Chesapeake Bay's Independent Newspaper ~ Since 1993
1629 Forest Drive, Annapolis, MD 21403 ~ 410-626-9888

Volume xviii, Issue 9 ~ March 4 - March 10, 2010

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Correspondence

We welcome your opinions and letters – with name and address. We will edit when necessary. Include your name, address and phone number for verification. Mail them to Bay Weekly, 1629 Forest Drive, Annapolis, MD 21403 •E-mail them to editor@bayweekly.com. or submit your letters on-line by clicking here.


Dear Bay Weekly:

I’ve just read editor Sandra Olivetti Martin’s article about Donnie Radcliffe [Farewell Donnie Radcliffe, Feb. 25] twice and literally wiped the tears from my eyes.

I am going to put the article up next to the framed Barnes & Noble poster I have of Donnie talking about her book on Hillary Clinton and feature it at the Calvert Library for Women’s History Month. It will be in the library’s fireplace room, which she sponsored in memory of her husband.

–Grace Mary Brady, St. Leonard

Dear Bay Weekly:

February 14 marked the 20th anniversary of the Voyager One space probe being commanded to turn around and take photos of this solar system’s planets. Between February 14 and June 6, 1990, a photo of Earth was taken. The photo was requested by Carl Sagan.

I would greatly appreciate your honoring this anniversary for humanity by printing the words Carl Sagan said at a speech on the photo of the Pale Blue Dot that is Earth.

–Bryton Adam Smith, Glen Burnie

Look again at that dot. That’s here, that’s home, that’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those general sand emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

Our posturing, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.



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