Linked List: October 2014

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Why Wings Work  #

But, even as a child, I found that it presented me with a puzzle: how can a plane fly inverted (upside down). When I pressed my 6th grade science teacher on this question, he just got mad, denied that planes could fly inverted and tried to continue his lecture. I was very frustrated and argued until he said, “Shut up, Raskin!” I will relate what happened next later in this essay.

I wish I could send this essay to the 6th grade science teacher who could not take the time to listen to my reasoning. Here’s what happened: he sent me to the principal’s office when I came in the next day with a balsa model plane with dead flat wings. It would fly with either side up depending on how an aluminum foil elevator adjustment was set. I used it to demonstrate that the explanation the class had been given must have been wrong, somehow. The principal, however, was informed that my offense was “flying paper airplanes in class” as though done with disruptive intent. After being warned that I was to improve my behavior, I went to my beloved math teacher who suggested that I go to the library to find out how airplanes fly—only to discover that all the books agreed with my science teacher! It was a shock to realize that my teacher and even the library books could be wrong. And it was a revelation that I could trust my own thinking in the face of such concerted opposition. My playing with model airplanes had led me to take a major step toward intellectual independence—and a spirit of innovation that later led me to create the Macintosh computer project (and other, less-well-known inventions) as an adult.

The Edge of Forever  #

Carl Sagan in the Cosmos episode The Edge of Forever:

If the cosmos is closed, there’s a strange, haunting, evocative possibility. One of the most exquisite conjectures in science or religion. It’s entirely undemonstrated, it may never be proved, but it’s stirring. Our entire universe, to the farthest galaxy, we are told, is no more than a closed electron, in a far grander universe we can never see. And that universe is only an elementary particle in another still greater universe, and so on, forever. Also, every electron in our universe, it is claimed, is an entire miniature cosmos containing galaxies and stars and life, and electrons. Everyone of those electrons contains a still smaller universe, an infinite regression up and down.

Every human generation has asked about the origin and fate of the cosmos. Ours is the first generation with a real chance of finding some of the answers. One way or another, we are poised at the edge of forever.

Nature is Speaking  #

She doesn’t need people. People need her. The Ocean is the most haunting.

Humanifesto:

Nature doesn’t need people. People need nature.

Human beings are part of nature. Nature is not dependent on human beings to exist.

Human beings, on the other hand, are totally dependent on nature to exist.

The growing number of people on the planet and how we live here is going to determine the future of nature. And the future of us.

Nature will go on, no matter what. It will evolve.

The question is, will it be with us or without us?

If nature could talk, it would probably say it doesn’t much matter either way.

We must understand there are aspects of how our planet evolves that are totally out of our control.

But there are things that we can manage, control and do responsibly that will allow us and the planet to evolve together.

We are Conservation International and we need your help. Our movement is dedicated to managing those things we can control. Better.

Country by country.

Business by business.

Human by human.

We are not about us vs. them.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an American, a Canadian or a Papua New Guinean. You don’t even have to be particularly fond of the ocean or have a soft spot for elephants.

This is simply about all of us coming together to do what needs to be done.

Because if we don’t, nature will continue to evolve. Without us.