Built an Arch

Christine Augustine and I took the boys to the Saint Louis Science Center today. We saw a pretty spectacular Omnimax film about lemurs and we built the arch you see here. Everyone chipped in. It was a team effort.



I have been attempting to change some of my social networking habits lately. One of the things I have decided that needed to change was my use of that button which gives me an all too easy way to tell the poster, "Yes, I read your post. Yes, I was somewhere between slightly amused and having an epiphany. No, I cannot be bothered to do more than a single click in response."

On Google+ this is the "+1" button and on Facebook the counterpart is the "Like" button. Pretty much every other social network has one too. Often a star or a heart. They all function the same though: confirmation without engagement.

I do not think that I am saying that the confirmation without engagement (CWE) button is necessarily a bad thing. I know that if someone pushes that button on something I post, that confirmation is useful to me.

I am not saying that anyone else should stop using it or that I necessarily will forever, although I may. This is a personal thing for me. I feel that I have gotten into a habit of using that button lazily when I actually could contribute and engage with whomever is posting the content and that I want to change that. So for now at least, when I have the urge to hit the CWE button, I am forcing myself to say something. Sometimes that something will be, "good stuff", or something to that effect. More often, I hope, it will be something with contribution or engagement.


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/)