Friday, October 23, 2009

Stay tuned

Stardust virus Flu in the family.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stay tuned

I'll be back. A pile-up of obligations intrudes.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Good and Evil in the Cosmos

Does the Force have a dark side? Are Good and Evil somehow embedded in our Universe? Well, according to our theme, ordered structures that are not alive simply maximize the dispersion of energy, and sometimes matter—like a burning candle. There's no holding back, no good or evil, just going as fast as possible. But, as we see on our planet, with the genesis of life, a yin yang arises. A living cell is an expression of managed maximization, that is it optimizes rather than maximizes dispersion.

Perhaps therein lies the first spark of good and evil. Cells are powerful dispersers of energy and matter, and do as much as they can, but not so much that they compromise their own integrity. When a cell begins to maximize it becomes a cancer cell.

The same "rule" applies to us and other living things. Every culture has codes of behavior that manage maximization. Civilizations have collpased when they failed to reign in excesses.

So, in a very real sense, good and evil may be embedded in the stars but not expressed until swirls of stardust coalesce into planetary systems bearing life.

(C) R. E.Morel 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Still working

This Good vs. Evil topic is proving to be a bit challenging. Bear with me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Farm Biology 101

The Good/Evil piece is still on the drawing boards. I wrote this post for a local sustainable/organic farming group to put on their Web site and thought you might be interested. We are, after all, the beneficiaries of a sun in the cosmos.

Each of us values the many bounties brought to us by our dedicated local farmers, but what about the underlying and fascinating biology that paves the way to harvest? This series of articles will take us on a journey from sun to seed and beyond.

The Harvest

Farmers harvest crops; plants harvest sunlight

We all know that plants need sunlight to grow and produce the bounty that we buy at market and savor at our tables. But just how does sunlight assist in serving up this cornucopia? Living requires energy, your eyes and brain are using energy to read what you’re reading right now, and plants need energy to live and produce he food we eat. Sunlight is the source of life’s energy. The leaves of green plants are very sophisticated solar panels. Green plants, including farm crops, harvest the sun’s energy and package it into sugar molecules that they, and we, need to stay alive. Without the conversion from light energy to chemical energy we wouldn’t be here.

But where does the sugar come from? Sugar is a form of matter but sunlight is pure energy, there’s no matter in it. The matter in sugar comes from two simple ingredients, water and carbon dioxide. Recall that water is H2O, that is, two hydrogen atoms attached to an oxygen atom, and those hydrogen atoms really like staying attached to the oxygen atom. It takes a lot of energy to strip them away. That’s where the Sun’s energy comes in. Plants use some of the energy that they receive from sunlight to pull the hydrogen of of oxygen, making the hydrogen available for combining with carbon dioxide. That’s what sugar is made of, hydrogen combined with carbon dioxide. Plants use another portion of the light energy to fashion the chemical bonds that hold the atoms in the sugar together. Those bonds contain energy that originally came from the Sun, so, in this sense, we are all solar powered!

And, you’re breathing the leftover from water right now; it’s the oxygen that was attached to the hydrogen atoms in H2O. We need oxygen, as do living crops, to extract the Sun’s energy that was packaged in sugar molecules. That unpackaging results in the very ingredients we started with, carbon dioxide and water. You’re exhaling them as you breathe. The cycle goes on as long as plants do what they do with sunlight.

Next: Nitrogen nitrogen everywhere but not a drop to drink.

© R. E. Morel 2009

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Break

I'm taking a brief break. Will be back with shortly>

Monday, August 10, 2009


This may appear to be a beautiful inanimate piece of jade embedded with chips of gold, but it is the chrysalis of a Monarch butterfly. Within it, a universe of events is generating a most amazing metamorphosis, a metamorphosis that will change the way this organism disperses matter and energy.

The metamorphosis will change this:

to this.

So what is going on in this jade-and-gold jewel, and why should we call it cosmic? Consider this dynamic from the point of view of the dispersal of matter and energy. Monarch caterpillars eat leaves and disperse the once solid leaf matter and energy. The light of life in this sense is the same as the light of a candle flame that disperses the solid matter of the candle into a dispersed mix of gases, light and heat. The candle dissappears, and in this case, soe does the caterpillar!

As the leaf becomes part of the caterpillar's life force and being, a portion of the organized matter that was once "leaf" becomes dispersed as heat, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and a few other waste products.

But the youngster is also storing some of that leafy matter and energy, everything it will need to morph into a form that will consume an entirely different diet of matter and energy—an adult butterfly.

Within the jewel, the caterpillar is literally dissolving, and patches of tissue that lay dormant in the jeuvinile, are developing into a new head, a new body, new wings, new muscles, and an entirely new apparatus for dispersing matter and energy. The butterfly, unlike its "other self," will consume nectar from flowers, not leaves— a new self!

The universe has designed a creature with a double-dispersal life! That's the way it is in the cosmos. Nature finds as many ways as possible to disperse matter and energy—many of them quite beautiful to look at.

Does the Cosmos have a sense of humor?

(c) R. E. Morel 2009 All rights reserved