01.12.2015

Laniakea

by Aaron

Just a new addition to our cosmic address, recently discovered this year: Phoenix, Arizona, United States, North America, Earth, Solar System, Orion Spiral Arm, Milky Way Galaxy, Local Group, Virgo Supercluster, LANIAKEA SUPERCLUSTER. (pronounced la-NEE-uh-KAY-uh)

Feeling small? You’re starting to get it… Just remember, kids, the atoms in lifeforms are traceable to the fiery furnaces of stars. Those stars exploded and spewed out the elements that comprise the human body.

Just think, when you are looking up at the stars, you’re not only seeing where you came from, you could be seeing the elements and materials of future beings. With the vast distances in the universe, it might be the closest we get to aliens.

This video demonstrates our awareness of our new cosmic neighborhood:

I often espouse the wonder, imagination and power of science. Science has measurably made the world a better place, giving us longer and more comfortable lives (Lifespans have doubled in just 200 years). I believe that science is the most reliable process we have for doing pretty much anything in this world. Science is not perfect, nor does it have all the answers, but it is self-correcting as better evidence becomes available.

In some situations science has, in a way, created problems. With longer lifespans we get more instances of things like cancer and other debilitating and awful diseases that didn’t have time to take hold in our shorter lifespans. One of these diseases is Alzheimer’s, a disease that slowly (and sometimes quickly) erodes a person’s brain. They no longer remember the things that were once commonplace: how to do simple tasks, hold a conversation, or even the faces of their loved ones. This disease is harder on the loved ones than the individual with the disease because after a while they don’t even know that they don’t know. It is a terrible, awful and very real disease.

My father-in-law has Alzheimer’s. I didn’t even get to know him very well until this disease had already started to plague his brain. He sounds like a wonderful person from the stories that my wife has told me and I wish I could’ve gotten to know him earlier in his life.

What does all this have to do with my beard? Well, I passionately believe that the only place that a cure for Alzheimer’s will come from is as the result of scientific research. So, I’m pledging to walk in the Walk for the Cure for Alzheimer’s that is raising money for research to eliminate Alzheimer’s. The link below is to my wife’s account as we are a team in this endeavor. If we reach $1000, I will dye my beard purple, as this is the “official” color of the Alzheimer’s movement. Please consider donating to this cause, as many are already dealing with it and that number is expected to grow.

–Too long, didn’t read: Help us reach $1000 towards Alzheimer’s research, and I will dye my beard purple for the Alzheimer’s walk and wear it that color for at least a week.

Here is the donation link: http://act.alz.org/site/TR/Walk2014/AZ-DesertSouthwest?px=9501162&pg=personal&fr_id=4933

02.08.2014

“The cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be. Our contemplations of the cosmos stir us. There’s a tingling in the spine, a catch in the voice, a faint sensation as if a distant memory had fallen from a great height. We know we are approaching the grandest of mysteries.”

You inquisitively say, “Aaron that is a great quote. What is it from?”

Well, thus began Carl Sagan’s 1980 PBS Television show, “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage”. It was a 13-part mini-series covering topics like Einstein’s theory of relativity and Darwin’s theory of evolution. It was based on his book, “Cosmos”, which also had 13 chapters. He explains what science is and how it is appropriately done and shows why it works. For example, how science is self-correcting. He also demonstrated how science was and is used to come to the understanding of the world we have today. Other then some outdated information, it stands the test of the time. If you are interested, I can provide you copies of this documentary.

Fast forward to March 9th, 2014.

“What is happening March 9th?” you might ask.

They are remaking the Cosmos documentary with host Neil deGrasse Tyson. He will be covering many of the same topics and will provide updated information with new findings that have happened in the last 30 years since Cosmos was originally made. It is called “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey”. If it’s even 1/4 as good as the original, I think it will still be awesome.

*TL/DR (too long, didn’t read): Watch Cosmos, Sunday, March 9, 2014. On Fox and/or National Geographic. Watch it. Learn stuff. Be informed. Live happy.*

Here’s a link to the long trailer, for a taste:

And a video containing the full quote above, the start of Cosmos:

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