Archives for May, 2009

I recently got this comment of incredulity on my article about what wiped out the dinosaurs? I´m sorry. But i don´t believe this. In my opinion they were wiped out by a climatic changing. And I think it’s worth — with the help of a little math and physics — looking at what this asteroid…

How old is the Universe?

One of the most surprising things about the Universe? As vast as it is, it hasn’t been around forever. In fact, if you take our plain little rocky home (Earth), it looks like the Universe is only about 3 times as old as we are. It’s surprising, considering how huge, expansive, and full of interesting…

In 1862, an under-manned, under-equipped Mexican army defeated the French at the battle of Puebla on May 5th. Cinco de Mayo, started because of this event, has now become a widespread holiday in the US, where awareness and appreciation of Mexico and Mexican culture are of paramount importance. So before you go out to Chi-Chi’s…

Maccarone and cheese Einstein!

There’s a new scientific paper online today about a very special and rare type of star: an ultracompact X-ray binary star. (One of the authors is surnamed Maccarone.) Let’s start by explaining what these things are, how they work, talk about this one in particular, and what it all means. You’ve heard of binary stars…

Can Dark Matter help Make Stars?

The Universe is full of stuff; both normal matter and dark matter are practically everywhere we look. But the Universe looks as interesting as it does because of what gravity does to it. It takes a Universe that starts out with almost the same exact temperature and density everywhere (the initial differences are one part…

Last week, I wrote a little article trying to get people to calm down about the swine flu. Yes, it will get you sick, yes, it’s contagious, and yes, if you get it you should seek medical attention. But as of today, the CDC has only three cases of swine flu in my state, and…

First off, the music for this week comes from a duet known as Rodrigo y Gabriela, two amazing guitarists who team up as a duet and just blow my mind. I discovered them when I was in Tucson, and they are amazing live! (Well, as long as you can find a venue where the audience…

The LHC, Black Holes and You

Who is correct here? We don’t know, you don’t know, it is uncharted territory. Would you bet the entire human history and the existence of our solar system on it? I wouldn’t. –from a user comment on my old website on the topic of the Large Hadron Collider Back when all the hype and hoopla…

Chiming in on the Swine Flu

There are plenty of great sites here on Scienceblogs that have talked about the swine flu, including Aetiology, the Scientific Activist, Greg Laden, Ethics and Science, and Effect Measure, among others. But I’ve noticed, reading comments here and elsewhere, that people are really, seriously terrified of this. And yes, it can kill you if you…

Solving the Mystery of Mercury

When you look up at the night sky, what’s the first and most obvious thing you see? If you answered anything other than “the Moon” you’re in serious need of some new eyes, because — in terms of size, brightness, and detail — the Moon dominates everything else. But the one thing you’ll always notice…