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Cyberastro

There is a famous anecdote about an illiterate young shepherd. Alexander the Great, left behind one of his Macedonian generals, Selucus in India. Selucus observed in his diary that a young shepherd would punctually lead his small herd of sheep past his tent every morning and return with them before sunset. Once on a clear spring morning they went past his tent right on schedule. To his surprise he saw them retuning hastily only after a few hours. Intrigued, he sent for the boy and asked him the reason for breaking his daily routine. The boy replied that he had to return the sheep back to their pen to avoid getting caught in the storm. The general looked up and saw the azure blue sky without trace of a single ominous cloud portending either rain or storm. On further interrogation the shepherd informed that as he sat below the banyan tree, his usual post, he had observed how the black ants were scurrying into their holes, and that their bodies were slick and moist. These, the shepherd said were signs of impending rain, and it hardly rains in spring without an accompanying storm in this part of the land. Dismissing the illiterate shepherd's weather prognosis with disdain he went about his military duties.

But to his astonishment, within the next hour billowing clouds darkened the landscape, lightnings streaked across the sky and a terrible storm ensued. Selucus would use this information later to his advantage. Modern man is very proud of his technological progress, but how accurate is the weather forecast we hear nowadays? Instead of modestly learning the various signs through which nature communicates, or trying to decipher the calls of birds and animals etc. that convey to us important information about our world that unfortunately even supercomputers are unable to do, we rely on fallible machines. Machines are not fully reliable because they are after all built by fallible and imperfect human beings. Science and technology can certainly be proud to have produced impressive contrivances like a microscope that can magnify the smallest particle or bacteria. However they have not succeeded in producing a lens that can magnify the molecular particles that make up the microscope lens.

cyberastro
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