IMHO it seems that sadly, some of us, and even some of our leaders and people in places of great influence and power, still choose to dwell in a bygone era populated by manufactured legends and fearful stories that serve to divide and control benefiting only the powerful elite few.
Sadly, so many today have been brainwashed by these myths and are now unwilling to accept the deep biological connections between all living things. These connections are deeper than myth and legend, deeper than skin, deeper than ethnicity, deeper than language, deeper than time, and – unlike all the myths and legends we bipedal, mostly naked, multi-colored apes have conjured up – these connections are observable, measurable, and have loads of peer-reviewed evidence to support their existence.
These tangible connections tie our origins to the Great Rift Valley of eastern Africa only a few hundred thousand years ago, to all life on planet earth, and, if you go back far enough – to the cores of ancient exploding stars that forged the very elements that make up our own bodies. These ancient cosmic connections and more recent biological connections between all of us and between all life everywhere – bind all of us together as one and are stronger, more important, and more powerful than any of the precious material things, dirty money, twisted politics, or dreamed up dogma ever will be.
Yes, we are free to believe in whatever version of reality we choose but when our leaders and those who have influence over others start using myth to make policies and laws that affect all of us – that is a very dangerous and disastrous game indeed.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why people believe in and follow ideas/”theories”/things/beliefs/systems/and people that:
Lack solid evidence to support that the idea/”theory”/thing/belief/system – actually exists.
Support people who promote ideas/”theories”/things/beliefs/systems that lack any supporting evidence.
Claim to be the only “way” and do not allow questioning or deviation from the ideas/ideals/idols of the “home team.”
Are harmful or potentially harmful to the believer, their loved ones, society, or the natural life-support system of the planet that supports them (often while making the leaders of their chosen belief system richer in the process).
Have these folks ever just sat back and asked themselves any of the following questions?
Is this idea/belief/thing/person/”theory” – actually helping me, or is it doing more harm than good?
Why do I believe in/support this idea/system/belief/thing/person?
When did I start believing in this idea/thing/way of thinking/person?
Who/what was it that brought me to believe in this thing/way of thinking/person and why?
Is it possible that I may have been/am being conned by a charlatan only out for propping up, profit, power, or prestige?
I have come to a few of my own off-the-cuff ideas as to why people follow these things – but I am sure there are many more.
Some people may just want to believe that they/their idea/belief system/their chosen path or person to follow is somehow special or mystically “chosen” above all other options.
Some may want to believe in things/ideas/persons/beings/”theories” because they feel small, inadequate, and/or insignificant – so they are looking for something bigger than they are, something or someone to give them advice or direction on which way to go in life, which path to take – someone that will take on the role of the father figure in their lives. On one hand, I can understand this because we are all just tiny, insignificant, ant-like beings when compared to the unimaginably vast grandeur of nature/the cosmos, and when we realize this humbling and mildling terrifying fact, it may help to have someone with more knowledge and experience to help us make sense of it all – as long as that someone is not a charlatan trying to take you for a ride and/or control/coerce you into doing something nefarious – or just give the troll all of your hard-earned money. On the other hand, not believing in yourself or your abilities to do your own research – your own ability to unearth the facts and the truth and just accept whatever pseudo-facts or absolute hogwash those you look up to are feeding you to make you feel better – well, that is just a recipe for absolute and total disaster.
They may want to feel special and/or in some way “chosen” and/or above all those outside of their “flock” that they have been tought to see as “outsiders,” “other,” or “lesser.” It is interesting to me that those within these bizarre groupings, congregations, and “clubs” are often taught that any individual/group/or ways of thinking that are “outside” of their “tribe” are conveniently labeled as wrong, bad, lost, lesser, infidels, unclean, or inferior and therefore not to be trusted or accepted…unless they pay to play – then, they are accepted and all is well within the “flock.” Bizarre.
Some people just seem to want to believe that there are all kinds of twisted conspiracies all around them.
Some people may want to feel like their chosen thing, person, or belief system has all the simple answers to all the complex questions – therefore, they have no need to actually try to think for themselves.
Some people may have deep tribal tendencies and whatever their chosen tribe does, whatever they believe, whomever or whatever they follow – no matter how twisted, bizarre, dangerous, destructive, or detrimental it is to themselves or their tribe or others on the “outside” – they will blindly accept it, believe it, and/or do it without question.
Some people seem to have been taught to fear the experts/authority and/or anyone with more knowledge than they have – especially if that knowledge involves them changing their way of thinking. This is an extremely dangerous way of thinking.
They may fear change and resist or refuse to adapt.
They may deeply fear the unknown and/or new things.
They may simply lack the needed knowledge to make the needed change and/or refuse to learn/accept the freely offered and/or easily available new knowledge – especially when that new evidence/knowledge is counter to what they have always held as the truth.
They may be comfortable with their position and do not want to step outside of their comfort zone and no amount of facts, evidence, or example presented by the experts or even others will ever convince them that stepping out of their bubble would be better for them….unless, the unthinkable/unbelievable reality suddenly happens to them or a loved one and finally wakes them up out of their toxic self-imposed mind fog…but by then it is often too little too late.
Examples of all of these misguided individuals are all around us.
Moon landing deniers
The twisted list goes on and on.
Don’t be a close-minded denier.
Open your mind to the realities and the endless possibilities.
Believe in and follow whatever you like if it offers you comfort, peace, guidance, advice, and/or genuinely helps you or your family/loved ones/others in need in some positive, measurable way.
But if your chosen way of thinking and believing requires you to hate/bully/harm/kill others, and/or serves only to cause harm to you, your loved ones, other innocent people outside of your chosen way of thinking/living, and/or your environmental life-support system – then maybe, for your own good and for the good of others, and of everything moving forward into the future – it is time you seriously rethink the ideas/”theories”/things/beliefs/and people you have chosen to follow and work very hard to purge, delete, and/or render extinct all those harmful ways of thinking and living from your existence.
Here is an idea: try letting peer-reviewed facts, evidence, and knowledge be your decision-making guide.
Do only good things.
Be the change.
Everything amazing is often found on the other side of fear.
This photo was taken on 11/16/2022 by a camera on the Artemis 1/Orion spacecraft on its way to the moon.
This is the first view of our pale blue dot of a water-soaked rock of a planet from this distance (~58,000 miles at this point) from a human-rated spacecraft since the Apollo 17 mission of 1972.
From this view, we see…
everything that gives us life and a future, everything we hold dear to us, everything that truly matters…
there are no countries, no dividing lines on maps, no walls, no human-created barriers, no labels, no division other than that imposed by nature.
All the things that divide us were created by us to divide us…all these divisions exist only within our minds.
These things we have fought over for so long, killed countless people over, claimed as ours – they just do not exist in reality.
In reality, what you see is what you get: a single, shining, incredibly fragile oasis of life in the ice-cold wastelands of space…a pale blue water-soaked marble giving all of us – the entire human family and all our animal, plant, and fungal friends – a place to share and call home.
Now is the time we stop fighting over what we should be sharing.
Now is the time for us to stop harming our only life support system.
Imagine what we could do if we all just worked together toward the common goal of a better future for us all.
It is a very sad fact that the toxic, tribalism-focused, divisive, narrow, me-first way of thinking that some humans practice is their prime limiting factor.
In the end, they will probably do themselves in (taking many of us along with them) as they cling to their ancient emotion and fear-driven ideas, ideals, idols, crystals, horoscopes, and divisive, evidence and reason-lacking ancient dusty tablets and texts – all while the real miracles come from the readily available peer-reviewed and often freely offered findings of science, application of engineering, and acceptance of reality.
Sad indeed but it seems this fact may be one of the ways natural selection is exhibited in the human species.
Another trip around the sun completed successfully.
Some perspective: On this day (July 15th) in 1968 I came into this reality – whatever this reality really is – and as of today, I have existed in this reality for 54 earth years.
Some perspective and observations.
I was premature so I had to cook in an incubator for a while until my body took over and I could support myself without the assistance of science and technology.
I was soon adopted by two amazing people Cathy and Clayton – who accepted me into their home as their own child. They later adopted another child in need and named her Lesly who then became my wonderful sister. She met Jonas and they raised two wonderful children – Cody and Ashlyn – who I just know will go above and beyond and do great things. I am lucky and proud to be a part of this family.
I was born in the middle of one of the times of the greatest scientific and engineering achievements humankind has ever experienced: the Apollo-era moon missions and landings…and, fitting the space exploration and cultural turbulence of the times, the first incarnation of Star Trek – my favorite TV series – was on TV…and it still is and all of its incarnations and I love them all for the messages they bring to all of us – if we have the capacity to understand and accept them and put them into practice.
I have been alive (whatever that means) for ~473,040 hours and accruing. I have orbited our closest star Sol 54 times. I have now traveled around 31,536,000,000 miles (50,752,272,384 kilometers) through space in an ever-spiraling circle around a rather remote and average little yellow star while riding on a water-soaked living rock along with you and over 7.9 billion other naked, bi-pedal, mostly hairless, multi-colored, fire and tool-using, thinking apes, and countless other amazing life-forms – while spinning at an equatorial rate of around 1000 mph (1,609.3 kph) while at the same time passing through the icy blackness vacuum of space at around 67,000 mph (107,826 kph) in our orbital path around the sun while also orbiting around Sagittarius A* the supermassive black hole in the center of our home galaxy at a rate of around 514,000 mph. At this rate, it will take me, you, our wet rock, and our star – about 229 million years to make one trip around the galactic center thereby completing one Galactic Year. And all of this, all of us, everything, our entire Milky Way galaxy – is traveling through intergalactic space at around 1.2 million mph (1.9m kph) relative to the cosmic background radiation.
So far, I have had an amazing existence full of tons of excitement, exploration, friendship, laughter love, and light as well as periods of loss, pain, hardship, and a little bit of darkness.
I was here the last time Haley’s Comet passed by our pale blue watery rock of a dot in 1986 (and I plan to be here to see it again when it comes back around again in 2062).
I rode along in spirit and in support of every space exploration mission humanity has launched since I can remember way back as a 4-year-old kid watching it happen live (well, almost live since round trip communication time between the earth and moon is 2.6 seconds) on TV and then running outside in the yard to look up at the moon where the last Apollo astronauts were bouncing about the lunar surface in the early ’70s. I have since watched in awe, great appreciation, and hope as the space programs of planet earth sent many amazing interplanetary probes to the Sun, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Titan, Neptune, Pluto, asteroids, comets, asteroids, and more. I watched as the incredible Space Shuttles flew on huge pillars of flame and 15 nations set aside their differences to build the International Space Station – a castle of science, discovery, and international cooperation 249 miles above all of us in the “sky.” Today I am elated at the rapid evolution of non-governmental space exploration and travel organizations and I hope to see us back on the moon soon – and then sometime before I kick off – great shiny Starships landing on Mars. Go SpaceX! Just a few days ago I witnessed the mind-blowingly beautiful and deeply data-rich images from almost the beginning of time and space come beaming down to all of us overly encephalized hairy tit-sucking mammals living upon this pale blue dot from the incredible James Webb Space Telescope – and I look forward to seeing more that will come to us over the next 20 – 30 years and am so excited for how much the JWST’s imagery will increase our knowledge of our own cosmic evolution.
I chased nature and wild animals, first as a child for personal interest sake, and later in the name of science, education, and conservation of species. My favorites being the misunderstood creatures of the world such as reptiles, amphibians, bats, Opossums, and vultures.
On a few occasions, my body was invaded by festering armies of microscopic “wildlife” that tried to use me as a replicator for more of their kind and/or end me, and yet, my own immune system as well as the findings of many, many great scientists that came before allowed me to boost, augment, and bio-hack my body through the use of antibiotics and vaccinations thereby giving me a “force field of science” inside and out so I could continue awkwardly onward into the future.
In 2014 I came closest to feeding the soil, worms, and trees when a rather archaic and not that useful part of my internal anatomy (my appendix) malfunctioned and suffered a massive R.U.D. (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly) – so I had it removed by a robot that was designed by science and piloted by a scientist we all call a doctor so I could continue in my present state of gangly existence.
In 2016 I had an encounter with a wild venomous serpent (Timber rattlesnake) who was only defending himself due to my accidental stupidity and, while I was in no danger of meeting my end – it did really hurt a bit and slow me down for a few weeks (yes, the snake still lives in the wilds of the forest ) The only way I was able to overcome this one without losing a finger and possibly suffering lasting damage to my body was through the findings of science. Yep, there is that science thing again. Ain’t it wonderful
This past year the current plague impacting humanity (SARS CoV2) finally caught up with me. It was no fun at all and took me out for a week or so but I recovered – again thanks to science and my science-augmented immune system.
On all these close calls (and many I have not even been aware of due to my science augmented/trained to recognize and destroy the “bad guys” immune system via all the vaccinations I have gladly rolled up my sleeves to receive since I was a small child ) I was given another chance at existing in this reality through the findings of science, miracles of modern technology and engineering…and possibly a little bit of some as yet to be discovered by science mystical energy field or omnipotent ancient and possibly extraterrestrial/interdimensional intelligence that, for some really disturbingly strange reason, many individuals/cultures/factions on the planet have coined many different names/stories/belief systems for – yet cannot ever seem to agree upon…and often even choose to childishly take sides, argue, fight, and believe it or not even murder each other over…so bizarre and childlike is the proudest monkey.
IMHO – if this intelligence exists – it is as far “above” us as we are “above” our closest relatives the Chimpanzee and Bonobo…or maybe the bacterium…or the virus. Whatever the case, I’m pretty sure that if it does exist it might be studying us as we study the animals…or the virus…and it cares not one single bit about our posturings on its behalf, the myriad of books we write about it, our childish bickering on who/what it is, who or what is “right” and “wrong,” who uses which bathroom, who’s skin is what color, who is “left” and “right,” etc. – just like we do not care about the comings and goings of bacteria and viral organisms…until they invade our personal space and become overpopulated…hmmmm…something important to ponder if you are able to see deep enough or large enough to ponder it…
At an early age, I became tired of all the factions telling me what to do, how to believe, how to think, how to live my life, and how to be a human – so I chose to follow my own path. I chose to listen to nature, to the evidence and logic and teachings of the wilderness, and to the findings and ponderings of the great minds and philosophies of history. Some may call me a “free spirit” – nice! – thank you! Some have called me “lost” – really, how rude! But whatever the case may be this is my path, no one can choose it for me and likewise, I will never try to force it on you or anyone. You must all find your own path.
I learned to drone a didgeridoo – so very ancient and cool!
I fell in love with a wonderful, beautiful, and intelligent human female called Marian and we settled down a bit…but not too much
A few years later I fell into a wonderful career inspiring, leading, and sharing nature, science, and reality knowledge with amazing at-risk youth on the connections, beauty, and joy of nature, wildlife, science, and life the universe, and everything.
While working to inspire tomorrow’s youth to better themselves by connecting with nature, wilderness, wild things, and to trust science and let it be their guide in life – I have connected with so many amazing human beings in my students and my coworkers – my life has been so deeply enrichened from my time with all of you amazing people and I am so grateful for all of you and your lasting contributions to your classroom and to my personal journey.
My incredible students, interns, volunteers, amazing friends Jim and Bob, and I all worked together over many solar orbits with many more amazing project supporters to build a photovoltaic solar power plant that benefits not only our classroom and campus but the entire local community with clean, locally-produced renewable energy from our nearest fusion reactor in space – the sun! Update: During my most recent solar orbit we all – and some wonderful and most-generous new friends – worked to create a solar-powered mobile outreach classroom called the SS NaSA PoD (Science Steve’s Nature and Science Adventure Pod of Discovery) – that will allow us to bring our nature, wildlife, and science messages to our students and to the region – so cool!
About 10 orbits ago my wife and I started phasing out almost all our connections to nature, life, and future-harming dirty fossil fuels. We have been driving mostly electric since 2013 and intend to soon go fully electric with most of our transportation, energy, and fuel needs coming from EVs and local renewable energy sources.
Just a few solar orbits ago the amazing findings of the science of genetics and DNA sequencing allowed me to connect with my wonderful biological father, sister, brother, and other awesome family members and answer many of the questions about my genetic roots and my connections to nature that I have had since an early age.
And now I find myself near the end of a global viral pandemic that has sadly ended the lives of many and upset the lives and plans of most. As before, I will follow and trust the science as I ignore all the other randomly repeated, vociferous, evidence-lacking, overly emotional, opinions and options and roll up my sleeve and gladly accept the expertly recommended vaccinations against this microscopic attacker (but I did still get the virus – only not as bad as some I know who did not or could not roll up their sleeves). I will continue to trust in science, even with its changeable and incomplete nature, to give me guidelines and support during this global human emergency. I hope you will choose to join me and in doing so, together, you and I will get through this thing – and hopefully, I will still be here to rewrite this yet again next year on this day.
Whatever all the facts and reasons may be, I am very glad to still be here on this incredible and sometimes bumpy but always interesting wild ride through the cosmos with all of you other crazy wonderful, and beautifully mixed-up mosh pit of humans and always wonderful animals.
I’m not sure where we are going or when, where, and why we exist – but wherever, whatever, whenever, and whyever – at least we are making good time and it has been and will continue to be one heck of a wild ride through the cosmos on this one strange rock we all call home.
Thank you all for being here and for riding along on this roller coaster called life with me Now let’s all take another spin around the sun together on spaceship Earth!
Improvise, adapt, overcome, evolve, survive, and thrive.
Fear, hate, aggression, anger, greed, judgment, spite, darkness – these things are mind and spirit killers.
Let go of them.
A few decades ago I let go of my fear, hate, aggression, anger, greed, judgment, spite, and darkness. When I did this an amazing cosmos opened up to me. A living cosmos of beauty, coexistence, love, truth, kindness, and light – a cosmos of amazing possibilities.
Today I choose to treat all humans and all beings with the love, kindness, and respect that they deserve until given a reason not to do so.
I do not hold grudges – what a waste of time and energy.
I do not target, belittle and bully those that do not share my philosophy. Doing so would simply breed more negativity and polarization and again – what a waste of time and energy.
However, when needed I will use scientifically supported facts and common sense to educate others on more productive, environmentally sound ways and options of being human. I am aware that sometimes these suggestions may be interpreted as personal attacks but rest assured they are not. A fact is not an attack, it is only a fact. Aggression and attack are easy, evidence-supported facts are sometimes hard because they may require change – and for some people change is an impossible task.
I am simply offering another opinion, another option, or another path based on self-supporting, peer-reviewed evidence and/or common sense that the reader may not have thought of in their popular philosophy. It is up to them to choose what to do with the knowledge I have freely offered. If it does not work for them – so be it – it is they who will suffer the consequences of their actions be they “good” or “bad” consequences.
In adopting this philosophy I have reduced my stress levels, opened my mind, had incredible mind-opening relationships and adventures, and made amazing friends from all walks and ways of life that have made my life so much more beautiful and full than I ever thought possible.
I have followed opportunities that have blossomed into amazing positive learning, teaching, and growth experiences. All of these things, all of these connections, and all of these experiences have worked to create the person I am today.
If I had continued to follow the fearful path, if I had continued to live in fear of the things the sensationalistic media, special interest religio-political, and business groups, and smooth-talking venom spitting charlatans with their powerful hate and fear-filled divisive toxic agendas are continually working to feed us through TV, social media, literature, and movies – who knows where I would be today or if I would even still be alive.
How did I rise above all this? How did I escape the fearful madness that tried to assimilate me into their mind-numbing collectives? How did I form a shield against the never-ending onslaught from all directions?
For me, my answer was and still is nature, knowledge, and willpower.
After spending many years living, working, and playing in nature, in the wilderness – experiencing the ancient, age-old beauty and complexity of all that is nature and all that is this thing we call life – I developed a deep, spiritual reverence for life. This reverence stretched deeper into the core of my being, into my soul than anything I have ever experienced in any place of traditional organized religion/worship or anywhere in the human world.
Unlike all the other ways of living and being that wanted my money, my time, my thoughts, and even my very soul – these powerful natural connections did not want anything at all from me – yet they deeply fed me and I thirsted for more. So I dove deeper into the great naturalistic, scientific, philosophical and religious texts/field guides, and manuals, of the world and I learned from them but did not put all of them on pedestals or see them as “gossip truths” – I saw them as the great and powerful teaching tools that they are and I left it at that.
I also spoke to many wise, well-traveled, learned individuals and mentors who had lifetimes of knowledge to share and I listened to them and often, I followed their examples, and sometimes I did not because their examples did not work for me. Soon, I came to realize that we – our entire species – and all life on our earth – are but an insignificant, yet somehow aware of that insignificance, a minute little speck…a tiny hot candle of life and consciousness in the icy blackness of space, a momentary flaring of self-aware existence in the stupendous grandeur of all that has existed, exists, and will ever exist in deep time.
The time we are given to live on this earth in this form is so very brief, so very fragile, so very special.
To waste this finite time living in fear, full of hate, fighting over petty differences, imaginary lines on maps, temporary things, with eyes closed, and heart hardened to all of the wonders of reality and nature that exist and flow around us and within us – would be the ultimate disrespect to our existence and such an incredibly irresponsible waste of our precious time.
I believe that the biggest decision one can make is how to use the time they have been given.
For me, that decision is to spend my time wisely, free of hate, judgment, and fear and in the service and support of others and in service and support of the infinite living organism we call nature that gives life to us and supports and nourishes us all.
To that end, I will work hard to continue to share with others this knowledge and this reverence for all things that I have found and hope to continue to find. I will continue to use the scientific method and the naturalistic eye to explore the natural world in all its magnificence and share with you what I find.
I will continue to work to respect, trust, love, and accept all life in all of its infinite forms, infinite diversity, and infinite combinations and I will work to promote and support all that is good, positive, productive, and supportive of this grand complexity we call life.
This way is my own and I totally understand that it may not be yours and that is OK, I accept and respect that 100% – as long as your path does no harm to others, works in support of peace, nature, understanding, and coexistence with all beings and all things now and into the future.
Some of us must follow our own path, no one can choose that path for us – so follow the beat of your own drum and when the chance to change, grow, and blossom presents itself, take it, live it, learn it, laugh, love, sing, paint, get out into the woods, rivers, mountains, oceans, and let your inner light shine, be the change, and above all else be yourself and do what you feel is right in your heart and all will fall into place.
Photo Hubble Ultra Deep Field. An estimated 10,000 galaxies are shown in this image from the Hubble Space Telescope. Photo Source: https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/30946
Space is stupendously massive with countless galaxies, each with hundreds of billions of stars and trillions of planets and moons. Statistically, there must be life elsewhere in the cosmos and IMHO most of it is probably microscopic and/or not intelligent/spacefaring.
However, if there are intelligent, spacefaring species out there, and if they have visited us – then the massive scale of the cosmos and the incredible technology, knowledge, and ability needed to traverse it would suggest these beings would possess technology and intelligence as far “above” ours/us as we are “above” the chimpanzee…or the ant…or the bacterium…or the virus…and lately and with each passing day, evidence reveals that some humans seem to be de-evolving and acting more and more like a virus.
Therefore, as we mostly naked, multi-colored, bipedal, primates will often camouflage ourselves with our technology and technique in order to study other life forms upon our planet without revealing ourselves to them…
…it is very possible the extraterrestrials have similar technologies (yet vastly superior to ours) that would easily hide them from our detection. Yes, that would then suggest that all the blurry photographs, videos, books, and eyewitness accounts/interviews over all the years by all the people claiming to have seen/encountered/been abducted by aliens are in fact – 100% pure and total bunk manufactured by charlatans wanting attention and fortune.
Another possibility exists: they have been here in the past and yet may still be here (maybe not them personally but their technology – think: cellular/internet-connected wildlife/trail camera traps/webcams etc that would allow them to remotely study us from the comfort of their home planet) studying us as we study other lifeforms on earth – such as looking at chimps and deer in the forest, ants under a magnifying glass, bacteria under a microscope, or African wildlife visiting a waterhole…
It is also possible that many randomly selected and/or “of importance” or “special interest” humans have been “tagged” with 100% undetectable with our current technologies tracking devices (no, not injected via anal probes or vaccinations – oh lord people please grow up and just stop it with the TV/hollywood inspired stories and lame conspiracy “theories”) so as to be observed by these extraterrestrial observers in the attempt to study the mundane and unique among our species and learn more about us as we wildlife researchers work to learn more about the natural life movements of wild creatures currently existing with us on our home planet.
Or, they may, in fact, be so far evolutionarily, emotionally, and technologically advanced “above” us that we are only mere curiosities to them…or of no interest at all…
Maybe, due to the destructive, hateful, selfish, natures, and our viral reproduction and expansion without any concern for future generations – maybe our solar system has been put in a physically distanced quarantine zone far from the rest of the galaxy and its populated worlds until we children grow up out of our dangerous malignant infancy, start taking care of our planetary life support system, and coexisting with each other and with all species on this strange water-soaked living rock we call earth.
Another view of our home. Can you find the earth in this image? Yes, we are there, the tiny pale blue dot hanging in space under Saturn’s rings on the lower right.
“It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” —Neil Armstrong
This is something I wrote a few years back on the value of science and modern medicine which seems very applicable to the situation in which we find ourselves today.
I was recently diagnosed to have appendicitis with an appendiceal abscess.
Yep, gross huh.
An infection of that little worm-shaped vestigial organ held over from our raw food diets so epically long ago is most painful and dangerous and of which the only treatment option is removal. So, at some point today, the offending bit of my anatomy will be removed and discarded and I can then get back into life full force. I can tell you that I am so ready to have that maddening little over-inflated meat monkey swinging around on the lower end of my Ascending Colon – that for the last few weeks had been swollen with infection and then one night decided to rupture and spew its putrid contents into my abdominal cavity and is now wreaking havoc with my health and my life – quickly removed and incinerated into the primal elements of its origin.
It has been very painful, I have lost a bunch of weight, there have been loads of tests, visits to doctors, scans and more scans, blood and other fluids and substances taken and tested (originally it was thought to be Diverticulitis, Chrones disease, or something else because I had symptoms that were longer-running and a bit different than the usual case of appendicitis) – then finally a double-contrast CT scan revealed the appendix had in fact blown out and ejected its putrid sappy contents into my abdominal cavity – yuk! Lucky for me my immune system switched into high gear and encapsulated the festering area like a pearl in an oyster – only nowhere near as pretty.
It finally ends today, under the knife, or laser (I hope), using the amazing robotic/laparoscopic tools and training developed by medical scientists, engineers, and doctors to save our lives when our fleshy bodies eventually malfunction or take damage from this thing we call life.
Scoff and speak ill of doctors, medicine, and science if you will – but you will change your tune when it’s your turn.
This brings up a pet peeve of mine, science denial. I feel I must speak out about this, especially after this life-changing science-saturated event I am going through as I write this. My support for the scientific and medical communities could not be stronger and if you live in today’s world, you do so in a very large part because of all that science. If you were born via modern caecerian section, put on life support as a baby, had antibiotics and/or vaccinations to heal your infections or protect you from an uncaring viral disease, have ever had a hospital stay, doctor or dental visit, took your pet to the vet, driven a car down the road, flown in an aircraft, boat, ship, train, submarine, spaceship or bicycle, bought food in a restaurant or grocery store, cooked food in an oven or microwave, kept leftover food cold in a fridge or freezer, heated and or powered your house with energy produced via coal, oil, nuclear, natural gas, hydroelectric, solar, wind or geothermal power, we’re alerted to or saved from a fire via a smoke alarm, brushed your teeth with a tooth brush (standard or electric), played a video game, hunted or fished for dinner using hunting and fishing gear/tools etc, watched TV, listened to music on your radio, stereo, tape deck, turntable, ipod or at a live concert, surfed the net, surfed a wave, snowboarded , skied, climbed a rock face, parachute jumped, base jumped, SCUBA dove, kayaked a raging river, paddled a quiet lake in a canoe, piloted an aircraft, bassboat, airboat, pontoon boat, or battleship, fly fished, slept in a modern sleeping bag on a thermarest style pad or on a memory foam mattress, carried your gear in a backpack, wore hiking boots, cross trainers or running shoes, navigated using a gps, map, or compass, cooked on a gas, biomas, or solar powered camp stove, turned on a light, or answered the phone – landline, mobile, or satellite, (and so much more) – then you my friend have benefited from science and engineering. Nobody on this earth can logically deny that science and engineering have played a massively important role in almost everything we have and do today…so how on this one strange rock of a planet is it at all possible that we still have so many people that so passionately deny the findings of science? From flat earthers, young-earthers, and hollow-earthers, to anti-vaxers, and evolution deniers, to those who deny climate change – all while taking advantage of all the science, engineering, and discovery all around them, inside them, and in their hands – the denial of the science and the evidence all around them is simply maddening.
Take anthropogenic climate change for instance: a massive and ever-growing number of reputable scientists that, after decades of meticulous research, from independent experiments all over the globe, meticulously gathered data from observatories and stations on earth and in space, collaborated with scientists in other earth and atmospheric science disciplines, studied the massive amounts of data, and then drawn informed conclusions, and finally published heavily peer-reviewed reports that have all then come to the indisputable (but yet still passionately disputed by some very loud voices) conclusions that by the actions of we humans burning copious amounts of fossil fuels to power our technologically wondrous culture: that we are causing the Earth’s climate to change in a negative way that is and will continue harming the very life support system that supports us all – and may one day render our species extinct.
How is it still possible that even with all this evidence – there are still people who choose to ignore and deny all the findings and all the hard evidence of these scientists? It would be like me ignoring the scientifically accurate findings of all the medical experts, doctors, and nurses taking care of me in my current uncomfortable situation – AND also ignoring all the findings of all the previous medical experts, doctors, and nurses who came before today’s doctors. If I ignored all these obvious findings, supported by all the hard evidence, and the decades of past medical research/experiences/findings from all the medical scientists/doctors that studied appendicitis in the past – and then just attempted to go on with my life as business as usual. How would that end for me? Simple and no question about it: pain, suffering, death, decay.
Ignoring and denying a potential problem because you do not understand it or do not want to believe the evidence that it exists – either because you do not understand it or it does not fit into your world view of the way things are – will not make it go away.
We have the fastest, most advanced supercomputer ever devised by nature or humanity sloshing around inside our hard hard heads so here is an idea: let’s use it and wake up out of our complacent sheeple-like sleep, cast away the tribal, fear-based, ideas of the past, and look to science as the way, as it always has been, to conquer our ancient fears of the unknown with the knowledge and factual, observation-based, peer-reviewed, findings of science and put into practice using the amazing tools of modern technology and engineering. When we do this we wake up to infinite possibilities, we become more enlightened, more tolerant of others, and more thankful for the beautiful complexities of life, time, space, and existence.
However, we must not forget where we came from, how we came to be where we are today, and always continue to teach the lessons of nature, the old ones, the great prophets of all peoples, the lessons of humility, love, compassion, faith, acceptance, coexistence, interdependence and respect of nature, a reverence for all life, and common sense as taught by the ancients. Without the combined truths of science, history, and the “soul” – our lives will be off-balance, and without a healthy balance we may be tempted to walk down the dark path of fear, hate, toxic tribalism, and confusion – and that trail does not ever end well.
Thank you to all my family and friends, for your friendship and support (even if we do not see eye to eye sometimes on some things) – you all mean the world to me and I love you all 🙂 Thank you to my coworkers, students, and friends for supporting me and my animals in my absence, and visiting me while I was in the hospital, you are the greatest crew to hike the Trails of life with and truly great friends.
Thank you to the doctors and staff of CMG, GPM, MMH, and TRH for professionally and expertly getting me through this tough but scientifically and biologically very fascinating time. Everyone wish me luck and any blessings from your favorite chosen deity, rock, crystal, energy field, or creature because very soon I am going under the knife/laser and with any luck, I will see you all again soon 🤓
UPDATE: 8:15 pm Tuesday. First, thank you all so much for your kind words 🙂 and to those of you that stopped by to hang out with me 🙂 especially my beautiful wife Marian for staying with me through this and helping me do the things that need doing, I love you so much ❤
WOO HOO! Ambulance ride! On way to a nearby city for a special pre-operative procedure. The last time I rode in an ambulance was over a decade ago when I owned an old 1966 ex British Mod Series 2a 109 field ambulance that I converted into an overland camper. Does anyone out there remember the old “Warthog”?
So here’s the big news – no surgery for six weeks!? According to my doc the safer way to deal with this situation is to tap and drain the stinky “sap” out of the appendix and its associated “alien pod of sap.” This will allow the swelling and pain to go down. Then, when the major infection danger is past, they will operate and get the nasty, useless thing out of there. So today I took an ambulance ride for yet another CT scan and Jackson-Pratt drain tube implantation to get the nasty infection out. It was a scientifically fascinating procedure that I was able to watch from a drug-induced stupor but the result is simply the most painful and 100% mobility limiting condition and that is the worst part about it-even more so than the pain. Currently, I’m flat on my back but should be up and moving around again tomorrow and hopefully back at work and life on Monday…but at least I can eat real food again 🙂 I will be sure to keep you all posted on my status in this most interesting health science adventure that I have embarked upon.
The Jackson Pratt drain is in place and so far a great success with over 25cc of “sap” being removed so far!
UPDATE 5:30 Wednesday. I’m finally home 🙂 Drain is working well siphoning off nasty appendix “sap,” not in much pain but moving mighty slow and I’m eating almost normally again. Now I wait for a few weeks to have the appendectomy that will free me from this bout of vestigial intestinal madness.
THANK YOU to everyone who helped me get through this by sitting by my side, shuttling me around, chatting with me on the phone or text, and leaving heartfelt and funny comments and offers of help and prayers on my status updates, you are all great friends and I truly appreciate you all more than you can know. 🙂
APPENDECTOMY: It went very well and as I was under general anesthesia I do not remember anything. It sure was nice to get that thing out of me! Now let’s get back to life and living!
THANK YOU to all the surgeons, doctors, nurses, and others who have saved my life!!!
THANK YOU to all my family and friends who stopped by to visit me and/or send me supportive comments during my hospital stay and recovery.
THANK YOU SCIENCE!!!!
I also like to take this opportunity to thank God, Gaia, The Great Spirit, Allah, Jah, Buddha, the Force, and any other love, health, and peace-fostering omnipotent beings/energy fields – if they actually exist somewhere out there in the cosmos – and/or evolution by natural selection (whatever made our thinking ape brains possible) for giving/granting/tweaking/planting/MacGyver-ing the seed of consciousness into us fragile, mostly-hairless, multicolored, naked, thinking apes which eventually evolved into our ability to craft tools, engineering, and science to better our lives – at the moment I am speaking specifically of all the technologically superior medical, diagnostic, and healing, tools such as digital radiographs (X Rays), endoscopes, computerized lab analysis equipment, and MRI/CT scanners – for without these devices, and all the dedicated professional doctors, nurses, and technicians that operate them – I would probably be somewhat fertile soil feeding some flowers or trees somewhere.
I encountered this on social media and it made me think: we should all be more like the real Jesus.
Ever since I first learned about the real Jesus (no, not the popular yet wildly inaccurate “white-washed,” construct many blindly follow today) I have always tried to carry a few of his teachings somewhere deep inside my heart.
1 – I always try my best to be kind, loving, merciful, and respectful to all living things – because my parents, Sir David Attenborough, Steve Irwin, and Jesus taught me so.
2 – I am a naturalist and science communicator so I regularly teach folks about why we should take care of nature, work hard to keep the air, water, and soil clean and productive, and cherish, respect, and conserve wildlife and wild places. I also often teach others all about our deep, genetic connections to nature and all living things (evolution by natural selection), and why cleaner energy and transportation choices such as renewable energy and EVs are really great ideas.
The really strange fact is this: while I often find myself sharing true, evidence-supported, peer-reviewed factual stories that make people think a lot about a lot of things…for some bizarre reason these fact-based stories often upset/anger people – especially some closed-minded, holier-than-thou, pseudo-religious type people – the types that are all tucked up into the lunatic fringe regions of politics and religion. (see, I’ll bet that evidence-supported story upset some of you – so be it – honestly, all I’m sharing are the facts and findings as our best scientists and thinkers have found them to be and if you can’t take it or do not want to take it – that is your choice…but please do not spread your version of your favorite story without making absolutely sure your “facts” are supported by peer-reviewed evidence. To do anything less would be a huge disservice to our species and to every living thing.)
3 – Most of my friends are like me so they are: unpopular nerds, “weirdos,” geeks, scientists, thinkers, technophiles, nature and animal lovers, outdoors persons, and yes, long-haired, pierced, tattooed, tree-hugging, hippie-type, dirt worshipers, a few “witches,” lots of atheists, agnostics, and those with different colored skin than I have – as well as those who think and learn differently, and those who identify the way their brain says to – not the way society expects them to. Diversity is the spice of life. Embrace it.
4 – Oh, and guess what: some of these wonderful “sinners” may or may not partake of certain plant/fungi-based diets/herbs that – for whatever bizarre and archaic control-focused reasons (with roots in hate, xenophobia, and racism) – some have conveniently chosen not to agree with. (I’ll bet that comment upset some of you – say what you will )
5 – These wonderful, unique, open-minded, free-thinking, free-spirited, people – myself included – are the types that in days of old would have been arrested, locked away in dank rat-infested dungeons to be later hung by the neck until dead, burned at the stake, fed to large, drooling carnivores, or stoned/stabbed to death by the toxic religiopolitical establishment as “sinners”, heretics, infidels, outlanders, etc.
In fact, I would much rather associate with those that the close-minded fearful, and controlling religiopolitical types of yesterday and today might call “sinners” because these people are:
a. Not usually “sinners” at all, they are just people who are tired of the way things are and they are going against the status quo because they only want to share knowledge and/or want freedom from those things and ways that are wrong with the world such as hate, war, prejudice, injustice, the pollution and destruction of nature and wildlife for short-term and/personal profit, and obviously all the charlatans, greedy religiopolitical leaders, fat kings and queens and such.
b. These are some of the nicest, most loving, caring, and compassionate – the most human – people you will ever meet.
(I’ll bet that comment upset some of you – just grow up and get over it )
In fact, it seems I do many of these things – the sleeping on boats part as well since I once fell asleep on a top bunk in the crew quarters of the USS North Carolina battleship memorial (picture below).
How you may ask – it is a long story that involves: hanging out with college friends at the beach, missing another boat, a knife fight in a parking garage (that I was not involved in but quickly extracted myself from), sleeping in my car in a vacant lot, a massive coastal thunderstorm, an inquisitive security guard (Barney), a dead eel, some rather heavily amorous teenagers in a dark “alley,” and a battleship with 60-year-old bunks that looked very comfortable to someone who had a very long night but just really needed to get some sleep.
BTW: I am not and would not compare myself to Jesus – but I really do like the old bumper sticker that reads: I like your Christ but not your Christians. Be more like the real Jesus.
Be more like the real Jesus.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Bring the change you wish to see in the world.
Do only good things.
(I’ll bet all of that upset some of you – so be it and say what you will and just grow up and get over it – my job here is done
Trash on the roadside, trash in the ditches, trash in the rivers, trash on the beach, tons of pollution spewing into the atmosphere from tailpipes, smoke stacks, and cigarettes hanging from mouths – we humans have achieved greatness in our ability to litter and pollute the very planet that gives us all life.
The self-centered, uncaring, disregard for life and the environment that supports all of us – no matter what part of the planet we are from, our skin color, our sexual orientation, our chosen political or religious beliefs or lack thereof – coupled with a blatant disregard for the health and wellbeing of those we do not know, the manufactured disregard for science, the rise of fringe-dwelling conspiracy-worshiping evidence-denying, lunatic-fringe dwelling doubters, the worshiping of dusty ancient books and imaginary deities, hateful and harmful historical figures, flags, and imaginary lines drawn on maps – as if politics and religion were some sort of sport – as well as putting profit over people, planet, facts and evidence, and the acquisition of wealth, power, status, and excess at the cost of all else – I fear that all of this negative toxicity and wastefulness may be the beginning of the undoing of this country as a world power – the downfall of our global society, and possibly even the extinction of our species.
Unless we change, unless we grow out of our bullying, tantrum-throwing, finger-pointing, expert doubting, rule-breaking, nature and life trashing adolescence – I fear that COVID19 is just the beginning of a downward trend that will only accelerate the mass extinction scenario we have created for ourselves and are now all living in.
No matter who or what anyone chooses to believe or support – nature does not care at all about any of us little human beings.
Without us, nature will recover and life will continue.
Without nature, without clean air, clean water, healthy soil, diverse wildlife – we bipedal primates will sicken, suffer, and eventually die.
Natural selection is a powerful process and it will wipe us out if we pull the wrong strings, burn the bridges, remove the puzzle pieces, break the cogs and wheels, etc.
“To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering.” – Aldo Leopold
Thoughts, prayers, politicians, pontiffs, prophets, or profits – will not help you.
Only you can help you.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss
Do only good things.
“We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.” – Carl Sagan