Dust flux, Vostok ice core

Dust flux, Vostok ice core
Two dimensional phase space reconstruction of dust flux from the Vostok core over the period 186-4 ka using the time derivative method. Dust flux on the x-axis, rate of change is on the y-axis. From Gipp (2001).

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Yesterday's men

I think I was in high school in Toronto during a revival of "Man of La Mancha". My recollection of the adverts that ran in the paper for it at the time were of an abstract shadow of a man, not at all like the image in this article.

What made me think of Don Quixote? A pretty decent pizza restaurant in Zhengzhou. In this restaurant was (it is gone now) the following image.

When I first saw this image, somehow my mind flashed back to this ancient recollection of the Man of La Mancha ad. I recognized the S on his chest somewhat belatedly. All right, so it's a portrait of Superman. But somehow the two characters have become juxtaposed in my mind, and I have to say I like it.

Superman as Don Quixote.

You'd have to feel sorry for him. When he first appeared back in the '30s, everything was a lot easier. The notion of "truth, justice, and the American Way" didn't elicit the same sort of reaction as it would now. Back then (at least, the way it looks from here), things seemed simpler than they are now. It looked like you could be certain whether or not you were doing good and fighting evil.

What is the poor guy up to now? Just like for Don Quixote, the World has moved on and left him behind. There he goes, the big blue boy scout, running around the world trying to do good, only to be horrified at the results. Free Iraqis from Saddam! Who could argue with that one? Well, . . .

Freedom for Libya? Smash Qadaffi's forces. Except . . .

All right, but we can all agree that Bashar al-Assad must go. Darn, this isn't working out either.

Yes, bailing out the banks has caused a lot of misery. But is it really more than if the banks hadn't been bailed out? Hmmm . . .

Okay, but I'm pretty sure I'm right helping the Ukrainians overthrow their government . . .

Nothing works any more. Somehow all the problems of the world have gotten just a little more complex and nuanced than they used to be. What's a hero to do?

Keep tilting at windmills and dream the impossible dream.

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