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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Awesome stuff

Every so often I get this question.
'How come you're in a good mood all the time?'
Often times the follow up question is: 'Are you on drugs?'
The answer to the second question is no. No need to lie, I've tried pot back in the 80's, but I've got better things to do. Relax folks, I have some sort of mental hangup and could never put anything up my nose. Nasal spray is tough enough and I've only been partially successful in doing that.
Whenever I'm feeling down in the dumps, I go over to this site. (No lolcats, I promise.)
Astronomy Picture of the day is simply a picture from an amateur astronomer or from one of our many probes exploring our solar system.
There are no ads. A short explanation accompanies the photo explaining what is going on. Perusing through the archives is one of the more pleasant ways to spend time.
Wanna know a secret? This is where I get my desktops from. Simply surfing through the pictures gets me inspired. How can a person be sad when there are amazing things going on in our world? 
Does this remind you of a Spirograph?

 
 Pretty, right? This was on a few days ago. Now look closely... see those bright circles in the center? There are words under them. Go ahead, take a closer look. Better yet, find the picture from the archives. These are the near earth asteroids that are currently being tracked. Your universe just got a little smaller, didn't it?

Two things occurred to me right after I saw this for the first time.
One: This is a two dimensional image of what is obviously supposed to be a three dimensional model. Still, it drives the point home. We live in a cosmic pin ball machine. A 3D image would probably make us cry for our loved ones. It would certainly scare the crap out of me.
Two: the scale is a bit off. They had to back that way up in order to get the information across that there are a lot of things out there.
 And they are finding new stuff all the time. For the record: I wrote some scenes and blocked out a story about one of these puppies paying us a visit. Don't worry, it's not the planet killer, extinction level event Hollywood movies are made of, it doesn't have to be. If the stuff in my writing were to actually happen, I'd want it to be over quickly.
Let me leave you with another favorite.
My new desktop photo
 Doesn't seeing these gorgeous pictures make you want to visit? The explorer in me would love to see the Aurora in Iceland and the monument marking the Tropic of Cancer in Taiwan. This is your world. We humans need to open our eyes and see the beauty of the place we call home. Not just our patch of dirt, but the whole cosmos stretching out before us.

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