27 July- 2016
Hello again from Las Vegas,
Satisfaction for my life long attempt to understand the nature of ultimate reality is still a dream... hint: the answer has no obvious relation to man-made religions despite the fact a few long time friends will know much of my early adult enquiries focused on the spiritual dimensions of human capabilities... like many of history's notable scientists I might add. Several dozen years ago as work on mankind's most massive machine got under way in Cern Switzerland, my attention started a gradual move back toward an academic orientation and the physics of ultimate reality.
The Nature of Reality: A Dialogue Between a Buddhist Scholar and a Theoretical Physicist and The Higgs Boson & Beyond Use these as a starting point for the many other YouTube videos listed in the right column.
Now that I'm starting the pre-trip planning for the next adventure, I am chagrinned to realize this final postcard for the last trip still waits completion. Long time readers of my shenanigans know reentries have been taking increasingly longer to complete with each passing year... though I can provide no understandable explanation!
Now I discover planning for extended time away from home base also requires more time and attention. Arrangements for elder support on the road is no small matter: prescription drugs, hearing aid batteries, insulin cooling pouches and supplies now add more concerns for the octogenarian international adventurer. Less fool hardy folks in their twilight years opt for a comfortable rocking chair and endless hours of television "adventures!" Reliving my own real adventures is highly satisfying... for a while, but eventually I insatiably crave the real thing and find myself finger dancing over the keyboard to find some faraway place that is irresistibly beckoning.
Almost eighty-three years ago during the rise of the United States as the world's major super power my poorly educated parents gave birth to the eldest of three children who would live long enough to see his country reach its zenith and slowly slide into the shadow of that new rising star, China, a magnificent country I have been privileged to visit many times over the past thirty-five years.
THE RETURN: Arrived back home on 27 July to find a pile of mail containing a dozen tasks demanding immediate attention. Naturally, my mind and body put up a terrible resistance with an endless series of naps winning the attention battle.
FAKE NEWS: My elder astute friend Dr. Edward Arbuckle in Las Vegas found this shocking article describing one unbelievable example of how public perceptions have been manipulated during the most recent presidential campaign. I immediately recognized it as a perfect demonstration of why the gullible masses have been in the news so much lately and why our new president is getting so much attention. After studying the implications of that story, I naturally wanted to examine a balancing perspective and found the "Other98.com" website. These stories do not speak well of the collective wisdom of the American electorate in our generation. My recent studies of the historical period known as the Renaissance suggests startling parallels between the two periods. According to material presented in the Great Courses, Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Rise of Nations, rule by an aristocracy morphed into something closer to a republican form of government in 14th century Florence, Italy. An excellent three part BBC documentary, Medici, Masters of Florence found on Netflix provides an accurate dramatization of the period and is worth a look.
THE EDUCATION GAP BETWEEN LEFT AND RIGHT: Leonard Pitts Jr. in a short, enlightening February 2016 Houston Chronicle article says citizens who lack information are not the problem; it's those who fail to value the need to be informed.
FIGHT OR FLIGHT: Evolutions has selected for a variety of responses to environmental challenges. The fight or flight response is one of the most primitive. Our Western culture among others instill a preference for "fight" despite the clear physiological urge to to escape, if at all possible. Even our languages equate desirable "courage" with fight and despicable "cowardice" with running away from the danger. Chronic stress is often implicated in fatal diseases. Eastern philosophies teach a more neutral reaction to stress; counseling adherence to the "middle way." Fleeing is not cowardice, but the most natural response to danger and to be preferred when possible. Of course, to many that will sound like heresy in our adversarial prone culture! The dangerous effects of chronic stress are well known to medical science.
LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR: please the masses. Donald Trump seems to be a master at doing just that... not unlike the German leaders did in 1920 after the population rebelled at the hard times accompanying the punitive measures imposed on Germany by the victorious allies at the end of the First World War.
NETFLIX DOCUMENTARIES: and YouTube collections. Educate for mastery or teach to strengths. The human population is characterized by variety. Some people are tall, others small with everyone falling somewhere in the distribution. Some people are quick, others slow. There are those who love calculus along with people who cannot manage long division! Few are deficient in everything! Most excel in some aspect of their lives. If each child's strengths were assessed in infancy and education emphasized developing those strengths to the maximum, fewer people in the world might be unnecessarily left behind in the race for success. The irony is that genome sequencing is beginning to give us the ability to discover an individual's strengths and weaknesses at birth! The technology is still in a primitive stage of development, but that could all change rapidly, if recognized as a social priority!
GREAT COURSES I've recently studied:
History of Science: 1700-1900 What is heat?
Fred L Bellomy
ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH: The Shocking Truth Why Pope Benedict Resigned. (Unedited Version was BANNED in YouTube) This documentary is about the recent momentous changes taking place in the Catholic Church, changes which rival those of the reformation. Opening with the controversy over child abuse by priests, it quickly expands to address the full range of anachronistic practices in the Church and steps being taken by the new pope to bring Church doctrines into harmony with modern academic consensus on the human condition... including reaching out to prominent atheists and despite vitriolic resistance by conservative elements both within the Church hierarchy and among the lay. It is 80 minutes well spent, in my opinion.
THE RETURN: I'm still here in Vegas... slowly working my way through endless doctors appointments and prescription planning. My new endocrinologist prescribed insulin and after regaining consciousness when they first quoted $1000 for each Tresiba insulin pen! ... and completing research into strategies for affordable sources to find my present $25 co-pay for 3 pens, I'm still marveling at the totally painless, tiny needle delivery system. Medical technology has changed dramatically in the past twenty years! However, the darn pens only have a room temperature shelf life of a little over a month and the reserve supply of pens must be refrigerated until opened for use, making travel more complicated... but not impossible!
GLOBAL WARMING: Here is the link to the Google page with all the climate change data/evidence. Pick and choose what you consider believable.