“The most beautiful animal you’ve never seen”

RR Helm writing at Deep Sea News:

When I first saw a sea sapphire I thought I was hallucinating. The day had been anything but normal, but this part will always stand out. I’d spent the afternoon on a small dingy off the coast of Durban, South Africa. It was muggy, and I’d been working for hours–-throwing a small net out, and pulling in tiny hauls of plankton that I’d then collect in jars. As I looked through one jar, the boat rocking up and down, I saw for an instant a bright blue flash. Gone. Then again in a different place. An incredible shade of blue. Maybe I’d been in the sun too long? Maybe I was seeing things? It wasn’t until I got back to the lab that I discovered the true beauty and mystery of these radiant flashes…

The small creature I’d found was a Sapphirina copepod, or as I like to call it, a sea sapphire. Copepods are the rice of the sea, tiny shrimp-like animals at the base of the ocean food chain. And like rice, they are generally not known for their charisma. Sea sapphires are an exception. Though they are often small, a few millimeters, they are stunningly beautiful…

…The secret to the sea sapphire’s shine is in microscopic layers of crystal plates inside their cells. In the case of blue sea sapphires, these crystal layers are separated by only about four ten thousandths of a millimeter; about the same distance as a wavelength of blue light. When blue light bounces off these crystal layers, it is perfectly preserved and reflected. But for other colors of light, these small differences in distance interfere, causing the colors to cancel out. So while white light is composed of all colors, only blue light is reflected back. This type of coloration is known as structural coloration, and though resembling a gem in hue, a sea sapphire’s color has more in common with an oil sheen than a pigmented jewel. Combine this nifty trick with the sea sapphire’s impressively transparent body, and you have an animal as radiant as a star in one moment, and invisible in the next…

I think I saw something like this once in Lake Erie, but it could have been some trash wrapped in aluminum foil.

Hat tip: BadBlue Tech News

Doug Ross @ Journal

Video of my message to Liberty University: “Facing the Fire: Standing For Christ In An Age of Evil.” When it comes to the Holocaust, we say “Never again.” Yet America has aborted 55 million babies. Is darkness not falling? Is judgment not coming? What do we think will happen?

Rosenberg-LibertyOn Friday, March 21st, I had the honor of addressing more than 10,000 students at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia with a message titled, “Facing The Fire: Standing For Christ In An Age of Evil.” 

(To watch the 29 minute message, please click here.)

Opening with Daniel chapter three, I shared the biblical story of three Jewish men — Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego — who were thrown in a fiery furnace by an evil tyrant because they refused to bow down a worship a false god.

Sharing some lessons from the Holocaust, I shared several true stories of the real heroes — Jewish and Christian — who inspired the novel, The Auschwitz Escape

Then, noting that “darkness is falling” in Iran, North Korea, China, Russia and around the world, I also urged these students to love God and love their neighbors and stand boldly and courageously for Jesus Christ and the Word of God, no matter what the cost.

One of the most important elements of the message, for me personally, was reminding the students that in my lifetime, Americans have aborted 55 million babies. If this is not stopped, in the next few years, Americans will have murdered 60 million people.

“Consider the implications of that number,” I told them. “That will mean that Americans will have killed ten times more people than the number of Jews that the Nazis murdered during the Holocaust.”

We know the judgment that came upon Nazi Germany because of what they did, I noted. What do we think is going to happen to America?

Unless we repent, America will be judged. Unless we change course and God grants us mercy and forgiveness, America will implode. It’s only God’s grace that He hasn’t judged us already. I made it clear to the students that I don’t know when that judgment will come. That said, all the evidence suggests we are overdue.

We must study the Word of God and draw lessons from the stories of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. We must also study the Holocaust and draw lessons from the stories of the heroes like Rudolf Vrba, Fred Wetzler, Pastor Andre Trocme and others. But we must also look deeply into our souls and determine whether we are willing to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and love our neighbors as ourselves. Are we willing to love and protect and rescue the needy and the poor and the suffering, even if they don’t believe what we believe, even if they never choose to follow Christ? Are we willing to resist the evil tyrants of our day? Will we refuse to bow down to false gods and humanist systems, even if we are imprisoned, tortured or executed?

The lessons from the Book of Daniel, and the lessons from the Holocaust, are not ancient history that have no bearing on our lives in our times. Evil is rising today. We, too, will face the fire, and the question is: Will we bow before Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image, or will we stand for Christ and His Word?


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog

25 years after the terror attack on Pan Am 103: We will never forget, or stop praying for the families & friends of those who died.

panam103(Washington, D.C.) — Today, Lynn and I are praying for the families and friends of our 35 Syracuse University classmates who were murdered by a terrorist bomb over Lockerbie, Scotland. They were flying home from a semester abroad in London on Pan Am flight 103. The devastating attack occurred twenty-five years ago today in 1988.

It was our first personal exposure to Middle East terrorism, and it rattled us. I was a senior at S.U., having just studied abroad in Israel the year before. Lynn was a junior at S.U. She was a creative writing and Jewish studies major at the time. She had originally entered S.U. as a drama major, but switched in her sophomore year. Had she remained in the drama program, she very likely would have done the fall semester of her Junior year in London with her colleagues, and been on that flight back to the U.S. She knew people on that flight, and impacted her — and all of us at S.U. — very deeply.

Please join us in praying for all those affected by that terror attack, not just the families and friends of the Syracuse students, but those related to all of the 270 people who perished in the air, and on the ground in Lockerbie. We must never forget what happened, and we must never stop praying for those dear families and friends.

Here’s a bit of the coverage today:

“Families of some of the 270 people who died in an airliner bombing 25 years ago gathered for memorial services Saturday in the United States and Britain, honoring victims of a terror attack that killed dozens of American college students and created instant havoc in the Scottish town where wreckage of the plane rained down,” reported the Associated Press. “Bagpipes played and wreaths were laid in the Scottish town of Lockerbie and mourners gathered for a moment of silence at London’s Westminster Abbey, while U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told victims’ relatives at Arlington National Cemetery that they should take comfort in their unity even if time cannot erase their loss.”

“We keep calling for change, and fighting for justice, on behalf of those no longer with us. We rededicate ourselves — and our nation — to the qualities that defined the men and women that we lost,” Holder said.

“The events marked the 25th anniversary of the explosion of Pan Am 103, a New York-bound flight that exploded over Lockerbie less than an hour after takeoff from London on Dec. 21, 1988,” the AP noted. “Many of the victims were American college students flying home for Christmas, including 35 Syracuse University students participating in study abroad programs. The attack, caused by a bomb packed into a suitcase, killed 259 people aboard the plane, and 11 others on the ground also died. The Arlington ceremony took place beside a cairn of 270 blocks of red Scottish sandstone, a memorial structure dedicated to the attack. Wreaths flanked the structure, the ceremonial “Taps” was played and victims’ relatives recited the names of the people killed. Former FBI director Robert Mueller, said he would never forget the haunting sight of the victims’ personal belongings — a white sneaker, Christmas presents, a Syracuse sweat shirt, photographs — at a warehouse in Lockerbie when he traveled there to investigate the case as a Justice Department prosecutor.”

“Whitney Davis lost her younger sister Shannon, a Syracuse student, and friends in the explosion,” reported the AP. “She said she learned of the attack after returning home from Syracuse, which she also attended. There was initial hope that survivors would be found and uncertainty that the explosion was an act of terror. But the grief was immediate.”

“I was angry. I was in disbelief. Mom was in shock, my brother was not saying much and I just was throwing snowballs at the sky and wondering how this could have happened,” said Davis, of Bend, Ore., who brought her 8-year-old daughter to the memorial in Virginia. “It’s important that she know who her aunt was and who her aunt could have been.”

To read the rest of the story, please click here.

MORE COVERAGE:


Joel C. Rosenberg’s Blog