Sacred mountain. Unholy science.

A mountain which used to be sacred, is for many years now a place for science.

Following a protracted legal battle and years long protests that left a state deeply  divided, the Hawaii Supreme Court in November 2018 cleared the final legal hurdle for a $1.4 billion telescope project to resume construction atop the Big Island’s Mauna Kea, a mountain considered sacred by many Native Hawaiians. In a 4-1 ruling on Tuesday, the court upheld a 2017 decision by the state’s Board of Land and Natural Resources to grant a construction permit on Mauna Kea for the Thirty-Meter Telescope, better known as TMT.

The court said it had carefully considered the arguments put forth by the project’s opponents who’ve described the telescope’s construction as an attack on indigenous culture and a desecration of sacred land. But, per the ruling, it had ultimately determined that “astronomy and Native Hawaiian uses on Mauna Kea have co-existed for many years and the TMT Project will not curtail or restrict Native Hawaiian uses”.

The ruling also noted the telescope’s potential to “answer some of the most fundamental questions regarding our universe” – a benefit that won’t just be enjoyed by Native Hawaiians but all of humankind.

“We are not anti-science or astronomy,” Lanakila Manguil, an activist who’s been protesting against the TMT project for years, told HuffPost in 2017. “It’s about construction, development and industrial-sized work happening in conservation lands and particularly very sacred lands to our people.” The mountain, which measures about 32,000 feet from seafloor to summit, is home to burial sites and is where Native Hawaiians have been known to bury their umbilical cords as a way of connecting to the sacred land. (1)

In the old days we used to have sacred lands.

In the old days we used to walk on the land.

In the old days we used to dream of the stars.

Only because we believed we were part of them.

Now we want to look at them closely.

To observe and analyze them.

Now we do not have anything sacred.

Now we do not even believe in ourselves.

And we long so much to get out of that land.

And reach the stars.

Only because we believe we do not belong with them in the first place…

Narcissism. Knowledge. A whispering voice…

A researcher at Queen’s University Belfast suggests that the growing rate of narcissism in society could be linked with school achievement. (1)

Modern civilization.

Increasing knowledge.

Growing narcissism.

Growing arrogance.

It takes a really brave man to admit he knows nothing.

It takes a really arrogant man to claim he knows something.

We have left the Paradise a long time ago.

Treading on dark paths illuminated by our pride.

And all the way through… A whispering voice…

“Watch out my child. Don’t take another step. Please come back…”

But we keep on walking. We like our self. We like our achievements. We are too proud to go back. Too scared to admit we are wrong. Piece by piece. We believe we are building a bridge to the truth. Piece by piece. We are certain that we illuminate the cosmos more and more every day. At the end we will achieve what we want. At the end everything will be light. And nothing will be viewable. Blinded we will seek support. The voice will still be there. And with tears in our eyes we will try to find the way back…

Ancient Greece.

An old man sits by a tree.

He listens to the music.

Stars dancing.

People watching are baffled.

People start laughing.

Humanity starts dying…

Copying nature. For what?

Sunlight reflected by solar cells is lost as unused energy. The wings of the butterfly Pachliopta aristolochiae are drilled by nanostructures (nanoholes) that help absorbing light over a wide spectrum far better than smooth surfaces. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now succeeded in transferring these nanostructures to solar cells and, thus, enhancing their light absorption rate by up to 200 percent. The scientists reported their results in the journal Science Advances last year.

“The butterfly studied by us is very dark black. This signifies that it perfectly absorbs sunlight for optimum heat management. Even more fascinating than its appearance are the mechanisms that help reaching the high absorption. The optimization potential when transferring these structures to photovoltaics (PV) systems was found to be much higher than expected,” says Dr. Hendrik Hölscher of KIT’s Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT).

The scientists of the team of Hendrik Hölscher and Radwanul H. Siddique (formerly KIT, now Caltech) reproduced the butterfly’s nanostructures in the silicon absorbing layer of a thin-film solar cell. Subsequent analysis of light absorption yielded promising results. (1)

We have distanced our self from nature.

And then we try to copy nature.

In order to achieve “more”.

But why doesn’t the butterfly copy anyone else?

Is it that it is stupid or that it simply knows its place in the cosmos?

We want to reach new places and yet, we fail to understand where we already are…

Are we getting less violent? No. (And we cannot)

Scientists battle over whether violence has declined over time.

Contrary to a popular idea among researchers, modern states haven’t dulled people’s long-standing taste for killing each other in battle, a controversial study concludes. But living in a heavily populated society may up one’s odds of surviving a war, two anthropologists proposed.

As a population grows, larger numbers of combatants die in wars, but those slain represent a smaller average percentage of the total population, say Dean Falk of Florida State University in Tallahassee and Charles Hildebolt of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. That pattern holds for both small-scale and state societies, the researchers reported in Current Anthropology on October of the previous year.

Increasing absolute numbers of war dead in human societies have resulted from the invention of ever-more-lethal weapons, from stone axes to airborne bombers, the researchers suspect. But Falk and Hildebolt show that states, which centralize political power in a bureaucratic government, are less likely to lose large portions of their populations to war than are small-scale societies, such as hunter-gatherers. That’s a consequence of large populations acting as a buffer against war casualties among noncombatants, not a lesser appetite for violence, the researchers contend. (1)

We believe we are progressing, but there is no data to attest to that. We like to believe we are getting better, but we have only ourselves to testify to that.

People always killed people.

Evil is part of the cosmos from the very beginning.

We cannot discard it from the world.

Only the Maker of that world can.

All we can do is endure.

And give bread to that little sparrow…

New atheism. Dead before it was born… [Atheism against progress]

Civilization is built with faith, not with denial.

Culture is cultivated with affirmation, not with negation.

Societies are founded on trust and love, not on distrust and hate.

Science is based on free thought and love for the quest for truth, not axiomatic dogmatism (even when this dogmatism is related to what we call “logic” or “proof”) or obsessed blind acceptance (even when this dogmatism is related to what we call “logic” or “proof”).

New atheism is not dead. New atheism was just never alive. Not because it never had any logical sound arguments (which it did not). But most important of all because it was never based on love for something but on hate and negation for something. Never anything starting with the negation-related “‘-a” (Gr. Στερητικό άλφα) flourished as an idea. And no, a-theism did not become the exception.

Find out what you believe. Start building on it.

It is the only way of progress.

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