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Friday, April 2, 2010

April 2nd

Ah, what a long book. I just got done reading Snowball Earth, which isn't actually a long book at all, but I had to do it in two days because I had a 5 page report on it due ... well today (it's after midnight.) So we all (yeah right) know that interesting life first started on Earth around 550 million years ago during the Cambrian. This is the age in which Earth, which for the past 4 billion years had been void of anything you or I would consider life decided to really come alive. Life has been on the planet for almost 3 billion years now, but only recently have multicellular organisms found their niche in the world. Only the last 1/9th of Earths existence have we had organisms as advanced (yes, advanced) as worms, flies and leafy plants. Well actually multicellular life extends back into the Ediacaran period, which started about 640 mya, but most people don't get anal about this.

So anyway, apparantly there is evidence such as glacial deposits at rocks which were, at the time, on the equator and banded iron formations (that only form when the ocean is not in contact with the atmosphere) in the rocks from just before the Ediacaran that imply a global freeze of the planet. The entire planet looked like Antarctica for millions of years. Volcanoes continued erupting and greenhouse gasses continued to come up through the ice and create a blanket, warming the Earth to the point of melting the ice and leaving a nearly lifeless Earth. Since there was so much empty and unpopulated space it is theorized that life exploded (much like it always does after a mass extinction event) and diversified, forming the first multicelluar life and 640 million years later allowing for me to write this blog. Interesting huh?!

I like that thought, the whole Earth being a giant snowball just tumbling around through space with it's neighbor the moon looking down and getting chills just thinking about how cold Earth must be. It's humbling, thinking humans have only been around for approximately 200,000 years. I can't even comprehend that length of time, let alone how long ago the Cambrian explosion (When all the new life developed) took place. Yet to the Earth, complex life has only been on the planet for about as long as I've been in college, about 1/8th of my life. If I were to compare how long humans have been on the Earth with my life - it would be since about Tuesday morning (I'm writing this on a Friday at 1am.) Though, unlike the Earth, the past week hasn't been the most interesting part of my life.

Last weekend I went camping with some geology students. We went out to Southern Utah, looked at rocks and partied. It was honestly one of the best experiences I've had to date as a college student. I sort of felt like I fit in with these people. They were all a little older, but not overly mature. They were smart, but not like the engineers who were smart about stuff that I didn't care to hear about. They even partied a little. No one in the group wanted to be drunk, we just wanted to have fun and relax after a day of driving, hiking and looking at outcrop. I met some legitimately cool people that I felt like I fit in with. I may be wrong since, besides the trip, I've not really socialized with anyone in my major outside of class, but at least I know that in the future when we go on field trips I'll have fun with the people I'm with.

For so long I've felt like an outcast here because of my inability to conform to the dominant religion of this state. I tried describing this to a friend earlier. For me it's like this:

Pretend that nearly everyone you know believes in aliens and that these aliens do special things for them and will care for them after they die. You grew up being told about these aliens, but then one day you realized it was all kind of a strange story full of holes and decided, "Hey, maybe there is something else to life than just these aliens that no one has actually met. Now I'm not discounting them, they really may exist, but I'm not going to just blindly follow the laws laid out in the alien accord." Now everyone around you seems to feel a little taken back by the fact that you don't follow these alien teachings and you have trouble being respected the same way and girls that are attracted to your personality and looks won't give you a chance because you can't hold special, seemingly made up, titles these aliens have bestowed upon the human race. No one really takes into account that you basically follow the alien laws, you just aren't blindly convinced that they exist exactly how their followers claim they do. All the realize is that you don't go to the meetings and don't believe in them the same way you do.

Would you not feel a little outcast? Would you not feel it's a little ridiculous that you're treated differently because you happen to disagree on the metaphysics of life. Even though you would never judge or treat differently a follower of the alien teachings, most of them feel differently about you.

Really think about that - well that's how the LDS church makes me feel. Then people wonder why I have trouble wanting anything to do with it. I respect the LDS church and think it's a fantastic organization. I think President Monson is an amazing person and may even speak to God (which yes, I do believe in God.) I just don't know this, and if I don't know it why should I pretend that I do? Maybe those aliens exist - but you aren't aware of it. You don't discount it and you follow most of their teachings because the teachings are good. You've just never seen or felt an alien, so you have a hard time knowing that the followers are 100% right.

Loose analogy, I'm aware, but I like it.

My friend Katie and I played an April fools joke in which we were engaged to each other. About 3 people that I knew fell for it. With Katie it seemed like a lot of her friends and family fell for it. Now granted I go to Utah State and she goes to BYU and people up here are just a little more sane than people down there and tend to think things through a little more, but a lot of my friends said things to me like, "I just know you aren't the type to get married. You're bitter towards marriage and you don't want someone in your life." This kind of bothered me, but as I thought about it, I can understand why they think that. It's not true. I'm not really bitter towards marriage. I just think it's absurd how people rush into it and will settle just because they want to hurry up and get it done before they turn 23. Really, you've got about a 17 year window from the time you turn 18 until you get married to do this. Take your time - find someone who is right for you and don't settle.

I'm not bitter towards marriage. I would love to be married to an amazing woman and think certain relationships (yes even at young ages) are absolutely amazing and they make me very happy. Unfortunately I've just not met someone yet who I think I would be happy and content with spending the rest of my life with without one of us compromising something important. Well that isn't 100% true. One girl - it didn't work out, but close enough. Until that time I'm perfectly content being single. I like myself. I don't typically have trouble finding a girl to hang out or go out with. It just always stops shy of serious. Sometimes it's my fault, sometimes it's hers, sometimes we just realize it isn't working, however typically, for the last 3 years anyway, it's because the girl doesn't want someone who won't take her to the alien sanctuary temple.