All entries for March 2007

March 18, 2007

Is every snowflake truly unique?

“No two snowflakes are identical” – The first thing I was ever told about snowflakes.

Being young and impressionable, I was very dazzled by it and dutifully spread the word; after which, I filed it away in that part of my brain reserved for useless but amazing facts.

The first time I experienced snow, I was 19 and much too enraptured with the actual snow to dwell on the minute details. The next, love waived all practical thoughts from my head and the last was a day of returning to missed childhoods and revelling in the excess.

The inclination to question this fact never having risen before today, a particularly lazy Sunday when snow was the thought of the day and not the catalyst for a string of new thoughts and experiences, it lay dormant and unexposed to other facts I had learnt through the years.

So, now I pose the question, “why is it that they are considered unique?”

The general argument, I believe, is that no two snowflakes are formed under the exact same conditions, i.e. temperature, humidity, wind, dust, etc. However, surely the commutations of these give you a finite number of possibilities and there are an infinite number of snowflakes, as one assumes there will always be one more snow. Even if this were not the case, have you seen the number of flakes in just one shower? The number of snowflakes must vastly outnumber the commutations.

Furthermore, no one has proven this to be fact and it is probably not possible to do so.

So, not only have I been duped as a child, but I’m part of the conspiracy in my role of ‘word-spreader’. It’s only fair that I bring my doubts to the attention of those I have plied with this misinformation.

March 02, 2007

Angkor Wat


The largest religious structure in the world, Angkor Wat is a temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

Today, it is a buddhist temple, but it was built in the early 12th century as a Hindu temple. This fact is confirmed by its design; the five central towers and surrounding moat representing the five-peaked Mount Meru, abode of the Hindu gods, and the cosmic ocean.

Remarkably well-preserved despite the years of unrest and the encroaching jungle, Angkor Wat has become a symbol of Cambodia, taking centre place on the national flag. This temple not only impresses with its size and design, but the bas-reliefs covering all four outer walls of the temple and the intricately carved apsaras adorning the inner walls.

The apsaras are celestial dancers who, myth has it, danced for the kings of Cambodia. They are a key feature of many a Cambodian temple. Their presence in a place of worship may seem odd, but considering it represents the abode of the gods, perhaps less so. The apsaras of Angkor Wat are considered the most beautiful due to their slimmer and taller figures and generally complement the magnificence of the structure. The fact that some are carved in enormous single blocks of sandstone adds to the amazement one feels when looking up at Angkor Wat and wondering on the hows and whys of this construction.


March 2007

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