The more that time passes, the more accustomed we become to all the new gadgets and technological marvels that research, discovery, and innovation bring us. How many of us get up each day, reach for our smartphone, look at emails, check the weather, and scan FaceBook and Twitter, all before we even head out the door? How many of us listen to music at work, in the car, or at the gym on an iPod? How many of you are reading this on your smartphone or iPad or laptop right now? As for me, I’m writing this post on my laptop which wirelessly connects to the internet which, in turn, allows me to access the server that hosts my blog over half a continent away. How can anyone not reflect for a moment on everything I’ve just written and not think that’s pretty amazing?
During our pre-wedding sessions with our minister, one of the messages that really resonated with me was to always remember to look for the “wow.” I’ve always been awed by how astounding and cool things are – not just technology but people and nature too – and there are times when I just can’t contain my excitement (my wife will tell you it’s like I turn into a kid on Christmas morning). For instance, we got an iPad just before this past Christmas and I was floored by how instantly and intuitively everything just worked. Email, Google, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook: done. Holy shit, are you kidding me? When I was a kid watching Star Trek: TNG, I always thought it would be so cool to have some sort of device like the PADD that let you look things up, listen to music, and watch a video. And now I have one! You know what else is amazing? The human hand. When I was a kid, I saw a re-run of M*A*S*H where Hawkeye marvelled at the human hand and how there are tendons and muscles that work together to move the thumb laterally across the palm. For some reason this stuck with me and I began to discover how extraordinary human anatomy is. While this never became much more than a hobby-level interest, I found an online source for Gray’s Anatomy that I still refer to every now and again. Fast forward to the present and let’s talk about these two teenagers who put a Legoman in space. I find this wonderful for two reasons: 1. These two young men who, at 17 (when I was focusing on passing my diploma exams and convincing girls they should go out with me), are filled with the spirit of discovery and take it upon themselves to load up a weather balloon with cameras and send it into the stratosphere. And, 2. The images captured remind me just how staggering it is that our one planet is the exact distance from the Sun for perfect conditions to exist for life to thrive.
I won’t belabour my point any further but to say this: the world is amazing and we should all spend more time recognizing that. And if you don’t believe me, watch this interview that Louis CK did with Conan O’Brien.