Bang!!!!! (I can’t emphasize that enough.)
After which it took 8.8 billion years for Earth to form 5 billion years ago . . . and then another 800 million years or so for “life” to emerge.
Microbes, according to Life at the Edge of Sight.
But plants? Plants didn’t evolve until a mere 500 million years ago.
What do I know? But that’s a long time, if you ask me — 3.7 billion years — to go from microbes to plants. What was so hard about plants?
Humans appeared half a minute ago (200,000 years?) — and with them, presumably, human intelligence — but we didn’t really figure anything out until a second ago.
And now we’re figuring things out faster and faster — so exponentially so that it’s all almost surely coming to an explosively glorious beginning for us — or end — over the next second.
(And conducting humanity’s crescendo we had people like Obama, Biden, Clinton, and the Pope. Now we have people like Trump, Bannon, Kushner, and the Pope. It’s enough to turn me Catholic. But I digress.)
Did you know that when I was a little kid you couldn’t direct-dial from New York to California? It could take five operators to put through a long-distance call. Here’s that story.
Now, barely an instant later, you can reach a friend in China in seconds. Or in Kenya. Or in Tonga.
A video call!!
While you’re walking in the park!!!
And when you don’t even know where the friend is!!!!
I was listening to “Hamilton” yet again — “Look around! Look around! How lucky we are to be alive right now!” — and realized that (a) it’s more true than ever; and that (b) I’m nearly a third as old as America.
“American history,” which seems so imposing when, as kids, we first encounter it, is in fact a very short story.
So, too, really, human history.
And weeeeee have the astounding good fortune — and daunting responsibility — to help determine how it all ends.
Will it be “the end of history” as Francis Fukuyama suggested as the Cold War drew to a close?
Bye-bye, KGB; hello, the universal adoption of liberal Western democracy — and they all lived happily ever after?
Or — because we couldn’t find ways to live with each other sustainably on our spaceship — will it be, after the 13.8 billion years it took to get to this miraculous point, merely The End?
Too much for a Tuesday morning? Okay, how about this: I just learned you can take beer out of the refrigerator if you over-estimated demand. (They went for the hot-buttered-rum instead.) It won’t go “skunky,” and you can reclaim all that refrigerator space.
Oh, happy day.
Quote of the Day
If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose the fact that they were the people who created the phrase 'to make money.' . . . Men had thought of wealth as a static quantity, to be seized, begged, inherited, shared, looted or obtained as a favor. Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created.~Ayn Rand
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