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Posts Tagged ‘science’

 

 

A black hole is a region of spacetime exhibiting gravitational acceleration so strong that nothing—no particles or even electromagnetic radiation such as light—can escape from it.

            —Wikipedia

 

 

Perhaps black hole is just another word

for God—a force that pulls in everything,

regardless of how that everything looks or prays or votes.

A cup that runneth—not over, but ever in. A shepherd

so adept at shepherding that nothing—

no sheep, no man, no star, no dust—

could ever be lost in its spacetime pasture.

It creates communion, obliterates separateness.

In pictures, it’s a vision of still water.

In truth, it’s unable to be known.

A force that overwhelms all other forces.

It devours some, and in others spurs growth.

 

And what isn’t, I suppose, another word

for God: Ledger. Valley. Garden. Death.

Rhubarb. Rod. Human. Staff.

There is this gift to see the divine in everything.

There is this force that pulls the everything in.

Every particle. Every everything. Even (my god) the light.

 

 

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Missing

 

 

Hope is, perhaps, a quantum thing,

a paradox, like Schrödinger’s cat,

simultaneously alive and dead.

 

Today, I wandered the snowy field

and the icy banks and the shadowed wood,

calling the name of my sweet gray cat.

 

If I could find her now, I’d see

she’s either alive or dead.

But in this moment of uncertainty,

 

she’s both alive and dead to me.

I’m tugged by both possibilities as I wade

through tall dry grass. Oh damn that hope,

 

and bless it, too, how just a candle-measure

opposes a whole tower of unfounded certainty,

sends me out into the blizzard

 

calling her name, listening.

 

 

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Before you were born,

your hand had more muscles,

for instance the dorsometacarpales,

a reptilian remnant, an atavistic relic

from when all blood was cold blooded.

By the time you were thirteen weeks

in utero, a third of the muscles

in your hands and feet had fused

with other muscles. Your body

simply deleted them, proof

that before we are born,

before we are ready

to inhabit our forms,

we are in some ways

made less complex.

I think of this now as I open my hand

for your hand, think

of how much things change.

How once we had fins, then claws.

And now, look at us,

with hands that might caress,

might soothe, might reach.

God, this impulse to be warm.

And I think of how sometimes,

growth means to become more simple.

This is my prayer. To do

what the nascent body can do:

to remember where I came from,

to streamline, to know what is needed,

to know what to let go.

https://earthsky.org/human-world/Evolutionary-remnants-muscles-human-embryos

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It’s not adrenaline after all,

but the bones that tell the body

to fight, to freeze, to flee.

The bones send the hormone

that tells the heart to beat faster,

tells lungs to breathe quicker, tells glucose

to pump through the body as fuel.

The odd gift: the same bones

that tell us to run away

help us stand and see it through.

 

 

 

*

 

 

Check it out: https://phys.org/news/2019-09-bone-adrenaline-flight-response.html?fbclid=IwAR1FsGbaAaoLL5jB1esEouhf7E0SMLnSWwQDjh3hANvvqRNbXmhKGtDPmFw

 

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Priscilla the visayan warty pig

has learned to dig with a tool.

She digs with her nose, like all

 

other pigs, but then she’ll pick

up a stick or a scrap of bark

and use it to dig a hole.

 

It’s unprecedented—a pig

using a tool. And it gives me hope

that I, too, might evolve to acquire

 

something new—for instance,

an ability to understand sarcasm—

without which, studies say, I seem naïve.

 

Sarcasm, experts say, is most used

amongst people we love, despite the fact

that it comes from the Greek,
“to tear off flesh like dogs.”

Even a computer can comprehend

that sarcasm’s a tool for telling

 

true lies. So why am I so sincere?

Why does my right hemisphere not know

when “yeah, right” really means, “no way?”

 

Oh Priscilla, you inspiring visayan warty pig,

if you can evolve beyond your nature,

do you think perhaps I might? Yeah, right.

 

 

For more information about Priscilla and her science-tool-using prowess, visit https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/06/us/pigs-use-tools-study-scn-trnd/index.html

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Slowly Learning

 

 

 

Most days I wake with hope,

which is to say a willingness

to keep trying. Just tonight

I read the study about rats

where they put them in glass jars

full of water. Most of them quickly

stopped swimming and drowned,

even the wild rats renowned

for being good swimmers.

But with the next round of rats,

the researcher from time to time

would put his hand in the jar

and lift the rats out. Just knowing

such a lift were possible was enough

to make the rats continue to swim

and they survived. And I wonder,

then, whose hand is lifting me these days,

reaching just often enough into my jar?

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The pencil, it turns out,

has never contained lead.

It’s always been graphite—

a form of solid carbon.

How much of what we think

 

we know is just a mistaken story

passed on for centuries?

And the human body, it turns out,

contains enough carbon

for 9,000 pencils—

 

that is a fact of the world,

a fact like the distance

from earth to the moon,

a fact like 99 percent of all human DNA

is the same. I’d like to think I will use up

 

my pencils, one every three days,

writing the story of what it is

to be alive here, to fall in love,

to disagree, to fail, to try again.

I want to write of healing,

 

write of the autumn air,

how it touches everything

with its cool transparency.

Write of how we are here

to revel in beauty, to find ourselves

 

in each other, to serve a story greater

than the one we know how to write,

serve the story that even now

is writing us.

 

 

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They know that birds see many more colors

than humans can—and they know that

their plumage has become, over millions of years,

more colorful, more dazzling, more bright.

But why, they wonder, can the birds see

colors they do not have in their feathers?

Why haven’t they developed the ability

to produce ultraviolet yellow or ultraviolet red?

 

I know that there is beauty I see in others

that I do not yet see in myself: People

who leave bottles of water in the desert

of west Texas. A 94-year-old man in Iowa

who has given away 6,000 Hershey’s

milk chocolate bars to connect

with the people in his changing hometown.

A 13-year-old girl who has raised $80,000

to save dogs from being euthanized.

A woman who chooses forgiveness.

 

I want to believe that to see is to invite evolution.
I want to believe that through sight, my own heart will develop

the way plumage might, more dazzling, more bright.

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Perhaps one day they will find the way

to take all the empty space out of our atoms—

condense us to our essence. Then

the whole of the human race would fit

inside a sugar cube. It would serve us right,

expansive buggers that we are, we who stamp

our atoms all over the earth, we who now

leave our footprints in space.

Like our electrons, we exist too many

places at once. Or, perhaps one day,

we’ll learn to embrace all that space within us,

and instead of plundering, conquering, developing out,

we’ll go in, travel in, enter grace.

 

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On Earth, just a teaspoon of neutron star

would weigh six billion tons. Six billion tons.

The equivalent weight of how much railway

it would take to get a third of the way to the sun.

It’s the collective weight of every animal

on earth. Times three.

 

Six billion tons sounds impossible

until I consider how it is to swallow grief—

just a teaspoon and one might as well have consumed

a neutron star. How dense it is,

how it carries inside it the memory of collapse.

How difficult it is to move then.

How impossible to believe that anything

could lift that weight.

 

There are many reasons to treat each other

with great tenderness. One is

the sheer miracle that we are here together

on a planet surrounded by dying stars.

One is that we cannot see what

anyone else has swallowed.

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