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20100621

Everyday Miracles

Nothing special here, right, just some stupid leaves. But think about it for a moment(s), and you can quickly see how even the most mundane thing in this world is in fact miraculous.

The light you see here - which in fact powers just about everything on the earth - is millions of years old. Sunlight is only generated at the center of a star, where the fusion is taking place. Light is a by-product of fusion. But it is so dense at the center of a star, the light cannot easily escape, so it spends millions of years trying - bouncing hither and yon, thither and gone, over and over again till one day some lucky series of events happen to allow it to escape.

Once this photon of lights escapes from the depths of the star, it moves at light speed, and takes about 8 minutes to reach us from the Sun - fun fact! The sun could be destroyed right now and we would not know about it for 8 minutes.

Light really does power just about everything here, in one manner or another (the correct way of stating this is energy from the Big Bang powers everything; however, semantics be damned!). Witness the other obvious miracle here: Life, specifically photosynthesis. Converting sunlight directly into energy, and releasing Oxygen as a waste product.

Oxygen, one of the key requirements for the rest of life. Hmmm.

And so evolution - only through time, mutation, and competition - fashions lifeforms that can survive in the given environment. Plants were the first complex lifeform on the planet, and the atmosphere at the time was filled with carbon dioxide, so they use carbon dioxide. The amount of oxygen we have is mostly due to the success of plants - we breathe plant farts.

Or consider eyes - wondrously complex sensory organs. Plants don't have them, but don't really need them either, ja? Their entire bodies function much like eyes. Our eyes - human eyes - are not human at all, but the net result of millions years of mammalian evolution. We just look real good with them.

But consider what your eyes see when they "see" something - what you are witnessing is photons from the sun (or another light source) striking the object, and some of the photons bouncing off, and hitting your eye, where they in-turn are absorbed as energy, and their frequency is then translated by your brain into the image, and its specific color, brightness, texture, etc.  Consider! When you look at the moon, what you are experiencing is millions of years old photons, created in the fires of nuclear fusion, bouncing off the moon at a precise angle, and striking your eye, where your wonderfully evolved brain translates these data streams into.... the moon. Or a leaf of a plant.


Pretty miraculous, all of it, eh?

2 comments:

Steve Finnell said...

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Redshirt said...

Thanks! I appreciate the offer. You are of course invited to follow this blog as well - you can join on the right bar, below the topic list.