Friday, October 20, 2006

To See Ourselves as Others See Us

I love amadeus.net where I can read news from all over the world. Much of it is in English, especially in Asia.


This is today's find from Japan. There is another article of interest about how science is closer to making a cloak of invisibility and a picture of it. It's possible to see right through the cloak which is worn by a Japanese student who has his own version of invisibility cloak. Weird. Scary. The mind reels. Perhaps this site is the equivalent of the Onion They say the cloak is not perfect, but, if real, a beginning of who knows what mischief.

I try to read Le Monde but my French seem to have deteriorated, but I can get it translated on any number of sites. Alta vista Babelfish or google. Remember le Monde's headline after 9/11? "We are all Americans today". How very long ago that was.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The Pale Blue Dot

The Pale Blue Dot was captured again recently by the photo of Saturn's rings back lit. Brought to mind this piece by Carl Sagan.

Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar," every "supreme leader," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there--on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.

-- Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994

Monday, October 16, 2006

the cholesterol dilemna

I just had a bunch of tests done, among them a cholesterol test which turned out to be high. 267 Yuk. The doctor suggested getting on Lipitor right away, but I felt that my diet being mostly mediterrean could mean the results were off so I got another blood test and it was still high. 220 sigh

So then I went to the new government guidelines on risk of heart attack and discovered I have 4% chance of heart attack in the next 10 years. I also, during this google, discovered that there is much scepticism about the new guidelines which, as one Doctor puts it, "put most everybody on statins." There is quite a group of scientists and doctors who think the cholesterol issue is bogus. Of course this is what I wanted to hear so I have to be sceptical of the my own scepticism. Then I found this news. "Within days of the announcement(about the new guidelines), two reporters at Newsday revealed that eight of the nine physicians on the committee that established the new guidelines had strong financial ties to companies that make statin drugs." The statins in cholesterol lowering drugs also cause cancer in rats.

HHHmmmmmm. Is there such a thing as too much information for one's own good?

So a friend with high cholesterol took niacin at his doctor's reccmentdation and lowered his cholesterol. Niacin has side effects also in high doses so I am starting with low doses and will talk to a Doctor at Brigham Womens this Friday about my diliemna.

Tsnami coming

We are treading water here, waiting for the inevitable, serenely. We are past all dangerous early arrivals. It is the calm before the storm.

I went for a walk around the neighborhood yesterday evening at sunset. The sky was streaked with clouds that the sun slipped through on its descent. The golden sunlight played with the palette of orange and scarlett leaves, highlighting and deepening them, making me remember days as a kid on similar tree lined streets playing kick the can or cowboys and horses until we were called in for supper. I was happy in my nostalgia, gratified that there are still such streets in America.

Just at dark I go back inside the house. Jay blogs on, and Maya and Anya sit in the big chair. Anya playing with Maya and watching Sesame Street while Maya reads "Siblings without Rivalry". Anya and I have made pumpkin pie to have after supper. We have spent most of the day in preparation for the coming baby, sorting clothes, buying onsies, making more room in the bedroom. Anya filled with nervous excitement. Her solitary reign is coming to an end. A baby brother now is part of her menagerie of pretend world players where Mommy, Dado, Grammy, ANYA, Nolly, Pooh, Curious George, Hans Solo(thanks to Jay the whole panoply of Stars Wars is familiar to her) and others mix and mingle. So far the baby brother is controllable. He has only made Mommy's stomach big. But she senses worse to come. Helpless to save her from her destiny, I feel love and compassion for her as the tsunami approaches.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?