FACTOID: For what the Iraq War has and will cost the United States we could have more than halfway reached the goal of sustainable clean energy utilizing wind, solar, and hydroelectric. Now lets just toss in the cost of the war we are still waging in Afghanistan, the longest war in the nation’s history, and we may not be having the current argument about fracking.
Richard Dawkins, an avowed atheist, recently expressed that, “ultimately said he believed that religious fanatics with access to the most destructive products of science posed the biggest danger to human civilization.” Hearing this many Americans would equate it with a nuclear armed Islamic radical. But just consider a president Michele Bachmann or Rick Santorum with their finger on the trigger of America’s nuclear arsenal. There’s also no shortage of irony in these science deniers employing the weaponry of science to wipe out our foes.
My parents preached that the only means for my brother and I to attain a decent life for ourselves was to get an education. For a many years I simply discounted and/or ignored their advice. By the time I the US Navy was through with me I had more than matured a little. Armed with that maturity I decided to heed the advice of my parents and go looking for a college door that was willing to open for me.
The more I studied world history the more convinced I became that the single most important factor that dragged us out of the Middle-Ages was advancements in knowledge, especially scientific knowledge. Most of us no longer die at age of forty or believe that the earth is at the center of the universe. If cancer and other plagues are to be conquered it will be advancements in science and medicine that does it. Not some primitive voodoo priestess conjuring up ritual spells.
If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or some other social network you really don’t need any suggestions on how to waste your time, you’re already there. But, just in case you still need ideas here’s one you may take a liking to. A constantly updated view of the earth taken from the International Space Station. In the time it took me to study the website and type this paragraph the ISS traveled from the open North Atlantic, West of Ireland to Bulgaria. Traveling at 17,143 MPH it is now over Saudi Arabia. Click HERE to visit the ISS site.
I recently had lunch with a former student who has lived for many years in the Pacific Northwest. She and her husband were back in Ohio visiting relatives and during our conversation she ask, “Where did all the lightning bugs go?”
Having not given the subject much thought it did prompt me to think that lightning bugs do not seem as prominent as they once were. Thinking back I can recall the air over a soybean field being totally aglow with fireflies on a warm summer night. We could look out our living room windows and see dozens of lit up bug tails in the clearing of our woods.
These days, now that I’ve begun paying attention while taking the dog out at night, I only see the occasional flicker among the trees and bushes in our yard. So, I did a quick Google and discovered that lightning bugs are indeed an endangered specie. It is believed by some scientists they will be extinct within the next forty to sixty years.
The major factors threatening them is loss of habitat and light pollution. I’d probably add wide-spread use of insecticides and too many kids stuffing too many bugs into too many mayonnaise jars to the list.
Read more on lightning bugs and what you can do to help ensure their future. Click HERE.
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Supper at The Jetsons was a robotic maid pushing a few buttons and out popped a ready to eat meal. Possibly we’ve taken another step in that direction, the world’s first test tube hamburger. Actually there isn’t too much new about this, McDonald’s has been selling laboratory meat for years. They call it the McRib. Check out this brief story and video from BBC News.
Where’s the beef?
“In this case, “it tastes like meat” counts as a ringing endorsement. Food critics sat down to taste the world’s first lab-grown burger and concluded that it’s a little bland, very lean, but tastes like a burger. “This is meat to me,” said Austrian critic Hanni Ruetzer. The burger is an attempt by researchers to find a more sustainable way to meet the growing demand for meat. Scientists from the Netherlands’s Maastricht University, with funding from Google’s Sergey Brin, took stem cells from a cow and turned them into strips of muscle and then combined them into a patty. But if it’s going to be the food of the future, the price will have to come down: this one cost $300,000.”
Back in the 1960s there was a best-selling novel titled, The Chapman Report. It was based on an actual study of human sexuality conducted by the Kinsey Institute resulting in the issuing of The Kinsey Report, a study revealing what was actually taking place in America’s bedrooms. This morning I read that the Kinsey Institute has a new smartphone app available that will allow people to voluntarily take part in ongoing studies via their phone. All I can say is that doing so certainly wouldn’t raise my phone bill!
On a hot July, 1969 evening I took a small black and white TV to my night job at a gas station in Whittier, California. Like maybe billions of other people I wanted to witness something that had never happened in the history of all mankind, a human footprint being pressed into the surface of the moon.
Sometime during the night I sat alone in the station’s sales room watching fellow Ohioan, Neil Armstrong, take that, “…one giant leap for mankind.” A few minutes later I walked out to the parking lot and stared at the moon trying to grasp the reality that there was one of us bounding around up there gathering rocks. For people of my generation this was another of those, where were you moments.
That fall I began my senior year as a history major at Cal-State Fullerton. For an oral history project I took an inexpensive tape recorder and conducted an interview series of Continue reading One Small Step and a $100 for Me!
Listening to a recent discussion about presidential politics my ear was caught by a policy statement made by the Romney campaign.
“Mitt Romney believes it is a time for a new approach to ensure our nation’s energy independence. He will allow the wind credit to expire, end the stimulus boondoggles, and create a level playing field on which all sources of energy can compete on their merits.”
While much could be said about this position it at least needs to be ask, how would this level the playing field? How would pulling the rug out from under wind energy allow it to Continue reading There’s an Ill Wind Blowing for Wind
Here’s an awesome story about Greenfield ex-patriot, Dana Kennedy, coming face to face with the person who inspired his educational pursuits.
Click HERE for Dana’s story.
Many years ago there was a popular radio journalist named Gabriel Heatter who opened every broadcast with the phrase, “There’s good news tonight.” Paraphrasing Heatter, the best I can say is there’s mixed news tonight for both liberals and conservatives.
Liberals will enjoy, and conservatives will detest, a report appearing on Huffington Post claiming prejudice and conservative people have lower IQs than liberals. Of course, we liberals have always known this. The complete HP story may be read by Continue reading Mixed News for Liberals & Conservatives
A new scientific study estimates there are 8.7 million species on the earth and only about 14% have been identified. You know, we humans really don’t know everything.