Cicero, Pixels and Synchrophasotron


Marcus Tullius Cicero

Marcus Tullius Cicero

Timeless, time-tested and time-approved quote. Can you believe it? Not that Cicero said those precise words in 43 BC, but that I kept saying the same thing since the end of the last century.

Granted, neither one of us said it the way it’s written here. Cicero said something like this, «Tempi sint malae. Filii non parentibus obedire, et omnes librum scribentem,» in Latin, no surprise here, whereas I’ve said in Russian, «Времена изменились. Дети не слушают родителей и каждый, кому не лень, пишет книгу.» Sometimes, to make a point, I’d add a few more words I won’t dare translating here. I’m no Cicero– to be heard I need to speak loudly, embellishing my speech.

Latin sounds great, though. My personal favorite is the word PARENTIBUS. Nice amalgamation of the words PARENT and BUS here. A smart kid, instead of the usual Leave me alone! might suggest the parent to take a hike in a bus, leaving the car keys behind.  

Amazing how many great quotations are floating out there, oft-repeated and smartly used. Since times immemorial, people keep babbling, and those who don’t – keep writing down things they’ve heard, affixing quotation marks. Or not, choosing to repeat to others what they’ve heard, hoping that those others would write it down, and use quotation marks properly.

This leaves us with a question: Is there anything worthy of saying remains yet either unsaid or out of confinement of those pesky quotation marks?

Majority of elemental subjects – time, life, death, children and book writing among them – got a pretty thоrough coverage over the ages, and it is getting harder and harder to come up with a weightier, more profound utterance.

Google anything and see what comes up. So if you aspire to become one hell of a quotable fella, you’ve got to opine on a more obscure, contemporaneous subjects, matters that Cicero couldn’t have imagined and thus kept his piece.  Modern technologies, Pixels, iPads, synchrophasotrons or some such things would do perfectly. For example, take this:

The next generation of Retina displays is projected to work on collapsible wave pixels that  become visible only when human eye is focusing on them. Otherwise, pixels would assume a superposition between being visible and invisible.



Sounds intriguing and quote-worthy, isn’t it? Intriguing yes, quote-worthy not so much. Mainly, because the above fine verbiage begs for a question or five.  

Would it come to life if you give such a display a sideways glance?  

If you wink at it, would it wink back?

What if you were to wear glasses, particularly sunglasses?  

If 10 or 20 pairs of eyes stare at it at the same time, would the display explode from sensory overload?

Would such Retina display and, say, your new iPad-mini stop working  in close proximity of a synchrotron-based particle accelerator?

As Cicero said on a completely unrelated subject, “Noli stultus esse. Nec cogitare.” (Don’t be silly. Don’t even think about it.)

If Cicero said no such thing on any subject whatsoever, it must’ve been because no one happened within earshot to write it down with proper attribution.  

Umph! It’s so easy to veer off topic…

Smile! It annoys the hell out of people who don’t like you.


4 comments on “Cicero, Pixels and Synchrophasotron

  1. I could relate to Cicero pessimistic outlook on the future of visual technologies, like Retina displays. I’m less certain about opinion on particle accelerators, “cyclotrons” vs “synchrotrons”.

  2. If we want to be remembered for our astute quotations we’d better hurry up and get published! Personally, I can hardly get a typo free line written on FB… proof read, proof read, proof read!

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