Empathy Overloaded

War as content, murder as drama entertainment

There is something about having drawn since infancy that makes it an emotional outlet. It is therapy to make a picture of the pain or trauma. Something new is seeing so much via the electronic media of this age. The millions of cameras. Until the networks are all down.

Woke to another day. Bet I am not the only person to think of the movie “Groundhog Day” as I leave the dreams and kingdom of Morpheus. The thought that things are repeating is hard to avoid. The HF radio tells me the ionosphere is still a bit mucky but there are signals. A group of amateurs who meet on the air are active. This in Morse Code, international Morse code. The painter who came up with the system over 150 years ago could not have imagined where it is now. Amateurs hundreds of miles apart sharing their plans for the day over coffee thru dits and dahs. That ancient wireless language is nearly all I listen to as I have my first coffee of the new day. They are just about always old like me. Young people don’t have much patience for learning Morse code. So it becomes just another craft kept alive as an avocation. It was revolutionary once. Continental Morse code sounds like a series of clicks. That’s the system that grew alongside the rail road. Very few people can send and receive Continental Morse (the clicks) in their heads. I work to get up to 40 WPM sending and receiving International Morse. At that speed its hard to write the letters and numbers fast enough so an operator learns to visualize. Letters form words which form sentences. Nothing critical now comes over the ether in Morse. Once it was critical to commercial and military activity. Morse code is also called CW for Continuous Wave. That a hundred years ago distinguished it from “Spark” the first form of wireless. Now, with computers the size of a fingernail running communications, signals are smeared across the radio spectrum. The evolution is getting a short hand notation, the “generation”. The thing now is 5G. Yes, that’s the same system driving people nuts and making pollinators lose their way to the pollen. Maybe that’s why I don’t pollinate any of the pretty flowers I encounter. I should get out there with a sign. Down with 5G….lets all go back to international Morse code.

Is there anything else happening that can divert my attention? Yes, there is the new space telescope. It is still named after James Webb. I say still because an attempt was made by the Woken SS to have the name changed. Seems Mister Webb used a hurtful word or slapped a woman on the butt. Something unforgivable. What that has to do with astronomy is beyond me. I do think all people, of any sex, deserve and should receive respect. I don’t think giving this telescope another name will advance human rights. Its so human – this ignoring of the cosmos in favor of obsessing about (vs fixing) shortcomings of human nature. Isn’t knowing a little about where we are, the universe, a worthy goal?

An amazing instrument now a million miles from Earth

In my life I’ve read lots of science fiction. I saw Star Wars on the first day of release before any buzz about it. Also saw Kubric’s 2001 in its first week. Following astronomy as it advances our understanding is a continuation of that. Science without the fiction has the same alure for me now as it did when I was ten years old. The difficulties of doing this, of building an observatory in space is lost on most people. Also the reason for doing it. Why not just continue staring at our feet? Don’t look up. The sky is full of stars and if you perceive your own insignificance you’ll loose the arrogance most of us have. We are not only nothing we are less than nothing. Nothing towers above us. Best to be modest and learn without empty boasting. To do so is as silly as an amoeba with an inflated ego.

Between paragraphs and photos I admit to sneaking a look at the war news. I have a bunch of Geiger counter heads, the tubes and their high voltage supply. Irony is the tubes are Russian. I got a couple dozen years ago on eBay. On an oscilloscope they show the pulses caused by alpha particles but there is no sound and no counting. I need to design and maybe program another little circuit to generate clicks. Right now its a baseline quiet of 37 clicks per minute. At 5,000 feet high in the Andes it was 62 counts per minute. Up high there is less atmosphere to filter out the “cosmic” rays. That is the indirect source of what the Geiger tubes are seeing. If there were fallout drifting over us, falling here in the woods, the count could go up to thousands, or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands per seconds. For that you need to divide the roar of clicks by those factors 10x 100x 10000x etc. Or I could just kiss my ass good bye. I can do that, now that the Covid lock down helped me loose weight. I think I could (kiss my ass goodbye), but, I might just wave to it. We’re close. It would understand. I ASSume it’ll understand. In the end it don’t matter does it?

Not really, unless simple human qualities like empathy and altruism are also degraded by leaded gas….

Ya, I know, I promised I wouldn’t look at the war or this toad in a suit.

Published by glensketch

Retired from electronics industry. Ex USN ex USAF ex expat in Ecuador.

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