They Dance

(Via Bad Astronomy.)

This video made me think of us. We’re the only ones here. And we’ve only recently become capable of seeing planets dance with their moons. We strapped cameras to rockets and flung them to the heavens.

We aimed for these specks of light that have traveled among the stars our entire existence. We’ve watched and traced and slowly figured out how to anticipate them. And in the process, we’ve found that we’re one of them. They’re our family.

Now we’ve taken so many pictures that we can watch them move, watch them dance. They’re out there in the depths of cold beyond cold, held onto by the invisible marionette strings of our single, lonely star.

They always would be moving, even without us watching. But we get to, in all the glory of a simple flickering video, like watching experiments with film at the end of the 19th Century. Knowing that this has gone on for time beyond comprehension, yet we finally are seeing it.

Since we are who we are, we will keep looking. Not only do we get to watch our ancient family dance here, but we search on to see how many other dancers there are in the skies.

And since we are who we are, we will never stop. We can’t. Give an animal some thumbs and plenty of time and its progeny will crack rocks into axes and build fires and eventually run around strapping cameras to rockets.

Maybe those animals would start seeing the faintest traces of those marionette strings pulling on our dancers spinning around our single, lonely star.

The planets would still be out there without us. The tree would definitely fall in the woods and vibrate the air. Those planets would be moving with their moons, nameless and silent. But we are the ones who get to see them dance.

The Sound of Humanity

From my dearest posting on Google+.

I read stories like this from both World Wars often enough. Never mind the propaganda and rhetoric: we were never at war with Germany, we were fighting Nazi Fascism.

It’s hard remember that being a soldier is not being a criminal. We and they know that we’re all actual people in this world. A piece of that understanding feels lost in our modern wars.

No longer are the soldiers drafted citizens fulfilling their duty to their homeland. Now it’s a juggernaut stepping on anthills. As much as both sides want to make the world better, the plight of the opposition is missing from consideration.

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A Funny Little Place

The Internet makes our world a very accessible funny, little place.
So I’m going about my business, procrastinating, reading blogs; all the usual. I get to Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy blog and get this amazing view of Orion over some Mayan ruins:

I’m already wondering how quickly I can make this my desktop background for my laptop. I have always had a soft spot for astronomy and exploring the ways of the universe. Then I click over to Stéphane Guisard’s group of photos from Tikal. Perusing those amazing pictures, I find this:

There is something about seeing how the sky rotates over us that gives me pause. Then the bigger realization backs it up: the sky isn’t moving, we’re spinning underneath it.

You can see the pinpoint of our spinning top, the few specks of light we get to see in the evening. It’s all there during the day, though quite a different group being seen from the other side of the planet.

The world is so big and twirling so fast, it is almost impossible for our animal minds to fully grasp all that is in motion at once. Hence why such a view is both enlightening and nauseating at the same time. Just to add to the crazy, where the sun and fellow planets pass through this centrifuge changes through the seasons.

I saw this by following the link trail on digital bits scattered around servers across the world. I saw this and thought, “This must be how a ball feels rolling around on the floor.” We live in a funny, little place.

Getting My Clubs and Some Tees…

… because I’m hitting the links!

I’m thinking of doing a links page. I don’t have a format ready yet, nor a schedule. They’re mainly things I don’t have a full post for, but are worth sharing.

At least I think they are. Your opinions don’t really matter anyway. Get your own blog!

Wow, that was a bit defensive. I blame eating a lot of leftover enchiladas.

The Links…

  • The letterhead used by Jay Ward in 1962.

  • App” is the word of the year for 2010. I think this is rather amazing because before 2007, nobody outside the cult of Apple computer users knew what an application was.

    What was the standard? A program. Seriously, this language switch happened fast. And I’m okay with it. “App Store” sounds a lot better than “Prog Store”, which sounds like a really bad Ukranian Ikea knockoff.

  • Scott Adams writes on a topic that hits close to home: Marital Deafness. M and I had a few laughs reading it, because it’s true. Particularly for me, I cannot shift my concentration to fully hear any of my family members without due notification. I’m not ignoring, I just can’t listen without someone coming up to me.

    Frankly, it’s a problem I like. It counters a long-standing pet peeve in the family I was raised in: shouting across the house. I’ve seen other families attempt to use this communication method and it falls well short of success. To put it mildly.

American Discourse

A rather reasonable discussion on the tough topic of abortion.

I’ve always been pro-choice. Nobody should be forced to be a parent, nor should anyone be forced to find a far more dangerous medical procedure (which they always have and will fine). Michelle Goldberg, for me anyway, helped solidify the political theory behind that argument.

It is certainly a matter of liberty for a woman. The idea of the state imposing its will on a woman, essentially declaring that she will become the indentured incubator for the fetus, hits me not only as bad but un-American.

I have no qualm with those groups who are anti-abortion (I call bullshit on the term ‘pro-life’ if you ignore the mother’s). Anyone has the right to say and promote programs that suit their beliefs. I love me some First Amendment. And I can understand the debate on questioning at what point a clump of mammalian cells becomes fully human, becomes a person. But the line is drawn at the state dictating what avoidable physiological tolls are placed on a person.

Goldberg’s analogy to the state forcing a person to give blood or a kidney seems somewhat apt. That would be a forcing of bodily alteration, however survivable, to be beyond choice. If living under such a regime, I would definitely wind up doing one of two quintessentially American acts: fighting or leaving.

(Found via The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan.)

Incomprehending Tucson

I’m trying to reserve any judgement for the killings in Tucson, AZ this weekend. There were some proper heroic acts that happened, certainly. Blessed are those who have the capacity for bravery.

Joshua Rosenau over at Thoughts from Kansas retells a number of the stories from that terrible morning.

The incomprehensible madness of the shooting, though, is best represented by the death of 9 year-old Christina Greene. The 4th grader was born on a day of tragedy, September 11, 2001, and was featured in Faces of Hope, a book about the babies born on that day. She was recently elected to her school’s student council, and her family remembers her as a lover of horses, ballet, swimming, and baseball. Her grandfather was a Major League pitcher, her father is a scout for the Dodgers, and Christina was the only girl on her Little League team.

She was at the supermarket that day because a neighbor, knowing of Christina’s political victory at school, took her to visit her Congresswoman. Jared Loughner shot her after putting a bullet through his elected Representative’s head.

Incomprehensible is right. It’s tough to wait for an answer to the big why of it all. Worse yet, we may never fully understand why. And with this child gone, there is absolutely no justification of the event. It’s not possible.