The AnkiDroid Collection (Part 3) – The Roman Empire, Sagittarius A Star & The Enlightenment

A feature on Wednesday’s literature piece are additions I have made to my Ankidroid application to expand my command of the English language as well as highlight aspects of Science, History and Philosophy I want to digest. You can find more information about Ankidroid in my post – Learning a Second Language and Ankidroid.

I remember a scene from one of my favourite movies Remains of the Day where head butler Stevens’ (Sir Anthony Hopkins’) is confronted in his private study by the housekeeper Miss Kenton (Dame Emma Thompson). She cheekily enquires about the book he is reading: ‘Are you reading a racey book‘? He responds, ‘Do you think racey books are to be found on his Lordships shelves?‘. He imparts to her: ‘I read these books to develop my command and knowledge of the English language. I read to further my education.

How did the Roman Empire fall into the Dark Age? (Early Middle Age)

The son of Marcus Aurelius (Stoicism – Plato’s Philosopher King), Commodus in AD 170 led the Roman Empire in a debauchery manner (as well as Caligula AD 14) which spelt the beginning of the downfall eventually occurring in the 5th century marked by economic, cultural and intellectual decline.

The Roman empire extended from Scotland to the Persian gulf and it lasted a 1000 years. The Emperor Constantine (AD 306) converted to Christianity and eventually Christians were no longer persecuted and got their lands back. Roman values took a back-seat to Christian ones. Soon there-after the barbarians (the Huns from the east) invaded. Also high taxation, labour shortages, widespread hunger and division between the east and west of the Empire occurred. Revolts within led to its drawn out demise (domino effect) and regressed into an anarchic, repressed pre-Roman society (The Dark Age) – specifically Agrarian societies.

The Roman Empire didn’t fall all the way as it was survived in some sense by the Latin-speaking Catholic church.

2. Name and describe The Milky Way’s super massive Black Hole

Sagittarius A Star (constellation of Sagittarius) is a super-massive black-hole at the centre of our galaxy, the Milky Way located 26000 light years away. It is in excess of 4 million solar masses. Astronomers have been unable to observe it in the optical spectrum because of dust and gas between it and the earth. There are a number of ‘S’ stars with high velocities in close orbit around Sag A * which makes it useful to establish the physical dimensions of our black hole.

3. Which persons and papers marked the beginning of the enlightenment (European Intellectual and Scholarly Movement 17th and 18th Centuries)?

1637 Rene Descartes ‘I think therefore I am’ and Isaac Newton 1687 ‘Principia Mathematica’ (culmination of the Scientific revolution).

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”- Michel Legrand

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Posted in Reading, Reflections, Science

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