Thursday, 10 October 2013


I was at a Friends of Prudhoe Woods lecture this evening. The subject was the Kielder Observatory. This led into a beginner's level exploration of space. Never one of my strongpoints although I have read some Hawking. The lecturer did successfully make it easy and I got it into my head that our sun is one of a vast number in our galaxy. At the centre of the galaxy is a black hole and our location is in some spiral arm almost in the sidelines of a big disc which approximates to the galaxy i.e the whole galaxy is circular but does not have much height relevatively speaking. Get to the edge of it and then somewhere out there is the next galaxy and a lot of galaxies makes a universe. Practically just one of these galaxies, apart from our own, we can "readily" see from earth: Andromeda.

At the level he kept it to it was almost simpulls and the simple point was big, vastness beyond our easy comprehension. I never understand why evangelical Christians struggle with evolution. It enhances the glory of faith, it does not undercut it and if it asks one to re-evaluate Biblical truth this is about an evolving faith. So astronomy, Big Bangs, awe inspiring universe, roll it on. In inspires me to humility and a thought wells up, facing up and outwards, I don't struggle to believe in a creating being.

Now the lecturer did not move into a different direction, but one when faced with the universal bigness, I often turn to. A human being aware of his finite life is an interestingly scaled being for appreciating existence. Although galaxies are big, we are hacking them. So also are we hacking things in the opposite direction. In the news today Alzeimers and Higgs Boson's. The idea that drill down into our being, into our brains, into the atomic world and the more you get smaller, the more amazing and complex it becomes. Is'nt that interesting that the size paradox expands in both the expansive and reductionist directions?

With my faith, this does not surprise me, instead it seems a paradox of faith and as a Christian I believe in the Trinity. So far we have gone in two directions, out and in. I can see a third, a lateral tangent which is congruent to the first two paradoxes. That tangent is the incarnation. The impossible to know God, the one who should be impassive, the one who we should not  name nor gaze at, has in my faith done all this. Because the paradox is that the Almighty became one man. Jesus is in my faith God and His at times absurd and sad life show a God who can handle everything, takes His share of the creative responsibility and rise again out of all defeat. This to me is a miracle just as the examination of the universe, its origins and our molecular and cellular matter also verge or even enter the miraculous.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Wikimedia at the Mining Institute

Harry Mitchell's Wiki Commons image of the exterior.
Earlier in 2013 Wikimedia (parent to Wikipedia) was engaged in North East England through Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums. This was with the first Wikimedian in Residence in the region. I was the fortunate candidate and very fascinating it proved to be. An interesting follow on has been arranged for the 6th November 2013. An editathon is being held in the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers just a very short walk east of Newcastle Upon Tyne Central station. I will be participating and it ought to appeal to a wide spread of people. It is a magnificent venue, a major piece of Victorian gothic revival. Lunch and a guided tour are part of the package provided. There is already Wikimedia content but once you see the collections, you will understand just how much connectivity between the Institute and Wikimedia there might be. If you feel you are a Wikimedia beginner, there will be experienced editors on hand. And if "mining" phases you reflect how much local and regional social history runs with the subject. Additionally the library hosts the collections of local Stephenson Locomotive Society and Railway Correspondence & Travel Society branches. It has become a place where many volunteers interested in industrial heritage in the region gather (not least because it has a license and offers excellent coffee). More details from,_North_of_England_Institute_of_Mining_and_Mechanical_Engineers .

14 sign ons at 4th October.