Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Astronaut, Jack Westermark, is the only survivor from a mission to Mars but is a changed man.
Lets say you and someone you know dying from an illness are playing chess in a beautiful house, lots of different rooms. In the middle of the play your friend sees how its going to end, he can't figure any way out, he resigns the game and goes off to explore the house. Does he/she think what happened was a tragedy? Is it a tragedy to you when he/she leaves? Now zoom back down to the chessboard but instead of playing the game you are the game. The chess pieces are named you, me, him, and her and instead of wood they are made out of flesh and blood and you've known each other all your life. Instead of squares there are houses and schools and streets and stores. Now the game turns so that the piece called "your friend" is taken. He/She disappears, completely off the board. Is that a tragedy? So the closer we get to the game and the more caught up in it we are, the more loss feels like tragedy. But loss is tragedy only for players, only when we forget it's chess we're playing, when we forget why, when we think our board is the only one that exists. The more we forget it's play, and we're the players, the more senseless living becomes. But life on earth is the same as baseball and fencing, as soon as the games over we remember I play because I love the sport! When you forget, all you have to do is float over the chessboard and look again.
Time was not, for it lay asleep in the infinite bosom of Duration.
Nature's acts are all cyclic and periodical, and her movements can best be described by moving circles ever returning on themselves. Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita refers to Himself as "Time matured" and speaks of the Universal Wheel of Time. But what is Time? We cannot see time; we cannot hear it, or smell it, or taste it; we cannot touch it! And yet no one doubts that time is and that it dominates our lives. Our every move is dictated by this most elusive and illusive factor—the time element. Its mystery has haunted human minds down the ages.
We speak of saving time and also of wasting it. We say time flies or time drags. And yet most people cannot say what time itself is! Our age is one of speed. We are constantly inventing mechanical devices to hasten all tasks and to traverse distances in space with ever-increasing speed. In a system based off of money people want to go faster and faster because they want to "save" time. The story is told of an old man who failed to respond enthusiastically to the glowing accounts of the speed of air traveling. He listened unmoved, and then asked: "But what will you do with the time so 'saved'?" It is not merely saving time that makes for progress, but how we utilize it.
However, while time is imperceptible to our sensorium, we can measure it. From the remotest antiquity men have sought ways and means of measuring time and found in Nature the basis for such measurements. Because astronomical events ever recur cyclically they were chosen to measure that unknown factor, time. We really measure the interval between the occurrence of an event and its recurrence. And so we have come to regard time as the interval between events. For us mortals time is measured by the journey of our earth through space. Our planet's trip around the Sun, the monthly orbit of the moon, and the daily rotation of the earth on its axis have given us our year, our month, our day. But while we measure the passage of time, time itself remains unknown.
In modern physics it has been found convenient to use "events" instead of "points" in describing physical phenomena, and so to the three dimensions of space, viz., latitude, longitude, and altitude, has been added a fourth—Time. Thus, if we want to describe the position of a moving object we measure its three dimensions in space and record the exact time of our observations. This is one of the key ideas in Einstein's theory of relativity. Time was regarded by Einstein as a fourth dimension. In his theory these four dimensions are so intimately related that they are referred to by one single expression, "time-space." Einstein's theory of relativity increased our knowledge about time, but did no reveal how to control, check, or direct it. We still remain the subjects of time.
What lies behind the passing flow of time? When we say this day has passed away, what do we really mean? Where has it gone to? We speak of the past, the present, and the future, but these exist only in reference to the consciousness of the one who experiences them on this plane. Madame Blavatsky offers this definition in the form of a question: "What is Time, but the panoramic succession of our states of consciousness?" (The Secret Doctrine, I, 44). And in that same work, in the second volume, explaining that humanity is the child of cyclic destiny, she concludes with the following quotation from a Sage:
THE PRESENT IS THE CHILD OF THE PAST; THE FUTURE, THE BEGOTTEN OF THE PRESENT. AND YET, O PRESENT MOMENT! KNOWEST THOU NOT THAT THOU HAST NO PARENT, NOR CANST THOU HAVE A CHILD; THAT THOU ART EVER BEGETTING BUT THYSELF? BEFORE THOU HAST EVEN BEGUN TO SAY "I AM THE PROGENY OF THE DEPARTED MOMENT, THE CHILD OF THE PAST," THOU HAST BECOME THAT PAST ITSELF. BEFORE THOU UTTEREST THE LAST SYLLABLE, BEHOLD! THOU ART NO MORE THE PRESENT BUT VERILY THAT FUTURE. THUS, ARE THE PAST, THE PRESENT, AND THE FUTURE, THE EVER-LIVING TRINITY IN ONE—THE MAHAMAYA OF THE ABSOLUTE IS." (The Secret Doctrine, II, 446)
The above gives us the metaphysical key to solve our problem: Behind time, lies Eternity. Time belongs to the world of conditioned existence, the world of constant change. It begins at any given moment in reference to a particular event or a particular phenomenon. But behind that beginning, Time which is infinite and measureless already was because it ever is. Thus, conditioned time, which can be measured, which begins and ends, arises out of Timelessness or Eternal Duration. And that is why the present, the past, and the future have validity only in this world of relativity. They cease to be valid when we transcend that which pertains to the world of changing phenomena. This is suggested in the mystic title given to Parabrahm, Kalahamsa, "the swan in and out of time."
Can we transcend the illusion of time? All mystics and sages answer in the affirmative. Meister Eckhart refers to the illusion of time as hindrance which must be overcome if one is to hear the voice of SELF). He says:
Whoso will hear the Wisdom of the Father dwell deep and abide at home, and be at unity with himself. Three things hinder us from willing our own will. The first is instant gratification, the second is distraction, the third is the illusion of time. If a man could get free of these, he would dwell in eternity, and in the spirit, and in solitude, and in the desert, and there would will the will of CREATION.
"Accept the woes of birth," says The Voice of the Silence, and Lord Buddha taught as the first of the Four Noble Truths: "Sorrow Is." Have we accepted this central fact? Not merely passively, but with understanding? Rising above it will not be possible before intelligent acceptance. The first step in learning Ultimate Reality is to UNBEE. But such resignation must be a dynamic quality rooted in our perception that the Reality is always present, here and now, and can be apprehended amidst the moving, ever-fluctuating stream of time. The establishing of an orderly and rhythmic pattern of life in harmony with Nature's laws, the observance of punctuality(perfect timing), the unfolding of skill in action—these have been declared by all Teachers of Life to be the means of realizing the presence of the Eternal and the Uncreated within our own selves.
We have the power change the past, present and future with choice. We are unable to anticipate the future but we can decide in what direction it will go because the present is ours. We can always decide what happens to us, inside of ourselves, what our attitude should be, how we deal with whatever may come to us. When all is said and done it is our own response to life that counts and that transforms the world for us. We should live neither in the past, nor in the future, but in the Eternal Now.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
We can print an eight in ink on paper, we can cast eight in bronze, we can chip eight in stone, arrange eight dandelions in a row, stack eight dodecahedrons carefully one on top of the other. We can express the idea eight endlessly. But wait, we can also burn the page, melt the bronze, turn stone to dust, blow dandelions to the wind, crush dedechedrons to a splintered mass. We can destroy the appearance of numbers in space-time. We can create appearances, we can destroy appearances. But before time began, and right this minute, and after time and space have washed away, the reality of the idea eight stands, indestructible by appearances. When the Big Bang has turned into the Big Crunch and all matter is crushed to a particle so small that it no longer exists, the idea eight floats serene, perfect and absolutely uncaring. So my body is no more the real me than a written number is the real number. I don't care whether you believe what I'm saying I care that you understand. The idea of any number is unique, there is no other idea like it in existence. The entire Principle of Numbers depends upon dear eight, and without eight the whole Principle would collapse. Don't think so? Let's say we've managed to destroy the number eight. What's four plus four? Six plus two? Ten minus two? An indefinite number of numbers, each number different from all the others, each as important to the Principle as the Principle is important to every one. The Principle needs every number! Real, indestructible, Life beyond appearances - yet any number can be expressed simultaneously in any of the infinite worlds-of-appearance that it wishes.
Once we're in space-time, we're free to believe that we exist alone and unconnected, we're free to say the Principle of Numbers is nonsense. The Principle doesn't notice space-time because space-time isn't. So the Principle doesn't hear anguished prayer or wicked curse, there's no such thing as sacrilege or heresy or blasphemy or impiety or irreverence or abomination. The Principle builds no temples, hires no missionaries, fights no wars. It is heedless, utterly unaware when symbols of its number are nailed to crosses, hacked to pieces by other symbols and burned to ash. It doesn't notice the games that matter so much to us. Try it now. Turn so that your back is to the Infinite Principle of Numbers, to the Immortal Reality of Numerical Being. So we can ignore the Principle, we can hate it, curse it, crusade against it, we can make fun of t. No wrath from heaven, nor the faintest frown on high. Why not, because it isn't listening BUT WE ARE! When we turn our back on the Principle of Numbers, what happens in our arithmetic? Nothing adds up. Answers come out different every time, business and science dissolve in tangles. Abandon Principle and it's not the Principle that suffers, it's us! But remember Principle, and that instant everything works again. No apology required, It couldn't hear one if we shouted. Nobody's on probation, nobody's punished, no scoldings from the Infinite One. Remembering brings sudden healing through all our sums, for even in the imaginary playgrounds of appearance, the Principle is real. Now lets say instead of the Principle of Numbers, the Principle of Life. Pure Life Pure Knowing is Pure Self. Let's say that each of us is a perfect expression of that Principle, that we exist beyond Time, that we are immortal, eternal, indestructible. So we're free to do anything we want except two things: we can't create reality and we can't destroy it. So before time and after, through every moment, Life is and We Are.
Saturday, June 26, 2010
Epicenter near Ontario-Quebec border at 1:41 p.m.
By TOM HENRY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
A magnitude 5.0-earthquake with an epicenter near Canada's Ontario-Quebec border struck this part of North America at 1:41 p.m. Wednesday, an event that is certainly not as rare as many people believe but not business as usual.
Chris Holland, secretary for Toledo Police Chief Mike Navarre, said the vibrations were strong enough inside downtown Toledo's Safety Building to move her feet and her computer screen.
"It was very noticeable. It was enough to move my feet," Ms. Holland said, adding that the sensation seemed to last only five or maybe 10 seconds at most.
Donald Stierman, associate professor of geophysics in the University of Toledo's environmental sciences department, said some students taking a quiz in UT's Bowman-Oddy Laboratories felt the vibrations.
Mr. Stierman, a California native who studies earthquakes, said it was the fourth largest earthquake strong enough to be felt in his 25 years in the Toledo area.
Several others have been felt in northeast Ohio in recent years, including one or two this year, he said.
"It's a source of information," said Mr. Stierman, who said the event could help him and others unravel clues about the Earth's crust.
Robert Vincent, a Bowling Green State University geology professor and co-founder of OhioView, a remote sensing consortium of Ohio's 10 largest public research universities, said in a 2008 interview that Ohio typically records at least one detectable earthquake a year - but that the tremors are usually so small that many people don't notice them.
According to a 2003 paper by Michael C. Hansen of the Ohio Geological Survey and Larry J. Ruff of the University of Michigan, it is "difficult to convince citizens in the eastern half of the United States that earthquakes are a threat in some areas to both people and property" because of their infrequency and milder intensity in comparison to high-profile California quakes. But the paper said Ohio has had at least 170 earthquakes since 1776, at least 15 of which caused mild to moderate damage.
The U.S. Geological Survey said yesterday's earthquake shook homes and businesses from Toronto to the states of New York and Michigan.
The Associated Press said there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
Scientists for the U.S. Geological Survey said the quake occurred at a depth of about 12 miles.
It was originally described as 5.5 magnitude, but later reduced to a magnitude of 5.0.
Officials said the earthquake lasted about 30 seconds, rattling downtown buildings and homes in Ottawa and Toronto, as well as government offices across the Ottawa River in Gatineau, Quebec.
Several buildings in Toronto and the Ottawa region were evacuated.
In Ohio, people reported the sound of plaster cracking in Cleveland and buildings in Cincinnati gently swaying.
In Cleveland, James Haselden says his office in a renovated 19th century brick building swayed and he heard plastic cracking but saw no damage.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that the Canadian quake was felt by some residents in the western Pennsylvania area.
In Michigan, residents from suburban Detroit to Port Huron and Saginaw reported feeling the earthquake.
Detroit police spokesman Yvette Walker told the Associated Press that police personnel on the upper floors of the downtown headquarters building reported feeling the quake.
Information from The Blade's news services was used in this report.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
Arthur C. Clarke - All the Time in the World
Arthur C. Clarke - The Parasite
The Wall of Darkness
The Nine Billion Names of God
What is the secret at the heart of the space object known as Rama and why, years after the event, has Commander William Norton never spoken about what he found there?
Dramatized for radio by Tony Mulholland. Directed by Brian Lighthill with music by Jeff Mearns.
Alone many miles above the Earth, Jan Rodricks, the last surviving human, is witnessing the end of the world. As he watches, he records for the benefit of history how mankind was doomed...
The massive spaceships appeared over every city on Earth, bringing the Overlords, a seemingly benign race vastly superior in technology and intelligence. Led by the enigmatic Karellen, they promised a new age of peace and prosperity, and with the help of UN Secretary General Stormgren, they eradicated poverty, disease and war. But contentment has its price...
As the years pass, culture, science and religion start to die, and there are those who question the road down which the Overlords are leading them. For it seems the apparently benevolent and omnipotent masters of the Earth are themselves only the servants of a greater power: a power they have no choice but to obey...
Part 1 - Beginning
The world is at war. Self-destruction seems inevitable. Then the overlords arrive, but what is it they really want?
Part 2 - End
The Overlords have remained unseen, ruling the world from a distance, for over fifty years. Now they are about to reveal themselves.
Monday, June 21, 2010
"The Last Question" is a science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov. It first appeared in the November 1956 issue of Science Fiction Quarterly and was reprinted in the collections Nine Tomorrows (1959), The Best of Isaac Asimov (1973) and Robot Dreams (1986), as well as the retrospective Opus 100 (1969). It is one of a loosely connected series of stories concerning a fictional computer called Multivac. It is possible that the date 2061 was chosen since Isaac Newton predicted that the end of the world would take place no earlier than 2060. ( from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Last_Question )
In a thought-provoking story, Isaac Asimov proposed an answer to the fundamental question - can entropy be reversed?...
Read by Henry Goodman.
Read by Henry Goodman
A 'Grand Master' asks supercomputer Multivac why jokes exist...
Thursday, June 17, 2010
I WENT out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing,
And moth-like stars were flickering out,
I dropped the berry in a stream
And caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire a-flame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lands and hilly lands,
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass,
And pluck till time and times are done
The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Piracy is robbery on the high seas and although considered a crime at the present time by all nations, formerly the sea rover was as much a pirate as a trader. Thus the Phoenicians combined piracy with lawful seafaring enterprise. In the days of Homer, piracy was considered a respectable or even dignified calling, and the Greeks had a natural genius for it. Cilicia was the headquarters for Mediterranean piracy, until in 67 B.C. Pompey made his memorable expedition against the pirates(pie rates) with great naval and military forces. The Norse Vikings were the terror of western coasts and waters from the 8th to 11th centuries. The Hanseatic league was formed for mutual defense against the Baltic and other pirates. Later the Muslim rovers scourged the Mediterranean, commingling naval war on a large scale with peddling, thieving and stealing slaves.
Algiers was a stronghold of pirates till well into the 19th century, and in the 17th century the English channel swarmed with the corsairs, Algerine pirates. In 1635 they actually entered Cork harbor, and carried off a boat with eight fishermen, to be sold as slaves in Algiers. The buccaneers preyed mainly on the Spanish commerce with the Spanish-American colonies. Captain Kidd, who was sent out against pirates in 1696 by a private company in London, was found to be playing the game of pirate himself, was arrested and tried for piracy and murder, found guilty and hanged May 24, 1701. The original of Scott's pirates John Gow, who, though bold and successful under the guise of friendship, was proved to be a great villain, and with nine of his men were executed. So late as 1864 five men were hanged in London for murder and piracy. The African slave trade was not considered piracy by the law of nations, though the United States and Great Britain declared it to be so by statute, and after 1841 Austria, Prussia and Russia made the same declaration. The home of professional piracy is now confined to the Malay peninsula.
Sunday, June 6, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Photograph from Reuters, illustration by Paul Hannan/National Geographic Digital Media
February 26, 2007
After rumbling for weeks, part of a poor Guatemala City neighborhood plummeted some 30 stories into the Earth on Friday.
The reportedly 330-foot-deep (100-meter-deep) sinkhole swallowed about a dozen homes and is so far blamed in the deaths of three people—two teenagers, found floating in torrent of sewage, and their father, who was pulled from the chasm.
Rainstorms and a ruptured sewer main may have caused the sinkhole, officials in Guatemala told the Associated Press. After the collapse, the seemingly bottomless depths gave off tremors, sounds of flowing water, and the scent of sewage.
Sinkholes can occur when underground rocks that can be dissolved by water—such as salt, gypsum, and limestone—are inundated. The removal of groundwater can also leave gaps underground that can lead to sinkholes.
While the cause of the Guatemala City abyss remains uncertain, it's effects are undeniable.
Police established a 500-yard (457-meter) no-go zone around the sinkhole, and nearly a thousand people were forced to evacuate—some perhaps forever.
"Last night a friend had to take my handicapped wife out on motorcycle," 15-year resident Antonio Fuentes, 50, told the Associated Press. "Now I'm leaving for good, never to come back."