Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Floating Islands"

Since we learned from Mrs. Hawking that the Island actually does move, there has been a little talk about the possibility of floating islands. For anyone who has ever seen a "Yes" album, the image of Roger Dean's floating islands surely must come to mind.

A widely respected yacht designer (Gary Mull, who died of cancer in July 1994 at the age of 55, had theories about a floating island, particularly, Alcatraz. His research into it was initiated by his curiosity of the area's wind and water cones, and the odd currents in and around Alcatraz in the bay, and why sailboats had such a difficult time negotiating it. From the following website comes this quote: "It was in the great storm of 1772 that the Spanish discovered that the premonitory on which they had built their fort was not attached to the mainland, but actually seemed to be what is called now in geological circles as a floating island...they had built their fort on what apparently was a large pumice plug, blown loose at some time by a volcano..." The article goes on to cite the usual government secrets, etc., and is an intriguing short read. Don't you get an interesting image in your mind when you think about a huge plug blowing off the top of a volcano and landing in the ocean? Sploosh! I'd like to give credit to the Lost blogger who posted this theory and link on TLC (I think) last year, but I can't remember who it was, I'm sorry.

In 2005 someone devised a way to put some of Central Park on a barge and drag it around the Hudson River as some sort of natural installation art where, "Seeing a green island moving up and down the waters is supposed to make you think about your own physical location." Ho-hum. I have rarely liked that kind of art...if it's not downright ugly, it seems interesting until you read the pretentious description of it that is supposed to shake up all your preconceived notions about your life. Moving right along.

Jules Verne seems to have written a book called "The Floating Island" (also going by other titles) but I can't seem to find too much info on it. It's mostly about a man-made structure though, not a natural island.

Monday, March 2, 2009

"The Number 108 In Tai Chi"

Last week when I went on my monthly reading-magazines-at-the-bookstore excursion, I found an interesting article in "T'ai Chi" magazine:

"The Importance Of Numbers In Tai Chi"
"Q. Why does the traditional Taijiquan always use 108 moves as its form?"

The reply given is broken down into the perspectives of: the Natural, Religious, Human Research and Discovery, and Numerology. Although the article spans about five full pages and is very detailed philosophically, not too much was of use to glean any insight for Lost answers. But some points were intriguing.

The natural perspective covered the Daosist mountain, Wu Dang Shan which has 72 peaks and 36 cliffs = 108, "the 108 of the natural earth spirits of God's creation." Daoists also believe that "the Big Dipper has 36 Tim Gang (beneficial) stars and 72 Di Sha (malevolent) stars." Since we believe that Ursa Major was in one of the episodes, that stood out to me.

The religious aspects include the mention of 108 pagodas or stupas in Ningxia (see photo above) and represents "Buddha's presence in man." And of course there are 108 prayers said on a mala (a 108 bead rosary), as also mentioned at Lostpedia.

Additionally, 108 is part of the Chinese practice of a daily routine of healthful self-message and acupressure (message areas and repetitions equal 108), and "the Chinese character for the word tea represents the numeric 108." A traditional saying states that if one drinks tea regularly, "one may live to at least 108." 108 is also believed by Chinese to stand for "mankind's quest to find significance in life while exploring its many mysteries," a sentiment that could have come from the peacefully-reformed Alvar Hanso himself. Regardless of how the number 108 is viewed, it "in all instances is always perceived as auspicious."