Walking

When I was a small child I lived in a suburb of Cleveland Ohio and at the end of the block there was a woods. Now, this is the time when kids could disappear from their parents presence and nobody worried. Growing up so near to the woods allowed us to play unobserved. There was an old log cabin in our woods that belonged to early settlers of the area I’m assuming. Regardless, we played often and long in the woods.

In elementary school we learned about the indians, nowadays we call them native Americans but then we called them indians. We were taught that they ran silently through the woods while hunting or when at war. It confused me. I knew that when I was in the woods I made a lot of noise while moving around. Dried leaves and twigs made walking or running through the woods sound like Rice Krispies. Snap crackle and pop. How, I wondered, could the indians move quietly through this? So, as a little kid, I began to train myself to walk as silently as possible.

As an adult this has caused me some difficulty. I walk up to someone and say hi or something, but if they didn’t see me they jump out of their skin. It’s not intentional, it’s what I taught myself to do as a child and now I walk quietly as a matter of habit.

Last week I came across an article that said that we don’t walk the same way our ancestors did. Yes, your style of walking is a learned behavior. Before there were hard sole shoes people wore what was actually more of a leather sock. Protected and insulated their feet but didn’t protect the soles the way our modern shoes do. Also, no paved roads or footpaths. This caused them to walk more carefully. When they walked they put their forward foot down ball of the foot first then rolled back to the heel. This accomplished a couple of things. First, if they were to step on a stone or something, all of their weight didn’t come down full force on the object and they could retract their foot more easily. Also, this kind of acted as a shock absorber for the joints involved. Less strain on knees and hips.

This is how I taught myself to walk silently as a child, I still land on my heel but on the outside of the heel and foot and then roll inward to take the weight. This article I read gave me more insight as to how the natives moved so silently. I’ve tried this different style of walking, it’s harder to impliment than you think, and I can feel the strain on unused muscles. The fellow in the article said his calves and much larger now than they used to be.

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Unhappiness

I’d like to go on again about happiness. My first post about it was The Texas Shit Pit Story and is also on my blog. This one is more about why people cause their own unhappiness.

We must understand that most people are unhappy by choice. They don’t know that, but it’s true. What happens is people imagine what their lives could be if only they had money, fame, looks or whatever they imagine would make their life better. They build this picture in their head about how much better their life would be if only they had these things. They compare their real life to this idealized version of their life and the real thing looks bad by comparison. They don’t understand that if they got those things they would still create an idealized version of their life, because nobody has a trouble-free life, and their life would still suffer by comparison. It would never be enough.

People are unhappy in their jobs by choice. If the job is really the problem, get a new job. Most of the time it’s not the job, it’s their expectation of the job that does them in. If you’ve ever been unemployed, do you remember how it felt to not have a job? If you’re like most people it felt pretty miserable. You stretched your imagination to figure out what you could do to get a job. You were willing to do tasks you’d never done before just so you could go to work and feel useful and take home a paycheck. Then you get in a job and after a while you start to decide what parts of the job you think are worthwhile and react badly to the parts you don’t think are necessary. Every job has tasks to do that aren’t what you’d rather be doing. That’s why they pay you. By judging the tasks assigned to you, you’ve created your own black hole to live in. It’s not the tasks, it’s your opinion of the tasks.

Rather than comparing your life to an idealized life (that you’ve made up in your head), compare your life to your ancestors life 1,000 years ago. We live better today than the kings did back then and we’re just working class. We have more food available to us, better medicine, more information, more leisure time. Your job is easier and you work shorter hours for better wages. All of a sudden your life doesn’t even look pretty good, it looks fantastic. All because of a decision in your head.

Quit fantasizing about your ideal life, chances are if you got it, you wouldn’t like it. Live in the real world and look at what you’ve really got. Be happy on purpose.

Trip to Italy and Greece

This was written for a newsletter at work, I work for the USPS, and I was assigned to write the article myself. I had to write it from a third person perspective. This trip was in the summer of 2002.

Call it a promise kept.

When Dale White’s son, Jared White, enlisted in the Army, he requested Europe as his choice of assignment. In November of 2000, after finishing boot camp, he shipped out to Vilseck, Germany. Before Jared left, his dad promised to come over and see him before he came home.

That’s why, from June 20 through July 4, Dale visited Rome, Athens and the Greek island of Santorini. When asked what was his favorite part of the trip, he says it was the time spent with his son. “He’s been over there for a year and a half and I wanted to see him.”

Dale’s an electronic technician on tour 2 who’s worked for the P.O. for almost 7 years. He said that, “Jared has a six month detail as a peace keeper in Kosovo starting in November,” so this was the last summer before he comes home that Dale could visit him on the continent.

They spent the first 5 days of the trip in Rome, including a side trip south to visit the ruins of Pompeii. Dale’s interest in archeology is the motivating factor behind his selection of destinations. Three years ago he traveled to Turkey to see the ruins of Ephesus, Troy and 5 of the seven churches of the book of Revelations.

This trip they visited the Colosseum, the Roman Forum (including the Palatine hill where the emperors lived), the Pantheon, the Spanish Steps, and the Vatican.

“St. Peter’s Basilica was unbelievable,” Dale said, “the sculptures, the altar, the architecture, but most of all knowing the history and the people who’d been here before was all very awe-inspiring.” He arranged a tour of the sub-crypt through the excavations office before leaving Spokane. “The Basilica is located on the site where St. Peter was buried. In other words, on top of a graveyard.” The sub-crypt is the excavation of that graveyard located outside the circus of Nero where Peter was martyred.

Of course, not all their time in Rome was spent visiting remains of the Roman Empire. On one of the guided tours they took, they discovered the Piazza Navonna. “We were on a bus tour called Illuminated Rome. It started at 8 PM and they took us from place to place so we could see everything lit up.” The last stop was the piazza. They had such a good time during the 15 minute stop that they decided to stay. It was around 11 PM and the plaza was full of people; performance artists, sketch artists and musicians. That’s where the picture on the front cover was drawn.Dale

Leaving Rome, they took the train to Bari, Italy where they boarded the ferry for the 15½ hour trip to Greece.

After taking the bus from Patras, where the ferry landed, to Athens, they visited the Acropolis, site of the Parthenon and walked the streets that Socrates and Plato had walked. “Also, the souvenir shopping was terrific in Athens”, Dale said. It seems that one of his favorite parts of any vacation is coming up with memorable trinkets from his journeys. “My mantle at home is covered with stuff from Turkey, Rome, Pompeii, Athens, Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and Leavenworth, WA.”

In the middle of their visit to Athens, they took a three day trip to the island of Santorini. The ancient site of Akrotiri on the island is believed by some to be the source of the Atlantis legend. The island was the site of a huge volcanic eruption around 1600 BCE. The tidal wave from that eruption wiped out the Minoan civilization on Crete and traveled all the way to the north coast of Africa. But the task for Dale and his son was less intrusive. Lay on the beach and relax for 3 full days, as well as sampling the cuisine.

The people that know him check their watches before asking him to describe the food on his trip, because they know it won’t be a short answer. We won’t go into details here, suffice it to say that he was impressed. If you feel you have the time, ask him yourself, you won’t be disappointed with the answer.

It’s About Time

Ok. Time to get something off my chest that I’ve been ruminating about for a while now. It’s actually about time. Not like I should just get to it “about time”, but the subject is actually time.

For as long as I can remember people, including boffins, have been saying the fourth dimension is time, as though time is an actual physical thing. This belief leads to hope for “time travel”. I use quotations because we all travel through time, just at a constant speed and always forward. The time travel that folks fanaticize about is instantaneous and in both directions.

I propose that time, rather than being an independent physical phenomenon, is a human invention useful for organizing events in our lives and history.  Consider time like money. A tool created by man to track important transactions.

Let’s do a thought experiment, just like Einstein used to do. Imagine a two dimensional existence. In that reality there would be only width and depth, no height. Therefore a two dimensional creature couldn’t see my finger held one inch above the plane of their existence. They would have no concept of up and down. They can’t move in that dimension and probably can’t conceive of it since their world is complete in two dimensions. We, as three dimensional creatures, have a complete world in three dimensions. We live in three dimensions with the ability to move backwards and forwards through all three. But we also move through time, one way only, making this travel dissimilar to actual dimensional travel. Similarly, those two dimensional creatures move in a linear fashion through time. Since they can’t conceptualize up and down or point to it, like we can’t point to the fourth dimension, they would then conclude that time is the third dimension. We as three dimensional creatures know that this isn’t true. Since it’s not true for two dimensional creatures, it follows that it’s not true for three dimensional creatures. Time is not the fourth dimension.

Issac Newton proposed a force called gravity. Albert Einstein found that gravity was simply a distortion of the “space-time” grid based on mass. Similarly, I propose that our perception of time is a result of traveling through space. Different rates of travel cause different passages of time, again proven in Einstein’s relativity. Boffins have said that there is nothing in the laws of physics that prevents movement through time in both directions.  My proposal that time is a result of travel through space would make backwards time travel impossible. Whichever direction you travel through space would create the appearance of time moving in the only direction it can move.

If there are eleven physical dimensions as predicted by string (or M) theory, time is surely not one of those. I’ve heard many physicists suppose that the extra dimensions are curled up on a microscopic scale and that’s why we can’t see them. That, in my opinion, is ego speaking. Not scientific ego, human ego. The thought that we must be able to experience everything rather than believing that there are things out of our ability to experience is simply that, ego.  In other words, since we exist  in 3 of the available dimensions, the other 8 would be not available for us to relate to, much like the third dimension to those two dimensional creatures I spoke of.

The boffins also say that during the “Big Bang” the universe expanded from a point to the size of our solar system in a fraction of a second and that is also misleading. If time, as I’ve suggested, is an offshoot of travel through space, than the time that expansion took is immeasurable from our perspective since the space was expanding and therefore time was moving at a different speed than it is today.  They say that the universe expanded faster than the speed of light in those beginning moments, they say that this was possible because it was space that was expanding, not matter. I say that since space was expanding the definition of time was different and therefore we can’t know how long the “Big Bang” took because of the uncertain nature of time in expanding space.

Oh, and speaking of human ego and the fantasy of time travel. The Earth is rotating on its axis while speeding through space orbiting the Sun. The Solar System is rotating around Sagittarius A*, the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The Milky Way is speeding through the space grid relative to all of the other galaxies out there. What makes anyone out there think that if time travel were possible that it’s geocentric? If you move radically forward or backward in time you’d likely end up somewhere in space wishing you could breathe and wondering why you thought everything revolved around your planet.

Mistake

Don’t mistake kindness for weakness.

Glen Campbell

I’ve been a lifelong fan of Glen Campbell s. The first time I got to see him live was in 2009 at the Spokane Interstate Fair. I was in the 7th row on the aisle and he was wonderful. He sang and played as well as he ever had. I saw him again this past March after he had already announced his trouble with Alzheimer’s disease. It was sad to see how he had been affected but inspirational to know that he was still touring so the fans who love him could pay their respects once again.

 

When I saw him in 2009 I was talking to the people sitting around me before the show (I’m very social) and I told them the story of how I’d discovered Glen.

 

I lived outside of Cleveland, Ohio where my father was born and raised but most of my family lived in Spokane, Washington where my mother was born and raised. Pop was one of two children, mom was one of 10. We only got to see the relatives out west every four years or so, so it was always a special treat when we went to visit. We went in the summertime and drove as we didn’t have much money, though being young I never realized it. But in 1968 it was different. We were going to Spokane for Christmas. Here’s the thing. My father was a barber. The week before Christmas is when barbers get their biggest tips. Their regular customers are more generous due to the holidays. He wasn’t going to miss that week, as I said, we weren’t well off and those tips helped pay for our Christmas. Anyway, they decided that mom, Allen (my older brother), Sharon (my younger sister) and I would take the train out and pop would fly just before Christmas. Allen was 14, I’d just turned 13 and Sharon had just turned 12.

 

On the train mom was motion sick and so we were left to our own devices to entertain ourselves. I started talking to the fellow who was sitting across the aisle from us. He was a Green Beret who had just returned from Viet Nam and he was very kind and spent time with me. At some point he asked my mother if I could accompany him to the men’s room. The only place on the trains at that time that had electricity for the passengers was the bathrooms and he told mom that a bunch of servicemen were in there playing cards and listening to music and would it be alright if I joined them. She agreed. We went in there and the room was filled with cigarette smoke the soldiers were playing cards and Glen Campbell was on the record player. I was in heaven. I felt like I was part of something that was beyond my years.

 

Anyway, that was the first time I ever heard Glen and when we got home I immediately bought the Wichita Lineman album with some of the money I made shining shoes at the barber shop where my father worked. I also joined the Glen Campbell fan club. I’ve never forgotten that moment and I’ve never stopped loving Glen and his music.

 

After telling this story to those folks at the fair they asked me if I was going to stay after the concert and tell Glen my story. I shook my head and told them that this story is important in my life, not Glen’s. I didn’t bother him with it.

 

I was listening to my MP3 player at work today and there’s a haunting instrumental from his Ghost on the Canvas album named Valley of the Son and it was so beautiful I knew I had to come home and write this out.

Dark Matter

I study physics in my leisure time. Yes, I’m a geek. That said, I believe the difference between science and philosophy is that science addresses what’s provable. If you don’t know the answer in science, the answer is I don’t know.

I’m currently watching a program called How the Universe Works on the Science Channel. They just did a segment on dark matter and how important it is to making the universe work. The problem is they don’t know what dark matter is. it’s something they made up to address phenomenon they can’t understand.

The greek philosopher Aristotle proposed a substance called Ether that conducted electromagnetic waves. It filled the universe. It was assumed that it existed and was used in scientific reasoning until it was proved that there was no such thing in 1887. It’s important to note that the people using this theory were all labeled philosophers, not scientists. After the Ether theory was disproved, Einstein went on to  create a theory of the universe that didn’t use Ether and is still used today.

Dark matter is the ether of today. It doesn’t exist. There is a force or substance or connection to another dimension or something that science doesn’t understand and rather than saying that there’s something extremely powerful affecting our universe but we don’t know what it is, they talk about dark matter like it really exists.

I’d like to address all Physicists. Stop being philosophers and start being scientists. If you can’t define something and prove it, than say so.