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June 14 2006

First time for everything.
This morning, a few minutes from where I work, there was a part of the street blocked off by a cop car. At first I thought that there had been an accident, but when I looked over, I could see four cops with their guns drawn and pointed at this kid (who looked to be about 17 or so) who was slowly turning around with his hands up to show that he wasn't armed. Of course, I couldn't sit there and watch the whole thing, but when a co-worker came in about an hour later, I was told that this was still going on, and that now there were several other cop cars on the scene.

It was interesting to note that in a situation where cops have guns drawn, that neighbors somehow decided that it would be safe for them to stand on the porch and watch this event unfold. Now, maybe it's just me, but honestly, I've never ever seen a gun being pointed at someone in a real manner such as that, much less cops. (Yes I've seen guns but they've always been holstered.) To the best of my knowledge, there is usually a good reason for the cops to have their guns out, because they feel there may be a threat of weapons from those they're trying to apprehend. So, upon seeing several cops with their guns out, why on earth would the neighbors stand right out on their porches, or even start to form a crowd around the event, with their children in tow. (Yes, people brought their toddlers out there to watch this.)

For even more stupidity (and another example of how this area of KW is becoming stupider by the day) I found what had actually gone on after seeing the evening news. It seems that aside from the kid I saw out front of the house, five others were arrested for robbery. Two of the morons had gone up the street at about 7am or so and robbed a corner store using baseball bats (no one was hurt, just threatened). They took off with some cigarettes and a bit of money, and went straight home. That's right, they got in the car driven by a third kid and went around the corner and down the street to their home. How STUPID is that?! Not only are they stupid enough to rob a corner store (hasn't EVERYONE realized they're all under video surveillance?) and then head straight home. (And for those who insist on assuming a specific race of these kids who were apprehended, suffice it to say that the kid I did see was not a visible minority in any way. Morons are available in every skin tone.)

Damn straight Mr Hawking.
Recently, he's "...warned of an increasing risk of a disaster that will destroy Earth and it is imperative for the survival of the human race that man finds new habitations elsewhere." Damn straight. He's dead on. If we don't get off this planet then we're limiting the life of our species. Like it or not, we're all the same species, human, and need to start seeing ourselves this way. Short-term thinking is what will ultimately be our undoing if we don't do something. Right now, we're all on one planet, at the mercy of asteroids, comets, the sun and of course, ourselves. By spreading out, not only do we increase our species life span, but we can begin to offer hope to ourselves for the future and provide some more room for us to live. We're overcrowding the planet and ourselves at the moment, and we need to pull together and make an effort to ensure that we do indeed have a future. We may lose some lives in the process of pushing forward, but on a planet where thousands die every day in horrible ways, at least these deaths would mean something and help move towards a better future.
Book I'm reading : Lonely Planets
I've been reading this book slowly, as it's really interesting and provides me with a lot to think about. (Normally I read at about 100 pages an hour) By reading it slower, I've been able to give a lot of thought to each bit. What I must say about this book is that I find it extremely well-written. Instead of using non-stop techno babble and/or being textbook boring, it's easy to understand and contains a lot of humor. For anyone wishing to learn more about the search for life in the universe, this is probably a good book to check out without the fear of being horribly confused.
News I found today that relates to this search.
Research.
In my last few postings I've mentioned things that I've been researching. You may ask why I'm researching such things and for what purpose, but I don't have to tell you my reasons. Well, ok, I have no reason, I just find this stuff interesting. Nerdy? You bet. Instead of just posting links, I'm going to try to give a bit of info with each subject, or maybe a thought I had about it. Sure, no one will care, but I don't care that you don't care. Also, I would like to note that yes, I read these articles in full, as well as many of the links out to sub-topics.

Gliese 710
It is about 63.0 light years from Earth, but is notable because its proper motion, distance, and radial velocity indicate that it will approach within 1.1 light years (70,000 AU) from Earth within 1.4 million years, based on the latest Hipparcos data.

Algol
Algol is 92.8 light years from Earth; however, about 7.3 million years ago it passed within 9.8 light years and its apparent magnitude was approximately -2.5, considerably brighter than Sirius is today.

Clive Wearing
This man can't create new memories and is constantly "waking up". What is strange is that he remembers his wife and remembers being in love with her. It was quite insane to read about this man and think about how his life is. (Interview with his wife ) Is he living in a sad world or one of bliss? Hmm.

Time
The Oxford English Dictionary defines time as "the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future, regarded as a whole." Another standard dictionary definition is "a nonspatial linear continuum wherein events occur in an apparently irreversible order."

Calendar
We use the Gregorian calendar. It's interesting how we decide to measure time, and it's interesting to read through all the different types and modifications that have been made.

Dendrochronology
(Try saying THAT ten times fast.) It's the official name given to the practice/study of tree rings. It's neat to think that there are trees on this planet that have been growing for thousands of years. (There are links in the article to these long-lived friends of ours.) As well, you can even own a pine from the age of the dinosaurs! Go visit the Wolemi pine website and buy me a few while you're at it.

Yuan Dynasty
Temüjin, later to be more prominently known as Genghis Khan, was officially the first in the line of Yuan Dynasty emperors. He came up with a code of laws called the Yassa (No copies of this exist anymore, which is too bad. It would have been interesting to read them.)

Extinct language
That's right, even languages can go extinct. Some of those who realize this is happening try to take steps to ensure their knowledge is passed on. Such an example is Big Bill Neidjie. There are even cases of purposely killed languages (or attempts at) called Linguicide. (How kind was the Welsh Not?)

Earth's atmosphere
The sky was filled with puffy clouds all day today so I decided to look this topic up. If you don't think that this matters much, you should think again, as you owe your life to it. "The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation and reducing temperature extremes between day and night." I then (a few layers into other articles stemming from this one) found an interesting article about Urban heat island effect.

 

Obey.
Tshirts.
I'm sick of them. I want them out of here. If you have any suggestions on how to sell them quicker, then let me know. (And NO I will not pose in JUST the tshirt you sick freaks.)

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