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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

You're blind in one eye, and can’t see out of the other!

Did you know that each of your eyes has a Blind Spot??

There is a spot on the retina of each of our eyes that literally can’t see anything at all. This blind spot is where the optic nerve is and there are no rods or cones there. Now, you normally don’t notice that there is a blind spot anywhere in your field of vision. That’s because your brain is filling in the gaps, so to speak. Try the following experiment to prove it to yourself.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What's YOUR Umwelt?

I wonder what reality would be like if only we could directly perceive more than the comparatively tiny bit of it we can actually perceive. But perhaps understanding my question is more important than its answer. And maybe, just maybe, the fact that we can indeed understand the question, and even begin to explore the answer, will allow us to at least begin to comprehend, if not conquer, “real” reality.

Friday, July 31, 2009

What's In A Color?

What's in a color?
Okay, now that I've drawn you in with a quirky question....   We all take a lot of things for granted in our daily lives. One of those things is color. Do you really know what it is?

Here are some thoughts about color that will hopefully make you think, and maybe encourage you to take a few less things for granted.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Look Up And See Into The Past

There's a curious thing about looking up, especially if you happen to be looking up at a clear, dark night sky - you can literally see into the past! Now, this applies to things in the sky other than clouds and bats - things like stars, planets, and galaxies.

But before we get to the crux of the matter, you have to realize that light travels at about 186,000 miles (300,000 km) per second - that would be about 7 times around the Earth in one second. Now, that's pretty fast, but not infinetly so. And since the distances we are considering are significantly greater than 186,000 miles, you can see that it is going to take time for light to travel those immense distances.

The Moon is about 240,000 miles (384,00 km) away. Divide that by 186,000 and you get the appromately 1.3 seconds that light takes to travel from the Moon to Earth. So that means whenever you look a the Moon, you are seeing it as it was 1.3 seconds ago. Well, that's not so bad, you say? Harumpn, Big deal!

But it gets better, really! When you look at the Sun, you are seeing it as it was about 8 minutes ago. Do the math: 93,000,000 miles (distance from Earth to the Sun) divided by 186,000 (speed of light per second) = 500 seconds = about 8.3 minutes. Keep in mind that the light you see Now actually left the Sun about 8.3 minutes ago and is just now getting to your eyes. So, when you see the Sun rise, it actually rose 8.3 minutes ago. And if the Sun were to suddenly go supernova, we wouldn't know it until 8.3 minutes later because the light from the supernova event would take over 8 minutes to get here.

But we're not going to stop here,... because it just keeps getting sooo much better.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


Yup, most of us know the old adage that when we assume, we make an ass of you and me - you know, ass-u-me. But some of the assumptions we fall prey to are particularly insidious because we aren't even aware that we are making an assumption. Sometimes we run across things that raise our eyebrows and even amaze or astound us, and that raise our suspicions immediately. But those suspicions are fought down as we stare at the apparent evidence right in front of our eyes.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Evolution - Back to Basics

Okay, it's time to get back to the basics of evolution, folks!

The word evolution is seeing the light of day more and more these days as the debates about evolution vs. creationism and science vs. religion, ratchet upward in public arenas like school curricula, government, churches, newspapers, magazines, and Internet forums, blogs, and websites. But what an awful lot of people are missing, is a basic understanding of just what evolution is, how it works, what it says about how life evolves from simpler lifeforms, and what it doesn't say about how life began on Earth to begin with. So, this blog entry is devoted to clarifying and simplifying evolution for the masses, for the average Joe-Schmoe, and for even for some “experts” that still get things screwed up when they talk about evolution.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Equal Marriage Rights for Gays?

As the debate rages on in the U.S. between legalizing gay marriage and banning it altogether, there is one point that needs to be made – a point that I have yet to hear either side make. It's a really critical point of clarification and is basic to the issue at hand. Now, before I make that point, please understand that I am taking no sides here, and I'm not a gay hater or even a gay disliker. So don't flame me as such.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


[The Helix Nebula - courtesy of NASA and The Hubble Space Telescope]

The photo above is also sometimes referred to as The Eye Of God. While it's an inspiring image to say the least, and perhaps it might lead a religious person to think of God, I've shown it here because it inspires me to comment on life in the universe and here on Earth as a result of, not God, but Man's efforts to create life from scratch and find it elsewhere in the universe besides Earth.

Just a few months ago there was an amazing development in science. Here are a couple of quotes from LiveScience:
"Now scientists have created something in the lab that is tantalizingly close to what might have happened. It's not life, they stress, but it certainly gives the science community a whole new data set to chew on.

The researchers, at the Scripps Research Institute, created molecules that self-replicate and even evolve and compete to win or lose. If that sounds exactly like life, read on to learn the controversial and thin distinction."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Just How Important Do You Think You Are?

At Left: Hubble Space Telescope image of the Large Magellanic Cloud, nearby galaxy of our own Milky Way

As of March 7, 2009 there are approximately 6.76 billion people on Earth. And over 300 planets outside our own Solar System (exoplanets) have been discovered - all within our own galaxy, the Milky Way. And we are just now scratching the surface of possible planets out there. Recently, unbelievable as it sounds, we have even confirmed the discovery of a planet in another galaxy (extragalactic planet) - the Andromeda galaxy, nearby to our own Milky Way!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Say What You Mean, and Mean What You Say!

"I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful one-hundred percent." -- Horton the elephant [Horton Hatches the Egg, by Dr. Suess, 1942]
Saying what you mean, and meaning what you say is a topic I have obsessed about in the past, having used the highlighted quote at the top many times and apparently erroneously attributed to Horton the elephant. But after a bit of research, it appears that what Horton really said is a bit different, as quoted and attributed above, hopefully correctly. However the meaning is clear either way, and that's what this particular blog is about, not Horton, or elephants.
I've always had the strong conviction that if you're going to say something, mean it, or else don't say it. And say what you mean for Pete's sake - take a second or two to put your brain in gear before putting your mouth in action! If there's something that irritates me during a conversation, it's when someone just blathers on without the slightest regard for the value of choosing their words in any particularly thoughtful way.

The Truth Is Out There, but so is a lot of other nonsense!

The title of this post pretty much sums up my experience of life so far. I was having a discussion around a campfire with friends one night and I happened to comment that one of the purposes I'd chosen for my life was to seek out the truth of life and existence. And wouldn't you know, somebody asked me "Well, what truth have you found?" I replied with "Oh, I've found very little, . . . but I HAVE found a whole lot of things that are NOT True!"