Monthly Archives: March 2014

The Technology Trap

Technology is wonderful.  We can watch movies, videos, and listen to any music we want, any time.  So why is this a problem?

Two things cannot occupy the same volume and space at the same time.  When you are watching or listening to someone else’s creation you have have displaced other possibilities.  The more passive consumption you engage in, the less you will create and contribute.

The bottom line is this:  Take out the ear buds, click off the television and leave your phone and laptop.

Pick up a pen, a brush, a musical instrument.  Take a walk, flex some muscles and carry out a task.  Make a difference in the world.


Yesterday on the train I was watching the world go by and I noticed bricks, millions of them.  So many buildings around New York City were built out of those oblong objects.  Just think, hands carefully placed each one.  Where are all those bricklayers now?

I did some research and found that bricks have been used since 7500 BC.  New buildings appear to be mostly made of prefabricated materials.  I wonder how many people know how to lay bricks?  Is it a dying art?  I hope not.

510 nm

Where would we be without the color green?

510 nm is a very special measure.  It happens to be the approximate wavelength of the color green.  You might remember from your school days that white light is made up of all the colors.  The infamous R.O.Y.G.B.I.V. was the mnemonic most of us used to remember the colors of the spectrum.  Unfortunately ROY lost his “I” when scientists made it clear there is no Indigo.  Indigo now resides in the dust heap of science history along with Pluto the planet.  

Anyway, back to the color green.  When we see something green, all of R.O.Y.G.B.V.’s colors are absorbed by the object except green light which bounces back to our eyes.  

What’s so special about the color green?  Without it we would have no life on Earth.  The green pigment named chlorophyll is the key.  Plants use the beautiful green color to capture light from the Sun and then build food for the rest of us.  



I watched a movie last night, Amour, about the inevitability of aging.  It was very sad but I wish all young people could see it.  Maybe it would plant a seed that would bear fruit later when they confront similar situations.

Empathy is one of the hallmarks of being human.  It is possible that some other animals feel for others.  Perhaps dogs, primates or maybe even an octopus shed a tear or its equivalent for their fellow creatures.

Most humans can feel the suffering of others when it is thrust in front of their noses. When pain and suffering strike ourselves or our loved ones, of course we want help.  Why then do we deny succor to others?  Why do so many hurt, neglect and ignore the pain of others?

It may be that selfishness is an innate trait of all animals and its purpose it to ensure individual survival.  When this self-interest overpowers our innate empathy for others we cease to act as humans. Is this why we have never-ending wars, cruelty and suffering?  Is this why our society does not care for the elderly or the poor?




New Day in the Park

Finally the weather is giving us a break.  Bright sunshine streams onto the pond.  I am watching a small flock of diving ducks.  They always make me smile when I see their oversize Mohawk shaped heads.

I see a few joggers and others strolling around the pond.  Of course the “bird lady” is there.  She is a hefty older woman who lugs a big shiny camera around the park.  She is there most days taking endless photos of the birds, the pond and the water.

There he goes!  Walking the power line like a tightrope walker.  He follows an intricate path of wires and trees limbs to cross the busy street in front of my house.  I’m amazed at how clever the grey squirrels are.

The leaves still cover the lawn.  They’ve been flattened and crushed by the weight of ice and snow.  I’m confident that the grass will fight its way through eventually although maybe that is just a way of avoiding the hours of raking that I know I should do.

The old retiree stops at the fire hydrant across the street with his two French bulldogs.  Why the fascination with fire hydrants I wonder?  His thin grey haired wife starts her brisk walk around the park leaving him with his two portly companions.  They are back at the fire hydrant again.  There must be something about the shape that is inviting to canines.


Pondering on Pi Day

Is it possible that philosophy and science will meet someday?

Science and technology seem to have unlimited potential. Every day amazing advances and ingenious devices are invented.   Is it possible that someday science will answer the ultimate questions? Will researchers publish breakthrough articles explaining first causes or the nature of consciousness? Will humans discover the meaning of Pi or the nature of infinity? The probability seems low but because of the tentative nature of science, all is possible.

Those unimaginable leaps would require us to step out of our existence in order see from  a different point of view.  But what if there is never an end to these different vantage points?  What if they loop infinitely back into each other?  It may not be possible for humans to transcend themselves no matter how much our science and technology advance.

Even so, I wouldn’t bet against us humans.