Physical Science

“Our external environment no longer seems to have any firm boundaries, any limits, or any positive cues about when to stop consuming anything. I mean, there is a reason that people get fat — it’s easy and cheap to get high-calorie, tasty food.” -Bob Harper There are plenty of good things we can all do to get…

On Not Talking, for the Right Reasons

Over at Backreaction, Bee has a nice piece on our current age of virality. Toward the end, she discusses some of the ways this applies to science, specifically a quote from this Nature article about collaborative efforts to measure “big G”, and a story about a Chinese initiative to encourage collaboration. She writes of the…

“We were marching down the street, & we were at the head of the troops. We went on marching, & the troops went off to the left.” -Geoffrey Burbidge It’s such a part of our cosmic and scientific history, that it’s difficult to remember that it’s only been for the past 50 years that the…

“The anthropic principle – the idea that our universe has the properties it does because we are here to say so and that if it were any different, we wouldn’t be around commenting on it – infuriates many physicists, including [Marc Davis from UC Berkeley]. It smacks of defeatism, as if we were acknowledging that…

Particle Physics in Western Mass.

That’s “Mass” as in Massachusetts, not the stuff associated with the Higgs field… specifically, North Adams, MA, where I’ll be this Saturday night, October 25th, at the Secret Science Club screening of Particle Fever. This will be at the MASS MoCA, tickets here. The Secret Science Club is a regular gathering in New York City…

“The most amazing lesson in aerodynamics I ever had was the day I climbed a thermal in a glider at the same time as an eagle. I witnessed, close up, effortlessness and lightness combined with strength, precision and determination.” -Norman Foster It’s called the “Eagle Nebula” because the shape of the nebula itself faintly resembles…

“I would give my life to fly in space. It’s hard for me to talk about it but I would. I would then, and I will now.” -Jerrie Cobb, at age 67 in 1999 Some of the greatest heros of the 20th century are those who were an integral part of humanity taking our first…

“Out, you impostors! Quack salving, cheating mountebanks! your skill Is to make sound men sick, and sick men kill.” -Philip Massinger It’s been a wild ride full of ups-and-downs this week, as we’ve covered topics from solidly-based science to the theoretically expected, all the way to physical impossibilities and unverifiable, outlandish claims. Sometimes, that’s what…

How many lakes are there?

How many lakes are there? We don’t actually know. Lakes are often undercounted, or small lakes ignored, in larger scale geophysical surveys. It is hard to count the small lakes, or in some cases, even to define them. A recent study (published in Geophysical Research Letters) examines this question. We want to know how many…

“I must choose between despair and Energy —— I choose the latter.” -John Keats Yes, we know that the fabric of the Universe is not made up of space and time but rather a unified spacetime; that the spacetime isn’t static but rather expands as the Universe goes on; and that the expansion isn’t slowing…