Sunday, April 1, 2012

The need to enrich our knowledge


(Taken from CubaDebate)

FILMED scenes of the slaughter in Libya, which are beginning to be made known, prompt outrage over the total absence of humanism and the gross lies which served as the pretext to invade and seize that country’s natural resources.

NATO military aircraft supported the monstrous crime with more than 25,000 combat missions.

They stated that the Libyan government possessed funds in excess of $20 billion, deposited abroad. At this point in time nobody knows where that money is and what has been done with it.

A fraudulent electoral process guaranteed the theft of the presidency of the most powerful nation by George W. Bush, an alcoholic without medical treatment or the most elemental ethical principles, who ordered West Point graduates to prepare to mount surprise, unannounced attacks on 60 or more dark corners of the world.

A similarly alienated person, by simply opening a briefcase, could determine the use of thousands of nuclear weapons; with a small percentage of these, such a person could end human life on the planet.

It is sad to recall that on the opposite side of the yankee superpower, another alienated person, with three bottles of vodka in his stomach, proclaimed the disintegration of the USSR and the dismantling of more than 400 nuclear emplacements, which had within their range all the military bases threatening that country.

These events did not constitute any surprise. Throughout many years of struggle, acquired experience, contact with events, ideas and historical processes left no room for any surprises.

Today, Russian leaders are trying to reconstruct that powerful state which cost so much effort and sacrifice to create.

When Pope John Paul II visited our country in 1998, I conversed on diverse subjects with an envoy of his. I particularly remember the occasion when we sat down to dine in a small room in the Palace of the Revolution with Joaquín Navarro Valls, the Pope’s spokesman, seated facing me. On his right was an amiable and intelligent priest who came with the spokesman and accompanied John Paul II in the masses.

Curious about details, I asked Navarro Valls: Do you believe that the immense sky with millions of stars was created for the pleasure of earth’s inhabitants when we deign to look upward one night?

"Absolutely," he replied. "It is the only inhabited planet in the universe."

Then I turned to the priest and said to him, What do you think of that, Father? He replied, "In my opinion there is a 99.9% possibility that intelligent life exists on another planet." His response was not in violation of any religious principle. I mentally multiplied the figure who knows how many times. It was the kind of response I considered correct and serious.

Afterwards, that noble priest was always friendly with our country. One does not have to share beliefs in order to share a friendship.

Today, Thursday, as is happening with increasing frequency, a European entity of known repute in relation to the subject, textually states:

"There could be billions of planets, not much larger than Earth, revolving around weak stars in our galaxy, according to an international team of astronomists.

"This estimated number of super-Earths – planets with up to 10 times the mass of Earth – are based on detections already made and then extrapolated to include the population of the so-called ‘dwarf stars’ of the Milky Way."

"’Our new observations with HARPS mean that about 40 percent of all red dwarf stars have a super-Earth orbiting in the habitable zone where liquid water can exist on the surface of the planet,’ said Xavier Bonfils, team leader at France's Observatoire des Sciences de l'Univers de Grenoble.

"Given that red dwarfs are so common – there are about 160 billion of them in the Milky Way – this leads us to the surprising result that there could be tens of millions of these planets in our galaxy alone."

"Their studies suggest that there are super-Earths in habitable zones in 41% of cases, with a range of 28-95%."

"About 40% of all red dwarf stars have a super-Earth orbiting in the habitable zone where liquid water can exist."

"This leads to the obvious question, whether one of these planets is not only inhabitable but has life."

"But, the red draft stars are believed to be prone to stellar eruptions or flares. This particular characteristic of the star could make attract ultraviolet radiation and at the same time life would become impossible on the star.

"’We have an idea of how to find traces of life on these planets,’ said Stephane Udry, an astrophysics researcher at the Obervatory of Geneva."

"If we can identify traces of atmospheric gases then we would have signs of life in other worlds."

A simple reading of these news items demonstrates the possibility and the necessity of enriching our knowledge, currently fragmented and dispersed.

Maybe that would lead us to more critical positions concerning the superficiality with which we address both cultural and material problems. I do not have the slightest doubt that our world is changing much more rapidly than we are capable of imagining.

Fidel Castro Ruz

March 29, 2012

8:15 p.m.

Translated by Granma International