‘Happy Earth Day’

Posted: April 23, 2015 in Science, Stuff
Tags: , , ,

It’s International Earth Day today. Good to know the planet has its own special day when it can sit back, relax, and look back on its great achievements and past glories.

I celebrated the occasion by watching a pod of minke whales migrate north to cooler climes for the summer. Wonderful to see. Really quite spectacular. Beautiful creatures on a beautiful planet.

Yes, the Earth is just great, isn’t it. What’s your favourite bit? Do you have an Attenborough moment? The forging of the Himalayas through plate tectonics? Its incredible deserts? Its huge rain-forests? Its thunderous volcanoes? Dinosaurs, maybe? Or perhaps just the sheer and seemingly endless abundance of life it sustains – including our hedonistic and murderous selves?

These are certainly a few of my all-time faves – but the best bit of the Earth for myself, the real biggie, the daddy, the big kahuna, the killer app’ that the Earth has provided us with… is the Moon.

Lunar eclipse October 8 2014 California Alfredo Garcia Jr mideclipse

The Earth spat out the Moon after a collision with a Mars-sized-planet not long after its own formation. Can you imagine the energy, the power, the destruction? Yup, the creation of the Moon was always going to be the highlight for me – but then I’m a boy and tend to go with the big energy stuff.

More Bruce & Arnie than Kenneth & Larry, if you follow my continental drift.

I don’t suppose we have an International Moon Day? I’ll have to check. I hope so as it’s a very important piece of rock and one that us ordinary folk should know more about.

Of course, most of us are merely aware that it controls the tides – well, maybe not that moron Bill O’Reilly at Fox News… hold on, I’ll find you the link. I think the fun starts at around 1:35:

…but hey, retards aside, who knew that it stops us from wobbling out of control and making us all very very dizzy indeed?

Who knew – and this is magic – that it is observed by us as being exactly the same size as our nearest star and that it perfectly covers this star during a total solar eclipse which allows us all to squint and go “Ooh!” and “Aaah!” and “Shit it’s cloudy again!“. That really is amazing isn’t it, and well worth the price of a few kids blinded by not following the statutory regulations concerning solar eclipses. Just like those ‘dog-shit’ kids, they’ve no-one to blame but themselves. Don’t look directly at the sun, don’t rub dog-shit in your eyes – it’s not rocket science, kids.

But I digress. Back to the Moon:

Who knew that it slows the spin of the Earth due to both gravitational attraction and tidal friction, which makes our days – and nights – grow longer over time. We only get a good night’s sleep because of the Moon – back in the day, a good night’s sleep would only have yielded you two or three hours shut-eye. Your proverbial eight hours is all down to the Moon tugging away, day in day out, or 24/7 – as the Moon now allows us to say.

And who knew that it took quite a few heavy hits for us as we were growing up – hits that might have killed us all off had the Moon not been there to take it full in the mush. Hits that could have stopped us in our evolutionary tracks – or at least had us running around screaming “Shit, man, that really stings!“. It really is our big brother/cousin/best friend/thick kid of the schoolyard, and is now seriously being suggested as a major cause of abiogenesis itself.

Yup, the good news is we may well owe our very existence to the Moon. It may well turn out that we are only here because of that big lump of rock in the sky – the bad news is it won’t be there forever: What? Sorry? You didn’t get the memo? The Moon is going. Okay, it’s not going anytime soon. I’ve no wish to start any panic-buying. However, it is moving away from us at the rate that our fingernails grow – so we better enjoy it, and celebrate it, and utilise it, whilst we can.

Yes, it’s time to go back to the Moon.

Oh, and now we’ve finally discovered water on the Moon, when we get there we can break this water into its constituent parts, take the hydrogen, and make rocket fuel – no more of that ‘escape velocity’ nonsense. And that, kids, means we can go to Mars instead of killing one another. Now that is rocket science.

Brilliant, eh? An accretion disc 4.5 billion years ago pulls itself together due to its own gravity, gets hit by another great big rock which pukes out yet another big rock which, apart from helping us see at night, creates the conditions for us, 4.5 billion years later, to be able to slag each other off in badly spelled flame-wars on social media, or, alternatively, take the wife and four kids for a chance-of-a-lifetime holiday in the new Caliphate.

Of course in order to portray a balanced view I ought to mention that the Moon – and the Earth’n’all – were probably created a few thousand years ago in a poof of smoke by the sweet baby Jesus from inside a magic chocolate egg. Or maybe it was Allah, or Ogdoad, or Atum? One of those fuckers, anyway.

Now that we’ve taught the controversy you can click on the Google logo in your browser and – just before looking up the word ‘abiogenesis‘ – take a ten-second survey which will let you know (in that kind of ‘Chinese Calendar’ sort of a way) what ‘Earth Animal‘ you are associated with.

It transpires I’m a ‘Honey Badger‘. Bit chuffed with that – I like Honey Badgers.

Honey badger

Anyway, enough rambling, I only meant to say ‘Happy Earth Day’.

Happy Earth Day

Anvil Springstien.

Direct Link to Google’s ‘Earth Day’ Quiz:


Addendum: I was mindful that Google might well only have it’s ‘Earth Quiz’ up for the 24/48 hours or so that it took Earth Day to come and go. Well, I’ve just checked today (which is St Georges Day) and it’s still live. Let’s hope they keep it so.

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