WR 104


The eve of Dec. 21 seemed an appropriate time to toss a death star into the mix. Tomorrow’s solstice just happens to coincide with an extremely rare galactic alignment. Every 25,800 years the sun and earth align with the centre of the” Milky Way”. It just so happens that the pesky constellation Sagittarius is part of the equation. Sagittarius; smack dab in the middle of the alignment, harbours some serious pondering.

The fact that Sagittarius is my sign has nothing to do with its mystery.

Sagittarius just so happens to end up in the spot light. For starters, the only unconfirmed radio signal from space, known as the “wow event” came from Sagittarius. Sagittarius is front and centre in the “galactic alignment”, and it happens to be the place WR 104 resides.

WR 104 is 8000 light years from earth. Discovered in 1998, it is actually 2 binary stars locked in orbit with each other. Known as a Wolf-Rayet system, WR 104 capable of causing serious trouble. Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars are on their last leg; burning thousands of times hotter and faster than our sun, they hurtle towards an inevitable super nova.

Aside from the black hole created when a star collapses, the nasty Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) is of greater concern. Picture a death ray of radiation obliterating anything in its path. A GRB would destroy our ozone layer; earth would be defenceless against cosmic radiation.

Scientists debate our chances of being at the receiving end of WR 104’s wrath. They all agree that earth has most likely experienced  GRB’s in the past. Either way; rather than disappoint the doomsday set when the Mayan prediction turned out to be a bust – ponder the death star. As my son once said – “there’s a million ways to die out there”.

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Last Minute Gift Suggestion


http://www.gardenharvest.org/donateanimals0704.htm

The other day I was in a coffee shop; a Christmas episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos was airing on the flat screen. Clip after clip of children opening gifts they didn’t like. The audience laughed as ungrateful children threw fits over gifts they abhorred. Books, sweaters, toys; flung with contempt – the family with the most petulant child stood to gain $10,000 for parenting these little treasures. I had no interest in hanging around to find out which child was rewarded. A toss up between the boy who hit his mother in the face when his package contained clothing, and a girl who pulled down the Christmas tree when Santa brought the wrong doll. It wasn’t funny.

Rather than ponder what’s wrong with society; I have a suggestion. Give your child a goat; specifically give a goat in your child’s name. It could also be chickens, sheep or cows. The point is not the farm animal but the gift.  Lets teach our children to view the world with caring eyes. They don’t want to pull down Christmas trees.

Garden Harvest is one of many organizations that works to provide reliable food sources for third world families. If you want something more tangible; take your child shopping for a gift to donate to your local Christmas Bureau. I’m not suggesting you deny your little face slapper a gift. Merely suggesting you take this time of year as an opportunity to ponder ways to give back.

temper tantrumrafa 2010, Flickr

Solar Wind Report


My theory is; if I ponder solar wind and space weather enough – people might start to pay attention. Space weather has an impact on our lives. Magnetic storms routinely knock out radio waves, or force airplanes to change their flight path. Solar flares responsible for the “Bastille Day event” or “Carrington event“, still news to most people. Space weather is fascinating; ever present, and not going away.

On Dec. 17 a massive coronal hole opened up on the surface of the sun. It unleashed some impressive solar winds. Currently solar wind speed is 470 Km/second. Located in the southern hemisphere of the sun, the impact of the wind will not be earth directed for now. Depending on how long this coronal hole acts up, it may be earth directed in the next few days.

NASA Explains


NASA Explains

NASA has already prepared a press release to be issued on Dec. 22, 2012. It explains why the world didn’t end the night before. Personally, if I were NASA I would be issuing this statement in advance. It explains the Mayan long count calendar in easy to understand terms; who knows – it might just diffuse doomsday nonsense.

My interest in ancient cultures has offered plenty of time to ponder prophecy. Without exception, prophecy appears in every every last one. Rather than dwell on a single apocalyptic date; view it as a warning or cautionary tale.  I’m no expert , my conclusions stem from reasonable common sense.

I see prophecy as the means by which ancient cultures explained events. The last ice age ended a mere 15,000 years ago; a cosmic blink of the eye. Volcanic eruptions, drought, disease – all devastating natural occurrences. All part of a natural cycle. Our ancient past revered the world, worshipped the sun, seasons and stars. Catastrophic events recorded in the context of ancient belief were referred to as the end of an age, or rebirth. Ancient cultures took nothing for granted. Their prophecy served as a warning – it could happen to any one, at any time.

Arrogance has led us to believe we are invincible, becoming as delusional as we are vulnerable. The climate will change, history shows us that. We are at the mercy of solar flares, asteroids, and ” super volcanoes “. We have no control over natural events, they are inevitable and unstoppable. The things we can control are what worries me.  It doesn’t take a genius to realize we’ve lost our way.  Our lack of regard for the world is something we should all be ashamed of.

Click on the link NASA Explains at the top of my post. Learn about the Mayan calendar, ponder the mind boggling knowledge these people possessed. When you’re done – look at your life, reassess your priorities, and mark Dec. 21, 2012 on your calendar as the day you plan to start looking at the world with fresh eyes.

Dear America,


Dear America,

I am writing to inform you of a grave situation requiring immediate attention Your stubborn refusal to let go of an antiquated  constitutional “right to bear arms” has directly impacted your bottom line. In order to stay competitive it is imperative that you take  action. Only those willing to adapt and make sacrifices will succeed in today’s world.

Tough choices need to be made for the good of the country. Ask yourselves this; did the Constitution intend that an automatic weapon be placed in the hands of every citizen, or was it written in colonial times to readily raise a militia in defence of the country? Ask yourselves why you allow the NRA and powerful gun lobbies to call the shots. Ask yourselves why you are so afraid of amending the constitution.

It doesn’t take a single visionary, it takes millions of concerned voices. It takes common sense, conviction, and determination. Remember the courageous people who fought to abolish slavery, demanded  women had a right to vote, or marched to end segregation. Speak up and let your voices be heard.

America – you do not have the right to blindly ignore your out of control gun laws. You have a duty to address your shortcomings and take action. You owe it to yourselves to recognize your mistakes; you owe it to the victims of gun violence to take your heads out of the sand.

Sincerely,

notestoponder

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RIP Neighbour Cat


coyote just ate my neighbours cat. I assume it was the cat, she has lost three in the last twelve years; one thing for sure – it wasn’t the skunk who keeps spraying my dog. I doubt the victim was a raccoon; they can be nasty, and the alarming battle outside my window was brief. Squirrels are out of the question,  they’re safely tucked under my roof, chewing what’s left of my wiring. I’ll miss neighbour cat; it was a stealthy hunter, most certainly responsible for keeping down the rodent population.

Raised in the country we listened to coyotes wailing on hot summer nights. Not once did I see one. The odd deer nibbled the vegetable garden but raccoons didn’t live in our garbage can.  Pet stores were the only place to see rats, our dogs were never sprayed by skunks. Aside from the unfortunate young bear who chased us home from the school bus, sealing its fate at the receiving end of my fathers shotgun- life was gophers and an occasional garter snake.

Now I live in the heart of a major city.A skunk lives under my front steps. Raccoons waddle up and down the street, squirrels live in my roof; oblivious to the cayenne pepper bombs I place in their way. Rabbits happily populate parks. A coyote sighting is not out of the ordinary, sometimes spotting them three or four days in a row. Every once and a while they attack a child in the park, or go after a small dog. Mostly its rabbits and the likes of neighbour cat.

I ponder what Charles Darwin would have to say about urban wildlife. I doubt these city dwellers could make it in the wild, without question sharing less and less with their country cousins. If that’s not evolution, I don’t know what is.

RIP neighbour cat.

Cities like Vancouver can be an ideal environment for coyotes, one expert says.

Heaven or Hell?


Polls and statistics are tricky. Without knowing how many were polled, how questions were phrased, or exact details of who paid for the results;  findings are at the mercy of interpretation. With that in mind I’ll proceed with my ponder.

I stumbled upon details of a study taken by the Barna Group in 2013. A little outdated, but my guess is, not much has changed. They wanted to know how many Americans believed in Heaven and Hell. Having spent my life under the impression that God was an all or nothing deal; the results were fascinating.

Over 80% of Americans believe in an afterlife, 79% of them believed in a soul that would last forever. ( With or without God’s presence ) Now it starts to get wonky – 76% believe in heaven, 71% say there is no hell. Excuse my ignorance; but isn’t that like asking to have your cake and eat it too? Granted, burning for all eternity would suck.  Almost half of those who believed in heaven stated it was an actual place. A third of those who thought there was a hell assumed it came with an address, for the rest hell is a world without God.

I understand why heaven is a clear winner. Harder to comprehend is where these people believe homosexuals will burn. Pardon me for thinking hell was an equal opportunity proposition. Seems I missed the memo that hell is only present when standing on your soap box.

standing on a soap box