Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sunsets and the solstice

Sunset on the Delaware Bay
The earliest sunset of the year (in these parts anyway) happened a couple of sunsets ago ago. The sun is setting later today than it did yesterday.

Folks will argue the point, but I am not so interested in their arguments as their need to have the discussion at all.

We are truly trapped in an abstract of our own making. Noon once meant the time the sun is as high as its going to get on a particular day, and solar noon still means just that, but the sun peaking at noon only happens four times a year now.

And despite what my teachers told me, the sun is never directly overhead in this part of the world.

So I can point folks to the United States Naval Observatory to support my claim, and I often do.

North Cape May winter beach
Here's a better idea, though. Go outside (or at least to a window) and look. Tomorrow do the same. Do it for a week or two. Do the same for sunrise.

I guess it really doesn't matter if someone knows the sunsets are getting later. It may be trivial to most of us. But that's not the point.

If we can so easily fool ourselves about the rise and fall of the sun, imagine the nonsense we do not know that we do not know....




What we believe becomes who we are.


Saturday, December 2, 2017

Anyone up for a good book burning?

The Bible of biology

"I think the Bible ought to be ceremoniously and reverently burned every Easter, in faith that we need it no more because the spirit is with us. It is a dangerous book, and to worship it is a far more dangerous idolatry than bowing down to images of wood and stone."
Alan Watts, Myth and Religion

I think we ought to do the same with our biology textbooks, except  burn them on Darwin Day instead--I'll get enough grief burning books without adding apostasy to the fire.

It's early December, way too warm for the season. I am still wandering around barefoot, murdering cabbage worms picked off the Brussels sprouts. I'll wander along the edge of the sea later today, stumbling across live critters going about their lives, and fossils of those long gone.

In biology we worship the mitochondrion and the chloroplast, require children to draw them, learn words like "cristae" and "thylakoids," and use analogies for which children have no reference.

Ask a child what a powerhouse is. Ask anyone.

Basil on my windowsill this morning

The children should be the ones murdering caterpillars, getting muddied and bloodied on ridiculously warm December days. Biology, the study of life, is a mandatory course in New Jersey public high schools.

Living life, apparently, is optional.



Fuck it, I'm going outside.