Why are we here?

Why are humans in the universe?

The question of god or no god is impossible to sidestep. However if there be a god then why does god put us through all the pain of living and dying? Why doesn’t god simply take us all directly to heaven and dispense with the complexities of life? And if there be no god, what is the point of anything? We live, we die, and whatever we do in-between has an infinitely negligible effect on the universe, so it hardly seems worrying about our lives.

So, where does it leave us? What is the purpose of the human race? The simple answer is self-perpetuation. Since we do not live forever this is surely the single most important purpose.

Imagine if the collective human race had no further children, and humans were wiped out in a century or so. It would seem like the lives of everyone in history would have had no meaning, all their efforts would have been for nothing, they would be in no-one’s memory.

And on the other hand let’s try to imagine immortality. What would be the point of anything? Whatever we did we would continue to live, we’d have seen and felt all that life had to offer many times over. We’d all become lazy recluses (I wonder if heaven would be any different!).

So the furtherance of the human race must be the top priority.

Well, if that is the case we’re going a strange way about it. Millions have less than enough food and water, not to mention the numbers of humans that are killed and injured by other humans. Moreover we are doing our best to alter the Earth’s climate, plunder natural resources, and pollute every place we go. In short we are making the Earth less inhabitable. There are good things too, medicine being the most obvious, but it must be true to say that an individual’s primary concern is fundamentally not the survival of the species, but the survival of that individual.

TBC

Why flowers?

“Flowers? For me? How lovely! I love flowers. Thank you so much.”

We all like flowers, don’t we? I do. I’ve received them and offered gushing thanks, and I’ve given them as symbols of affection, admiration, celebration and condolence.

I recently received a potted plant. I can’t remember why, but I can recall that I wasn’t so ecstatic about it. After all I would now have spend time and energy, not to mention expense, to care for this plant, which was not the kind I would ever have chosen. I would rather have received flowers that would wither and die in a few days

Wither and die in a few days? What was I thinking? How can withering and dying be a symbol of affection?

Dead rose

Well, for me no more. Cut flowers are dead flowers. I’m leaving them on plants. I’m not giving anyone any dead flowers anymore. And, unless specifically requested, I won’t be giving anyone any potted plants either.

Instead I’ll give chocolates, coffee, candy, fruit etc. Hang on, aren’t these dead plant material too? Oh, but this is different …

Suit of bees

Maybe she wore a dress made from raw meat, but I bet Lady Gaga would never wear a suit of bees.

This man in China is completely covered in real live bees. In fact there are 27kg of bees on his body. He will probably be coated in honey when they decide to fly away.

Moonscape

The silvery moon

The vista across the moon is usually known as a moonscape, though it has also been referred to as a lunain (lunar terrain).

It is grey and dusty. When they returned from their stay on the surface of the moon the astronauts wondered why we had to get our kicks out of artificial ‘toys’ like video games or theme parks, when the most beautiful thing was just outside our front door: nature.

Pluto 2

Three different 'faces' of Pluto

In answer to my question ‘why is Pluto reddening?’ I got some information about a NASA site that gives a possible explanation, here it is:

“These changes are most likely consequences of surface ices sublimating on the sunlit pole and then refreezing on the other pole as the dwarf planet heads into the next phase of its 248-year-long seasonal cycle. The dramatic change in color apparently took place in a two-year period, from 2000 to 2002.”

I also read that taking good pictures of Pluto is not at all simple. One astronomer said it is like taking a photo of a soccer ball from about 70 km away.

Pluto

Turning red

Pluto is no longer known as a planet. In fact it is smaller than the Moon, and is now called a dwarf planet. It’s surface temperature is about -200C, and it is mostly covered with solid nitrogen. And it is turning slightly red in colour, but no-one knows why.

Why is Kaldi called Kaldi?

I guess you all know the chain of shops known as ‘Kaldi’; there is one in Shizuoka station Asty, one in the basement of the Shin Shizuoka Center, and one in Dream Plaza (is it still there?).

While I was researching the origin of the word coffee I also found the name of the first person to discover the effects of caffeine from the coffee bean.

More than a thousand years ago a young man, called Kaldi, from Ethiopia was looking after his goats, and he noticed that they became very excited and lively after eating some berries. He tried some berries himself and enjoyed them so much that he made them into a drink. Of course the berries were coffee beans from the coffee bush, and Kaldi’s drink was the first cup of coffee.

I reckon that the Kaldi chain took its name from this Ethiopian man.