Merrimack River Current

Time and tide wait for no one... but they won't be ignored
By Joel Beck
Friday, November 5, 2004

Darrell Martini, of Saugus, famous for his syndicated radio segments as the "Cosmic Muffin," says the explanation for the way the moon affects human behavior is quite simple. Science shows that the moon affects the tides, and our bodies are 90 percent water. That said, how can the moon not affect the human body?

"You just go back to the basics," Martini says. "It absolutely affects people's dream states, their sleep states, and people are always more tired at full moons."

Of course, recently, that might have had more to do with people staying up late to watch the Red Sox.

Kelly Beatty, editor of Sky and Telescope magazine, says our bodies might be 90 percent liquid, but people aren't anything like an ocean. He calmly says the premise that our bodies react like tides to the moon isn't quite right. It's the way liquid in our bodies is distributed that makes it far less affected than an ocean, which has a tidal reaction.

"In order for there to be a high tide in Massachusetts, there has to be a low tide somewhere else for the volume of water to be constant," Beatty says. "That means, if the earth's water was distributed evenly like a checkerboard all over the earth's surface, there would be no tide.

"The same is true with a person's body," he says. "In order for that water to rise up, there needs to be a deficit of water someplace else [in our bodies], and there can't be."

Seems logical enough. But how does one account for the "cosmic energy" felt by people like Marblehead's Robin Samiljan? She was so moved by the power of the moon that, to capture its beauty, she began applying paint to canvas during every full moon over the past year.

How can anything with that much beauty and power possibly be just an inanimate rock sitting in space? Samiljan isn't ready to accept the scientific explanations.

"It's not just a rock," says Samiljan with a hint of disdain in her voice. "It may be a rock, but it's a rock that is able to reflect light. That light source, whether it's coming from the sun or wherever, is projecting energy or reflecting it from the moon. If you look at it, it can really affect you."

That may be true, says Beatty, for people who know little or nothing about astronomy - which he estimates is about 99 percent of the general population. His job is to get people to understand more about what's really going on in the sky.

Which is, of course, easier said than done. Even the night of a full moon.

"On one hand, we find it funny and amusing," Beatty says. "On the other hand, it's a little frustrating. At some level, you just have to give up and not fight it."

(This article replicated online with permission of the Merrimack River Current.)
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