Mars, Venus, and The Crescent Moon

It’s dangerously cold outside, but on the way home looking west, I noticed the moon and a bright object next to it with a dimmer object just above that. It turns out, Venus is putting on a show tonight to the left of the moon with Mars appearing above Venus. David Dickinson has a close up photo showcasing these celestial objects.

Living On A Thin Shell

bluempI was listening to an episode of Coast To Coast AM the other night when they had on Professor William Forstchen who talked about the implications of an Electromagnetic Pulse Attack. Besides going into detail on how EMP’s are produced, the interesting thing is the issue that goes far beyond EMP and that is the current infrastructure of technology across the world. While I can’t see any country launching an EMP against another especially the U.S. for fear of being turned into glass, I do worry about an EMP coming from the sun. It’s happened before (Carrington Event) and it’s only a matter of time before it happens again. If a large X class solar flare is aimed directly towards the earth, the electromagnetic pulse produced could wipe out all modern electronics as we know them. This would set the entire planet back into the stone age.

This is another situation I can put on my list of things that could affect the entire planet where there is not a damn thing anyone can do about it. We can go to war with each other, countries can disagree and fight amongst each other for reasons beyond my comprehension, but no one on this planet can do anything about a large meteor crashing into the planet or a massive EMP produced by the sun overtaking our electronics. I think it would be awesome if the entire planet lived on a line of thought where there are things that are above and beyond earth and human beings. While we are worried about one country going to war with another, we should be focusing on what is happening outside of earths atmosphere, to protect the natural wonder that so far, we have not discovered in any other part of the galaxy. I have a sense that events that could take place that come from beyond earths atmosphere are the only ones that can truly unite civilization. The day where taking over this country or that country doesn’t matter when something from beyond can turn everything into a moot point.

There is a part of me that wouldn’t mind seeing one of these EMP’s happening or a large meteor come crashing into the earth just because I think it would be a wake up call that while we live our own little lives on this blue ball, there is something bigger at work that we could all strive to understand and be part of.

Lulin The Green Comet On February 24th

This is cool. On the morning of February 24th 2009, a green comet known as Lulin may become visible to the naked eye. The Nasa website contains three dates that track the comment leading up to February 24th as well as sky maps.

Feb. 24th: Closest approach! On this special morning, Lulin will lie just a few degrees from Saturn in the constellation Leo. Saturn is obvious to the unaided eye, and Lulin could be as well. If this doesn’t draw you out of bed, nothing will.

Will you be out looking for Lulin on the morning of Feb 24th? I’ll try to get out and see it myself. Just hope the weather cooperates.

Copernican Principle VS. Anthropic Principle

Which one correctly identifies our role in the universe? First let’s see the basis behind each principle.

The Copernican principle states that there is nothing special about our place in the universe. So far, every astronomical discovery seems to vindicate this point of view. Not only did Copernicus banish Earth from the center of the universe, Hubble displaced the entire Milky Way galaxy from the center of the universe, giving us instead an expanding universe of billions of galaxies. The recent discovery of dark matter and dark energy underscores the fact that the higher chemical elements that make up our bodies comprise only of 0.03 percent of the total matter/energy content of the universe. With the inflation theory, we must contemplate the fact that the visible universe is like a grain of sand embedded in a much larger, flat universe, and that this universe itself may be constantly sprouting new universes.

But at the other end we have the Anthropic Principle, which makes us realize that a miraculous set of “accidents” makes consciousness possible in this three-dimensional universe of ours. There is a ridiculously narrow band of parameters that makes intelligent life a reality, and we happen to thrive in this band. The stability of the proton, the size of the stars, the existence of higher elements, and so on, all seem to be finely tuned to allow for complex forms of life and consciousness. One can debate whether this fortuitous circumstance is one of design or accident, but no one can dispute the intricate tuning necessary to make us possible.

We often fail to appreciate how precious life and consciousness really are. We forget something as simple as liquid water is one of the most precious substances in the universe, that only Earth (and perhaps Europa, a moon of Jupiter) has liquid water in any quantity in the solar system, perhaps even in this sector of the galaxy. It is also likely that the human brain is the most complex object nature has created in the solar system, perhaps out to the nearest star. When we view the vivid pictures of the lifeless terrain of Mars or Venus, we are struck by the fact that those surfaces are totally barren of cities and lights or even complex organic chemicals of life. Countless worlds exist in deep space devoid of life, much less of intelligence. It should make us appreciate how delicate life is, and what a miracle it is that it flourishes on Earth.

The Copernican Principle and the Anthropic Principle are in some sense opposite perspectives which bracket the extremes of our existence and help us to understand our true role in the universe. While the Copernican principle forces us to confront the sheer enormity of the universe, and perhaps the multiverse, the anthropic principle forces us to realize how rare life and consciousness really are.

This explanation of these two principles was written by world renown physicist Michio Kaku on pages 347-349 in his latest book Parallel Worlds. Parallel Worlds explores our cosmos, black holes, time machines, multidimensional space and, the possibility that parallel universes may lie alongside our own. A very interesting and intriguing book to say the least.

However I must warn you that this book places a heavy emphasis on physics terms so if your not into physics this book may not be for you. I also recommend his other books as well HyperSpace and Visions as these two are well written, easy reading books that really make you open your eyes and mind to the enormous possibilities of our existence and what may lie ahead.

After reading about each principle and giving it some thought, please leave a comment that describes which one you believe in more.