It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.
The Sun from core to solar wind: Feels like the "Curse of Knowledge" has struck pretty hard; I can follow well enough with my extensive physics background but I wonder how well a naive reader would do. Much better in the travelogue/history/culture parts.
Plasma as "the fourth state of matter." This notion, whilst popular, is wrong! Plasma isn't a "state of matter" at all. Plasmas can be found as solids, liquids and gases e.g. respectively, solid metals, liquid metals and ionised atomic hydrogen are all plasmas.
The attempt to explain major results about plasmas and classical electromagnetism in just a few pages without diagrams is, I suspect, not good for general readers.
Some Biblical and ancient Chinese documents contain very opaque passages that some allege describe aurorae; I find that interpretation entirely unconvincing - they're so vague as to be impossible to concretely ascribe any phenomonological interpretation to them. The notorious auroral noise is also mentioned. There's no sound evidence that this phenomenon is real. All claims in favour of it are amateur and unsound.
Some basic atmospheric physics and a sketch of the auroral substorm phenomenon. Also discussion of Kiruna, Sweden, which is liable to be destroyed by the magnetite mine that started the community and hence is being rebuilt further down the road, with some of the historic buildings being moved from the centre of town to the new location. It's expected to take over a decade to completely shift the entire community. Oh yeah! - and aurora viewing in -25 Celcius conditions on a ski slope on the edge of town...
The Clandestine Marriage, Garrick and Colman
Clandestine marriages were a hot political topic at the time of writing (mid 1700s), with numerous young lovers eloping to Gretna Green in order to get married against parental wishes and avoid arranged marriages that had little motivation beyond the financial and social climbing aims of parents. This play comes down heavily and unsubtly on the side of young love, with every character's portrait singly coloured using a paint roller in order to fit in with the necessary scheme. A bunch of stereotypes, really, the worst of which is the Swiss idiot who exists solely so he can be portrayed as a moron with a silly accent whilst serving as confidente to someone else who is pivotal to the plot. Stereotypes heightened for comedic effect, bumbling around chaotically getting into a huge tangle that gets resolved extremely quickly in the fifth Act with much ado and hullabaloo preceding.
It's saving grace is that it is funny, whilst making its swipe at marriage laws, the crude taste of the nouveau riche merchants and speculators, the snobbery of Old Money and the notion that income is more important than affection when it comes to marriage. It would be even more so in performance, so it's disappointing to learn that the play has received little attention in recent years, though it has been filmed once. This, however, does not apply to the Epilogue which, despite its attempt at meta-humour about Society and Theatre, is just utter garbage.
This stuff is like a slab of chocolate...a really, really, BIG slab of chocolate. It's OK until you start it, then it gets really difficult to stop chomping through it until it's gone...even though you know it would be wiser to quit now and save some for later...
...also, Rick is a psycho.
This stuff is like sugar...just can't stop eating it. The whole Terminus arc is missing...did they invent that one solely for TV?
Well things have got into a proper tangle (as they should in this kind of comedy)...how's it gonna resolve?
Every characterisation is calculated to make a point, except maybe the Swiss dude who is just a joke.
Thanks to BrokenTune for giving me this book!
A deliberately silly book for kids about everybody's favourite Iron Age culture (everybody who likes washing with soap, anyway - you're welcome). Of course it's superficial in adult terms but it does go a little into how much of what is "known" was written by the enemies of the Celts, particularly the Romans and is therefore possibly unreliable except when backed by other evidence.
"History with the nasty bits left in," war, murder, animal sacrifice all present but the REALLY nasty stuff is absent e.g. the fact that Irish Celtic Kings were required to perform a public fertility rite that involved shagging a horse...