Ray Kocur: a quote on the future

From the A Climate of Change (2014) documentary:

“Eventually, naivety must give way to wisdom. It’s about survival, it’s about life, it’s about living with yourself and being proud of where you stand in the world. We all want to live, but do we all want to live well? It’s hard to care. It’s even harder to admit that you were traversing the wrong path, especially when others are on that path with you. Let’s reconnect. Let’s reevaluate. What’s really important to us? Does the future matter? The answers are within us. They’re within me. My life will be my answer, your life will be yours. Together we are answering the most important question: will we be right or will we be wrong?”

Dandelion: The Beneficial Weed


“What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction.The promise that life could go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again.”

Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

Maybe you are wondering why the quote above is in this post. What does it have to do with the medical qualities of dandelion? Nothing. But it could be counted as one of those small things that make our lives more beautiful or it could be perceived as hope. Fortunately, the dandelion’s attributes don’t stop at its beauty.

Dandelions (family Asteraceae, genus Taraxacum) have been known as medicinal herbs since Antiquity. It is a marvel plant indeed. When consumed they can provide calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc and vitamins such as C, E, K, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9 and other nutrients (source: USDA Nutrient Database).

They are said to have diuretic properties and are also effective in case of constipation or gallbladder issues. Its high content in nutritive salts are effective against acids in the blood and it can soothe irritated stomachs and promote better food appetite and proper digestion. I guess there’s no need to enumerate more properties of this yellowish happy weed. So far, you have figured out it is healthy and nutritious, which is more of a reason to start consuming it. You could consider one of the following:

  1. Dandelion tea (also known as dandelion coffee): It is a herbal tea made from dandelion roots but it is not literally coffee as the alternative name suggests, but it resembles it. Can be used as a tonic for the liver or a successful laxative. The raw Taraxacum officinale roots contain sesquiterpene lactones, carotenoids, flavonoids, coumarins, phenolic acids among others.
  1. Salad made from dandelion leaves

The Elegant Universe (A Book Excerpt)

As read in Brian Greene’s The Elegant Universe:

“Calling it a cover-up would be far too dramatic. But for more than half a century – even in the midst of some of the greatest scientific achievements in history – physicists have been quietly aware of a dark cloud looming on a distant horizon. The problem is this: There are two foundational pillars upon which modern physics rests. One is Albert Einstein’s general relativity, which provides a theoretical framework for understanding the universe on the largest of scales: stars, galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and beyond to the immense expanse of the universe itself. The other is quantum mechanics, which provides a theoretical framework for understanding the universe on the smallest of scales: molecules, atoms, and all the way down to subatomic particles like electrons and quarks. Through years of research, physicists have experimentally confirmed to an almost unimaginable accuracy virtually all predictions made by each of these theories. But these same theoretical tools inexorably lead to another disturbing conclusion: As they are currently formulated, general relativity and quantum mechanics cannot both be right. The two theories underlying the tremendous progress of physics during the last hundred years – progress that has explained the expansion of the heavens and the fundamental structure of matter – are mutually incompatible.”

Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night

This marvelous poem was written by Dylan Thomas (1914-1954), one of the most important Welsh poets of the 20th century. Whoever watched the movie Interstellar will remember the scene with the black hole, accompanied by Michael Caine’s voice reciting bits of Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night, a highly appreciated piece that explores the helplessness associated with growing old and inching toward death.

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Edward Gibbon: a quote on worship

The apotheosis (transformation into gods) of Antoninus Pius and his wife Faustina; sculpted relief, c.AD 161

“The various forms of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people to be equally true, by the philosopher as equally false, and by the magistrate as equally useful.”

Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

The Oceans of the Future

Thanks to all this extra CO2, the oceans are now thirty percent more acidic than they were in 1800. Assuming that humans continue to burn fossil fuels, the oceans will continue to absorb carbon dioxide and will become increasingly acidified. Under what’s known as a “business as usual” emissions scenario, by the end of this century, the oceans will be 150 percent more acidic than they were at the start of the industrial revolution.

Read here more about ocean acidification. Elizabeth Kolbert’s book on the subject, The Sixth Extinction, won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction.

In acidic oceans, the balance of molecules needed for shell-bearing organisms to manufacture shells and skeletons is altered.

An article on the social and political problems imposed by climate change can be found on EarthIsland’s website.