Looks like winter is finally on the wing. The temperature forecasts are climbing and with luck there will be a melt by the end of the week.

I next up in books, I recently finished The Mysterious Stranger by Mark Twain. It’s a story set in Austria during the inquisition and follows the life of a group of boys in a small village who meet an angel/devil that grants people supernatural favors. While any of these favors would by themselves be positive, the angel then watches in contemptuous bemusement as suspicion, superstition and pride inevitably cause people to turn on each other and turn these blessings into curses. The book was written toward the end of Twain’s life and reflects many of his own cynical views toward societies’ moral endeavors.

The book also takes a deterministic view of fate and choice – it sees the world and everything in it as a machine, and that any choice one makes is the inevitable outcome of what existed before. It also poses that if some supernatural entity were to tweak the settings, life would then go down a completely different but entirely determined course. To me it sounded like a pretty good description of the butterfly effect from chaos theory. Maybe Mark should have been a mathematician.