I remember getting thrown out of religion class in high school when I questioned some of the basic principles of Catholicism. It’s not that I didn’t believe; I just wanted more of an explanation. Sister Carmel Marie took a dim view of that. Looking back, I can understand why, given the limitations and strictures of her existence as a Sister of St. Joseph and the fact that she’d decided to give her life to the service of God.

Curiosity was not prized; rather, memorization and rote learning were rewarded. But I remember the stories from my youth, which were always pooh-poohed as originating with crackpots, the over-imaginative and trailer-park beer swillers. In those days, we used to watch fantasy and science fiction movies on Friday nights, huddling under blankets, eating popcorn or french fries and sipping cokes. Even in black and white, they looked super-fake.

I’ve always believed we cannot possibly be the only sentient beings in the vast universe. Here’s an interesting film I stumbled across on TED-Ed. The site features “Original lessons (that) feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators.’

Stand by for an animated exploration of the famous Fermi Paradox. Given the vast number of planets in the universe, many much older than Earth, why haven’t we yet seen obvious signs of alien life? The potential answers to this question are numerous and intriguing, alarming and hopeful.