Archives for October, 2009

The Energy Limit of the Universe

If people around you aren’t going anywhere, if their dreams are no bigger than hanging out on the corner, or if they’re dragging you down, get rid of them. Negative people can sap your energy so fast, and they can take your dreams from you, too. –Earvin “Magic” Johnson As far as science goes, we…

Weekend Diversion: The Performing Arts

Music. Dance. Theatre. Take your pick, ranging from something classical like the symphony or the ballet to something modern like musical theatre or fusion dance, there’s a world of sights and sounds for you to enjoy. For an example of a new twist on an old favorite, have a listen to Yo-Yo Ma (on cello)…

How overpopulated are we?

…we spend paltry sums for population planning, even though its spontaneous growth is an urgent threat to life on our planet. There is no human circumstance more tragic than the persisting existence of a harmful condition for which a remedy is readily available. Family planning, to relate population to world resources, is possible, practical and…

How Safe is the LHC?

All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again. –Peter Pan Much like any new venture where the outcome is uncertain, there are a lot of fears surrounding the LHC. And I know, because it occasionally shows up in my comment threads, in my inbox, or in my office. Could it form…

Q & A: The Shape of Things

It’s only natural to wonder why things are the ways that they are. Take a look at our Solar System, for example. A central bulge with planets, moons, and whatnot moving in a disc around it. Is this the way things have to be? My friend Rich, a chemist, asks: It seems that all the…

I was in a movie!

Barney: Next they’re gonna show my movie. Bart: You made a movie ? Barney: I made a movie? I wonder why there was a picture of me on the cover of Entertainment Weekly. Earlier this year, a documentary film challenge was issued internationally. The goal was to make a movie about one of this year’s…

All the Junk in Our Solar System

My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles. –Children everywhere, up until very recently Taking a look at the new ring discovered around Saturn made me realize something. Most of us don’t realize how full of crap our Solar System is. I don’t mean planets, or moons, or comets or asteroids, although there are…

There’s nothing quite like a Bob Dylan song performed to perfection by someone other than Bob Dylan. All Along the Watchtower and Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door are the most common ones, but a little further off the beaten path is Girl from the North Country, which is knocked out-of-the-park here by Sam Bush. Now, the…

One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them. One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. –J.R.R. Tolkien Of course we’re all familiar with the planet Saturn. Gas giant, many moons, and, of course, its prominent rings: Note that word, rings. Sure, at a distance, it may just…

Is it evil to sell MOND over Dark Matter?

Earlier this week, I wrote about an article that appeared in Nature, New Scientist and other places. The article — and especially the popular writeups — talked about a problem with dark matter and how MOND (MOdified Newtonian Dynamics) solves those problems. And I’m livid about it. Another physicist/scienceblogger thinks my anger is misplaced, and…