Light Pollution

This morning I got up for my run while it was still dark. After the first quarter of a mile or so, I looked up at the sky. I saw a few very bright stars up there. While this normally makes me feel humbled and connected at the same time, today it just made me feel disappointed.

My disappointment was entirely relative to what I saw this past weekend when I looked up. Being in the country pretty far from any significant light pollution, I could see so many more stars than I normally do in the city. I am talking tens of thousands of times more. It was amazing and beautiful. It was a display of stars that I had not experienced in a long, long time.

It made me think of the star gazers of the past such as Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei. I thought of how they looked up at very much the same night sky, and probably an even more stunning display than the one I was seeing. I thought of other people at different places in the world who were also sharing the spectacular sight of that night sky.

It was a new moon this past weekend which meant that, without the reflected light of our closest star, there was even more to be seen than there otherwise would have been. I saw the Delta Aquarid meteor shower thanks to the extra darkness. I am pretty sure I saw the ISS fly over, although I cannot find a way to lookup past flyovers on NASA's website to confirm this.

In conclusion, more trips to the country for star gazing are definitely warranted in the near future.

(Image credit: http://neblandvm.outdoornebraska.gov/)


Internet Detox

I went on an internet detox this weekend. That is to say, I went camping. It was a much needed one too. We went to a place that has no signal on my carrier. This meant that I could not even really try to use the internet.

Chris' iPad uses a network that got decent signal which I did use to communicate with my parents so that they could come out to our campsite for a visit. Other than that five minute use though, I was free of the internet for about 60 hours.

I must say it was peaceful. I was with my children and my partner, so the only notifications I received were the important ones in realtime and face to face.

It meant that I had to find other things to do and talk to people without being able to look up the validity of claims. I would not want to do that all the time, but it kept conversation light and agenda free.

Our world grows evermore connected as we humans progress. From paintings on cave walls to the printing press to the ultra connected state the internet brings us to today, we sometimes take for granted how much less informed and less understanding of others we are without our connectivity. This weekend I was reminded of that. I think that taking oneself away from some of it helps to instill an appreciation for our ability to connect with others and all the positive change and understanding that comes of it. 


Past Me

I got an email from my past self today. It is from a version of me six years ago and is about how I was frustrated with the job I was at an hoped that I would be doing something I liked better in the future.

Every time that I get an email from futureme.org it completely catches me off guard. I always forget about the service a few days after I send a set of them out. However, I think it is an excellent way to communicate something to me in the distant future. I tend to write about what is currently going on with me and where I hope to be by the time I get it.

A few years ago I got one that told me I was completely stoned and just chilling out in Columbus, Nebraska. It was received during a time that was just chilling out in St. Louis, Missouri (but not stoned, maybe drinking a beer). I thought that was interesting.

It always forces me to reflect and appreciate all the changes in my life since the time I wrote it. I am always glad to have received it.

I am doing something I enjoy today by the way. But I do know some pretty amazing people from my time at that job too and would not be who I am today without that experience. I probably would not have grown more interested in software development without it. Without taking that job so that I could be with Chris and have children with her, I would also not have time to foster that interest.

I guess it is time to write another set of letters to a potential me.