Weekend Diversion: Aquarium Art (Synopsis)

“Life is life’s greatest gift. Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own. On life’s scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature who owns it than the largest.” –Lloyd Biggle, Jr.

And yet it’s certainly something to consider how little attention we pay to the place which houses the vast majority of Earth’s life: the oceans. Covering the majority of the planet’s surface and containing the majority of our planet’s biomass, the undersea realm is often forgotten in our day-to-day lives. Have a listen to Bill Evans as his trio plays their jazz classic,

How Deep Is The Ocean?,

while you consider the ocean in miniature.

Image credit: Olivier Thebaud, France / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase, of the 22nd place entrant this year.

Image credit: Olivier Thebaud, France / Courtesy IAPLC & Aquabase, of the 22nd place entrant this year.

Founded in the late 1990s by Japanese “aquascaper” Takashi Amano, the International Aquatic Plants Layout Contest has just concluded their 15th annual contest, receiving over 2,500 entries from all across the world!

Image credit: 5th place, Metempsychosis by Yi Ye, China.

Image credit: 5th place, Metempsychosis by Yi Ye, China.

Come learn all about it — and see the winners — for this edition of our weekend diversion!

Comments

  1. #1 Carl
    USA
    October 19, 2015

    “Life is life’s greatest gift. Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own. On life’s scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature who owns it than the largest.” –Lloyd Biggle, Jr.

    Also,

    “Are God and Nature then at strife, That Nature lends such evil dreams? So careful of the type she seems,
    So careless of the single life […] Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw With ravine, shriek’d against his creed” – Tennyson

    Tennyson preceded Biggle, and complained that Nature demands blood to live; God values life, but Nature doesn’t care – “I bring to life, I bring to death”.

    Biggle, a 20th century man, reflects the same sentiment but avoids mention of the conflict inherent in all animals’ life – that we kill to live.

    I admire how we strive to make life better for all. Humans first; reduce pain, minimize injury, postpone death. Animals next; care for dogs and cats and horses – kill those we must “humanely”. Kill fewer and fewer; someday soon we might have hydroponic meat. In the far future, we may not need once-living organics for fuel.

    I’m proud of our sensitivities and our skill in accomplishing difficult tasks. No kidding here – in the long run we may create a Hindu paradise, where reincarnation as a cockroach doesn’t involve an agonizing poisoned death.

    Still, I’m not cut out to ignore the realities of life in 2015, where Humanity, life’s great new hope for betterment, still must kill to live.

  2. #2 Carl
    USA
    October 19, 2015

    And to those that are bothered by the word “God”, consider Tennyson’s time and culture. It’s simply history.

  3. #3 Wow
    October 19, 2015

    Yeah, sorry, trying to work out what the hell god is if it makes nature be at strife with it. I thought it was all-powerful.

    And the problem isn’t Tennyson’s time. It’s ours. And the nutjobs that are losing their normalcy and fighting ever more violently against it.

  4. #4 Carl
    USA
    October 19, 2015

    If truly interested in what Tennyson meant by God, a read of his poem ‘In Memoriam’ helps. It’s huge; search for “red in tooth and claw” to get to the part I’ve been mentioning.

    My take is that Tennyson blends many things together when saying “God”. The Christian New Testament view of god is included (salvation, forgiveness, love). I also sense it equated to ultimate goodness, love of life, escape from death.

    The concepts are powerful and important to most people at some point in their lives. They certainly didn’t originate with Christianity, but are used in the Christian theology.

  5. #5 Wow
    October 19, 2015

    “My take is that Tennyson blends many things together when saying “God”. ”

    Which is why it doesn’t matter what Tennyson’s times were.

    Today, because their comfort in religion is no longer shrouded in the social acceptance of everyone they know (this would be true, mind,even if everyone in their locality still were precisely the same religiosity as before,since the media, and the internet, expose them to more people, and there’s ALWAYS been more people who believe differently),and in fear to keep the ghosts of their insecurities at bay, they will insist everything and anything is THEIR god (or their satan if they want it stopped). And go hang for anyone who doesn’t agree.

    Your religion should be you, and only you, in a faith that you feel, NOT one you were told. You cannot have a genuine faith and feel god (if there actually is one) and EVER manage to pass that on to someone else, because NO MATTER WHAT you will get it wrong. And damage the chance of anyone else finding it, because they’ll be looking for what they were told to find, not what’s there.

    And shoehorning the infinite into their tiny preconceptions.

    AT BEST religion can give you some of the thoughts of previous people. But they will only ever BE the thoughts of previous people.

    But, oddly enough, those most convinced they know what ever it is god is, want to tell people what they’re supposed to see. Not let them find it for themselves.

    Because it isn’t what god is they’re looking for. They’re looking for a big brother to shield them and tell them they will never die. And let them, even vicariously, relish the pain and suffering of others who they don’t like.

  6. #6 Carl
    USA
    October 19, 2015

    We’ve drifted into the topic of religion. Religious facts are few; most of the data are historical observations and anecdotes. This is opinion (aka religious “faith”), not reproducible science. It’s clear you have settled on your thoughts and opinions on religion, or at least evangelical Christianity, so there’s not much reason to extensively dialog about it.

    However, I’ll put my thoughts out there for others before I move on. I believe that many individuals have needs that aren’t met by reason and logic alone (e.g. a reason or purpose for their life). Groups of people need a common set of values to define acceptable practices. A religion that meets those needs and provides socially beneficial structure can be successful. There is benefit to such a religion, regardless of whether the god they worship exists or not.

    Scientific reason has a hard time meeting some common needs that people have. There are many different cultural sets of values; all of them work acceptably well (since the culture exists). Scientific reason has a hard time saying what people should do and should not do, to the level that is apparently necessary (using history as a guide). If all those cultures worked, how does science select one over another?

    From a purely social perspective, I feel that a religion of forgiveness and nonviolence is pretty good. Of course, people are not angels and will merely pay lip service to such a foundation if threatened or tempted. Still, the ideals aren’t too bad. I suspect a foundation of hatred and murder(*) could work too, but I wouldn’t want to live in it.

    The modern West is trying to purge religion and seems to be coasting on the remnants of cultural norms that have a religious foundation. We will see if the reduction in moral and ethical guidance can form a scientific rational culture. That could be pretty awesome, but it depends upon what’s OK and what isn’t. And who gets to decide, who and how norms get enforced, and how quickly they change.

    I’m not optimistic. I think too many of us are too self involved and callous. The threat of judgement and inescapable punishment for misdeeds is pretty good for keeping baser instincts in check. Nothing is perfect, but I’m certain there is a statistical effect.

    Those that live long enough will see – interesting times indeed!

    (*) I am NOT characterizing any religion I know, just simply reversing the characteristics of the previous example.

  7. #7 PJ
    Perth, west Oz
    October 19, 2015

    What a beautiful art form. Pity we cannot rebuild our oceans & rivers in a similar manner to reinvigorate our planet. Then again, could be a worthwhile project to consider before terra forming another planet Mars ?).

  8. #8 Ragtag Media
    October 19, 2015

    Folks. Here is “God” and how you reach him. It Ain’t Fuckin Rocket science.
    “Dear Lord, I am one lost and confused mother ‘fer. Please show me the way.”
    THAT’S IT FOLKS HUMILTY…..HUMBLE YOURSELF.

  9. #9 Ragtag Media
    October 19, 2015

    OOPS. i Hit submit accidentally but you get the message. Heck simply humble yourself before the lord it’s not rocket science.
    You don’t have to be a bible thumping hippy after the fact.
    You are not required to save the world(already done).

    Just enough of the Jesus freaks are the enemies NOPE, The FUCKIN HEAD CHOPPERS ARE!!!!!!!

  10. #10 Wow
    October 20, 2015

    “THAT’S IT FOLKS HUMILTY…..HUMBLE YOURSELF.”

    Why? If it’s the one you profess to follow, it’s a maniac. Homicidal and vain and endlessly vindictive and petty.

    Fuck that bastard and the donkey it rode in on.

  11. #11 Wow
    October 20, 2015

    “Just enough of the Jesus freaks are the enemies NOPE,”

    Oh, they are.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qg5iIzB931E

    “The FUCKIN HEAD CHOPPERS ARE!!!!!!!”

    a) Same god, retardo.
    b) Same scam as you head choppers did, just a few hundred years later.

  12. #12 Ragtag Media
    October 20, 2015

    “Why? If it’s the one you profess to follow, it’s a maniac. Homicidal and vain and endlessly vindictive and petty.”

    Nope, you are flaming via mis-guided readings. Have you actually read your Bible?

  13. #13 Ragtag Media
    October 20, 2015

    a) Same god, retardo.
    b) Same scam as you head choppers did, just a few hundred years later.

    you fucking Idiot, why do you NEVER post anything positive about the living God?
    You Fuckhead, you ALWAYS look to post a demeaning picture of God. Why The Fuck do you get your Jollies of off demeaning God?

  14. #14 Carl
    USA
    October 20, 2015

    RM, you push every button that Wow has regarding religion. Try to “love thy neighbor” and “forgive” – always strive to better represent your beliefs.

    You aren’t likely to convert Wow, and you seem to be tearing yourself down in the process. Your angry posts almost certainly turn off other casual readers as well.

    In short, you’re hurting your own cause.

  15. #15 Wow
    October 21, 2015

    “Try to “love thy neighbor” and “forgive” – always strive to better represent your beliefs. ”

    Carl, you’re thinking of what teabaggie here SAYS his religion is about, not what he thinks of about his religion.

    He’s a moron, basically. And religion is his excuse for his behaviour.

    Simple as that.

  16. #16 Wow
    October 21, 2015

    “why do you NEVER post anything positive about the living God?”

    Your god is a fiction, so not living.

    And your god died, apparently, so isn’t living. Unless THAT was a lie. One of the two must be. Either it died or it is living.

    And, yes, IT IS THE SAME DAMN GOD as those “headchoppers” you bang on about. Indeed you were the group doing the most headchopping when your countries were religious rather than secular.

    And these atrocities are coming from countries where there is a state religion, and not secular. Proving the contention that religion is the cause of strife in the world.

    “you ALWAYS look to post a demeaning picture of God. ”

    Because the stories about that god of yours ARE pictures of a mean spirited, homicidal maniac who can’t do a damn thing without fucking it up big time then blaming everyone else and punishing them for eternity.

    IT ISN’T MY PICTURE! It’s the one in your damn book!

  17. #17 Wow
    October 21, 2015

    “Nope, you are flaming via mis-guided readings. Have you actually read your Bible?”

    Yes. Which is why I can claim with confidence that that god is a maniac. Homicidal and vain and endlessly vindictive and petty.

  18. #18 Carl
    USA
    October 21, 2015

    People often create gods in their own image. People are homicidal, vain, vindictive maniacs. Religion has often served as “cover” for horrible acts driven by greed and hatred.

    But it is people that are evil, not religion. Atheist leaders and regimes of the 20th century included Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot. Stalin killed tens of millions. Mao killed tens of millions. Pol Pot killed millions (under achiever!).

    All successful religions include directives for behavior that “civilize”. Many allow “evil” be done to outsiders and non believers, however (I’m thinking Judaism and Islam). But as the secular leaders I mention prove, the problem is in Man, not religion.

  19. #19 Ragtag Media
    October 21, 2015

    “But as the secular leaders I mention prove, the problem is in Man, not religion.”
    Correct Carl,

  20. #20 Wow
    October 21, 2015

    “But it is people that are evil, not religion.”

    Uh, whut? Since religion is what people make up, then of course it’s people, not religion.

    However, religion teaches you never to question or think. That belief in the absence of evidence is somehow a better moral path, and then when they teach you to believe in something silly, they can teach you to believe in something horrible.

    Does atheism give people the same EXCUSE as religion?

    Hell no.

    So your “Atheist leaders and regimes of the 20th century included Stalin, Mao, and Pol Pot.” has got fuck all to do with atheism. All of those were dictators.

    I think THAT was the reason for it, not their atheism.

    Note: Stalin was trained as a priest.

    Also note: Hitler was a christian, and a devout one.

    Now add Torquemada, every king who “reigned at the behest of god”, every member of the KKK who thinks god is with them, every member of ISIS who swear god tells them this shit, and you see Stalin was VERY small potatoes.

    And, unlike Stalin, they used the tenets of religion to garner support, whilst he used the tenets of Leninism to garner his, NOT his atheism.

    So, no, don’t give me this crap about atheism making people as bad as religion

  21. #21 Wow
    October 21, 2015

    ““But as the secular leaders I mention prove, the problem is in Man, not religion.”
    Correct Carl,”

    And since your religion is made up by man, and you interpret it for your own purposes yourself, YOU are the problem, teabaggie.

    Oh, and bugger all there shows that your god either exists or isn’t a homicidal maniac of literally biblical proportions.

  22. #22 Wow
    October 21, 2015

    “All successful religions include directives for behavior that “civilize”.”

    No. It doesn’t actually. Indeed it enforces tribality, the antithesis of civilisation (the other antithesis being barbarianism, civilisation being the synthesis of tribal and barbarian social structures).

    All successful religions include demonisation of out-groups and self-sealing denial of problems in-group. See Scientology for a blatant and easily spotted example.

    And all successful religions die, eventually. Every other one did.

  23. #23 Carl
    USA
    October 21, 2015

    I had to look, and was surprised that Hinduism is 6,000 years old!

  24. #24 Wow
    October 21, 2015

    There’s more than the one, Carl! That’s right, they schism and sectarianise just like every other religion.

    Because there’s no way to tell who is right when they talk about what they think it all means, but because it’s supposed to be god-delivered, it can’t be accepted as just a different idea, but has to be the “wrong” religion.

  25. #25 Carl
    USA
    October 22, 2015

    We are people chatting on a science blog.

    Science hasn’t found any convincing evidence that some intelligence is manipulating the universe (other than our own). The chance that there is some thinking force (outside of humanity) doing “stuff” around here is pretty small, statistically speaking.

    The other key word in my first sentence is “people”. We are complicated hardware and software organisms. I’ll wager there is good science investigating our need for belief in something larger than ourselves. Perhaps we can design an optimum “faith” based on our findings someday.

    In my discussions here, I don’t talk about my faith. This is a science blog; I talk about faith as-a-concept, as part of the human experience.

    Feelings of wonder pop up often in Ethan’s postings, and those feelings don’t float freely. They are connected to something deeper – hopes for Man’s future (Star Trek!), awe at the enormity of scale (our place in the Universe), and yes, spiritual stirrings as we gaze upon Creation. These are part of faith as-a-concept that seem pertinent to this blog.

    You clearly reject an Old Testament god and have disdain for those who believe. You’ve also argued against any kind of god. We know Wow doesn’t like religion.

    But what I haven’t seen is, how does Wow see humanity in the cosmos? Do we have a role or purpose? Are we special in some way, or do we not matter? What’s your opinion?

  26. #26 Wow
    October 22, 2015

    “The chance that there is some thinking force (outside of humanity) doing “stuff” around here is pretty small, statistically speaking.”

    How do you know? If you don’t know what the chance is, how do you know it’s not 0?

    You’re mixing up “not impossible” with “there’s a chance”.

    It isn’t impossible for there to be a teapot orbiting Jupiter. There is no scientific of theological reason for that to be impossible.

    The chance of it being so is zero.

    How? Because we’ve never put one up there. And we make teapots. They don’t spontaneously appear.

    “You clearly reject an Old Testament god”

    Well that’s the god of the new testament too. It’s the same damn god.And the same as the Jewish one and the ones of the Islamists.

    Rejection of the OT god is rejecting the only god of christianity.

    “and have disdain for those who believe”

    Just as you and I do for people who believe they are Napoleon. And for the same reason.

    “You’ve also argued against any kind of god. ”

    WRONG.

    I’ve argued against any god so far put forward as one.

    I’ve ALSO argued that there is no apparent need for a god of any type whatsoever, just like there’s no need for the Sneeze fairy who comes and makes you sneeze.

    But all the gods so far promoted as being “the one” have ALL failed to be true. That’s not rejecting the possibility that someone (or some god itself) could pop up and show that it does exist. It’s just not happened yet.

    “But what I haven’t seen is, how does Wow see humanity in the cosmos?”

    I use my eyes 😉

    “Do we have a role or purpose?”

    No. I question why someone thinks there needs to be one imposed from outside by a universe that really has no need to give two hoots.

    Make your own purpose. Or don’t. Neither case matters except to you, and that’s the only reason for you to look for a purpose: you feel it matters.

    “Are we special in some way”

    Nope. Unless you mean in a “special needs” sort of way…

    “or do we not matter?”

    That’s not the alternative to being nothing special. We can be just nothing special to reality. But quite special to each other.

    These things HAVE come up before and I’ve answered then then. Answering before really hasn’t improved the chances of never having to waste my time doing so again, though.

    One questions why you felt the need to know.

  27. #27 Carl
    USA
    October 22, 2015

    Thanks for replying to personal questions! You post so often and so vehemently that I wanted to understand better. I was curious about your perspective; I don’t recall seeing the posts where you answered before. Sorry for asking you to re-state your position.

  28. #28 Wow
    October 22, 2015

    It’s really just that what I think about this isn’t going to do anything for anyone.

    Now you know, now what?

    And that’s the problem with answering. The answer is “well, nothing. Thanks, though”.

    On rare occasions, a thread will come up about philosophy or outlook (not often, but it does happen), and such things are more at place, but my response really isn’t doing anything to justify it being so out of place.

    YMMV.

  29. #29 Ragtag Media
    October 22, 2015

    “Uh, whut? Since religion is what people make up, then of course it’s people, not religion.”
    Well, scent is what people make up, so does a Sunk Smell as a Rose?

    “However, religion teaches you never to question or think. ”

    Your full of fucking shit you idiot for fuck sake. JESUS:THOSE WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST FUCKING STONE!!! Pretty thought provoking questioning and makes one THINK no?
    Idiot.
    “I’ve ALSO argued that there is no apparent need for a god of any type whatsoever, just like there’s no need for the Sneeze fairy who comes and makes you sneeze.”

    Well, you have also argued how deranged and maniacal a believer like myself is. SO can yo imagine a world with lunatics lie myself running around only guided by Sneeze Fairy’s.
    ” I’ve ALSO argued that there is no apparent need for a god of any type whatsoever, just like there’s no need for the Sneeze fairy who comes and makes you sneeze”

    Do you REALLY think folks like myself would be constrained by a sneeze fairy
    belief as well a a belief in a Living God?

    Great conversation, wish I could contribute more but am on the road posting from Hotel Room in Wisconsin.

    What a beautiful. Decent God fearing folks here Churches and Football and friendly folks.
    Heck the battery went dead in the minivan and I changed it in Fleet Farm Parking Lot. MULTIPLE people stopped and asked if they could help.
    .
    That’s what makes America Great

  30. #30 Carl
    USA
    October 22, 2015

    “Now you know, now what? And that’s the problem with answering. The answer is “well, nothing. Thanks, though”.

    I like learning about this wonderful universe. People are a part of it, and have special meaning to me (since I’m a people too!). We’re made up of elementary particles, just like the comets and stars that Ethan discusses, so why would we be less interesting? What I learn sometimes even helps me personally.

    So the answer to “now what?” is about the same as learning about dark matter or black holes. It’s all worth it.

  31. #31 Carl
    USA
    October 22, 2015

    I love hearing about communities where people are happy, unafraid of strangers, and helpful RM! Sounds like a stressful event (dead battery) was made uplifting by the friendly locals. Glad it worked out for you.

  32. #32 Wow
    October 23, 2015

    “Your full of fucking shit you idiot for fuck sake.”

    No I’m not you apoplectic maniac.

    “JESUS:THOSE WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST FUCKING STONE!!!”

    Another edict you ignore in your mythology if it is going to apply a restriction to what you want to do.

    And also has bugger all to do with the sentence preceding. Look up non sequitur.

    “Well, you have also argued how deranged and maniacal a believer like myself is.”

    Yes, however why bring that up since it doesn’t cast into doubt my claim you quoted before it.

    “SO can yo imagine a world with lunatics lie myself running around only guided by Sneeze Fairy’s”

    Can you? And what difference is made whether either of us can or can’t???? Or are you completely off the diving board into your pool of insanity rage-derping?

    “Do you REALLY think folks like myself would be constrained by a sneeze fairy belief as well a a belief in a Living God?”

    Sense. This makes none.

    “What a beautiful. Decent God fearing folks here Churches and Football and friendly folks.”

    The folks may be decent, but their god is a demonic figure of hate and destruction. They just remove the bits they don’t like, proving that they aren’t actually believing in the god of their religion, they’re believing the fiction they have personally constructed and then pretended is real.

    Like any imaginary friend of a four-year-old.

    “That’s what makes America Great”

    No, that’s what makes you dangerous idiots. ISIS believe the sameshit and believe it is what makes their islamic state great.

    Yet YOU come along and call them head-choppers.

    A nomenclature just as fitted to your mythology, and with the same idiotic insistence of Deified Greatness, but when YOU’RE justly labelled as a head chopper religion, you go APESHIT.

    “MULTIPLE people stopped and asked if they could help.”

    Multiple people will do that when there’s no expectation of an eternal reward too. They’re called atheists.

    Actually, a little unfair, because many of those religious people would do it as well, even if they didn’t believe in god.

    Because their niceness has fuck all to do with their religion (and ABSOLUTELY fuck all to do with it being “right”), it’s themselves.

    But some of those people were nice only because they expect to get paid back for eternity.

    And it is nothing that atheists wouldn’t do either.

  33. #33 Wow
    October 23, 2015

    Also check up what “Jihad” means.

    It ACTUALLY means the daily struggle of living that you, as a Muslim, are bounden by duty to your fellow being, to ease and aid their lives, a burden of honour and humility that will last your lifetime.

    Seems those “HEADCHOPPERS” you whinge about have the same ideals you do about doing good.

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