Archives for May, 2008

Astronomers make use of… molecules?

When I think of molecules, I think of Conan O’Brien doing his skit where he plays Moleculo… the molecular man! I don’t think of astronomy, and I certainly don’t think of the leftover radiation from the big bang (known as the cosmic microwave background)! But somebody over at the European Southern Observatory put these two…

How “Quantum” is the Big Bang?

There is a very techincal paper this morning by Martin Bojowald that asks the question, How Quantum Is The Big Bang? Let me break it down for you. If you took a look at empty space and zoomed in on it, looking at spaces so small that they made a proton look like a basketball,…

Scientific Arguments

Sometimes, I publish things on this website that are not entirely correct (and when I do, I’ll own up to it). Sometimes other people do on theirs. There are bad ways and good ways to argue these points, ranging from name-calling to explicitly explaining where the flaws are in one’s arguments, and what the corrections…

But if you teach an Ape to fish…

What the heck has this world come to? All over the internet, this picture of an Orangutan trying to fish with a stick has been shown: But what’s the story behind this? Is this evidence that humans are not unique among the Great Apes as tool-users? Not quite. According to the Daily Mail, this is…

I’m not someone who gets as excited about science-fiction space shows as many other science bloggers, but I am a fan of the current Battlestar Galactica and, especially, of Star Trek: The Next Generation. But there’s one man who stands out as the hero of Star Trek: TNG, and it’s the seasoned, savvy, courageous and…

Carnival of Space: Artists Edition

Space, if nothing else, is an awfully pretty place. This week over at Space Cynic lies the 53rd Carnival of Space. Some of the highlights of this weeks Carnival include the following: Cosmic Chocolates — Japanese chocolates designed on the Planets. The Space Elevator — We’re still a long way away from this one. The…

Avoiding Armageddon!

Let’s say we’re having a nice day here on Earth; the Sun is shining, the clouds are sparse, and everything is just looking like a peach: And then Lucas goes and tells me, Oh my God, Ethan! It’s Armageddon! An asteroid is coming straight for us! You’ve got to stop it! Really? Me? Well, how…

What do Americans Believe?

The American Association of Physics Teachers just published a study of 1,000 likely U.S. voters about science, religion, evolution, and creationism. The results are frightening. Here are some of the “highlights” of their study: 38% of Americans are in favor of the teaching of religion in public school science classrooms. 65% of Americans do not…

The Story of Neptune

(This is adapted from my public lecture, Afraid of the Dark: How We Know What We Can’t See.) Let’s go back over 200 years ago, to 1781. William Herschel (left) discovered the planet Uranus, noticing that an object, as bright as a star, was actually moving relative to the other stars. The other five inner…

Will the LHC Create Dark Matter?

Hector writes in and asks about someone from Sheffield in the UK who says that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will create Dark Matter: The massive ATLAS detector will measure the debris from collisions occurring in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which recreates the conditions found in the early universe during the Big Bang when…