Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day

Today is Earth Day, and I have spent several hours wondering how best to express my emotions with regard to this planet. In the end, this video said it all. It was taken by the Mercury-bound Messenger spacecraft, courtesy of NASA:

We live on a tiny, fragile orb in a vastness filled with wonders. Yet seeing this planet disappear in the distance is the loneliest I have ever felt.

Let's do all we can to make sure it is around for many millenia to come.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Thanks For The Handshake, President Obama

Is anyone besides me tired of the uproar over United States President Barrack Obama shaking hands with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez last week?

No, of course President Chavez isn't someone most citizens of the United States would like to take home for dinner. Yes, President Chavez will use the handshake for his own political purposes; he's a politician. No, he hasn't shown much respect for the United States or its past and current leadership. But why should these facts mean the handshake was wrong?

What was the alternative? Should President Obama have ignored him, or traded insult for insult? Like it or not, President Chavez is the current leader of his country. He deserves to be treated respectfully, simply out of respect for the people he represents, even if he hasn't personally earned it.

Putting all the hype aside, how does one treat an ordinary bully? By behaving as the bully does? Or by being the more civilized one and treating him as he ought to be treating others? Yes, sometimes one has to defend oneself against bullies, but President Chavez is not likely to order an attack against the United States, except with words. And as the old Earth saying goes, "sticks and stones..."

The proper response was to treat the Venezuelan head of state as one would treat any other head of state ~ with polite courtesy, and an eye toward what the future might hold for the relationship between their two countries. And unless one wants the future to hold more insults and posturing, then the handshake was the proper response.

It's been suggested that the handshake may have originated as a gesture to show that the hand held no weapons and was therefor offered in peace. Sounds like what Earthers need are more handshakes with their adversaries, not less.

My DNA is Your DNA

We may have more in common than you think. See the article by Brandon Keim, Humans and Aliens Might Share DNA Roots, over at Wired Science.

Of course, I'm depending on it for my species to survive. But that's another story...

Galvistor, A Puzzled Scotsman, And Me

Finally back at work again! My writer has been otherwise occupied, slaving over a second book to follow Undercover Alien. She just admitted she's been rewriting a scene that simply wasn't working, and just figured out the problem - both of her protagonists need to be conscious.

Sigh. You see what I have to deal with?

At any rate, she did find time to help post an interview Galvistor and I did at our joint blog, Loquacious Dragons and Quizzical Aliens. Sir Cameron MacLeod, a decidedly displaced Scotsman, graciously took the time to visit with us. His story is told in Sandy Blair's A Highlander for Christmas.

From the reaction of our assistant typist, known to all as the Wikipedia Addict, he is exactly what she wants this year.