I spent the weekend among grandkids. The three boys stayed over Friday night. Saturday morning after waffles with whipped cream and bacon we needed to kill time before the Museum of Nature and Science opened up. What else but to go to Lego.com to play some games. Do no try this at home. You will look like an idiot.
Aiden is a sensitive young man and said “Padge, you just need practice.” Jack and Anders were not so kind. I am not the sharpest pencil in the drawer but this was ridiculous. Humbled and mortified I trundled them off to the museum. There the boys one upped Padge once again with their knowledge of all things scientific. I need to do something about this.
When in doubt, go to PBS. There are some truly brilliant shows ranging from politics (Frontline), Science(Nova and Nature) and general welcome to the universe of today (Charlie Rose). I tape these things to hopefully sit down and watch at a future date. Too often they go right alongside my book on “50 great Ideas I Haven’t Done Squat About.”
I brought up a Nova segment on Earth and Space. Two hours? I hope I stay awake. You are introduced to the various satellites we have buzzing around the earth in an orbit of anywhere from 500-20,000 miles. Your first sense throughout the show was, “Wow, I didn’t know that?” Duh. I know some of you have it all figured out but I don’t.
You watch the comments of astrophysicists, oceanographers, climatologists and the like. They weave a story all backed up by incredible views of just how interconnected the “Blue Marble” is. Rain. Wind, lightning, ocean currents, fires and temperatures are all interrelated. There is an endless loop of activity where one begets the other and then the process starts all over again.
There is a tremendous feeling of awe towards the creativity of man. Just think when you see these amazingly complex machines first being launched and then operating for years, bringing back data ranging from temperature variables to magnetic shields to crop forecasting. This is the real Star Wars.
Everything makes sense. The ice freezes in Antarctica and releases brine that sinks to the floor of the ocean. That in turn is transferred through undersea currents to various parts of the undersea world where it then provides food for plankton which in turn provides food for the creatures of the sea. The sun makes the sea warm and this creates rain and things grow.
I hope you are still with me. Volcanoes, earthquakes, hurricanes and fire are not seen as disasters but as a part of a constantly changing earth that is really just doing her thing. I know some of you don’t appreciate this view but hey the earth was here a long time before us.
There are 400 lightning strikes on earth every second. Thousands of minor earthquakes and 100’s of volcano eruptions daily. Steam tubes on the floor of the ocean. And all of these serve to take nutrients from one part of the world and deposit them where it is needed. This is not happenstance. There really is a consistent theme and order to this.
I forgot all about photosynthesis from high school and it is truly a marvel. The Amazon rainforests suck in carbon dioxide by night and expel oxygen during the day. That’s 20% of the air we breathe from one spot. I am not hugging trees yet but we are definitely going to start dating.
Point being? I was getting a little bored in these dog days of winter. Our beautiful Colorado blue sky can’t quite mitigate the browns and grays of mother earth. Politics, the Middle East and financial markets depress rather than wind me up. It was just great to spend two hours understanding our planet. Entertaining my brain. I did miss The Biggest Loser, The Bachelor and Mike and Molly. What a tragedy!
The sobering part is realizing how really small Ted’s Head is. I mean I have so much to learn. I really have to realize that there are some things I can affect and some that are just beyond my control. Most of all is being humble. There are scientists out there that aren’t writing algorithms for trading stocks or designing games but seeing how our world works. My money is on the latter.
I want to thank my grandkids for showing me how dumb I am. But I am going to study hard. I was thinking my new moniker will be Dr. Verner Von Ted’s Head. Wait until next time you little punks..
Ted The Great
There are currently about 120 NASA satellites orbiting the earth, mapping it and analyzing the oceans and land masses providing a multiplicity of data to thousands of scientists.
Some of the satellites have cameras with a resolution from thousands of miles away that can see people on a sidewalk and see which have toes hanging over the side.
There is a 43 degree average temperature difference between the north and south poles. The south is a lot colder.
The Sahara Desert was actually a lake of measuring 24,000 square miles some 10,000 years ago. The nutrients from the lake bed are still blown in windstorms to the rain forest in Brazil providing it with much needed nitrates when it rains there.
Millions of years ago an asteroid wiped out the dinosaur population. I am taking up a collection to build a steering device to make sure the next big one hits Washington.