Showing posts with label Universe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Universe. Show all posts

October 8, 2019

Interplanetary Travel - Coming Soon


Awesome presentation on Interplanetary Travel by Charlie Kuehmann, VP Materials Engineering at SpaceX and Tesla. 

Interplanetary travel and colonization is one of the most exciting possibilities for mankind.  

It's all just beginning (we've only been in orbit for about 50 years). 

One of the keys Charlie mentioned at SpaceX and Telsa is how quickly we learn. 

It's okay to fail, as long as we learn quickly and progress from it.  

The progress with reusable rockets at SpaceX is impressive. 

Can't wait for more to come soon.  ;-)

(Credit Video: Andy Blumenthal)
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Where Are We Going

Just thought this was an awesome provoking painting. 

To me, it begs the question of where are we going in our lives. 

The terrestrial landscape combined with the light at the end of the tunnel effect as the sky is provocative and at the same time almost hypnotic. 

It also makes me feel the enormity of the universe versus the smallness of just a man.

I see myself standing on the red hilltop looking into that big sky and wondering about so many things. 

In the end, believing that we don't have all the answers, but that we are in G-d's good hands. ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 23, 2019

Cool Atom Puzzle

Thought this was a pretty stunning puzzle of The Atom

With sections for: composition, atomic model, thermonuclear fusion, periodic table, radioactivity, positron emission tomography, fission of uranium, nuclear reactor, and atomic scientists. 

Wow that's a lot of information for a Puzzle and one very nicely designed at that. 

Congrats on putting this 1,000 piece beauty together. 

These things make me realize how very much I still have to learn--and in this case, it starts with all these small things. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 16, 2019

We're Part of a Much Larger Script

I loved this explanation of the Book of Job by Rabbi Yitzchak Breitowitz.

Why do bad things happen to good people?

G-d answers by showing Job the incredible elements of creation and the universe.

Why?

1) Complexity and Interrelationship of the Universe:

As isolated individuals, we might expect to be judged solely by our individual deeds of good and bad (2-dimensional), but also we are cogs in the larger universe (the 3rd dimension).

Therefore, what happens to us is not just a result of what we do, but also is a part of G-d's larger overall plan for the world. 


Even small acts can have large impacts.

For example, you sneeze and somewhere down the line it causes a tsunami.

Similarly, like actors in a cosmic play of a billion pages, we may not see or understand why our individual role may be what it is, but if you would see and understand the context of the overall drama (what came before us, after us, and how it all interrelates) then from a G-d's eye view, it makes sense.

Every act of destruction can lead to a higher divine purpose.

Like the grass that is mowed over and uprooted to plants crops or the wheat that is harvested and ground up to make bread.

So, we can have faith that there is a reason and purpose for everything even if it is a mystery or unanswered question to us.


And even in our suffering, G-d, the master of the Universe, is saying that "I'm here with you thru it all." You are not alone!

2) By challenging us, G-d gives us the "tough gift" to cope, grow, and become better people.

Even though things that happen may look bad to you, they can lead to good for you.

You don't always get what you want, but you get what you need.

You have choice: you can be bitter, resentful, cynical, and angry or can look at life with hope, optimism and resilience.

Thus, suffering can be a vehicle of self-transformation and elevation. The challenges you face can help you become a different person--a greater person.

You can learn to feel not just your own pain and disappointment, but that of others.

You have the opportunity to grow yourself and the opportunity to help others.

(Thank you to Rebecca Ochayon for sending me this awesome video!)

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June 3, 2019

Finding Our Innerspace

I liked this painting and the caption:
Innerspace

There is outer space.

And there is innerspace. 

Outer space is the universe, the cosmos, the galaxies, the solar systems, the stars, and the planets--it's the big picture of what is all around us.

Innerspace is the our soul, conscience, thoughts, feelings, who we are, and what we're all about--it's the infinity of what makes us up and what's inside each of us. 

The perspective is infinitely big as we look upward and outward to the heavens, and infinitely small as we zoom inside ourselves to the subatomic levels. 

The innerspace makes me think of mindfulness, meditation, and finding purpose, meaning, truth, and inner peace. 

Our search for self is really the intersection of outer- and innerspace.

We are but a speck of dust and yet we have the power to do such immense good.  

It's a contradiction that is so powerful--for who are we that G-d is mindful of us and cares for us and gives us the power to choose good from evil. 

Yet that is exactly our world and our place in it--and this is where we find innerspace in all of outer space. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 11, 2019

Black Hole--What's Really Important?

Amazing beautiful photos of a black hole from 55 million light years (311 million trillion miles) away. 

It measures about 25 billion miles across--about the size of 29,000 suns. 

If this doesn't make you (with all the money, smarts, good looks, and ego to match) feel small, nothing will. 

We are but a speck of dust in this vast universe (maybe not even that). 

Perspective is in order for your life and what it means. 

Forget the money-grubbing and honor-seeking.

Realize what's really important is what you do in terms of choosing right from wrong and good over evil in every small thing you do.  ;-)

(Photo Credit: Event Horizon Telescope)
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August 10, 2018

Space Force: Up Up And Away

Space Force as another full branch of the military is the right thing to do!

The things that get focused on, get accomplished. 

Space is the "final frontier."

And as Gene Roddenberry realized with the creation of Star Trek in 1964, it is the future of Mankind's very survival. 

It's time to stop thinking small as in planet Earth, and start thinking big as there is a whole universe out there!

Russia and China get it--hence their development and testing of anti-satellite rockets and other "kill vehicles" in space as well as lasers and jamming equipment against our satellites, and of course, their plans to colonize the Moon and land men on Mars and beyond. 

Why have we in America only gotten it in Hollywood?

Yes, there have been a few notable exceptions such as President Reagan with his vision for the Star Wars' Strategic Defense Initiative and President Trump with the bonafide stand up of a Space Force.

Some of the Pentagon brass, particularly the Air Force, may hem and haw about the politics of this thing...losing money and prestige for their branch of the military, but their power is not the concern, our power as a nation is!

I envision a day in the not too distant future when the Air Force doesn't run Space Command, but rather Space Force runs the Air Force. 

We need to put politics aside and stop laughing at our own ignorance about the potential of space for our future survival and for conflict. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 6, 2018

Radio-Activity

So earlier in the week, I had a great opportunity to visit the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR). 

It was fascinating to see the reactor, control room, and all the cool experiments--not things you see every day, right? 

For safety, we had to wear devices that measured radioactivity and also go through machines that checked us afterward. 

When one person in our group went through the scanner, it went off with a red alert, and the poor individual obviously got really scared--like OMG is there some contamination on me or something.

But they went through again and it turned out it was just a false positive, thank G-d. 

I guess these really can be dangerous substances to work around, but still so marvelous how the scientists harness these neutron beams and direct them to all sort of fascinating scientific experiments. 

Being around all this science makes me think whether if I could do it all again--wondering aloud--whether I would pursue an education in one of these amazing scientific disciplines and work in the lab like a "mad scientist"--exploring and discovering new things and figuring out the mysteries of the universe and how the world really works. 

What a fun, fun field to work in!  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal and Art by 4th grader, Phillip Kenney)
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March 6, 2018

Makes My Heart Sing

Just thought this was really beautiful. 

The yellow butterflies with the background of the blue from the sky and ocean, and the white of the soft clouds. 

Feeling like this makes my heart sing. 

Sort of like love. 

It's simple, but so clear. 

We're free and flying alone, but together.

We're one with the universe and also with each other.

Butterfly, butterfly into the wild blue yonders. 

No worries, just soaring, at peace, happy, and oh so free. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)


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September 4, 2017

G-d Created Evolution

So I've been thinking a little bit about evolution.

And I don't see any contradiction between evolution and creation.

In fact, G-d created evolution!

You see, in His infinite wisdom and love, G-d made his creations with the ability to change over time. 

We are not static creatures, but we are able to evolve, adapt, transform, and grow ourselves, our species, and our world over time. 

But, but, but...there are fossils hundreds of millions years old...how could G-d have created the world less than 6,000 years ago?

Well, who says G-d created the world at time horizon zero--if the world was fully formed with trees and plants, and fish, birds, animals, and people--then these could all have had age associated with and built into them already. 

Boom...G-d just created Adam and Eve--was that from the point of conception, day of birth, or fully grown adult?  Similarly, how old is the tallest mountain or the fullest forest when it was created? 

Time is not a function of G-d who is timeless. 

And the formed world appears at the blink of G-d's eye and it can disappear that way too. 

Similarly, we learn in the Bible how G-d created the world in 6 "days" and rested on the 7th, but who says a day is literally that.

Couldn't a day as in 1, 2, 3, etc. be phases of creation...where a day could be anything from a split second to a millennium or even a hundred million years.

To the G-d who Was, Is, and Will Be--what is a day, but a span of infinitesimal to infinite time to create His children and the world to teach and grow them. 

We are here in a infinite universe enveloped by the love of a limitless G-d. 

Evolution is no more a constraint on G-d then time or space is--to the contrary, evolution is a blessing of G-d that lets things develop and mature from the image of G-d to the imagination of His mind's glory. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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June 12, 2017

The Knowable and Unknowable

So as we all do, I often come across challenging and perplexing issues or problems in life. 

And my nature is to try to understand them, solve them, fix them--is it survival or the challenge or both?

But then we come across some things that are just beyond our [mere mortal] understanding or ability to simply fix them. 

I remember as a youngster learning in Yeshiva about when it says in the Bible that G-d hardened Pharaoh's heart so that he continued to refuse to let the Jews go from their enslavement in Egypt.

And the classic mind-bending question is how could G-d harden his heart if Pharaoh retained free will which we all have to choose good or evil.

Did G-d harden his heart or did he have free will--which is it?  And if G-d hardened his heart, then how could Pharaoh and the Egyptians be punished for something they didn't fully control? 

One explanation is that by facing the punishing plagues, Pharoah was losing his free will to decide what to do with the Israelites, so by hardening his heart, G-d was actually restoring his free will to choose once again...interesting. 

Of course in life, there is also the philosophical dimensions of so many seeming contradictions such as the cliche about what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.

Which wins out if one is unstoppable and the other is unmovable?

No, I don't think these are just riddles, but the testing of the abilities of our human minds to understand further and further into the mysteries of G-d, creation, and the universe. 

So what do we do in life when confronted by things that are seemingly or really beyond our human capacities? 

- We ponder these weighty matters and sometimes we get frustrated and rip our little-left hair out or laugh at ourselves as to why we can't just get it.

- We look to understand the deeper spiritual meanings of these challenges in the context of our earthly lives. 

- We try to solve and fix what we can within the confines of our spaghetti brain matter and flesh and bone bodies. 

- At the end of the day, we acknowledge our human limitations, and look to the Heavens for answers or at least for Divine guidance and protection along the way.

While we cannot understand everything or always reach our destination that we set for ourselves that should never prevent us from trying our hardest and going as far as we can on our journeys--and letting the next person, and the next person pick up the torch and carry it forward. 

In the Jewish prayers, we say that the matters of the earth are for our exploration and striving, but the ultimate secrets of the Heaven are for G-d alone. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 21, 2017

Time Travel Is Real

Sure, we can travel space...from continent to continent, into the depths of the oceans, and to the far reaches of outer space.

But can we also travel time?

Yes, and we regularly do!

Whether individually, in our minds eye, we go back and forth in time--remembering poignantly the memories of the past with regret or with joy and thinking forward in time whether worrying what could happen or eagerly look forward and hope for a brighter future. 

Similarly, as a human collective, we can travel back and forth in time well past our individual recollections and remember, celebrate, memorialize, or eulogize what came before us through generations and millennia and even plan great innovations, feats, and civilizations well into the future. 

Time is but a shadow that is cast off us from the our great Heavenly Father who shines his grace upon us by his creation and is himself timeless. 

In the shadow of time, we can glimpse the externalism of what supersedes our mortality and the significance of us as a speck in time amidst the greatness that lies across the reaches of space and time--that is the soul of the matter. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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May 4, 2017

There's No Shield Against Loneliness

Loneliness is empty, hollow, a panicky void, and depression. 

It's like being in the ocean and feeling so small in its massive depths...almost like drowning. 

In the end, you are alone in the universe. 

No one can truly feel your pain or joy or experience all of you.

You're a world unto yourself. 

You connect and form relationships with others--there is learning and growth and love and caring in that. 

Talking and reaching out and being part of someone and something washes away parts of those scary feelings and creates a greater purpose of being and meaning. 

But there is also silence and solitude and the darkness of the night. 

And in that there is just the faith in G-d Almighty. 

He alone is what comforts us as we stare into the vastness out there as well as the evil and loss that we come face-to-face with and combat in life. 

The soldier girds his sword for battle and carries a shield to protect himself.

But there is no shield for the loneliness we experience in life and ultimately in death itself. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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April 21, 2017

Breaking The Bounds Of This World Thinking


Coming from the Metro, someone stopped me and gave me this card for meditation, and I thought it was really insightful. 

"Changing the human mind to infinite universe mind"

Our minds are constrained by our mortality, materialism, and physical limitations of space and time. 

But if we free ourselves even momentarily from these, we can enter into a sort of limitless universal mindset.

"Human is incomplete because human are living inside human mind world which is one's lived life and thoughts."

We are beset by a near endless barrage of life's fears and worries--like that we can't fully perceive the metaphysical and spiritual world that is the real and meaningful one for us. 

"One can live forever and [when] he has escaped pain, burden, stress, and the countless kinds of agonies; his old self has disappeared and so it is great freedom."
Through mindfulness, centered and balanced thinking, we can go above the "false world" and enter the "true world."

Doesn't this ring fundamental and true?

What an amazing approach to thinking that we can use elevate ourselves above what we live and see every day. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal via Rockville Meditation)
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December 14, 2015

Looking For Astronauts - Apply Here

So cool!!!

OPM Job announcement today for Astronauts.

Work for NASA at the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center.

Train for missions to the International Space Station, on two new commercial spacecraft, and for the Orion  deep-space exploration vehicle.

To go where no man or woman has gone before...

Dreams do come true!;-)

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Paul Hudson)
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August 18, 2012

How Good Is Our DNA

Where do we store the vast and expanding information in our universe? 

These days it's typically in 0 and 1s--binary code--on computer chips. 

But according to the Wall Street Journal (18 August 2012), in the future, it could be encoded in the genetic molecules of DNA.

DNA has "vastly more capacity for their size then today's computer chips and drives"--where a thumb size amount could store the entire Internet--or "1.5 milligrams, about half the weight of a house ant could hold 1 petabyte of data, which equals to 1,000 1-terabyte hard drives."

As opposed to binary code, DNA will store information as strands made up of four base chemicals: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C) and thymine (T). 

Just like letters in the alphabet make up words, sequencing of these 4 base chemicals can store biological instructions (e.g. 3 billion for a person) or any other information. 

Using DNA for storage involves 4 key steps: 

1) Encoding information into binary code
2) Synthesizing the chemical molecules
3) Sequencing them in a string to hold the information
4) Decoding the molecules back into information

Overall, DNA is seen as a "stable, long-term archive for ordinary information"--such as books, files, records, photos, and more.

Researchers have actually been able to store an entire book of genetic engineering--with 53,426 words--into actual DNA, and "if you wanted to have your library encoded in DNA, you could probably do that now."

With the cost declining for synthesizing and sequencing DNA, this type of data storage may become commercially practical in the future.

And with the amount of information roughly doubling every 2 years, large amounts of reliable and cost-effective memory remains an important foundation for the future of computing. 

Frankly, when we talk about storing so much information in these minute areas, it is completely mind-boggling--really no different than the corollary of imaging all the stars in vastness of sky.

It is almost incredible to me that we have people that can not only understand these things, but make them work for us. 

With NASA's Curiosity Rover exploring Mars over 34 million miles away, and geneticists storing libraries of information in test tubes of DNA coding, we are truly expanding our knowledge at the edges of the great and small in our Universe. 

How far can we continue to go before we discover the limitations to our quest or the underlying mysteries of life itself?

What is also curious to me is how on one hand, we are advancing our scientific and technological knowledge as a society, yet on the other, as individuals, we seem to be losing our knowledge for even basic human survival. 

How many people these days, are proficient on the computer in an office setting, but couldn't survive in the wilderness for even a few days. 

Our skills sets are changing drastically--this is the age of the microwave, but knowing how to cook is a lost art to many. 

So are we really getting smarter or just engaging our minds in a new direction--I hope we have the DNA to do more than just one! ;-)

(Source Photo: adapted from here with attribution to Allen Gathmen)

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