My Google Personalized Homepage had a great quote on it today (in the “Quotes of the Day” widget):
All that is human must retrograde if it does not advance.
– Edward Gibbon
When I hear that quote, I think of what Governor Pawlenty always says. He always talks about the fact that Minnesota needs to be moving forward all the time, and that if we are simply remaining stationary, we are actually falling behind the crowd.
If you think the term “retrograde” sounds familiar, you may have heard it in the term “retrograde motion.” Such motion is what we observe the planets doing from our vantage point. From earth, planets sometimes appear to fall backwards in their orbits.
This can be explained by the fact that the earth occasionally passes a planet in the race around the sun. When we pass another planet, it will appear to go backwards for a while. To see this concept in animated format, look at the University of Illinois Page on Retrograde Motion.