Monday, December 6, 2010

Dinosaur Feat - A Poem by Patty Kay Mooney

Tracks in rock at Dinosaur Ridge, Morrison Fos...Image via Wikipedia Before an ocean washed over this turf
and these red rocks were shaped by wind and surf...

Before the Anasazi came and went
leaving scant traces of the time they spent...

Before the hiss-boom of uranium
and before the zoom of titanium...

When dinosaurs roamed the Earth long ago,
when everything moved so very slow...

Back in those times of green and sun and rain
big-haunched reptiles danced on soupy terrain...

One pink dawn when dinosaurs did dance
their footprints were frozen in mud by chance...

And you can follow their rhythm today
in Moab where the Dinosaur Tracks lay.

Check out their moves by the space of the grooves,
the snappy beat by the heft of their feet.

Eons later there's a reverberating "THUNK!"
you can hear if you feel lucky; so do ya, punk?
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Friday, December 3, 2010

Science Saved My Soul - A Youtube Video by Philhellenes

Stunning View of Starburst Galaxy (NASA, Chand...Image by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center via Flickr My friend sent me a link to this video which was so astounding and amazing, I decided to embed it on my blog.

According to Philhellenes, "...many of those thinkers to whom I owe my mental freedom were religious, like Newton, a Christian, who believed God made the Earth but who then showed me why the Earth would have formed without a god's help. Or Plank and Schrodinger, two more Christians, who believed God ruled the Universe but showed me how God could not control a single electron. The discoveries these and many other people made, the laws they are famous for, are the very things that make gods getting humans pregnant, or angels whispering to prophets in caves, look infantile. I could never and would never question their intelligence. Their honesty and intellectual consistency are a different matter."

If you were curious, as was I, about what Philhellenes is talking about, then by all means, check out this video. It's one of the best I have seen.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Millenials On the World, or In It? - by Natalie Spritzer

John Muir, American conservationist.Image via Wikipedia Recently I met a young woman named Natalie who works at a local grocery store. She helped me find the vitamins I was looking for and then we spent about half an hour chatting. She mentioned she had given an address to our fellow graduating class that elucidated her views of the world. I asked her to send it to me, and when I read it, I decided it would be a great post to share on my blog. So here it is...

Good morning.

It was just last fall that I was living in a place many people have never heard of, yet where the national motto is, “welcome.” Because of the university’s opportunities to study abroad, my stay in Ghana, West Africa offered a chance to learn about life by respecting a code of genuine hospitality I had never believed possible in humankind, especially in Africa! Amidst the media’s violence-laden and poverty-stricken image of the so-called “lost” continent—Africa’s people offer invaluable wisdom on human kindness for us all, and perhaps especially valuable for our class of 2008, which will face the challenges of the 21st century.

One of my favorite memories from Africa is just a sliver in time, when my bus stopped at a tiny rural village. I was curious so I cautiously approached the village entrance and within moments, I was surrounded by a clan of little children and their mothers—all staring at me with the biggest smiles imaginable. One mother addressed me in the local language, but when I couldn’t understand her we all laughed! Suddenly, a child proudly began to chant in English: one…two…three… How clever—the child found such a simple way for us to connect. I began counting with her—in my own accent—and everyone followed our lead. We counted to 20, singing the numbers with a rhythm.

This experience was no more than five minutes long, yet it is perhaps my most memorable throughout a five-month stay. What I find so valuable is the quintessential lesson about human kindness—namely, that the most basic things in life can unite us from such far-away corners of the world. Despite our differences, it was under the pretext of simple, unconditional kindness that we communicated and connected as the family of humankind.

We now truly live in the Era of Globalization where daily life involves a complex interplay of an entire world system fueled by the technologies connecting it. In fact, I recently called Dell™ computers with a technical question and was cordially assisted by someone in far away India. It’s interesting to contrast this with the distant memory of life without computers, during my early childhood in the 80’s. In retrospect, I never anticipated this technology would eventually allow world-wide communications with the ease we witness today. But as my story from Africa begs to show: there is something important for us to embrace from our evolving inter-connectedness. No continent is a “lost” continent.

It becomes truer each day that even the most minute things we do impact an entire global system we cannot actually see. In the book, “Millenials Rising: The Next Great Generation,” we are introduced to “The Milllenials,” –those born after 1980. Due to globalization and its effects of rapid change, Millenials will be confronted with challenges reaching widely across space and time.

For those of us viewed as the millennial generation, I offer you the challenge to utilize the knowledge you have obtained at UCSD as a powerful instrument in collectively constructing a better world. Knowledge has shown humanity its power—for good and for evil—throughout the ages, and particularly within the last century. Thus, in this age where technology reigns, how exactly can we, one-by-one, use our knowledge to unite in realizing the ideal of a harmonious global society? We must adapt, but ultimately our responsibility is to humanity, to nature, and to our planet. Let us never lose hope.

Today’s commencement is a new beginning created from an end – and in celebration, on behalf of the graduating class, I would like to extend a most humble gratitude toward the university and all those who support it. Most of all, a loving thanks to our families and friends—we are so grateful for the role you have played in shaping our dreams for the future. Finally, in special celebration of the college’s 40th anniversary, I will end with a quote from our very own John Muir: “most people are on the world, not in it. They are … separate…like marbles of polished stone, touching, but separate.”

A whole world awaits us—are we ready to be in it and not just on it?

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