Public Notice is noticing that spring is in full swing with so many kid-friendly opportunities to make community spirit grow.
We and the lad have been taking in that brilliant PBS series Life Beyond Earth, which explores the question of whether or not we are alone in this elegant universe. The mini-series is produced and hosted by dashing über-nerd Timothy Ferris, who first sent us swooning back in the early Eighties with his equally brilliant Creation of the Universe. An ex-Rolling Stone editor, Ferris (a scientist and a journalist... oooh!) has a truly engaging way of bringing science to the great unwashed -- and as far as that discipline goes, our mitts are clearly smudged with interest, but alas, also ignorance. Professor Ferris (UC Berkeley) was the guy behind the record that was launched aboard the Voyager interstellar spacecraft in 1977, containing sounds of Earth and encoded photographs. He was also one of the journalists selected and to fly aboard the space shuttle in 1986. Anyway, the point of this rambling fan rave is that the content of said exposition had us reconsidering our closely held life view that we humans are but wee, insouciant specks catching a ride inside the pouch of some giant cosmic kangaroo. Not that these reconsiderations had us convinced of beliefs any less humble. (We are still quite impressed with the significance of our universal insignificance.) What it did have us wondering was, why would anybody out there want to talk to us? Sure, we have a beautiful planet to show them, and we certainly have proven our curiosity for planets other than our own, but look at the state we are in. We still plunder our Earth Mama for short-term gratification every chance we get. We still treat each other like complete crap. We still find war a viable option to solving disputes. We still control resources for political, as opposed to humanitarian, purposes. We still raise our kids to be as ignorant as we are. Anybody out there of equal- or greater-evolved status would scoff, laugh at our lack of progress in the compassion and wisdom departments. Plus, once we find these kin, what then? Our own history has proven over and over again that our interactions will probably be less in the interest of pure science and more to usher in yet another age of colonization and hostile cultural/biological takeover. We have a lot of work to do to be worthy of introducing ourselves to even the simplest of single-celled beings out there. KLRU has been running the two-parter for the last few weeks and will do so again next week (Sun-Mon, Apr 23-24, for you eager tapehead-types). KLRU-TV, http://www.klru.org or 471-4811.
We Travel the Spaceways
Okay, truth. The rant above is steeped in something deeper. See, this month is Child Abuse Prevention Month. The only hope we have to improve as a species lies in our future. Interestingly, all of this week's head's up are about kid, kid-related, or kid-germane events.
On the Kid Tip