Two days of beauty ...
The last two days are divided into four folders:
Brooker Creek Preserve (February 13, 2009) - the star of which is a red tailed hawk's nest
Wall Springs (February 13, 2009) - the fish are especially visible, and quite beautiful, within the crystal clear blue-gren water of the spring. Of particular interest is the remora attached to a fish. In addition, there are the shore birds and a bald eagle flying overhead.
Newborn Ducklings (February 14, 2009) - Crescent Lake's delightful bird life, including especially the lovely mandarin duck, the newborn ducklings, and so forth.
Manatees Return (February 14, 2009) - the St. Petersburg shoreline provides the shore birds, the boats, and of special significance ... the return of the manatees. The manatees have spent the winter at the power plants but winter has ended and they are returning to their warm weather habitats.
GM is going bankrupt:
To which I say: About time! After becoming fat and wealthy off the SUV craze the auto industry doesn't deserve to survive any longer.
Do you ever read the Bible? Here is a prophecy about the good ol' US of A:
"Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!" (Revelation 18:19 ... read the whole chapter)
The world's last remaining Superpower is quickly running out of time. Collapse is imminent and there isn't anything anybody can do to stop it from happening. This economic crisis which we are presently experiencing is much bigger than the United States of America. All the efforts to stop it from destroying us, no matter how expensive, amount to little more than a person holding up his hands against a tsunami.
I finished reading Ben Bova's Mars. The book was absolutely horrible and confirmed all of the insults expressed about the quality of science fiction writing. The book ends with an argument on behalf of space exploration:
"We'll come back to Mars one day, just as surely as the sun rises. ... Because we have to. The human race has to. We're explorers, Tony. All of us. Even you: It's what brought you here. It's been built into our blood, into our brains. That's what science is all about. Human beings have to learn, have to search and seek and explore. We need to, just as a flower needs water and sunlight. It's what made our ancestors move out of Africa and spread across the Earth. Now we're spreading across the solar system and someday we'll start to move out to the stars. You can't stop that, Tony. Nobody can. It's what makes us human."
This is a common argument and in fact one which I made myself several decades ago when the human expansion into space seemed like the next logical step. Unfortunately, though, human space exploration has already peaked. The Apollo missions constitute the boundary of human space exploration. The last man to walk on the moon was also the last man to ever walk on the moon.
There is no future for humankind in space. Humans will never walk on Mars. Humans will never return to the moon. Humankind has spent the last several decades stuck in low earth orbit and even that shall end some day soon.
The era of human space flight is nearing its end. The death of the Space Shuttle might vey well constitute the very end of American space exploration. Bankrupt and insolvent nations cannot afford such luxuries.
Nature has confined humankind to the Earth. There is no other home for our species. Humans have trashed the Earth. The Earth isn't going to remain hospitable to human life for very much longer. Humans will go extinct like so many millions of other species. Humankind isn't exempt from the laws of nature, our foolish presumption and arrogance notwithstanding.
The present economic crisis, as terrible as it is, is trivial compared to what is coming. A much bigger catastrophe is coming and it will occur before the 21st century is finished.
Humankind's future is bleak ... but Nature will survive, recover and prosper.