An uplifting news item, poem, thought or quotation each day.
Archive of past entries

29 May 2005

That which we know with great certainty derives from a source that is at once within us and everywhere without.

- Josh Mitteldorf

28 May 2005

Stars scribble on our eyes the frosty sagas, 
The gleaming cantos of unvanquished space. 

Cape Hatteras, by Hart Crane, 1930

27 May 2005

"Classic economic theory, based as it is on an inadequate theory of human motivation, could be revolutionized by accepting the reality of higher human needs, including the impulse to self actualization and the love for the highest values."

Abraham Maslow, born this day in 1908, developed a psychology based on a deep faith in human goodness. Each of us has an inner impetus to growth and transcendence. As soon as our personal needs are filled, we seek to provide for our families, and when our families are secure, we are moved to think about the welfare of our communities.

Imagine if we took this to heart. Imagine if we stopped seeking to defang the evil in others, but sought ways to offer our support, embracing diverse visions, trusting others as well as ourselves to work for a better world.

26 May 2005

"…with an eye made quiet by the power
Of harmony, and the deep power of joy,
We see into the life of things."

"To a mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders."
Chuang Tze

25 May 2005

Most phenomena in astronomy unfold at a stately pace because they involve objects that are huge by our earthly scale. But neutron stars, also known as pulsars, are an exception. Under just the right circumstances, a burnt-out. imploding star can stop just short of a black hole, and find a just-stable state in which it is just a few miles across, with a density in the neighborhood of a billion tons per teaspoon.  Neutron stars can spin in a fraction of a second, so the point of light we see can pulsate just that fast.

All neutron stars have mass just about the size of the sun. If they’re a little smaller, they don’t have the umph to make it to collapse. If they’re a little bigger, they collapse all the way to black holes.

Very rarely, two neutron stars will find each other, rotate about each other in tighter and tighter circles, shedding energy of rotation in the form of gravitational waves. It is thought that they finally can merge in a spectacular explosion, forming a black hole.

Last week, it was reported that just such a merger may have been observed, as a burst of gamma rays, an afterglow of x-rays, and a visible image in ordinary light were simultaneously recorded.

24 May 2005

At the round earth's imagin'd corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scatter'd bodies go;
All whom the flood did, and fire shall o'erthrow,
All whom war, dearth, age, agues, tyrannies,
Despair, law, chance hath slain, and you whose eyes
Shall behold God and never taste death's woe. 

- John Donne (1572-1631)

23 May 2005

Tampa Electric’s Polk Station turns coal into gas before burning, leaving much of the carbon out of the atmosphere, drastically cutting pollutants, and producing 10% more electric energy from the same amount of coal. This kind of plant costs 20% more to build than conventional coal generation plants, but the difference is made up in a few years of lower operating costs, and even this modest premium is expected to disappear after a few more plants have been built and the technology becomes mature.

New York Times article