Tag Archives: science

The Small Step

Fifty years ago a human being walked on the moon.

When my grandmother was born there were no cars. Electricity was in its infancy. Airplanes? Inconceivable. Radio? Nope. TV? Not even close. Computers?. Fantasy.

By the time my grandmother died a man had walked on the moon. The technological progress in that one lifetime is almost unimaginable. In my 69 years the advances in science, especially medicine, also have been unbelievable. Other technologies as well.

Political thought? Not so much. The same reactionary forces that dominated politics before World War 1 seem to still be dominant today.

A man walked on the moon. The amazing scientific and technological achievement is hidden in those words. The millions of man hours and trillions of man neurons dedicated to one purpose. One positive purpose. One uplifting purpose. What human beings can accomplish when organized, inspired and allowed to do the job. The unimaginable becomes real.

A man walked on the moon. The moon will never look the same No longer “out there” and unreachable. The moon is now a first step on a possible fantastic voyage into the universe. Like a toddler’s shaky , stumbling walk. And like the toddler it is inevitable that man will fall on his face more than once. Cry. Get up. And wobble ahead.

A man walked on the moon. Every human being can have clean water. Good health care. A decent place to live. A good life.

There were a million reasons why a man could never walk on the moon. Too far. Too expensive. A technological impossibility. Pie in the sky. Unrealistic. Couldn’t be done.

There are a million reasons why we can’t house, clothe, feed and give health care to every human being on the Earth. Until you recall.

A man walked on the moon.

 

 

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Filed under Environment, Politics, Society

What’s Eating Gilbert’s Textbooks?

I applaud the wise and generous school board of Gilbert, Arizona. They have ordered the destruction of a page, well, 2 pages, of an AP Biology textbook. And they continue to search and destroy other Biology textbooks which may be harboring information destructive to the youth of Gilbert.

If you haven’t been following the news. This school board, ┬áby a 3-2 margin, has demanded that 1 sheet (2 pages) be ripped out of an AP Bio book. Why ? Because it has a section about abortion and birth control. Unfortunately for sperm, the other side of the sheet has information about sperm, including a cute photo of an anonymous little critter.

Of course , some folks might think this is wrong. In fact, 2 of the board members who voted for the destruction of evil were just kicked off the board by the voters. Their term ends in January. Still, the uninformed electorate needs to applaud, rather than criticize these Tea Party geniuses.

So, on that note I have composed an open letter to the Gilbert School Board:

Dear Tea Party Brethren in Christ:

I, for one, fully support your desire to keep the youngsters of Gilbert as ignorant of the real world as possible. If we can keep them from knowing about stuff, then that stuff does not exist. For example, if we would stop talking about global warming, poverty, terrorism and penguins I am certain they would all go away. Especially penguins.

While I applaud your intentions I have to say I think you may have miscalculated what the outcome will be. Destroying an academic treatise is always good, for sure. And in this case you have performed a double duty, a two-for-oner, killing two birds with one stone. Or one rip, as it were.

Not only have you destroyed any information about abortion and birth control, but you have also laid to rest sperm. There is very little that is more exciting to a teenage boy than frontal views of the Dalkon Shield or a discussion of condoms. I can still remember sneaking copies of Gynecological Weekly into my bed at night. So, we can all agree on that. And when teenage girls are exposed to actual photos of sperm. Well. Their hormones go crazy with lust-filled thoughts about pregnancy and child rearing and so on. Instant sluts. So, I have no complaints about the destruction of information. Good work.

For example, take my case. When I went to Catholic school back in the late 1960s we had something called “Religion” class. One kid, I will call him “Jim” did a project on birth control He explained the various methods and even brought in condoms, IUDs, the pill, etc. While it was informative I am sure it lead to the sexual revolution. Until then we had no teen pregnancies. (Although a great number of the Catholic School girls did take long vacations to visit Aunties and returned a few pounds slimmer). Would we have had AIDS had Jimmy just did a project on the Ten Commandments instead ? I think not !

So. I am on your side. But I fear you may have made things worse instead of better. For a couple reasons.

First, all those kids who would never have read the textbook in a million years are now going to read it. Plus, they are going to go first to the very pages you do not want them to read. One best thing a teenager likes to do is anything an adult thinks he should not do. So, probably ALL the kids (not just Hubert and Emily, who read EVERYTHING) have already read those passages by now. As Homer Simpson would say, “DOH !”

Secondly. A guy named Al Gore invented something called the “interweb” not long ago. Weird as it seems, kids can get on this “interweb” from their computers and learn things NOT in the textbooks we so generously deface for them. They can learn about sperm and IUDs and abortion and even penguins. It is difficult to rip out pages on the “interweb”. I know. I have tried. Does not work.

So, my fellow keepers of the public morals and purveyors of ignorance. I applaud your intent. However, I fear that kids may somehow learn about abortion, birth control and sperm OUTSIDE the school setting. I fear they may even learn about penguins. I call it bad parenting ! Still, best of luck in the future. And while you are ripping up pages I suggest you look at Amendment 1 of the US Constitution. Sharpen those scissors !

Sincerely, The Old Liberal.

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Filed under birth control, Conservatives, Education, healthcare, Neoconservative, Religion, Republicans, tea party