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Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

Nature and You

Posted by edro on June 15, 2008

A Place in the Cosmos

The time has come for humanity, you, to consider a fundamental issue about your place within the cosmos. Can you answer the following questions?

  • How important is your role to the cosmos?
  • Do you have a role to play?
  • Can nature do without you?
  • How do you make your role indispensable?

Violent death of an old sun-like star!

Dusty Eye of the Helix Nebula [NGC 7293] Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/K. Su (Univ. of Ariz.)

An infrared image of the Helix nebula, a cosmic starlet known for its vivid colors and eerie resemblance to a giant eye. The nebula, located about 700 light-years away in the constellation Aquarius, belongs to a class of objects called planetary nebulae—the carcasses of deceased sun-like stars.

When sun-like stars die, they blow out their outer gaseous layers. The layers are heated by the hot core of the dead star, called a white dwarf, and shine with infrared and visible colors. (Source: Spitzer Space Telescope )

NEW Stars Are Born!

N90 is one of the star-forming regions in the Small Magellanic Cloud. The rich populations of infant stars found here are formed in an environment that is very different from the Milky Way Galaxy. Image taken buy the Hubble Space Telescope. (ESA/NASA)

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Nature: An NPO

Posted by edro on May 21, 2008

Nature is an NPO. It has performed wonderfully well for a very, very long time. Why can’t humans do the same?

See Main Entry: Wal-Mart’s 7Rs

Wal-Mart, the Panther Chameleon and Josef Fritzl

This new NASA Hubble Space Telescope image of the Antennae galaxies (NGC 4038 & 4039) is the sharpest yet of this merging pair of galaxies. During the course of the collision, billions of stars will be formed. The brightest and most compact of these star birth regions are called super star clusters.

The two spiral galaxies started to interact a few hundred million years ago, making the Antennae galaxies one of the nearest and youngest examples of a pair of colliding galaxies. Nearly half of the faint objects in the Antennae image are young clusters containing tens of thousands of stars. The orange blobs to the left and right of image center are the two cores of the original galaxies and consist mainly of old stars criss-crossed by filaments of dust, which appear brown in the image. The two galaxies are dotted with brilliant blue star-forming regions surrounded by glowing hydrogen gas, appearing in the image in pink. Source: http://imgsrc.hubblesite.org/hu/db/2006/46/images/a/formats/full_jpg.jpg

Credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration Acknowledgment: B. Whitmore (Space Telescope Science Institute)

The Infrared Milky Way

This panoramic view encompasses the entire sky as seen by Two Micron All-Sky Survey. The measured brightnesses of half a billion stars (points) have been combined into colors representing three distinct wavelengths of infrared light: blue at 1.2 microns, green at 1.6 microns microns, and red at 2.2 microns. This image is centered on the core of our own Milky Way galaxy, toward the constellation of Sagittarius. The reddish stars seemingly hovering in the middle of the Milky Way’s disc — many of them never observed before — trace the densest dust clouds in our galaxy. The two faint smudges seen in the lower right quadrant are our neighboring galaxies, the Small and Large Magellanic Clouds.

Atlas Image mosaic courtesy of 2MASS/UMass/IPAC-Caltech/NASA/NSF”

The Cosmic Microwave Background temperature fluctuations from the 5-year Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe data seen over the full sky. The average temperature is 2.725 Kelvin (degrees above absolute zero; equivalent to -273.15 C or -459 F), and the colors represent the tiny temperature fluctuations, as in a weather map. Red regions are warmer and blue regions are colder by about 0.0002 degrees. Source: NASA / WMAP Science Team


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Can Humans Enter the Next Phase of the Future?

Posted by edro on May 2, 2008

Are Humans Fit for Life? Do They Have What it Takes to Enter the Next Phase of the Future?

To Be or NOT to Be?

Against the dreaded external world one can only defend oneself by some kind of turning away from it, if one intends to solve the task by oneself. There is, indeed, another and a better path: that of becoming a member of human community, and, with the help of a technique guided by science, going over to attack against nature and subjecting her to human will. —Freud

A Prolonged and Dirty War Against Nature

Phase I

Up to recent times, the fate of human species have mostly been determined by nature. By and large, humans had little if any say in whether they lived or died. Nature, graciously, delivered!

Phase II

Since the industrial revolution, humans have increasingly played an enhanced role in determining their own fate: Medicine, more food, improved shelter, electricity, turbine, electrical motor, combustion engine, gasoline, fertilizers, plastics, computer, Internet … . Or have they?

In the process to counter the “dreaded external world” to “defend oneself” and to “subject nature to human will,” humans, “with the help of a technique guided by science,” are “going over to attack against nature”. Humans have waged global wars, created large arsenals of nuclear bombs, employed atomic bombs and weapons of mass destruction and have murdered hundreds of millions of their kind. The “attack against nature” has proved a costly, dirty and prolonged war. A war in which human have committed a multiplicity of war crimes against their enemy—nature.

Each year they

  • Consume more than 530EJ of energy (67.6 percent lost as heat)
  • Shoot 7.73 billion tons of carbon (28.35 billion tons of CO2) into the atmosphere
  • Destroy more than 10 million hectares of forest
  • Commit as many as 27,000 species to extinction
  • Pump about 7 million tons of toxic pollutants into the environment
  • Punch ozone holes in the atmosphere
  • Cause hundreds of extremely large dead zones to occur in the oceans and waterways
  • Fly 4,479,822,865 people and 80,342,643 tons of freight in the air
  • Reproduce more than one child per adult (forming families with more than two children)
  • Transform about 27 trillion (million million) tons of raw materials into trash
  • Put 65 million cars and light commercial vehicles on the road (total of 1 billion cars by 2011?)
    . . .

Continued In Part 2 . . .

Phase III – How many of you, if anyone, will enter the future?

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