“From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of particular interest.
“But for us, it’s different. 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.” – from Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space
“What is the good of having a nice house without a decent planet to put it on?”
“Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.” – final paragraph of The Origin Of Species
These swans in St. Stephen’s Green are of course just one form “most beautiful and most wonderful” descended from dinosaurs.
“Science at its highest level is ultimately the organization of, the systematic pursuit of, and the enjoyment of wonder, awe, and mystery.”
My personal contribution to volcanology: A “before” shot of Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull in August 2008, from a Boeing 777 at 37,000 feet
“The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.”