Check out the most xclnt, short, informative video (as most TED videos are, a few aren’t so informative, but on the whole…) by a young physics student, Henry Lin who does a nice job explaining the importance of studying the universe as we find it.
He displays some marvelous galaxy clusters, explains gravitational lensing, dark matter and dark energy, in short a 6 minute state of the art cosmology primer.
At the touch of a mouse. Unreal. Very well done.
We didn’t even know that the smudges of light in the sky termed “nebulae” observed for centuries, even were fucking galaxies until the 1920’s!
And now barely 100 years later a 16 year-old kid with images from the Hubble telescope can tell you all about the 170 billion of them in our observable universe.!
At about 6 minutes in he refers to a quote from of all people, Henry Ford…in a cosmology lecture. But it works: referring to his manufacturing automobiles, he said:
“If I asked people what they wanted, they would say ‘faster horses'”. So he made them the Model T and made it affordable and ended the millennia old reign (rein?) of the domestic horse.
Henry points out the importance of taking the broad view, being innovative as was Henry Ford. He further suggests we need to study the galaxies and the universe in general for its own sake and because we don’t know what our next set of solutions to the worlds problems may look like that often come of mucking about with nature. Great stuff.
And he got me thinking: Absolutely, we need scientific and technological innovation (like the Henry Ford example) to solve many of our problems. I couldn’t agree more.
But, (and there’s always a big Butt Peewee):
It seems to me there are 3 things that don’t require any unimagined future innovation that could solve most of our problems VERY quickly:
1. Population Control: educate and give women their reproductive rights and we could house and feed everybody soon.
2. Democracy: They don’t wage wars as much as dictatorships, theocracies. (the US nation-building wars are diminishing hopefully:’Nam, Iraq, Afghanistan)
3. Trade: The more globally connected we are, the more we need each other and KNOW each other, harder to dehumanize folks you know well.
Religions don’t help with any of these:
Number 1. Despite Xian and Muslim control of women, and some of the Asian cultures being horribly misogynistic, education for women is improving.
Number 2. The Middle East theocracies and No Korea’s insane nation/cult.
Number 3. Religions divide us and dehumanize non-believers. We have fundamentalists movements now in Buddhism and Hinduism along with the Big Two.
So both Henrys got it right, innovation is key, but we could speed things up immeasurably if we dumped religion and…