Dian Fossey and the Google doodle

Google doodle celebrates Dian Fossey's 82nd birthday

Google doodle celebrates Dian Fossey’s 82nd birthday

Google has celebrated the 82nd birthday of late American zoologist Dian Fossey with a Doodle on its search page, The Independent reported today. The Guardian carried a similar story. Dian Fossey was born on 16 January 1932, in San Francisco, California.

Considered the world’s leading authority on the physiology and behavior of mountain gorillas, Dian Fossey fought hard to protect these “gentle giants” from environmental and human hazards. She saw these animals as dignified, highly social creatures with individual personalities and strong family relationships. Her active conservationist stand to save these animals from game wardens, zoo poachers, and government officials who wanted to convert gorilla habitats to farmland caused her to fight for the gorillas not only via the media, but also by destroying poachers’ dogs and traps.

Tragically, on December 26, 1985, Fossey was found hacked to death, presumably by poachers, at her Rwandan forest camp. No assailant has ever been found or prosecuted in her murder. (Biography.com)

The capacity of human beings to embrace, support, and protect life stands in stark contrast to our willingness to plunder, exploit, and murder.

The Dian Fossey doodle is the latest in the more than 1,000 doodles created for Google’s homepages around the world. Answering the question, “How did the idea for doodles originate?”, an About page explains that “In 1998, before the company was even incorporated, the concept of the doodle was born when Google founders Larry and Sergey played with the corporate logo to indicate their attendance at the Burning Man festival in the Nevada desert. They placed a stick figure drawing behind the 2nd “o” in the word, Google, … intended as a comical message to Google users that the founders were ‘out of office.'” (About Google Doodles)

Plink! Planck! Plunk!

plank (27 February 2012)

plank (27 February 2012)

Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are a part of the mystery that we are trying to solve. (Max Planck)

Nobody intended me to see this – let alone photograph and exhibit it. It was just there, being itself. Some carpenter nailed it up as part of a fence, but I have deliberately dismantled that particular functionality and reconstituted it as a work of art.

Frankly, the original photograph (now more than a year old) was marred by fish-eye distortion, and I had filed it away, doubting it was worth spending Photoshop time on. But what I had seen didn’t go away; the idea of it persisted.

So here it is. Make of it what you will.

There is no matter as such – mind is the matrix of all matter. (Max Planck

Nothing we see or hear is perfect. But right there in the imperfection is perfect reality. (Shunryu Suzuki)

Could it be? Yes, it could

West Side Story: The New Broadway Cast Recording (2009) – record cover

West Side Story: The New Broadway Cast Recording (2009) – cd cover

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Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known. (Carl Sagan)

Something fabulous is out there taking shape, emerging, peeking, and calling your name. (quoted in Seed of Fabulosity on Soulseeds)

My parents were not scientists. They knew almost nothing about science. But in introducing me simultaneously to skepticism and to wonder, they taught me the two uneasily cohabiting modes of thought that are central to the scientific method. (Carl Sagan, quoted in Carl Sagan: A Biography, by Ray Spangenburg and Diane Moser) .

Could be! Who knows?
There’s something due any day;
I will know right away,
Soon as it shows.
It may come cannonballing down through the sky,
Gleam in its eye, Bright as a rose!

Who knows?
It’s only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Under a tree.
I got a feeling there’s a miracle due,
Gonna come true,
Coming to me!

Could it be? Yes, it could.
Something’s coming, something good,
If I can wait!
Something’s coming, I don’t know what it is,
But it is
Gonna be great!

With a click, with a shock,
Phone’ll jingle, door’ll knock,
Open the latch!
Something’s coming, don’t know when, but it’s soon;
Catch the moon,
One-handed catch!

Around the corner,
Or whistling down the river,
Come on, deliver
To me!
Will it be? Yes, it will.
Maybe just by holding still,
It’ll be there!

Come on, something, come on in, don’t be shy,
Meet a guy,
Pull up a chair!
The air is humming,
And something great is coming!
Who knows?
It’s only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Maybe tonight . . .

(Lyrics: Something’s Coming from West Side Story, Book by Arthur Laurents
Music by Leonard Bernstein, Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim)

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Spangenburg, Ray; Moser, Diane. 2004. Carl Sagan: A Biography. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. 

You are the sky

Sky over Washington Monument

Sky over Washington Monument

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You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather. (Pema Chödrön)

It’s the height of summer where I live – in Wellington, New Zealand. For some of my friends and loved ones, the summer sun is welcome; for others, the heat and humidity are enervating.

Meanwhile, in the northern hemisphere – in Turkey, in London, and in western Massachusetts – others are wrapped up and rugged up against the snow and the dark, cold nights.

Some of us “experience a serious mood change during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This condition is called seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.” (US National Library of Medicine / National Institutes of Health)

“Although experts were initially skeptical, this condition is now recognized as a common disorder, with its prevalence in the US ranging from 1.4 percent in Florida to 9.7 percent in New Hampshire. 

“The US National Library of Medicine notes that ‘some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, have little energy, and may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up.’ The condition in the summer can include heightened anxiety.” (Wikipedia)

Someone very close to me seems to be under the mistaken impression that they have power to influence the weather: “If I hang my washing out, it’s sure to rain.”

As handy and versatile as the weather is as a topic of conversation, when all is said and done, it’s just the weather.

Happy birthday, Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace (ex Facebook)

Ada Lovelace (ex Facebook)

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In 1844, while Morse was demonstrating his telegraph in America, British scientists were discussing a paper recently published by a certain A.A.L. It dealt with the Analytical Engine, a mythical machine being developed by Englsih mathematician Charles Babbage. (Click on the image to read more).

See also the Wikipedia article on Ada Lovelace.

Something is really flying around

Image posted on Facebook by Empty and Meaningless (28 Oct 2012)

Image posted on Facebook by Empty and Meaningless (28 Oct 2012)

Unknown objects are operating under intelligent control … It is imperative that we learn where UFOs come from and what their purpose is … (Admiral Roscoe H Hillenkoetter, Director, Central Intelligence Agency 1947-1950, quoted on UFO Casebook)

This ‘flying saucer’ situation is not at all imaginary or seeing too much in some natural phenomena. Something is really flying around. The phenomenon is something real and not visionary or fictitious. (Gen Nathan Twining, Chief of Staff, US Air Force, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, quoted on UFO Casebook)

We have no proof, but if we extrapolate, based on the best information we have available to us, we have to come to the conclusion that … other life probably exists out there and perhaps in many places … (Neil Armstrong, 21 Oct 1999, quoted on UFO Casebook)

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The image seems to have come from a Russian website: http://pikabu.ru/