Civilization has its ups and downs. Politically and meteorologically, today was not a bad day at all.
In France, Emmanuel Macron was elected president, which may not be so great in the end because from all reports I’m hearing, he’s essentially a smooth talking corporatist, but the evil Marine Le Pen is out, and she might have done serious damage to the EU.
Meteorologically, today was the first day this year I was wandering around outdoors without a jacket. Bad that it’s taken so long, good that it’s here.
Despite all the ups and downs, science continues to move forward, because that is the general direction in which science moves. Out into the universe, deep inside the ocean and our bodies, and back and forth in time. Not just inventing new inventions, which is cool enough, but steadily exploring and adding to our collective knowledge.
The Cassini spacecraft is in orbit around Saturn and sending back lots of pictures which the good folk at NASA are describing as ‘Awesome’ and ‘Unbelievable,’ and I’ll just have to take their word for it. Unless they actually spot somebody waving to the camera, one rock looks very like another to me.
I am not mocking space exploration, I am all for space exploration, I’m just saying that I can’t tell the difference between one planet and another.
It’s the looking back in time aspect of science that impressed me today. Archaelologists in northern Germany have uncovered a site, on the marshy banks of the Tollense river, with lots of dead bodies, human and horse, along with arrowheads of both flint and bronze, clubs, swords, and stuff like that.
They’ve carbon dated the whole shebang at about 1250 B.C. That’s when ancient Egypt was a thing, long before Athenians invented science and democracy, long before Romulus and Remus were even born. Meanwhile, in Northern Europe, people were already starting to form civilization and have mighty armies.
Sets the old historical clock back by a century or two.