Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Einstein doesn't Know Beans

Some lucky auction winner is about to own a letter penned by Albert Einstein in 1954 that sheds light on his ambivalent views about religion:

This is a good time to share one of my favorite Einstein storied, as told by Henry Eyring, who one every major prize in chemistry except the Nobel prize (because they aren't awarded posthumously) .

"...a man from the Navy and I spent the morning with Einstein talking about high explosives [that's a conversation I would have LOVED to hear, but that's not the story...]. I think he was more interested in relativity than high explosives, but he was not a bad chemist. He didn't talk sense all the time because he had been studying astronomy and physics...

"At noon we walked out into what had been a rose garden, but in wartime had been replanted as a victory garden. Now, I'm a farmer from Pima, so I guessed what the crop was, but I didn't know whether Einstein knew or not. So I picked up a plant and asked him what it was. He didn't know. I asked [the gardener] what it was. He said, "They're soybeans."

"Well, I though what you would have thought: "Einstein doesn't know beans." (Reflections of a Scientist, Henry Eyring, 1983, Deseret Book Company: Salt Lake City).

To be fair, Eyring concludes, "But he knew everything else. He was just weak on beans," and, I might add, Faith too.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Inside Delta Force

Finally found time to finish "Inside Delta Force" by one of the original Delta Force operators, Eric Haney. After getting a vivid idea of what the U.S. was up against in the 70s and 80s, I can only imagine what our brave men and women in the armed forces are facing today.

It's not just the Delta Force either. A lot of young men and women are facing danger every day so we can worry about gas prices and the weather instead of shrapnel and stray bullets.

One Oregon couple got a first-hand taste of what it's like from the frontlines of Afghanistan when their son, an MP, inadvertantly called them on his cellphone in the middle of a firefight.

They weren't home, but their voicemail captured this two-minute message:

Before you get too excited, he's okay. But those weren't "sound effects" either. Remember our troops. And their families.