Celsius 451

Will Ray Bradbury be cremated? He died a couple of days ago, aged 91. He was a science fiction author, famous for the dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451. The novel’s name comes from the autoignition temperature of paper.

The typical temperature range of a crematory furnace is 1600 – 1800 °F. I don’t know at what temperature human flesh autoignites. At what temperature does human flesh burn? Yahoo Answers has this Best Answer.

Human flesh requires extended exposure to 1,400 degrees Fahrenheit in order to ignite. The human body, which is 85 percent water, burns outside to inside in a rapid cycle of layer-by-layer dehydration and ignition. The heat dries out the skin; the dry skin ignites. That fire dries out the next layer of muscle and fat, which then ignites. And so on, until the internal organs are consumed. The average body gives off a modest 1,000 Btu per pound of meat (burning wood, by comparison, gives off 6,000 Btu). But an extremely obese person can run up to 17,000 Btu.

Remember that next time you think of John Calvin, the totally depraved Reformation theologian after whom Calvinism is named.

But back to Ray Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451 … The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed. It’s a book about book burning. Apparently, “the novel is not about censorship, but a story about how television destroys interest in reading literature, which leads to a perception of knowledge as being composed of factoids, partial information devoid of context.”

This post is an excuse to present some Bradbury quotes.

On writing books.

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.

You fail only if you stop writing.

If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life.

If you can’t read and write you can’t think. Your thoughts are dispersed if you don’t know how to read and write. You’ve got to be able to look at your thoughts on paper and discover what a fool you were.

On reading books.

A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. … Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man?

On burning books.

There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.

You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.

There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.

On life, the universe and everything.

We are an impossibility in an impossible universe.

People ask me to predict the future, when all I want to do is prevent it. Better yet, build it. Predicting the future is much too easy, anyway. You look at the people around you, the street you stand on, the visible air you breathe, and predict more of the same. To hell with more. I want better.

Death doesn’t exist. It never did, it never will. But we’ve drawn so many pictures of it, so many years, trying to pin it down, comprehend it, we’ve got to thinking of it as an entity, strangely alive and greedy. All it is, however, is a stopped watch, a loss, an end, a darkness. Nothing.

At the center of religion is love. I love you and I forgive you. I am like you and you are like me. I love all people. I love the world. I love creating. Everything in our life should be based on love.

Joy is the grace we say to God.

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