One of the Goldilocks Mission crew posted the link of the latest article in the Goldilocks Mission Blog at Slashdot.org. It was apparently included in Slashdot’s newsletter. The article was about the recent discovery of a waterworld exoplanet by MEarth astronomers. I was reading at the comments posted by Slashdot members to find out what they think about habitable exoplanets. Some posted constructive feedback which was reassuring, while some were mere nonsense meant to take away the focus away from the main topic. Still, it was good to know that some people take good interest at the possibility of finding earth-like exoplanets.
Allow me to reiterate what the blog article was about. A waterworld exoplanet just like the one at GJ1214b can be habitable by using emerging technologies. Alright, well, you might ask me to explain more but that would mean revealing the contents of the Man’s Next Migration book in detail.
Some comments at Slashdot talked a lot about gravity and temperature. While it is true that the exoplanet is six times larger the earth, its density is only about a third of earth’s. That makes the gravity a tenth less than that ours. It should be no problem for us humans. It is a fact that the exoplanet orbits its star at a frighteningly lesser than distance than that between Mercury and our Sun. Very alarming, that is if the parent star was just like ours, but the thing is, the exoplanet orbits a cool red dwarf. When the article was first posted, it was mentioned that the red dwarf was three hundred times cooler than the sun. It’s not really true, but rather it the luminosity that was three times lesser than the sun. The article has since been edited to include the term “luminosity”. But for people who are not that familiar with the terms, I believe “cooler” was a practical substitute. After all, the more an object is hot, the brighter it becomes (more luminous). The star’s surface is at 3200 Kelvin by the way.
So if the red dwarf emits energy that is three hundred times lesser than ours, the exoplanet’s close distance to its star wouldn’t really matter. The estimated temperature of the planet’s surface is 280 degrees Celsius. That’s still way beyond boiling hot. The article mentions that the “dark side”, or the side which does not face its star, may have relatively cooler temperature, one that may be conducive for us. This is where I get in. I am not in entire agreement that the exoplanet is habitable in terms of saying that “we need to live there”. Perhaps in a thousand years or more when the earth finally submits to an environmental catastrophe or some other cataclysmic event, and if this exoplanet would be the last to be found deemed as “maybe habitable”, then perhaps we can make this exoplanet “habitable”. But, that does not discount the fact that if we do try in our current generation to go to and survive in that planet, then yes, GJ1214b is habitable scientifically and technologically possible.
But who would try? Such a huge plan would require unbelievably huge amount of resources and advanced state of technology. No political leader in the world or government would agree to do such a thing unless otherwise extremely needed. Remember the film 2012? Right. But then again, the Goldilocks Mission has something to say about it. Whether we get funded by governments or not, we will still try. We are not desperate escapists who have had enough of earth’s dwindling resources and endless debates whether to go to war or not. We are explorers. Just like Columbus who found the shores of the Americas, we have a hunger for new shores. Why? Because we simply do. You might say that’s some dumbfounded way of thinking but listen to this. Why would Amundsen travel all the way to the South Pole when scientists believe at that time that no living creature could survive the pole’s harsh freezing temperatures? Why did countless of other explorers dare to go into the unknown? Because they simply must.
Man’s migration to space is inevitable. Discoveries such as this one has our hearts racing and blood pulsing in our veins. Even if it is just a waterworld, it is still a destination, a place to explore, to discover. One of the friends we have at the Man’s Next Migration fanpage was indignant at the fact that we consider Epsilon Eridani to be the Mission’s first choice since it was about forty light years away! Well unlike GJ1214b, this exoplanet is residing in a star system that is considered to be similar to our own. The star itself is mentioned to be solar analog, similar to the sun in terms of temperature (5000 Kelvin) and metallicity or the amount of elements that can make up planets.
A waterworld is still a good place to stay. Think about it. There’s an abundant supply of water after all. Remember, water is the great universal solvent, and we humans can’t live without it. It’s built in our chemistry, it is a part of our lives.
Hi everyone! I welcome myself to the adventurous world of wordpress blogs. Of course, I also welcome you to this blog and I hope you will enjoy reading my articles.
I am not new to the concept of blogging. But I must admit, the technologies and style have undergone a lot of changes since I started with Friendster blogs a few years back. It is now populated with new ideas that has made significant changes to the world wide web community and internet traffic. Most personal websites in the past are a mixture of diaries, picture albums and a guest-book. My personal opinion is that they solely exist for author’s benefit and circle of friends. The advent of social networking sites changed all that by introducing a fast and widespread method of sharing one’s “user profiles” to a broader audience. The “diary” part, if may say, has developed into its own unique niche, which is called today as “blogging”. Not everyone is interested with your favorite book, movie, song, food, etc. Well-known journalistic writers gain a following not by their looks or personal information but by sharing their thoughts, perspective, and most importantly, unique ideas. That is how I view blogging. You may have a different view. And the best way to let others know about it is through blogging as well.
Most of my ideas will be centered on my personal interests. Again, that is the only way we can give “unique” ideas, because everyone of is different. To give a quick overview, I am a sci-fi bookworm, a PC gamer, space enthusiast, a writer, and a musician. That may seem quite a broad range of interests. Yes, and that is how I wish to proceed, the way I want to write.
Much focus will be put in space exploration as I am also currently developing a different blog, albeit with a more professional and streamlined content. It’s called the Goldilocks Mission Blog. My wordpress blog is the balancing side, where I will have the chance to bring up my own ideas and personal opinion. I would highly recommend reading the provided article links and comparing them with the ones in this wordpress blog. I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun… Oh, and by the way, I’m not about to venture this on my own. I would like you to be a part of it too.
An adventure can’t be that awesome without other adventurers urging you, pushing and pulling you, or perhaps just walking with you silently throughout the journey. So please, I invite you to make use of your RSS and bookmarks. Share your comments and ideas too. I’d love to read them and discuss them with you. You’ll never know if one of these days, we’ll develop an idea that may not only influence internet traffic but may bring good change to our world.
This is probably one of the most anticipated topics that would interest some if not most of the people closest to me. Well, it’s almost saying that I’ve been asked by almost 99% of my closest circle of friends what’s next in the newly opened chapter of my life. But in truth, nobody’s asked me directly yet. And my guess, mostly because the opportunity to ask me directly hasn’t presented itself yet, partly my fault because I don’t seem to be actively visible at all in most meetings specially sunday services.
But one person did asked me directly. Guess who? Yeah, you guessed right.. It’s Anj, my beloved wife, who asked me where lies my commitment and where goes my calling. I tell you, if it’s someone else who asked me, I’d probably make up some crude story-telling to get that person’s sympathy to my side and make them believe that I do have a commitment and that my calling is so-and-so. But with Anj, since then, I am powerless to her inquisitive and dedicated prodding.
I didn’t answer her. I should have some form of plan before we decided to show ourselves (after years of hiding from plain sight!) and finally get married. But I didn’t. I was glad to be accepted once again under the covering of the church. And I was itching to get back to where I left. Though if you ask me, I have a very faint idea where that was. But the excitement was there. And once again I felt God’s geniune love for me, which definitely went beyond my faults, sins, and failures. Amazing..
But see, that’s not where it ends. As Ptr. Ariel did say, “it’s just the beginning.” True. Now that Anj and I are free once again, it’s where to go and where to start that’s confusing us. My expectations were already set. That we would join the young couples. That we’d be attending the church at Calamba.
Then it suddenly dawned on me that I can never go back to where I left from two years before. The worship team, whom I once committed to lead to musical excellence for the glory of God. My cellmates, whom I committed to grow up with. And the SOD, whom I once committed to lead.
Somehow, I am jealous (in a holy way?) of the people they have become. Proud, yes. But it feels like I could no longer identify myself with them. These are very significant and deep commitments I’ve made that somehow I couldn’t bear to be torn away from me.
My path is different now. But I have just recently realised that my calling and my commitment is based on how God sees me. It’s not exactly based on what I gave myself up to in the past. Those were all shining moments, yes, but they certainly do not define how God sees me. One sister once commented that to everyone’s eyes I looked liked a guitar. Funny, in a way, but that’s just who I was back then, a reflection of my life. I don’t think that opinion has endured today. People see me differently now. They say I am a dad, well, because I have my baby Apple, yes. However, in God’s eyes, I am still the same. How He sees me never changes.
Before the foundations of the world were laid, God already knew me. And He knows who I was, who I am now, and who I will be in the future. But how He sees me never changes. Since He has eternal eyes, He sees all of me at once, my past, present and future. It doesn’t depend on how glorious it looks to people my past is. Nor does it depend on how much failure I have brought upon myself. His eyes do not falter and how He sees me never changes. He already wrote and engineered my unique qualities and gifts. He alone awakens them. He alone puts them to sleep. And He alone knows who I really am.
I was once worried and depressed that I could no longer fulfill my calling. I cried many times to the Lord, at night, alone in the bus, while eating my lunch, and while reminiscing all that I was before. Ashamed, yes, but for each time, I remember my commitment to Anj and to Apple. And for each time, I breathe in a renewed sense of hope and encouragment. Because both of them define who I am. And if I know who I am, I know my purpose, I know my goal, I know where I am, and I know where to go.
It’s the same with my King. He defines who I am for before I was formed in my mother’s womb, He already knew me. He sees me for who I am. And that is where my calling comes from.
Most of us asked God many times what our calling truly is, for signs, for words, scriptures sometimes only to get a vague message: “You are my child, and I love you.” And many times we press on, for a specific word, for a specific path. For some of us, God speaks directly and for some God shows the intended path. I write with no intent to dispute anyone’s calling for I am never in such a position to do so.
Going back to that very private moment, when you clearly heard God speak to your heart, “You are precious to me, my child”, have you ever thought that He might have just given you your calling? This may have taken place anytime, during your first encounter with God, or second or third, or nth time, doesn’t matter. It may have come in the deepest moments of worship, alone or in the church. Or it may have come in such a busy place while you were queueing up for something, it doesn’t matter. As long as your heart was set for God and you heard Him. The question is, just how did you respond to Him?
Well, since I am writing this blog, take me as the example.. My response? I have to worship Him, and I just have this overwhelming desire to do so in front of all people and lead them to a glorious revelation of who He is, of how great a God He is, of how great is His Fatherly love, and just how He deeply longs to meet with all of us in intimate extravagant worship. That is my response. And everytime I hear His pure voice and see His truth, that is my heart’s desire, my heart’s response to Him.. There’s merely no other way..
Now I can’t say this is for everyone. But this is definitely where my calling is, in how He sees me. For in moments when I come close to getting a glimpse of that, my heart’s response is pure, clear and sharp as a razor’s edge: to lead people close to His heart through praise and worship. That is my calling, and though I don’t have any idea how, I would soon come to terms with it, and I can say that it is my design, it is how I am built.
The way to my calling is my commitment. And my commitment is for me and my house to serve the Lord of hosts. I could tell Anj about this, but as expected, she’d need a more specific answer.. one of the things I do love about her. ♥
What’s next for me now that I am married, now that I have a baby, now that our lives are back in the light? Two words that never grow old even if you do: calling and commitment. Perhaps it is best to be faithful where God leads me. For in the past, God has never abandoned the faithful for He Himself is Faithful. Those who put their trust in the Lord will never be put to shame. The opportune time awaits. And when it does come, it won’t be wasted. I will ride to where His presence is and fly to where He leads me. All for His love, all for His name, that all may see and hear that He alone deserves all glory and praise, that He is the King of Kings and the Saviour of my soul..
Crazy as it may seem, I took out my watch from my right
pocket for the tenth time in the irritating bewilderment of the big sweating
male passenger seated next to me. The bus was full, I was seated next to the
window where the sun’s rays directly burn through, and the small lady beside
this rather annoyed gentleman beside me kept her feeble jostling to keep her
from sliding off the edge of her seat. This added to the gentleman’s already
aggravated state. Everything would have been just fine if not for the bus
moving at a pace of a 30-cm ruler’s reach per second due to the heavy traffic
here at the South expressway.
This is my life. Well, one of the very worst parts, where I
get my patience to be tested and not to mention being late for work. I work at an
HSBC call center in Alabang and my shift starts at 4pm, 9am in the UK where all
of my customers are calling from. The expressway has been in construction since
I started working January of 2007.
Back in college, I never thought I’d work at a call center.
I was never one for dealing with people and certainly I didn’t have the courage
to do so. My personality dictates that I be withdrawn, aloof, and shy. I would
gladly get a queer job in research, technical work, or any other job that doesn’t
get me at the forefront selling myself and communicating directly to customers.
I dunno, I was born that way, perhaps I wanted to avoid getting misjudged by
people or just to avoid the feeling of being rejected. In short I would never
be an effective salesperson.
So why am I sitting in front of the computer toggling at my
customer’s various details and doing my best to understand and keep up with
this Welsh guy’s credit problem? This is my choice on a number of limited
choices I was presented with in a time when my life changed lanes. So I say to
Mr. Customer in attempt to pacify him, “You don’t have to worry about this, we’ll
sort it out so you can enjoy the rest of your weekend.” Then a little later, “Thank
you for calling HSBC, you have a nice day.” And so I sit back to wait for the next
call in the meantime pondering if this is the kind of life I want to have.
It’s not so bad. I get a decent pay, better than most
undergrads probably. And have a decent number of leaves. I’ve developed good
friendships with my teammates. We get to have a drink or two sometimes. I go home
and get decent meals, get a decent rest and start the day all over again.
Once in my life, I wanted to work as a real chemical engineer,
perhaps in a research company, and fantasize about solving the world’s energy
and oil problem by discovering a low price and efficient fuel. Everyone has
those dreams and not everyone gets to see them fulfilled. One thing is for
sure, it’s never too late to start realizing that dream. My teammates’s
mother-in-law just finished college and is now teaching at three different
schools. I also heard that a famous vendor of pasta in the U.S. started with a
I dream to have a better life and I hope to do so. A lot of people had high expectations of me.
And there was a time when I thought I failed them and I was too embarrassed to show
even my face. But deep inside, it’s still me, the potential is still there. And
the dream never dies. This time I will make sure my hopes and dreams do come
true. I’m going back to where the dreams started, where people support and
believe in me. I don’t plan to fail them. God will make a way. He will have to
as He promised blessings to return in my life. Oh, I can’t wait to bask in the
riches of His Kingdom. After all, He is the source of my hopes and dreams. And
this will be for His glory and renown. I will tell the world of His amazing
grace and faithfulness..
Pulling the strings of life isn’t a mere feat that each of us could simply master easily. Very recently, I had an argument which made me realize how I have changed so ridiculously. Enlightened, I was sad at how my attitudes have changed and how sensitive my reactions have become. I resolve to get back to the basics. Humility, forgiveness and patience.
While pondering about how much influence others have on my life, I was suddenly given an amazing but simple divine insight. Divine, because in the last two years I had no creative output at all on any form and I am at the moment impoverished with creative inspiration. This might have come from Someone else though I think that most of it came from a faint memory on one of the last few cell meetings I had with Kuya Tram before he went to Malaysia.
I vaguely remember the details but I was 19 that time and it had become apparent that our generation of sod-men have to step out of our comfort zones and start acting like leaders. This requires a step into manhood, where one has to leave all childish institutions behind. That time, it didn’t seem like a challenge at all, perhaps because our minds were not that mature or simply perhaps that we needed to experience it firsthand. I assure you we did, all of us in the cell group. But that’s not what I want to focus on. Leaving one’s childish attitudes behind is not an easy task as to change it overnight. It was a process that we soon found out to be quite a labor.
If there was one thing that changed my entire viewpoint of life, it was Kuya Tram’s revelation of servanthood and humility. The most basic challenge for every boy to become a man lies in this two principles. No one masters both in a lifetime except for Jesus who demonstrated what a true man is and could be. The two words are self-explanatory but to have that ingrained in one’s life is not a simple task. As you grow in your relationship with God, the more you reflect His attributes and character. He can teach us everything we need to know but there is one attribute that requires us to face it alone. Humility. One cannot help but be humbled by the revelation of God’s glory, as Isaiah did experience. But to be humbled by the revelation of the Cross is a totally crushing experience. You will certainly be humbled when you realize that Jesus Himself, Son of God, where everything is created for and in Him, chose to die in your place for the penalty of of all the sins of mankind, that He took your place on that rugged Cross… I cannot totally express it in words. This experience brings about a revelation of true humility, a humility that prompts you to a new revelation of servanthood as well. And I thank God for using Kuya Tram who was able to share that to us.
God is the creator of music and the composer of all. It is natural that He then orchestrates the universe according to His will. This insight that I received attempts to give visual represantation, if not, a narrow one, of the strings of life that we all possess and whom God wants to make beautiful music with.
Our lives consists of a set of strings, each unique and for each set unique for each individual. Each of us create a music with the way we lead our lives. Most often, we are the ones who attempt to orchestrate what life we have. Sometimes the music we create appears beautiful, sometimes it just is ugly. It does not depend on what strings we have, it depends on how the strings are attached, how well that strings are being taken care of, and who exactly is playing them. One of the many strings is our emotion, probably that loudest string in the whole set. We often use it, maximise and make music with it almost all the time. The other prominent string is our thoughts, and this string is just as unpredictable and strong as the string of emotions. Others include our convictions, faith, attitude and may include more.
Most of the strings in life are anchored on our human experience, growing up and all. Some are anchored on childhood memories, good and bad experiences. Some are anchored tightly around people we care about, others are anchored on people we want to follow and imitate. Some are anchored on ingrained principles and beliefs. Most strings though are anchored on our very will and most often are played through our will.
We must be careful where we anchor the strings, where we put our loyalty. Because, when that anchor shatters for some reason, the string immediately loses its capability to produce music. Several strings in my life were rendered inactive instantly when I learned that my dad had died. This includes the string of security, my music of confidence and my concept of safety was shattered. Other strings were paralyzed as well, such as my faith. I am not saying that it is bad to get your strings attached to your dad or to a person, but just make sure that that anchor is double-anchored to Someone else stronger than the anchor the strings were originally attached to.
I often get disappointed when I try to play a guitar whose strings are rusted. Not only are they rough to the fingers, they produce uncontrollable sounds, loud and harsh, and basically not musically good to hear. They are immediately obvious, rusty and brown, corroding… These strings usually are attitude and character and in worse cases the string of emotion. My strings are quite rusted in this case. I sometimes overreact, get impatient immediately and most often try to be self-righteous. One needs to clean the strings all the time, or better have them totally replaced. Because if you leave as it is, in time they will begin to infest other strings as well. That.. can be disastrous. The lack of self-control is certainly a nightmare for anybody. You woudn’t want to be rusty, trust me.
Lastly, who’s playing your strings? Yourself? Your family? Your studies? Your favorite actor? Your secret addiction? Who leads your life? Who makes your music? I kinda laugh at the idea that a person whose music is largely dictated by academics will sound very boring, to the point of just repeating beats and an almost awful reapeating melody, just like a straightforward do-re-mi again and again. I am not against people whose passion is knowledge. I totally respect them. But to some who already sound boring, please make sure you don’t let the books make the most of your life’s music. The one who orchestrates the strings of your life will reflect the kind of life that you will lead. This is where I am faltering. I have strayed from Him too far and I am afraid that a lot of things have taken His place in my life. I fear that I have lost His music, His sound, His voice…
There was a time when I did let God make music in my life. Then some of my strings were rusted and though God really wanted to use me to the fullest, I just can’t make the excellent music I am suppose to play. There came a time as well when all the strings were polished clean but the hand that was playing the guitar wasn’t His. Though the music sounded accurate and good, it was a bit off, selfish, proud and self-righteous. There was also a time when the strings were fine and God Himself was trying to make music, but the anchor for the strings weren’t strong enough to keep playing. Eventually, most of the strings gave in, shattering under extreme tension and if I may say, the almost tiresome everyday religious practice and work. Praying seems to be just another "need to be done" task and not a time for the King. Religiousity kills and its lethal. Make sure that the strings are held in place, by the truth of God’s grace and promises, and by family, biological or otherwise, such as the church.
I want to make sure that the strings of my life are set and ready to make music when the Master wills it. The strings will respond to His call and they will make excellent music. I want to respond to God’s beckoning, and His presence.
As one song did say, "no one can sing of things they have not seen". "God open our eyes towards a greater glimpse". The glory of You, the reality of You and Your sacrifice on the Cross. It brings me back to humility, where the strings of my life are once again at Your call. Humility prepares me, allowing Him to change the strings, clean them and anchor them where they need to be secured, on His Word. There is no greater fulfillment than answering God’s call. There is no greater pleasure and honor than to know that God’s ears are pleased with the music of my life.
Let it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ears Lord.. May the strings of my Life play a sweet song for my King again, to worship you.. to worship in humilty and awe at the feet of Jesus once again..