“9 Great Freethinkers and Religious Dissenters in History” is a piece by Adam Lee at AlterNet. It includes some interesting angles on famous people who’ve been not so thrilled by the whole God trip, including Einstein (who famously stated that “God does not play dice with the universe” when faced with some of the wilder implications of quantum theory, but otherwise didn’t give much credence to religious doctrine and belief), suffragette Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the religiously-named but nonetheless irreligious Emma Lazarus, Robert Frost (who’d have thought?), and the United States’ greatest songwriter, Yip Harburg.
(The nifty symbol up there is a recombinated hybrid type thingy developed in the labs of Canadian artiste Marc Poulin–as a design for a possible tattoo, of all things–which utilizes the symbols of the American Atheist Society with its spinning atom representation and a more recent–and decidedly more svelte–original design by “Diane 531.”)
By now news of Bradbury’s passing has saturated the internet, and I doubt that I have much to add but the personal note that The Halloween Tree was a roadmark of my childhood, as I am sure it has been for many others, and hearing it read aloud (along with Lewis and Tolkien) by my fourth grade teacher unlocked new, undiscovered rooms in my imagination–as did Sendak’s Wild Things even earlier in my childhood–and who is going to illuminate the night with forbidden hopes and cherished fears and uncharted stars as they did?
No. It isn’t a piece of neo-retro jewelry based on the ubiquitous Smiley icon that festoons e-mail and internet message-boards like an incurable outbreak of digital herpes. It’s the Nebra Sky Disk, fashioned from bronze and gold, from Cornwall, in England, and it’s 4,500 years old, making it the oldest known representation of the cosmos made by humans. (As opposed to those made by, er, non-humans? Hmm.) Anyway, it’s pretty nifty, huh?