What it’s All About. (Well…some anyway; maybe not all.)

I was listening to Cormac Cullinan being interviewed on the radio (KBOO) about his book and movement “Wild Law”. Simply explained, I’d say he thinks we can (must!) save the biosphere and, therefor ourselves, by acknowledging the legal status and rights due nature; to expand beyond the definition of rights that only  relate to human dominance or property and make the interests of the elements of the natural living world themselves defensible by law. And while he and the interviewer seemed to mostly say what I was thinking I also want to add this:

The Earth is incredibly special. I know our species has spent many lives unlearning that concept and getting to the point where we can appreciate how insignificant we must be in this vast violent cosmos but that is to our credit. It is those giant leaps in consciousness and perspective that have elevated the value of the human race in the rest of creation.

Let MrKettle cut some corners for today and just give it too you straight: the entire universe co-arises. The underlying power that creates it is, ultimately, of a single motive. From an unchanging “place” of infinite energy, light, and possibility there manifest layers of ever increasing form and meaning until we get to the physical; the realm of universal limitation and constant change. There is a conservation but reconfiguration of behavioral elements at each stage.

Let’s look at our Earth for a second. Imagine a perfectly accurate model the size of a desk-top globe. It will look and feel totally smooth. You won’t be able to feel Mt Everest or the great trench in the Pacific. The biosphere, the layer in which all life and weather occur, reaches from two miles below the earth surface up to the highest clouds you’ve ever seen, will be microscopically thin. That’s where we live. That’s where we stay secure from space where is’s 285°F in the sun and -200°F in the shadows. Owing to the characteristics of the Earth’s gravity, atmosphere, and proximity to the Sun it has most of it’s surface covered with one of the rarest things in the universe; liquid water.

Next we’ll look at our moon. It’s oversized for the Earth. Created four and a half billion years ago when a small planet smashed into the Earth, it originally orbited just 13,000 miles from the Earth and gradually moved out to it’s current orbit of 238,000 miles. For now, when it is exactly between the Sun and the Earth, it perfectly blots out the solar fireball leaving the corona witnessable to the naked eyed viewer. A feature much rarer than water.

If the number of planets in a galaxy is about equal to the number of grains of sand in a dump truck, Earthlike planets ( we’ll have them be blue grains) will only number 3 to 7 grains. If we took about twenty dump trucks of sand and dumped them onto a lot, only one would have a moon doing eclipses like ours does and for a narrow space in time ( we’ll paint a yellow spot on that lucky grain that will fade out after awhile).

Choosing a grain at random in that lot on which to paint our fleeting yellow dot, what are the chances of choosing a blue grain? How about during the the one-half millionth of it’s life that humans exist? It can’t be a coincidence that all these elements are present together. They must be connected.

The most horrifying concept I’ve ever considered is that we could be the only sentient life in the universe.  No matter how you look at it, this life on Earth is very spacial.

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More Homework

When most of us go to bed it’s dark out. Before you get into bed, hopefully with the lights out – or not – point to the Sun. You may want to consult a clock if you’ve lost track of the time.

If you have a lot of difficulty figuring out where the Sun is you may be on the right track. It’s trickier than it may seem so you must do research during the day.

While standing on the planet’s surface, notice how the Earth relates to the Sun. Remember that the axis of our planet’s spin is tipped like that of a desktop globe. If it’s winter you’re tipped away from the sun. If it’s summer you’re tipped toward. If it’s in between, you’re in between and tipped to the side.

It might even help to imagine that you are the Sun and are holding the Earth in your hands, turning it around and – wo! – there is your body standing on the surface! What an opportunity to finish your homework in short order! Just rotate the Earth you’re holding about 180 degrees around it’s axis so you can’t see yourself and think of where your body will need to point to be pointing at you.

Keeping what you’ve learned in mind, return to the beginning.

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Your Homework

The Earth is a ball in space; awhirl in the sunlight. Where you are turns all the way around the world in only one day; exactly one day.  A coincidence? MrKettle thinks not!

Now, the next time you walk out onto the planet’s surface, open to the sky,  day or night, cloudy or not, determine which way the Earth is turning.

Allow yourself to feel the moving Earth under your feet as a reward. You can’t really feel it but let yourself have the experience anyway!

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Simple Climate Experiment

TRY THIS AT HOME!

From the safety of your own mind. And fear ye not global warming believers for we are truly in deep do-do.

While so many people are arguing and fighting about what’s happening or not happening to the Earth’s climate we can get a pretty good idea of what to expect from our current situation by looking at some rock solid examples. I refer to the four inner planets of our solar system. The “rocky” planets. The ones similar to Earth in type and proximity to the Sun. We’ve sent probes to all of them and the data is at least grossly accurate ( enough for our adventure) if not pretty dang accurate.

First let me point out a little something special that I hope any Scientists will pick up on ( I’m sure they know this): global warming  due to increased green house effect is really about heat retention.  Not about how hot it gets ( though that’s the ultimate problem) but about how cool it doesn’t get. Because varying solar heat output, geological cooling (more on that someday soon if you’re lucky), orbital variation and other varying climate influencing factors are all in play, temperature is not a good immediate indicator of change. If we want to know if global warming is happening, the good indicator is the difference between planetary daytime heat and nighttime heat. I’m sorry but I haven’t heard anybody mention it. (Somebody please let me know if there are any scientific studies or reports covering this.)

So on to our investigation. We can’t quickly change the Earth’s atmosphere to try different greenhouse scenarios in a well orchestrated  scientific experiment  but we can employ the kind of investigation used in such a situation: we compare things that are similar enough to get some kind of control of the comparison. (Jared Diamond employed this method in his great book “Guns, Germs, & Steel”   to analyze the impact of different environments on people by seeing what the impact was for one certain gene pool (Austronesian)  as they executed the most stupendous expansion in the history of the Earth over hundreds of years. From Easter Island to Madagascar.) Let’s go:

Mercury, closest to the sun, no atmosphere; daytime, 801°F /nighttime, -297°F

difference:     1,098°!

Venus, about twice as far from the sun, 93 times ( almost all CO2) the atmosphere of the Earth; daytime 860°F / nighttime…860°F!

difference:            0°

Earth, almost three times as far from the sun as Mercury; daytime 65°F / nighttime 50°F.

difference:           15°

Mars, just about four times as far from the sun as Mercury, 1% ( almost all CO2) the atmosphere of the Earth; daytime 1°F / nighttime -178°F.

difference:        179°

A bunch of things emerge from these comparisons. The most pertinent to our adventure is that: the more CO2 in the atmosphere, the less difference between daytime and nighttime. Even though Venus gets 1/4 the Sun’s intensity as Mercury does, it gets and stays hotter. Even though Mars gets only 1/16th the Solar intensity of Mercury (and has less than  3/100th s the CO2 of Earth), it doesn’t get as cold. Our beautiful Earth’s “just right” numbers are already close to the zero change range. At zero the heat will really start piling up and life will be “for it”. I mean to scare you. It’s kind of important. And I will continue to try to get you to realize how special our situation on Earth is.

But there is some value in studying deniers logic. My wife walked past as I was shaking salt into a pot of soup. “Don’t do that; you’ll make it too salty!” she said

I smiled and told her that there is no scientific study that I’m aware of that proves that salt makes soup salty unless it was by someone trying to get grant money for further study; that I’ve had soup that was too salty even though I’d not shaken salt into it; that there was no prior sampling that I knew of to show if the soup was getting saltier from my actions; and that finally, she had no right to tell me what to do with my own salt!

I made that up. She has enough of my stuff to put up with without logic like that.

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MrKettle Speaks Out!

MrKettle points out:

The physical universe is not the foundation of creation, it’s the final result; recreated every moment as a variation on what’s gone before.

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