Tuesday, July 20, 2010

41 Years Ago

I'm lucky enough to have been alive for the single most important moment in human history, the first time humans stepped out onto another celestial body.

41 years ago today, July 20, 1969, we made it to the Moon.

This mind-boggling technical - and human - triumph never ceases to amaze and astound me, and bring up a sense of pride that I find almost impossible to muster any other way. It makes me truly sad to hear teens and 20-somethings address this amazing event with a combination of snark and apathy; in their lives, they've never known something so momentous, unique, a few minutes that brought all humanity together with the deepest sense of connection and pride. To those bravest souls who faced the unknown with fierce determination, and in some cases, gave their lives, I salute you for your courage and sheer chutzpah. Just try to imagine what it felt like, hurtling through the darkness of space, all sense of reality skewed, knowing that one bad decision could strand you and your crewmates to the coldness of the infinite. It just takes my breath away.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

This Amazing Planet

There's an important interview that Bill Moyers did with famed biologist E. O. Wilson a few years ago, dealing with the issue of the diversity of life on this planet. Like all Moyers' work, it's a truly insightful interview, but there's one particular point that really opened my eyes when I first heard it - right at the beginning, Wilson emphatically states that we've yet to discover the majority of species of life on this planet - perhaps 90% of the life on this planet is unknown to us. And this isn't some wild-eyed lunatic from the fringes of society making this claim, we're talking about one of the most respected and capable scientists alive today.

Given these facts, I was fascinated to see this news item today, about the discovery of a variety of species of life thought to be extinct, or new lifeforms altogether, at the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia.

I've been saying it for years - the true history of life on this planet is still mostly a baffling mystery, and every day, we discover how much we've yet to learn about the nature of reality, the Universe, this planet and ourselves.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Australian report on Gulf disaster

Apparently, the criminals over at BP had this video removed from the web already, so watch this while you can: