Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Solar eclipse

A Yahoo AP article has an interesting gallery of photos from the event, showing a fascinating congruence in the developing world of cultural antiquity and traditional dress with technological and manufacturing progress, providing what may be a first real opportunity for more people than ever before to appreciate the event safely.

NASA's Earth Observatory has an interesting article and photos as well, including the following photo from space showing the shadow cast by the moon as it passed between the the sun and Earth in an earlier 1999 solar eclipse.

4/09/06 update:

The shadow of the moon falls on Earth as seen from the International Space Station, 230 miles above the planet, during a total solar eclipse at about 4:50 a.m. CST, Wednesday, March 29. This digital photo was taken by the Expedition 12 crew, Commander Bill McArthur and Flight Engineer Valery Tokarev, who are wrapping up a six-month mission on the complex. Part of the Mediterranean Sea can be seen outside the shadow.

Nasa Earth Observatory

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Inquiry is an altogether fitting response to the Creator.

Michael Novak, "The Most Religious Century," NY Times, 5/24/98.
Graphic by Jason Logan.

It's never to late to be what you might have been

Remember yourself, from the days when you were younger and rougher and wilder, more scrawl than straight line. Remember all of yourself, the flaws and faults as well as the many strengths. Carl Jung once said, "If people can be educated to see the lowly side of their own natures, it may be hoped that they will also learn to understand and to love their fellow men better. A little less hypocrisy and a little more tolerance toward oneself can only have good results in respect for our neighbors, for we are all too prone to transfer to our fellows the injustice and violence we inflict upon our own natures."

Most commencement speeches suggest you take up something or other: the challenge of the future, a vision of the twenty-first century. Instead I'd like you to give up. Give up the backpack. Give up the nonsensical and punishing quest for perfection that dogs too many of us through too much of our lives. It is a quest that causes us to doubt and denigrate ourselves, our true selves, our quirks and foibles and great leaps into the unknown, and that is bad enough.

But this is worse: that someday, sometime, you will be somewhere, maybe on a day like today--a berm overlooking a pond in Vermont, the lip of the Grand Canyon at sunset. Maybe something bad will have happened: you will have lost someone you loved, or failed at something you wanted to succeed at very much.

And sitting there, you will fall into the center of yourself. You will look for that core to sustain you. If you have been perfect all your life, and have managed to meet all the expectations of your family, your friends, your community, your society, chances are excellent that there will be a black hole where your core ought to be.

Don't take that chance. Begin to say no to the Greek chorus that thinks it knows the parameters of a happy life when all it knows is the homogenization of human experience. Listen to that small voice from inside you, that tells you to go another way. George Eliot wrote, "It is never too late to be what you might have been." It is never too early, either. And it will make all the difference in the world. Take it from someone who has left the backpack full of bricks far behind. Every day feels light as a feather.

Anna Quindlen
Commencement address delivered to Mt. Holyoke College, 1999

Knowledge, Freedom, Peace

There is no freedom without knowledge. There is no peace without freedom.

Arna Mer-Khamis


Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitute determines how well you do it.