Tuesday, 31 August 2010
Talking to God 3
Me: Hi God.
God: Hi there.
Me: Can I ask some more questions?
God: Sure. Go for it.
Me: I would like to know how living things came to be. Did you create them all?
God: In a manner of speaking, yes.
Me: I don’t understand.
God: Well, I deliberately never created living things directly. I created the environment for them to form and develop and they grew from there. It was great fun!
Me: I’m not sure that I understand?
God: OK. Well, do you remember when you were young and you experimented with making salt crystals?
Me: Um, yes….
God: Well, remember how you mixed the salts – bluestone or alum, in warm water until the water couldn’t dissolve any more of the salt. Then you left the glass jar in a warm place and watched it every day to see the crystals start to form and grow bigger?
Me: Oh yes, I remember doing that now. It was fun! Sometimes the crystals grew quite big and with nice shapes. The bluestone crystals were blue and the alum crystals were clear. But how does this explain how you made life?
God: In very much the same way. I made the mixture and sat back and watched the life forms develop. Some became animals and creatures and some became plants. There was also a fair mix of other strange things as well. Some didn’t last very long.
Me: How did some life forms develop in some places and not in others?
God: Because that’s where they formed. For example, kangaroos formed in the vicinity of Australia, and polar bears in the cold Arctic. Plants were the same. They are different in different parts of the world because that’s where they developed.
Me: What about us humans. Did we form that way too or did you do something different for us?
God: Nothing different. You all came about in the same way. I just treated you a bit differently, that’s all. Although you came in different shapes, sizes and colours you all had more advanced brains so I decided to help you to develop greater awareness and intelligence.
Me: Gosh, that’s wonderful! I have one more question, and I will be interested to learn your answer. What came first, the chicken or the egg?
God: Ah, now you are trying to be clever aren’t you? It’s not really a difficult question. The egg came first. How else did you expect life to form? It’s the same for all living things. The egg is the seed, and the seed came first.
Me: Wow! You sure gave that answer convincingly. And it makes sense.
God: Of course. Shall we leave it at that for today?
Me: Yes, I think so. Wow! You sure cleared up my questions again today.
God: Glad to help. Bye.
Sunday, 29 August 2010
Alfred Nobel – Millionaire – Originator of the Nobel Prize
Alfred Nobel was born in Stockholm, Sweden, on October 21, 1833.
By the age of 17 Alfred Nobel was fluent in Swedish, Russian, French, English and German. His primary interests were in English literature and poetry as well as in chemistry and physics.
He met the young Italian chemist Ascanio Sobrero in Paris who had three years earlier invented nitroglycerine, a highly explosive liquid. It was considered too dangerous to be of any practical use. Although its explosive power greatly exceeded that of gunpowder, the liquid would explode in a very unpredictable manner if subjected to heat and pressure. Alfred Nobel became very interested in nitroglycerine and how it could be put to practical use in construction work. He also realized that the safety problems had to be solved and a method had to be developed for the controlled detonation of nitroglycerine. Together with his father he performed experiments to develop nitroglycerine as a commercially and technically useful explosive.
To make the handling of nitroglycerine safer Alfred Nobel experimented with different additives. He eventually was able to make the explosive safer to handle by developing a form which he called dynamite. To detonate the dynamite rods he also invented a detonator (blasting cap) which could be ignited by lighting a fuse. The use of dynamite drastically reduced the cost of blasting rock, drilling tunnels, building canals and many other forms of construction work.
The market for dynamite and detonating caps grew very rapidly and Alfred Nobel also proved himself to be a very skillful entrepreneur and businessman. Over the years he founded factories and laboratories in some 90 different places in more than 20 countries.
He focused on the development of explosives technology as well as other chemical inventions, including such materials as synthetic rubber and leather, artificial silk, etc. By the time of his death in 1896 he had 355 patents.
When Alfred Nobel wrote his final Will it was to include a Prize yearly for persons or organizations recommended and accepted for Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace. The Nobel Foundation is the organisation set up to take care of the financial assets left by Nobel for this purpose and is generally administered in Sweden.
For further information see: http://nobelprize.org/alfred_nobel/biographical/articles/life-work/
Friday, 27 August 2010
Wednesday, 25 August 2010
General Motors NZ Fire Brigade Competition Team - Mid-1960's
I am very proud of this photograph which was taken during Wellington Area Fire Brigades competitions in the mid to late 1960's in Wainuiomata, Hutt Valley.
Our team comprised a German (right), a Dutchman (right centre), me (left centre) and another NZer (left). We were the only factory fire brigade team in the competition and we held the title for one of the fast runs called 'the Mad Mile.' Eric the German was our stand-pipe man, Joe the Dutchman controlled the water coming from the pump, and we two NZers did the running. I was the new boy in the team so it was pretty nerve-wracking but I think we won again on the day.
Anyway, it was all good fellowship and fun and I hold this photo proudly as a happy achievement in my life.
(Click to enlarge photo)
Monday, 23 August 2010
Cloud formation at sunset
Cloud shapes can be fascinating at any time, but when this occurs at sunset a whole new dimension occurs as the colours of white, then oranges, pinks and reds slowly change across the vision-scape as the sun prepares to set below the horizon. This view can be almost magical, encouraging one to rush to collect one’s camera to record this wonderful sight for all time.
For years now I have discovered the many sights of beauty that can be seen by looking up. Clouds, rainbows, flights of birds, aircraft, stars and who knows what other wonders can be seen by raising our eyes to the sky.
(Click on photo to enlarge)
Thursday, 19 August 2010
Talking to God 2
Me: Are you there God?
God: Of course. How can I help you today?
Me: I have thought a lot about the things you told me at our previous talk. Boy, that was great! Sure cleared up a lot for me.
God: I’m glad you found it helpful. What do you want to discuss today?
Me: It’s spring here now and I have some questions about the seasons. Why do they happen and what causes them?
God: Ah, now there is another miracle of mine. Do you have any ideas yourself?
Me: Not really. As you just said, it’s a miracle, and I can’t explain it. Please tell me?
God: OK, but a lot depends on how much you know now about science and
astronomy. Do you understand a little of these things?
Me: Um, yes a bit. Those two subjects were my favourites.
God: Good. OK, here goes. Did you know that the Earth is tilted on it’s axis as it revolves around the sun? Did you also know that this tilting is responsible for the changes of seasons?
Me: Yes, I thought that might have had something to do with it. But how did the earth happen to be tilted at just the right angle, and spin at just the right speed, and be just the right distance from the sun?
God: Do you want to take a guess?
Me: Well, yes, you made that happen huh?
God: You got it in one! Well done!
Me:Thanks. But what keeps the Earth tilted? Is it ever likely to straighten up at some time in the future? What about if an asteroid, meteor or comet hits us at just the right angle? Wouldn’t that straighten us up and spoil the balance of seasons and life on our planet?
God: Now that’s the critical question! Yes, that could happen, but I have built safeguards into the universe to ensure that doesn’t happen. Can you guess what they are?
Me: It must be something to do with the magnetism of the earth’s poles?
God: Correct. Good reasoning. To explain further, I have created magnetism in the whole universe that ensures that your planet will always stay tilted as it is, no matter what happens.
Me: What about other planets that are magnetic?
God: Yes, they are affected too, but for very different reasons. No need for you to understand those yet.
Me: Does that mean that Earth is the only planet with this kind of life forms?
God: Yes. Your world is unique in the entire universe, in this dimension. Everything I have created in this regard was done only for you. You see, your planet is the sole purpose for this universe. I love all of the human, animal and plant life that exists there, and everything on your world is protected by the might of the entire universe.
Even your planet has built-in safeguards to ensure its survival. Like volcanoes that reinvigorate the soils, the way the clouds and rain recycle the water from the oceans, storms and changing weather conditions help to purify the atmosphere, and a myriad of other activities that protect and ensure your survival.
Me: Wow! I never realized…
God: Well, there you go then! I think that’s enough for today, don’t you?
Me: Gosh, I sure do. I’ll think about all of this and call you another time. I still have a lot I want to know about.
God: That’s fine. Remember, I’m always here.
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
When we were kids.....
This old photo is from my family collection. It was taken about 60 years ago and all of those in it are now over 60 years of age.
The young fellow with the short haicut is yours truly, with my neighbour and friend Laurie sitting behind with the funny face and the hat on.
The other three are my two girl cousins Margaret and Gaye on the rocking horse, and the baby is their younger brother Rodney.
The old truck was one of the first vehicles my Dad and uncle owned when they bought a coal and carrier partnership business in Hamilton.
Don't you just like old photos? They really bring back memories for me, and give my readers something to laugh at, or at least smile about... :-)
(Click on the photo to enlarge)
Sunday, 15 August 2010
Friday, 13 August 2010
Waikawau Bay - Family Walk, Coromandel Beach
Waikato River Walk above Arapuni Dam
These two pictures were painted by my friend Tom Shanks who also took the photos in my previous blog.
I like Tom's paintings as they depict what they are meant to depict, the scenes and people. I wish and hope that one day I may be able to paint even half as good!
For more of Tom's art see his website at http://www.tomshanks.co.nz/
Thanks Tom for allowing me the use of your photos and art.
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
Scenic Photos of the South Island of New Zealand
These beautiful photos were taken by my friend Tom Shanks, who is not only a good photographer, but is also an excellent waterpaint artist who lives in Hamiltom, NZ.
Tom sent me these photos at my request, for me to use as pictures to paint. So far I haven't had the time but asked Tom if he would allow me to show them here, and he agreed.
Next time I will show some of Tom's art.
Monday, 9 August 2010
Saturday, 7 August 2010
This scene shows a farmer's fields (we call them paddocks) that have recently been ploughed.
Now I am not exactly sure of the reason for this particular farm - it may be because the farmer may have had maize or some other crop growing and it has finished and he is getting ready for the next season's planting, or it may be because his grass is old and needs to be resowed.
Now this resowing of grass was not something that I was aware that had to be done until I spoke to a retired farmer who enlightened me on this.
It appears that grass on farms only has a limited growing life and for the growth to be healthy and beneficial to cattle it occasionally has to be ploughed in and replanted. It looks to me as though this farmer is doing just that to his paddocks, specially as he only appears to be doing half of each field at a time so that he can still run his cattle on the other half until the new grass has matured. Then he will do the other half of each one, so completing his resowing.
(Click on the photo to enlarge)
Wednesday, 4 August 2010
Talking to God 1
Me: “Uh, hi God. I wonder if I can talk to you, man to Deity so to speak. Do you have time?”
God: “Of course I have time. I have time for all of my companions. What do you want to talk about?”
Me: “Um, I have trouble, you see, understanding how the Universe was created for a start. Can you please explain that?”
God: “My son, the universe wasn’t created. It has always existed, just as I have always existed. I know that Man has difficulty understanding things that have no beginning or end, because you are used to thinking in terms of starts and endings. But these limits do not exist. The universe full of what you call galaxies, supernovas, black holes, planets and the entire myriad of stars and worlds that your scientists are now able to discover and mistakenly believe have limited lives, are my miracles. Just as you had a Meccano set when you were a boy and was able to make many different things using the same parts, so I do, on a much larger scale of course, with these stars and worlds. They may appear to be born and eventually die, but there are no beginnings and endings, only changes in form. A dying star becomes what you call a black hole, which is a stage in its metamorphosis into another form. That form then ceases to exist in what you might call your ‘dimension’ but eventually takes a totally new form in a different dimension.”
Me: “Gee, I never for a moment thought that happened. If there is no beginning or end, what about life here on my world? Aren’t we born and then eventually die – the total end of us?”
God: “Ah, I could see that question coming! You humans and other life forms behave in the same way. Your birth is a metamorphosis from one ‘dimension’ to another. When the time comes for your current life to exit your present world you ‘die’ and metamorphose into another form in another dimension, and so you continue to exist, but in a different form.” Do you understand what I have been telling you?
Me: “ Uh, yes, I think so.”
God: “ Was there anything else you wanted to ask me?”
Me: “ I want to ask you so much, but I had better think about what you have told me first. Can I speak with you again?”
God: “Sure, any time. Remember, I always have time for my companions. Just call. I am always here.”
Monday, 2 August 2010
I discovered this picture of a blackbird which I took last year and thought it might make an interesting subject for today’s blog.
First I located this very old nursery rhyme which I am sure that most of us remember from our childhood, and was interested to read the story behind the rhyme. For those not familiar with English history, a sixpence was a silver coin worth 1/40th of a British pound, or half of a shilling, and also equivalent to six British pennies. This currency is now obsolete, of course with decimal currency.
In the 1700’s when this poem was ‘invented’ sixpence would have been quite a princely sum. So here’s the poem:
Sing a Song of Sixpence
Sing a Song of Sixpence,
A pocket full of Rye,
Four and twenty blackbirds
Bak'd in a Pie.
When the pie was opened,
The birds began to sing;
Was not that a dainty dish,
To set before the king?
The king was in his counting-house,
Counting out his money;
The queen was in the parlor,
Eating bread and honey.
The maid was in the garden,
Hanging out the clothes,
There came a little blackbird,
And snapped off her nose.
They sent for the king's doctor,
Who sewed it on again,
He sewed it on so neatly,
The seam was never seen.
The last verse was not commonly known in recent times but was considered to be a happy ending to the story.
For more information about this poem see the website here: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1904/whats-the-nursery-rhyme-sing-a-song-of-sixpence-all-about