Gravitational Waves Exist: The Inside Story of How Scientists Finally Found Them

How we discovered gravitational waves
Just over a billion years ago, many millions of galaxies from here, a pair of black holes collided. They had been circling each other for aeons, in a sort of mating dance, gathering pace with each orbit, hurtling closer and closer. By the time they were a few hundred miles apart, they were whipping around at nearly the speed of light, releasing great shudders of gravitational energy. Space and time became distorted, like water at a rolling boil. In the fraction of a second that it took for the black holes to finally merge, they radiated a hundred times more energy than all the stars in the universe combined. They formed a new black hole, sixty-two times as heavy as our sun and almost as wide across as the state of Maine. As it smoothed itself out, assuming the shape of a slightly flattened sphere, a few last quivers of energy escaped. Then space and time became silent again.

IN THE LIGHT OF HOME

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Those eloquent Welsh folks have a word for something we vagabond Americans can’t seem to name: hiraeth. It means something like homesickness for a home you cannot return to, or even a home that never existed at all; an intense longing for one’s motherland; a grief-tinged nostalgia for the lost places in the world where one’s heart once fit.

Zika and the New Climate Dystopia — Human Hothouse as Disease Multiplier

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There are a plethora of diseases out there. Diseases we don’t know about. Diseases locked away in far-off, rarefied corners of the world. Diseases that operate in small niche jungle environments. Diseases that live in only cave systems or within a single species. Diseases that were locked away millions of years ago in the now-thawing ice. Diseases that, if given a vector — or a means to travel outside of their little rarefied organic or environmental niches — can wreak untold harm across wide spans of the globe.

Dark Ecology

Dark Ecology by Paul Kingsnorth
By Paul Kingsnorth These are the things that make sense to me right now, when I think about what is coming and what I can do, still, with some joy and determination. If you don’t feel despair, in times like these, you are not fully alive. But there has to be something beyond despair too; or rather, something that accompanies it, like a companion on the road. This is my approach, right now. It is, I suppose, the development of a personal philosophy for a dark time; a dark ecology. None of it is going to save the world – but then there is no saving the world, and the ones who say there is are the ones you need to save it from.

An Altar in the Wilderness – Book Trailer

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Kaleeg Hainsworth, drawing upon his experiences in the Canadian wilderness, grounds his book in the literary, philosophical, mystical and historical teachings of the spiritual masters of both East and West, outlining the human experience of the sacred in nature. He offers a vision of life in which a human being stands in the world of nature as at an altar built in the wilderness, a sacred offering in a holy place.

The Ecology of Language

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By Abbie Simmonds Robert Macfarlane recently reminded us of how many words we are losing in the UK on a daily basis and the danger that poses to the future of our countryside: ‘[We are in] an age when a junior dictionary finds room for “broadband” but has no place for “bluebell'”. What will happen when children can no longer name Oak or Beech, Sparrow or Robin? Will they wish to protect an area of nameless land inhabited by nameless creatures? To take away a person’s name is to ‘de-humanise’, making it easier to avoid any sort of messy emotional attachment and opening the ‘thing’ up to exploitation, abuse or extermination. If we are losing the lexicon of the natural world, is it any wonder that rainforests full of trees, insects and animals are being destroyed by CEOs of foreign companies who have reduced the entire, living ecosystem of the Amazon to a ‘commodity’?

Towards Cultures of Aliveness: Politics and Poetics in a Postdualistic Age, an Anthropocene Manifesto

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Enlightenment thinking is coming to an end. The "Anthropocene" claims to step beyond the dualism of man–nature opposition. Culture is everywhere. This might be an opportunity for sustainable action: saving nature becomes a cultural endeavour. However, the salute to anthropocene stewardship masks the silent enclosure of life within technoculture and bioeconomy. Civilization still operates as if reality is about organizing inert, dead matter in efficient ways.

The Prophet Earth, And How to Listen to it

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An old professor and mentor during my seminary days used to say, ‘listening is love in action.’ I have returned to this phrase many times over the years, but never more than now. We humans are facing what Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, called ‘multiple global emergencies’ during his speech to the 70th General Assembly of the United Nations. Several decades of successive wars in the Middle East have resulted in a refugee crisis which is unprecedented in history and on a scale which is unimaginable with no end in sight. The world order itself is also unravelling, as was evident to anyone following the UN Assembly this year, and there are massive demographic and economic shifts occurring right now around the world. What is more, Pope Francis claimed recently that we are fully engaged in a ‘piecemeal third world war.’ However, what every country in the world acknowledged, both in the recent UN Assembly, and in their collective commitments to the Paris Climate Summit, our greatest global emergency is that of climate change. If we are to engage properly with these global emergencies, and do so with love, then there has never been a time more important than this one for us to listen.

In Gratitude for the Pope’s Encyclical

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Well, as my twelve year old daughter sometimes tells me, ‘haters gonna hate, potatoes gonna potate.’ The rest of us, however, welcome the Pope’s Encyclical like the charge of the Rohirrim. So, on behalf of the millions around the world already suffering the effects of climate change (like the residents of Sao Paulo running out of water and the millions more watching their lakes, rivers, food, and wildlife disappear or are trying to survive extreme heat waves), I want to say thank you to the Pope for two important reasons.

Paying for Urban Infrastructure in Canada

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Local governments in Canada are on the front lines of climate change impacts, but the cost of adapting infrastructure to flooding and other climate-driven challenges is a barrier to implementation. This report, developed by ACT through a project supported by Natural Resources Canada under the program of the Economics Working Group of Canada’s Adaptation Platform and the Cowichan Valley Regional District, identifies and analyzes the applications and suitability of funding sources available to Canadian local governments that can be used to pay for urban climate change adaptation, as well as innovative measures that may be implemented in the future under certain conditions.

Signs of drought appear to be in Western Canada for the long term

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Rocky Mountain streams usually peak with spring melt late in June, but some hit the high-water mark two weeks ago and are rapidly dwindling. Dr. Pomeroy said some areas are already extremely dry and reduced river flows will hit them hardest. “There was record dry in Saskatchewan in May, and so that’s quite bad,” he said. “It doesn’t take that long for [the soil to dry out] and then the prairies start to call it a drought and … I’m sure some farmers are already in trouble.”

Faith and Ecology in the Shadow of Climate Chage

Faith and Ecology in the Shadow of Climate Change
Author, speaker, ecologist, outdoorsman, and preacher, Kaleeg Hainsworth draws upon a lifetime of experience in the wilderness, and grounds this lecture in the literary, philosophical, mystical and historical teachings of both East and West, arguing for a human experience of the sacred in nature. In this climate change era, he offers a vision of life in which a human being stands in the world of nature as at an altar built in the wilderness, a sacred offering in a holy place. He also addresses issues of faith and the bible as they relate to what we know about the environment today.

AS OF June 2015: Climate Change in Maldives

Sheesh! “Such an option is essential given that the very oceans that support Maldives’ economy would engulf it by the end of the century, eradicating a 2000-year-old culture.”

http://www.haveeru.com.mv/news/60557

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jun/03/the-maldives-cannot-represent-climate-leadership-with-an-autocrat-at-the-helm

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27639-small-atoll-islands-may-grow-not-sink-as-sea-levels-rise.html#.VXAYG87n81U

essential read below, but

~ read more ~

AS OF June 2015: Climate Change in Jakarta

http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/news/pulp-paper-giant-april-stops-cutting-indonesias-rainforests/

re below: climate change is also in the details, not in the landslide, which is tragic, but in this, the last paragraph: “Heavy rain in May triggered a landslide in Pangalengan district in Bandung, West Java, which killed at least five people and caused the explosion of a geothermic pipe owned by Geothermal Start Energy.”

~ read more ~

AS OF June 2015: Climate Change in Marshal Islands

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/02/150213-tuvalu-sopoaga-kench-kiribati-maldives-cyclone-marshall-islands/

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ng-interactive/2015/mar/11/climate-change-in-the-marshall-islands-and-kiribati-before-and-after-interactive

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/5/18/disaster-after-disaster-in-low-lying-marshall-islands.html

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/5/20/climate-migration-.html

New study reaffirms the link between conservative religious faith and climate change doubt

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Last week, I blogged about a striking figure created by evolutionary biologist Josh Rosenau of the National Center for Science Education, plotting U.S. based faiths and denominations based on 1) their members’ views about the reality of human evolution and 2) those members’ support for tough environmental laws. The figure (below) has created much discussion, both because of what it seems to suggest about the unending debate over the relationship between science and religion, but also because of how it appears to confirm that more conservative leaning denominations harbor a form of science resistance that extends well beyond evolution rejection and into the climate change arena.

The Future of Oil Supply

The Future of Oil - Mad Max
This study by Richard G. Miller and Steven R. Sorrell for the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (a scientific journal with 350 years of research behind it) is provided here for two reasons. First, the study is thorough and fascinating, a valuable resource for anyone in the industry or considering divestment. However, the second reason I have provided it here, is that it also represents a time capsule of sorts. The study was published in 2013, which is not long ago, but in climate and energy landscape in the world, it is a very long time ago indeed. In 2013, the question was still, 'when will we hit peak oil'. Now, the question is, 'How soon can we divest from oil before it is worth more in the ground?' Also, it will be interesting to return to this article in a few years hence to see just where it stands in relation to the petroleum industry (and age) at that time.

Creation Care Calgary Retreat

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Fr. Kaleeg Hainsworth will be coming to Sanctum Retreat Centre to inspire and educate retreat participants in a spiritually grounded ecological world view. The Friday-Saturday (May 8 & 9) retreat will build upon Fr. Hainsworth’s book “An Altar in the Wilderness,” and start to explore material he is preparing for his latest writing project.

Reading on the Drive

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Thus began the bringing out of chairs. There were two folding metal chairs (i can't stand them), four were something resembling a knee high box with a cut out handle, except with a step built in, two dinner table chairs with totally different fabrics (rickety), and a table which had to be carried carefully so it didn't fall into two halves. This collection of furniture outside on the street was absolutely random and fit in with everything around them and everything had the bright green new leaves across from us near the sidewalk as a backdrop.

Authors for Indies Day

authors-for-indies
Please join me and the good folks at The People's Co-op Bookstore on Commercial Drive to support them, and all Independent Bookstores. I will be helping out in the bookstore and talking to people about my book and much else. I will be giving a reading at 4pm, followed by questions and answers. Here is a letter from the national Authors for Indies spokesperson:

Presentation of An Altar in the Wilderness

Author Presentation of An Altar in the Wilderness - April 22, 2015 at 7pm - Book Warehouse (4118 Main St)
Kaleeg Hainsworth, drawing upon his experiences in the Canadian wilderness, grounds his book in the literary, philosophical, mystical and historical teachings of the spiritual masters of both East and West, outlining the human experience of the sacred in nature. He offers a vision of life in which a human being stands in the world of nature as at an altar built in the wilderness, a sacred offering in a holy place.