Pretending to look knowingly.
The Story of the Creation and How We Are Responding To Its Problems
in anothers shoes
Without Science, We Will Lose the Earth
Without Clear Thinking, We Will Lose Ourselves
And We Will Lose God
For He Expects Us To Use The Incredible Minds He Gave Us
And We Are Failing Miserably
Science is not a thing apart from the world.
It is simply knowledge of the world, carefully verified.
Never before in history has humanity faced such a serious set of problems. It is a perfect storm of ignorance, mistakes and corruption.
A few are:
I. American withdrawl from the Paris climate agreement. II. No centralized climate research and enforcement authority
III. Multiple catastrp[phic climate policies.
IV. Dillusions of capability.
VI. Institutionalized greed that leaves children to die for lack of medical care while billionaires add more billions to their wealth.
V. An implicit endorsement of racism, white superority, and Natzism.
VII. An international political swing to the right that reduces personal expression and increases dixcrimination. VIII. An obvious invitation by Donald Trump to the Russians to meddle in our elections.
IX. A failure to commit to enforcement of gun laws.
X. A complete devestation of the social concept of reciprocity.
X1. A complete irrationality of behavior
XII. Conceptions of science that are best desribed as a joke.
XIII. And Many More
As I have trembeled at the way we are dealing with this situation I have felt more and more that some of the most important science was not known or being ignored.
I have also seen, that despite having the scientific knowledge it was being ignored and edging us closer to disaster.
Also, as we approach an election I am incredulous at the failure off the canidates to express clearly, independent of politics and policy just what kind of life we should be trying to give to the people of our nation.
Without a clear expression of what LIFE is, we cannot make fair, just and intelligent choices. For that we need all the intelligence of which are minds are capable.
Earthrise, Apollo 8, December 1964
Our mistreatment of the planet began seriously only about 200 years ago. Nevertheless, we have take our rampage to the point that we cannot be sure the planet will remain habitable and we consciously continue the abuse.
For many, the chaos and suffering are considered an act of god, or as sins aginst god. However, as I have said, the very concept of a god or gods is faulty in that it is only a name for a cause. There is no answer to the question of where god came from or why there are so many gods and we intrepret the nature of each god in virtually any way we choose so that even the scriptures become meaningless. I keep hearing in my mind "we believe what we choose to believe," a particularly a lack of awareness that this leads us to avoid verification of our beliefs, and a great potential for chaos, for we are a discussion about lies. It is a bit like swatting mosquitoes in a pitch black room.
In various sections of this web site I attempt to give a hint of the extraordinary complexity and beauty of the cosmos. There is no clue, scientific or otherwise, why it came into existence although I will share my thoughts on this riddle.
I began this website to deal with gun violence. I then switched to the treatment of the planet and as my dispair increased it was clear that the only sensible thinking was to think about everything. This has taken its toll on me and the only further work I can do is to try to knit together with linkes what I have done on this site and to return to my love of photogrphy in the little time I have left, and hope that others on this planet will rise to the occasion. I have seen little indication that this will happen. On the contrary I have seen the opposite, although just a few minutes ago my wife told me of a conversation that I expect that holds a ray of hope. You will find the link to this conversation in the Table of Contents.
My Concept of Our Leader
Our leader "explaining" something that perhaps
the Russians can use in the upcoming election.
Yes, Putin (who almost never smiles) did eat the canary.
Beginning in January 2018, this web site has evolved from dealing with gun deaths in Sandy Hook, Connecticut (hence the web URL inanothersshoes.com) to a panic about global warming (hence theearthistoast.com) to something that seems to be a story of the universe and the angels and devils struggling to make humanity and the earth survive (caringfortheearth.com).
It has gone from terrifying to panic to a bit of brightness and then to Donald Trump, combining terror, depression, disbelief and now, almost total discouragement. Every day seems to bring a new horror whether it is the New York Times piece on slavery (1619) to the announcement that Australia has agreed to sell a staggering amount of coal to three large customers.
Except for Captain Nero and his staff of three coal and oil burner specialists (not to mention Corruption to the Death Mitchell getting new buildings in his town from a oil company of some kind.)
Life is now incomprehensible.
I was once an Evangelical. Fortunately that was several decades ago. How anyone could vote for a person with a negative IQ, let alone a church gover, let alone an Evangelical...
Today I decided to rate people by a "Circle of Care." If your are a conservative and/or a Republician you get one circle. The circle encompases you.
If you are a good family man, car about your community and shake your head occasionally when you read about climate change, you get two circles. If you think seriously about the earth, you get three. If you do something about the earth you also get a halo.
If you are Donald Trump you were excommunicated from a raft on the river Stix by the devil himself, who then went to see his psychoanalyist who was glad to see Donald go.
I swear there are no more than a half dozen people on the earth thinking clearly. My own sole hope is for a super-person president in 2020 who will appoint a World Climate Czar and get brilliant people and people who can kick ass.
Let me try a small illustration. You are sitting on the right side of a modern airliner, cruzing at 35,000 feet. You have a window seat just back of the wing and you notice some small trails of smoke from one engine. You call one of the service staff who relays a message to the pilot who comes for a look.
"Well I doono. Seen that before. We could put down at AirNearbyPort 1, about 8 miles away, but that would cause a heap-o inconvience; think we'll keep on to our destination; only 200 miles and besides they have bigger fire trucks there."
He leaves and you watch and slowly there is more smoke and then a little more about about half way to DestinationBigFireTruckAirport you see flickers of flame. Ever so slowly getting larger."
That is humanity today. (creschendo to tripple fortissimo-fff): "you don't delay maintainance or your home planet, blockhead."
Of course I am an engineer (MIT three degrees) with a little experience in risk analysis and reliability and a good dose of paranoia; a requirement for anyone putting thousands of pieces of electronic equipment in peoples homes; or part of a team designing control systems for submarine nuclear reactors.
You know as they said about going to the moon: "failure is not an option."
Rex Tellerson advocating for greed.
Existence is the most profound mystery of all. It is scientifically explainable from the instant (a few trilliants of a second after it happened when our laws of physics came into play), but there is no way to understand why it happened nor why it happened in the manner it did. The fact that it was on the order of 11 billion years ago doesn't matter since the universe has as much time as it needs. Why it happened is amazing in that it leads to the evolution of life with brains of such stunning capability. Our brains have now looked back, described and explained the evolution from the singularity and further to the evolution of our brains. We may, however, after a staggering amount of work, many Noble prizes, either know how life began or are on the edge. A hint of the complexity is the image below of a single human cell.
Then a whole series of mystries follow. How and why did the process of evolution create brains of such stunning capabilities, virtues and vices, to the point that these brains are willing to sacrifice the earth that supports them while they continue to accumulate wealth in a way the speeds the destruction of the earth itself, or, in other words, why do the leaders continue to pump carbon dioxide despite knowing that it will eventually destroy the planet and that destruction is already well along.
Further, why are these brains capable of creating such stunning beauty, such deep scientific understanding, yet cannot rouse themselves to the actions necessary to stop the destruction.
It feels odd that we cannot ask what happened before the big bang because there was no "before" (string theory we will leave for another time). Everything that there is eventually came into existence from the energy in the Singularity. Every person, planet, star, galaxy was created from the energy in this singularity and after millions of years of evolution, so was every human brain.
The relatively new science of genetics has found that, contrary to our beliefs about race, for all practical purposes all human brains are alike, with no differences on which to base the structure and rules of society. Additionally we are all descended from African tribes that migrated north some 50 to 100 thousand years ago. The migrations north changed the amount of sun we received and evolution lighten darker skins to provide sufficient vitamin D.
This raises the question of just what defines a race. Color will vary as will physical apearance due to naturall acquired variations passed down to desendents. Additionally, in each new land, migrants encounted indigenous people of genius homo slightly different from homo sapiens, Neadathral in Europe and intermarriage between earlier species occuping lands to which homo sapiens migrated would have left minor differences. In America, however, the importation of slaves was used to create economic wealth far beyond that needed and that miserable treatment, huge numbers, and their enormous impact on the economy has led historians to conclude that it was slaves that built America and determined many of its economic policies similar to those in use today. The long term impact of the institutionalized treatment of black slaves has had a profound impaact on racism today. An important resource, recognizing the introduction of slaves to America is the New York Times of August 18, 2019. (Additional information on human development can be found in many Wikipedia sites. However, a useful summary from the Khan Acamedy can be found at this site: Kahn Academy.
The impact of this special New York Times project is nearly overwhelming and changes ones perception of America. We were the only modern slave-holding nation, our constitution deliberately avoided the issue of slavery except by careful wording that did not exclude slavery and, because of its entrenched economic importance it took a stupendly costly war to eliminate it, and yet it left behind enormous difficulties for people of color and it appears that full acceptance of blacks is still decades away.
The conclusion regarding the greatness of America is complicated by the influx of immegrants from many countries. (All four of my grandparents came from Poland.)
Cotton drove development resulting in the Louisiana Purchase and drove American expansion across the Mississippi, engulfing and destroying dozens of Indian tribes. A common tactic was to sign a treaty for areas of land and then break them when it became convenient.
A Four Year Integrated View of the Cosmic Background Radiation
The Holmdel antenna at Bell Labs
Click on the picture for a story about the cosmic background radiation.
Several fundamental issues come together at this time in a kind of Perfect Storm for humanity: 1) the failure to deal with the pummeling of our planet from global warming; 2) the dismal political situations in so many countries including the rejection of immigrents and the drift toward extreme right-wind nationalism; 3) the potential destruction of American democracy by President Trump and his encouragement of white supremacy and other harmful policies; 4) a failure to articulate a purpose of human life beyond the economic; 5) the failure of the media in America to deal with these problems forthrightly enough to educate the public.
But there is one more and that is the use of slaves to build America documnented by the New York Times in Project 1619 in the August 18, 2019 issue of the Sunday Magazine. It includes the story of the process by which modern financial instruments were pionieered by slave holders.
There is something odd and terrifying that strikes me about the relationahip between the story of slavery, where every issue except profits was ignored and the past and present attitudes of oil barons in total negect of the earth that in the middle of runaway warming they would supress news of the harm of burning oil while marketing it hard as they can. This policy is going on as I write.
The extreme greed in both situations is beyond comprehension. One wonders why the human race was created if despite the dangers, those who are aware of them cannot put together an effort substantial enough to meet the global warming threat, while business can simply put the planet out of its mind in the quest for profits. I find it frighting to the extreme; a living nightmare.
Then I read recetly the following report and heart sank further. My opinion had been swinging this way but this was more horrible than I could have imagined. New York Times Project 1619
At the end of every article I have read about global warming there is a plea to do something. On August 17, 2019, the prime minister of Iceland, describing the melting of the country from beneath his feet said the following: "Large and small nations, businesses and governments, individuals and communities, we must all play our part. We know what is happening and what needs to be done. Help us keep the ice in Iceland.
This is a formidable problem without a formidable plan.
Less than two hundred years ago all was fine for the earth but we paid vitually no attention to the harm we were causing despite multiple warnings. Edward Teller lectured the oil industry association about the greenhouse efffect and the industry did its own reasearch, confirmed the problem, fired the researcjers and supressed the results. And as of today, when we need a response like our rising to the occasion after Pearl Harbor there is a multitude of uncoordinated efforts. We need numbers of something like Manhatten Projects. We have instead a President who cannot even manage to avoid bankruptcy in real estate and does't comprehend the problem, and a congress preoccupied with the politics of elections.
Finally among all this chaos, there is no attempt to articulate just what is meant by "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Our brains are capable of far more than we ask from them nor do our political systems go beyond economic issues to a purpose for life for everyone.
There also appears to be a further mystery in that there is almost a second civilization isolated from the one of infinite greed, but occupied instand by the pursuit of knowledge and beauty, sometimes with great financial rewards, and sometimes with great financial sacrifice. What the hell is goin on?
Earthrise, Apollo 8, December 1964
This website began as a response to the shooting at Sandy Hook. My niece's husband is a pastor and counceled the first responders. We talked at lenght and it was obvious he was shaken to the core. I had visited Sandy Hook several times because much of my specialized photographic printing equipment had been made there. It is differnet when you can picture a place even if it was not the exact spot where the atrocity took place.
I was then appalled by the catastrophe I saw developing from global warming and the neglegence of the media in informing the public. The New York Times did a miserable job, hiding the most damaging UN reports at the bottom of page 13. What the hell was going on here? Did no one know how to think?
A few minutes ago I read stories from surgeons dealing with shooting victims from El Paso. I know what high velicity soft-hollowpoint bullets can do. And I cannot comprehend how the United States of America can allow such weapons and ammunation to be sold. It is a mortal sin.
Donald Trump I consider, whether technically correct or not, to be of another species. This is a man without intellect, knowledge, feeling, compassion or anything else that might have a tinge of goodness. I consider him worse than Hitler because in the end I blieve he will be responsible for the distruction of this planet and the loss of billions of lives.
Christians vote for him. Hurricanes must be the tears of Jesus weeping that any living creature could be this evil. Christians vote for him ostensibly because he opposes abortion. Donald Trump opposes nothing except anyone or anything critical of him. Until the last two years I could not have imagined a human as ignorant and evil. As a former Evanigical I urge them to beg for forgiveness for supporting or voting for him.
He is a white supremeist, not withstanding any lies he may put forth. As such he should be jailed, but our constitution does not povide for arrest and incarceration of evil.
Where to go from here? In the real world of real compasionate people there are other things to think about that may have a longer and more positive impact. They all come under the categories of truth and compassion. This is what follows. If I can stand to finish it without loosing my mind I will.
If this is a human being, I resign from the human race.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, —
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."
The first paragraph is from the Declaration of Independence. The second is the preamble to the Constitution of the United States. In our society there are three books that are the source materials for these freedoms, in order of age: the Torah, The Bible and the Quaran.
I would not begin to venture into a disussion of finer points, but in 70 or so years of thinking my own inclinations parallel the diretion these religious texts espouse and which are reflected in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, with one caveat:"men" refers to all human beings.
Now what? Why bring this up. Because I am wondering what is going on with thinking in America. It seems to me that for the huge majority of the issues before us the Declaration of Independence is the guide we need, and that, after careful thought we conclude that out society has changed in fundamental ways such that adjustments need to be made to the Constitution to accommodate the enormous technological changes in our society. I believe some relatively modest adjustments must be made in order to insure the above, but with one large fundamental difference, that changes may be necessary for the survival of the earth itself. The "pursuit of happiness" leaves us wide open for the destruction of nature as it does the destruction of freedoms of every kind with the use of machines of information such as the internet and other technilogies that make the acquisition of enormous wealth serious uncontrolled and untrollable under present law burdens and injustices that we, if no other reason can be found, assert must prevail. Justice goes back as far as I can establish to the Torah and evolves and developes (and is trqmpeled on) over the suceeding centuries, but that must be part of the bedrock of civilization. On what basis? Because all are created equal in how they are treated by the governments they form.
Decades of wondering and thinking and hoping for an answer that I did not need.
But pursued nevertheless, for sometimes it would lead to something that made everything else more profound.
I knew my progenitors stretched infinitely back in time but my first cousins began learning about me when they cracked the right stone in just the right way to help life move on. And it did. But it has left me with the wonder of why the music of those blossems exists, for many lived and live without them. Many of my kind would never see them and so never learned to love them.
Why? And why could my fingers move in ways a little like Chopin's did. Why?
Notes are not there for the taking like picking flowers, but because of a longing for a unique companion who made waltzes and scheros blossom and every other kind of musical form that vahished as soon as it appeared but could be brought back at any time. Why?
But one thing I knew, it took the climate. No experience, no sentience nothing was possible without climate. No evolution and certainly no physical life.
Wawrzonek, Monet's Meadow, Southborough, Massachusetts
We cannot live without the climate, which for us is about 10 miles of air, and 10 miles is a pretty thin coat. A little too much messing around here and we turn into Mars, that once had a atmosphere.
We breath oxygen, the most important part of the climate. Oxygen keeps us alive as well as is necessary for all the plants and animals that we eat. The creation has stitched together for us exactly what we need. And fourty or so years ago there was just enough carbon dioxide to keep the earth warm enought to live on. If you read futher you will find Joseph Fourier who in 1824 discovered the greenhouse effect.
To me the climate and the weather bring something I love, or grumble about or am terrorized when its a hurricane. But it is also where I developed my third profession, that of a landscape photographer. I spent 30 years wandering the 4 corners of America but mostly New England. Click on LightSong® to see what I saw. Above is from my collection The Hidden World of the Nearby.
from Chopin, Scherzo No. 2 in B-flat minor, Op. 31