Friday, October 4, 2013

I’m starting this blog with this pic because of two things: one, it is a very cool pic and
two, it is a new and novel way of looking at reality. That is, giving up space and time as fundamental constituents of nature and figuring out how the Big Bang and cosmological evolution of the universe arose out of pure geometry. Does this not remind one of the great Pythagoras (c. 580-500 BC)? And where did he get his IDEAS – Ancient Egypt of course, the birthplace of arcane knowledge. Check out the article for details.

“I do not need to wait until I am removed from the things around me in the physical world to gain entry into the spirit realm. I already exist and live in the latter much more truly than in the former. Heaven does not lie beyond the grave; it is here already, pervading all of nature, and its light rises in every pure heart.”

Johann Fichte, 19th century German philosopher. This guy is well worth reading.

This is not far off either from some of the ideas shared by one of my very favorite scientist/humanists, CarL Sagan. In 1980 I received a personal hand written letter from Dr. Sagan encouraging me to continue my efforts to present the “other side” of science through my institute, MioSah.

Ah Carl, we could so use you now.

“Science is acquired at great expense, by frequent vigils, by great expenditure of time, by sedulous (dedicated) diligence of labor, by vehement application of mind.”
Alexander Neckam 1200 AD

A bit of levity in my day yesterday – a gecko fell on my head. I was hatless so it was a very tactile experience. It was as surprised as I was. It has certainly been a year for The Reptile People – they are everywhere!
On the 8th of Sept. I went out on a very flat day to The WZ. I enjoyed my usual commune with the Sacred Directions and then started back in. About half way in I heard a blow. Sounded like a whale but I couldn’t be sure. I scanned the horizon behind me and saw to the north what appeared to be a large herd of dolphin coming my way. I figured that’s what I had heard so I turned around and started back for an intercept. As I am paddling strongly to the north I suddenly hear the blow again and no question this time, it's a whale!! It is to the south of me but I am on the right track to intercept it also. It is a big whale and damn, it’s a Blue – HOOHAH! So I start paddling towards the dolphins but am focused on a path that will take me in front of the whale. Before the whale surfaces again I am surrounded by about 100 Bottle Nose dolphin and I can’t decide what to do – dive in with the dolphins and have a certain encounter or stay afloat and wait for the whale. I decide to go in – great swim with lots of dolphins but alas I did miss the next surfacing of the whale. I figure it went north so I continue in that direction until I tire and then head back to my haul out. As I come within a ½ mile of my haul out – foosh – the whale blows just north of me and maybe a ¼ mile away. I paddle like crazy and reach the slick left by his dive and continue in the direction I am sure it is going. After about a mile and no whale I have to give up and as I turn once again to head home it blows, but way east. Oh well – great exercise!

Mother introducing calf to human
No, this is not me but I will say this: THREE TIMES I have been in EXACTLY this situation with a mom/calf pair. This close and/or closer – I even wear a white shirt like his when I dive. When I saw this I thought, “who the hell was in the water that day with me to get this shot”. Well, like I said it’s NOT me but I can say with all respect and honesty – been there!! I add that in all three cases the mother stayed on the other side of the calf from me so that the calf and I had a VERY CLOSE encounter. I was/am honored to have been trusted in this fashion.

On the 11th while swimming my laps over the reef I came across this guy – a Spotted Eagle Ray. They are capable of a strongly toxic sting if they get you with the base of their tail – best to stay clear.

Spotted Eagle Ray, I've only seen a half dozen of these guys - beautiful.

I just finished reading yet another Stephen King book ( I thought I had read them all). Oddly enough it turned out to be his first novel “The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower I”. Enjoyable read but nothing, as expected, compared to his later works. Nonetheless a few quotes from the gunslinger himself:

"The greatest mystery the universe offers is not life but size".

"Only equals speak the truth, friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of regard".

"He was lonely but did not find loneliness a bad or ignoble thing".

9/13: on this day in 1992, Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African American woman to travel through space. She served as Mission Specialist aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-47. “Good on ya mate”!! Read “The Help”  - Kathryn Stockett – 2009 for perspective. It is not about Mae and yet it is very much so.

Dr. Mae Jemison

And speaking of space travel, check this out. Homo sapiens has sent it’s message into DEEP SPACE – we are on the road. Believe me when I suggest that it is the height of arrogance to assume we are now going to “f**k up” The Galaxy – don’t panic!!

This is a little closer to home – Hurricane Manuel (9/18) as seen from my bluff as it rolled along the mainland side of The Sea of Cortez heading north. We were gifted with rain and were spared the devastation on the mainland.

Pic taken from the patio of Alex and Leslie Cook, my good neighbors

I also just finished Vol. IV of Durant’s epic series (books not TV) “The Story of Civilization”. It was titled “The Age of faith”. It certainly reinforced my belief that Judeo-Christian-Muslim religions have perpetrated more violence, greed and discord in the world than any other factors combined.

“There are few things in the world as unpopular as the truth.”
“Inquiry is fatal to Certainty”.

Will Durant

Bottom line for me!

Some of you may have an interest in the possible past existence of a large island body that sank in mid Atlantic thousands of years ago. Popularly called “Atlantis” and seen by most as simply myth (not unlike the Judeo-Christian-Muslim myths) but by others as a reasonable conjecture if you have any knowledge of plate tectonics, geography, ancient history, marine archeology and economics. This is an article that may be of interest. Do not pay any attention to the website photo, it is photo shopped but this is worth perusing – after all, you don’t even have to go to the library!

Iceland is taking a quota of 154 Fin Whales this year. Almost all of the body pieces are going to Japan – hard to believe.

On a more positive note check out this photo taken by a new friend, Peter, who studies the North Atlantic humpbacks that breed in the waters of The Dominican Republic. He swims with them too, as is evidenced by this picture!!

He called this shot "Whale Soup" - For other reasons than The Japanese might! Notice how the pectoral fins are white on the upper surface - my Pacific humpbacks have the white on the under surface (not 100% though)

Speaking of breeding, here is a shot of the tracks of a female Hawksbill Sea Turtle coming up the beach in front of my place to lay her eggs. I’m not sure if she was successful but I have done all I can to hide the nest from dogs and poachers. These turtles are “critically endangered”.

A few days before I had come across one on the reef and got these shots – could be the same one.

On the 22nd I was doing my laps over the reef and suddenly a single baby Golden Jack started swimming inches from my mask. It stayed with me for the entire 30 laps and didn’t leave until I climbed back up on my kayak. I love it, “All Creatures great and Small”, eh!

There's the little guy!

It’s a good thing I walk barefoot everywhere. The other day I stepped right on top of a Desert Horned Lizard. If I hadn’t felt it, I would have squished it. My foot came up right away and it scampered off before I could get a picture.

Here’s some news on the astronomy front. When I was very young there were two things that really, really interested me: Egypt and Astronomy.......and The French Foreign Legion, so here’s some interesting stuff.

Future Mars explorers may be able to get all the water they need out of the red dirt beneath their boots, a new study suggests. NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has found that surface soil on the Red Planet contains 2 percent water by weight. That means astronaut pioneers could extract roughly 2 pints (1 liter) of water out of every cubic foot (0.03 cubic meters) of Martian dirt they dig up, scientists said. Having readily available water where ever we go is crucial to success in space, so this is GOOD news.

HISTORY IN THE HEADLINES: This week, NASA released images of the first cloud map of any planet beyond our solar system. The planet, known as Kepler-7b, is one of more than 150 exoplanets discovered by the Kepler telescope, and lies about 1,000 light years away from Earth.

Jupiter on the right, Kepler - 7b on the left

A nearby alien planet six times the size of the Earth is covered with a water-rich atmosphere that includes a strange "plasma form" of water, scientists say. Astronomers have determined that the atmosphere of super-Earth Gliese 1214 b is likely water-rich. However, this exoplanet is no Earth twin. The high temperature and density of the planet give it an atmosphere that differs dramatically from Earth.

I assume the right to add just a few words regarding the state of things. I am personally happier than I have ever been since I was 10 so if the following sounds dark, believe me it’s not because I am distressed – just annoyed, ie: the “shut down” etc.

On the last page of my PhD dissertation (available on my website and focuses on higher education) there is a Calvin and Hobbs cartoon set. I considered it apropos of the intent of that dissertation. Here again is Calvin and Hobbs with a very serious message – once again, apropos!

"The soul of another is a dark forest in which one must tread carefully".
Claude Debussy

And finally – that which will make the difference!!

Hope to see many of you at my Ukiah lecture on Oct. 27th .

This is a ticketed event, check with the Playhouse or Doublewide Productions