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Is there such a thing

I have now thought long enough (from about age 13) about the cosmos that a whole unbelieveable series of events pops into my head when I try to think about the earth. Where did it come from? What has made it so suited for human life? How rare is it? Then, having become a landsczpe photographer, I find it incredablh beautiful (you can follow me in my photo wanderings at My Gallery and get a sense of what I have experienced. But now the news carries stories of tearing it down as if it were an old house.

For decades we have scarred the earth with strip mining, deforestation and now fracking. Is there nothing we will not do for money? The answer is no. The planet is under grave threat from too much carbon dioxide and yet oil barons promise to pump the last gallon of their reserves.

Then I think back to the beginning, to the instant when space and time came into existence. 10.78 billion years ago from the smallest space and time that can exist called a singularity (and commonly known as the big bang) a series of events, the time line of the universe from pure energy gave us protons, electrons, neutrons, quarks, then atoms of helium and hydrogen which gravity pulled into stars.

The collosal big bang left an afterglow, the cosmic background radiation. It is so weak,about 2.3°Kelvin that it takes a mind-boggling satellite years of following apath between the sun and earth to add up the energy of this glow. And it reveals the miro variations in the temperature of this glow that tell us of the galaxies that were formed because there were variations. Without the variations there would be no universe.


Enough to make dinner and dinasaurs

This all leading up to many more grand events called super novae which have the right composition and with the laws of physics being what they are explode in what is another creation, that of all the elements other than hydrogen and helium. Carbon, sodium, clorine, etc. etc. The whole periodic table.

When I study the timee-line of the universe I feel an inevitability. One stage follows another and then another until we have glaaxies, galactic clusters, and...solar systems. Suns of the right size with planets of the right size and composition and moons and it turns out that for us we have struck it rich.


Time for evolution to begin

The earth is a place to begin our existence and I make a calculation. From a partial list of seven (figure) necessary featires (and there are many more) it I assumme a 1% chance of each one )for example large planets such as Jupiter and Saturn that gather asteriods that would otherwise pummel the earth) the probabilithy of the existence of the earth is 10-14 or one in a hundred million million. Coincidently another scientist did a similar calculation for the conditions necessary for evolution and arrived at the same number. But you have to multiply them. The result is 10-28 or one in 10,000 trillion trillion.

Is the earth really that rare. Some scientiests think there are trillions of earths, but we have listened for radio signals for about 33 years and not detected anything that could come from intelligen beings.

So there you have it. Why I want to wring necks when the planet is demolished for one reason and one reason only and that is money. This was tolerable even 50 years ago, but we have reached the place where burning more fossil fuels will spell the end of life as we know it on this earth.


At The End Of The Day...

A Conclusion Of Sorts

There is an infinity of unanswered and probably unanswerable questions. You will have them scattered through the web site and may remember a few if you have read any of this.

However, there are still a couple I don’t remember asking.

My dear friend, magnificant friend and glorious photographer and stunning intellect parts company with me a bit. He tells me I am foolish for looking at the end points: the big bang in particular. I have no answer expect that I have been interested in it since age 11 or so, and cannot write on a subject like the destruction of the earth without putting the candle on the cake. Some significance is given to the earth and its people knowing of its spectacular origin. So I include the preamble at the very beginning. If you haven't clicked on it but are reading this, I urge you to do so. Then come back here.

Pulling a conclusion of any kind out of the mess that is human civilization is impossible. So I call it a conclusion of sorts.

As hunter gatherers we likely did a fair bit of fighting and I expect, given that we are all descended from the same Africians, that genes are within all of us to some degree to want to fight. However, at least some of us have declined to do so while others continue doing nothing else.

I remember that during the second very stupid and needless second Iraq war that the administrator in charge decided to dissolve the Iraq army, police and any other defence forces. This was a calamity since the only thing these men know how to do was fire a rifle. But now, without any restraints they began firing them and all sorts of mayhem followed. So my conclusion is that you do what you know how to do and of the things you know how to do what you do is what gives you the most joy and what bonds you to the people you know.

Hence scientists do science, muscians play music, cooks cook, hair-dressers dress hair, and so forth. Unless someone drafts them, this is what will occupy them and what will benefit their society.

Additionally, the more they know about life which might include some science, some knowledge of diciplines other than their speciality, some morality, some concepts, such as sentience and reciprocity and there is hope for a satisfying life, even a life with joy.

However, creating this kind of society is difficut. America tried it with stunning intelligence. However, I believe it is on the verge of failure, and that failure goess back to limitations on what the citizens learned. Virtually no scienc, nothing about our origins from the same racial source, the importance of reciprocity and a bit of economics.

Both these last two affect the vision of the economic drivers of our society that they are not racially superior and that they are dependent on an army of support personnel: drivers, drillers, dress-makers, dining room attendents, and droves of other discipines. And for them they should be grateful and be taught, from before leaving the womb, that with the power of their wealth they are responsible for sharing satisfaction and joy with their armies and that means they share their wealth and their attention that recognizes them as fellow human beings. Reciprocity. It is essential.

But there is one more part of this army. That which provides the underpinnings and resources and climate and that is the earth. Eyes wide open. Mind wide open. Awareness of consequences. For otherwise we will have flown our socity right into a box canyon and a crash with untold suffering will result.

We are all responsible for each of us, skin color being just vitamin D, and we are responsible for the earth. Otherwise all will end with nothing.

Thus we all share a genetic heritage? The map above shows how we migrated out of Africa and the one above that how we populated the rest of the the earth. It was only about 12,000 years ago that humans reached the trip of South America.

What is the lesson here? If you know this bit of ancient history then you think very carefully about other groups of people. There is no rational reasion why we sould all be at war? We look for reasons to fight. We blame problems on others. Put your clan together and start a business or a serivce to help others. Or whatever, but not AGAINST others. Oh Hell. Nobody listens to me anyway.

That the earth is dying under our feet because we have not been able to shed the space and time blinders of our ancestors?

Somehow we have failed to recornize our own discoveries and so are constantly at war with each other and with the environment. And we will end with the next great extermination because such men and politial parties as Donald Trump and his conversative followers and the wealth of our nation, failed to build relationashiups, but give in to the insecurities that psychooogy disceovered eons ago.

And so perhaps we will get our just desserts.

Although I do not believe in any particular religion I know that science can tell so much but not why I exist nor what is the process by which I sense my existence, a conundrum if ther ever was one.

The difference between business as usual and the rapid drop to achieve 1.5°C temperature increase appears to be huge and it is. The are many stories like the one in Time about positive efforts. However, achieving the rapid drop requires enormous changes world wide, I believe in the U.S. on the order of what it took to win World War II. At least a part of this is negative emissions and there is no coordinated effort to evaluate the different approaches. The is no World Authorty to oversee and predict.

There is a fundamental flaw in evaluations. This is not a science problem, it is too complex for science to be accurate enough soon enough and there are too many unpredictable variables.

One real question is whether we are going to have a healthy earth for our grandchildren. The second is the possibility of a horrible to try to live on planet, or even the possibility of an unlivable planet. There is no way to be certain of either.

This is, in my view a problem of risk analysis likely better suited to be done by engineers. Risk analysis begins by defining the worst possible outcome, and if that outcome is unacceptable, an uninhabitable earth, then every possible step must be taken to avoid it. We are not even close, and we are not even close to putting a good probability on a healthy, pleasant to live on planet for our grandchildren. In other words, we are taking an unacceptable risk. We are allowing companies such as Shell to judge their results by the bottom line even if they are taking positive steps. And we are allowing Exon/Mobil to promise to burn all their reserves of oil. The positive steps we are taken do not begin to sufficiently reduce the risk of catastrophe. That is the real story and it does not get the intense publicity it deserves, and so blind brains rule.

Thie is HighWay Robbery. The tribe of wealthy conservatives pulled a fast one on almost everyone. Low taxes and small government fooled those with less to give to those with more, a democrcy an life destroying coup that continues to this day with voter incapacitation by any means possible.

The New York Times Op-Ed piece: “Climate Change: Follow The Money” brought home a characteristic of humanity: the stronger the focus, the narrower the view. Goldman-Sachs and many other large financial firms are driving climate change by loaning to oil and coal companies. Each then reaps enormous financial rewards with no concern for collateral damage and makes the rapid progress we need impossible.

The rest of us suffer from seriously lacking education in science and civics as well as the huge difficulty of getting our arms around the complexity of climate change. And even if we did, there is no path that leads to salvation. The climate is on the verge of having a life of its own rather than being driving by carbon dioxide generated by humanity. The melting tundra will soon feed warming without our help.

We would expect that the president of the United States as in the past would lead us in attacking the problem, except Donald Trump is a very, very large part of the problem. If he is not re-elected, there is hope. If he is re-elected I, for once in my life, have nothing to propose. I fear for the earth and its inhabitants.

When I began work over two years ago I wanted to teach about the earth and how special it was, including how it became a part of the universe. At the time this seemed, in a somewhat spiritual sense, important. I am leaving the remainder of the material more or less intact except for cleaning up that which I was going to do anyway.

It is most important that if you can vote, that you cast your vote for the canidate with the strongest climate policy.

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