"Except for the point, the still point, there would be no dance, and there is only the dance." ~ T.S. Eliot in "Burnt Norton"

Saturday, December 24, 2011

You Know You're a Science Major that Attend CUA When...

So I have been stumbling upon the internet because well I have nothing better to do during my Christmas break and I found this image and I would like to share to share it with everyone. It is pretty interesting (and at the same time funny because I'm a science nerd) to see the relationship between the story of Genesis and the scientific laws that govern our universe through this image seen below:     

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dear Higgs-Boson, I love you...or Why the God Particle changed my life

"Some of the brightest scientists in the world announced Tuesday that they’d come close to actually discovering a new particle: the Higgs boson." This is a quotation from this article, which discusses why such a discovery matters. The Higgs boson, sometimes referred to as the God Particle, should give us insight into the origins or the universe, of matter itself. And scientists at CERN think they may have seen it...or at least the field in which is can exist. My friend, Adam Mann who writes for Wired explains what that means: "But if the rumors are true, and the Higgs has been seen at 125 GeV, it could bolster the idea that there is physics beyond the Standard Model that describes the behavior of subatomic particles." This means that we are potentially at the frontier of another scientific revolution. Such revolutions have happened before: the Copernican model of the solar system, Newtonian  physics, Anton Laviosier's redefinition and in many ways creation of what we now understand as the field of chemistry, Einstein's theory of relativity, Darwin's theory of natural selection. And every time there is a scientific revolution, there follows a religious response, sometime immediate and vocal, sometimes quieter and subtle, but always a response. This God particle, whose very name seems to imply this connection between science and religion, will leave both scientists and theologians wondering what comes next and what this means...and I can't wait!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

"You can break everything down to chemicals, but you can't explain a love like ours."

Hey Everybody,

So recently I have found a song called, "Science and Faith" written by "The Script" on Youtube, and what I found intriguing about the video were the lyrics themselves. My interpretations of the lyrics were that there cannot be an explanation of love through science alone, even though there are biochemical basis for the science of  love through various neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. In other words, I think that there is a greater explanation of "real" love, as oppose to lust, in which the human mind cannot fathom. Thus, in my opinion, there is a greater meaning behind the concept of love because if love is just about chemicals between two individuals reacting simultaneously then the concept of love to me would be diminished to just pure chemistry and the probability of such a reaction to occur. Love has a greater meaning to me because if it just about chemicals being triggered by certain physical stimuli then how can one explain love with an individual who is an identical twin? Physically, they look the same so theoretically through the explanation of science and neurotransmitters, should that individual have the same warm, fuzzy feelings for the other identical twin as well? In other words, what would cause the release of certain neurotransmitters for one individual, but not the other? It obviously cannot be something physical in the case of "real" love with an identical twin, so what could it be? To answer this question, I think that one should take a step towards faith because the connection between faith and science is that science is the reasoning behind things, such as love, whereas faith is the belief system behind the reasoning. In the case of love, you have to take a leap of faith and believe that what you are feeling could be "real" love because drawing upon the past, all great scientists, such as Watson and Crick (The structure of DNA), took great leaps of faith in order to believe what they are trying to prove was actually there or is true.   

The Next Ten Years and the Plenitude Economy

This seems to be making the rounds on Facebook and so I thought I would add it here. It begins to present a different way to approach the environment, something that I have talked about in my classes. Even though it shows the negative places our current (and past) ecological practices lead to, it also gives hope.

I'm also putting up this video by economist, Juliet Schor, which is a bit more about the solution. Ideas about community and how communities function will determine what the next ten years will look like and how the economy will be reshaped. Here is an hopeful version of what we can become...and hopefully are becoming.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Look, Tina, I guess, in a sense, we're rebels."

My mom told me that yesterday.

I was telling her a story about how I unfriended her brother, my uncle, on Facebook. It all started because I posted a news story about PSAs by the state of Israel encouraging native born Israeli's not to marry American Jews. I was offended and upset and had a lot of questions. How can the State of Israel ask my country for money and then tell it's own citizens that they should have nothing to do with us Americans because we're not Jewish enough? I posted: If I'm not Jewish enough then my money's not green enough. Take that, Israel!

That's how it started. It ended with my uncle not reading the post, but being very condescending and judgmental about my attitude about being Jewish. Just because somebody does something with which I don't agree, I withdraw support? Um, yes. Yes, exactly. He didn't see the connection I saw, after being indoctrinated into the Jewish Religion via Hebrew school that proffered "Never Again!"-- which was: how can Israel not see that this is exactly the same kind of suggestion the Nazi's made to the Germans? Honestly... how? He saw something that made more sense for a 75-year-old: support Israel because it must be a safe haven for displaced people. A view that doesn't entirely make a whole lot of sense anymore.

Worried I'd offended my mom, I called her: "I just unfriended your brother on Facebook." Her response, which shouldn't have surprised me at all (knowing my mom): so? He probably deserved it. Respectfully, she reminded me that he's a bit of a unique character. He doesn't intellectualize like we do, she said, and he takes things as fact and doesn't ask questions. Understanding this stance was something difficult for him, so don't take it personally. I told her about the Israeli PSAs and how they upset me and she reminded me about her stance. "You know I have a problem with the ultra-Orthodox!" I had forgotten in all of her brother's hardlining, that she's actually a pretty progressive lady.

Here is an interview with Douglas Rushkoff. It's basically how I feel about being Jewish. And apparently, my mom, too!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

George Crumb and Advent

It's Advent as I write this and so I am posting a video of musicians performing George Crumb's third movement of Makrocosmos III-Music for a Summer Evening because this movement is titled "Advent."I don't normally think of Advent (The four-week season that many Christians celebrate leading up to Christmas) and summer together as I have always thought of that word in conjunction with shortened days, colder temperatures, and as I often go to mass on Sunday evenings, darkened stained glass windows. But Crumb is always up to something interesting not just in his music, but in his titles. In moving Advent into the context of summer, in the larger context of his four-volume Makrocosmos, which itself pulls us into something cosmological, he reminds us that there is always an Advent-a time of arrival and a time of waiting. There is always something that we are looking and waiting for, something we are expecting.