Monolith, Isle & Star

Wood on Ice, Birth of an
Island & A New Sun Coming

Religion and scientific inquiry were bred out of our compulsion to explain the world. Whereas science challenges dogma and welcomes questioning, faith thrives when reason fails. Fortunately, neither is relevant at this moment. Or necessary when you’re having a laugh.
So when an Australian reporter came upon a piece of wood laying on top of an Antarctic iceberg, miles from nowhere, someone suggested it was a take on the black monolith Stanley Kubrick used in his “2001 – A Space Odissey” to illustrate mankind’s progress.
A coffin. A door to a magical world. Debris from a shipwreck. Or a rudimentary penguin surfboard were some of the theories offered by readers. All of the above and an elaborate hoax that it may also be, make for a lighthearted comment on our compulsion to explain, etc, etc.
Completely unlike what just happened in the Solomon Islands: the birth of a volcanic island captured on video. The stunning images show once again why the beauty and power of the natural world always beats the special effects films use to entice us to watch them.
The only thing is, as expensive as the price of a movie ticket may be nowadays, it’s still cheaper than if you’re too close to one of such wild shows: the front-row admission may cost your life.
And then there’s Betelgeuse, a red super-giant star in Orion’s nebula, that’s supposed to go Supernova between now and the year, you guessed, 2012, to the delight of Armageddon and Star Wars buffs alike. And you, of course, if you happen to be around when and if it really happens.
As you surely know, the collapse of a massive star that forms a Nova generates enough energy to be seen even during daytime, almost like a twin sun. It happens all the time but alas, the Universe is vast, and the last one visible from earth was not much bigger than Jupiter.
But once in a while, when they’re close enough (and Jupiter probably aligns with Mars, too, as the song goes), the explosion does light up the sky. The brightest ever recorded happened in 1006CE, was about twice the size of the moon and lasted a couple of months.
As it was customary at that time, it was documented by, you guessed again, astrologers. Betelgeuse by the way, means “hand of Al-Jauza” in Arabic, referring to a woman who controls the order of the universe. Do you have a problem with that? We didn’t think so.
Also, it’s good to keep in mind that she may not even show up. Who knows? Something may come up, Jupiter may be late for its rendezvous with Mars. In fact, it’s very likely that we’ll first find out what’s with that wood monolith, or that emerging island, before anyone takes a shot at our old sun.
Though a cabdriver we took the other day told us that Jesus is coming back this year, and the Mayan calendar, etc, etc, we wouldn’t start giving away our Star Wars memorabilia just yet. Instead, you may do better coming up with a mashup of it all for YouTube.
Who knows? Maybe that island will sink back. A penguin will join “Dance with the Stars.” And Betelgeuse will be a no show.

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