Tuesday, May 29, 2007

28 New Exoplanets Found!

Astronomers have discovered 28 new planets outside of our solar system, increasing to 236 the number of known exoplanets, revealing that planets can exist around a broad spectrum of stellar types-from tiny, dim stars to giants.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

We Reap What We Sow

The following email ended up in my inbox at work. I responded to it as I have stated below. It was sent to me by some blow-hard, do nothing who likes to run on and on and on about how we are still going to find hidden WMDs in Iraq and that Hillary Clinton deserves to go to jail because of some consiprosy theory he though up.

Read the email and then my response below it:

Subject: Fw: "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW,"


Dear God: Why didn't you save the school children at ?.

Bath, Michigan 1927
Houston, TX 1959
Moses Lake , Washington 2/2/96
Bethel , Alaska 2/19/97 Pearl ,
Mississippi 10/1/97
West Paducah , Kentucky 12/1/97
Stamp, Arkansas 12/15/97
Jonesboro , Arkansas 3/24/98
Edinboro , Pennsylvania 4/24/98
Fayetteville , Tennessee 5/19/98
Springfield , Oregon 5/21/98
Richmond , Virginia 6/15/98
Littleton , Colorado 4/20/99
Taber , Alberta , Canada 5/28/99
Conyers , Georgia 5/20/99
Deming , New Mexico 11/19/99
Fort Gibson , Oklahoma 12/6/99
Santee , California 3/ 5/01
El Cajon , California 3/22/01
and Blacksburg, Virginia 4/16/07?

Sincerely, Concerned Student


Reply: Dear Concerned Student:

I am not allowed in schools.

Sincerely, God


How did this get started?...


Let's see, I think it started when Madeline Murray O'Hare complained she didn't want any prayer in our schools. And we said, OK..


Then, someone said you better not read the Bible in school, the Bible that says "thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbors as yourself," And we said, OK...


Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehaved because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem. And we said, an expert should know what he's talking about so we won't spank them anymore..


Then someone said teachers and principals better not discipline our children when they misbehave. And the school administrators said no faculty member in this school better touch a student when they misbehave because we don't want any bad publicity, and we surely don't want to be sued. And we accepted their reasoning...


Then someone said, let's let our daughters have abortions if they want, and they won't even have to tell their parents. And we said, that's a grand idea...


Then some wise school board member said, since boys will be boys and they're going to do it anyway, let's give our sons all the condoms they want, so they can have all the fun they desire, and we won't have to tell their parents they got them at school. And we said, that's another great idea...


Then some of our top elected officials said it doesn't matter what we do in private as long as we do our jobs. And we said, it doesn't matter what anybody, including the President, does in private as long as we have jobs and the economy is good....


And someone else took that appreciation a step further and published pictures of nude children and then stepped further still by making them available on the Internet. And we said, everyone's entitled to free speech....


And the entertainment industry said, let's make TV shows and movies that promote profanity, violence and illicit sex... And let's record music that encourages rape, drugs, murder, suicide, and satanic themes... And we said, it's just entertainment and it has no adverse effect and nobody takes it seriously anyway, so go right ahead.


Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, classmates or even themselves.


Undoubtedly, if we thought about it long and hard enough, we could figure it out. I'm sure it has a great deal to do with... "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW,"


Pass it on if you think it has merit! If not then just discard it... but if you discard this thought process, then don't you dare sit back and complain about what bad shape this country is in.

End of email.

What a sloppy piece of crap that is huh?

I am not sure that anyone actually reads the bible or goes to church/temple/mosk anymore before they send out emails like this.

God is infinite and according to Aristotle He is the Unmoved Mover, which means he is the beginning of the Universe as the First Cause that causes everything that has happened since the beginning of time. As I understand from reading the Torah, God is not swayed by public policy.

As a practicing Jew I find this email to be disgraceful. How dare anyone put words into the mouth of the Almighty to prove their point. This was not written by a little girl.It was probably written by some nut with an agenda to play on people's emotions so that they would write their Congressperson and make it OK to pray in school. Of course I am sure that the originator of this email was not considering that Jews, Hindus, Muslims and Native Americans all attend public school and therefore have the right to pray in their houses of worship and homes as they please without some rightwing, Conservative, fascist, nut, telling them they HAVE to pray to Jesus Christ in school or they will go to hell and their children will be shot to death in mass murders.

As long as the Constitution protects the rights of individuals to worship as they truly want, without the government meddling into their personal relationship with God then people who want to enforce public school prayer are truly Un-Patriotic and Un-American.The government protects our rights in this democracy. It does not enforce the will of the elite upon those in the minority. I believe that was what the Revolutionary War and Declaration of Independence was supposed to do anyway.I am not positive but I think that in all the school shootings, the shooters were not disciples of God bringing vengeance upon the masses.

I agree that most of the generations that came before me had it very hard. As well, I see that generations after me will have easier lives. It is also true that every generation has its unique problems and issues. In my great-grandfather's generation he and his family had to escape from Poland to France on foot to then take a boat to America because of the pograms killing Jews. My grandfather's generation had to fight in WW2 and deal with the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor AND Hitler AND the Cold War with Russia. The following generation had to deal with Korea and more importantly the Vietnam conflict and all that came with it. In my generation we were still doing Nuclear Bomb scares in elemetary school, hiding under our desks and even after the malaise of the Seventies in the Eighties I grew up with the threat of Nuclear War. The Nineties saw the rise of terrorism and now my children live in the most suspicious and security concious America ever. Schools doors are locked down, people will call the cops because teenagers are walking around their neighborhood, and everyone thinks everyone else is either a traitor or a terrorist cell. Of course just like Pearl Harbor, Nine-Eleven and its aftermath will take a long time to recover, not just the hurt but the fear, hate and division in the country that it caused.

That said, If I read the above email I can't make the logical connection between Dr. Spock and School shootings. It seems that the availability of such items along with the fracture in family values (true family values that can be upheld in any type of family even mine where my mother raised me as a single mother) contributes greatly. The best thing you said was we have to take responsibility for our own actions. Whether right or wrong, I own my mistakes but I also own my sucesses. That comes with the territory.

People who send emails like that without thought to the content make me angry because I can't see spreading hate as policy in America. Whatever happened to intelligent discourse and being able to disagree, have conversation and debate without one side or another claiming the other side is either a terrorist, unpatriotic or souless?? Great men like, FDR, Truman, Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. had respect for their opponents.

I disagree that Bill Clinton's actions in the White House lead to children being killed as the email implies. What a crock! It seems to me that lying to the American Public and to Congress and then turning around and blaming THEM for believing the lies is about as unpatriotic as you can get. Regardless of who does it. When I learned about American Government in elementary school I learned about the foundation of our system: Checks And Balances! That's why we don't have ONE branch of government, but three. That's why we don't mix religion and government. Religion is about the soul and family and death, Government is about society, taxes and policy. Religion is about things we have to have faith to believe. Government is a structured organization that serves the people. I think it is called Democracy.

Besides the sender of that email is a big blow hard with nothing useful to say but to toot his own horn about how great he is but accomplishes very, very little that is creative or good for his fellow man.

Personally I love a good argument and debate. I learn something from every intelligent conversation and disagreement I have with people. But some people have nothing to contribute.

Lon S. Cohen