The fascination of astronomy for me, beyond the beauty of the night sky, beyond the immense imponderables of a vast and ancient universe, is that our understanding¬†of the universe has been gleaned by observing a few points of light in the sky. One illustration of this can be found in the history of our knowledge of the moons of Jupiter.
When Fred Rickson taught his section of General Biology at Oregon State, I made sure to attend all of his lectures, as he opened them with his¬†evolutionary zingers, hoping that his students would would be enticed to be more prompt than usual. ¬†My favorite was his zinger about¬†the three-way symbiotic relationship between a bat, a moth, and a mite.
I treasure the science education I obtained at Oregon State University. One standout class was General Biology, a portion of which was taught by professor Fred Rickson. He did not like people slipping in late, so he gave short teasers promptly at the start of the hour, which he entitled evolutionary zingers, hoping that his students would enjoy the stories sufficiently to show up on time. It definitely worked for me. I was not in the habit of attending a lot of lectures, but the intricate stories of complex life told by professor Rickson were as attractive to me as nectar "fountains" are to acacia ants, the subject of one of his zingers.
Book Book Review, Title What Is Life?, Author Erwin Schrödinger, Rating 4.5,
I recently re-read portions Erwin Schroedinger's amazing little book What is Life?, which was a post-war stimulus for a number of physicists to switch from physics to biology and look hard for a physical understanding of living organisms.
Flora of the Pacific Northwest, by Hitchcock and Cronquist, is an excellent dichotomous key of indigenous Pacific Northwest flora. It served as one of my texts for a class in Systematic Botany at Oregon State University, which I feared would be deathly dull (and so proved the lectures), but the laboratory turned out to be a memorable journey of exploration. The laboratory setting? The Great Outdoors.
Book Book Review, Title The Global Public Square, Author Os. Guinness, Rating 2.5,
Os Guinness' The Global Public Square oscillates between a Utopian call for a universal human rights and a sectarian application of those rights, as if the author was of two minds, wrestling with the views of Roger Williams and James Dobson.
We each are given a precious life and can choose to do with it what we will. We can act in our natural self-interest and seek safety, material wealth and pleasure, or we can act outside of our direct interests, enriching our lives through the consideration of others. Our lives¬†are most meaningful and worthwhile when we love others.¬†The elements of life to be¬†savored most are those that are founded on the humble idea that we are all human beings who are worthy of consideration.