On a Beach Walk: No. 14

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I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

The vast water is the sea of knowledge – and the water seems unlimited. There is so much to know. Identifying the shells on the beach would be an accomplishment in itself – but a small one in a relative sense. Meanwhile, the body of knowledge continues to grow.

I think of Leonardo da Vinci who was remorseful in the final days of his life because there was so much more to learn that he didn’t know. In light of his accomplishments, what I know in today’s world seems so small.

The internet brings knowledge closer to us while phones have placed that knowledge at are fingertips and made it portable. I walk on a beach that is a world without wires, yet knowledge is a fingertip away in my pocket.

Today knowledge grows at an accelerated rate while technology changes even faster. I can’t imagine a life today of someone who has never embraced computers – let alone smartphones. That could be like a person trying to operate a sailboat in the deep waters without any sight of land and without prior knowledge of what to do.

That means no understanding of basic computer operations. No concept of entry and response. No clue of open, new, create, save, and retrieve. No idea of how information gets onto the cyber highway. No notion of seeking information that is fingertips away. No sense of determining the validity of information. A sense of being lost while staring over the vast water.

For those of us with knowledge of modern technology, technology changes – and as technology changes, we must also change – a change that must involve unlearning the old way and learning the new.

Water is a metaphor for changing technology. Change is trying to navigate in the raging waters of a storm while hoping for the status quo of calm waters. Change is also the calm water going across my feet – it’s continuous, expected, and always new – never the same as currents keep water moving.

In today’s fast-paced technological world, learning begins with unlearning – abandoning the way one knows. Unlearning to let the new way lead the way. Forgetting what was to let the new lead the way. Yes, old habits are hard to break, plus we have a tendency to protect ourselves from outward self-criticism. Nonetheless, unlearning is more important today than ever.

The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. (Alvin Toffler, Future Shock, 1970)

Although a fast-paced technological world surrounds us, I am thankful for technology …. and I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

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Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 344

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I’m not even close to being a Star Wars fanatic, but I get to attend a Cincinnati premier of the new film.

OMG – The Moody Blues are going into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with The Cars, Bon Jovi, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Nina Simone, and Dire Straits. Congratulations to all!

Our handbell choir continues focusing on music for the busy holiday season. The next solo piece is The Huron Carol: a tune many of you will recognize. Click here to listen.

Until I saw this, I didn’t realize President Trump sang Christmas carols.

A refreshing thought. While watching the Army-Navy football game, I noticed that players don’t bring attention to themselves after a play.

Cheers to the professional golf’s decision to stop issuing penalty strokes based on information from the television audience.

For those enjoying the beach walks, I only have 1 0r 2 left.

I worry about what the Supreme Court will rule in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

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On one hand, Doug Jones (D) defeating Roy Moore (R) for the Alabama Senate seat gives hope to humanity. On the other hand, the fact that a high percentage of voters supported Moore makes my hope very tepid.

I applaud this line from this ABC News Editorial: A nation can have a healthy, functional democracy only if its citizens are willing to go beyond the interests of their tribe and work for the common good.

For many years on these pages I warned that the political climate was not good for times when one party controls Congress and the White House … and I believe Democrats would be doing the same thing if the roles were reversed.

It didn’t take much time for some Democrats to seek the resignation of Sen. Al Franken (D-MN). But I ask this question: Would Democrats have done the same thing if Minnesota had a Republican governor?

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion provides an infographic comparing shopping at a retail store and a thrift store.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Man with 3 kids going to make great father someday
Study finds controlling, possessive behavior most pure expression of love
Department of Labor response team seals off toxic workplace environment
Line of lizards winding out door outside National Geographic casting office
Frustrated wildfire spends hours stuck in L.A. traffic
Recording Academy reminds aging musicians to die before December 15th to be included in 2017 Grammy tributes

Interesting Reads
Views of gender differences
Debating USA’s role in the world
History of mince pies
The first Scrooge
Why dogs cock their heads
(Interactive) Compare your view on gender equality with others
(Photos) Wonderful images from space

To lead you into the weekend, it’s got to be the Moody Blues. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On a Beach Walk: No. 13

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I like walking the beach as it is good for the body, mind, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

The vast water is the sea of knowledge – everything humankind knows. So many topics – each with width and depth. Not separate silos because topics intersect with multiple related topics.

Although the water have a degree of consistency over the millions of years, our knowledge has greatly grown since the European Renaissance – a time in history marking a rebirth in knowledge and art – a time for scholars, new ideas, and new discoveries as the scientific age was born.

Time as demonstrated that knowledge builds on itself. In reality, science builds information on previously known information. Although the Greeks proposed the idea of matter being composed of unseen particles, evidence for the atom is relatively new. From John Dalton’s proposed atomic theory in the 1820s, scientists have built evidence-based information about the atom with great detail.

Next came the atom’s positive and negative charges in the late 1800s-early 1900s; followed by the identification of protons and electrons. Neutrons were discovered until 1932. In the early 1960s, evidence about the existence of smaller particles known as quarks and their associated forces developed. Through all of this, the atom remains as the foundational structure of matter.

As I look at the sea, I’m reminded of how little I know and how much there is to learn – but the more I learn, the more I realize how much I don’t know. The sea of knowledge seems endless.

While knowledge is good for the mind, it can also wreaks havoc on the soul. Nonetheless,I like to walk the beach for it is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

On a Book Review in a Hurry

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Neil deGrasse Tyson is a rock star to many people – definitely an odd descriptor for an astrophysicist who is Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Many consider him to be today’s Carl Sagan – and I find it interesting that (at least to me) he talks and sounds like Dr. Sagan.

No matter in his role as director, author, speaker, interviewee, or television show host, Dr. deGrasse Tyson exudes enthusiasm and commitment to his craft and passion – science – just as Carl Sagan did.

Images of deep space capture a sense of awesome for me – which is one of the reasons I use them as headers on this blog. (Click here to see past headers.) As a geek interested in the intersection of science and religion, those images give me a greater sense of creation. These points, along with interviews I saw with Dr. deGrasse Tyson, his 2017 book became a must-read for me.

Astrophysics for People in a Hurry is a short read (about 200 pages) that made it to the top of the New York Times Best-Seller list. This book is about time, space, particles, forces, and how they fit together in the universe according to the laws of the universe. Yes, he takes readers into complex topics as the Big Bang, dark matter, and dark energy – but he does it with relative simplicity with wit, real-world application, and enthusiasm. Even with his wit and understandable writing style, the topic isn’t naturally easy for all – so I had head scratching.

Logically-sequenced chapters are short with each focusing on a single topic. His easy-to-read text aims at an audience that doesn’t know much astrophysics. The text doesn’t contain new, groundbreaking information, so I consider this book as a primer that can lead to deeper learning if one chooses. (Like a 101 college course that serves as an introduction and springboard.)

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an excellent communicator and I can hear his voice in his words. This booked helped me understand my awe with deep space and creation. He promotes the cosmic perspective from the frontiers; which he describes as humbling, spiritual, redemptive, mind opening, eye opening, transcending, wise, insightful, finding beauty, enabling one to see beyond in order to embrace chemical and genetic kinship, and more. Now that is for me!

I encourage readers to take the time to embrace Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. Besides, it could be a stocking stuffer as a holiday gift. Here’s the link for the book on Amazon.

I end this review with a fantastic video on a similar topic from Symphony of Science featuring Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 343

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Hooray for us. The out-of-town aunt’s house is sold and closed! Simply a monumental accomplishment considering where we started.

Last weekend’s Supermoon was awesome. Love this collection of images from USA Today.

Savannah Guthrie: “How do you reconcile your love for someone with the recognition that they have behaved badly? And I don’t know the answer to that.” … I say if you love Matt Lauer as a friend, he needs you – so be there for him.

We had a new experience last weekend: Watching a holiday parade of horse-drawn carriages.

The IOC banned Russia from the 2018 Winter Olympics, but Russian athletes can complete without a country. In my opinion, that’s pathetic.

Last week’s Crosstown Shootout was ugly as Xavier convincingly dismantled my UC Bearcats. Oh well … a team not playing well and getting outplayed doesn’t deserve to win. Congrats XU!

The college football committee got the four playoff teams right.

Although PBS dismissed Garrison Keillor for misconduct, I plan to continue using his quote at the end of this post.

Congratulations to Jim Wheeler for being the 75,000th. He was touched by the fireplaces display I had for him. The next milestone will probably happen in early 2018 as I’m 21 posts away from post #2000.

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Current tax bills are a prime example of Republicans being so desperate to accomplish something, they are willing to sell out their philosophy.

Regarding President Trump’s recent proclamation about Jerusalem, I didn’t listen to him, his surrogates, or other partisan talking heads – but I was all hears when listening to Middle East expert Aaron David Miller. Here’s his article about the announcement.

Wall Street’s positive reaction to possible changes in tax policy has nothing to do with changes to people and everything to do with the effect on corporations.

The reason I believe Roy Moore will win the Alabama Senate race can be summarized in one word. Any thoughts?

In the era of declaring Fake News, Chris Wallace (Fox News Anchor) wrote this interesting editorial.

The 4 lines I most commonly hear by President Trump supporters for any situation: Having Hillary would be worse. Look at Hillary’s crimes. He’s better than Obama. It’s Obama’s fault. Nothing like having ready-to-use lines for any occasion.

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To lead you into this week’s dose of satirical headlines, The Onion captures royal scandals over time.

Weekly Headlines from The Onion (combos welcome)
Cartoon character translated seamlessly into noodle
Son’s friend seems like the type who always gets nosebleeds
Steven Spielberg recalls coming to blows with ET on film set
Negligent oaf sloppily packs away board game without so much as a thought to future players
GOP leaders celebrate passing point of no return

Interesting Reads
Gene therapy brings hope
About a remote Norwegian island
Myths about the brain
Jobs and automation
A symphony from broken instruments
Hedy Lamarr: Inventor
A solution for pack rats
(Photos) Royal Society photo winners

For your weekend entertainment, let’s climb into the way-back machine for some early Beatles. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.

On Respect

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On 2nd October I did a post On Respect, one that I featured a 5-minute speech by a USAF Lt. General. Reactions to the post were positive in many ways with several comments mentioning that respect starts at the top.

Yes – respect starts at the top of each family teaching others the meaning of respect while modeling respectful behaviors.

Yes – respect starts at the top in every school classroom with its teacher leading the way.

Yes – respect starts at the top in every school building with its principal dealing with the staff and students.

Yes – respect starts at the top in every school district with top leadership in their dealing with the district staff and the community it serves.

Yes – respect starts at the top of every group, department, section, division, and headquarter of every corporation across the world.

Yes – respect starts at the top of every customer service organization as it deals with the public it serves.

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Yes – respect starts at the top of every local, state, and national government entity on how it deals with its constituents and opponents.

Yes – respects at the top, and President Trump displays more disrespect than any American leader in my lifetime. He’s a pathetic role model, but he is not a reason to disrespect nor he is the cause of disrespect.

Yes – respect starts at the top for individuals in every human encounter regardless of background, position, gender, ethnicity, age, religion, skin color, and more.

Yes – respect starts at the top when one says Respect your elders – but that doesn’t give the elders the right to disrespect – nor does elder status command automatic respect.

Yes – respect starts at the top of every human encounter – but “the customer is always right” doesn’t mean the customer can be disrespectful to customer service employees.

Yes – respect starts at the top – but there are many tops, and each of us are top in many situations.

Yes – respect starts at the top – and each of us are at the top – Respect starts with yourself, then one can respect others.

Yes – respect start at the top of each individual – in the head containing a brain – the center of all choices each person makes in personal and cyber encounters.

A person is a person – no matter how small. (Dr. Seuss)

On Justice

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Justice – a concern for fairness, peace, and genuine respect for people. (Google Dictionary)

Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Activist, Reformer)

It is justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world. Mary Wollstonecraft (Writer)

Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe. Frederick Douglass (author)

Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both. Eleanor Roosevelt (First Lady)

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope. Winston Churchill (Statesman)

Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don’t believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others. Coretta Scott King (Activist)

But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Book of Amos, 5:24)

A joint youth-adult choir sang a song at our church’s musical event celebrating the Reformation’s 500-year anniversary. I choked up listen to it during rehearsal, and then again during the concert. Enjoy Roll Down Justice by Mark A. Miller.