Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Involuntary expatriotism

When I was a sophomore in college, I went on a two week whirlwind tour of Europe. I saw a whole bunch of cathedrals and discovered a liking for Belgian ales, but I came back wondering why I had gone so far to see foreign lands when (a) I haven't seen most of my own very large country and (b) I think that seeing things for the sake of their novelty without actually understanding them is basically without value. (Like science museums. Few things anger me like science museums. You go in all googly-eyed and stare at crystals and bubbling liquids and magnified images of insects and protists and maybe see some demonstration of vortexes in fluids, but you leave without any deep understanding of the principles underlying the gee-whiz demonstrations. In the end, it's roughly equivalent to watching an action movie, with an added air of intellectual superiority. Science is not about special effects. Science is the application of mathematical models to reality. If you take out the math, all you have is a picture show.) I really like this comic. Perhaps unsurprisingly, even after living in Switzerland for 10 months, I've only ventured beyond Zurich a handful of times, and I haven't found any of those experiences particularly enlightening. When I have gone out, I've seen things roughly equivalent to what's available in America, but everyone was speaking some funny language.

Cat and girl is really funny.

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