Sextillion Stars

News Flash— The number of stars
in our universe has just tripled—
we now have 300 sextillion of them.
That's 3 followed by 23 zeros
or 3 x 1023— but I'm sure
this number will soon double
so it's exactly Avogadro's Number
6.022 x 1023
named after an Italian physicist.

I recall Professor Benjamin Widom's
Quantum Mechanics lecture at Cornell—
"Avogadro's Number is the largest
you'll ever encounter in your life!"—
number of molecules in a gram-mole
of oxygen, water, or any element.
Soon we'll have Avogadro's number
of stars in a drop of cosmic milk—
in a bowl drunk by a gigantic god.

No wonder we live in the Milky Way
and in jest I told my 6-year old niece
years ago, that our galaxy was made
by some Cow God not realizing that
in Egypt the Cow Goddess was Hathor
and in India, Aditi, Mother of the gods.
That's why the cows are sacred in India
still roaming the streets of Bangalore
while they're the Silicon Valley of Asia.

My friend Rudy has recurring dreams
of bulls and cows chasing him off a cliff
and even did a "Photoshop Phobia Project"
that when he was 12, riding a bike across
a meadow, bulls charged and he climbed
up a tree for half an hour until they left.

But now I give him a new interpretation—
"The cows are really gods telling you
Wake up! Wake up!— This universe
is your Mind's making in waking, dream,
and sleep. When you realize that— gone
are all fears and you'll shout Holy Cow!"

        — Peter Y. Chou
             Mountain View, 12-3-2010

"Supernova Blast Bonaza" (NASA/JPL/Hubble)

"Cow on Streets in India" (Ishtars Gate)

Rudy's "Photoshop Phobia Project"