Standing on the Shoulders of Giants – YouTube

Excellent 17 minute quick overview of the history of astronomy replete with nifty animations gleaned and used well from documentaries.  It also conveys (lightly) our understanding of where we are and just how small our place is the Universe…  (with a teeny tiny touch of irreligiousity at the end).  It should be mentioned that this is just a taste of the wonder that is Astronomy.  But if you’re someone who probably wont pursue Astronomy further, it’s a great taste.

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a TimeTurn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Anyone who has been to or is going to Machu Picchu should read this book. It is a well written, humorous journey around many of the most important sites from the Incan Empire following the footsteps of the man credited for it’s “rediscovery”, Hiram Bingham. You won’t get bogged down in science or history, but you may be energized (like me) to learn more. Mr. Adams writing style is similar to Bill Bryson’s and is very accessible. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

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This I believe…

I am a secular humanist, one who believes that we can be good and further humanity while we are here and do not need any supernatural sugar daddy waiting to party for eternity with us (thank you Bill Maher)…  Life is what you make of it, if gaining some special salvation at the end is what YOU need to motivate YOU to do good, then go for it, but don’t hang your need for a eternal severance package on me, your children or anyone else.  Humans should do good for the sake of good and the sake of humanity, not for some “deal”.  If there is a reason for existence it is that we exist and strive to continue to exist so that those that come after us can continue to exist…

I hope humanity is moving towards a post-theological existence.  It has caused enough grief.  Our need for the supernatural is inversely proportional to our universal knowledge.  We’ve basically gone from many gods to one.  As we learn to explain life and the universe’s processes better, I believe we will become less reliant on our need to say “it’s God’s will” and therefore “it be done”.  The last vestiges of a primal need to use the supernatural to explain how things work can then fall away, without ramification.  We just have to let them… good bye Santa, Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, angels, demons and God…

My faith is in humanity and it’s potential to overcome it’s own animal nature.  We are a product of nature.  Our animal tendencies are exhibited on a daily basis through greed and the battle for power, the devouring of other species, the waste of resources and rampant procreation are visible at every level of life on this planet, including our own.  We should use our ability to rise above those animal tendencies, with NO hope of reward.  We should strive to become the caretakers of this world.  That should be the true goal of humanity… and if you need a purpose for human life, well there ya go…