Kip Thorne on Stephen Hawking

From Cosmic Variance:

He arrives with an entourage of five care givers to tend to his physical needs, one or two family members, several graduate students, and a “graduate assistant” who handles logistics and serves as general fixit-person for his computer system and mechanized wheel chair. His current chair is new and sophisticated. At the flick of a switch, its hydraulics can lift him up to a standing person’s eye level or slide him down near ground level for high-speed chases — he has been known to take pleasure from running over the toes of university presidents.

Hawking’s Pasadena sojourns are rather like Einstein’s in the 1930s. Caltech is an intellectual magnet – a crossroad for ideas about the cosmos and the fundamental laws of nature, which are Hawking’s passion. He contributes mightily to the ferment, and partakes. Our California night life (LA, not Caltech!) is also pretty good; and Hawking, like Einstein, is a party animal, only more so. During his annual month here, my own social life intensifies five-fold just from being his closest California friend. He loves opera, theater, jazz clubs, barbecues that he hosts in the patio of his Pasadena home, and dinners with fine wine – especially an Indian Feast prepared for him by Caltech undergraduates. Yes, we geeks can cook up a storm – well, not me, but the younger generation.

Conversation with Stephen is slow, about 3 words a minute, produced by Stephen moving a muscle in his face (imaged by a lens and photodetector) to control a cursor on his computer screen. It’s slow, but rewarding. You never know, until his sentence is complete, whether it will be a pearl of wisdom or an off-the-wall joke. Faster speeds are on the horizon: computer control via brane waves, without drilling a hole in his head (he’s opposed to that). But he resists changing technology, even without drilling, until forced to. “I can’t believe it’s as good as what I have.” (It actually is; my wife has a friend with ALS who proves it so.)

And if you don’t know who Kip Thorne is, you need to read Black Holes and Time Warps which is an incredible read.

The Octuplet Mom Speaks

And since I have nothing really add to this, I’ll just quote C3PO when he said, “Sir, it’s quite possible this asteroid is not entirely stable.”

To those who question Suleman’s ability to care for such a large family, she has this to say: “How many mothers really hold their children? Nobody holds their children. I think I’m probably the first mother in the history of the world who has ever held her children. And, because I’m so good at it, God gave me 14 of them to hold. I really do think I’m answering God’s call by growing cropfuls of children. Sometimes the Word of God can be heard in the whisper of the wind, sometimes it can be heard in the babble of a brook, and sometimes, it comes to you cradled lovingly in a petri dish.”

Suleman crossed herself before adding: “It’s possible, even likely, that since my children are immaculately conceived, that I could be the mother to the next Christ child. That would make a great reality show, wouldn’t it?”

Update:


The above may be satire. I can’t find any other sources of this interview and frankly I’m past caring enough to put any more time into trying to figure her out.

Daily Dose of Ingersoll

We should all remember that to be like other people is to be unlike ourselves, and that nothing can be more detestable in character than servile imitation. The great trouble with imitation is, that we are apt to ape those who are in reality far below us. After all, the poorest bargain that a human being can make, is to give his individuality for what is called respectability.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “Individuality” (1873)