There are two types of opinions with respect to science: that it can be used to explain everything and the alternative that its scope is limited. I know a lot of us are tremendously resistant to the belief that science can explain everything. We crave mystery in our world and we often believe science takes that away. But what sometimes we fail to realize about science is that more often than not, it creates mystery where there previously was none, it creates questions more than answers. Scientists themselves are fueled by the mystery surrounding our universe and the entities within it. It is exactly the lack of knowledge that drives them. But they base their search on the premise that knowledge can be obtained, and that is why they keep looking. Continue reading Science!
A few weeks ago after a medical school interview in Tucson I drove up to the Grand Canyon for a couple days of backpacking. I arrived at the deep abyss in the twilight hours with a golden moon lighting the ridges in the valley. It was awe inspiring, humbling, and overwhelmingly beautiful.
I went to whole foods a few days ago for only the second time in my life. Having been a vegetarian for over a decade and recently switching to being vegan, a store like Whole Foods makes grocery shopping tremendously easier. However, after scanning the aisles and realizing exactly what “whole” meant to this company and its customers, I cannot bring myself to support their movement. Whole Foods and the movement that has fueled it makes me cringe with its lack of evidence and appeal to sensationalism. Claiming environmental awareness, sustainable agriculture, and healthier foods, Whole Foods fails to support these principles with its selection. From high prices and bad science of organic farming to the sale of meat, every step I took in that store was one step closer to never going back. Continue reading Why you should never shop at Whole Foods
I’m going to take a little detour from my usual rant to talk about something completely badass and fascinating and awesome and that everyone should do (especially if you have kids). Last year I got really, really excited about the crap I was learning in school but had no outlet for it. My labs while claiming the title of “experiments” were far from experimentation. Structured down to every milliliter and gram, there was absolutely no freedom to let creativity soar and learn some of the more fascinating aspects of chemistry and physics. So I decided to do a little experimentation of my own. I went online to see what kind of stuff I could order and was absolutely amazed that most of the stuff my labs were ordering I could buy too (for far less than the price of a college education). It was much more fascinating too, to be able to just run free and break some rules, do some things I may later regret without liability to anyone else. So when the sixteen ounces of bismuth came in the mail, I whipped out my lab goggles and stepped into my condo’s kitchen. Continue reading Bismuth crystals
Having recently ventured into the mystical land known as “the real world,” several ideas and curiosities have come to my attention. I am naïve in this world, distant from my previous home full of obnoxious party goers and dedicated academics. In this world, there are responsibilities and questions of the future. Two subjects keep arising that have grabbed my attention, that of marriage and that of having children. However, the questions are not whether or not to partake in these institutions and obligations. The questions are of when to marry, who to marry, how many kids to have, and what to name them. I started thinking, why would I get married and why would I have kids? Did I consciously decide to marry and have kids or did I simply follow social norms and biological urges? I want questions like that to be answered long before I undertake such dedicated steps in my life. Sure, the challenges are distant still, but why would it ever be too early to question these immense life steps?
“Seeing as we are the Universe manifested into self recognition we have the right to explore itself. Stop thinking of us as earthlings but rather, as how Carl Sagan put it, hydrogen given 15 billion years of evolution”
This was a comment posted on a facebook picture about the question of how to manage our space travels and interactions with alien lifeforms. This is amazing statement, and one that with adequate knowledge is not hard to recognize, but is seemingly impossible to grasp. We are exactly that; we are atoms trying to understand themselves. We are the universe trying to understand itself. That is a mind boggling realization and makes me soooo happy to acknowledge it. Continue reading “The Universe manifested into self recognition”
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.