A Week of Gratitude
© 21 Nov 2011 Luther Tychonievich
Licensed under Creative Commons: CC BY-NC-ND 3.0
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The overlooked structure of things.


I am grateful for the Pauli exclusion principle. Without it, all electrons would share the same orbitals and chemistry, molecules, and the world as we know it would not exist.

I am grateful for the faster-than-other-forces falloff of the strong force. Without it, all atoms would be either hydrogen or monstrous aggregates like a neutron star and the world as we know it would not exist.

I am grateful that water molecules are asymmetric. This gives water a high surface tension, contributing to rainfall. It means it expands when it freezes, keeping rivers flowing in the winter. It contributes to a huge heat capacity and high enthalpies, meaning it keeps the temperature of the planet fairly constant. Asymmetric water makes life possible.

I am grateful that light slows down when passing through matter. Without that, lenses (and hence vision) would not be possible.

I am grateful that the moon is the distance it is from the earth, and that the earth’s magnetic field is the strength it is, and that we have enough atmosphere to keep water liquid but not so much it doesn’t also boil and freeze, and that so much of the crust of the earth is silicon, and….

When people say in prayers “‍we thank thee for all our many blessings‍” I smile to myself. No, we don’t. We can’t even begin to enumerate the blessings, let alone take the time to actually feel grateful for each one.

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