Orionids


The Orionid meteor shower peaks tomorrow night; while not one of the most prolific displays, with an average of 20 meteors an hour, it remains one of the easiest to locate in a pre dawn sky. Almost everyone has heard of the constellation Orion; distinguished by the distinctive three star “belt”. Find Orion and you’ve found the Orionids. Debris from the tail of Halley’s Comet lights up our skies from constellation Orion shortly before sunrise being the best time to catch a “falling star”.

Image from NASA

This year Orionids are forced to compete with a Hunter’s Moon -also known as a Full Harvest Moon. Luckily they are reliable when it comes to bright fireballs. So if your weather cooperates, haul yourself out of bed and marvel at our universe. I guarantee you’ll start your day with a smile on your face.

http://www.farmersalmanac.com/full-moon-names/

http://www.space.com/23267-orionid-meteor-shower-peaking-now.html

Imagine Change – A Challenge


.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0PirL6Sw6s

I’ve spent a lot of time pondering change, action and apathy; time spent writing posts about our divisions or differences. Every once and a while I sprinkle a dose of Playing For Change in the mix. Tonight I’m reminded how short sighted I am to wring my hands and cluck about inaction; tonight I remembered to look at the glass as half full. Tonight I launch my Playing For Change campaign.

Music has the power to transcend boundaries; a crowd listening to a street musician perform doesn’t care what religious or political affiliation the person next to them has. Music is the logical place to stop squabbling over petty differences while forming a common goal. Song might just have the power to bring about a shift in rigid thinking – dare I express a tiny seed of hope growing in this pondering mind – a secret little smile curling at my edges, a faint hope that unexpected joy stemming from shaking your ass or tapping your toe – could be the spark needed to make us understand how incredibly silly mud slinging accusations are. A tool to make us realize how futile and incredibly boring our world would be if all of us were cut from the same cloth. An instrument to lead us away from suspicion, bigotry, and stereotypes – come on, lighten up people.

Here’s my challenge – click on the link below and learn about the Playing For Change movement.

http://playingforchange.com/

Where ever you are, whatever you might do, no matter your age, race, profession, economic status or political/religious affiliation – set those aside and ponder how you can spread the Playing For Change message. Put your thinking caps on – spread the word – I want to hear your ideas.

Help Me Understand


I need help understanding why some are incapable of exchanging points of view without making a personal attack. Why do so many lack the ability to debate without hate? Why are some of us born with open minds while others simply switch off at suggestions of  different points of view? How is it that some people repeat only what they hear, never stopping to ponder logic or offer opinions of their own? What triggers the closing of minds –  ignites suspicion, fear, bigotry and exclusion? Help me understand.

Strong opinions from politics, religion, environment to my silly dog; I make myself abundantly clear – writing from the heart without mincing words. No intention, other than matching word to thought.. What you see is what you get; this is who I am. Along the way I’ve met people with vastly different viewpoints – people who present their side of an issue thoughtfully, concisely and without malice. People I respect and consider friends, people willing to “agree to disagree”.  This I understand.

I encounter closed minds – those wishing myself or family harm; people full of hatred. These are the people quoting opinionated broadcasters verbatim, people choosing to spew unsubstantiated rhetoric, people without an original thought or perspective to cloud their venom. Help me understand.

If I didn’t possess a fundamental belief in humanity, my ability to function without despair would have collapsed years ago. I shake my head, scrape my jaw off the ground and carry on. That said – at times the weight of closed minds becomes unbearable. Help me understand – what would it take to strip the blinders from millions of scared, angry people?

Saucer Talk


On June 24, 1947 pilot Kenneth Arnold was in the air near Mt. Rainier Washington. Suddenly 9 “highly reflective” objects, moving in tight formation at super sonic speeds appeared; trying to make sense of it, Arnold changed his heading and angle of his aircraft – this was an era before jet aircraft – Arnold could think of no explanation. Without warning the objects simply disappeared, as if into thin air. Arnold stated they moved like saucers skipping across water. Newspapers across the country misquoted Arnold – “they looked like saucers skipping across water”. The term “flying saucer” was born. A few months later Roswell New Mexico became a household name – to this day the most controversial “alien cover-up” in history.

It doesn’t take much of a ponder for me to state – I don’t think for one second we’re alone in the universe. That said, and to the disappointment of friends who jokingly refer to me as a card carrying member of the “tin foil hat” club – there are some simple laws of physics needing a little reflection.

First law of physics to consider is that of “inertia”. Isaac Newton said “an object at rest or in motion tends to stay at rest or in motion unless acted on by an outside source”. To put this in perspective; for a fighter pilot travelling near the speed of sound to suddenly stop or make a 90 degree turn – 300 G’s of force would be the resulting death sentence as his internal organs were turned to jelly. Currently the most force a human being can survive – in a pressure suit – before blacking out is 10 G’s.

In the 1950’s the Avrocar designed aircraft mimicked wingless craft described by people reporting UFO’s. The conclusion being – wingless aircraft lacked stability, had poor aero-dynamics, and were not capable of reaching high speeds in earth’s atmosphere.

http://www.airspacemag.com/military-aviation/flying_saucer.html

Almost all reports of UFO sightings claim the aircraft were completely silent. So what happened to the sonic boom? Sonic booms are the result of pressure differences between the front and end of an aircraft as it pushes through the atmosphere. The craft literally push a wave as they travel, resulting in what we’ve come to know as sonic booms. On a basic level we are able to effect “noise cancelling” by broadcasting the negative sound of what we want to cancel – this technology is used in “noise cancelling” headphones – no technology exists to cancel “shock waves”. Many reports claim the craft simply disappeared – this would require “light bending” technology; in essence an electromagnetic charge forcing light to “bend” around an object instead of that light being reflected or refracted.

Lastly, as technology changes, so do descriptions of UFO sightings. Once upon a time every last UFO was saucer shaped – today more and more witnesses describe a craft with wings, similar to “Stealth” fighters. UFO “sightings” appear to keep pace with technology.

Any attempt on my part to fathom what lies beyond the Milky Way are met with mind boggling possibilities – our universe vast beyond tangible points of reference – my gut saying we’re not alone, it simply isn’t possible. My head reminding me of our known laws of physics; laws allowing me to draw one single conclusion – if ET shows up on our doorstep; inertia cancelling, gravity defying, sound cloaking invisibility technology in hand – I hope they have a great sense of humour when I put on my tin foil hat.

Image – www,oom2.com

Justin Trudeau


Far from being a list maker, stuff rattles about  my head – coming to the surface for no reason I can discern. Such was the case as I vacuumed the living room tonight and this ponder drifted to the surface. More accurately, my thoughts progressed from mild annoyance at the Republican vendetta against Obama, to a few minutes hard thinking on how “the people” could take back our political systems, and finally – Canadians I admire. Go figure; it doesn’t have to be a logical progression to get me fired up. By the time the room was clean – I had a serious ponder on the tip of my tongue.

Off the top of my head, three men came to mind. Romeo Dallaire, Tommy Douglas, and John Ware. Far from being “listed” because of political, religious or moral grounds – these men stood out among many, as people who genuinely cared. People who lived by a code of ethics, sense of national pride or duty and acted not out of self interest but a far greater purpose. People who put others before themselves, people who stood for something.

https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/romeo-who/

https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/tommy-douglas/

https://notestoponder.wordpress.com/2013/07/21/ponder-john-ware/

I can’t shake the feeling that our world needs a few more people willing to stand for something; people who can’t be “bought”, swayed or manipulated. We need people willing to go out on a limb – people tenacious enough to bring about change. I’d just about given up on the concept of a Canadian politician possessing these qualities – then I heard Justin Trudeau’s speech after being elected as leader of the Liberal party earlier this year. I can honestly say – I haven’t felt excitement like this in decades – maybe never. Justin Trudeau is a breath of fresh air; a man who just might be able to clear the dust out of Canadian politics. Trudeau, despite his political father’s legacy – doesn’t reside in the “old boy’s” club. He loves Canada, believes in restoring all of what makes Canada a special nation and doesn’t give a rat’s ass what stuffy Conservatives think. I suspect that someday, somewhere, some Canadian will write about what a “great Canadian” Justin Trudeau is.

An excerpt from his speech after winning the Liberal leadership. Following – a link to the entire speech.

“We are fed up with leaders who pit Canadians against Canadians. West against East, rich against poor, Quebec against the rest of the country, urban against rural.

Canadians are looking to us, my friends. They are giving us a chance, hopeful that the party of Wilfrid Laurier can rediscover its sunny ways.

Hopeful that positive politics has a fighting chance against the steady barrage of negativity that you and I both know is coming soon to TV screens across Canada. The phone messages, our volunteers tell us, have already started.

To adapt a sentiment from the great American President Franklin D. Roosevelt: never before in this country have the forces of negativity, cynicism and fear been so united in their hostility toward one candidate.

The Conservative Party will now do what it does. It will try to spread fear. It will sow cynicism. It will attempt to convince Canadians that we should be satisfied with what we have now.

For at the heart of their unambitious agenda is the idea that “better” is just not possible.

That to hope for something more from our politics and our leaders, more humanity, more transparency, more compassion, is naive and inevitably, will lead to disappointment.

And they will promote that divisive and destructive idea with passionate intensity. They will do so for a simple reason…
They are afraid. But… And I want to make this perfectly clear… My fellow Canadians, it is not my leadership that Mr. Harper and his party fear.

It’s yours.

There is nothing that these Conservatives fear more than an engaged and informed Canadian citizen.

My friends, if I have learned one thing in this life, it’s that our country is blessed with countless numbers of activist citizens, from all walks of life, and of all political views. They have come out by the thousands over the course of this campaign.

They’ve gathered by the hundreds in places like Ponoka Alberta and Oliver BC, Prince Albert Saskatchewan and Île-des-Chênes Manitoba. Canadians who thought they were sending community leaders to be their voice in Ottawa, but instead got only Mr. Harper’s voice back in their communities.

We’ve seen their hopeful faces in crowds of Canadians gathered in Windsor and Whitby, Mississauga and Markham. Middle class Canadians who are putting much into the economy and getting too little in return.

We’ve seen hard-working Atlantic Canadians from Edmunston to Halifax, from Summerside to St John’s, who have decided that this is a government that does not share their values.

To my friends in Labrador, I look forward to seeing you very soon.

We’ve met young Aboriginal leaders from all across this country, from Tk’emlups to Whapmagoostui, who are simply tired of being forced to the margins of this country. With the courage to walk 1600 kilometres through a Canadian winter to make the point that they will be Idle no More.

Francophones who live in Shediac, Sudbury, St Boniface and all across this country who want their children to live and thrive in French, your determination inspires me, it must inspire the entire country.

Quebecers, from Gatineau to Gaspé, who want to re-engage with this country. With their country. Who have no time for the divisive issues of their parents’ past, but want to work with Canadians who share their values to build a better country for all our kids.

I want to take a moment to speak directly to my fellow Quebecers. Your engagement and your support in recent months has been deeply moving. I have learned so much from our conversations and our meetings I take nothing for granted. I understand that trust can only be earned. And my plan is to earn yours.

I feel confident about the future. I want to share with you why

Quebecers have always been builders. From Champlain and Laurier to today, they have actively participated in shaping our country, together with so many other Canadians. Our work is not complete. We face enormous challenges

Helping the middle-class make ends meet. Reconciling economic growth and environmental stewardship. Playing a positive and meaningful role in the world.

To rise above these challenges we must demonstrate our audacity and ambition, my friends.

Audacity and ambition, always.

Lets be honest. We will not convince everyone. There will always be skeptics. People who say that our country is too big and too full of differences to be effectively managed, or for everyone to be represented. They are wrong my friends.

I am not claiming that it will always be easy. That there will not be any obstacles along the way. That we will not have to make some compromises.

Canada is a grand, yet unfinished project. And it is up to us, together with all Canadians, to build the country that we want.

The time has come for us to write a new chapter in the history of our country.

Let’s leave to others the old quarrels and old debates that lead nowhere. Let’s leave to others the ultra-partisan rhetoric and the old ways of doing politics. Let’s leave the personal attacks to them.

Quebecers, let us be, together, once again, builders of Canada.

So that our country can match the height of the dreams and ambitions that are shared across this country. So that we can leave our children a better world than the one that we inherited from our parents.

My friends, the Liberal Party will regain the confidence of Canadians when it proves that it is here to serve them. This is the task at hand. This is what will guide me as Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

To the new generation of Canadians and to all the young people who are not engaged by politics, I have a very simple message for you.

Your country needs you

It needs your energy and your passion

It needs your idealism and your ideas

The movement we are have been building over the past 6 months, it is yours. It belongs to you.

It is the movement with which we will change politics.

It is the movement that will allow us to reform our political institutions, to make reconciling the environment and our economy a real priority, and to play a positive and constructive role in the world.

My fellow Liberals, Canadians are looking to us. This campaign has been their campaign, more than just ours.

They want something better. They refuse to believe that better is not possible. They see the country their parents and grandparents worked so hard to build, and want to hand an even better country to their children.

Canadians share deep values that cannot be shaken, no matter how hard the Conservative Party may try. Optimism. Openness. Compassion. Service to community.

Generosity of spirit.

We want to believe that change can happen. We want leadership that will shape our best instincts into an even better country.

But Canadians will not suffer fools gladly. Canadians turned away from us because we turned away from them. Because Liberals became more focused on fighting with each other, than fighting for Canadians.

Well, I don’t care if you thought my father was a great or arrogant. It doesn’t matter to me if you were a Chretien-Liberal, a Turner-Liberal, a Martin-Liberal or any other kind of Liberal. The era of hyphenated Liberals ends right here, tonight”

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/04/14/justin-trudeau-speech-full-liberal-win_n_3082219.html

Attention Northern Hemisphere Sky Watchers


This is not a warning, hysterical plea to take cover or recruiting post for the tin foil hat club – simply a heads up for Northern hemisphere sky watchers. Sunspot AR1865 sent an M1 class flare our way, it should reach earth’s magnetic field this evening. Not powerful enough to cause a bad day – even though it was earth directed – the magic is expected to unfold in spectacular auroras.

Those who have witnessed Aurora’s spell understand her soul restoring powers. Those who haven’t can only hope that one day she will allow you to witness her dance across the northern sky. If you happen to find yourself in a dark place, away from city lights; gaze upwards tonight – if you’re lucky, Aurora will dance for you.

NASA – AR1865

Chinook Jargon


Absorbing tid- bits of knowledge during functions, meetings or parties is a workplace perk.. But for today’s luncheon, I would  remain clueless to the importance of Chinook Jargon. As a proud British Columbian, it escapes all reason why school aged children don’t learn this chapter in Canadian history. Hard as I ponder; reasons for failing to include Canada’s first language in school curriculum eludes me.

Chinook evolved from the need to communicate; a simple tool consisting of fewer than 500 hundred words – easily mastered by Europeans, Chinese, Japanese and Polynesians. The common language of trade and commerce. A universal tongue in an increasingly multicultural colony.

Chinook jargon was one of those casseroles your Mom plunked on the table – a little of this, a little of that, crush corn flakes or potato chips on top and you had dinner. Somehow it just worked. Chinook took away barriers; people could appreciate similarities rather than differences, learn from one another and developed a sense of community. Chinook Jargon reflected the true meaning of a multicultural society. From the mid 1800’s to early 1900’s, Chinook was spoken by as many as 250,000 people.

Chinook’s march towards obscurity is understandable; the first world war, Spanish Flu epidemic, increased movement of people across the country, and changing attitudes towards “colonial” thinking. What I don’t understand is how I managed to live in B.C. for over 50 years and not hear mention of it until today. Canada is a special place, a place built on principles of acceptance, inclusion and tolerance – regardless of race.

The more I ponder – the angrier I’m getting. Angry is perhaps too strong a word – flabbergasted that we squander one of the most useful and valuable learning tools to cross my path in a very long time – a concept rich on so many levels, an opportunity to teach our kids the value of not only communication but acceptance. Not to forget how amazing it would be for kids to speak to each other at recess in Chinook. Kids would gobble it up -my head spins with possible angles to enrich young lives.

This link is to an article  The Tyee is a great place to start thinking Chinook.

http://thetyee.ca/Life/2006/01/10/StillSpeakChinook/

“Konoway tillicums klatawa kunamokst klasa mamook okoke huloima chee illahie” – Everyone was thrown together to make this strange new country.