Nothing in my life has ever sparked such overwhelming fear as sitting alone on a beach in the early, early morning, long before sunrise with intentions of paddling a kayak across an enormous body of water to a foreign island. There was lightning on the horizon, too distant and sparse to be a sure no go, but not clear enough to make me feel confident to paddle out. The wind was blowing from the north and would launch me down to Cay Sal on an open ocean kayaking voyage in under 12 hours. I would arrive there before dusk and set up camp on the uninhabited island in the Gulf of Mexico. I could see the tall palms swaying high overhead behind me and knew the wind coming from the other side of the island was strong. Within the first mile of paddling the wind would catch me and launch me faster and faster from the island until eventually I would not be able to paddle back. It was a commitment that gave me chills.
I am really happy to be here. I love this planet, I love this species, and I love this universe. Sometimes (often) I get so overwhelmed by this place that I feel like I am going to explode. Tonight my barriers holding the excitement back fell to the jumping, pacing, happy, overwhelmed Grayson within. First it was negligible senescence, then it was multiverse theory, then it was genetics, then neutron stars. I got excited and giddy as hell. I couldn’t even stay seated. I don’t know why it is that this happens. It is like a tick, crippling if held back. Continue reading Bursting at the seams
Imagine watching nuclear fusion come to be standard as energy on the earth. You stand by as you witness one of the greatest advancements in humankind-the transition to sustainability. Imagine, with the discovery of better methods of space travel, abandoning our terrestrial life to become space-faring, trans-galactic beings. Imagine interacting with beings from another planet, learning their language, their culture, their technology. Imagine studying their biology, making friends on another planet, learning their planet’s history, and having access to information about the universe that we have not yet acquired. Imagine watching our planet develop, new species forming, continents shifting. What if I were to tell you that all of this could potentially happen within your lifetime? Continue reading Biological immortality
I’m about to make an argument on a premise that not many people agree with me on. I guess that’s a pretty silly idea but hell, I’m doing it anyways. I wrote a post not long ago encouraging people to be more selfish. You can read it here. But the general gist of it is that selfishness is not synonymous with greed and that if one is truly concerned with oneself, then they will inevitably help everyone more than someone who strives for selflessness. An analogy would be to giving an employee a higher wage so they can come to work without hunger and therefore, be more productive. Sometimes, I understand that this is not the case, that to the employer, the benefit of satiety is minute in comparison to the cost of feeding. But I argue that this is a dynamic stage, not a homeostatic one. I believe from fundamental logic of thermodynamics that an economy can reach equilibrium unless restrained by external interference. Of course there will be unemployment but there will be less than if restricted by regulation.
So here I go. Grant me that initial premise and you may realize this one. Or maybe the combination of two seemingly faulty premises will help with acknowledging that I may not be a quack after all.
Walmart is actually an awesome corporation. There I go; I said it. I know I’m not the first one and I imagine (I hope) I won’t be the last. Why is Walmart awesome despite the overwhelming hatred for it and its customer base to be, shall we say, less than classy and occasionally inbred? Walmart is great exactly because it is as selfish as it can possibly be.
People usually start thinking I’m crazy when I get exited about existence, from the smallest to the biggest, from biology to astronomy, life to death. But it’s all so goddamn amazing, I don’t know how to keep it all pent-up. I’ve tried before but I get antsy. So now I’ll risk embarrassment for the potential reward of someone responding with equal excitement.
Think about how crazy awesome all this is. Look at your hand. You are composed of atoms. Everything inside you is atoms: protons and neutrons in a core surrounded by spinning electrons with an ability to exist in two places at once. I mean, holy hell. If that isn’t enough reason to always be happy, I don’t know what is. Electrons don’t orbit a nucleus like a planet does a star. Instead an electron orbits in a chaotic pattern that we define in probability terms as orbitals. They are simply our best guess as to where the electron may be.
The natural world is a threatening, hostile, deadly place. Nearly everything wants to prey on our flesh and steal our life. It knows not love nor compassion and was not made for us. I know it is deceptively beautiful and its fruits are deceivingly delicious. But if nature has no use for us, it will consume us, digest us, and crap us out like we never existed.
I am sick of this idea of nature as our medicine or this concept of this home as a peaceful abode. This is a hostile world, full of death and disease. A shark doesn’t keep from eating a human from some obscure sense of respect for humanity; it refrains because a human is foreign and strange and the risk of poisoning is not worth the reward of an easy meal. Continue reading The truth about the natural world
How the hell is anyone expected to tie themselves down, find a career, reproduce, work their tails off and then die without exploring places like this? I seriously cannot understand it. I can’t imagine my life ending up like that. And I know it has its perks; it’s not that I am against that lifestyle. I just am excessively for the other way. So as of now my plan is to see this place. And Fiji. I want to go to Fiji. I’ve never been happier and more content than at the top of a mountain or on the bottom of an ocean. I have my primal instincts just like everyone else but they aren’t quite satisfying. But places like this, they never get old. I know I probably sound like a cliche traveler. I’ve always quoted Camus; “Wandering seemed no more than the happiness of an anxious man.” And right now, this is conflicting with me. I am wondering what he meant, what I meant. Continue reading If I have my way
I want you to just imagine for a moment. Imagine every word I am saying. Pause with each sentence and see the image I challenge you to see. I want you to separate yourself from this world and imagine yourself as god-like. First you are observing yourself from behind, watching you at your computer.
Then imagine the world. You are between the earth and the moon, floating in a black emptiness, looking down at our blue-green lush planet with white clouds swirling about. It is an amazing celestial body, surely one of the greatest. It is floating in this vast darkness just as you are, with no hand of Atlas holding it nor a web to keep it suspended. It simply floats, orbiting an even more massive body that illuminates our earth and provides it with the energy that allowed life to flourish.This is our home. This is where we and everyone who has ever existed was born, lived, and died. Alongside the young species of man are millions of other creatures. It is an extremely vast community, one that we struggle to see as a whole. Imagine for a moment that there are no Saddam Husseins or Osama bin Ladens or Adolf Hitlers. The world is peaceful and everyone is amazed with their predicament. We are united on this globe. Everyone, all seven billion of us are content for these moments in peace.
I was rereading the Wikipedia page “Interstellar Travel” earlier today and was very frustrated about their discussion of impossibility. I guess this could be a recurring theme in my life. The only thing that is impossible is that something could be impossible. Everything instead can be discussed in the range of probabilities. It is possible for me to walk through a wall. Seriously I can do it, it just is highly improbable. But the writers of this article talk about interstellar travel as if it should be relegated to science fiction. Why then are hundreds if not thousands of physicists and engineers around the world searching for better methods to accomplish such travel? Someone has hope and at the expense of increasing my rank of nerd, I am one of them. I almost wish Wikipedia was not ever changing so that we could reflect like a textbook on the progression from impossible to reality. Impossible has become a word that is illogical to use. Everything is a theory. At one point in time there was a theory that it was impossible for a human to pass the sound barrier. Since that belief we have created a commercial airliner that could travel faster than that. And now there are physicists (who may truly be insane) that believe that the “light barrier” is only fictional.