Archive for January, 2005

Bush’s secret directives are putting us in jeopardy

Sunday, January 30th, 2005

I understand disasters. Earthquakes and hurricanes are natural disasters
I can do nothing about. But President George Bush is a disaster. I can’t
do anything about that either. He claims that his election gives him
power to continue his war mongering. But he was re-elected by the smallest
plurality in the history of second term presidents. Now I ask you, how
did that happen? Not because his party faithful believed in Republican
principles.

Too many people were hoodwinked into believing the only way to support
our troops was to vote for Bush. Be patriotic. Support our troops. More
wars are not the answer.

Earthquakes and aftermaths felt around the world

Saturday, January 22nd, 2005

The earthquake of December 25, 2004, was considered
a major disaster but dismissed because it was half a world away. Earthquakes
occurred in the middle east over the past few months and many people
died or were left homeless. Tsunamis occur regularly around the hot
rim of the Pacific Ocean. However, the tsunami that resulted from the
volcanic explosion on the northwestern end of Sumatra brought out the
best of the human race. Many countries came forward with assistance
of technology, people, and money. Concerns are many. The World Health
Organization (WHO) estimated there were more than half a million people
injured and in need of medical care in six nations. Fears grew that
diseases like cholera and malaria would break out among the five million
displaced.

 

Shanghaiied to kill in an unjust war

Friday, January 21st, 2005

Maybe history books tell us that days of shanghaiing men to work shipboard
are over but in 2003 thousands of men and women were shanghaiied into
combat without a clue. Drafted to serve on a battlefield, National Guard
men and women fight and die.

I was studying third year college math – the basic science needed to
work in many technology fields. Impressive macho recruiters came to
the campus with convincing arguments that I should serve my country
and still continue my education. Protecting my country appealed to my
innate patriotism. Completing my education made sense to me.

I willingly signed up for the National Guard. Weekly and annually in
government issued uniform, I faithfully met with my military unit. Then
a year after graduation my unit was called up to serve my country overseas.
This was an emergency! In our ordinary uniforms we were to serve for
a few months.

That emergency was extended to a year. I had no real combat training
and certainly never been prepared for facing hateful faceless foreigners.
I was not outfitted in battle regalia. I saw my fellow soldiers shot
to pieces. It was then I had to shoot or get shot.

I did not contract to be a killer. But there I was – brought into a
situation I was not properly outfitted for. I had been shanghaiied,
taken against my will, to kill, maim or die in an unjust war.

Name withheld to avoid court martial.

Technology reveals more fantastic truths than an old peoples ever could

Saturday, January 8th, 2005

It was one thing to look at the sky and see the lightning and make
up stories about gods who threw spears four thousand years ago. There
was no technology to dispute it. Were there some people who wondered
about how flashes occurred and what relation they had with the rumbling
thunder and the exhileration they felt during a storm? More than likely.
They had no words for it and no communication tools with which to report
it.

There is evidence that people on opposite sides of the earth or in
separate countries come up with similar ideas. And that’s a good thing.
That’s how scientific theories are developed and improved upon. Alfred
Russel Wallace studying animal life, for example, in the Dutch East
Indies in 1854, found that animals north of a certain area had the characteristics
of those found in China and Siam. Animals to the south were inhabited
by marsupials like those in Australia. With careful documentation he
took his findings to England and compared his ideas with Darwin who
was puzzling over evolution. But Wallace was more curious about how
the differences came about and looked to geography. Did the lands move
to bring about those differences? What he surmised and picked at like
the pocketed mammals route out their fleas, he suspected parts of the
earth moved independently. Not until technology to measure earth movements
and compare minerals had developed, was it possible to verify that,
indeed, the earth’s crust was in pieces and moved. From that eventually
grew the science of plate techtonics.

Consider the geology of the Columbia Basin shaped by catastropic floods
16,000 years ago. Thomas Condon, a pioneer geologist, postulated a "Willamette
Sound" in 1871. J. Harlen Bretz recognized the effects of tremendous
deluges of almost inconceivable force and dimensions probably brought
out the present configuration of our area. Interpretation of the complicated
geologic events took considerable imagination and the resulting picture
was not one that fellow geologists wanted to hear. Technology had to
be developed to verify Bretz hypothesis, and eventually it was.

Geology fascinates me at the moment with the disaster of the earthquake
in Sumatra but technology is needed to verify every scientific hypothesis.
Only after high speed photography of bird flight were airplane engineers
able to figure out how to sculpture and manipulate a form to get tons
of steel into the air and propelled for thousands of miles.

The point I want to make is that science brings out the reality beyond
magic. The truth of flight feathers or of violent forces underground
or of refracted light in a rainbow is far more awesome than angels and
unicorns.

We can dream of fantastical things like a Father looking out for us
or of seeing dead family and friends after we die, but they are just
dreams. No one really looks after us but ourselves. There is no afterlife.
We best love and be happy by living this life to the best of our ability
in whatever role we decide fits us.

Naomi Sherer