A New Frontier?

 Potentially Habitable Planet Found

About 3 days ago, a yahoo tidbit caught my attention as I was checking my mail. Apparently a potentially habitable planet was found.

So starts the said article, (from which the image here is also taken:)

For the first time astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially habitable, with Earth-like temperatures, a find researchers described Tuesday as a big step in the search for “life in the universe.”

The planet is just the right size, might have water in liquid form, and in galactic terms is relatively nearby at 120 trillion miles away. But the star it closely orbits, known as a “red dwarf,” is much smaller, dimmer and cooler than our sun.

While I won’t get the chance to visit the place in this lifetime, it sure is interesting to see mankind set its eyes on a whole new and different frontier in this one.

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The Future of Books, Not Bound by Anything

The Economist published an article of the same title towards the end of March. I’ve been waiting for free time as scarce as the rainfall in this country these days so the read has been pretty much mentioned in several threads by now already.

Anyway the article talks about the phenomenon of digitizing books. It was apt to start off by mentioning Google‘s mention of its endeavors towards that direction through books.google.com among the many efforts towards realizing an unbounded environment for information.

With the many issues arising from digitizing books raised, even the basic definition of a book has been obscured. The seemingly relevant analogy of e-books to other digital formats such as digitized music even adds to the uncertainty on the future of the traditional publication form, not to mention possible legal issues that will likely arise just as when music albums have been unbundled as well. Throw in its effect on the reading individual and I’m definitely looking at this more closely.

Among the early casualties of the movement were published encyclopedias as their online counterparts have rendered them practically obsolete. For someone who grew up relying on the former as primary reference or starting point for research, the change sure didn’t go unnoticed. On a more massive scale of obsolescence into the future, it does seem to point to having bookstores and libraries lined up in the domino queue.

I am inclined to believe however that published books won’t still go away. Apart from behavioral considerations on reading cultivated by human society over several centuries, I’ve heard the same concerns somewhat raised more than a decade ago yet I have yet to see a hard hitting effect of the movement comparable to that which hit the recording industry though.

Playoffs – Round One

As a basketball fan, I have always been updated with the NBA when it’s playoff time. Ever since the start of the century, I’ve always been for the Spurs and why not? Putting your money on them has always been a good investment and with the way game 3 a while ago has been played, they’re looking good to go onto the second round.

While I’ve been always a Spurs fan, what caught my attention since last week has been the Warriors’ stand against the Mavs. While the best regular season record belongs to Dallas, they just have difficulty with Golden State.

I was ready to dismiss the latter as some sort of a jinx for San Antonio’s Texas counterpart before the stand-off began, (as eighth-seeded teams are usually passed off for,) but Nelson’s guys’ showing in the first two games of that first round series sure had me anticipating the next games of the series.

And what better way to add a little spice to that series by linking up a pun of a postgame scene in the Warriors’ locker room. From Nelson to Baron Davis to Baron’s beard, (yes, that’s the top gun’s beard talking right there,) to Stephen Jackson to the international players and to all other guys in the ballclub, that Bay Area sports fan blog author sure had me laughing in this part of the planet.

And interestingly, the Warriors are up 2-1 over the Mavericks after taking game 3. It’s all the more reason to put the series under the microscope as Dallas sure needs to win the next game or they’re in trouble.

A Closer Look at Global Warming

I can’t recall if I actually mentioned the real issue of the rise in the global climate in recent years and the alarm the scientific community and environmental organizations have raised over the past few months regarding global warming. The issue has captured so much attention recently that it isn’t surprising to hear bystanders talk about the subject casually over even coffee.

And there is much reason for a closer look. While there have been several studies on the subject during the recent years*, the results of a curious study released by a group of UN scientists in January foresaw a bleak future and even with the effort to greatly curb the use of fossil fuels, a significant rise in global temperatures and sea levels are still unavoidable. True enough, the doomsday picture it has painted has captured the attention of the country that has repeatedly snubbed the Kyoto protocol in the past: the U.S.

Even if I find it plausible that global warming is not entirely a man-made phenomena because countless volcanic and geologic cataclysms throughout the Earth’s history have been responsible for dumping sulfur compounds in the atmosphere all throughout the planet’s existence, the alarming results of the study have conclusively pointed out the blatant negligence of mankind to address the situation at least in the past two decades.

Then no less than Time magazine came up with an article to show 51 ways to contribute to the cause against global warming. The Global Warming Survival Guide is filled with such earth friendly tips and links, (such as one promulgating the use of LED’s and an interactively informative animation of an Earth-friendly home.)

I’m not one to hold Time magazine in high esteem for the topic, (especially since this isn’t the first time the publication wrote on the topic,) but the said article echoes what most science experts and environmental advocates have been harping on a lot recently, (like this editorial from the Financial Times during the end of the previous year,) and it is that clamor which places a great deal of pressure on addressing the issue.

* Some of the studies towards the end of 2006 include that of the Antarctic Geological Drilling Program, or ANDRILL, coordinated by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln involving 100 scientists from 4 countries and the Himalayan expedition sent jointly by China and India to study the effect of global warming on the glaciers there.

ICE

Here’s a worthwhile forwarded email I won’t mind seeing in an entry here. I would even go on further to encourage any interested reader to copy the following content and forward it to all your contacts to add to sensible stuff passed around.

Dear Y’all,

Please spend a few minutes to read thereby saving many happy years
of living.

ICE (In case of Emergency)

We all carry our mobile phones with hundreds of names/ numbers
stored in its memory but yet nobody, other than ourselves, know which of these
numbers belong to our near and dear ones?

In case we are involved in an accident or had a heart attack and the
people attending us get hold of our mobile phone but don’t know which
number to call to inform our family members. Yes, there are many numbers
stored but which one is the contact person in case of an emergency?

For this reason, we must have one or more telephone numbers stored
under the name ICE (In case of Emergency) in our mobile phones.

Recently, the concept of “ICE” is catching up quickly. It is simple,
an important method of contact during emergency situations.

As cell phones are carried by majority of the population, just store
the number of a contact person or person who should be contacted at
during emergency as ICE” (meaning In Case of Emergency).

The idea was thought up by a paramedic who found that when they went
to the scenes of accidents, there were always mobile phones with patients,
but they didn’t know which number to call.

He therefore thought that it would be a good idea if there was a
nationally recognized name for this purpose.

Following a disaster in London, the East Anglican Ambulance Service
has launched a national “In case of Emergency (ICE)” campaign.

In an emergency situation, Emergency Service personnel and hospital
staff would then be able to quickly contact your next of kin, by simply
dialing the number stored as “ICE”.

Please forward this. It won’t take too many “forwards” before every
body will know about this.

It really could save your life, or put a loved one’s mind at rest.

For more than one contact name simply enter ICE1, ICE2 and ICE3 etc.
A great idea that will make a difference!

Let’s spread the concept of ICE by storing an ICE number in our
mobile phones today! Please forward to all your nearest and dearest…

Seems plausible to me.

Another Thing to Think About

Just read this blog entry from another blogger struggling against the dreaded big C. It starts of with the painstakings a cancer patient has to go through and ends it with a mention of Jesus and Easter.

And no, this is not my lame critique at someone else’s piece, (hell it’s too short to be one for starters!) Now I can go on to write about something else other than beliefs and moral and philosophical stuff.

A Few Things to Think About

Those who know me know that I’m one forwarded-email/text hater. Forward something of that stuff to me and more often, I already encountered that weeks, months or even years ago.

No one can blame me really. I’ve been using cellphones and the internet for more than 10 years now.

Anyway, I’m letting this one in for the Holy Week. I’ve encountered most of its parts in separate forwarded emails in the past but what the heck! I’ve started the lenten-blog-entries with this and this last year so I guess it wouldn’t hurt to have another one this time.

God: Hello. Did you call me?

Me: Called you? No. Who is this?

God: This is GOD. I heard your prayers. So I thought I will Chat.

Me: I do pray. Just makes me feel good. I am actually busy now. I am in the midst of something.

God: What are you busy at? Ants are busy too.

Me: Don’t know. But I can’t find free time. Life has become hectic. It’s rush hour all the time.

God: Sure. Activity gets you busy. But productivity gets you results. Activity consumes time. Productivity frees it.

Me: I understand. But I still can’t figure out. By the way, I was not expecting YOU to buzz me on instant messaging chat.

God: Well, I wanted to resolve your fight for time, by giving you some clarity. In this net era, I wanted to reach you through the Medium you are comfortable with.

Me: Tell me, why has life become complicated now?

God: Stop analyzing life. Just live it. Analysis is what makes it complicated.

Me: Why are we then constantly unhappy?

God: Your today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday. You are worrying because you are analyzing. Worrying has become your habit. That’s why you are not happy.

Me: But how can we not worry when there is so much uncertainty?

God: Uncertainty is inevitable, but worrying is optional.

Me: But then, there is so much pain due to uncertainty…

God: Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional.

Me: If suffering is optional, why do good people always suffer?

God: Diamond cannot be polished without friction. Gold cannot be purified without fire. Good people go through trials, but don’t suffer. With that experience their life becomes better, not bitter.

Me: You mean to say such experience is useful?

God: Yes. In every term, Experience is a hard teacher. She gives the test first and the lessons afterwards.

Me: But still, why should we go through such tests? Why can’t we be free from problems?

God: Problems are Purposeful Roadblocks Offering Beneficial Lessons to Enhance Mental Strength. Inner strength comes from struggle and endurance, not when you are free from problems.

Me: Frankly in the midst of so many problems, we don’t know where we are heading…

God: If you look outside you will not know where you are heading. Look inside. Looking outside, you dream. Looking inside, you awaken. Eyes provide sight. Heart provides insight.

Me: Sometimes not succeeding fast seems to hurt more than moving In the right direction. What should I do?

God: Success is a measure as decided by others. Satisfaction is a measure as decided by you. Knowing the road ahead is more satisfying than knowing you rode ahead. You work with the compass. Let others work with the clock.

Me: In tough times, how do you stay motivated?

God: Always look at how far you have come rather than how far you have to go. Always count your blessing, not what you are missing.

Me: What surprises you about people?

God: When they suffer they ask, “why me?” When they prosper, they never ask “Why me?” Everyone wishes to have truth on their side, but few want to be on the side of the truth.

Me: Sometimes I ask, who am I, why am I here. I can’t get the answer.

God: Seek not to find who you are, but to determine who you want to be. Stop looking for a purpose as to why you are here. Create it. Life is not a process of discovery, but a process of creation.

Me: How can I get the best out of life?

God: Face your past without regret. Handle your present with confidence. Prepare for the future without fear.

Me: One last question. Sometimes I feel my prayers are not answered.

God: There are no unanswered prayers. At times the answer is NO.

Me: Thank you for this wonderful chat. I am so happy to start the New Day with a new sense of inspiration.

God: Well. Keep the faith and drop the fear. Don’t believe your doubts and doubt your beliefs. Life is a mystery to solve, not a problem to resolve. Trust me. Life is wonderful if you know how to live.

No wonder they pay analysts so much. Good thing His message wasn’t along the lines of “It’s time my son…”