Earth Hour 2009

Look up to the sky on a clear night. What do you see? If you live in or near a big city, chances are your response is “not much”. Even 40 miles from Chicago, I can mostly see major constellations if I squint just right but not much else.

When we visit my dad, three hundred miles deep into the north woods of Wisconsin, the first thing I do after getting out of the truck is look up. The view is breathtaking. The difference between night and day, if you’ll excuse the pun.

It’s become an emotional ritual for me. My heart beats a little faster, my eyes tear up and I feel more alive (or a little less dead) inside. This is the sky I remember as a child, bright and full of wonders, and I’m afraid that the generations after mine are going to loose that sense of wonder because there’s nothing there for them to see.

There’s a story buried in there somewhere (and I’ll be working on it as soon as I finish this weekends edits) but that’s not what this is about. 

I was doing research on the effects of light pollution when I discovered Earth Hour. Simply put, on March 28th, 2009 at 8:30PM local time, people and cities around the world will switch off their lights for one hour. Paris. Los Angeles. Chicago. Atlanta. Dallas. San Francisco. Mexico City. Five hundred cities in seventy-five countries are participating.


Raising awareness about global warming and climbing change is a good thing. Make a statement. Flip off your lights for an hour, take your kids (or someone elses, with permission) and go stargazing.

White House Briefed on Potential for Life on Mars

I did a double-take when I read the news on Slashdot this morning (the original article is on Aviation Week). The White House has been briefed by NASA officials concerning new data that is “much more complex” than the results of the test that confirmed water on Mars.

They’ve confirmed “Earth-like” soil and water. This latest news that has sparked intrigue may be related to the wet-chemical tests, where water from Earth is stirred with Martial soil. My mind is roiling with the possibilities. We may have to wait two to four weeks before an official announcement is made, though.

Go Phoenix!