Congratulations, Rosetta, Philae and ESA

 

A belated congratulations to the amazing team at the European Space Agency (ESA) who have accomplished an incredible feat after 10 long years of travel to a speeding comet, 67P. To find out more about this historic moment, read the Guardian coverage on ESA’s Rosetta Space Probe or go visit ESA’s site to find out more about what they do.

As I mentioned before, our curiosity is our biggest motivation for exploring the unknown. No matter the difficulties and obstacles, we persevere through the peaks and valleys because we can only guess at what wonders the final destination might hold. All of the space agencies around the world have accomplished so many firsts that seeks to not only broaden human minds but also deepen our knowledge of the universe around us.

Find out more about our space programs and support these travelers who seek to go “where no man has gone before” (thank you Star Trek for putting stars in our eyes):

Space.com – read the latest astronomy and space news

National Geographic – learn about the planets and space

Science Daily – read about the latest science news covering a wide range of studies

Find out about other space agencies through NASA and Wikipedia

 

There are as many places to learn about science as there are studies. Whether it’s online or at a museum, go visit and see what science has uncovered. Your mind will love the stimulus!

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Whatever You Do….Love It

The world feels like it’s broken to so many. That’s why we need to listen to those people who remind us to do what we love.

It’s really easy to do what is necessary. After rinsing and repeating, that life starts to seep into the deepest part of you, intertwining with your very bones. You feel tired because it saps all that makes you YOU. The reminders to chase your dreams make us angry because it’s not a real option to so many when every day life demands something much more insidious and destructive. We resent what we feel we cannot have. We are afraid to wake up to life. We are afraid to feel alive because we know how much it hurts when we lose something important to us.

The norm is wrapped up attractively because it knows that once we look deeper, we’ll find nothing. Nothing of consequence. Nothing lasting. Nothing awe-inspiring.

The awe-inspiring only occurs when you find something that moves you on the inside. For me it was flying and writing. For others, it is creating works of art. And on an on through the list of the interesting that seeks to find like minds. Minds that are willing to open up to the challenge of making something with your heart and soul.

Those reminders we’re told to ignore because it isn’t practical resound loudly in the normal world. Well, practicality has created the broken world that we now live in. Practicality seeks to numb us so that we won’t fight. Practicality means being servile to something destructive because it compromises our very essence. And each essence is so important to making the world vibrant and growing. Not by worshiping at the altar of tangible measurement, but by destroying that very altar if it seeks to control through fear and intimidation.

Creation means embracing what we fear so that we can smash what holds us back. So do what I do and surround yourself with things that are beautiful or ugly, just as long as they are things that make your heart stutter and your soul tremble. Those awakenings are what so many find so dangerous, because they know that shackles cannot bind those who still stand and pull against them with all of their might while reaching for freedom.

Display those reminders that move you so that you see them everyday. You need the reminder that it is not wrong to chase your dreams.

Whatever you do… love it with all of your might. What comes from this relationship just may help others around you who find it harder to hear the whispering of the soul.

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Pushing the Limits

This is what pushing the limits can result in: A discovery of a new world, unknown to all but a few.

 

The tragic loss of the Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo and part of its crew is another harsh reminder that exploring the unknown will never be easy. Mainstream news and some of the public will try to cast doubts upon endeavors such as this, but they also disrespect all those actual attempts to conquer the unknown that humans have made throughout our history.

If someone hadn’t been curious about what’s on the other side of the ocean, then the “New World” would not have been found. If someone wasn’t curious about the biodiversity of the planet, then today’s science would not be around to help us chart our future. If curiosity was dampened, then we would have little to learn outside of our own limited understanding.

There is much to be said for encouraging curiosity, for it broadens our horizons so that events like the first moon walk by Neil Armstrong could be shared by all who watched. He wasn’t just part of a small crew walking upon a place not of this Earth. He was a representative for each and every one of us who wanted to explore the unknown and come out a better person for the experience. He is a member of a long list of people who helped each discovery mesh into our collective knowledge, building new creations with each new beam of light cast into the dark.

Our modern world exists because of those who ignore the “you must be crazy” outbursts that comes from status quo. Each discovery helped shape us, who in turn help shape the world as we know it. All that technology that makes life so easy is a direct result of every person who risks it all as they push the limits. We have to say thanks to every explorer for who we are as a civilization. Without the curiosity, we’d still be living in the dark ages. Without the yearning for more, we would never have seen or experienced anything close to this (THANK YOU NASA for helping to open our horizons):

Apollo 11 over Mare Smythii with Earth (courtesy of NASA)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So to all you naysayers, sorry but we’re going to continue to push the limits in honor of those who gave their all during every such endeavor. They are the ones who allow us to dream, and I for one thank each and every one of you brave souls!

The universe is a very big place, and every one of us has the opportunity to join the voyage of discovery. It just might help you discover yourself.

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Remember

A tribute to the lost by Bruce MacKinnon of the Halifax Chronicle Herald

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We all probably know a person who has served or is serving in the armed forces in our country. If you lived as a dependant of one of them, then you are intimately aware of the sacrifices they give on a daily basis. We also have memorials and holidays that pay tribute to their actions throughout human history. But do we really appreciate what they do if it doesn’t personally affect us in our daily lives?

Bruce MacKinnon of the Halifax Chronicle Herald created a powerful tribute to a fallen soldier whose life was cut short from senseless violence.

Most of violence is senseless in its fundamental action, but our response to these moments of violence should be full of sense. Our daily thoughts and actions need to honor those who choose a life that is not for the faint of heart for it is not an easy one. It shouldn’t only happen at monuments or on special holidays. That would be disrespectful to the hearts of the soldiers. It should continue every single day, towards every single person, so that those who serve do not ever serve in vain.  The living and the dead are teaching us valuable lessons that should change society for the better. They knew best that wars are an ugly business and should never be the main foundation for the the living.

Remember what they do and just try to live up to their memories. Those memories can make us all better people.

 

p.s. and thank you very much to Bruce MacKinnon for making such a powerful reminder of the sacrifices that hurt the heart but strengthen the soul.

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When You Finally Realize…

Our world seems to always be given only two choices, as though there is only ever the choice between right or wrong (though they look different depending on the angle that you are viewing them). We watch the news and it’s always about someone telling you to listen to them, or else!  School forces the same lessons generation after generation without acknowledging the limitations that come from controlling information and tunnel-visioned education. Even those in charge insist that only they have the right answer. But who decided this?

Seriously, who died and made them (fill in any appropriate leadership title)?? If you’re like me, then you are most likely questioning the whole leadership structure in the world…no matter what sector, industry, institution, or whatever. There just are so few people in leadership positions that actually deserve the title or the power. How do we change this?


Here are some who want to change the norm:

34 veterans of Unit 8200 Refuse To Spy on Palestinians (source: Guardian UK and their letter)

 

People’s Climate March 2014 (source: PBS and more from Guardian UK)

 

Scotland Referendum for Independence – look at the voter turnout!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These amazing instances are just a few of the global happenings by regular people who have had enough of what’s considered normal these days. Maybe there still isn’t a measurable difference from yesterday yet, but at least someone’s trying. It’s incredibly important because people are finally speaking up against what we’ve accepted for so long simply because someone from up high told us to do so. The top-down structure is coming down at an accelerated rate because it is causing more problems than it is solving. People are finally accepting that the bottom has just as many solutions that just haven’t been heard yet. Answers can be found all around us, and inside of each of us. Many times, these answers are not among the commonly accepted ones that have been passed down in perpetuity.  That’s great because that is what inspiration is all about: the difference.

There are not only two possible options to our many diverse issues that are finally reaching sunlight. Most of us already know this, and either ignore the naysayers or bow to the norm. How much more you can swallow is probably dictating your own decisions and actions. What will you be doing once you finally realize that:

  • It’s perfectly alright to have an idea that is different from others. It’s up to you to prove your case to others that your idea merits attention.
  • It’s great to question the norm, because that’s the only way that we improve ourselves and our world.
  • It’s not necessary to capitulate to another’s demand if their demand doesn’t fit into your logic. Again, they have to prove to you that they are right.
  • Even those in charge can be wrong. It happens repeatedly (just watch the news).
  • History is history for a reason…it’s meant to teach us before we start to shape our future.

Nothing stays the same forever! That means that the world is wide open to your ideas as well as to mine. It’s up to us to move like those shown so that we each have a more promising future together.

…because sometimes, enough is enough!

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The Real Challenge by Orlando

The Ice Bucket Challenge has been making the rounds, and doing an amazing job at bringing attention to ALS. But with so many problems out there, will we ever look at the undercurrents of society that brings many more problems with their supposed solution. We’ve all been told that we are a nation of law, but it’s not always so easy to see when it seems to depend on your station in life. We easily create laws, but never seem to think of repercussions that occur when we didn’t take a broad look when making a one-stop solution to an issue. And now people everywhere around the world are looking at the repercussions of one such tactic that has been taken by our respective goverments: militarization in the name of national security.

Orlando Jones wanted to get us to take another perspective when answering a call such as the Ice Bucket Challenge, which has been taken by people from all echelons of society – famous to regular everyday people. Orlando wanted to take the time to make a statement about the militarization of our supposed protective forces who now seem to stand against people who are exercising their rights as citizens (such as the right to protest against wrongs committed by society) – the very same people they have sworn to protect. Take a look at a powerful reinterpretation of the Ice Bucket Challenge, using something that is prevalent in the new actions of militarization:

Talk about a powerful message that has been experienced unequally by citizens within one nation’s society, multiplied by all of the nations in the world.

Every society has winners and losers. We have stories that are written about society at certain periods of time, and there is always one common denominator between all of the stories. The winners dictate how the losers should live. It never even dawns on them that the shoe can be switched in a single blink of an eye. Laws are not applied equally, because laws are created by winners who have control of how society functions.

When a government issues instructions that government officials can’t take a challenge because then it would look like the government is making a stand on a certain issue, then you know that the issue is probably a divisive one. The leaders know that if they take a side, then the one who isn’t supported will comment on their choice. It’s a no-win situation for them.  When you’re only worried about your own personal standing, then I guess it would seem that way.

Certain social issues like inequality cross over many barriers and infect all aspects of life. Those who are in the winner’s circle won’t experience the negatives because they’ve designed the “game” of life so that the rules don’t impact them. But when you look at the entire population on this planet, there are a lot of people who are experiencing many negatives that fashion their very thoughts and actions. And when those actions become a trickle-down of bad laws that are tunnel-visioned, those on the outside peering in stand in a downpour of connected consequences from really bad decisions.

Sure, Lady Justice is shown to be blind, but the meaning of her blindness has been perverted over time. When morality comes with clauses, there is no longer true morality that embraces the uplifting forces of life. Laws become mere words that circle in loops that obstruct the true meaning of justice. Justice is not something only available to those who can afford it – it is something that we are all afforded as long as we seek it.

Here’s the real challenge as issued by Orlando Jones to all of the world. Will we finally restructure society so that “liberty and justice for all” isn’t just a pledge, but a promise to us all? Our Supreme Court building carries the words “Equal Justice Under Law”. How our society actually acts when those words are uttered is the true test as to whether we are still enlightened…or devolving into feudalism.

This is a valuable challenge that each of us need to take, for the betterment of mankind and possibly even its future. I’m willing to take it. How about you?

- thanks to Salon and Fusion for this important conversation

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Nature Inspires

So, today I had a pretty amazing experience. You know how I’m always looking for inspiration, and nature is full of it. Well, something incredible happened while I was watering the plants in our backyard. And I really wish that I had a picture to prove it, but I didn’t have my phone or camera handy…since electronics and water don’t mix too well.

I noticed a juvenile hummingbird hovering just above me as I sprayed the plants to prepare for another hot day. He (or she) kept buzzing me, trying to get closer to the water. So I widened the spray with my thumb to create a shower for him, and he started flying through the water to cool himself down. It was amazing to see a hovering hummingbird literally a foot away from me. The details of a hummingbird’s feathers are even more amazing up close! After a few minutes, he flew up to a branch just above me to shake off the excess water and dry off in the wind.

Yeah, it was over in just a few minutes, but inspiration tends to strike that way, don’t you think? It’s what gets left behind inside you that resonates in your life far into the future. I want to remember this meeting forever, because it felt incredible to touch the face of nature for a brief moment.

Enjoy this image instead by thinwallryan. They look a lot like my hummingbird (just smaller, if that’s possible).

How does nature affect you?

Baby hummingbirds on a gargoyle by thinwallryan

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Craft-O-Tron

And back to some creative inspiration…

When buying local looks this amazing, it’s really hard to resist, isn’t it? I saw this image on Reddit, and managed to find out that this is indeed a real live art vending machine that has it’s own social media page. Here’s the Traveling Pittsburg Craft-O-Tron (“Tronny”) Machine created by Lynn Kropinak and inspired by Art-O-Mat:

 

Support your artist community, both locally and globally. Because creativity connects people everywhere, especially when it’s personal. This should inspire everyone to create their own dreams and share them everywhere. The world needs this!

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Question To Our Leaders

So, I’ve been quiet lately (yes, I’ve been saying this for a while), because I’ve returned to that impasse that I’ve encountered repeatedly throughout my life. You know the one – the one that saps you of your creativity. Why, you might ask? Take a look at the world lately. Not at the individual people, but at the national levels. Things are looking really wrong. Whether it’s politics, economics, religion or ideology, we are really at a screwed up point in human history. It’s enough to make a person turn inward instead of outward, which doesn’t always help with creativity.

If violence is on a decline as one scientist/psychologist mentioned back in 2011, then we’re sure not seeing it lately. But the one thing that we can surely agree is that our continued patterns of antiquated leadership in all industries and institutions have led us to this seemingly inexorable moment of historical return. For those who agree that history is important (of which I’m one), then we also probably agree that repeating history should be something that we don’t blindly blunder into without heartfelt understanding. Yet, our modern times show that those at the top have not learned ONE DAMN THING from past history! How is that possible? Could it be that human tendencies like greed, envy, pride and lust never went away? Looking at those titans of industry and institution, it’s clear that they’ve gotten worse or just never diminished. Do as I say, and not as I do must still be their motto? For all of this talk about religious superiority that’s taken hold all across of our world, we keep seeing the mortal failures that never stop repeating themselves – at all levels of society but especially at the top.

Things to be disgusted about:

  • Just look at 7/17/2014 (and many previous) front page(s) of any newspaper – WAR (or strife if you want to nitpick, since no one declares war anymore) is everywhere.
  • Laws are returning to an age of STUPID un-enlightenment for important freedoms: Net Neutrality, religious freedoms, cybersecurity, and the repulsive Patriot Act (to name a few)
  • Since corporations got the same rights as people, according to the Supreme Court, all hell has been breaking loose with consequences that directly affect individual lives: Seriously, “business has a role to play in shaping public policy in a democracy” (read the whole position by a certain businessman on Guardian, though he’s not the only businessman pushing this mentality)?!?
  • Umair Haque rightly calls our modern times, The Age of Hate, as shown by the humanitarian crisis on US borders, strife in the Middle East, and the tragedies of increasing loss of human life everywhere.
  • Inequality has a root to many if not all of our problems, as noted by the calls from many protestors from many public groups (and I’ve been talking about).

So, here is a question to our leaders around the world: What in the h*ll do you think you’re doing?

Are any of you thinking about long term consequences for us all, morality (not just the religious kind), and your own responsibility as role models to the rest of us? And if so, do you really think that every one of your current actions are going to be mindlessly accepted by all 7 billion + people on this planet???

Individuals with this type of power have a responsibility to everyone and everything on this planet. It’s what they chose when they took these positions. It not all about them, no matter how important they seem to think they are when compared to the rest of us. Take responsibility for the ripples that your actions will cause now and in the future. Every action that we all do will have repercussions, even if we don’t recognize them at the time we do something. Our current leadership everywhere (with the exception of a handful of innovators) gets an “F” if we were grading with letter grades.

War – What Is It Good For? Absolutely Nothing! - Edwin Starr

Enough is enough! A lot of us are fed up.

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Education Is Our Foundation

Education is on everyone’s mind, but more so when you are an adult and especially if you are a parent who has an opinion on school’s effectiveness. We all look back on our years of learning and gauge whether we followed the right path by where we currently stand. Add everyone’s opinion about the lack of effective standards or good teachers in education, and it becomes even more complicated. But who is to say that there is only ONE standard path to education? Perhaps it’s our desire for simplicity that lulls us into the false narrative that there can only be one solution. But that’s more about our personal choice or maybe how we’ve always been taught. A system is developed for standardization, but it can’t be so immutable that we stagnate in our own learning process. Systems should evolve just as life evolves.

So, what brought up this conversation? Well, I was recently approached by a researcher who helped find answers to the choice of home schooling. Home schooling is resurging as a method of alternative education for your child. And that is the key, teaching YOUR child the skills that YOU think they will need in order to proceed in this complicated world. After all, we know what is best for our child, don’t we? If you’re interested in learning more about whether the option of home schooling is good for you, then check out: Home Schooling: Good For Your Child & Your Finaces?

I was drawn to the conversation because I feel very strongly about life-long learning. And I responded to this researcher with my curiosity and a whole lot of comments and questions that I hope will expand this necessary conversation. In today’s society, there are too few open conversations happening that seek to better our collective world. Most voices push out in one direction, with tiny shouts coming back, but little to sustain an on-going discussion. Some discussions do expand in limited gatherings, but they too do not encompass the larger group that is our society. The results of these expansive silences are now showing in the cracking foundations of systems and standards that aren’t being kept up by the collection that is all of US.

Now, let’s hear from a single young voice who is passionate about the pursuit of open learning, because he understands that education is our foundation. Meet Logan LaPlante from Ted X University of Nevada:

Logan’s method of learning is much like the one that I continue to pursue in my adulthood, though I did start my education in both public and private schools. I have my inspirational teachers who helped me stay curious so that my learning progressed forward. The key to my concern about systems is that we continue to limit ourselves by not seeking all available options. And for something as important as education, why does there only have to be one solution? With over 7 billion people on this planet, there is no possible way that standardized education can answer each and every one of our needs.

Looking at education today, the biggest concern that I have is that schools today do not focus on the student more than they do on their results. Actually, today’s society is all about results: awards, likes, connections, and any other status that places us on a specific level or label. So where does the individual fit in? Why isn’t their curiosity fostered more, even if it goes against the grain of status quo? Why does everyone accept the norm when it is obviously so broken? I’m sure that I’m not the only one with these types of questions.

Education is not only about schooling. It is a bigger foundation that encompasses the many types of knowledge that we humans need and want. It is not something that needs to be measured, unless we want to know if we are well-rounded enough yet. It can’t be standardized, because that is a form of limitation. Scores can provide a temporary standing within a controlled environment, but since when is life controlled? Ask any adult who has left school, and I’ll bet they wish that control existed so that they could know what to expect in the future.

And that is what education is all about: The future – yours, mine and ours. Am I concerned that home schooling is a viable alternative? I’m more concerned that education is available to every child and adult so that they can get the chance to become who they dream of being. The how is an option that we choose throughout our lives – even home schooling should be an available option as we all do it already. It’s the why we need education that is much more important because it will shape our lives.

Want some resources for open learning? I found this awesome Reddit thread on OpenCourseWear with a list of available online learning sources. There’s more than one way to learn and there’s more than one moment in life to learn. Considering that this life is your life, you probably should take an active role in it. Don’t let a system or people make decisions that are yours to make. You need to do what is right for you and your expectations. Not even your parents will know what is best for you, because they’ll be using themselves as the model and not you. There are models all around you: a teacher, a craftsman, a writer, a scientist, and many many more. Whatever your interest, there’s someone out there who can help you find the necessary knowledge.

Systems are breaking down everywhere because we think that they are perpetual in their current form. History and current events are telling us that nothing remains the same in life. But the one thing that is a constant is that we all need foundations to stand on. What we build on those foundations is up to us. The world needs more dreamers, just like it needs more students like Logan. Education isn’t just our foundation, it’s our common denomination. Only when we all understand one another can we build a world that is big enough to hold all of us and our dreams – together. Just like no one person who is always right, there’s more than one way to become educated.

If you feel passionate about home schooling or education in general, continue the conversation here or at Money.co.uk. It’s an important conversation to grow, and there’s a lot more to talk about.

…just saying

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