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Dave Koch
Records are broken by those who dream beyond the barriers.
Records are broken by those who dream beyond the barriers.

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The most significant image of all time gives us a Christmas message.

This image was taken by pointing the Hubble Space Telescope toward a completely black and empty area of space for a period of ten days. The size of the area is about one 24-millionth of the whole sky, which is roughly equivalent in angular size to a tennis ball at a distance of 100 meters.

Astrophysicist’s and astronomer’s consider this to be the most important photograph taken in all of mankind, as it answers questions that have eluded us for millenniums.

There are thousands of objects in this image. Every smudge of light is not a star, but rather an entire galaxy, as large or larger than our own Milky Way, each of which contains over 100 billion stars. Some of the galaxies are in their infancy while others are mature and well evolved. Many of the stars in each galaxy have a solar system similar to ours, with planets orbiting, and some orbiting within the Goldilocks Zone – a sweet spot in a solar system where a planet’s surface temperature is neither too hot nor too cold – the distance where life as we know it can exist.

For the first time in the history of mankind, this image measures our universe as being greater than 91 billion light years in diameter. The distance from the Earth to the edge of the observable universe is 46 billion light-years. Our Milky Way Galaxy comparatively is about 100,000 light years across. Our Milky Way galaxy, despite its enormity, is a mere speck of dust compared to the size of the observable universe.

Comprehending these numbers is difficult for our minds. A “light year” is a measurement of distance - the distance that light will travel in one year.

The speed of light is 186,000 miles per second; 11,160,000 miles per minute; 669,600,000 miles per hour; 16,070,400,000 miles per day; 5,865,696,000,000 miles per year. The distance light travels in one year, and therefore the distance of one “light year” is roughly 5.9 trillion miles.

Entire civilizations could have existed, gone extinct and new civilizations formed in any of the hundreds of billions of solar systems in each galaxy, which contains hundreds of trillion’s of solar systems in this miniscule selection of the observable universe.

Having roamed the Earth for some 165 million years, it is only 65 million years ago that the civilization of dinosaurs became extinct. The fossil record indicates that anatomically correct ancestral humans have been in existence for roughly 200,000 years – all of these civilizations are a whisper in time.

The light from these galaxies that we are seeing today was actually emitted from their sources roughly 46 billion years ago. During the past 46 billion years, many new galaxies may have formed, and many that we see in this photograph may have ended in incomprehensibly gigantic and violent collisions and expositions.

Millions of civilizations boasting a variety of life forms could have existed for hundreds of millions of years, become extinct and new life formed and evolved again hundreds of millions of years later. I see no argument between creation and evolution. Indeed, there is evidence that creation and evolution harmoniously and universally coexist.

One might wonder how many of these civilizations became extinct as a result of cosmic influences and events, as was the case with the extinction of the dinosaurs, versus the number of civilizations that self-destructed, as some might hypothesize to be the trajectory of ours.

To help put things in perspective, there are more stars (Sun’s) in our visible universe than there are grains of sand on every beach and on every desert on the Earth.

As I look at the images from the Hubble, my hope is that it gives all of us pause to be humble.

Look at how insignificant we all really are when compared to the big picture.

As far as we know thus far, in the entire universe, we are alone on this tiny planet. Why then are we so divided? Why have we allowed beliefs, ideologies, religions, race, thoughts, politics, possessions and other such really trivial things cause us to be blinded by difference as opposed to being united by our commonality?

How is it that some people allow their pride and ego to repel other people – to exalt themselves above other people, all based upon an utterly absurd self-perception that they are somehow better than others in this comparatively microscopic world?

Are any of us better or more important than a grain of sand, a star, a solar system, or a galaxy? Even a dozen drops of water contains more hydrogen and oxygen molecules than there are grains of sand on all of the beaches and all of the deserts of the Earth.

Would our imperceptibly tiny world not be a better place if people took the energy that they expend on arguing, fighting, judging, hating and supporting division among one another, but instead focused that energy on understanding one another’s culture, and moving toward tolerance and acceptance?

Aren’t we all better off just getting along for the literally blink-of-a-eye amount of time that we inhabit this comparatively minuscule world – the whiff of time that we exist?

The richness of diversity is among life’s most savored treasures, no matter your ideology, age, citizenship, race, color, creed, physical or mental disability, ethnicity, marital status, matriculation, national origin, religion, political affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, socioeconomic class, education, profession or any other factor that some people use to differentiate themselves as dissimilar and superior, as opposed to identifying themselves as one of the contributors to a diverse but equality based planet.

People are people, all have dreams and aspirations, and all deserve equal respect and dignity, regardless of how any individual might believe in the delusion of their superiority and self-importance.

No matter how much we disagree, no matter how much we differ, we can still identify an infinitesimal number of consensus upon which we can find harmony and form a bond of companionship, that is based upon an open communication and mutual respect toward achieving fulfillments and positive conclusions.

I wish you and everyone you love a very Happy Holiday, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and a healthy and happy 2017 and beyond.

My greatest hope is that our culture can begin to change from the hostile trajectory it has taken in recent decades toward one that celebrates the sanctification of our existence together.

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You know that the entire country is in desperate trouble when “meaningful” endorsements for the Presidency of the United States include such individuals as Phil Robertson and Sarah Palin.

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If you’re considering adding or replacing your car or truck suspension springs, or ride-rite air bags, read this first.

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Swim with the Manatees, Crystal River - Florida.

Make sure to share +Diply with your friends and family.

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I asked a friend what he thought I should do for self protection.

He said I should get a nine millimeter, a couple of clips, and a box of shells.

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