Jun 3 2015

Missed NYC one weekend, caught it the following.


I had to skip a trip to New York that I really wanted — meeting an email acquaintance in the city for coffee and conversation.   The only date we could both make it was May 23rd… but frustratingly, my plan to build up my strength hit a snag, and I ended up the opposite of built-up.   Instead of hitting the Big City, I had to cancel out and basically sleep all day.  And then all night.

(I saw my doc on Monday, and we’re going to be doing some tests.  I’ll keep you posted.)

But did get some energy back and actually made it to the city the following weekend, when I had tickets to three events in the World Science Festival.  Luckily, I had crash space in town, courtesy of Ellen Kushner, which made it a bit easier — I could sack out when I needed to.  Even so, I fear I was not at my sharpest…

So, I skipped one presentation (on probability), and caught two others.  One of those was on Free Will, for which I had high hopes.   But rather than discuss whether or not free will existed (which is what the blurb implied!),  it just dealt with the repercussions of believing or not believing in free will.  Which, while interesting, was more social than hard science.

The other was on Time, and that was the one I was determined to see, come what may. Lee Smolin was one of the panelists and I’ve been working my way through his book, Time Reborn, and I was very interested in what he would say… unfortunately, he sort of muttered a lot.   But, good news: they’ve put up a video of the entire discussion , which you may view at your leisure, and I will review, to see what Smolin actually said.

However, the video does not include the amazing modern dance piece that preceded the discussion.

I know: interpretive dance?  About time?   It seemed like that was what it was about to be, and the entire audience was one big knot of dubiousness…

But unbeknownst to me (and I think, most of the audience) it was a very famous dance created by choreographer David Parsons, called “Caught.”

I did not catch the name of the dancer — his last name was Spring, I think.   The dance is performed partly under strobe light, and the steps are so designed that the strobe catches the dancer mid-leap.   And because our brains work the way they do, we automatically assemble the images into single sweep, even though the gaps are quite large.

Result: man flying.

We were stunned, cheering, applauding.

I searched and searched for good videos of this dance.  There were several, but none particularly great —  the best I could find was the one accompanying this NYTimes article about the American Dance Theater, which does not entirely catch it, I think…  The screen does not do the movement in three dimensions justice.  And the image is screen-sized, not stage-sized.  Still, it gives you a sense of what it’s trying to do — just assume that, live, it actually accomplishes what it promises.

In other news: Sabine and I saw Welcome to Night Vale’s live show, “The Investigators.”   Lots of fun, and here’s a link to the cosplayers out in front of the theater in Northampton. I’m not going to say much about it (not yet!) because they’re going to release a recording of the show, and I don’t want to commit any spoilage before people get a chance to hear it.  I may post some stuff about it later.

FLASH! updated with photos I forgot I took!


wtnv northampton figures

Wise words.



Can’t keep a good cat down…



And meanwhile:  the New Horizons probe is closing in on Pluto…