Science–Interesting Things To Ponder

We are lucky to be living in a time when science is finding out so much about the world and universe around us.

It boggles the mind!

We are flying through space at 65,000 miles per hour around the Sun.

Faster than jet planes.

We are so small in comparison to the universe.

In our galaxy, The Milky Way”, there are billions of stars.


Time is very interesting to think about also.

We know about the “Big Bang” that created our universe is 13.7 billion years old.

The Earth is around 4.5 billion years old

Humans are about 130,000 years old–mere babies!

I don’t know about you, but I get very excited just thinking how lucky we are to belong to a species that is very intelligent to figure this stuff out BUT also to appreciate the fact that we are part of it all albeit a very small part.

Human history and prehistory is also very interesting.

Archaeology tells us about the tools and art of everyday people long ago.

History is the greatest story of all!

With all this science going on who needs silly conspiracy theories.

The rate of scientific progress is accelerating.

Technology is close to many breakthroughs that could change our lives overnight.


Either way, it’s going to be interesting.


Coming up is a golden age of discovery, a leap forward.

This might not feel like such a wonderful time because of wars, poverty, crime, and political nonsense.

But that’s not the whole story.

I hope we can raise humankind to a higher plane–someday.

In conclusion:

Be thankful for the magnificent brain you have.

Question everything and think like a scientist.

Don’t throw your life away on dead-end beliefs.



The End of the World is Nigh!

“The end of the World is Near,” said the man that just had a near-death experience.

I remember as a kid seeing men with sandwich boards marching up and down with the message on the board, ” The end of the World is Near.”

People always had an interest in the final day of judgement.

The end of the World is an interesting subject because the World really could end.

It’s NOT a crazy topic at all!

Space rocks called asteroids are floating around and could someday devastate us.

Nuclear war is scary.

Also the Sun, our star, will die and ruin the planet.

The Sun’s dying act would fry the earth in 4 billion years, but that’s a long time away.

Maybe we will inhabit another galaxy by then.

For generations, millions of people have believed in doomsday claims.

We know it is sensible to assume there will be a tomorrow.

Skeptical thinking defies doomsday scenarios.


Now, this man who was babbling about the day of judgement said he saw the end of the World in his near-death experience.

He was in the hospital on the operating table and saw the earth explode.

This must have been his light at the end of the tunnel!

I told him it was probably a dream induced by a lack of oxygen in the brain during the operation. His brain was highly stressed at that time.

The brain can conjure up some very weird things.

We can all be fooled by our brains as far as what we see, hear, and feel.

We remember things that aren’t real.

So, shouldn’t we be skeptical?

I think the human brain, under stress, is very unreliable.

But some people are comforted by weird stories and near-death experiences make great stories!


Question Everything

Are you a SKEPTIC? If not, maybe you should be.

Some people say:

“Skepticism kills innovation and creativity. It creates static beings.

We are made to grow, learn, and seek TRUTH. Not to tear it down.”

But some “TRUTH” isn’t true!

How can we know what is and what isn’t TRUE?

Scientists are skeptics, they question everything until it is proved with EVIDENCE, the available body of facts or info indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid.

Thinking like a scientist leads to MORE intuition and creativity.


So, what does being a skeptic entail?

It means withholding your opinion until SOLID EVIDENCE has been presented.

Skepticism stimulates creative thinking by encouraging questions rather than settling for absolute answers.

What do you know?

We think we know all sorts of things, but how and on what grounds can we defend those claims?

Our supposed knowledge of the world is based on perceptions gained through our senses, but aren’t perceptions prone to error?


5th century BC Greeks originated skepticism to fight dogmatism, which is inflexible principles laid down by “authorities”.

Skepticism got going in the 15th and 16th centuries when the first stirrings of the scientific revolution led people to question the basis of existing knowledge and the validity of theological truth.

So, lets get down to the nitty gritty.

You say you don’t want to be a skeptic!

So, that means, you want to trust everything people tell you.

Who needs facts when your gut speaks the truth!

You are ready to live the dream!


Now, who wants to Think Like A Scientist?

“I do,” you scream!

Okay you are ready to THINK!

What does it mean to think like a scientist?

It means that you want to maintain a healthy level of curiosity and doubt.

You ask questions and strive for evidence.

You don’t draw conclusions until you have good reason to do so.

You must also be ready to change your mind if your conclusions turn out to be incorrect.


Why should we question everything?

Well, the human brain does a poor job of separating truth from fiction!


What is conformation bias?

Our brain does this well, this bias prevents us from thinking clearly about our beliefs.

We remember info that supports our beliefs.

But tend to discount info that challenges our beliefs.

You need to resist this bias and keep an open mind and really consider other ideas.


Why our memories are unreliable:

The brain constructs our memories from bits of info, things are left out and things are added.

Don’t trust your memory!

Your brain constructs and interprets what you see.

What you see is something the brain has interpreted for us, based on what comes through our eyes.

It can be deceiving.


To be a skeptic you might have to give up some of your beliefs and that scares a lot of people.

They claim that their treasured beliefs are necessary to find joy, comfort and meaning in life.

But if you are a skeptic you will always ask:

“Where’s the evidence?”

In conclusion:

Always try to think like a scientist, so that you can distinguish truth from fiction.

Question Everything.

Don’t pretend to know things you don’t know.



Keep On Keeping On

When you’re old and full of aches and pains, why do you keep pushing yourself to “Keep Going?”

This question is on the lips of many pensioners.

There is a theory that finding a meaning to life is man’s primary motivation in life and the reason to keep going.

The answers to the question:

First: the love for one’s loved ones to tie to.

Second: a talent to be used.

Third: Memories worth preserving plus to care for a loved one.

To be there for them, your presence is important.


This is the challenge of the meaning theory to weave these threads into a pattern of meaning.

The central theme of existentialism is:

To live is to suffer.

To survive is to find meaning in spite of the suffering.

If there is a purpose in life at all, there must be a purpose in suffering.

But nobody can tell another what this purpose is. Each must find out for themselves.

If the person succeeds in finding the meaning, they will continue to grow.




Even in the worst circumstances, the human freedom of the ability to choose one’s attitude toward those circumstances remains.


We have to awaken to the fact that we are RESPONSIBLE TO LIFE FOR SOMETHING, however grim the circumstances may be.

People can find meaning in creative work.

A passive life of enjoyment gives you fulfilment in art or nature.

But there is also purpose in a life barren of both creation and enjoyment, namely, a person’s attitude to his existence, an existence restricted and limited by external forces.

There also is meaning in suffering!

Hard to believe but true!

The way in which a person ACCEPTS their dire circumstances, and all the suffering it entails, the way they take up their cross, gives them an opportunity to add deeper meaning to their life.

This ACCEPTANCE is proof that man’s inner strength may raise him above his outward fate.

Life means taking responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfil the tasks necessary to fulfil it.

When a person finds themselves in a bad situation that can’t be changed, they know they are going to suffer, so they will have to accept their suffering as their task.

No one can relieve them of their suffering or suffer in their place.

Their unique opportunity lies in the way in which they bear their burden.


When you are facing an uncontrollable situation, you start to despair and think to yourself that you have nothing more to expect from life.

But you have to realise that life is still expecting something from you; something in the future is expected of you.

When you become conscious of the responsibility you bear toward a loved one who needs your caring presence, or to your unfinished work, you will never be able to throw away your life.

Because you now know the WHY for your existence and you will be able to bear any HOW.




You cannot lose hope and give up on life.

For no person knows what the future will bring.

Human life under any circumstances still has meaning!

The meaning of life differs from person to person, day to day, hour to hour.

What matters is NOT the meaning in general BUT the specific meaning of a person’s life at any given moment.

Every situation in life represents a challenge to man and presents a problem for him to solve.

Your meaning in life always CHANGES, but never ceases to be.


We discover our meaning in life in 3 different ways:

By creating a work or doing a deed, achievement and accomplishment.

By experiencing something or encountering someone.

By the attitude we take toward “unavoidable suffering”.

When we can’t change a situation, we are challenged to CHANGE OURSELVES, to change our thinking about the situation.


By accepting your circumstances completely.

You have to make the BEST of any given situation.

You can cope with suffering!




Is it possible to find meaning in old age?

Yes, it is.

Through helping others to cope by caring for a loved one for example.

Being there for them.Your presence is needed.


Informing and entertaining others through blogs.




After The Moon: Mars?

We’ve been to the Moon, now what?

The Moon never did become a holiday destination, or a stepping stone to the Universe beyond.

Just eight years after Kennedy”s speech, Apollo launched carrying Armstrong and Aldrin into history. Collins manned the spaceship.

Now, entrepreneur Elon Musk is preparing for a Mars landing!

But we have NOT returned to the Moon in 50 years and any Mars project planner should consider to revisit it first.

Travel between Mars and Earth requires them to be suitably positioned in their orbits.

This would mean the Mars astronauts would have to stay on Mars for 6 months before a return trip could begin.

Could the spacemen sustain themselves for half a year? No one knows.

The longest that humans have remained on the lunar surface is 75 hours!

It seems you would have to use the Moon as a jumping off point.

So, we have never returned to the Moon and it would be a must to return if Mars is to be realised.


If we are going to put a footprint on Mars we need to address 3 challenges:

Rockets, Restlessness and Radiation.

Rockets: Going to Mars will be very expensive–100 to 500 billion dollars!

To keep costs down you would need to build reusable rockets.

Restlessness: You would need to put astronauts in isolation for 6 months to see how they would react.

But Musk said he would keep people busy doing tasks.

Radiation: The astronauts and the spaceship would be exposed to solar radiation.

Some say extra spaceship shielding is the answer but this increases weight so fuel consumption goes up and so do costs.

The best solution may be to get to Mars faster! So to minimise radiation exposure–this would mean faster rockets.


Lets return to Elon Musk and his Space X technology company which has the goal of reducing space transportation costs to enable the colonisation of Mars.

Elon Musk is a 48 year old billionaire who wants to reduce the risk of human extinction through over population and climate change by establishing a human colony on Mars by 2050!

By 2022, Musk wants to reach Mars and place power and life support infrastructure for future manned flights. He believes there is water under Mars’ South Pole.

The next step would be a manned mission by 2024.

The plan is to send two cargo ships alongside two crew ships taking the first people to Mars.

The people would set up a propellent plant to make fuel for a return trip.

They also would use solar powered hydroponics to grow food without soil.

Musk wants to visit his Mars colony in his lifetime to check on the project.

He said with this project people will die but ultimately it will be made safe and comfortable!

Is this all a Pipe Dream of Musk’s?


The Eagle Has Landed, Or Has It?

Its been 50 years since I watched amazed at the moon landing”s grainy TV pictures on July, 20th, 1969.

Big things were happening, not only the moon landing, but I was leaving in 2 days for England to get married to my first wife.

By 1969 there had been 8 years of Space Race with the Russians. The Apollo project was launched in 1961 by President Kennedy.

If you were within 3 miles of the launch pad your entire body would have shook!

It took millions of parts to build the Saturn rocket. 400,00 people worked on it from 2500 companies, costing 30 billion dollars.

I remember when it was uttered by Armstrong, “One small step for man, one giant step for mankind.”

People ask, why did we go to the moon?

We probably gained some technological  knowledge.

The Russians were beating us in the Space Race and we had to prove our superiority.

Can you imagine, 3 men of identical stature, all were 5ft. 11 inches tall and weighed about 160 pounds, squeezing themselves inside the command Module onto couches built to fit them, facing a large instrument panel.

I don’t know whether we will ever go where no one has gone before again. There’s no political will and the money is required elsewhere.

But the Chinese have money to splurge on a trip maybe to Mars, to gain international political prestige.

Now, the reason this post is titled with a question mark is:

I ran into a guy, named Charlie, at a University of the Third Age meeting who is convinced the moon landing was faked!

He said, the Soviets had been first to get satellites into space and live animals into space and back, and a man and woman into space–so the USA had to do something to counter this.

The reasons he believes the moon landing was a hoax are:

None of the photos from the moon shows any stars in the sky.

This can be explained by the fact that the camera settings weren’t adjusted to capture them.

How come the landing vehicle’s thrusters didn’t create a large hole on landing?

This can be explained by the fact that the pressure was too low to blast a hole.

How come the flag was waving when there’s no wind on the moon?

The flag appears to be waving because when it was placed there the inertia from when they let go of it kept it moving.

These explanations didn’t convince Charlie. He still believes the government faked the landing on a large mock-up of the lunar surface in the Nevada desert.

When the Apollo craft was supposed to return to Earth, the astronauts got into a space pod and were transported over the ocean and pushed out.

So, according to Charlie, NASA was technically incapable of reaching the moon, but the race with the Russians forced them to fake it. Also, the government needed a distraction from the unpopular Vietnam War.

I left Charlie, the conspiracy nut, shaking my head.

I still think the mission was a remarkable technical feat and I am proud that we made it first to the moon.

Mindfulness Two


I hope to acquire the capacity to be mindful of the present moment and to Accept “What Is” plus ridding myself of unhelpful habits that cause needless suffering.


Your thoughts are chaotic, so what to do?

To get the mind to settle you need to focus on an ANCHOR.

A place to put your attention as the mind settles itself.

We use the breath as an anchor.

Your breath is always present.

Put your attention on the rhythms of your breathing-inhale, exhale, in and out, this brings calmness to the body and focuses our Awareness.

Your mind will probably wander but keep going anyway.

Focus on your breath for at least 5 minutes at the start.

You will notice a pleasant sensation that relaxed breathing brings.

Watching and attending to your breath is a basic mindfulness practice.


Why do we always try to AVOID life’s difficulties?

We don’t want to confront our fears so we evade them!

The motivation to avoid conflicts and difficulties drives us right into SUFFERING!

Resistance to bad situations just increases our suffering.

Only the COMPLETE ACCEPTANCE of a bad situation leads to the end of suffering.


What is the difference between pain and suffering?

Because we live in a physical body pain is inevitable.

Suffering is NOT the same as pain.

Suffering is the mental and emotional RESPONSE to pain.

Suffering occurs when we RESIST the way things are.

To end suffering you must ACCEPT “What Is”.



The technique of Meditation is called INSIGHT and it is a set of mental activities aimed at experiencing a state of uninterrupted mindfulness.

It is the conscious awareness of the Present Moment.


What is a state of AWARENESS?

When you first become aware of something, there is a fleeting instant of Pure Awareness just BEFORE you identify the something, just before you objectify it.

This moment of Pure Awareness is passed over, but the purpose of Meditation is to train us to prolong that moment of Awareness.

When it is prolonged it changes your entire view of your world.


What is Mirror Thought?

It is thought that reflects only what is presently happening in exactly the way it is happening.


Whatever experience we may be having, mindfulness just ACCEPTS it.

It is simply another of life’s occurrences—what is there—is there!


Mindfulness is Impartial Watchfulness.

It treats all experiences equally.

Nothing is suppressed and nothing is repressed.


Mindfulness is Present Moment awareness.

It takes place in the Here and Now.

It is the observance of what is happening NOW.


To sum up:

Fully developed mindfulness is a state of total non-attachment.

If we can maintain this state we can achieve liberation from our weaknesses.

Meditation holds mental hindrances at bay.


And to get this result you need to ACCEPT the ups and downs.

Resolve to do this and commit to it completely.

Ease physical discomfort by easing mental suffering.

To ease mental suffering pay attention to you aches and pains and to your mental stress by ACCEPTANCE of your life as it is at the moment.

The three components of physical discomfort:

The unpleasant sensation itself, pain, aching muscles, etc.

Your emotional reaction to the discomfort, fear frustration, irritation, etc.

The thoughts that are related to the first two components.

Stress stories you tell yourself, “This pain will never cease!”

Mindfulness helps you to respond skilfully to those emotions.

There are two ways to respond with aversion and fear or with acceptance.

When you resist and tell the discomfort to go away you increase your mental suffering.

The alternative is to respond with ACCEPTANCE.

Nothing in life is to be feared only to be understood and accepted.

So what to do?

Understand and accept whats going on in your mind and gently acknowledge that irritation is present and then incline you mind toward compassion for yourself.


“1984” Today

One thought or moral to be drawn from the novel, “1984” is:

“Don’t let it happen. It depends on YOU!”

In today’s world is truth mutilated, language distorted, power abused and surveillance rampant?

YES, is the answer.


Remember Big Brother? It was a popular TV reality show that realized that even though people claimed to be worried about too much surveillance or control, a large amount of people would happily volunteer for it.


The phrase: “The War on Terror”, brought many restrictions on travel and movement, this reminds us of “1984” “Where every restriction is justified because there is a war on.”


Now the tyrant Putin has a watch word which is Effectiveness, which he describes as “Managed Democracy”. This mirrors “1984” but with subtle differences such as “effective control NOT total control.”

But Putin has brought back some “1984” features such as: Leader-Worship, Martial parades, mass arrests, show trials, language distortion and fake news.

Fake news is a distortion of Real News that is NOT to an authoritarian’s liking.

Fragrant lies become “alternative facts.”


21stCentury authoritarians don’t force people to believe Big Lies such as Black is White or War is Peace, instead they rely on Medium Lies which encourages their followers to engage with alternative reality such as fake news.

George Orwell wrote “1984” as a warning about the future of the world. The reality in the novel was unthinkable in 1948.

Now, our world has come to look similar to Orwell’s fictional one.

How similar? Well, take surveillance for instance.

In the USA and UK CCTV cameras are all over.

China wants to have 600 million cameras by next year.


Another similarity is the state of Perpetual War, like in “1984.”

It seems there is always some war or disturbance going on somewhere in the world.

We are continually fighting the War on Terror and it seems like it will go on indefinitely.

So Perpetual War never comes to an end BUT it seems to unite nations.


Take Newspeak—in “1984” it is a language where words are cut and shortened and then put together to create new words.

The intention is to get rid of words that allow people to think about rebelling against authority. Ex.—“Bad” would be changed to “ungood.”


How about Fake News?

Today digital social media is full of fake news or alternative facts.



Now, the scenes recently in Hong Kong are a scary reminder of “1984.”

Police beating back protesters, who are protesting China’s plans to extradite Hong Kong citizens to mainland China.

Hong Kong remembers Tiananmen Square when the state massacred the protesters who were against China’s Communist government.

In China remembering what they choose to ERASE from history is forbidden and punishable.

The Chinese President is now President for LIFE! That’s scary in itself!


China is using today’s high-tech tools, mass video surveillance, artificial intelligence and facial recognition to enforce the Party’s rules.

China wants to inflict mass amnesia on its people.

Remember “1984”?

“Who controls the past, controls the future.

Who controls the present, controls the past.”

The communists have taken the freedom out of the Internet.

They intimidate dissident bloggers and censor providers.


They have introduced facial recognition to impose conformity on its citizens.

At railroad stations entry is only allowed to people once their faces have been scanned and checked against a police database.


Now, China is trying to export its Surveillance and AI tech all over the world.

Would this be used as a way to SPY?

Hong Kong’s freedoms currently allow it to fight back by protesting and in ways that other parts of China can’t. But for how long?

China’s state control is increasing day by day.


Isn’t it ironic that someone like Orwell, who lived and died in another time, had the insight to identify the evils of totalitarianism and warn us.

But has the world unlearned the painful lessons concerning the fragility of truth in the face of power?

I hope not.

Mindfulness Study–One

What is Mindfulness?

It’s being attentive to one’s experience as it unfolds in the Present Moment.

Being aware of the present and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts and body sensations.

Mindfulness helps us REWIRE our thinking and find calm in a frenzied world.

It’s learning to develop your mind so you can stop the need to control reality and also to accept reality as it is in this very moment.


What about the Mind?

Our minds have been said to be made up of consciousness, thought, memory, emotion, reasoning and imagination.

We tend to think of our minds at the center of our being.

The mind is seen as the basis of WHO WE ARE.


What is the problem with the Mind?

Our minds tend to gravitate to the Past or the Future and tend to avoid the Present, which is the only life we have.

In a typical day how much of you is really there?

Your daily routine is made up of habits which free up our minds to do other things.

We are mindless of the Present most of the time causing us much suffering.


So, we need to Practice Mindfulness—WHY?

Because we need to CULTIVATE a wholesome mind that will produce thoughts that will make us feel good.

We don’t need to live at the mercy of a wild, untamed mind!

Our minds are malleable and can be reshaped in ways we choose.


What are the benefits of Mindfulness?

It helps to KNOW YOURSELF better.

It helps you see how your mind operates.

It helps us deal with difficult situations—some that we can’t control of improve.

It shows us that by accepting WHAT IS lessens suffering.

It can help us ACCEPT our mortality and prepare us for the moment of death.

Reflecting on our death actually liberates us so we can live and enjoy the PRESENT.


What is Awareness?

It is paying attention to what is occurring within ourselves as it is happening in the present moment.


Is Mindfulness SECULAR?

Yes. Mindfulness is a non-sectarian practice that has to do with how we relate to our beliefs.


How do we live our lives?

We live in a SEMI-CONSCIOUS state, thinking about the future or reviewing the past.

You go through life on AUTOPILOT!

When you practice Mindfulness you show up for your own EXISTENCE—THE PRESENT.


What does Mindfulness NOT do?

It is unable to stave off a situation that cannot be changed.

But you can alleviate your suffering by ACCEPTANCE of the situation.

It also cannot stave off the demise of our bodies, each of us will die.

One of the most important lessons of Mindfulness is to reveal to us that life is ephemeral and denying this only causes suffering and unhappiness.

But by ACCEPTING the impermanence of life we are liberated to enjoy our PRESENT.



In the end, we will be separated from everything we have ever held dear.

We have to say goodbye to loved ones, to possessions, to our own dreams and hopes.

Mindfulness teaches us to prepare for loss and to ACCEPT it so we can live what life we have left fully.

You can’t hold onto things, if you try, you only SUFFER.

Mindfulness allows us to see this TRUTH and live in contentment.


This ends the first instalment of my Mindfulness studies.

I now know I have much to learn!

Meditation Class

I am studying Mindfulness. So I thought I’d go to a Meditation class to supplement my studies.

It was a great experience. I was one of 15 people, men and women, sitting in a semi-circle.

There were carpets and cushions in front of each chair, just in case you wanted to sit in the lotus position. The only one who sat in the lotus position was the chairman of the class.

We were instructed to remove our shoes so we could feel the floor with our feet.


We took some deep breaths and closed our eyes. We sat up straight and put our hands on our knees.

The chairman rang a bell and we started to meditate. The majority of the 15 minute meditation was going to be silent.

But to start off the chairman did some chanting, it got softer and softer until we were in silence.


I said to myself, “Keep calm and peaceful.”

As the minutes passed I felt like I was floating. I was almost in a thought free state when the bell rang to end the session.


It was really relaxing. I felt very loose in my body when I opened my eyes.

Then we had a session and discussion on generating compassion for ourselves and others.

The chairman told us, compassion is a sense of shared suffering combined with the desire to alleviate or reduce our suffering or of another.


We were told, when you look at the other members of the class, who are strangers because this was the first meeting, tell yourself:

“Just like me, this person is seeking happiness in their life.”

“Just like me, this person is trying to avoid or reduce the suffering in their life.”

“Just like me, this person has known sadness and despair in their life.”

“Just like me, this person is seeking to fill their needs.”


This exercise is to recognize what you have in common with others instead of always focusing on differences.

Then ask yourself what could you do to ease their suffering, even in a small way.

Give them a smile or a hug, or a kind word, or maybe just talking about a problem they have.


We also talked about, No-Fixed Self. This is about your identity, we identify with our family, our jobs, our hobbies, whatever.

But we are a changing process.

All our “identities” are “ours” for a short period of time, then they change, or we lose them, or they die.


We ended with another meditation session. When the bell rang and we left, I felt very relaxed.

I got a taste of meditation.

So now, I can incorporate what I’ve learned into my Mindfulness studies.