QOTD

“The Christian says, ‘Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is a fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.”

–CS Lewis

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Desolation Row

They be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
Everybody’s shouting
“Which side are you on ?”
And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row.

–Bob Dylan

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Today in history–real climate change

It is hard for me to get my head around the massiveness of the Krakatoa volcanic eruption August 26, 1883. The explosion is estimated to be equivalent to 200 megatons of TNT, and was heard in Alice Springs, Australia, 3000 miles away. Six cubic miles of rock were expelled in the eruption.

The resulting cloud of ash encircled the globe, and global temperatures dropped by 2 degrees Celsius. Perhaps we should just lance a volcano every once in a while.

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Space photo of the day

A new Hubble image of the Twin Jet Nebula.

The glowing and expanding shells of gas clearly visible in this image represent the final stages of life for an old star of low to intermediate mass. The star has not only ejected its outer layers, but the exposed remnant core is now illuminating these layers – resulting in a spectacular light show like the one seen here. However, the Twin Jet Nebula is not just any planetary nebula, it is a bipolar nebula.
Ordinary planetary nebulae have one star at their centre, bipolar nebulae have two, in a binary star system. Astronomers have found that the two stars in this pair each have around the same mass as the Sun, ranging from 0.6 to 1.0 solar masses for the smaller star, and from 1.0 to 1.4 solar masses for its larger companion. The larger star is approaching the end of its days and has already ejected its outer layers of gas into space, whereas its partner is further evolved, and is a small white dwarf.

The Twin Jet Nebula

Goodbye to Dr. Red Duke

Dr. James “Red” Duke was an emergency room doctor with the presence of a cowboy movie star — a self-described outlaw known far and wide. Duke passed away Tuesday at the age of 86, his family announced.

His signature accomplishment in Houston was his role in putting Life Flight helicopters into the skies — dramatically dropping the time it took to transfer traumatically injured patients to hospitals. And his reach spanned beyond Houston and Texas: People across the nation knew him best for his nationally syndicated “Dr. Red Health Reports” that aired for 15 years.

Blue skies, Dr. Red Duke.

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