Saturday, September 23, 2017

Fall Equinox Celebration

Equinox Party

The Friday following the CERM Academy presentation, we gathered for potluck.  Greg & family were of course invited and may make it another time.

We've been doing these Equinox and Solstice celebrations pretty much since being granted access to the Linus Pauling House as a part of the Silicon Forest sponsored ISEPP project, which included restoration and preservation of this historic home.

Linus studied chemistry in the basement and came to intellectual maturity during that exciting time  when organic chemistry was first getting its head around macro molecules, DNA included. He won two Nobel Prizes, one for Chemistry, one for Peace.

Our discussion turned to off-color acronyms, such as engineers use to remember the color coding of resistors. That took us to the politically incorrect (at first blush) mnemonic phrase I learned at Junior English School (Appian Way, Rome) for spelling "arithmetic": A Red Indian Thought He Might Eat Tobacco in Church.

Bob McGown and I realized somewhere around the time I trucked out Pascal's Triangle, that this Red Indian must be that very Chief SohCahToa to whom we who our memorization of the specific names of functions in Trigonometry.  He lives in a tetrahedron tepee. It all came together.

My spin is of course smoking tobacco would be the natural thing in a church, seeing as it was treated as a medicine and religious substance.  We have lots of "tobacco churches" in America, and that's just for starters.

C6XTY, often dubbed a "molecule" by neighbors, especially when assembled, is indeed named in part for C60, the carbon molecule.  The 6 also refers to its six identical parts, locked together with eight screws to give the 12 pentagons and 20 hexagons of the Fullerene macro molecule.

Alpha Helix by Julian voss Andreae, the red helical sculpture outside, commissioned by ISEPP's Doug Strain and its president, Terry Bristol, shows a much simpler molecule than DNA, but one that inspired chemists with portents of what folding could do. Linus Pauling had worked out its structure.

We collectively learned molecules could do origami like nobody's business.  Shape matters, a lot. There's a jigsaw puzzle aspect to chemistry, with lots to visualize.  Chemistry is a lot like a block-based language (thinking of MIT Scratch and its kin).

In attendance: David DiNucci, Barbara Stross, Dick Pugh... I could go on, but not everybody likes their name mentioned.  Brenda Wyse showed up, nice for me as she always showers me with affection (an English idiom).  No Nirel though.

We talked a lot about Brenda's ambitions to get a rather muscular tractor.  She'd done a lot of homework and got into details.  I enjoy tractor talk, even if I'm not good at it.  She has a large farm, that her dad worked on, showing her the ropes.  We've had celebrations there to.

"Tractatus" for "work" connotes "tract of land" and "roe to hoe".  One of my favorite Latin roots.

Mom and I drove the maxi taxi, parking a block behind, and coming across Satya at the temple.  Some equinox-related ceremony was happening there too.

Satya is one of our local holy men who bounces around between the outdoors athletic youth culture (Rainbow Gathering etc.) and elder spaces (Food Not Bombs is for all ages).

I met him through Lindsey, political refugee (not unlike Dawn in that respect) and former house guest, sometime Wanderer.  She's in Kathmandu these days, immersed in some of the cultural traditions this temple traffics in, part of a Religious Studies major through OSU.

Bob McGown brought his dog, which I appreciated and Facebooked about. Wanderers for me is about celebrating non-humans in addition to humans. I've always considered the dogs among us as symbolic of this respectfulness.

However the dog's specific name will be left out of this account in order to keep the confusion level down.  Having a pet python named Barry is bad enough, given Barry Redd the former Peace Corps volunteer machinist banker.  Barry helped a lot with the Sam Lanahan C6XTY Gala Event, another major subject of our conversation.