Within that terrifyingly tiny space is contained every single human being who was alive at the time.
Think of it as the most epic selfie ever taken.
Sagan’s monologue about the photograph—given at Cornell University in 1994—is poetic, hopeful, even a bit mocking at times:
"We succeeded in taking that picture, and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light.
Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity—in all this vastness—there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It’s been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
Evidently the North pole is heading fast toward Siberia....
By Guest Nicole
WASHINGTON (AP) — Earth’s protective ozone layer is finally healing from damage caused by aerosol sprays and coolants, a new United Nations report said.
The ozone layer had been thinning since the late 1970s. Scientists raised the alarm and ozone-depleting chemicals were phased out worldwide.
As a result, the upper ozone layer above the Northern Hemisphere should be completely repaired in the 2030s and the gaping Antarctic ozone hole should disappear in the 2060s, according to a scientific assessment released Monday at a conference in Quito, Ecuador. The Southern Hemisphere lags a bit and its ozone layer should be healed by mid-century.
Read more: https://www.apnews.com/835094e7af61414981259ed69dbb185e
By Guest Nicole
Global warming is said to be bringing temperatures last seen during an interglacial era, when sea level was 6-9 meters (20-30ft) higher than today
A coal-fired power station. ‘Massive CO2 extraction’ costing trillions is needed in order to avoid runaway temperature rises, says a new paper. Photograph: Florian Gaertner/Photothek via Getty Images
The global temperature has increased to a level not seen for 115,000 years, requiring daunting technological advances that will cost the coming generations hundreds of trillions of dollars, according to the scientist widely credited with bringing climate change to the public’s attention.
A new paper submitted by James Hansen, a former senior Nasa climate scientist, and 11 other experts states that the 2016 temperature is likely to be 1.25C above pre-industrial times, following a warming trend where the world has heated up at a rate of 0.18C per decade over the past 45 years.
This rate of warming is bringing Earth in line with temperatures last seen in the Eemian period, an interglacial era ending 115,000 years ago when there was much less ice and the sea level was 6-9 meters (20-30ft) higher than today.
In order to meet targets set at last year’s Paris climate accord to avoid runaway climate change, “massive CO2 extraction” costing an eye-watering $104tn to $570tn will be required over the coming century with “large risks and uncertain feasibility” as to its success, the paper states.
“There’s a misconception that we’ve begun to address the climate problem,” said Hansen, who brought climate change into the public arena through his testimony to the US congress in the 1980s. “This misapprehension is based on the Paris climate deal where governments clapped themselves on the back but when you look at the science it doesn’t compute, it’s not true.
“Even with optimistic assumptions (future emissions reduction) will cost hundreds of trillions of dollars. It’s potentially putting young people in charge of a situation that is beyond their control. It’s not clear they will be able to take such actions.”
The paper, submitted as a discussion paper to the Earth System Dynamics journal, is a departure from the usual scientific process as it has yet to be peer reviewed and has been launched to support a legal case waged by a group of young people against the US government.
Last year, 21 youths aged between 8 and 19 years old filed a constitutional lawsuit against the Obama administration for failing to do enough to slow climate change. Hansen and his granddaughter are parties to legal challenge, which was filed in Oregon and asserts that the government has violated young people’s rights to life, liberty and property.
Hansen, who has become increasingly outspoken on climate change since retiring from Nasa in 2013, said he recognized some scientists might object to publicizing the paper so soon but that “we are running out of time on this climate issue.”
The courts need to step in to force governments to act on climate change because they are largely free of the corrupting influence of special interests, Hansen said. He repeated his call for a global tax to be placed upon carbon emissions and said that fossil fuel companies should be forced to pay for emissions extraction in the same way the tobacco industry has been sued over the health impact of cigarettes.
“The science is crystal clear, we have to phase out emissions over the next few decades,” Hansen said. “That won’t happen without substantial actions by Congress and the executive branch and that’s not happening so we need the courts to apply pressure, as they did with civil rights.”
Several recent studies have cast doubt over whether the world will stay with an aspirational target set in Paris of a 1.5C limit on the average global temperature rise. This guardrail, and even the 2C limit agreed by 195 nations, appears dependent on as-yet undeveloped technology that would remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
Under this scenario, huge emissions cuts would be supplemented by a widespread conversion to biofuels that would be burned for energy. The emissions from this energy would then be buried underground. Some sort of futuristic technology that sucks CO2 directly from the atmosphere may also be required.
Hansen said this is a “dubious” proposition because it requires a vast change in land use at a time where a growing global population will require more food. There are also major doubts whether technology to capture CO2 and lock it underground, often touted as a panacea by the fossil fuel industry, will be developed in time to help avoid the dangerous sea level rise, drought, heatwaves and disease spurred by warming temperatures.
Last week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said that carbon dioxide levels will not drop below the symbolic 400 parts per million (ppm) mark in our lifetimes – the highest concentration of CO2 since the Pliocene era 3m years ago.
The environment of this time, where sea levels were around 65ft higher than today and trees were able to grow near the north pole due to a lack of ice, is a “bellwether for what future climate might be like,” according to Bruce Bauer, a scientist with NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.
Michael Mann, a prominent climatologist at Penn State University, agreed that CO2 removal will be required if the world was to avoid 1.5C warming although the 2C limit “could likely be achieved without negative emissions, but it would require urgent action, as I have argued myself is necessary.”.
Mann added that Hansen’s paper is “interesting” but tackles a huge range of topics and is unconventional in its use as a tool to support a legal case.
“Along with the paper being publicized prior to peer review, this will certainly raise eyebrows about whether or not this breaches the firewall many feel should exist wherein policy agenda should not influence the way that science is done,” Mann told the Guardian via email.
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By Bible Speaks
Jehovah asked Job on his creation wonders, like the snow? Where does it come from? Where are his storehouses of snow and hail for war? Do you know?
38 Then Jehovah answered Job out of the windstorm:
2 “Who is this who is obscuring my counsel And speaking without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself, please, like a man; I will question you, and you inform me."
4 Where were you when I founded the earth?"
Tell me, if you think you understand?"
22 "Have you entered the storehouses of the snow,
Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,".
23 Which I have reserved for the time of distress,
For the day of battle and war?"
(Job 38:1-4,22,23) jw.org
By Bible Speaks
FEAR OF NUCLEAR WAR NOW COULD MEAN DESTRUCTION OF THE EARTH AND ALL LIFE? Will these nations on the horizon fulfill their efforts to destroy all life?
Does God care? What now?
Human efforts at unity—no matter how sincere—have proved futile. This comes as no surprise to Bible students, for God’s Word says: “It does not belong to man who is walking even to direct his step.” (Jeremiah 10:23)
The Bible also candidly states: “There exists a way that is upright before a man, but the ways of death are the end of it afterward.” (Proverbs 16:25)
Human governments can go only so far in achieving unity. Still, we are not left without hope.
The Source of True Unity
The Bible contains God’s promise that the world will be unified but not by man’s efforts. The Creator, who purposed that mankind would live in peace worldwide, will accomplish what man cannot. To some, all of that might seem far-fetched.
Yet, God’s purpose from the very beginning has been for mankind to live in peace and harmony.
Many scriptures in the Bible give evidence that bringing the human race into a unified condition is still God’s purpose. Consider just a few examples:
• “Come, you people, behold the activities of Jehovah, how he has set astonishing events on the earth. He is making wars to cease to the extremity of the earth. The bow he breaks apart and does cut the spear in pieces; the wagons he burns in the fire.”—PSALM 46:8, 9.
• “They will not do any harm or cause any ruin in all my holy mountain; because the earth will certainly be filled with the knowledge of Jehovah as the waters are covering the very sea.”—ISAIAH 11:9.
• “He will actually swallow up death forever, and the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will certainly wipe the tears from all faces. And the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for Jehovah himself has spoken it.”—ISAIAH 25:8.
• “There are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.”—2 PETER 3:13.
• “[God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”—REVELATION 21:4.
These promises are reliable. Why? Because as the Creator, Jehovah God has the power and the ability to bring unity to mankind. (Luke 18:27)
He also has the desire to do so. In fact, the Bible calls it God’s “good pleasure . . . to gather all things together again in the Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth.”—Ephesians 1:8-10.
God’s promise of “a new earth” in which “righteousness is to dwell” is not mere wishful thinking. (2 Peter 3:13)
Regarding what he promised, Jehovah God states: “It will not return to me without results, but it will certainly do that in which I have delighted, and it will have certain success in that for which I have sent it.”—Isaiah 55:11.
By Bible Speaks
"Then Jehovah answered Job out of the windstorm:
2 “Who is this who is obscuring my counsel
And speaking without knowledge?
3 Brace yourself, please, like a man; I will question you, and you inform me.
4 Where were you when I founded the earth?
Tell me, if you think you understand.
5 Who set its measurements, in case you know,
Or who stretched a measuring line across it?
6 Into what were its pedestals sunk,
Or who laid its cornerstone,
7 When the morning stars joyfully cried out together, And all the sons of God began shouting in applause?
8 And who barricaded the sea behind doors
When it burst out from the womb,
9 When I clothed it with clouds And wrapped it in thick gloom,
10 When I established my limit for it And put its bars and doors in place,
11 And I said, ‘You may come this far, and no farther;
Here is where your proud waves will stop’?
12 Have you ever commanded the morning Or made the dawn know its place,
13 To take hold of the ends of the earth And to shake the wicked out of it?
14 It is transformed like clay under a seal, And its features stand out like those of a garment.
15 But the light of the wicked is held back from them,
And their uplifted arm is broken.
16 Have you gone down to the sources of the sea
Or explored the deep waters?
17 Have the gates of death been revealed to you, Or have you seen the gates of deep darkness?
18 Have you understood the vast expanse of the earth?
Tell me, if you know all of this.
19 In which direction does the light reside?
And where is the place of darkness,
20 That you should take it to its territory
And understand the paths to its home?
21 Do you know this because you were already born
And the number of your years is great?
22 Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, Or have you seen the storehouses of the hail,
23 Which I have reserved for the time of distress,
For the day of battle and war?
24 From what direction is light dispersed,
And from where does the east wind blow on the earth?
25 Who has cut a channel for the flood
And made a path for the thunderous storm cloud,
26 To make it rain where no man lives, On the wilderness where there are no humans,
27 To satisfy devastated wastelands
And cause the grass to sprout?
28 Does the rain have a father, Or who fathered the dewdrops?
29 From whose womb did the ice emerge,
And who gave birth to the frost of heaven
30 When the waters are covered as if with stone,
And the surface of the deep waters is frozen solid?
31 Can you tie the ropes of the Kiʹmah constellation Or untie the cords of the Keʹsil constellation?
32 Can you lead out a constellation in its season Or guide the Ash constellation along with its sons?
33 Do you know the laws governing the heavens, Or can you impose their authority on the earth?
34 Can you raise your voice to the clouds
To cause a flood of water to cover you?
35 Can you send out lightning bolts?
Will they come and say to you, ‘Here we are!’
36 Who put wisdom within the clouds
Or gave understanding to the sky phenomenon?
37 Who is wise enough to count the clouds,
Or who can tip over the water jars of heaven
38 When the dust pours into a mass
And the clods of earth stick together?
39 Can you hunt prey for a lion
Or satisfy the appetites of young lions
40 When they crouch in their lairs Or lie in ambush in their dens?
41 Who prepares food for the raven
When its young cry to God for help
And wander about because there is nothing to eat?
By Bible Speaks
THE BIBLE TEACHES THAT GOD WILL DO AMAZING THINGS ON THE EARTH.
People will no longer feel pain, grow old, or die.—Revelation 21:4
“The lame will leap like the deer.”—Isaiah 35:6
“The eyes of the blind will be opened.”—Isaiah 35:5
The dead will be brought back to life.—John 5:28, 29
No one will get sick.—Isaiah 33:24
Everyone on earth will have plenty to eat.—Psalm 72:16. The Bible does more than that. It tells us what we need to know in order to be truly happy and enjoy life right now. Think for a moment about the things that make you worry. These may include money or family matters, bad health, or the death of someone you love. The Bible can help you to cope with these problems, and it can comfort you by answering such questions as these:
Why do we suffer?
How can we cope with our problems?
Can our family be happy?
What happens to us when we die?
Will we ever see our dead loved ones again?
Why can we be confident that God will do everything that he has promised? Go to JW.Org to learn these answers.
By Guest Nicole
Jeni Stepien with Arthur Thomas after he walked her down the aisle at her wedding last Friday. CreditLauren Demby
It’s a bittersweet wedding story a decade in the making: Nearly 10 years after Jeni Stepien’s father was killed, the man who received her father’s donated heart traveled from New Jersey to Pennsylvania to walk her down the aisle.
“The murder and the wedding happened within a three-block radius” in the town of Swissvale, Pa., Ms. Stepien, an elementary schoolteacher, said in an interview on Monday, as she was about to board a plane for her honeymoon. “And I was just thinking, ‘My dad is here with us, and this man is here with us because of us.’ ”
Bride Walks Down the Aisle With Man Who Was Saved by Her Father's Heart Donation Video by ABC News
This story began in September 2006, when her father, Michael Stepien, was walking home from his job as head chef at a restaurant. Mr. Stepien, 53, was cutting through an alley when he was robbed at gunpoint by a 16-year-old, who shot him in the head at close range, she said. Leslie L. Brown was convicted of second-degree murder in the killing and is serving 40 years to life in prison, according to news reports.
As her father lay dying at a hospital, Ms. Stepien said, her family “decided to accept the inevitable” and donated his organs through an organization called the Center for Organ Recovery and Education.
The organization allows donor families and the recipients to keep in touch with one another after the transplant. Mr. Stepien’s heart went to Arthur Thomas, a father of four who lives in Lawrenceville, N.J., and who Ms. Stepien said had been within days of dying.
Given a diagnosis of ventricular tachycardia about 16 years before receiving the transplant, Mr. Thomas, 72, said in an interview on Monday that he was in congestive heart failure when word arrived that his doctors had found a heart.
“In order to get to the top of the transplant list, you have to be really hurting,” Mr. Thomas said. “Once I had my transplant, I, of course, decided I would write a thank-you to the family.”
From there, a relationship was forged through monthly phone calls, emails and letters. Ms. Stepien’s mother, Bernice, kept in touch with Mr. Thomas, even swapping cards on Christmas and flowers on birthdays. At times, they compared parenting tips. But the families had not thought about meeting in person until Jeni Stepien, 33, became engaged to Paul Maenner, a 34-year-old engineer, in October.
“One of my first thoughts in that following week was, ‘Who will walk me down the aisle?’ ” Ms. Stepien said. “I was thinking, ‘Oh, my gosh, it would be so incredible to have a physical piece of my father there.’ ”
At her fiancé’s suggestion, Ms. Stepien wrote Mr. Thomas, whom the family calls Tom, asking him to walk her down the aisle. Mr. Thomas said yes, but only after running the proposition by his 30-year-old daughter, Jackie, he said.
“She said, ‘I think it’s a wonderful idea,’ ” Mr. Thomas said of his daughter, who also recommended that he start practicing walking down the aisle. (He said he practiced once before the wedding.)
Mr. Thomas, a retired college adviser who formerly worked at a boarding school in Lawrenceville, warned Ms. Stepien that his emotions might get the best of him.
Ms. Stepien said she felt the same, and told him, “I’ll be right there with you.”
The wedding took place on Friday in the church in Swissvale where Ms. Stepien’s parents were married. Mr. Thomas and the bride formally met one day earlier, when he suggested she grip his wrist, where his pulse is strongest.
“I thought that would be the best way for her to feel close to her dad,” Mr. Thomas said. “That’s her father’s heart beating.”
At the church, the bride was photographed touching Mr. Thomas’s chest. At the reception, they danced together, and guests mingled with Mr. Thomas and his wife, Nancy. The two families say they want to keep in touch and will plan a get-together somewhere down the road — maybe an event with a little less pressure.
“I felt wonderful about bringing her dad’s heart to Pittsburgh,” Mr. Thomas said. “If I had to, I would’ve walked.”
This is a story that gives new meaning to "The Little Engine That Could" in a profound way.
One source explains:
In what is called the "Great Oxidation Event," something very little appeared that started making the earth habitable for us through photosynthesis. What happened? This:
Cyanobacteria is responsible terraforming earth, transforming it from an iron-rich water world with a choking, impenetrable carbon-dioxide atmosphere to one with blue water and a clear oxygenated atmosphere. They also enlarged the coastlines of the nascent continents, called cratons. It took these little guys millions of years to accomplish this! Cyanobacteria is also very nutritious for human consumption. Where did cyanobacteria come from, being able to terraform a planet and provide humanity with nutrition? Humanity's best friend from the Creator.
 The Event that Transformed Earth http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150701-the-origin-of-the-air-we-breathe