February 12th, 2009

Fishy Circumstances

Two Hundred Years old

Something exciting is happening this year. It's gotten a few friends jobs. It's bringing other friends over to visit me from Canada. It's the inspiration for dozens of exhibitions at a disparate selection of major and minor museums. It's led to the restoration of at least one historic property, now open to the public, and a rash of media coverage. Today's Google logo is revamped in honor of it.

Two hundred years ago today, in Shrewsbury, Charles Darwin was born. Of course, at the age of one day, Darwin didn't accomplish very much.

Celebrating birthdays like this does always strike me as subscribing to the cult of genius, that the great works that would eventually be accomplished by the birthday boy were inherent in him at his birth. I would much rather, given the choice, celebrate the anniversaries of the actual accomplishments. Still, it'll be a long time until any more significant Darwin anniversaries roll around, so I don't mind all the celebrating and educational outreach; especially since many of my history of science friends are benefiting from it, and I from the incentives which bring them to the UK!

You can read every last one of his works online at Darwin Online. You can also read his wife's diaries there.
Fishy Circumstances

On successfully finding my mother

I found my mother! This time, earlier this evening, I could mostly - although not always - tell her apart from the columns. There was no acqua alta to confuse the issue or to make the piazza more lovely. She helped me out by phoning me when she knew she could be seen by the webcam. This particular screen cap shows her drawing the piazza. Here's the drawing she was making! She's about halfway down the colonnade, on the left, standing in the middle of a well-lit archway.

(See here for details of earlier, unsuccessful mother-spotting attempt.)