The scales of its wings become photographic brushstrokes

Former teachers of the President commiserate

Photo by Library of Congress on Unsplash

[Reprint of a Facebook Posting soliciting new members to a Zoom-based Support Group]

I am writing this FB post with the hope that more of you will join the Former Trump Teachers Zoom Support Group. I can’t tell you how therapeutic it has been for me and I know it would do you a lot of good too.

It started as an impromptu commiseration call between me and Mr. Tim Wallace, who taught geography to Donald at Key-Forest School in Queens, NY. For those who don’t know, I am Jane Hershey, I just turned 90, and I taught eleven-year old…

Giving up science can add flair to your explanations. Give it a go.

by Ivan Amato

A lovely depiction of a flat, square, and stationary earth, released in 1893 by Professor Orlando Ferguson of Hot Springs, South Dakota, who had no need for the prior several centuries of astronomy and cited the evidence for his admittedly superfun depiction of Earth this way: “Four Hundred Passages in the Bible that Condemn the Globe Theory, or the Flying Earth, and None Sustain It.” (Image is in the public domain).

I have been thinking lately about how so many of our elected leaders have decided to stop letting science get in the way of making the tough decisions they have to make. I decided to give that a try and I have to say: I was delighted to discover how giving up science lets you think about things just the way you want to.

I mean when I was young child in the 1960s, I had heard from adults in my life that the moon is made of cheese. Then the moon landing happened — or did…

The project is ending, but its mission continues

Last July, when the world was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the original moon landing, I launched The Moonshot Catalog on the publishing hub Medium. As this experiment in philanthropic awareness-raising now comes to a close, the completed Catalog features 16 long-form, big-bet articles, which collectively point toward an achievable reality most of us would be happy for our descendants to live in.

A reality in which the threat of pandemic disease is taken off humanity’s list of existential angsts. A reality in which billions of people enjoy long, healthy, and productive lives unfettered by debilitating diseases of aging. A…

The third essay in an intermittent series about what happens in one second.

Leonardo da Vinci made this sketch of a human heart in around 1510. (Image source: Stanford University)

Human hearts beat on average about 80 times each minute. That amounts to 10.4 billion human heartbeats on our planet every single second. In the spectrum of heart rates among our animal brethren, our hearts are neither fast nor slow. At the high end is the hummingbird. A blue-throated hummingbird’s heart beats at an astonishing pace of up to 21 times each second — up to 1260 per minute — to keep its whirring wings and buzzing metabolism supplied with enough oxygen. …

The second essay in an intermittent series about what happens in one second.

In my most empathetic moments, I try to imagine the parallel lives of my more than 7.8 billion planetary brethren. Here we are, all of us, together at this moment, distributed over our nearly 8000-mile-diameter planet, each with our own thoughts and desires, joys and sorrows, ambitions and regrets, anticipations and fears, compassions and jealousies. Regardless of what joins and divides us all, we together live a total of 7.8 billion seconds each second. My beloved father, Solomon, lived just beyond his 81st birthday and so he…

An ode to the vastness of a second

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.

William Blake, Auguries of Innocence

The first essay in a series about what happens in a second.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Just about anybody who played hide-and-seek as a kid probably remembers counting, with eyes covered, in units of one-one-thousand. “One-one-thousand. Two-one-thousand. Three-one-thousand.” This spoken-out-loud unit did a decent job of approximating the second-to-second tick-tocks of a clock. Ten to twenty of those usually were enough for your friends to find a place to hide…

Go anywhere else in the universe And our over-the-top Sun, Here so crass and garish, Will be preposterously far away, there. Those damned lightyears lick its light dark. It always…

Got a spare billion to help solve big problems? There are pros that can help you with that.

By Ivan Amato

Moon over Languard Mountain in Switzerland. (Photo courtesy of Marcell Kessler/Pixabay)

Let’s start with some billionaire math.

Some 2000 ultra-wealthy households in the United States each hold more than $500 million in assets. This deepest-pocketed demographic controls about $3.7 trillion dollars. In 2017, these wealthiest of Americans donated about $45 billion to charity, translating into an annual charitable giving rate of about 1.2% of their assets. Meanwhile, the vast assets of those same individuals likely grew at a rate that matched or exceeded the S&P 500’s 9% average rate of return over the past 20 years. Even if the country’s wealthiest households donated seven times what they do…

Air conditioning and a warming planet. It’s a vicious cycle that needs to be broken.

By Ivan Amato

By 2050, the world’s count of room air-conditioners, such as those shown on this building in China, is expected to soar from today’s 1.2 billion units to some 5.6 billion units. (Image source: Sławomir Kowalewski/ Pixabay)

THE MOONSHOT As the world warms over the coming years, and as urbanization and incomes rise, the number of room air-conditioning units are expected to soar from today’s 1.2 billion to some 4.5 billion by 2050. More air conditioners beget more global warming begets more air conditioners. Breaking this vicious cycle will take a combination of more efficiency cooling technology with dramatically less climate impact along with economic, policy, educational, and other societal mechanisms that can conspire to deploy the improved technology on a planetary scale.

THE PHILANTHROPY OPPORTUNITY Philanthropic giving has enabled coalition-building among the private…

Ivan Amato

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store