WELL worth your time.
Do you want to know how infinitesimally small you are? The moon in this image (actually a Java app) is one pixel wide. Using the side scroll on your mouse or your trackpad, you can travel from the sun to Pluto.
This is in km, but for those of us who are metrically-challenged, each pixel is 2159 miles – the distance from New York City to Phoenix, AZ.**
What will you notice? All of that empty space (occasionally filled with puns on the page). The trip from the sum to Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars isn’t that long. But from there….
This is worth your time.
** BTW – if this were changed so that one pixel equaled the width of YOU, the distances would have to be increased 5.7 million times. Why? You’re about 2 feet wide (give or take), so it would take the width of 2640 people to equal one mile. Since one pixel equals 2159 miles, you’d have to line up 5.7 million people shoulder-to-shoulder to cover that distance.
via NBC News
Bill Nye the Science Guy plans to visit Kentucky next month for a creation-vs.-evolution debate with Creation Museum founder Ken Ham.
Ham wrote on his blog that the museum will host Nye, the star of a long-running science show for kids, on Feb. 4.
Nye has been critical of creationists for their opposition to evolution and their assertions that the Old Testament provides a literal account of the earth’s beginnings. In an online video that has drawn nearly 6 million views, Nye said teaching creationism was bad for children.
The video prompted a response video from the Creation Museum, and Ham later challenged him to a debate.
And this….this article blows my mind. The Big Bang. The Big Freeze. The universe collapsing on itself? Absolute zero and the cessation of everything, including thought and consciousness. Birth from nothing. Is birthing your own universe possible? (yes, kind of). Wormholes and traveling through to your own universe. Is having your DNA sent through to a new universe the same as surviving?
It makes my head a’splode.
From August 11, 2010
I know that – somewhere – dad is probably embarrassed, and at least annoyed -slash- bothered -slash- slightly upset that I’m doing this. Dad was a plain man, not given to flowery pronouncements or to frippery… which also means he wouldn’t use a word like frippery. In his own… subtle way….he’d probably equate my giving his eulogy to a healthy amount of the product of the back end of a large Texas steer.
Over the years, he and I have been in this church many hundreds of times, helping other families say goodbye to their loved ones. Today, we – and you – are here for him.
It’s said that in times like these, you find out who your friends really are. We have a lot, and they are wonderful. For my family, I can only offer a very overwhelmed “thank you”.
My brother Michael and I spent a very deep and profound night on Friday. It’s a night that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life. The aneurysm that happened so suddenly on Thursday stole his mind and thoughts and speech and all the things that made him him. He wasn’t really Frank anymore, he was just Frank’s shell. He was no longer there in any real sense. Mike and I stayed in the room in hospice all night as dad lay dying. We started talking about memories. But what we kept coming back to was the lessons we’d learned.
My dad was, first and foremost, a teacher, and not just in a classroom or on a basketball court. Real teaching is a quiet pursuit. The greatest lessons are the quiet lessons, the ones we don’t even realize we’ve learned until later. Mike and I discovered a wealth of quiet lessons as we sat holding our dying dad.
Let me share one with you:
My dad and I have exchanged books and texts and novels since I was 12. One of our favorites is “The Journeyer”, about Marco Polo and his travels across the Silk Road and through Asia. Marco’s mentor and friend dies suddenly in the night, and he’s buried under a stone that reads “But we never know when the last time comes”. I have always loved that quote, but it’s taken the events of the last few days for me to really understand it.
The last time I saw my dad before the aneurysm that stole first his cognitive function, and then his life, was last Tuesday afternoon. We were standing across the street on the porch of the funeral home, talking about nothing particularly important, with no idea that a week later, I’d be there at his wake. He was my dad and he knew I loved him but I’m still a little worse off now for not having him anymore. We lived with mortality on a regular basis and I always knew I’d lose him someday, but the hole is bigger than I thought it would be. There are always so many things left to say, and now I can’t say them.
And in that lies the lesson. “We never know when the last time comes”.
We are more than the sum of a listing of our successes and setbacks, we are more than our moments of incredible grace and more than the moments when we fell short of the glory. Michael, who is brilliant and profound well beyond his 22 years, said in the early hours of Saturday morning, ‘if you can sum up your relationship with another person with one word, then you’re doing it wrong, unless that word is “complicated”’.
Like so many men of his generation, my dad wasn’t comfortable expressing emotion. Not that he didn’t feel it, he just didn’t know how to show it. He was quiet about it. I can’t tell you the number of people that he’s buried for nothing or next to nothing, taking it out of his own pocket because he thought they deserved a decent burial. He didn’t do it for recognition, but because it was right. There’s an infant named Jonathan at Mother of Sorrows Cemetery, buried in a lone grave that my dad bought. Jonathan’s circumstances broke dad’s heart. He took care of Jonathan, buried him and visited his grave, alone, for years.
With the exception of my mom, there is no one alive who knows my dad better than I do. In the last few months, we’d developed a very honest relationship where we could discuss anything, and so there are certain things that I can tell you because he told them to me. I don’t have to guess. And I know he would want me to tell you, to make sure that you know, now that his last time has come, how much he loved you. Even if he didn’t quite know how to share it or show it. He loved his friends, he loved his brother, he loved his kids, and he loved his wife.
So when you think about dad, remember him, but remember too how quickly he was taken away. Say the things you need to say to those you love. Share a hug. Tell them what they mean to you. Tell them that you love them. Because we never know when the last time comes.
If you do that, you’ll not only give more meaning to your own life, but more meaning to his. He won’t be just a memory, he’ll still be teaching. He’ll still be present in this world in a meaningful way, long after he’s left it.
And I do think that would make the teacher in him very happy.
I love you Dad. Thank you. Rest easy and travel well.
Last year, Minnesota teenager Zach Sobiech inspired millions with “Clouds,” a heartfelt song written in the midst of his battle against a rare form of bone cancer.
In a video released on Monday, a group of celebrities decided to send some inspiration back his way.
They took part in a moving tribute of his viral YouTube hit, lip-synching to “Clouds” in a video made for the Lakeland, Minn. teen who recently celebrated his 18th birthday. Stars like Bryan Cranston, Anna Faris, Sarah Silverman, Ed Helms, Jenna Elfman, Jason Mraz, the Lumineers and Rachel Bilson all make appearances in the video directed and produced by Justin Baldoni of Soul Pancake, a media company founded by actor Rainn Wilson of “The Office” fame.
Sobiech was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, when he was 14 years old. In June of 2012, he was told by doctors that he had months, maybe a year, to live.
The celebrity-filled video had more than 420,000 views in five days, but still has some catching up to do with Sobiech’s original of “Clouds,” which has garnered more than 2.7 million views since it was released in December. In a scene in an emotional documentary about Sobiech by Soul Pancake, Baldoni unveiled the celebrity tribute to Sobiech and his family.
“I told them I just wanted them to do something for you because you’ve done so much for us,’’ Baldoni tells Sobiech in the short film. “What resulted was something very special. I just want you to know that this stuff’s not happening because you’re dying. It’s really because of the way you’re living.”
Sobiech’s health is declining, according to Schultz, but he recently was able to celebrate his 18th birthday on May 3 and attend his senior prom at Stillwater Area High School a day later.
“It’s really simple, actually,’’ Sobiech says in the documentary. “It’s just, try and make people happy. Maybe you have to learn it over time, maybe you have to learn it the hard way, but as long as you learn it, you’re going to make the world a better place.
“I want everyone to know you don’t have to find out you’re dying to start living.”
– via Today.com
[update: Zach passed away at home on Monday, May 20th. He had just turned 18.]
This is Ronald Davis, homeless Chicagoan. This 2012 street interview, in which he tearily describes his futile search for work and dignity, reportedly inspired an entire PBS series on social policy:
“I start out my mornings about six o’clock. Sometimes, I don’t even have enough money for the flophouse… It’s really humiliating to be shaking a cup 24 hours a day, and people just look at you’re like some kind of little bum… At the end of the day, when people go home, and everybody gets on the metro train, I just feel so bad that I can’t be going home… No matter what people think about me, I know I’m a human first. And just ’cause I’m down on my luck don’t give nobody no excuse to call me no bum. Because I’m not.”
Watch the whole video.
It begs the questions: What is dignity? How does someone get a second chance? What are we, as a society spending our money on? Doesn’t what we spend money on show what we value? Are we showing the values we want to be showing? Is this man a “taker” because he’s not wealthy? How can someone lift themselves up when they have nothing to lift with?
This is a trap that’s so easy to fall in, and so hard to get out of. The next time you see a ‘bum’, think twice. It could be someone you love, because someone loved them.
It could be you.
Is this the country you want? If not, how do you change it?