Friday, July 27, 2007

August MARS Hoax Is Back

The rest of July will have some not too visible meteor showers, what's really more interesting is what most refer to as the "August Mars Hoax".  It started up again in 2003, where emails are sent out telling people that in August (the month of Mars) it will appear as full and bright as the moon, which of course is utter nonsense, and very unfair to people wanting accurate information.  I get "Sky and Telescope" along with my star charts and almanacs, plus a host of other sources to insure my information is always accurate.  So things like this make me wonder how they could still happen.

In 2003, Mars had an exceptionally favorable opposition (to Earth) coming close enough to this planet to appear only 25 arcseconds wide.  By comparison, Mars is 7" wide right now.  It will grow to almost 16" wide during its December opposition.

Someone noted  (now get this) that by magnifying your scope 75x it would make Mars look as big in the eyepiece as the Moon does, UNmagnified.  As true as that is, is doesn't MEAN anything!  And after a few emails, people started leaving out the "75x" part so ... there you have the August Mars Hoax.  This only happens in August because of the opposition.

Just clearing up a cruel hoax - more skywatcher posts to follow! 


Monday, July 23, 2007

Even in Sleep

Here they are again - nightmares.  Never leave me in peace, all my life it seems, over and over.  Always the same, always cutting deep and slamming hard into my mind.  It'll never stop, I know that now.

The other night I managed a few hours rest, after falling back into that damnable depressed state that returns even in your sleep.  The depression you thought you'd never have again, the killer kind.  This nightmare was simple:  My Father, God rest his dear, generous soul, is giving things to all my 7 siblings.  A new horse.  Money.  Something else, I can't remember.  I'm a homeless, hungry person with no one, I look to him with questioning eyes, in my baggy pants I can't hold up because I've become too thin. 

"Aren't I your daughter, too?  Don't I matter?"  He says something about making a decision, I can't remember.  But I feel so damn neglected, so abandoned, so useless to anyone.  In truth, the reality is my Father was incredibly loving, overly generous, went out of his way to mend anything he felt was broken.  I think that included me.  Yet something tells me I should've been allowed to stay broken, perhaps I would've learned - what?  I can't remember. 

Last night it was somewhat similar.  Again, it's my childhood home, again my Father is there.  But I know he'd dead, how could he be mowing the lawn like this?  The grass is very green and knee-high.  He's going back and forth, in rows, just like he always did.  My brother Ricky, who he spoiled beyond words, is there asking for money.  He gets it.  I don't want any, I want to talk to my Father, find out what he's doing here, he's supposed to be dead.  I come up and capture his eyes with mine, pleadingly.  Then I say it.


I feel I'm asking him why is he here, and not in heaven.  Yet this is our subconscious taking over, isn't it.  This is a dream, a nightmare, it's the brain processing something.  Maybe that question means something else ...

I can't understand his words, he's explaining something to me and I can't get it.  What language is this?  What?  What?  He's talking and I can't make sense of anything.  He goes back to mowing the lawn. 

Again, I wake in tears, confused, sad, alone. 

Friday, July 20, 2007

Worth Repeating

                            " LONG - DISTANCE LOVE "

A heart as full as vessels hold,

     I hold you as I can -

though miles conspire to separate,

     I write to you again.

The gift of words will last a life,

     be they harsh or kind -

for once the eyes do take them in

     they're branded on the mind.

And sweet are those I get from you,

     a faith in me, I sense -

It's truly earned in all I feel

     to ease you when you're tense.

Though try I do, to find a way,

     I stumble at each start

in dealing with my other side

     who keeps herself apart.

Oh don't let's speak of that, my dear,

     I've all this love to spill -

And we shall triumph in our time,

     until these clocks do still.

csr  5/14/06





Definition of Stress Limits

This must be what DSL stands for, yes?  "Definition of Stress Limits.  I have yet to fully install it and incredibly, am enduring nothing but problems.  First Verizon says it will be "activated" and ready to install on the 30th.  I then get a call yesterday to "go ahead and install it, it's activated."  So of course, believingly I do.  IT DOES NOT WORK.  And when I uninstall it to try and regain my dinosaur dial-up, I have no dial-tone.  Gone.  In the Twilight Zone.  By jerry-rigging the phone, I'm able to call Verizon and tell them the troubles, they say "it was a mistake, wait till the 30th."  Okay, I can live with that.  So I mistakenly thought.  

This morning I get a recorded call AGAIN from Verizon saying "go ahead, it's activated, install your DSL".  Yeah right.  This time I call Verizon back and ask if that's a bona fide call.  Once again, they tell me of their "mistake" and to "just ignore everything we say and wait until the 30th."  I'd like to ignore alot more than that.

My question:  Is DSL worth it once it's up and running?  Better still, does anyone have it up and running?  Does it work fine, all the time?  All I hear are complaints.  I can't afford cable, and DSL is only $15 a month with no payment to AOL.  Sounds reasonable, but not at the expense of my online sanity, which when gone, affects my entire outlook just as it does most of you.  So.  Should I venture into the stress of DSL or can anyone say anything nice about it?  I thank you.       

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Humbly Doing A Re-Think

It's very difficult to ignore the 800-lb. gorilla in your living room, especially if you put it there yourself.  So I'm venturing, very gently, into those rough waters I entered a post ago with asking why not come home now, from Iraq.  Most especially to Cyndylou, who took alot of intelligent time and trouble to explain her point (Cyndy are you reading this?  Someone tell Cyndy to drop over here, I want her to see this, it's important, her words are important). 

In these pages I express my views, I never expect full or even partial agreement on anything.  If so many of the people I care for and respect in this place are in favor of continued fighting, it propels me to think and re-think, to gather facts and stats, to educate myself more fully about the subject I'm addressing.  This one's war.  It's not worth losing friends over.  Note 8/8/07:  A very dear friend pointed out the incredible faux pas I made here.  Indeed, war does cause people to lose alot more than friends.    

Cyndy, I would never say something for "sound bite" effect, as you intimate.  I truly meant what I expressed, just as I know you did.  Though I'm not sure who you thought I was, you now feel I'm not that person.  I assure you, the same person I was yesterday is tapping this out now.

For me, when something like this happens, it's time to examine my views and be sure, very sure of them as it seems to raise many hackles, and though I welcome differening expressions and views I definitely have a high distaste for the separation of people based solely on their political or ethical points of view.  I don't want you to state your peace then turn away.  You have something I can learn from, ALL OF YOU, as I learn from everyone who does me the honor of gracing these pages with their comments.

Give me more facts.  Give me something more than "we have to finish what they started".  To me, from where I see it this war doesn't have a direction or goal, a purpose, a long-view, nothing.  So I ask that you help me understand why wemust stay in Iraq.  Then I'll drop it.     

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Future Is All In Your Head

This is something I've wanted to address many times, but thought it rather ponderous for a public Journal. Maybe you won't, so with my faith in your interest intact, I'll continue.

How little of our brain matter do we use, about 12% if that? Many people who use a few percentages more are usually very psychic when tested, and PET scans (positron emission tomography, a "map" of the brain drawn by throwing positrons at it - like sonar) reveal many "hot spots" or active areas during certain thought patterns. For instance, when we sleep, a separate center of the brain is active. But when we dream in our sleep, it activates another entirely specialized part of the brain never used during our waking state, not even when day-dreaming. That's most likely because we're still conscious. At the Memonides Sleep Center in New York, a research facility I've been following with fascination for decades, testing has continually been taking place to map the parts of the brain that seem superfluous, unused, or "cold". Most everyone understands the topography of the brain, the different parts we know and what they're called. Our pre-and-frontal lobes, our dura section, our cerebellum, our basal ganglia (the spaghetti-like strands separating the left and right brain) et als. We have a "reptile" brain, a remnant of the evolving human body, not unlike our appendix which anthro-anatomists believe was once a larger more useful organ. This appendix "remnant" is now something that can hurt and/or kill the host body, so I've no doubt that in less than 25,000 years of natural evolution, the host will shed this piece of toxic tissue and it'll cease to develop in the womb. Nature makes full use of what it can, sheds what it cannot use, and evolves what it comes to see is needed. For instance, if we keep polluting, we'll develop larger lungs to filter this poison. Smaller nostrils to take in less of it. We may become shorter in stature because we've ceased having to "reach" for what we need, it's all there at eye level. With more people and their accutrements comes more noise, hence our inner ear may develop a kind of specialized sound filter. We may lose our outer ear tissue altogether. And I doubt I need explain what could happen to our rump if we continue to sit at computer terminals for eons.

Back to the brain - it would appear we still require our reptilian brain, the part that most call the "autonomic system"of commands and responses. Neural synapses that occur without our having to initiate or "command" them, i.e. our ability to inhale and exhale, and our heart beating.

So I'm wondering - if so little of the brain is functional, why is there so much of it? My first inclination was to think this spongey tissue was there to protect the fragile inner organs like the thalamus and hypothalamus, the adrenals, so important for a human experience of the world. Then I thought a little outside the box and imagined that, since the host has proven to be a body most efficient and wise in its self-preservation, perhaps this "extra" brain tissue is not extra at all. Perhaps it is there because, 1.) humans once used all of their brain capacity (unfounded and very improbable) or 2.) humans someday will use most if not all of their brain matter. Imagine it.

If people with telekinetic abilities have "hot spots" that show activity during specialized CT-scans, etc., could it be that some parts of our brain are meant for future use in our evolving body, perhaps to strengthen our psychic abilities or dare I think it, our paranormal and psi tendencies? What of this ability, telekinesis? I've seen experiments where people with great, intense inner faith move inanimate objects, like pencils, you have too. There's a Zen belief that if one meditates deeply enough, has incredible faith, they can move a mountain with only the power of their mind. Brain power. Faith. Why not. There's so little we actually know for certain about what these over-large, cumbersome, incredibly complex organs can do, so why not a future use for what we don't use now? Again, nature uses what it has, and unless sheds it, eventually uses it all.

Could a certain percentage of unused brain matter be weapon-like? Will humans evolve the ability to "think" an enemy to death? The implantation of an idea, using evolved high-level thought power. Nothing new. Certainly we're well-conversed with subliminal messages, implanted thoughts and ideas we're not aware are happening. Like in commercials. You see an ad for a big fast-food chain and as you're watching this tripe, you don't see the super-fast blip on the screen "YOU ARE VERY HUNGRY". When these clips were slowed down, alas there they were, subliminal messages purposefully (and very criminally) injected into commercials to entice the buyer into buying more. This is, of course, illegal. It's still done, only with more subtlety and it works. Once again, the human brain fascinates and confounds.

If I were able to use, say, a tremendous 25% of my brain, that's still only l/4th of the whole. Yet imagine what might be possible! Perhaps my speech center would be so far advanced that I didn't need to speak when conveying a thought. Which would mean someone I was "talking" to would "know" my thoughts almost immediately without having to "hear" them. That means the hearing center of the brain would be extra hyper-involved, so what use the human ear? Will evolution dispose of that in some future era? Agreed, some of the prospects don't sound as progressive or even welcome. I love the language of speech, of words, that's partly why I'm here tapping away in this strange new land of public Journals, not quite a diary, certainly not private, my thoughts and ideas set out for all to inspect, critique, shun, argue with ... look at allwe risk by putting thought to public scrutinity! Yet we continue to do it, and why? These brains! I believe totally that we're compelled to disclose our most mundane, and most exciting, intimate ideas and acts. What part of the brain is more active during the posting of a Journal entry I wonder? Yes, it's as silly and simple as that. Something to do with curiosity perhaps? Or the need for emotional connection with another human? All originate in the brain. In fact the legal definition of death is when the brain ceases to release a signal. I've seen it. Brain-death is actual death. Our heart and lungs can cease yet by hooking the host to specialized machines, as long as the brain puts out a signal, we're considered to be alive. Interesting. Especially considering it was the evolved brain which developed those machines to begin with.

With so much more to say on this subject, I need to relate this one special thought: (see? Thought! Brain again). THE HUMAN BRAIN IS THE ONLY ORGAN WHICH CAN CONTEMPLATE ITSELF. Think about it. And while you are, remember that as you're thinking, you're using the very organ your thinking about to think about it. Get it?


Time To Come Home

Now that we know al Qaeda is more entrenched, organized, weathier, deadlier, and prospering in greater numbers than before 9/11, isn't it time to come home?  If something only gets stronger the more you fight against it, stop fighting against it.  Let's come home now.   

Friday, July 13, 2007

My @*#&$^# Aching Back !!

This is a story about anthropology, anatomy and evolution.  If any of those subjects make you cringe, you may exit now.  But I'll know you were here and might have hurt feelings!  Hey you're in this far, why not stay?

Once upon a long, long time ago, there existed an ape-like creature called Australopithecus.  We're not interested in him, let's skip a few hundred thousand years to the time of homo-creatures, or all things man.  By that I mean of course, all things hu-man.  Calm down, ladies lol.

Here's this apish-looking man, definitely in the human branch of our evolutionary tree - his name is Homo Habilis or "handy man" and like his forebears he's a good hunter, his mate is a very good gatherer, yet they still walk mostly on their knuckles since it feels right and fits their anatomyHabilis was the "tool-maker" the inventor, the curious one.  His ancestors had already discovered the benefit of living in groups so he was very socialized, not unlike many other higher animals.  When he'd hunt for food for the commune (his family got first pickings) he'd drag the carcass back to the cave with his buddies.  So here and there, he would stand up.  He'd lift up his immense, heavy upper-body and peak out over the tall African savannah grasses, but drop himself back down because it didn't fit his skeletal structure to remain in that position.  But homo-habilis was, if anything, extremely curious, and you need only watch our ancestor ape the chimpanzee to get an idea of how curious.  (A quick aside:  all monkeys have tails, if there's no tail it's an ape, thank you for your patience.)

Most anthropologists believe that habilis continually tried to stand so he could eventually carry food better, and more of it, and in fact it was the female of this species who did the most standing.  She learned that if she carried food in her arms it wouldn't keep dropping, plus she could carry alot more, including the baby.  But as yet, evolving mankind at this stage in our evolution wasn't comfortable in an erect posture.  Predictably though, they kept trying anyway.  Here's another theory about that, one to which I ascribe completely:

Look at  Homo-sapiens sapien, that's us today.  The "wisest man".  Look at us, so darn curious, constantly building, digging, always seeking something more or better or just something elseWhat's over that horizon, we ask.  We gazed at the moon for eons before we insisted on creating the tools to put ourselves there.  Why did we have to stand on the moon anyway?  We can't help it, man has to keep searching, keep seeking answers, keep this over-huge brain stimulated, it's in our genes, our DNA, it's imprinted into our species.  Now we're busy mapping the universe!  So:  many believe habilis continually tried to stand, going against his very basic physical structure, just to see what was out there.  What new thing was lurking beyond the savannah?  He had to know.  Nothing could stop his impulse to find answers.      

After many tens of thousand of years, the skeletal frame of habilis started changing, dramatically but not quickly enough to coincide with his body shape.  By his repeated efforts to stand, he eventually did stand, getting off his knuckles to walk, and lo and behold became the great Homo-erectus.  This guy did everything standing.  He hunted, walked, ran, fought, thought, and prospered in a way his ancestors could not, because his arms and hands were now free to do more things.  Although habilis could work things out till he created something, erectus was more interested in utilizing his body to find an easier way to exist.  Hence the name, which leads to a very interesting fact:  

Any anatomist will tell you that the shape of our present-day spine goes entirely against the weight and placement of the rest of our body.  The muscles wrapped on our bones are too heavy.  Our heads are much too large.  Our upper body is too broad.  Our weight doesn't coincide with our skeleton.  Basically, mankind has evolved mentally and not enough physically.  We stood up too soon

The correct position, the most comfortable for us according to the placement of bone and muscle, is in a "C" shape, a quasi-bend.  All our lives we've been told to "stand up straight" and not to "ruin our posture".  This is baloney.  It hurts to stand up straight, as well it should since our skeleton can't hold all that weight properly.  Our spine is far too weak, hence the out-of proportion back pain we suffer with.  Don't you feel a little more comfortable when hunched over?  When your back hurts, as it invariably will, don't you "collapse" your body a bit to ease the pain?  That's entirely in keeping with how our spine should be shaped at this point in our evolving body.  Are you bored silly yet?  Amazing.

Since this over-large, mostly unused brain requires alot of protection, we possess a very heavy skull which enwraps it's fragility.  I have a theory about this "extra" brain tissue but because I know you have things to do, I'll leave it for another post.  It occurs that we're the only animal which brings forth its young in great pain, due entirely to this big head of ours.  Fascinating.

Now you know why your back hurts.  I wonder how we'll look in, say, 50,000 years?  And therein lies the reason for it all:  Man wonders ..... he has to know.       


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The World Ends - Again

What is it with those "repeater" dreams, always the same, the scenery, symbolism, people ... I have a few that return again and again, as if my sub-conscious is frantic to tell me (warn me?) of something.  Watch out.  Open your eyes.   

Did you know every time we sleep, we "rewire" our brains and wake up with a completely different brain pattern?  True.  We have to sleep it seems.  All animals sleep, even flies.  I saw an experiment about it.  And if deprived of sleep, we must make up for that time and I suspect we're definitely dreaming whether we remember or not.  I don't remember the Battle of Seville but it doesn't mean it didn't happen.  So we all dream.  All animals experience REM or rapid eye movement during sleep, especially the human animal.  It signifies active dreaming and occurs usually in the early hours before we wake - so that's when we dream.  What happens?  Why do some continuously repeat?

Scientists know that the hypothalamus is the center of basic memory retention.  Guess what part of the brain is most active during REM sleep?  Right, the hypothalamus now doesn't that speak to something?  Like, we dream about things that happened that day, or that month, or last year, all directly connected with the memory center.  Why is the brain trying to reinforce a memory of a past event?  And in such a symbolic way!  Some are pretty obvious.  And what about precognitive dreams?  How can the brain possibly process a memory of something that hasn't happened yet?  Could be that the space-time continuum is directly related and whatever we think of as past, present and future may be meaningless in the big picture.    

In one that I have regularly, the world is a wasteland where predators reign.  Something catastrophic happened.  Good people exist in small pockets of fright yet retain their values.  I'm always being chased, constantly, I'm never caught but I sense my predator is there, sense the threat, never ceasing for a second to- what?  Stop me?  Kill me?  I savor these dreams, I want to learn from them.  Yet every "expert" has a different explanation.  Whatever they mean, I know I'd be less self-aware without them. 

I like to program my dreams, too.  They call it "lucid" dreaming.  It's not always exact, sometimes the symbolism is very intense, but the dream invariably contains remnants of the program I set.  Does anyone else do this?  

Those "repeaters" come unbidden and many times not so welcome, but I truly feel I need every dream I have.  Whatever the reason, I just sense it must be important.       


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Liberty - A Joyous 4th

Inscription on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, PA:

"Let liberty ring throughout the land and to all its inhabitants thereof."

A little known fact is that the cracked bell was not an accident.  It was an extremely slight, barely noticeable crease in the mold of the bell but it had already been set.  This small defect made it impossible to ring the bell without it making a "buzzing" sound.  So the artisans purposefully widened the crack to the size you see today, and inserted a support wedge so the bell could be rung properly.  The excess metal taken from the bell is considered "sacred" and is kept in a museum, though many wanted to make commemorative medals from it.  The widened crack we see today was actually made to save this great symbol of our liberty and freedom.  LONG MAY IT RING!!!