Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Year in my Rearview Mirror

As a wrap-up 2015 Goodness First post, here is my snapshot assessment of the past year in several different arenas.

Universe: Nearly fourteen billion years after the Big Bang started churning out matter, an emergent life form known as Homo Sapiens sent a probe to the outer periphery of its star system.  The New Horizons exploration satellite provided some amazing photos of Pluto and Charon to help us more deeply understand Kuiper Belt objects and the formation of the solar system in general.  Looking ahead it'll be even more amazing if NASA follows through on their prospective mission that would send a probe to Europa to scan for signs of life beneath its frozen crust.  

New Horizons spots Millennium Falcon in Pluto system?!?

Earth:  Cycling through temperature extremes has never been so prominent.  Fossil fuel and organic methane production continue to push the ability of planetary ecosystems to cope.  By some estimations this thermal surge can result in an extinction of twenty percent of the Earth's current species. Great to see the world community conferencing in Paris tentatively commit to slowing down this climate change.  Time will tell if humanity can step up to manage and minimize our  impact on planetary ecosystems for the well being of all living things.

Society:  Challenges continue as human culture and ever increasing human population pressures strain human society. The Paris terrorism events and Syrian refugee crisis highlight this ongoing instability.  Thirty thousand firearm deaths every year in the US alone further demonstrates the need for taking a step back and regulating the use of these weapons.  Improved secular education seems key to reducing the influence of ancient myths and emotions that run hot.

Media: On a lighter note: my best movie vote goes to Star Wars Episode 7,  for a nostalgic re-rendering of interesting characters and plot lines; the film's bombastic presentation of good and evil reminds me how often real life seeks to imitate fictional art.  Best non-fiction read goes to Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction which explores the rich diversity of Earth's living things and how humanity's actions seem committed to destroying them. Best video game goes to The Talos Principle a serious blend of challenging Portal-esque puzzle solving and AI consciousness philosophy.  Lastly, best novel goes to Andy Weir's The Martian, which unlike the film adaptation, immersed me in the red planet's environs while demonstrating how humanity can bring science, teamwork and individuality can come together to solve problems to explore the Universe peacefully!

Blog:  Goodness First, for its second year, has sought to stir conversation about a variety of topics; my intent has been to encourage people to mindfully reconsider positions and actions toward having a positive effect on oneself, ones communities and the world.  Lately, the blog has averaged 1400 views each month, which I find astounding.  In comparison, only a handful of reader comments have been posted to the blog which indicates to me the area that needs more marketing effort! So please do post mindful comments short or long or anonymous to ratchet up the goodness!!

Self: This has been my first full year in semi-drifter mode.  I have traveled the country, spent time with friends and family, and sought living life with ever increasing ethical and creative mindfulness. I need to continue developing my relationship building and personal achievement skills.  Nevertheless, I have much to be thankful, including everyone who has taken the time to read this blog.  The year 2016 CE approaches and I find myself smiling, ever hopeful that I am spreading peace and well being along my journey!

That's it...have a happy new year full of goodness!


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