musings, thoughts, and writings of Barbara W. Klaser

June 25, 2009

Which is smarter?

A cat or a dog?

I have never thought dogs are smarter than cats, but according to a study described in The Guardian, Cats outsmarted in psychologist’s test, they are, at least in some ways. I’m not quite convinced, since I don’t fully understand the test myself. Either I need a better description or the dogs in the study are smarter than I am as well. What I found most entertaining about the article was the comments. We will defend our pets to the bitter end! I love both dogs and cats, and I’m not sure why humans feel a need to take sides as dog people or cat people. Frankly, I don’t care which are smarter, cats or dogs. Members of both species seem to know quite a bit about friendship, and have something to teach us humans….

So maybe the question should be: Which are smarter, cats, dogs, or people?

— Barbara @ rudimentary 7:51 pm PST, 06/25/09

February 24, 2009

Watch the skies for Comet Lulin

It’s a hazy, cloudy day here today, so I don’t hold out much hope, but in some places tonight will be the best night to see the comet Lulin:

Green Comet Approaches Earth

Comet Lulin making nearest approach toward earth, one-time only

— Barbara @ rudimentary 2:56 pm PST, 02/24/09

July 7, 2007

The Universe In A Single Atom

A post by Susan at Spinning reminded me of a book I recently read, written by the Dalai Lama — The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality. The Dalai Lama has nurtured a lifelong interest in science, and this book explores the gaps and meeting places between religion and science, in what I found to be a thoughtful and profound treatise. It was interesting to read how a religious leader views science, which sometimes threatens his long held beliefs and at other times seems to support them. Granted, Buddhism is one of the least dogmatic religions, and Buddhists don’t believe in a personal God or a specific creation myth, as far as I can discern from this and other readings, so he tends to be much more flexible toward science than other religious leaders might be.

I’ve often seen science as exploring the underpinnings, materials, and physical characteristics of the same great work of art (the Universe) that religious leaders and philosophers explore the ideas and impulses behind. Both, at their best, explore the best ways to live within that great work. To me their goals seem to mesh perfectly, so long as greed, dogma, and power plays don’t get in the way. But then I don’t have a set religious belief to try to fit everything into. I think the more set in concrete one’s beliefs are, in either science or spiritual teachings, the more difficult it may be to see the common ground and bridge the gaps. Flexibility is important, and we already know that some of the greatest scientific discoveries are results of either accidents or imagination. Einstein considered imagination more important than knowledge —

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

Perhaps the most important way we’re made in any creator’s image is that we’re creative ourselves. It’s that very imaginative nature that can enable us to be flexible and love the mystery of life, rather than try to impose steadfast answers on others.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 12:32 pm PST, 07/07/07

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