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Home » Dave’s DiegesesJune 2005 » Dave’s Diegesis: Sheer Lunacy

Dave’s Diegesis: Sheer Lunacy

O, swear not by the moon, the fickle moon, the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circle orb,
Lest that thy love prove likewise variable.
William Shakespeare

I have to admit I miss some of the Red Sox locker room antics. Arroyo’s guitar playing (not so much his singing), Timlin and Nixon’s hunting stories, and Millar’s pranks. Specifically thinking of one of Millar’s favorite capers got me to thinking about the moon.

There’s been a lot of coverage lately about how the moon looks larger in the sky than it usually does. One of the primary theories is based on Mario Ponzo’s 1913 discovery that we tend to judge the size of objects based on the background. His example illustrated this concept with two bars of the same length lying across railroad tracks that are drawn to seem as if they are getting farther away from the viewer. The bar that straddles both rails seems larger, while the one that does not appears smaller to the viewer. The problem with this theory is that airplane pilots observe the big moon phenomenon without points of reference on the ground.

Another theory posits that the human brain uses a construct of a flattened dome to when it perceives the moon. According to this theory, as the moon traverses the sky it remains the same size. Our minds, however, impose the flattened dome parameters to our vision and then adjusts our perceptions, and the moon seemingly diminishes.

In truth, there is no definitive answer to this enigma. Sometimes, some things evade explanation, and remain tantalizingly distant to the ministrations of science and logic. And, in truth, at times it is better to be amazed than to analyze, and marvel at the splendor above us.

I go out of the darkness
Onto a road of darkness
Lit only by the far off
Moon on the edge of the mountains.

Will I cease to be,
Or will I remember
Beyond the world,
Our last meeting together?
Izumi Shikibu

Every Friday, Dave McCarty will join us to discuss a topic of interest to him and probably no one else but the author of this site and other lone science geeks with a literary bent.

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