Wednesday, October 03, 2007

day +43

Su left yesterday afternoon to spend a few days with her folks and friends in Saratoga Springs and then, she will participate in a cancer conference back here on Saturday and Sunday, so I probably won't see her until Monday at the earliest.

Last night, I enjoyed watching another episode of the History Channel's wonderful series, The Universe: The End of Earth: Deep Space Threats to Earth. Speaking about the interconnectedness of the Universe, Neil deGrasse Tyson spoke eloquently about how each of us and all of life for that matter are interconnected both biologically and chemically. Each of us share the same "stuff." All the elements that help to make up our bodies, such as carbon, were formed eons ago in the deaths of high mass stars. We are made of stars. As he said, we are part of the Universe and the Universe is in us. So, we're interconnected with each other in a very literal sense as well as with the Cosmos even though watching the news can sometimes take away from the sublimity of this fantastic realization. Carl Sagan used to describe this humbling view of the Cosmos in much the same way as deGrasse Tyson. I wish I had taped this episode, especially this brief part with deGrasse Tyson that I'm describing. Following the show, I subscribed to the program's RSS newsletter so that I can keep abreast of upcoming episodes and repeats. But to get back to the program, deGrasse Tyson's use of "interconnectedness" to describe our relationship to each other, all forms of life, and the Cosmos reminded me of Pema Chodron, who speaking from a Buddhist perspective talks about the interconnectedness of our species in terms of our shared human experience of suffering and happiness. Though they look at the unity of life through different perspectives, it's clear that a great sense of appreciation and humility for life itself is shared by both.

Knowing that I've been contemplating pursuing a Ph.D at some point in the future, Dr. Roberts brought to my attention today's NYT article, Exploring Ways to Shorten the Ascent to a Ph.D, during our phone session this afternoon.

Homosexuality in Muslim World Shrouded in Secrecy

How Do Artists Portray Exoplanets They've Never Seen?

Chris Matthews on What We Can Learn from Politicians

Comedian Serious about Mexican-American Art

Tomorrow I'll be at Sloan for the third cycle of the cidofovir treatment.


Comment Blogger Jim Anderson said...

I wanted to comment on your words about "...interconnectedness... to describe our relationship to each other, all forms of life, and the Cosmos"
When I read your post I just finished reading a long article in Nat. Geographic, Oct 2007, pg 79, "Deadly Contact". This is a layman-friendly piece about how many diseases are hosted by one species and jump to others, sometimes with catastrophic results for the infected species. It turns out Fruit Bats carry a lot of really bad diseases that jump to others. Anyway, the last paragraph of this article points out the same concept you have made about interconnectedness, "We -people and gorillas, horses and pigs and bats, monkeys and rats and mosquitoes and viruses -- are all in this together". Well written article!

4:07 PM  
Comment Blogger Duane said...

Hey, Jim. Thanks. I'll look up that NG article. Thanks again for bringing it to my attention.

9:55 PM  

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