Columns

Why it’s so hard to understand the cosmos

Why it’s so hard to understand the cosmos

Our human logical-mind system, which operates through symbolic language, seems inadequate to meaningfully probe the universe’s true nature. We all know that the word ‘ice’ is not actual ice. But most seem unaware of the profound degree to which the universe is unrelated to our thoughts about it. We need a different tool for the job.

Coming up: Big Hudson River tides

Coming up: Big Hudson River tides

Extremely high Hudson River tides start this Sunday and peak Tuesday, April 27. That’s because Monday’s Full Moon happens just before it reaches its closest approach of the month. And its third nearest meeting with Earth of the entire year, missing second place by just 42 miles.

Forget the Moon and Mars too

Forget the Moon and Mars too

It’s not even fun anymore. Since we last landed humans on the Moon in December, 1972, nine US presidents have announced plans to return. Only Barack Obama didn’t make that declaration.  During the most recent such speech on the Fourth of July in 2019, with TV cameras rolling, Donald Trump grandly told the celebrated Apollo flight director Gene Kranz, “I want you to know that we’re going back to the Moon very soon – and someday soon, we will plant the American flag on Mars.”

Global warming update and maybe check your home’s CO2 too

Global warming update and maybe check your home’s CO2 too

The Earth’s carbon dioxide level was 326 parts per million when I moved to Woodstock in 1972. By 1989, when my daughter was born, it had reached 352 ppm. Now this week in March 2021, it stands at 416 ppm. What’s worse, it used to rise by one ppm per year. It currently increases by three ppm annually.

The dark side of the full moon

The dark side of the full moon

When the Full Moon arrives next Saturday night, the 27th, let’s finally learn its brightness. For, in the mass media the past 20 years or so, all sorts of make-believe things have been presented about the Full Moon.

Susan Slotnick: The old woman in the snow 

Susan Slotnick: The old woman in the snow 

Several years ago while cross-country skiing with my 18-year-old daughter, we came upon an icy patch next to a ledge. My prudent daughter removed her skis. I kept mine on, sat on them and proceeded to slide down the hill on my derriere.  My impudent “devil may care” behavior precipitated loud screams of, “Mommy! Mommy! Take off your skis.”

Susan Slotnick: Vaccines for prisoners

Susan Slotnick: Vaccines for prisoners

The question concerning prisoner’s rights to vaccinations is one of medical ethics. Who has the right to decide whose life is more valuable and deserves to be saved? Should a person who committed terrible acts of violence be prioritized before a taxpaying law-abiding citizen? What also of the people in prison, and there are many, who should not have been imprisoned at all? If it was up to you to choose, what would you do?