Our amazing galaxy – and our not quite so amazing Eric Idle (though he’s pretty amazing!)

Our amazing galaxy – and our not quite so amazing Eric Idle (though he’s pretty amazing!)

Now for something completely different and more uplifting!!

Eric Idle is an idol of mine.

Monty Python brightened up my days as a youth and altered comedy from mindless Sit Com to something more alternative with more bite.

Eric’s intelligence shone through as you can see in the lyrics of this song and many others. Who else could have take a bunch of facts about the universe and created such a delightful song. with awe, wonder and humour in equal dollops.

WHENEVER LIFE GETS YOU
DOWN, MRS. BROWN, AND
THINGS SEEM HARD OR TOUGH,
AND PEOPLE ARE STUPID,
OBNOXIOUS OR DAFT AND YOU
FEEL THAT YOU’VE HAD QUITE
ENOUGH…

Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving,
And revolving at 900 miles an hour,
That’s orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it’s reckoned
A sun that is the source of all our power.

The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see,
Are moving at a million miles a day
In an outer spiral arm, at 40,000 miles an hour
Of the Galaxy we call the Milky Way.

Our Galaxy itself contains 100 billion stars
It’s 100,000 light years side to side
It bulges in the middle, 16,000 light years thick
But out by us it’s just 3,000 light years wide

We’re 30,000 light years from galactic central point,
We go round every 200 million years
And our Galaxy is only one of millions and billions
In this amazing and expanding Universe
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light you know,
12 million miles a minute, and that’s the fastest speed there is.

So remember when you’re feeling very small and insecure
How amazingly unlikely it is your birth
And pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere up in space,
Because there’s bugger all down here on Earth.

The Arrogance of Human Beings – Awe and Wonder of life

The Arrogance of Human Beings – Awe and Wonder of life

 

We are microbes on the surface of a small planet.

Our planet orbits around a small, insignificant star – Sol.

Our star is out in an outer spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy – not even near the middle.

There are 400 billion stars in the Milky Way Galaxy. It is a mere 100,000 light years across. (It would take light 100,000 years to get from one side to the other!)

The biggest galaxies are 2 million light years across – hugely bigger – with 10 trillion stars. They make ours look tiny.

We know of 2 trillion galaxies so far.

The distances between them are beyond our comprehension. The universe is 46 Billion light years from the centre to the expanding edge.

Yet human beings, with our tiny brains, think we can understand something as stupendous as this. We can work out where it came from, its laws and its future. What a remarkable arrogance.

It is the equivalent of bacteria living in your toilet for brief seconds thinking they can work out the nature of the backside lowering itself into position.

The fact that we have worked out so much is amazing! Science is stupendous and exciting.

For those fundamentalists of all religions who think that god created all this for the sake of us little bacteria on this insignificant planet – I find your belief ludicrous. That is the height of arrogance and super-inflated egos.

The universe is a wondrous, mystical place. The one thing I’m certain of is that it wasn’t created for us. We have a brief lifetime in which to be astounded by it and enjoy it. How lucky we are.

Is There a Formula for Happiness? – A Small Experiment

Is There a Formula for Happiness? – A Small Experiment

Here’s my list of things that would make me happy
(Not necessarily in order)
A Good Education
Lots of Friends
A Good Sense of Humor
Great sex
A society that is compassionate
No war
A community and world in harmony with the planet and nature
Appreciation of the wonder around us – trees, rocks, countryside, culture, sunsets, geology
No religion
Plenty of love, children, family
Pets and wildlife
Creativity
Debate and argument
Relaxation and sport
Writing and painting
Photographing beautiful things
Communicating
Alcohol
Great food
Warm weather
Being respected and valued
Valuing and respecting others
A good marriage
Good neighbours
Great music
Discussion and close friends
Adventure
Health and fitness
A great job doing some good
Making a difference to the world.
Meeting interesting people and going interesting places

That should do it!

I think, therefore I exist.

Happiness is hard to understand: sometimes something bad happens but you still feel happy and sometimes you’re unhappy with no logical reason as good things are happening. Everyone has their own personal factors that make them personally happy and unhappy. There are some universal aspects, however. Some things – like poverty, low self-esteem or loneliness (not feeling alone) can be objectively linked to unhappiness.

So is there list of ingredients, which applied to everyone in the world would mean happiness to everyone?

I will ask for your collaboration in this one. Below there is a list of possible ingredients. I ask you to think about what would be a universal factor of happiness and either organize them from most important to less important or give a top 5 of most important.

  • A Good Sense of Humor
  • A Beautiful Big House
  • A Healthy Diet
  • Children and Grandchildren
  • Predictability
  • Good Government
  • An Interesting…

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Animal Rights – Plant Rights – Human Rights

Animal Rights – Plant Rights – Human Rights

Around 3 billion years ago a wondrous thing happened. The Earth had been cooling for a couple of billion years and conditions conspired to create something incredible. The first simple life-form was produced.

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The chances of that happening are so slight that it is possible that out of all the planets circling the 400 billion stars in our own galaxy this is the only instance where life has spontaneously formed. It could be that we are the only life in any of the two trillion galaxies that we know of.

Life is something special.

From that one single cell of life the whole spectrum of life on this planet has evolved – from the simplest to the most complex.

What we have all around us comes from that first cell. We are all its children.

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No plant or animal is more evolved than any other. We have all been around for exactly the same time.

Only humans would apply a value system to life. We try to create a hierarchy of importance.

We place plants at the bottom of the scale, then bacteria, then we work our way up through worms, slugs, insects to fish, then through amphibian, reptiles and birds to mammals – through mammals to monkeys then apes and finally us – human beings – the crown of creation. Some people don’t even accept that we are animals and related to everything else. Somehow we were uniquely created by a deity. We are not part of this at all.

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Except this is nonsense. Nothing is more important than anything else. We humans are just animals. We have merely organised living things according to their similarity to ourselves. In a biological sense plants are the highest form of life. Their cellular complexities is hundreds of times more complex than that of any human cell. We place a premium on intelligence. Consciousness and intelligence are merely survival characteristics evolved by organisms – nothing more.

I don’t mean to belittle the wonder of consciousness and intelligence – they are phenomenal. I merely point out that they are one of many equally fabulous wonders that life possesses. They are no more special.

Likewise we cannot know the level of consciousness of other creatures or even plants. We can only surmise.

Personally I believe we will soon discover that plants have a consciousness that is quite as good as ours. We will see.

The argument that I am making is that life is too fabulous to treat with the disdain that we have been treating it. We should be worshipping all of it for the wonder it is and protecting it with all our might.

I am a big advocate of human rights – but I am a bigger advocate of the rights of the rest of the spectrum of life. I think it is foolish to make distinction.

The message I would send is – protect nature, protect the plants and animals around us, conserve the wilderness and diversity. They all have as much importance and rights as we do.

This is what I have to say about the destruction we are doing to nature and a way forward.

Pete Smith’s Cartoons of genius – knowledge

Pete Smith’s Cartoons of genius – knowledge

 

There are no facts. Every moment is new. We experience everything for the first time. No two moments are identical.

I used this cartoon on the front of school documents prepared for Ofsted. As with the previous drawing on the education sausage machine the cartoon was never commented on.

Too often the teaching of science has been the transmission of ‘facts’ and the learning of knowledge. Science should be the investigation of the wonders of the universe to find out how it operates and celebrate it, learn from it and utilise it.

The more we investigate the greater the mysteries we unfurl. We have accumulated a wealth of knowledge but underlying it all is an even greater mystery.

Science progresses by scientists disbelieving the theories they are presented with, challenging them and coming up with superior theories to test.

Science is creative.

Science is thought-provoking.

Science is fun.

Science is illuminating, expansive and exhilarating.

There are no truths.

Poetry – Miracles and Wonders – A poem about science and technology.

Poetry – Miracles and Wonders – A poem about science and technology.

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Presenting science to people who have not seen it before would be the same as presenting magic.

Technology harnesses the knowledge of science to create pragmatic solutions. It makes the impossible an everyday event.

How quickly we accept the wonders given to us by science and technology. They transform our lives but we no longer accept them as miracles.

Yet every day is a miracle. The universe is a wonder.

Science is unlocking understanding on an ever widening front. Its rate is incredible. The world we live in has no comparison with the world of a mere hundred years ago. That is not due to prayer it is due to science and technology.

Yet the wonders we work with are only beginning to be understood. The densest solid has a billion times more space than matter. The forces that make the world solid are still barely understood. We have learn to harness them and are beginning to unlock their secrets.

Science is only at the beginning. It thrives on secrets and mystery. Soon we will know the secrets of forever.

Miracles and Wonders

 

Walking on water –

It’s easy;

Just a question of temperature.

Performing miracles –

Simple;

Merely a case of nomenclature.

 

Everything an issue of perspective,

For all new science is wondrous.

Where religion is reprehensive,

The universe is simply lustrous.

 

Each day a miracle;

On the bridge

Over the river.

We walk on water

With wonders

To deliver.

 

Technology has a metre;

A poem of substance.

Science reveals mystery

Its understanding to enhance.

 

For the world is real,

An orgy of Quark,

Gathered in clans,

Holding hands

In atoms

In the dark.

 

We mould them,

Bolt them,

And quietly

Jolt them.

 

Linking them in bricks

In struts and girder,

Nails and wood,

Cement and solder.

 

Constructing all around us

Out of forces

We have not yet found

The sources.

 

Science adores the mystery

It is the basis of our history.

 

Opher 4.8.2015

Poetry – Solstice 2 – Our ancestors used to hold ceremonies to celebrate this. Mine’s just a little late.

Poetry – Solstice 2 – Our ancestors used to hold ceremonies to celebrate this. Mine’s just a little late.

We’re tried worshipping most things. The sun makes more sense that most. We live within its atmosphere and it gives us the light and heat that gives us life.

The Green Man and the sun gods Helios, Ra, Kehpri, Atum, Inti, Lugh, Hepa, Garuda, Huitzilopocthli, Apollo, Surya, Sol, Sol Invictus, Shemesh, Sunnya, and a host more, were all widely worshipped.

The longest and shortest days are good reasons for having a great festival and celebration. Nature is what supports us. We should respect it and celebrate its bounty.

I wrote this poem after seeing Nazca Nine on the Summer Solstice. It was a great gig. They were definitely waxing lyrical and many of the monarchs of yore were thought to be incarnations of Sun Gods.

Then there’s the Moon. It’s been a long time since we walked on it. I think some ancient cultures would have shuddered at the very thought.

Solstices are like a rebirth. I like the idea.

Solstice 2

Waxing on the lyrical

Beneath the sacred sun

Getting quite satirical

When God and Queen are one

 

Verging on the mystical

Beneath the sister moon

Leaning metaphysical

Hope we get there soon

 

Nineteen Nazca nine

Is looming from the dawn

Me and thee and thine

Are going to be reborn

 

Opher 31.12.98

Pete Smith’s Cartoons of Genius – The idyll

Pete Smith’s Cartoons of Genius – The idyll

 

That’s Liz peering out from this surrealist dream – an idyll of birds and flowers in which the cogs and time of the industrial nightmare of drudgery and boredom. There’s a world of life and colour out there.

Pete did some watercolours. A beauty to behold.

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I wish you all a fantastic year! Let’s make 2020 a special year!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! I wish you all a fantastic year! Let’s make 2020 a special year!!

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Well as 2019 draws to a close I think we can all say GOOD RIDDANCE!!!!

A year of populist fear, Brexit chaos, right-wing extremism, environmental catastrophe and nationalistic isolationism.

GOOD RIDDANCE!!!

Here’s to a world of outward looking cooperation, love, bridges, compassion, environmental sanity, tolerance and hope!!

I WISH YOU ALL A YEAR OF LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP!!!

I thought I’d share the wisdom of the Christmas crackers we have just pulled!!

 

Why does Santa have three gardens?

So he can ‘Ho Ho Ho’.

 

What do mice do in the daytime?

Mousework.

 

What do you get if you cross a snowman and a shark?

Frostbite

 

Where do you take sick horses?

The horsepital.

 

OK – that sums up the frivolity – the kids loved them!

Have a great New Year!

 

All the best

Much Love

Opher

Let’s change the world for the better!!