Global Weirding

On February 14, 2021 north Texas was hit by back-to-back “unprecedented” deep-freezing storms Uri and Viola wiping out electrical power for all 254 counties across the entire state of Texas. The temperature bottomed out at −2° Fahrenheit (−19 °C) on Tuesday the 16th, temperatures the outdated equipment, the grid, and high-demand for statewide heat could not handle. Personally, I did not have my electrical power restored until Sunday, Feb. 20th, six days later. Hot water wasn’t restored until late the following day. The internet/WiFi was not restored till Wednesday, Feb. 24th. I was one of the very fortunate 4.3-million Texans without power or heat. Way too many less fortunate Texans are only now getting clean pure water delivered or restored to their homes.

Winter storms Uri and Viola nearly wipe out the entire electrical power grid across Texas – Feb 2021

Since 2002 when the Texas Senate deregulated electricity for most of the state, Texans have had a host of REP’s to buy their power from. That does not include who transmits and delivers it. There are five providers distributing electricity to the state and they are supervised by ERCOT, or the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. This supervision includes state-wide emergencies such as February’s two back-to-back arctic blasts. According to several Texas news reports, we were only a few hours away from total long-term collapse of the state’s five power grids serving approximately 29-million customers.

For most wireless phone customers and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter they were blitzed with anti-science propaganda memes and comments. Many of these particular subscribers posted photos of deep snow drifts and hard ice with a footnote such as “Global Warming? Really?” Another was “If this is a warming planet, then we have three Moons at night! (rolling eyes emoji).” Unquestionably, these remarks were simply gross demonstrations of premature, short-sighted, uneducated arrogance.

Some of you who follow my blog have attained and maintain at least a high school AP-level or higher grasp of Earth Science and our planet’s interacting, interlocking meteorological-ecological systems. You also understand quite well Earth’s growing, intensifying tantrums to humanity’s repeated disregard to her sickly alarms. You know and understand how to read and analyze the exhaustive meteorological and oceanic data. You comprehend the supporting evidence accumulated for two centuries and more importantly over the last 20-30 years. Weather records undeniably show we are trending, headed in one direction if we continue with business as usual.

For those of us who properly discern and follow science, and the over 11,000 climatologists, meteorologists, and oceanographers along with marine biologists in 153 nations, we and those experts have all been warning every First-world nation as well as friends and families exactly what is happening: the early symptoms are the Impending Cataclysm, speeding to the point of no return. Consequential Climate Change is here without question. The first signs of critical climate change are more extreme weather events. If Earth and humanity are not at the No Return door, we are certainly on the front porch.

What Texans and most of the American Southwest and Southeast endured those 2-weeks from Uri and Viola—storms the ordinary Texas customers were wretchedly unprotected and marginalized by the five TDU’s and ERCOT—were events essentially identical to what the world’s collective atmospheric and marine scientists had been repeatedly warning us about over the last 15-20 years:  that all four seasons will become increasingly extreme, increasingly uncharacteristic, most notably winters and summers.

Although the scientific community would not officially announce, “Told you so,” we all know they were completely justified in saying it. Unfortunately, the warnings these expert scientists declared many years ago while dedicating their career-lives studying Earth’s changing climate and ecosystems—which by the way feed and sustain all living creatures on this planet, including most of all we Homo sapiens equally so—their warnings had fallen upon the apathetic deaf ears of governments and corporate industrialists with their sociopolitical cohort-base.

Earth Isn’t Warming Because Cold Weather and Snowstorms Still Occur!

This popular opinion is categorically false. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine based in Washington D.C. is an organization of three honorific societies—the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Joined together these academies marshal knowledge and expertise across disciplines to study complex and sometimes contentious issues, reach consensus based on the evidence, and identify the best path forward. The academies, or NASEM, concluded years ago that frigid temperature drops and snowstorms are not evidence against climate change or global warming:

Cold conditions—even bitter cold—can still happen in a warming world. For example, record low temperatures plunged the Midwest into a deep freeze in late January 2019. But at any given time, the weather in one area may or may not reflect global trends. […]

One way to see this trend is to look at how often new daily high and low temperature records are set. Daily temperatures are measured at hundreds of weather stations around the globe. In the United States, high and low records at weather stations were set at about the same rate in the 1950s. Yet since the late 1960s, the number of record daily high temperatures measured each year has been increasing at a faster rate than record daily low temperatures. This shift is largely due to far fewer record daily low temperatures in recent decades. That pattern was evident in January 2019, when there were 17 cold record temperatures set around the world and 269 heat records.

NASEM – Based on Science: Climate Change,Cold weather still happens in a warming world,” published March 9, 2020. Accessed 2/26/2021.

The fact that there are still climate change deniers today reflects one of two things: 1) a very poor education and understanding of Earth Science, particularly where and how meteorology fits into and interacts with other Earth-systems. Or 2) self-appointed ignorance. I am not going to take readers through a course all of us should’ve completed in middle school and high school. However, for the sake of all non-scientific superstitious believers who are barely novices regarding climate, I will share this quick 4-minute video that explains how Earth’s weather system functions:

Nevertheless, global warming is indeed making weather events more extreme and more frequent. This is a no brainer. Scientists know that since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution ca. 1760, human civilization and manufacturing have significantly contributed to global warming and climate change. Those sectors of industry and manufacturing have expelled untold cubic tons of carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide into Earth’s atmosphere for well over 250-years.

Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) – 2015

Because of human industry and waste, less and less heat from our Sun escapes the atmosphere returning back out into space. This entrapment of solar heat is commonly known as the Greenhouse Effect. One of the symptoms of increased Greenhouse gases pumped into our atmosphere are extreme weather events:

As Earth’s climate has warmed, a new pattern of more frequent and more intense weather events has unfolded around the world. Scientists identify these extreme weather events based on the historical record of weather in a particular region. They consider extreme weather events to be those that produce unusually high or low levels of rain or snow, temperature, wind, or other effects. Typically, these events are considered extreme if they are unlike 90% or 95% of similar weather events that happened before in that same area.

Global warming [contributes] to the intensity of heat waves by increasing the chances of very hot days and nights. Warming air also boosts evaporation, which can worsen drought. More drought creates dry fields and forests that are prone to catching fire, and increasing temperatures mean a longer wildfire season. Global warming also increases water vapor in the atmosphere, which can lead to more frequent heavy rain and snowstorms.

NASEM – Based on Science: Climate Change,Global warming is contributing to extreme weather events,” published August 5, 2019. Accessed 2/26/2021.

Let’s not forget what great achievements have been made in science and medicine/health that have greatly bestowed a better, safer, happier, and longer life-span to the human race than ever before prior. The same science is telling us, no… screaming at us unequivocally that we must change our energy-life habits or soon suffer unimaginable hardships, irreparable devastation, and death for our generation. It also means the same and likely much worse consequences for several future generations, including your own children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. This assumes of course that your grandchildren survive what’s coming and your great grandchildren even exist at that future time.

Humanity’s Greatest Achievements in Science and Medicine

  • Vaccines (1796)
  • Penicillin (1928)
  • Genome editing (2012)
  • RNA Sequencing (2006)
  • Anesthesia (1846)
  • Medical imaging (1895)
  • Organ transplants (1954)
  • Electricity (1750’s)
  • Teamwork/Psychology and Diplomacy (1879 or sooner)
  • Antiviral drugs (1960’s)
  • Immunotherapy (1970’s)
  • Artificial Intelligence (21st century)
  • Germ theory (1861)
  • Interplanetary travel (1960’s)

If humanity’s existence has ever been more improved, more advanced, more knowledgeable, more intelligent, and progressively more civilized, it has been accomplished through the many disciplines of science, not superstitions. Granted, several scientific advances have been made and used for war, for genocide and other atrocities, but over all recorded human history it has been the contributions of science and medicine that have made our existence on Earth more tolerable, and significantly safer as the above list attests. Applying those sciences to Global Warming and Climate Change is what will save the human race, all plants and animals (what’s left of them), and save Earth from becoming a barren planet versus a living, thriving green and Pale-blue planet.

Why Are Scientific Facts, Proofs, and Accumulated Evidence Still Unconvincing to Doubters and Deniers Today?

Have you ever found yourself in a conversation among friends, family, or strangers at a public gathering and someone in the group begins speaking on a topic as if they are the supreme authority on the matter? For example, if I began speaking as if I was an experienced F-22 Raptor pilot with 2-3 tours of duty and then someone asked me where I trained, what squadron and wing I was piloting in, and I answered truthfully “I’ve never stepped into an F-22 cockpit or simulator.” How would that affect the validity of everything I just rattled off? Or a topic I am indeed quite experienced, over 28-years, trained, played, and awarded… soccer or football to the rest of the world, and I was trying to assist a new American fan to learn and understand how offsides worked in a game. How does that affect the veracity of what I speak to others? It seems today the term “expert” is often too liberally thrown around and/or assumed when it is not deserved. This is why I always look to and consult the true “experts” of a particular field of inquiry, i.e. climatology, meteorology, biology, etc. Case and point, Katharine Hayhoe:

Hayhoe explains in her video that often when scientific facts and data are used to argue or convince others of very real Climate Change and Global Warming, they perceive it as a personal attack. Okay, fine. But what else is going on psychologically with the Doubter-Denier? It is literally impossible to be an “expert” in every discipline of science or every possible occupation in the work force or business world. Duh, right? Therefore, why is it such a struggle to plainly, publicly admit/confess that one is NOT an expert in any particular field or specialty? If you have not spent several decades or a lifetime studying and experimenting with theories in a specific field or discipline on an annual basis, then why pretend to speak as someone you are clearly not? Isn’t that an ethical issue for the Pretender?

Therefore, just shut up and quit pretending to be someone you are not! Simple, right? No. Sadly, too many people of the Internet Social-media Age hold themselves in very high-regard and spew out unfounded and/or erroneous information. Honest discretion is becoming a dying art in this age of hyper-technology and Fly-by-Night Ph.D’s. Internet Wizards of Oz are now a pandemic at the expense of true, merited experts from highly reputable institutions of academia.

To conclude, if you are unaware of what exactly “Global Weirding” entails, then here is a common definition. It is a complimentary term to Global Warming which reflects causes by climate change and will subsequently cause various weather-related extremes, including both severe, often unprecedented hot and cold weather. Our four seasons become increasingly more intense, shortened or lengthened, and are more catastrophic over time, unless the Greenhouse gases are reduced and/or stopped being expelled into our atmosphere. The alternative?

Newsflash Texans and Americans! Expect more frequent winter storms like Uri and Viola, as well as Category 4 and 5 hurricanes every 2-4 years instead of every century, what used to be the norm. Those years and decades are gone unless humanity collectively changes our energy-habits and lifestyle. Otherwise, Mother Earth is going to turn into the most vengeful Bitch ever imagined and lay waste to life as we know it. She will humble our arrogance, apathy, and ignorance without a second thought or a bit of sympathy. Guaranteed. She is trying to warn us. Are we going to listen and heed her anger?

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If you would like more extensive scientific information, reports, and facts compiled over two decades, go here: the IPCC, or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. There you will find regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.


Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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From Rope to Threads

Well, as much as I’d rather post something more comical, scientific, or spell-bounding intriguing… this quick post will be simply a matter-of-fact report (rant) on current goings-on with me, those around me, and stuff in the U.S. If you were wanting/needing a lift-me-up blog-post, best you go somewhere else this time. I’m a realist as well as a hopeful optimistic realist. 😉

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Dallas, TX has very recently experienced over one week of triple-digit temperatures. Today’s expected high (yesterday’s) was a cool frigid 93º Fahrenheit. A happy respite from the 103-106 temps the other week. Most of those days we were also under National Weather Service “Excessive Heat Warnings” and “Air Quality Alerts.” The latter is basically a warning of high levels of ozone air pollution from man-made machines, factories, and refineries to go along with methane and CO² up there. This also includes dust/dirt in lower strata from heavy construction equipment, state-sanctioned (roads & highways) and/or private-sector contractors everywhere in the DFW Metroplex. That pollution is distinctly worse during windy days.

I watched this afternoon, about 1 or 2pm, out my front window three (3) Dallas Police Officers (all white), in two squad-cars, and one of the onsite property managers remove two different residents from my building who were apparently delinquent on their (daily?) monthly rent. One resident, a male perhaps in his late 30’s, packed up everything he could into his massive backpack and rolling suitcase, more things in bags under one arm, and walk out to the street. He then walked down the street until he was out of sight. He may have continued on to the busy 6-lane intersection a half-mile away, under a state highway bridge, with some 6-8 other homeless people (6-8 on a daily basis that is) holding cardboard signs walking out into and around stopped vehicles.

The other residents, a couple perhaps in their late 20’s, began packing up their little beat up used compact car—which was already quite full with tons of other belongings—eventually evacuated the property under watchful eyes of police and property management. As they left, their vehicle’s exhaust was visibly blue smoke; oil leak(s). I doubt their car would pass the state inspection laws in order to obtain liability insurance, required by law to own and operate a vehicle, assuming of course they owned it and possessed current, valid liability insurance minimums. The last 6-8 months I’ve witnessed these sorts of evictions take place. What is glaringly obvious are the vast numbers of homeless people everywhere on our busy street corners and intersections the last 12-24 months. It’s impossible to not notice.

This past week I’ve tried to help this neighbor three doors down. About 2-weeks ago his compact vehicle had a major breakdown. Jumper cables didn’t help. A tow-truck came to haul it off to some repair shop. His only source of income is his job as a Lift/Uber driver. He pays his rent week to week, for obvious reasons. Yesterday I drove him 8-miles to the shop his car was being worked on. It’s in a “sketchy” part of town at a very rundown business building of many old used vehicles scattered everywhere outside. They fill-up the make-shift parking lot.

When he returns to my car where I’m waiting—to make sure his car REALLY IS fixed/ready—with an obvious down-trodden face he tells me There’s a snag, a hangup. Can you wait a bit longer? I tell him of course. Ten minutes later he returns with all of his belongings to go straight to work, and tells me the part that was sent to them had stripped threads. He soon told me with an upset tone that he’s sure THEY (the shop) fucked-up the refurbished replacement part. I must take him back home… without his vehicle (for income). This foul-up has now cost him another full-day of income, making it the 5th day without making money. Today, to help him out at least a tiny bit, I go to the management office and pay for one night on his room/place. That’s all I could afford given my own strapped situation.

I literally just received the THIRD Amber Alert in as much as 7-9 days! This doesn’t count the significant increase in Amber Alerts we’ve had in Texas so far just these last 7.5 months! They’ve been going off noticeably more ever since COVID-19 quarantines and businesses and schools shutdown. By the way, that also includes most daycares for working Moms or Dads.

As many of you know, I am a sports fan, particularly a soccer/football fanatic. If any of you in the U.S. are sports fans as well, you know painfully that ALL of our professional and collegiate sports seasons have either been cancelled, postponed, or undetermined. As a result and for the first time in my entire life, I have become a semi-fan of the South Korean Baseball Organization (KBO), watching a few games at 4:35am… because most of this spring and summer there has not really been any other sports viewing-choices right now or there hasn’t been in the U.S. for several months! And I’ve NEVER liked baseball until my son got into it seriously at age 10 over nine years ago. Pfffft, KBO? Seriously!?

If any of you have followed the current American MLB shortened season going on, its season and teams are an organized mess because of COVID-19 infections popping up in at least 4-5 different team’s club houses at different times. The New York Yankees just had 1-2 games postponed because of positive CV-19 tests. More postponements or cancellations might be happening. The entire league’s 60-game season it is said will have a HUGE asterisk attached to it and its October World Series (if it happens?) because of this unprecedented time America and Americans are going through.

I watched two interviews over the past 2-3 weeks that I thought were poignantly revealing summaries of what our country has been put through. Sadly, it did not need to be this bad, not even close! Had our federal leadership heeded all the warnings coming from all the domestic and global experts back in Dec. 2019 thru mid-February 2020, this continuing crisis could have been shortened SIGNIFICANTLY and with much less economic tragedy. But then it happened again this past May over Memorial Day weekend and in another spike July… over 4th of July celebrations and holidays. Here’s what wealthy mogul and former Microsoft owner Bill Gates said about the handling of this pandemic by our federal government and leadership:  Bill Gates on GPS: “Testing insanity” is unique to U.S.

The other interview was by Christiane Amanpour of PBS with former Republican Governor of Ohio, John Kasich. It is well worth the 3-minute watch, I promise.

Personally, I have been COVID-tested twice now because both times I was experiencing 6 of the 11 symptoms for the lethal virus. Fortunately, both results were negative. But my last CV-19 test, inside Dallas County (one of the worst hot spots in Texas) took almost 5-weeks to return a result. The only reason my two results have been negative is because #1) I stay at home alone as much as possible. #2) because since early March I have social-distanced like an OCD MoFo, I wear a mask anytime I go out in public, I wear rubber gloves when I go into any places of business doing my BASIC shopping for essential items and/or grocery store items. And #3), if I don’t get out of my vehicle, that’s because I’ve shopped online for curbside delivery done by only ONE worker to my car… that is, a car parked over 8-10 feet away from any other vehicle!

And yet, after near 7-months of this consistent distancing, preparation, and wise, considered caution anywhere I go… this has become a change from “doing well enough” in April 2020, to making things tighter and stretching out longer in July 2020—going from a stabilized ship in a horrible storm at sea—to grasping for ropes to cling to as the HMS Titanic goes down, and to now desperately seeking THREADS that might hold me above the surface of a self-created (by my nation & its leaders) Level-5 hurricane I and everyone around me are getting sucked into. And yet there’s more.

Day before yesterday I ran out of one of my two high blood-pressure meds. When I requested the pharmacy to contact my primary care physician’s office for the refill, the next day they called back stating his office denied my request. I know why. I haven’t gone to have my blood lab-work done yet. It costs me $135 (no insurance) to have it all done, plus the tele-visit or video-visit with the doctor to initiate it. Plus on top of that the cost of the generic prescriptions. It’s money I do not currently have because of several other pressing priorities due to COVID-19 affects and consequences on businesses.

Oh well, hopefully life gets better for everyone and reduces hypertension and high blood-pressure—that if chronic, inevitably leads to heart disease and other medical problems. HAH! 😆 That’s a subject Dr. Sanjay Gupta covered in his extensive 1-hour documentary on HBO called One Nation Under StressIn the documentary Dr. Gupta uncovers the root causes of why American life expectancy, that is primarily Caucasian’s life expectancy, is falling and is now shorter than all other major developed countries. It is a disturbing revelation of our nation’s true health. Here’s the trailer:

So what’s the rub? Can we Americans make it until November 4-5? Can we survive with minimal casualties in this raging, unforgiving storm/hurricane of a crisis that could’ve been lessened significantly, probably avoided in many ways? Because this pandemic virus has affected and infected so many socioeconomic and healthcare sectors and lives, that not even I could’ve anticipated, it could get much worse and last much longer! And I am a HUGE nerdy science guy who tries his utmost to prepare for the worst and hope for the best. But this shit is going to outlast even my own predictions back in February. I told everyone then this pandemic and its ripple-effects would last till late-August or early-September before a downward trend and gradual respite occurs. It appears my prediction is coming up wrong and well short. 😔😷

I wonder… how in THA HELL did our Greatest Generation (of America) do it for well over 5-6 years during World War II  on top of coming out of the Great Depression!? Holy crap they must of been truly “E plurabus unum” (like superhero MoFos)… like we stamp on all of our coinage. HAH! Is it really a United States of America rather than a DISunited States of America, “One nation, under stress, and very divided!” as our new revised Pledge of Allegiance the last 4-years might be uttered today? Other nations around the world handled and managed the pandemic SO MUCH BETTER than the U.S.! That’s undeniably true.

Ugh, my rant is done. Tired I am. Everyone keep being safe, being well, and safely distanced. Try to keep going and hang in there! I hope I can too. 🙄

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P.S. One last thing. Have I ever expressed my rising annoyance with most everything electronic, internet, streaming, or WiFi-based over the last decade or more? And with that near boiling-point annoyance of said electronics I am quickly approaching the brink of ‘going postal.’ Have I expressed that? And how many times all my electronic devices I have ever owned (especially the last 10-12 years!) get overly spammed, hacked, and breakdown into some cyber-neurotic psychotic tantrums after ONLY 24-months from their purchase? Then I am forced to purchase a new cutting-edge “newer” device. Imagine that!

Does anyone else experience this incredibly frustrating, cyclical consumer entrapment on a society addicted to an electronic-everything world? Just a passing thought.

I really miss those days (in the 80’s and 90’s) when items, machines purchased would last a good 10-15 years, easily. Now, most mega-corporate business models are structured to generate what they call “perpetual revenue” and repeat consumers that appease, gratify share-holders for many quarterly P&L reports. Ugh, I so love hyper-capitalism.

That last sentence was extreme satirical sarcasm by the way. 😠

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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“C-God” 13.8 Billion Years Old

Yes, it has been confirmed:  13.8 billion years old.

That is the age of our entire known Cosmos (C) or Universe from the very first millisecond it exploded into existence until today. Or for the hard-line Faithers out there, “Yahweh” or “God” or “Allah” or whatever your personal supreme being is named, it is without question 13.8 billion years old.

There have been several techniques to calculate and estimate the age of the Universe. Over the last century four methods of approximation have been used:

  1. The Hubble Constant
  2. Decay of radioactive elements/objects – can also be applied to gases, but with less accuracy
  3. Age of White Dwarf stars, locating the faintest/oldest
  4. Age of ancient star clusters/globulars

Fortunately, and for all prosperity and posterity, science has a fifth and final method ending any debate about the Universe’s age. It is remarkably accurate to within less than 1-percent.

Incorporating method #4 above with the compiled data of NASA’s Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) launched in 2001, and the European Space Agency’s Planck-satellite launched in 2009, we can determine exactly how long our known, visible Cosmos has been around. Watch NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) two-minute video here explaining in layman terms just how this measuring and time-dating works.

NGC 3603 star-cluster

NGC 3603, an open star cluster and starburst region in the Carina spiral arm of the Milky Way around 20,000 light-years away from the Solar System

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If those four common measurements are not enough to convince you or other doubters, then perhaps Cosmologist and graduate of Yale and Rutgers Universities in Physics, Mathematics, Astronomy, and Astrophysics, Dr. Neelima Sehgal, currently Associate Professor in Physics & Astronomy at Stony Brook University, NY, can assist your unlearned hesitation. From Stony Brook University’s research journal:

The Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) team in Chile confirmed previous measurements of ancient light-clusters extracted from the Planck satellite data.

[…]

Neelima Sehgal - ACT

Dr. Neelima Sehgal, ACT and Stony Brook University

Obtaining the best image of the infant universe, explains Professor Sehgal, helps scientists better understand the origins of the universe, how we got to where we are on Earth, the galaxies, where we are going, how the universe may end, and when that ending may occur.

[…]

The new ACT estimate on the age of the universe matches the one provided by the standard model of the universe and measurements of the same light made by the Planck satellite. This adds a fresh twist to an ongoing debate in the astrophysics community, says Simone Aiola, first author of one of the new papers on the findings posted to arXiv.org.

“Now we’ve come up with an answer where Planck and ACT agree,” says Aiola, a researcher at the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Astrophysics in New York City. “It speaks to the fact that these difficult measurements are reliable.”

Eternal is Not So Eternal

Oddly enough, it seems now there is actually a beginning and an end to eternal. The Greek words and concept the Alpha and Omega (Rev 21:6; 22:13) are in purely astrophysical terms seemingly truer than ever. Maybe. So it follows then that there is no such thing as forever, timeless, or Eternal. From the above five methods of dating the age of the Cosmos, we now have other fascinating inferences and deductions by astrophysicists, cosmologists, astronomers, and advanced mathematicians about the end or death of our Universe or Creator-God. There are three or four probabilities.

The Big Freeze
This is the death of all differences in heat, or thermodynamics. As the Universe/Cosmos continues expanding at an increasing rate, eventually all forms of energy (heat) will dissipate over time until everything—all celestial bodies, i.e. stars/suns, galaxies, planets, etc.—are just a fraction above absolute zero degrees. The universe will be so spread out over millions, billions, then trillions of light-years, and continuing, that it will become deader and emptier with every millenia.

The Big Crunch
If there is enough or too much stuff in the Universe, i.e. celestial bodies with mass, the expansion of the Cosmos will slow then stop. More stuff means more gravity. The more mass all the bodies gain means more stronger gravity, which means everything gets pulled back in, contracting inward until the Universe becomes so compact, so dense with mass that an astounding inferno occurs, the Big Crunch.

The Big Change
If our Universe is expanding and its expansion is accelerating as most scientists today agree, then matter and energy as we normally understand them could not allow the Universe to continue behaving in this basic manner. In 1998 teams of astrophysicists examining Type 1A supernovae for the Hubble Constant discovered that expansion wasn’t slowing down, but actually accelerating.

Even more bizarre was the expansion had been decelerating, as once thought, until 7-8 billion years after the Big Bang. At that point, for reasons yet to be learned, a puzzling “anti-gravity force” began to dominate, taking over the gravity-induced contracting placed on expansion and then reversed the slowdown and began accelerating. This was dubbed Dark Energy. This energy pulls everything in the Universe apart,  and turns it upside down. The basic building blocks of fundamental particles like electrons and Quarks could be entirely different, radically overhauling our rules of chemistry and maybe impeding the formation of atoms and molecules. It would be quite an inhospitable Big Change. If that were to happen, then plants, animals, humans, even planet and stars would be destroyed. Dark Energy currently makes up about 68% of all energy in the Universe and that percentage is growing each day.

Accelerating Universe - Big Change & Rip

Different possible fates of the Universe, with our actual, accelerating fate shown at the far right. After enough time goes by, the acceleration will leave every bound galactic or supergalactic structure completely isolated in the Universe, as all the other structures accelerate irrevocably away. (NASA & ESA)

The Big Rip
The Big Rip is a more remote, unlikely ending, but nonetheless cannot yet be ruled out. Dark Energy could be more destructive, more powerful than scientists know right now. Here’s the very weird part.

While the Cosmos is expanding, Dark Energy’s (DE) density remains fixed. What this also means is that with increasing volume, more DE pops into existence over time in order to maintain the constant density. What’s even more extraordinarily freaky is that if the density of DE increases as the Universe keeps expanding, then what would happen if DE enlarges faster than the Universe is expanding? In other words, DE’s speed of growth surpasses the speed of light! 😲 This theoretical model is called phantom dark energy and its mechanism is called the Big Rip. Fortunately for our super distant descendants, if this rip were to happen, it would be a horrifically instant death occurring so fast our brains could not process anything that was happening. Woosh! Gone.

And So the Purpose of Consciousness and Life

Everything we mortal humans eventually learn is that all things in life have a beginning, a middle, and an end. All experience, all evidence we have and understand of life indicates a start and a finish. Nothing, not even an original cause or imagined “Creator” is timeless or eternal. It too was born 13.8 billion years ago. He/She/It is growing obese, quicker than before, and will die a final death. Not only is the word eternal fictitious and conceived from ancient, mortal Earthlings’ crude ineptitude passed on transgenerationally, but it is also fruitless, unrewarding for the present. Therefore, I think James Oppenheim had much to say about our life, existence, and the human condition: The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet.

There are countless forces that we know dictate our individual lives, significant portions of our lives at the start, most of all with our biological parents. Theirs was also significantly dictated by their biological parents or guardians, and family members. No one has any control whatsoever about who and what their ancestors would be. Earth too is fated to follow external forces. She is just one planet of nine gravitational bodies within our one tiny solar system among billions and trillions of galaxies with millions of other star systems. Our Sun and Jupiter are heavy, major influencers upon Earth’s condition! At the risk of sounding silly and stating the obvious, no one, let alone the entire human species, has the ability (yet?) to make our Sun or Jupiter do anything we wish. And as we’ve now learned from interdisciplinary science, particularly cosmology and astrophysics, the clock is ticking. There will indeed be a final, universal end that not even our man-made God(s) can escape. Is that the Coup d’état of ultimate nihilism? Or is it, as I believe, the epitome of liberation and empowerment, here and now? A tranquility from accepting our place and definitive demise of us, of all things then, now, and that will ever be?

I exist as I am, that is enough. If no other in the world be aware I sit content. And if each and all be aware I sit content. One world is aware, and by the far the largest to me, and that is myself. And whether I come to my own today or in ten thousand or ten million years, I can cheerfully take it now, or with equal cheerfulness, I can wait. Walt Whitman

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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