Author: jrcowles

Daffy Duck And Deliverance

Daffy Duck And Deliverance

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Every several years, at rather irregular intervals, the Seattle Symphony Orchestra stages a “Bugs Bunny Night,” in which, on a giant screen looming over the orchestra, are projected several classical Warner Brothers cartoons involving, not just Bugs, but Daffy Duck, the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, etc., etc., etc. All the cartoons involve classical and baroque music from various eras. Now, the cartoons’ soundtracks are independent of the orchestra, but the orchestra below the screen plays the music live and in real time – in miraculously perfect synchronization to the cartoons.  My wife and I attended the latest performance, celebrating the 50-year – yes! 50-year! – partnership forged between the animation geniuses of Warner Brothers cartoons and the gr
Watch Jim Eat Crow!

Watch Jim Eat Crow!

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OK … attention all hands … this is your Skeptic-In-Residence … secure from general quarters … weapons cold … set condition green … stand down from DefCon 2 … secure from silent running … rig for “noisy running” … crisis over … exit your respective undisclosed locations and resume normal duties ... move the hands of the Doomsday Clock back from two to ten minutes before midnight … Back in October of 2018, I published a “Skeptic’s Collection” column about the misgivings I have entertained for the past 20 years about the verdict we, the jury, returned in a criminal trial for a man charged with felony possession of a controlled substance. Since then, I have done some research about the precise requirements of the drug possession laws of Washington State – see also this -- and wher
Do You Have The GUTs To Walk The Planck?

Do You Have The GUTs To Walk The Planck?

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As a cosmologist, I am an educated but rank amateur. Consequently, I would be willing to bet money that the following remarks and questions will be so naive as to cause the toenails to ache of any actual professional cosmologist, and perhaps make them laugh so hard they will need to avail themselves of a good supply of Depends. I mean people the caliber of, e.g., Andrea Ghez, Alex Filippenko, Kip Thorne, Alan Guth, Vera Rubin, and others of like stature in the pantheon of theoretical cosmology, e.g. faculty of the Institute for Advanced Study. (In fairness, I have met and spoken with Profs. Ghez and Filippenko, and found them extraordinarily approachable, anything but condescending, and strongly predisposed to take lay people’s questions with utmost seriousness. I suspect the same is