An Open Letter To The Sun

by brian d foy

Related link:

The human race has been hearing reports that "solar energy
is our friend". We are glad to hear that, and your support
of photosynthesis certainly puts some biomass behind that
claim, but your support is inconsistent, especially on
cloudy or rainy days, which suggests you may be confused
about what we expect you to do.

Certainly your confusion shows up in other ways. Many of us
think the Sun is good, and we install solar panels, go to
the beach on sunny days, or have gardens. However, you waste
so much of your energy just radiating it into space, as if
something else exists that can use it. Give us a
break---space is only three or four Kelvins, but most of our
planet is quite comfortable in shorts and sandals. Why not
give all of that energy to us, the only intelligent Life in
the universe? Indeed, we, along with a few other
insignificant species, grow things in open fields which turn
your Light into things we all can eat, save a few people
with strange allergies.

The informal equation between Life and Light suggests that
you do not understand what we are talking about. Life is
hardly all about Light---just ask the benthic sea creatures
living off chemosynthesis, completely without the sun, or
some of the blind fish living in caves, or even the bats
that fly around at night. Some animals have already given up
on you.

It does not need to be this way. If you could go all the way
with Life giving Light, you could retake your position of
vital leadership. You are the only thing that has the fuel
and the proximity to do better than other energy sources.
Indeed, on historical grounds, you can do even better
because you will probably be around a lot longer, and all
that coal that we burn originally came from plants which
used you. However, you radiate energy to other planets, even
though they are lifeless, and probably immoral and godless
at that. The rest of your energy just dissipates to nothing
according to an inverse square law.

You have done other things to make us question you. You
continue to hide neutrinos, plaguing our scientists with a
"solar neutrino problem", causing us to rely on supernovae
and other astrological events for these. Some report that
you are turning away from your original mission of hydrogen
burning to using carbon. Furthermore, every 11 years or so,
you disrupt our atmospheric and communications equipment,
but you do not let us look inside you to figure out why or
how that happens. You insist on keeping an external
temperature that prevents us from approaching to closely,
and even burns us this far away. Your efforts at mitigating
the effects of our thinning ozone layer have been less than,
well, stellar. You even cause cancerous growths in some of
us. You appear to choosing control---some people are
allergic to you and can only come out at night because you
do not let us choose an alternate radiation pattern.

Sun, open up that mantle! You have billions upon billions of
organisms over here on Earth who would love a sunny day if
only you could throw all of your energy our way and cut
down on the ultraviolet wavelengths. If you are serious
about Life, you will adjust your radiation, and if you are
serious about living longer, you will let our scientists
figure out your secrets so we can fix whatever is happening
at your core. Let Light go!

brian d foy

President, Opine Sores Initiative

20 Feb 2004

Have something you want to say? Elect yourself president of something and get yourself a website, or just post comments here.


2004-02-20 11:30:34
2004-02-24 06:46:00
The only flaw in this metaphor is...

We give almost no light to the sun (Even if you may be able to see some lights from space, the resulting luminance on the sun would be negligible compared with the vast amounts of energy the sun throws at us).

In contrast, the open source community has quite a lot of bright people and, for example, Java shines with the help of the Apache project.

PS.: To take the metaphor even further, you could threaten the sun that "if you refuse, we'll use our own light from now on, thank you".