Dream of the Dragon

Month: August, 2010

Misdirection: Frogs, Mosques, and Octopi

by Justin

The classic misdirection employed by most politicians, and with shimmering expertise by the ruin-sewing GOP, seems to be working. I fell soundly into the camp of those attracted by the boldest headlines and the loudest voices in the polarized debates surrounding the Cordoba Center construction in lower Manhattan. The reminders of what matters, at least with regard to public policy and the perpetuation of life, came from a television series and a cartoon. Really.

First, courtesy of Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Mike Luckovich:

I appreciate the joke and I’m a fan of the maybe inaccurate anecdote about a frog’s acceptance of water slowly brought to boil, which is now commonly used in discussions about Global Warming. The point, of course, being that the current mosque maelstrom concerns individual prejudice, wounded egos, and ideological schism – all petty in the grand scheme of things. Whereas the future of our planet rests rather (un)comfortably as the most pressing issue conceivable. Read the rest of this entry »

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Dark Energy

by Justin

As I am utterly unequipped to articulate such grand awesomeness any better than Lisa Grossman over at the Wired blog, I’ll stick to her version of last week’s news:

Our view of dark energy, the mysterious force that is shoving the universe apart, just got a little clearer. By observing the way large clumps of mass distort their local space-time into enormous cosmological lenses, astronomers have zoomed in on a quantity that describes how dark energy works.

The universe’s composition breaks down roughly as follows: traditional atomic matter = 4%; dark matter = 24%; dark energy = 72%. Dark matter is observable because of its gravitational effects on the 4% with which we’re well acquainted. The majority of the universe, however, is composed of a mysterious energy that astronomers and physicists believe must be responsible for our ever-expanding (at an ever-accelerating rate) cosmos.

Forgive the sheen of my ignorance on this subject – I’ll do my best to keep things accurate. The catch with dark energy is that it seems to drive the universe outward, but without the observable particles of other fields (i.e. electromagnetic and photons). And it’s doing it at a faster and faster rate.

Before I touch on the Wired article and the new study, here’s a slice of weirdness that is worth exploring if you’ve got the time and inclination to have your brain rocked: Read the rest of this entry »

On Restlessness and Adventuring

by Justin

Far over the Misty Mountains cold,
To dungeons deep and caverns old,
We must away, ere break of day,
To seek our pale enchanted gold.

It is important to remember wonder. Over the past years, facing the fiscal nightmare of living in New York City and the sudden pressure to comfortably wed passion to paychecks, a few great truths began slipping into obscurity. Logistical concerns about making ends meet (what does that even mean?) invaded and subtly supplanted the more wondrous priorities of a dreamer.

I mean, it was real touch and go for a minute there. The following two desires flew into conflict: 1) to feel untethered, free to explore and uncertain of the next adventure; and 2) to find domestic bliss with the woman I love, the dog I adore, and in communion with family and friends. Read the rest of this entry »