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He's got a good point. It makes one think of Pastor Martin Niemöller, who said:

"First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

"Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

"Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

"Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me"

-- Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), in his speech for the Confessing Church in Frankfurt on 6 January 1946, of which this is a partial translation.

REf.: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_...

Pluto: The Innocent Fox

Ever since Pluto, that far-flung sentinel in the cold, dark outer bounds of the Solar System, was discovered in 1930 and given the name "Pluto," people began to envision that world as dark and frigid as the Styx, a realm of dark greys and deep blacks and the occasional despairing splash of white starlight and sunlight, a dirge in a never-ending minor key, taking on all the characteristics of the God Whom the Greeks called "Hades" and the Romans, "Pluto." For decades astronomers wondered what it looked like close up, and finally they began to put together a way to find out. Thus New Horizons was born, and launched into the heavens on January 19, 2006, at 2 p.m. EST at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

For nine and a half years, New Horizons, so far the swiftest space vehicle ever launched from Earth, drove on and on toward the elusive ninth planet, in spite of potential space hazards, in spite of the ugly controversy that had likewise started up in 2006 over whether Pluto was even a planet or not, in spite of tense and anxious moments among those following her progress farther and farther from the Sun. And on July 13, 2015, we finally saw Pluto close-up:Read more...Collapse )

Ancients as well as many people today have believed that cosmic events -- the passage of comets, planets aspecting one another and/or the Sun and Moon, etc. -- influence our lives and affect the course of our lives. Whether or not there is anything to astrology, the premise that Earthly life, including humanity, has been significantly influenced and changed by cosmic phenomena is well-founded and has scientific knowledge behind it.

From the very beginning of Earth's existence, some 4.5 billion years ago, countless astronomical events have affected the Earth and its emerging life-forms. The chemistry of our bodies, from the iron in our blood to the calcium in our bones, comes from stars that lived and died hundreds of millions of years ago. Over all that incomprehensible span of time, comets have showered our oceans and land with organic chemicals, impacts of comets and asteroids have wiped our most of the biota that filled the Earth's land and seas during that time, and powerful beams of light produced by catastrophic deaths of stars have done terrible things to Earth's atmosphere, and caused problematical mutations in countless species of plants, animals, and fungi.

In this grand tour of the cosmos and Earth's place in it, the author discusses the many ways we are connected to our vast, possibly infinite universe. Tracing the long, long natural history of how events in the nearby and remote parts of the universe have affected life on Earth, and how they might influence life in the future, the author covers the who range of known and theorized events and phenomena, not only in historical context but in future contexts, as well. And as the tile of this book suggests, he shows how these events are all interconnected.

The Cosmic Connection is a fascinating and approachable look at the cosmos we're part of, and is attended for the general readerships, laymen and scientists alike. The narrative style is eloquent and, at times, amusing, but is always well-paced and fact-filled. The Cosmic Connection provides readers a broad view of how life on Earth, and likely life on other worlds, are related to the stars. (Readers familiar with my reviews and my Live Journal blog know that I am a professional astrologer, a Ceremonial Magickian, a Qabbalist, and a Tarot practitioner, and a student of Aleister Crowley [NOT a follower of him, or Thelemite, thank you], as well. Crowly himself said that it's all the same universe whether you approach it from the view of science or that of the so-called mystical Arts and Sciences. He's right. So the advice I'd give astrologers who have little or no understanding of the sciences, particularly astronomy, cosmology, chemistry, and physics, is to get as much knowledge about them and their subjects as possible, because it will truly significantly enhance their ability to interpret astrological charts. And this book is a grand introduction to those sciences, But I digress.)

Each chapter of this book explores a different type of astronomical phenomenon, focusing on such issues as:

-- Earth's orbit and inclination might have triggered past ice ages, including Snowball Earth events during the Proterozoic Eon, an ice age that dominated the early Permian Period of the Paleozoic, and the ice ages that have characterized the Pleistocene and Holocene Epochs of the Quaternary Period of the Cenozoic Era, from 2.5 million years ago through the present

-- Ancient supernovae might have played a part in mass extinctions and the genetic makeup of survivors, profoundly influencing the evolution of life on Earth

-- A (geologically) recent event, the "Little Ice Age (1300-1850 AD), might have been caused or influenced in part by a slight but persistent dip in the Sun's output of energy

-- The dangers posed by intense geomagnetic storms

-- The widespread effects that our Sun's changing galactic environment has on life and climate

The author's elegant, jargon-free descriptions of these and related issues will delight and inform anyone who has an interest in astronomy, the evolution of the Earth and its life, and the future of that life, including human life.

This is the story of Samuel Washburn, born a slave in 1850. After the death of his master, Mr. Washburn, the terrible death of Sam's own father, and the loss of Sam's mother, who was sold down the river to a different state, his world began to fall apart. His late master's son's cruelty culminated in an unforeseen and very unfortunate confrontation, which impelled Sam and his cousin to flee the plantation. They ran north to freedom, only to return to the South to fight for a greater cause, the liberation of all slaves in the Confederacy and the return of the Confederacy to the Union.

Though still only a boy, Sam became a regimental drummer with a "colored regiment," and saw action in the Wilderness campaign at Fredericksburg and Petersburg, and at that bloody Battle of the Crater in July 1864.

This story, told in Sam Washburn's own voice, gives a unique perspective on the slaughterhouse that was the War Between the States and the hideous toll it took on both young and old, black and white. But it also shows us, with stark and unforgiving clarity, the even worse toll that slavery took on both master and slave, the hideous assaults on the dignity and spirit of slaves, and the warping of the minds of those who owned or sold or captured slaves. Slavery corrupts both master and slave, and even after the Civil War was over with, in the American South the maltreatment of former slaves as well as poor whites continued and worsened year by year as the Ku Klux Klan kept both groups of people from ever "rising above their station" and made their lives hell. It took the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Freedom Riders, and the Civil Rights movement in general to bring that hell on Earth in this country to a well-deserved end. It was men and women like Sam Washburn, yearning for freedom, fleeing slavery, and returning to fight to free others, working unknowingly in concert with President Abraham Lincoln, the saintly Harriet Ross Tubman and other conductors of the Underground Railway, and the martyred abolitionist John Brown to achieve that end. People like these changed history for us all, and set us on a path to the stars. It is up to us to continue on that path for the sake of us all.

If you've wondered why 4% of the International Astronomical Union voted to "demote" Pluto and "kick it out of the Solar System" and why the media took sides with them, something that should never be done in science but all too often is, this book will clear up that and many other questions about Pluto, the flagship of the Kuiper Belt. Not only does it discuss solid science about Pluto, but it also presents its story with "[a]ll the intrigue and passion of a political scandal." (The quote comes from K. C. Cole, author of Something Incredibly Wonderful Happens. It fits.)

The author points out that what should have happened in 2006 as a result of that ill-famed contest among astronomers was the drafting of a compromise that would have satisfied both "sides" -- planetary scientists via dynamicists and those scientists specializing in celestial mechanics. The dynamicists wanted an emphasis on the influence which heavenly bodies have on one another (thus their stipulation that a planet must "clear its orbit" -- sweep out all other materials in its orbit, something that none of the "legitimate planets have done) while the planetary scientists wanted to use time-honored criteria for declaring that something is a planet (rounded by its own gravity, i.e., being in a state of hydrostatic equilibrium; orbiting a star and not another planet, etc.). A compromise satisfying the elements of both positions should and could have been worked out on a truly scientific basis.

Instead, the then-President of the IAU and her hand-picked IAU members decided it was a war against the planetary scientists, and they voted accordingly. And though most astronomers were really not satisfied with the outcome -- the dynamicists "won" by means of a secret vote to which 96% of the IAU were NOT invited, hardly a true win -- somehow the media got it into their collective head that science is done by voting, not by the scientific method, and they ignored the fact that the vote itself was a rigged vote that had little to do with what most of the membership of the IAU believed. So, true to their motto of "if it bleeds, it leads," they trumpeted the "death" of Pluto and its "ejection" from the Solar System and didn't bother to interview various astronomers or even scientists in other disciplines to learn how science is actually done (hint: it's not by vote -- physicists did not vote on how big the Planck length is, nor the actual mass of the Sun, nor did paleontologists vote on whether dinosaurs existed or not).

Worse, they copied the attitude some scientists have of looking down their noses at laymen, assuming they are stupid and backward, and "sided" with astronomers who do regard laymen that way. The public, which had known Pluto is a planet for some three-quarters of a century, did not receive this sort of treatment well at all, and with that, the fight was on!

But Alan Stern, the head of the New Horizons project which reached its magnificently successful culmination on July 14, 2015, said well before New Horizons arrived at Pluto, what we are now discovering about Pluto is so fascinating that most people are going to drop the entire argument on its head and neglect to call an ambulance for it. From Tombaugh Regio, the gorgeous heart-shaped region, like a valentine from God, that has just been named after the late astronomer Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto, to the large, dark area known as The Whale, and all the other places on this mysterious little world's surface, Pluto is stunning in its hadeology (= Hades geography) and the implications of what the New Horizons team is learning about Pluto now as the information from the probe returns to Earth.

Pluto, the little planet that could, and the home of Hades and Persephone, judges of the dead, is up front forever in our minds, never to be "demoted" or "killed" (astronomer Mike Brown's term for it) again.


Let's Roll
Yael Dragwyla

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September 2015



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