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Day and night, the sun is something most of us take for granted. But on Respectful Insolence, disciples stare at it intently in order to gain its energy. Orac writes “sun gazers seem to think that mammals are like plants in possessing an ability to absorb energy directly from the sun”—and diehard gurus claim to have lived for years without food or water. Earnest practitioners risk blindness, dehydration, starvation and death. Orac says “Sun gazing also leaves out the fact that plants get the organic building blocks they use to produce their actual structures from the ground in which they grow. Humans have no such capacity.” As the sun grows to a red giant it will boil our oceans and strip off the atmosphere; later it “will die in a fiery, catastrophic explosion, one which will quite possibly obliterate our entire planet, and then eventually cease to shine at all.” But as Ethan Siegel reveals on Starts With a Bang, there’s a silver lining to that future planetary nebula. He says “everything that makes up you, me, and the entire planet—the tiniest parts of everything we’ve ever known—they were all made inside a star.” Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, and solar system to solar system.

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