“You think man can destroy the planet? What intoxicating vanity. Let me tell you about our planet. Earth is four-and-a-half-billion-years-old. There’s been life on it for nearly that long, 3.8 billion years. Bacteria first; later the first multicellular life, then the first complex creatures in the sea, on the land. Then finally the great sweeping ages of animals, the amphibians, the dinosaurs, at last the mammals, each one enduring millions on millions of years, great dynasties of creatures rising, flourishing, dying away — all this against a background of continuous and violent upheaval. Mountain ranges thrust up, eroded away, cometary impacts, volcano eruptions, oceans rising and falling, whole continents moving, an endless, constant, violent change, colliding, buckling to make mountains over millions of years. Earth has survived everything in its time. It will certainly survive us. If all the nuclear weapons in the world went off at once and all the plants, all the animals died and the earth was sizzling hot for a hundred thousand years, life would survive, somewhere: under the soil, frozen in Arctic ice. Sooner or later, when the planet was no longer inhospitable, life would spread again. The evolutionary process would begin again. It might take a few billion years for life to regain its present variety. Of course, it would be very different from what it is now, but the earth would survive our folly, only we would not. If the ozone layer gets thinner, ultraviolet radiation sears the earth, so what? Ultraviolet radiation is good for life. It’s powerful energy. It promotes mutation, change. Many forms of life will thrive with more UV radiation. Many others will die out. Do you think this is the first time that’s happened? Think about oxygen. Necessary for life now, but oxygen is actually a metabolic poison, a corrosive gas, like fluorine. When oxygen was first produced as a waste product by certain plant cells some three billion years ago, it created a crisis for all other life on earth. Those plants were polluting the environment, exhaling a lethal gas. Earth eventually had an atmosphere incompatible with life. Nevertheless, life on earth took care of itself. In the thinking of the human being a hundred years is a long time. A hundred years ago we didn’t have cars, airplanes, computers or vaccines. It was a whole different world, but to the earth, a hundred years is nothing. A million years is nothing. This planet lives and breathes on a much vaster scale. We can’t imagine its slow and powerful rhythms, and we haven’t got the humility to try. We’ve been residents here for the blink of an eye. If we’re gone tomorrow, the earth will not miss us.”— Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park / Congo (via wordsnquotes)
“We are members of one great body. Nature planted in us a mutual love, and fitted us for a social life. We must consider that we were born for the good of the whole.”—Seneca the Younger (via itsquoted)
Three researchers were awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry today for breaking through what was thought to be an absolute optical limit in seeing microscopic objects like viruses and molecules.
The Nobel committee responsible for deciding the winners chose to honor the separate work of two Americans, Eric Betzig and William Moerner, and German Stefan Hell. These scientists pioneered what is called super-resolved fluorescence microscopy, which has opened up a whole new frontier for understanding how life works at the nanoscale. (Txchnologist has previously featured more of Betzig’s groundbreaking work here.) “I was sitting in my office when the call from Stockholm reached me,” said Hell, who is the director of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry. “I am enormously gratified that my work and that of my colleagues has received the highest distinction for scientific research.” Their innovations, using light to excite molecules that have been tagged with fluorescent markers, are now being used around the world. They are letting researchers use visible light to glimpse separate objects that are closer together than what was thought to be the limit of 0.2 microns. This minimum is called the Abbe diffraction limit, which is half the length of the wavelength of the light used to see something through a microscope.
this is photon from space. I see you are looking for my secrets. I can tell you something, but I need to know your purpose. Would you?
How would a timeless photon need to know purpose? Mine is to enact the process of the universe becoming aware of itself, to expand consciousness and dissolve illusions of separation. What secrets are yours, photon?
“Mankind has an innate curiosity, and a particular curiosity about the Universe. Perhaps this has arisen as an inevitable outcome of evolution: Curiosity leads to exploration, to discovery, to learning, and in the most basic sense, to survival.”—Astronet (via sci-universe)
"We live in a golden age of cosmology," says Jeremy Butterfield, a philosopher of physics from the University of Cambridge. Since the mid 20th century, we’ve seen dramatic advances in our understanding of the Universe. It started with Einstein’s development of the general theory of relativity in the beginning of the century, which provided a deeper understanding of the structure of stars and galaxies and their formation. In the 1960s the unprecedented precision of observations provided an enormous stimulus. This, according to Butterfield, therefore also heralds a golden age for philosophy.