My Facebook Rant (or, What The Hell Is He Saying Now?)

“The new ways we have to communicate shouldn’t obscure the general delivery of news that can be trusted to have been checked out first, before being delivered.”

facebook thumbThus began the final writ, the one I, myself, without checking too many things for facts, anxiously posted on Facebook in early 2017 – my two cents.

The rest of my Facebook indulgence:

Please don’t believe memes!
Not without checking them out for a half a minute!

meme saying don't believe memesWhen Prince Charles allegedly (an antique word I learned in journalism) calls out my President, instead of spending a minute letting it “soak in,” as the poster suggested, I spent thirty seconds to check it out. The tweet is there, but then it’s ruined when I read Continue reading “My Facebook Rant (or, What The Hell Is He Saying Now?)”

An Objection To Objectivity

Are nature and science at odds?

Members of a species usually don’t cannibalize themselves; why don’t sharks eat each other? The question is fundamental.

It’s an example of things that are unchangeable, intrinsic to nature, that almost appear to be decisions, in such a way that they’re not scientific or mathematical but could be seen as unbreakable instincts among creatures, where survival of the species is the natural inclination, or the result of specific engineering, as in the case of millions of ants, but it’s all done by nature without human intervention, and a mostly marvelously complete and satisfying experience.

Nature, our world, our creatures, protect themselves and procreate naturally, and strength is filtered into the future naturally; if this is happening with all life, from ants to humans, shouldn’t it also be happening with the planet itself (and yes, despite us humans and our aerosol spray cans), and the Universe too? Shouldn’t the Universe have this same “personality,” revealed in nature to us as regeneration and promise for the future?

Mark and Ollie in Kayak
The author and his dog in a boat.

The tools nature uses are the important message. While we struggle with math just because the Universe is large, all around us creation uses a different platform, a distinct universal decision-making process based on a purpose, not on math, a process that’s dynamic and self-healing.

These kinds of tools (balance- not digitally-centered) are not generally used in science when the scale of study becomes astronomical or microscopic, but maybe they should be … or, at least, Continue reading “An Objection To Objectivity”

The Observability Of Nature (or, You’re Blinder Than a Bat!)

Penguins walk like people and swim like fish.

In Oregon red-eyed birds can walk, though it looks more like dancing, on water.

Penguin
Thought Bubble: “I wish I could fly!”

Mudskippers are fish that walk on land, dig holes in the mud and prefer to be on land; the fins have what look like elbows as it uses them like a dog does its front legs. It looks like a fish with front legs; it’s eerie.

A chameleon’s eyes move independently of each other. The Venus Fly Trap is a plant that lures, traps and consumes its prey, a fly, successfully with no brain at all.

While the bear is bumbling with salmon there are dolphins creating circles of mud in the water and catching fish in their mud circle traps; these most intelligent animals look like they’re having fun!

Monkeys use stone tools like hammers to crush nuts, after leaving the nuts out in the sun for a week to become easier to break.

God shows us evolution in naturesGreatEventsDolphinsthe moth and tadpole, crawling from the sea and flying into the sky and readapting to a completely new body during a single lifetime. In the lion, bear and dolphin, He shows us how to hunt, faultless killing similar to play. In the dolphins he shows us what an intelligent creature would do if it lived exclusively in the water. The go-to bounty is seemingly endless small, fast fish; the big, smart dolphin’s goal, given choices, is to have fun!

The farther we go from the sea and become more like intelligent mammals, the more time we spend in our families, like the Orangutan, raising our young. We are surrounded by the modern and the primitive – the underlings of the food chain and the unchallenged champions, dinosaurs, dragons and humans … even … toads that eat tarantulas.

Clarke's Grebes DancingIn Oregon, the Clark’s Grebe, Continue reading “The Observability Of Nature (or, You’re Blinder Than a Bat!)”

The Attenborough Syndrome (or, Documentarians Gone Wild!)

Netflix is crowded with documentaries, some very good ones. It’s a field day for Attenborough! Drones and underwater cameras, football field zoom lenses, fast frame rates and super slow motion are making the big living room screen feel like a new set of eyes!

Attenborough Photo
Not sure who is cooler in this picture

Sir David Frederick Attenborough is an English broadcaster and naturalist. Among his numerous awards: The coveted 1974 Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) (The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is the order of chivalry of British constitutional monarchy, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organizations, and public service outside the Civil Service, just in case you didn’t already know).

He’s a narrater, a voice for documentaries; in England some call him a national hero, and he has many other titles. He’s an adventurer and nature lover. He knows a lot more about nature than I do.

naturesGreatEventsEagleOne of Attenborough’s projects, “Nature’s Great Events” (2009), shows a bald eagle multiple times repeated, so you can see it, fishing from the sky. The bird, in the wink of an eye, focuses on a single fish, and swoops down and just plucks it right out of the water, in flight the whole time. Sea and sky merge with the unsuspecting fish suspended in the bird’s claws and flying through the air. The actual “pluck” is almost invisible in “regular” speed, but in slow motion, the eagle’s accuracy and grace Continue reading “The Attenborough Syndrome (or, Documentarians Gone Wild!)”

The Definition Of Alcoholism (From “A Candle Lit” by Mark Urso)

At the risk of ruining your jolly happy attitude, and possibly to straighten out a crooked one … here’s some serious stuff …
Ch. 3 from my book “A Candle Lit”:

The Definition of Alcoholism

Alcoholism is fear-forced comfort-seeking behavior that forms a negative cycle that can resist repair and cause permanent mental imbalance.

It’s key symptom is not “drinking,” but “alcoholic malbehavior.”

It is caused by the repeated use, and subsequent over-use, of alcohol to escape fear, resulting in failures, which creates a cycle of cravings, denial and negativity, subsequently resulting in the fear worsening. It lives in a timeline cycle.

A Candle Lit BookIt is an attempt to douse fear with alcohol, with short term blinders on, and an abandonment of discipline. It’s definition is very specific.

It’s a series of bad decisions based on ease of obtaining alcohol, alcohol’s acceptance by society, and it’s short-term calming effect.

It is a condition so common society wants to label it; though it’s no more than a combination of elements that are easy Continue reading “The Definition Of Alcoholism (From “A Candle Lit” by Mark Urso)”

The Problem With Old White People (And Why They Should Go To Foxwoods)

Working at Mohegan Sun Casino you learn a lot about people. I was an usher in a 10,000 seat arena there, and learned about many cultures through their entertainment!

Thus, the following: an exercise in Casino Sociology 101.
We are, in a way, one big happy family.
In other ways we’re very different.

logoAs you watch people during unique events, for example an arena filled with what seems like 99% Vietnamese people, there’s not much of a language barrier as you might think. At the Chinese shows you’d be astonished how fancy the girls fix up their hair. The blacks are unfalteringly polite, despite the seats sometimes being a bit too small. I saw shows from all corners of the world; heard impressive stories and witnessed innovative attempts at rule-breaking.

White people were most surprising. It seems when you put a lot of them into one really big room, they show their colors, you might say!

This night was in January, 2010:

Bowzer’s Doo-Wop Dance Party. A tribute to “doo-wop” tunes of the 50s and 60s, featuring some of the original acts who are still living. I didn’t recognize their names; not any of them.

Bowswers Doo Wop PartyThe show was 3 1/2 hours long.

No show should be this long. It becomes self indulgent after about 2 1/2 hours.

The entertainers were playing “Goodnight Sweetheart” as their “one more song” at the very end. Halfway through this song, the arena was almost empty – it had been a crowded night with 7000 guests. I had never before seen the arena empty itself while the band was still Continue reading “The Problem With Old White People (And Why They Should Go To Foxwoods)”

Kill The Caribou (or How To Snipe Polar Bears by Helicopter)

It’s a little about Trump, a little about Palin … but mostly about lions and tigers … and moose and caribou … and bears, oh my!

Polar Bear in AlaskaMostly, it’s about humans versus our very own science, growing impatient with the natural order of things, and aiming in the dark at some popular critters.

It’s about a bill that passed the U.S. House in February 2017, a controversial attempt at undoing a controversial limitation on a controversial animal control law. A battle of principles where the playing field is the planet and the victims are “not us.”

It could be called an attempt to rebalance populations; killing one animal to demonstrate our dominance (and intelligence) as a species, and preserve our preferred animal (to kill) (a different one); a non-subsistence kill to bolster subsistence kills.

The good news is the preferred animal to kill isn’t the popular bear or wolf, but moose and caribou. Some Alaskans feel the less-preferred animals to kill, though, bears and wolves, are getting in the way!

While we share the Earth with, and value all these creatures, does the end justify the means?

American FlagNBC news reports the U.S. House voted to overturn a restriction on hunting in national wildlife refuges in Alaska (70 million-acres), which, if the overturn is approved, would allow hunting bears by airplane and trapping cubs during denning season. Overturning the restrictions would allow Alaska to mandate the management without federal government intervention (and at least for now, allowing the hunting and trapping), and the principle of autonomy is unnecessarily hanging in balance at odds with predator management.

NBC says “Aerial shooting has been deemed necessary Continue reading “Kill The Caribou (or How To Snipe Polar Bears by Helicopter)”

Soundcloud (A Poem)

SoundCloud  (Mark Urso)
(Sung to the melody of “Both Sides Now”)

A man surrounded by mountains, looking far off and away

With his Ray Bans singing Judy Collins – I’ve looked at SoundCloud that way!

But then I searched for some good songs – they make it hard, there’s lots of strange

Things that you wouldn’t listen to – the ads get in the way!

soundcloud

I’ve looked at songs in my SoundCloud, from win and lose and still somehow

It’s clouds’ illusions I recall . . . I really should adjust . . . my meds

The Gravity Of Hyperbole; Journalism and Science Collide on the Big Screen!

We can only see to the edge of the observable universe.

What does this sentence mean?

the universeThe “edge” is said to be 15-billion light-years distant.
Smart scientists (and screenwriters and journalists) need to check their use of the English language. A “So and so says” or an “It’s believed” can go a long way!

What does it mean to say we can only see to the “edge” of the observable universe? It’s a sentence in a vacuum! “Edge” sounds purposefully, fantastically unscientific (edgy almost), dramatic, as if there were a visual (observable) “edge” (while I admit “Edge Of The Universe” is an excellent name for a documentary), and the word “observable” nixes the need for the sentence altogether. Even when we understand the intended meaning, it’s a real loss of credibility. Even when not intended, science is riddled with hyperbole and misinformation.

eyeball

If we’re currently studying to the edge, we’re done!
We’ve seen it all!

That could be true if we took the exaggeration in the opposite direction! Doesn’t feel fair, now, does it! If it was anything but the universe and we could see to the observable edge of it, what else is there to see? Stick the word “universe” in any sentence, and it stops sounding simple and factual! The race’s grandest theories are a harsh playground.

The universe is easy to exaggerate about, but the exaggeration is easy to pick apart. Speculate and hire haughty British voices Continue reading “The Gravity Of Hyperbole; Journalism and Science Collide on the Big Screen!”

Raccoons In The Attic; Cosmos Science and Your Imagination

NASA recently released a picture of a billion black holes. They really did. It’s a picture of black holes. And there’s “about” a billion of them in the picture. It looks like a picture of stars in the night sky (a brilliant disguise for the black holes), and requires, as the universe does, a little imagination.

I’m tired of reminding everyone black holes exist only in the imagination, so I’ll make this the last time. This report, on the Harvard web server for the Chandra press collection, talks in some detail with a few statistics about these supermassive black figments of Einstein’s imagination, but, as usual, as if it’s all fact.

There’s not a lot of guts to the release; it’s more like a long caption to the photo, and the photo (below) isn’t anything you’d hang on the wall.

But the comments are interesting. “Decota” was concerned the black holes might be traveling toward us, to consume Earth. Hopefully not before she makes it to the grocery store to pick up some eggs, I thought. I wanted to call her up and tell her it’s going to be okay. Duane posted a question Continue reading “Raccoons In The Attic; Cosmos Science and Your Imagination”

Say It Out Loud! The Merger of Media is a Good Thing!

The “merger of media” is a good thing. It’s happening all around us, and makes us clench our collective fists every day, while also giving us a new way to talk about why we’re clenching them.

It’s a good thing! For example, an actress, after the Oscars, stripped off her expensive designer dress and dove right into the swimming pool … on Instagram!

Did I say that out loud?

Old-Phone
Technology Icon

Well, it did happen, and it was included in the news report about the Oscars! It wouldn’t have happened when I grew up. We didn’t have little hand-sized super computers that we could use to video us taking off our clothes and hopefully getting it on the news. It was impossible back then. You would have had to have someone accidentally find your video tape, then, clearly violating your intentions, nefariously distribute it, themselves, by hand (sort of), over the newly-developing Internet, as some stars like Paris Hilton Continue reading “Say It Out Loud! The Merger of Media is a Good Thing!”

The Press’s Version Of Some Things

bert einstein
What? Don’t ask me!

Billions of dollars and a hundred years spiked with fruitless theory may not sound like the human race is getting far in its study of its own world,

but the frustration around the science is one thing we do know for certain.

This is a quote from the website “Space.com”: “In 2014, scientists announced that they had detected gravitational waves left over from the Big Bang using the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP2) telescope in Antarctica. It is thought that such waves are embedded in the cosmic microwave background. However, further research revealed that their data was contaminated by dust in the line of sight.”

I’m not making this up!
Could-a been Einstein was right …
Could-a been some dust!

Maybe they just need a “BICEP3,” and maybe it’d be designed to see what it’s looking for, invisible black holes, instead of just the invisible gravitational waves that support black holes theoretically! There’s something not only expensive but preposterous Continue reading “The Press’s Version Of Some Things”

My Version Of Everything

just words

My base position is skeptical, as it should be when looking at claims about the universe! Evidence is not made just because a theory satisfies reason and is not yet disproven or better-proven. I believe time does not exist separately from the movement of objects, and philosophy itself, if applied with gut-wrenching honesty, may be the piece missing from everything theory, but sometimes replaced based on insecurity with distortion, hyperbole and misrepresentation.

Earth-Full-Nasa
You Are Here

It seems obvious everything is always in motion, and there need be no fixed time of reference in the universe (mostly because we are always moving as observers), or, if there were, it would be something along the lines of “God’s time,” where God exists based on death-related speculation, which unavoidably begins to knit spiritual concepts into the realm of the not-understood, including “everything real,” and everything known; spirituality is a natural part of human perspective.

Saying there’s a master time reference point is like saying there’s something in the Universe that doesn’t move. Our experience of time is part of our ecology; we are a subset of the universe.

I also believe if time dilates (changes rate when the observer is moving), more when the speed approaches the speed of light, as a result the entire experience of the observer must change appropriately, including his experience of distance; things might change apparent size but he would still be able to see the smallest of them. He might, at near the speed of light, approach an unimaginable state of omnipresence. At the speed of light, light itself would no longer have “speed,” Continue reading “My Version Of Everything”