Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dream Of The Sub-Saharan Spider

It is noonday on this hot, dry sandy plain as I crawl through the scrubby short grass toward my destination.  This is unusual for me, I am rarely seen in daytime, and never in any other part of the Sahara.  I am as nocturnal as my ancestors were for millions of years.  Yet here I am, out with the sun so dangerous to me, struggling to follow the scent of water riding on air currents coming from the high Africian mountains.  I have been forced from my deep-woods home early in the year by those seeking more wood and clear space.  But all I can focus on is my destination where I know I shall find water and shelter:  The Mountains of the Moon.

No human knows my name.  I have yet to be seen, and will go extinct before ever being discovered.   My closest cousin is the giant wolf-spider of the Ivory Coast.  Nomadic tribes who have passed through this place have never seen evidence of my existence.  Hopefully, death will come swiftly for me on wings I shall not see in time to scatter away, and the large birds that feast on my kind are also shrinking in number, for their main prey is disappearing fast.  Those who steal the forest seem heedless of all life but their own. 

They shall not prosper.

 

 

Life As Error

The soul smiles when there are problems and obstacles to conquer.  We live to learn, to create, to build, to repair.  A dying soul is the person with no inclination to do anything, for anyone. 

Monday, January 29, 2007

Continuing Tales from "Boring But True"

A bit more from "Boring But True" - but first, we pause now for station identification (lol if you're under 35 you won't recognize that - just baby-boomer trivia).

The brain can actually contemplate itself, and uses itself to do so.  No other organ can do that, think about it.  The brain knows more about itself than we ever will.   

The flowers of the fig tree actually grow inside the fruit.

There is no such animal as a "white" rhino, in color or fact.  It's a mispronunciation of "wide" which referred to the animals' mouth.  Some are very wide.  By the by, Rhinos have been here over 50 million years, hardly changing their look (except for a bit of wool).  We amazing humans haven't even made a half million yet - in fact, we barely made over a quarter million at 240,000,000 years.  And we're the smart ones. 

If global warming continues, within 30 years there will be no real ice left in the Arctic passage during the summer months.  

I'll be back (the most boring, but very true)! 

 

Jack and Jill And Other Paradoxes

Poor Jack and Jill. 

Jack and Jill was just an example to get your motor running.  Jill is a liar.  Jack, an honest dude, says, well, Jill you're a hooker.  Jill says, okay Jack, you're right, I'm a hooker.  But Jill lies, so....since Jack can't lie, I guess Jill is walking the streets. 

But if anyone can figure out that first paradox, I bow to you:  If the second statement says the first is true, and the first says the second is false, but the second says yeah but wait, I agree with the first statement - of course, I'm a false statement though.   So what the diddley am I?

For those valiant souls with a headache, on to the Tylenol and the next entry.  Quick!     

 

Friday, January 26, 2007

Startling Saturn

Prepare once again for a cosmic video show I promise will startle those of you who don't get this added advantage from AOL.  There are 12 breathtaking photos.  Have a gaze at the first lakes ever found outside earth.  How about a picture of Saturn eclipsing the sun?  Adjust your glasses and click on:    

                       Saturn Cassini Gallery - AOL Research & Learn

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tickle Your Brain

In the nicest of ways, I believe when you think more fully, you live more fully.  Here's something to furrow your brow, I hope you dare to really think about your answer:

``````````````````````````````````````````````

THE STATEMENT BELOW IS FALSE.

THE STATEMENT ABOVE IS TRUE.

WHICH STATEMENT IS TRUE?

``````````````````````````````````````````````

If you've though awhile, by now you're in a quandry.  I'll make up an example of what this entails:

`````````````````````````````````````````````

JACK CANNOT LIE.  JACK SAYS JILL IS A HOOKER.

JILL CANNOT TELL THE TRUTH.  JILL AGREES WITH JACK.

IS JILL A HOOKER?

`````````````````````````````````````````````

That example's a bit easier than the first puzzler, but I hope I've tickled your brain a bit.  Have a good think!

======================================

 

Sunday, January 21, 2007

More Tales From "Boring But True"

I have an entry dated May 16, 2006, called "BORING BUT TRUE" which I've added to now and again.  I think the whole post is worth repeating; besides I need to practice my typing.

                                     BORING BUT TRUE

All apes are left-handed.

A tiger has striped skin as well as fur.

We are born with more bones than we have now.

More people went bowling than voted in the last election.

The Universe has no center, no edges.

Humans are the only mammal born "unfinished."

Gays are allowed to adopt children, but not marry. (huh?)

There's a hockey fan (pay attention Donna) whose name is Stanley F. Cup.  Really!   

America has the most prisons on earth.

In China there are MORE PANDA than DOLPHINS.  The Yangtse and Yellow Rivers are so polluted you are susceptible to skin cancer just by touching it. 

Smoking will soon be outlawed in cars. 

Walking backward is healthier as exercise than forward.  Doesn't seem that healthy all-around though ...

California pols are lobbying for a bill that will make spanking or paddling a child under 4 a misdemeanor.  

The male seahorse becomes impregnanted and gives birth to the kiddies.  Within hours, the females detect the scent and immediately re-impregnant the male.  Poor guy.    

An unusual clam-like sea creature kills its prey by spewing out tiny replicas of itself which, when swallowed by the fish who thinks it's food, clamp themselves to the inner muscles and drain the fish of blood.  Holey moley. 

People will always tend to judge you based on the worst day of your life.         

The Sunday Funnies From Jerry

Well, my pal Jerry is back with some great jokes, and as usual, it's the actual things kids come out with that are funniest.  These are answers by elementary school children on the subject of why God made mothers.   

WHY DID GOD MAKE MOTHERS?

l.  She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.

2.  Mostly to clean the house.

3.  To help us get out of there when we're getting born.

HOW DID GOD MAKE MOTHERS?

l.  He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.

2.  Magic plus super-powers and alot of stirring.

3.  The same way He made me but with bigger parts.

WHAT INGREDIENTS ARE MOTHERS MADE OF?

l.   Out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world, and one dab of mean.

2.  They had to get their start from men's bones.  They mostly use string, I think.

WHY DID GOD GIVE YOU YOUR MOTHER AND NOT SOME OTHER MOTHER?

l.  We're related.

2.  God knew she likes me alot more than other people's moms like me.

WHAT KIND OF LITTLE GIRL WAS YOUR MOTHER?

l.  My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.

2.  I don't know cause I wasn't there but my guess would be, pretty bossy.

3.  They say she used to be nice.

WHAT DID MOM NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DAD BEFORE SHE MARRIED HIM?

l.  His last name.

2.  She had to know his backround, like, is he a cook?  Does he get drunk on beer?

3.  Does he make at least $800 a year?  Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

WHY DID YOUR MOM MARRY YOUR DAD?

l.  My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world and my mom eats alot.

2.  She got too old to do anything else with him.

3.  Grandma says that mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

WHO'S THE BOSS AT YOUR HOUSE?

l.  Mom doesn't want to be the boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.

2.  Mom.  You can tell by room inspection.  She sees the stuff under the bed.

3.  I guess mom is, but only because she has alot more to do than dad.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MOMS AND DADS?

l.  Moms work at work and work at home, and dads just go to work at work.   kids even get it ! ) 

2.  Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.

3.  Dads are taller and stronger, but moms have all the real power cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.

4.  Moms have magic.  They make you feel better without medicine.   ( awww... )

WHAT DOES YOUR MOTHER DO IN HER SPARE TIME?

l.  Mothers don't do spare time.

2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

WHAT WOULD IT TAKE TO MAKE YOUR MOM PERFECT?

l.  On the inside, she's already perfect.  On the outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.

2.  Diet.  You know, her hair.  I'd diet, maybe blue.

IF YOU COULD CHANGE ONE THING ABOUT YOUR MOM WHAT WOULD IT BE?

l.  She has this weird thing about keeping my room clean.  I'd get rid of that.

2.  I think I'd make my mom smarter.  Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.

3.  I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on her back.

                 And here's a little extra true story:

The Church congregation was hushed.  The preacher extended his arms and looked to the heavens with a rapturous expression, saying "Dear Lord, without You we are but dust ..."  A little girl paying close attention asked quite loudy, "Mommy, what's butt dust?"

Once again, thanks for the laughs Jerry :-)) !!

 

 

   

       

 

        

 

   

       

   

   

 

 

 

 

    

Monday, January 15, 2007

Just A Bit More So Our UK Pals Can See - Live Long And Prosper!

It's very clear everyone feels a pull toward space, a fascination, perhaps a remnant of ancient memory? Here's a link to where I'm able to find alot of additional information for my "space posts" and you'll be looking at pictures no one on earth can see without the most powerful telescope in space (not Hubble, too much trouble).  It's the Spitzer Spacescope and when you click on this AOL-supplied, 10-picture video show, feast your eyes on a star that went supernova 400 years ago, you can see what it looked like at the very moment!  See the "space snake" - gaze at the hundreds of thousands of stars at the center of our own Milky Way - watch a star forming in the constellation Casseopeia - a baby star nursery - and picture #6 is what it'll look like when our Milky Way "collides" with our closest galaxy, Andromeda.  PLEASE READ the caption to each picture if you would, it'll amaze you I promise. 

 Space Pictures: Amazing Images - AOL Research & Learn

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Sky of Miracles

The skies of 2007 are set to amaze us with the wonders of cosmic miracles.  And to our great advantage, at the peak of our meteor showers, the night sky will have no visible Moon and thereby make very visible what we usually can't see.  One other thing about the January Moon - it's known as "The Full Wolf Moon" of many a legend, and has been known to cause unusually strange behavior in what are usually quite normal, sedate living things.  But on to hard facts: 

We can look forward to four eclipses, a comet, an asteroid, meteor showers and much more.

We lost a comet in the solar glare of December, so no one really knows how its been brightening.  It reached perihelion the other day (the time when a planetary body is closest to the sun) and was well inside Mercury's orbit.  Who knows was will become of it.  But here's what we do know:

Four eclipses will take place this year, not all visible from one place.  First, a total eclipse of the Moon on the night of March 3, visible in the Northeast.  On August 28 another total lunar eclipse visible from most of the US and Canada.  Two weeks later, these lunar eclipses will be follwed by two partial solar eclipses, on March 19 and again on September 11.  These require telescopes.

Along the West Coast, a treat.  On April 17, an extremely young crescent moon, followed the very next month by great debates on what constitues a Blue Moon (which we just experienced early this month) because Americans will get to see the moon become full twice in May.

Saturn will be fantastic.  All this month, visible all night and every night, the ringed planet is a splendid sight for telescopes as it remains high in the evening sky for months. 

Venus is our brilliant "Evening Star" through July, passing through its stunning crescent phase, and in late August entering the morning sky. 

Mercury makes its best evening appearance the end of May for the Northern Hemisphere, again in the morning during the first half of November. 

Mars will grow in size to make a fine telescopic sight in December, its disc hovering between 15-16 arcseconds (trillionth of a second) across a month.

Here's a real looker:  2007 is the bicentennial year of the discovery of Vesta, the brightest of all asteroids, and will make one of its best showings ever.  By the end of May, Vesta shines at magnitude 5.4 and in a dark sky is visible unaided.  Look to the constellation Ophiuchus, where it will slip past the globular cluster M107 in that constellation.  This will amaze the most jaded.

Although I'll keep posting events a few days before they happen, I want to list what we're in for:  As  previously mentioned, at the highest point in the meteor showers this year, the Moon will not be visible in the night sky, making a very spectacular, clear sight indeed.  Any of these showers can produce dozens of these "shooting stars" each hour leading up to dawn.  Look for Lynids on April 23, the Perseids on August 13 (remember last year's Perseids?) Orionids on October 21, the Leonids on November 18, and the eagerly awaited Geminids on the night of December 13-14.  The Geminids are special because their progenitor, the comet that created them, Phaethon, will precede them in a flyby of earth December 10.  I just can't believe this is happening!

Pluto makes news again this year when it participates in one of the year's most anticipated occultations (blocking of light by a celestial body) on March 18 when it passes directly in front of a 14.9 magnitude star for all the major American Southwest observatories.  All the world's "big guns" will be trained on Pluto, hoping to learn more about its shrinking atmosphere as the sun's light fades, then returns into view.  Telescopes as small as 10" can share in this effort.

And don't miss some spectacular lunar occultations when the crescent moon occults the Pleiades star cluster for Northwestern America on March 22.  Then, on June 18, a thin sliver of a moon sneaks up on brilliant Venus in the Middle East.  On the very next night, in Southwestern USA, we can watch as the crescent moon will snuff out the bright star, Regulus.

There's so much going on in 2007.  I'll keep reminders posted a few days before the events, or you can just keep referring to this entry.  This is all very exciting to skywatchers.  The known Universe has no center, no edges.  It is a glorious gift and the cosmos is often referred to as "heavenly" which I won't debate.  Over half the population claims to feel "awe" when gazing at the moon.  They cannot explain it.  The "tides" of the liquid in our bodies are shifted by the pull of the moon, causing depressions and exhilarations alike.  Those born in the Cancer constellation experience great rushes of creative passion as well as what appear to be crazed acts during full and new moons.  Ask any policeman or ER worker.  This dusty rock, as some are satisfied to think of it, was once a part of this planet.  Not able to absorb suitable heat from the sun, for lack of gravity it could never retain water.  When the earth shattered and went through its eons of many phases, there is reason to believe the moon did as well, a remnant cast off and absorbed into our orbit.  Constantly bombarded by meteors, asteroids, and one so large we can see it from earth, its scarred surface looks much the same as it always did according to oldest records.  We now know water existed on Mars, in what Galelio Galeli described as canali.  Astrophysicists and paleontologists have found proof with the rocks of Jupiter and Saturn, thanks to the Heugens-Cassini project which also explored Jupiter's large moon, Titan.  But our little Luna will remain a mystery in the hearts of man, just as it always had.

The billions of quadrants containing billions of galaxies containing billions of stars containing billions of planets, and all the continual action occuring above our heads moment by moment ... I believe if I were ever to understand the Universe in full, I would faint dead away.

In wonder. 

Stats courtesy of Skywatcher, Palo Alto Journal, Sky & Telescope 

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A Worm In The Heart

No power on earth should be able to shake the foundation of love nurtured over the years in a family:  loyalty, care and concern, honesty, help whatever the cost.  Yet I've discovered how easily that nurtured foundation crumbles like wet sand when reading how many others also suffer separation from their own families.  I notice this fact is stated with a very pessimistic view, as if not expecting any communion at all with lost or long-gone family.  I think, then, of my own siblings, then everything hurts.

Sometimes, when misunderstandings become hurts, which become silent resentments, a worm grows in the heart, a kind of slithering slow destructive force eating away at all that was once so loving.  When you allow a worm to crawl through your feelings for those you know you love, the fight back to truth becomes harder, takes longer.  These are my simple opinions, after enduring a few months of the effects of that worm.  Yet I refused to accept such pain as a permanent solution to our deep troubles.

Talking is a cure for hurt feelings.  At the very least it's a way to finally get out into the open what's bothering your loved ones, what's causing such animosity.  If we continue to "run away" and nurse our wounds alone, we gain nothing of use and lose everything of value.  So I invited my siblings to gather over a meal (that always helps) try a few jams of the music we all love, and I knew that gradually they would speak for themselves if for no other reason than because they were all in one place.  It started slow, it continues still.  IT'S A BEGINNING.

I need to thank all of you for sharing the alienations in your own families.  With that of course I offer true hope that everyone finds a way to co-exist without having to remain apart.  I cannot foresee a worthwhile future without my siblings, and they feel the same.  So now comes the hard work, now comes the truth, the long-hidden resentments, the lies, misunderstandings, lost time to be made up for.  No matter what this brings, I look forward to it, embrace it, for it can only help when the real truth is revealed.

Here's to truth, here's to love, here's to the healing family.