Saturday, November 18, 2017

Thought provocation...

I often think we're rather arrogant these days. We collectively as a species think we're highly evolved and pretty advanced. That this is the age of miracles. All the knowledge of humankind is at our fingertips. Surely the end times must be near - we're so advanced there's no place left to go.

Of course I don't agree.

When I was a kid ...haha...when I was a kid, we thought cars would fly by now. We thought electricity would be free because it was just so cheap to produce. We'd have 3 hour work days and leisure activities would dominate our lives. We were so naive.

I really think there have only been a couple of grand achievements in my lifetime. Space. Definitely. Not just the moon landing but satellites. I still remember watching the 1964 Olympic Games "live via satellite". It was a miracle! The picture sucked. Black and white. Not much more than shadow puppets but we watched the!

Deciphering the genetic code.

Truly grand scientific achievements. Otherwise. Well, technology and engineering have dominated our lives much more than science. Science brings us new and wondrous things. Snatching voices from thin air is science. Replacing tubes with transistors is engineering. Making it lighter. Smaller. That's engineering. Making jet engines more efficient. Air frames lighter. Airfoils with greater lift. All engineering. In the first 50 years of the last century we went from Wright Brothers first flight to the F-86 Sabre. In the last 50 years of the last century ...we made jet engines that use less fuel.

My point being. I don't think this is the age of miracles that we'd like to think.

So what got me on this? I live down the street from an old cemetery. And I thought this put it in better perspective:

I walk around looking at the markers and can't help but wonder what kind of miracles some of these people must have seen. Here's this guy George Scott.

He was born into a world where America had just declared war on Mexico. The Alamo was a recent event. The war of 1812 was within living memory. Indoor plumbing was almost unknown. As was refrigeration. And central heating. People lit their homes with lard lamps. There may have been steam ships but there was no regular steam ship service.

He was 5 years old when the Civil War broke out. Nine years old when Lincoln was assassinated.

And think for a minute the things he saw come to pass in his lifetime. Electric lights. Airplanes. Radio. Automobiles. This guy. Almost 175 years ago. Living into his 90s in 1942(!) he saw countless miracles of science and engineering. Really transformative things. Not just MS Word making typewriters obsolete. Seriously. Just think for a minute how electricity changed people's lives in most profound ways. This guy saw things on a scale and scope we can barely imagine.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fall colors

Much to my surprise we had some brilliant fall colors this year. Our Norway Maple trees suffered from tar spot fungus during the wet summer and most of them just turned black and all the leaves dropped off before the first of September.

Beyond that there just seemed to be a lot of sad looking brown trees around and more leaves on the ground in September than I can ever remember having. So I just didn't expect much fall color.

But I was mistaken! By third week of October we had plenty of brilliant color to be seen.

City Mills Pond, Franklin Norfolk, MA, 21 October

Tucker St., Norfolk, MA, 21 October

Federated Church, downtown Norfolk, MA, 22 October
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