On a Beach Walk: No. 6

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

I look out across the seemingly endless surface of water with no land in sight other than the sand in the visual periphery where I stand. No wonder the ancient people thought edges were at the end. Edges that sunrises and sunsets reinforce.

To think that this gulf is small compared to the seas – and the oh my of the seas being specks compared to the oceans. The amount of water on our planet is unimaginable – besides, most people don’t realize the bigness of one million – let alone millions, billions, trillions, and beyond.

All that sea water, plus the water of rivers, streams, lakes ponds, puddles, pools, glaciers, ice, and even underground – let alone in the clouds collecting as sponges before releasing the water as rain, snow, sleet, or hail.

All that water that make our home blue – that refreshing blue from space – that pale blue dot in the greater cosmos that is an oasis in the vast desert of space. Yes, this is our home that I walk – a walk where I think as the water refreshes my feet.

On Exploring a View of Home

Our journey from deep space to the Pale Blue Dot means we are getting closer to our home – but we are not there yet. Brian Eno writes ambient music, and his sounds wonderfully support the images of our home planet from the International Space Station. Surrounded by a sea of darkness, our pale blue dot seems like an oasis in a vast desert. Please share your thoughts.

On Exploring a Speck as a Stage

A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity.” (Albert Einstein)

Many descriptors are fitting for Carl Sagan, but to me, the post is about his philosophical side. The universe is more than vast, and Earth is a mere speck on that vastness. Yet, it serves as the stage for everything that is human … the good and the bad … the beautiful and the ugly … the simple and the extravagant … and more.

Each time I watch this video, the images and Sagan’s words transported to the land of personal awe. In this video, Sagan (an agnostic) inspires my Christian spirituality by deepening my concept of creation. I started this series is deep space, and we are working our way to home. Enjoy exploring the Pale Blue Dot, and please share your thoughts.

On a Speck

Whenever comparing items, we need references as a perspective. A mouse is small to us, but we are small compared to a blue whale, and the mouse is large compared to one of its cells. Yet, that same whale is small compared to Mt. Everest, which is a meager spot on or planet – but Earth is so small compared to Jupiter.

The pattern can continue to the Sun, our solar system, to the Milky Way, all the way to the universe. Oh, the wonders that creation provides.

Wonder continue as we go in the opposite direction by examining our cells, to cell parts, to the molecule, its atoms, the atomic parts, and even to the smaller quarks.

Each microliter of human blood has approximately 5 million red blood cells (RBC). Considering that 1 liter contains 1 million microliters, and humans have 5 liters of blood, the total number of RBCs in each of us is quite large. Toss in the fact that each RBC contains 250 million molecules of hemoglobin that is responsible for transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide through over 60,000 miles of blood vessels – and this is in each of us.

As social beings, each of us know many people – well, we think we do – but compared to the world population, are interactions are limited to a mere few. Encounters of the cyberkind expand our world, but it is still small.

Each of us have countless daily interactions – some positive, others negative, and most have little effect. Sometimes we know when we affect the life of another, but much of the time, we stand in a clueless abyss. After all, we do not know when the effect of that encounter is transferred to others – perhaps even years later.

Toss in the element of time – all the people who passed before me, and all those who lie ahead of my time. People born, people die. A few become notables, most are commoners. Some are giants to societies. Some are giants in their towns, while others are giants in a family – but many are simply everyday people playing a niche in life. Yes, we all have history and in time, forgotten. Of all these people, only a selected few have recognized names of distinction – and only a few of them will make history books.

I am only 1 of over 7 billion people on our planet at this time, and only 1 of about 108 billion humans born to through the ages.

In some way, these thoughts make me feel worthless. On the other hand, science – and yes, my Christian views – allow me to appreciate being a tiny speck living on a particle of dust in the universe that is vast and intricate – thus I impressed and overwhelmed.

From Neil deGrasse Tyson

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From Symphony of Science

On Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 33

On Woodstock
Last week was the 40th anniversary of the greatest ever celebration of music: Woodstock. I was in high school in 1969, thus lived the era and its music. Woodstock conjures many mental images, but the picture on the album cover of the couple standing and cuddling in a blanket is a classic. Last week NBC had a report on the couple and the photographer 40 years later.

On Pictures to Awe
Many of us appreciate quality photography and the uniqueness that images provide. The image gallery of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope is an amazing place. See for yourself.

Another interesting NASA site is Earth Observatory with their Image of the Day. I’ve added both this and the Hubble site to the Potpourri links in the sidebar.

On Albie Pearson
Albie Pearson was the 1958 AL Rookie of the Year and also a member of the original Los Angeles Angels. Given a 9-season career with 3 teams, the rookie award, and a one-time all-star, Pearson is not enshrined in Cooperstown, but he is a hero to many. Now an ordained minister, Pearson took a chance and created a home for needy children:  Father’s Heart Ranch in Desert Hot Springs, CA – a much greater achievement than baseball. Here’s the story.

On Senator Kennedy
First he missed the confirmation vote for a Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and then he didn’t attend his sister’s funeral. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) must not be doing well. I simply want to say Best Wishes to the senator and his family, and Thank You for your years of service.

On Cheney and Bush
Last week former Vice President Dick Cheney revealed the split he had with President Bush. I can’t recall how months ago, but this story stimulated me to recall a David Brooks column where he mentioned the policy change from Bush-Cheney to Bush-Rice. Thank you David Brooks for preparing the way. Here’s Washington Post article.

On Town Hall Attendees
Listening to the talk hall cranks shows a lost sense of perspective on an important issue. This is not to say that the Democratic perspective is the best – actually far from it. But too many of these people display their ignorance by spouting gibberish. Unfortunately for most of America, Republicans are taking little to no interest in discounting the nonsense and working toward a meaningful solution.

On Bingo the Bee
Let’s end this post with a difficult moment for a mascot. Bingo the Bee does his thing after each homer, but this time … well see for yourself.

On Humanity and Humility

Each day of human life is filled with many things, both good and bad; mountains and mole hills, triumphs and tragedies; joys and sorrows.

Blogs are an interesting place not only to learn about topics, events, views, and opinions, it’s also a place to see how all of us get caught up in our own micro-world of life perspectives. After all, we know so little while there is so much to learn.

Humanity offers many different characters, some are good while others bad; some with who we agree while disagreement reigns with others; some who we respect, yet we despise others; some to who we go the extra mile to approach, yet others we intentionally ignore; let alone the haves and the have nots.

On the other hand, humility recognizes both our own faults and encourages us to accept others. A call to accept those who are different, the ones with whom we disagree, despise, and see as different.

So there we have it – two human fundamentals, humanity and humility, in both cooperation and conflict with each other – every day in each of us – but at different degrees within each of us.

To me, this 3-minute Carl Sagan perspective is both timeless and powerful. In this I hear so much about humanity, yet I feel humility as it humbles and overwhelms me. Numerous versions of this video exist, but this one allows each of us to form our own applicable images to accompany our thoughts.

Enjoy and blessings to all.