Oct 112012

For all his learning or sophistication, man still instinctively reaches towards that force beyond. Only arrogance can deny its existence, and the denial falters in the face of evidence on every hand. In every tuft of grass, in every bird, in every opening bud, there it is.”
— Hal Borland
Mayan City of Tikal
Sep 132012
Around twelve-hundred years ago, in the northern part of Peru along the coastline between the Pacific ocean and the Andes mountains, there lived a very highly developed civilization that we call the “Moche” or “Mochica” today.  They are famous for their ceramic art which include life-sized portrait heads of people, 3-D reliefs of people and animals on walls and their incredible platform-style pyramid temples that towered hundreds of feet above the valley floor built with adobe bricks.
According to climate research, from the time of Christ until around 500 a.d. the climate of the world was moderately warmer than normal, similar to now.  Winds would push moisture from the ocean over the Andes mountains where snow melt and rain storms would fill the rivers flowing down through the valleys back to the ocean.   This time coincides with the Middle Moche period, (ca AD 300-400) when the Moche culture began to flourish.   In the spring, rivers would overflow depositing fertile silt for planting.  They built an extensive network of canals which greatly increased their production of corn, beans, squash, avocado, guavas, and chili peppers. Llamas, guinea pigs and ducks were domesticated.   Great cities were built to store and manage the surpluses.   They became expert weavers, potters, and metallurgists and traded for precious stones and shells with cultures far away. 

Sep 062012

When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities.
— David Hume

The Power of the Astronomer

Mayan Observatory

Today, astronomy is just one of the sciences and most people are, at best, fascinated by the night sky and the advancing sun and moon.  But throughout ancient times, the astronomer was critical to agricultural societies.  Someone had to watch the sunrises and sunsets, or the changing star patterns, or the moon cycles to determine the seasons for planting and harvesting.

Aug 222012

The “control of nature” is a phrase conceived in arrogance, born of the Neanderthal age of biology and the convenience of man.
— Rachel Carson

Throughout history, man has repeatedly reached a point in the development of his society where he has determined that he influences nature.  And time after time, nature humiliates him. 

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