Recently, astronomers made an exciting announcement about a rocky planet, similar to Earth, being found just over four light years away from us.
The planet is being called Proxima b, because of its orbit around Proxima Centauri. It is now the closest, possibly habitable, body found outside of our solar system.
Personally, I have always been fascinated by space and what could, or does, lie beyond our planet. In college, I was one of just two from my year to take the astronomy course as an elective.
There is so much that makes space an exciting topic. For one thing, what remains for us to learn about it seems limitless. Space to me is kind of like the ocean, so vast and so deep, new discoveries are being made all of the time. We don’t know how many planets or stars exist, if there is any form of life that could live on those planets, what dark matter is, or even if there are further chemical elements we have not yet discovered.
As a fan of comic book superhero stories, I have also become fascinated with the theory of infinite Earths, or the multiverse. This theory suggests the possibility of parallel universes out there, similar to our’s. The comic book take on this is each Earth is set apart by the decisions people make for their lives. If you make one decision on this Earth, another version of you made a different decision on an alternate Earth. This leads to many possible new paths for the alternate person.
This has led me to wonder what an alternate version of myself could be doing with his life right about now, and if he could teach me any lessons on how I am living mine. Of course, the theory of the multiverse has never been proven, but has not really been disproven either, possibly adding to the list of things we don’t know yet about space.
Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention in this column that photos from space satellites and space telescopes probably provide the best landscape shots in the world, and the most used computer desktop wallpaper photos. Some may see pictures as just an aesthetic benefit, but it is also highly informative. This is one of the most immediate benefits derived from what we accumulate through space travel.
I am looking forward to more exciting discoveries from the space industry in the future. Who knows what we might learn next.
It is funny to think we are already over halfway into the month of August. The summer has just flown by.
What I have noticed is, as we get older, our perceptions of time change and it seems weeks and months go a lot faster. I remember when I was in elementary school, I used to think time could not go by fast enough. I wanted to get to adult life and be able to have the freedoms and perks of being an adult. Many times now, I've been hoping time would slow down.
This perception change is backed up by research from experts across the world, and many are still trying to find the root cause of it. A 2015 study, done by a researcher at James Cook University, found technology has changed our mind’s ability to process information, making us think time is moving faster. Even though this may be marginally true, I don’t think this is the root cause of it.
I did some further research and came across a piece by writer Philip Yaffe. He found people anticipate some of life's big events; such as driving a car, to some a first love, among others. He says milestones can start out feeling like they are far away, and then in a blink of an eye they are accomplished and are already in the past. The more milestones accomplished, the more people have to reminisce on, and the "farther and faster they appear to recede" into the past. Eventually, people start to think 'did that certain life event really happen that long ago?’
I guess, in my position, it is the fact that I am constantly focused on telling the important community stories and getting to the end game, of putting out another great newspaper; that time works differently.
This made me think of the many decisions life can throw in your path in just one day. Here are some examples: the decision to wake up at the right time; to get to work on time; the decision on what to wear that day; the decision to do a random act of kindness, such as holding the door for someone; the decision on whether to talk to someone, who just might have an interesting story to tell; whether or not to talk to the person you find attractive; and the decision to either do the best we can or to slack off. Each decision could lead to another milestone, and therefore a sense of forward motion.
I think, once in a while, people need to take a step back and realize just how much they have accomplished so far. Just remember, the clock moves as fast or slow as you perceive it.
It has been another great season, so far, for the Toronto Blue Jays, as the team is once again on pace to be a serious competitor in the Major League Baseball playoffs.
For a brief moment last weekend, the Jays grabbed the lead in their division from the Baltimore Orioles, before eventually giving it back after a loss in the third game of the recent series.
One thing this season should teach General Manager Ross Atkins is that he should get Edwin Encarnacion signed, as soon as possible.
Encarnacion recently reached a career milestone late last week, with his 300th double in the first game against the Orioles. As of press time, Encarnacion ranked second as a Jay in runs, just behind Josh Donaldson, and third on the team in hits.
He has also been one of the Blue Jays more consistent players since 2012, never finishing a season with less than 34 home runs or less than 120 hits. He is currently first in the league in runs batted in and third in the league in home runs. At 33 years of age, those are pretty good records to hold.
Encarnacion is also third on the franchise’s all time home run list, recently pulling ahead of Vernon Wells.
It is no wonder, the Boston Red Sox’s David Ortiz has expressed his own interest in having Encarnacion on his team next season.
Atkins is in an interesting situation, where he might lose heavy hitter Jose Bautista to free agency. This is why trade rumours, such as Bautista moving to the Washington Nationals, have recently emerged. This should put some urgency on the ball club to lock up one of its long ball hitters in Encarnacion.
Encarnacion has told the Toronto Blue Jays that he will not negotiate a contract during the regular season, but, as soon as the window opens, GM Atkins needs to get him locked up.
The past few years, the Toronto Blue Jays have been one of the league’s top teams for home runs. Since 2012, they have never finished a season with less than 175 homers. Last season was one of their best, with 232 home runs. This has been, in part, thanks to the Jays having someone of Encarnacion’s calibre.
It is hard to think about the Toronto Blue Jays without Encarnacion, so hopefully Atkins can get a new contract for the slugger done fast.
Is a reporter for The Standard Newspaper, so if you see him, feel free to say hello. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @dancearnsy