G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

Shel Silverstein : “Talked my head off Worked my tail off Cried my eyes out Walked my feet off Sang my heart out So you see, There’s really not much left of me.” ~

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Civilization Exists by Sun-Eating Weed’s Consent Too

Will Durant has said: “Civilization exists by geologic consent, subject to change without notice". It isn’t the only consent we need.

Guardian, Georgina Ferry, on September 29, 2007 has reviewed the book: “Eating the Sun: How Plants Power the Planet” by Oliver Morton.

We all are taught photosynthesis is very simple. Carbon dioxide plus water plus energy from the sun equals glucose plus oxygen. It’s not that simple.

Scientists were not satisfied with this cookery-book approach from the earliest years of the 20th century. They finally discovered

“…the number of molecules of the photosynthetic pigment chlorophyll that it takes to produce one molecule of oxygen in full sunlight is not one, but 2,480. Trapping energy, storing and releasing it is all about transferring electrons along chains of molecules,..”

“…To make use of the energy locked up in our food we need oxygen. For more or less the first half of its life, the Earth had very little oxygen in its atmosphere. By around 2.4bn years ago, oxygen produced by photosynthetic bacteria was beginning to build up in the atmosphere in quantities that could support animal life. In an astonishing evolutionary short cut, some of the first multi-celled organisms then engulfed these green bacteria and incorporated their photosynthetic machinery into their own cells. Result: an explosion of green plants that covered the planet in (relatively) short order…”

Astrobiologists tend to agree that whatever forms life might take, on Earth or elsewhere, it will always need oxygen. The trick, then, is to develop telescopes that can detect oxygen in the atmospheres of planets orbiting other stars. How many of these there might be, in Morton's view, is "the biggest question that we currently have it in our hands to answer".

Therefore, when you next pass by an ordinary weed, you may like it or not, just bow a little.


Artist: James Stevenson The New Yorker May 18, 1963

No comments: