Saturday, January 26, 2013

End Drone Warfare

Paso Peace End Drone Warfare Fox Theater
Photo credit: Hippie Christian Blog
Now that the election is over the conversation about drone warfare can begin.

This week the conversation was taken to the streets as seen in my photo of an abandoned movie theater turned billboard by a local activist artist group.

On PBS NewsHour this week Exploring Technology, Effectiveness, Consequences of Drone Warfare brought up some good questions, also this week their Targeted Killings piece gives a rather in depth explanation of the policies and rational used to justify drone warfare.

The Vancouver Sun ran an Associated Press story this week reporting that a special UN investigation is being launched into U.S. drone attacks and targeted killings. It remains to be seen what will come of the UN investigation, given that the US has veto power at the UN.

In 1858, Baptist minister Charles H. Spurgeon made the observation that the general public is insulated from the realities of war...

"It is astonishing how distance blunts the keen edge of anything that is disagreeable. War is at all times a most fearful scourge. The thought of slain bodies and of murdered men must always harrow up the soul; but because we hear of these things in the distance, there are few Englishmen who can truly enter into their horrors. If we should hear the booming of cannon on the deep which girdles this island; if we should see at our doors the marks of carnage and bloodshed; then should we more thoroughly appreciate what war means. But distance takes away the horror, and we therefore speak of war with too much levity, and even read of it with an interest not sufficiently linked with pain."

How prophetic those words are today with war being waged by remote control drones!

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Square And Stationary Earth

Photo credit: Library of Congress
This is what the Earth looks like when the poetic, figurative language of the Bible is read as a science text - square and stationary!

At least that is how Professor Orlando Ferguson portrayed the Earth in his Map of The Square and Stationary Earth back in 1893.

According to the map, the good Professor's view of a square and stationary Earth is supported by "Four hundred passages in the Bible".

As depicted in this comical detail from Prof. Ferguson's map, a round Earth rotating on its axis and circling the sun would have its inhabitants holding on for dear life to keep from being flung off into space by the terrific rate of speed they would be traveling at.

Apparently Albert Einstein had a bit to say about all of that a few years later.

Hanging on for dear life... figuratively.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Spherical Lump of Congealed Cosmic Dust

The Milky Way. Photo Credit: NASA
In an earlier post, I'm Losing (and finding) My Religion - Again, I wrote about the reconciliation of my faith and current scientific understanding of the universe. I have come to believe that the Bible is not a science textbook and that science doesn't answer questions of faith.

We are no longer the center of the solar system or the universe, thank you Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei. 

Abandoning a geocentric model of the universe and an egocentric view of creation my faith is no longer threatened by science. I am free to fully experience the wonder and shear awe of our universe without the cognitive dissonance that a literal reading of Genesis brings on. 

Last year I bought a new telescope and I am enjoying my rekindled love of the cosmos. While viewing sights such as the Orion Nebula, the Beehive Cluster, and the Pleiades, I can't help but think about our spherical lump of congealed cosmic dust and its place in the cosmos. Could there be other planets out there?

According to John Johnson, assistant professor of planetary astronomy at Caltech, “There’s at least 100 billion planets in the galaxy—just our galaxy, That’s mind-boggling.”

I started wondering how many Earth-like planets are in our galaxy, how many in the universe?

Joe Catanzarite, a scientist with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, estimates that there might be "two billion Earth analog planets" in our galaxy alone. He added, "Then you start thinking about other galaxies. There are something like 50 billion, and if each one has two billion Earthlike planets, it's mind boggling."

I love it when scientists use technical jargon like "mind-boggling".

So, being neither an astrophysicist nor a mathematician, I'll do my best to "do the math"...

If there are 50 Billion galaxies in the known universe (a conservative estimate according to some scientists, the number could be 100 Billion) and multiply it by 2 Billion Earth-like possibilities, we come up with the "mind-boggling" number of 100,000,000,000,000,000,000. That is a 1 followed by 20 zeros (1 x 1020). I could be wrong about the name, but I think that number is called 100 quintillion. 

Perhaps we are not alone in the universe on our little spherical lump of congealed cosmic dust after all.

Peace, Love, and Light!
Kevin (Cloud)