing has arrived.  You can read it by looking in the sidebar under THE LAST WAR.

 

Please tell me what you think.

 

I would like to thank all the people who have taken the time to read it and have encouraged me with their comments.

 

Legolas

 

I Got Tagged by Awengirl!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 22, 2006 by legolasandfrodo

I got tagged by Arwengirl!

 

1. Grab the book nearest to you and turn to page 18, and find line 4.

. . . polderlands, were once actually covered by water and have . . . – Collins picture Atlas of the World

 

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can. What can you touch?

An Animal Map of the World

 

3. What was the last thing you watched on television?

I have not watched television in months because ours is broken but the last thing I saw was a class on ballet.

 

4. Without Looking guess what time it is

6:45

 

5. Now look at the clock what is the actual time?

Oh dear, um, er, 7:04!!!

 

6. With the exception of the computer what can you hear?

My elder sister trying to play, Three Rings for Elven-kings . . . on my dad's guitar.

 

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?

About three and a half hours ago. I was riding Arod. (It used to be Legolas's horse, now it's my bike.)

 

8. Before you started this survey what did you look at?

'How they raise 'em in public school,' something my sister just copied off of Blogboy's site.

 

9. What are you wearing?

A short sleeved red shirt, blue jeans, very dirty socks, and my younger sister's slippers.

 

10. What did you dream last night?

I don't exactly remember, something about the Haradrim in the LoTR. (I never dream about anything other than LoTR anymore.)

 

11. When did you last laugh?

About three minutes ago when I saw that it was 7:04.

 

12. What is on the walls in the room you are in?

My little sister's history timeline, two maps, a horse poster and a picture of Jesus holding the little children.

 

13. Seen anything weird lately?

No, not really.

 

14. What do you think of this quiz?

A bit LONG, and silly.

 

15. What was the last film or video you saw?

The BBC version of 'Pride and Prejudice.'

 

16. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight what would you buy?

I would buy myself some books I have been wanting. I would buy the LOTR extended version DVDs. I would buy the Fellowship of the Ring soundtrack and I would buy myself a laptop a bow and arrows, and a sword. I would buy a huge piece of land, a horse, a cow, a . . . don't get me going.

 

17. Tell me something I didn't know about you.

I love playing piano.

 

18. If you could change one thing in the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?

 I would make people see how insane abortion is.

 

19. Do you like to dance?

Yes, but I don't know very much.

 

20. Comment to George Bush

You are a great president, make the decisions the Lord tells you.

 

21. Imagine your first child was a girl, what would you name her?

Nimrodel. 

 

22. Imagine your first child is a boy, what would you name him?

Amroth.

 

23. Would you ever consider living abroad?

I DO live abroad!

 

 24. What do you want God to say to you at the Pearly Gates?

Well done, you are home.

 

25. 4 other people who have to have this quiz on their blog-

Lukelee, Superangel, Karatekids, and Opckid. 

 

-Legolas

 

 

 

 

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19, 2006 by legolasandfrodo

We've added a new link to our sidebar called ASTRONOMY PICTURE OF THE DAY.  A new picture is featured each day from NASA.  Check it out!

 

Legolas

 

 

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT!

Posted in Uncategorized on June 18, 2006 by legolasandfrodo

Okay.  A lot of people are wondering how old we are.  So we have decided to make a PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT.

 

Frodo Baggins (you know, the girl with the red hair)  is 13 years old.

 

Legolas Greenleaf (you know, the other one)  is 11 years old. 

 

There you have it. 

 

The truth.

 

You learned it first from here.

 

Frodo and Legolas

 

 

 

 

Poetry Contest

Posted in Uncategorized on June 16, 2006 by legolasandfrodo

Joy in the Morning is having a poetry contest. 

She’s collecting “Where I am from” poems inspired by George Ella Lyons.  Both of us have entered. Please join the fun! 

Go here for details on how to enter the contest.  (We learned about this contest from our Mom.)

 

Frodo and Legolas

 

 

 

"I Am From…" (a poem by Legolas)

Posted in Uncategorized on June 16, 2006 by legolasandfrodo

 

I Am From

I am from the clash of swords,
The sting of darts, the spray of rocky waterfalls

From the mist of mountains in the clouds,
From the silver rain lighted by the moon I have come.

I am from a hoard of treasured fantasies,
A million magical worlds combined in one,

From the highest branches of the tallest trees,
From summer sun heating hazelnut bushes I have come.

I am from swirling flakes of snow falling to and fro
A frosty night spotted with stars.

From sad memories of beautiful faces lost in the night,
From icy tears falling in a dark land I have come.

I am from a heart that aches when I hear
The cry of many suffering children.

I am from an imagination running free and wild and untamed
Through the darkness, over the mountains.

-Legolas