Archives for October, 2010

Weekend Diversion: Happy Halloween 2010!

“Dusty Rhodes, do you think you’re what our forefathers were thinking about when they thought up the American Dream? Ooooh, yeah, I don’t think so.” -Macho Man Randy Savage Those of you who’ve known me for any length of time know that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and know that I put a…

Some Matter is Strange, but that’s okay

“People fear death even more than pain. It’s strange that they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death. At the point of death, the pain is over. Yeah, I guess it is a friend.” -Jim Morrison Yes, Jim Morrison, some people are quite strange, too. People Are StrangeBut that’s not what I’m talking…

How Big is the Unobservable Universe?

“Really, the fundamental, ultimate mystery — the only thing you need to know to understand the deepest metaphysical secrets — is this: that for every outside there is an inside and for every inside there is an outside, and although they are different, they go together.” -Alan Watts We’ve talked, recently, about the scale of…

Weekend Diversion: VOTE FOR ME!

“In science, ‘fact’ can only mean ‘confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.’ I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.” -Stephen Jay Gould It’s been almost three years since I started science writing, and almost…

“I don’t think we came from monkeys. I think that’s ridiculous. I haven’t seen a half-monkey, half-person yet.” -Glenn Beck I don’t often write about biology here, but as many of you know, I often write about the history of the Universe, and that includes the Sun, the planets of the Solar System, and the…

The Best Toys in the Universe!

“The laws in this city are clearly racist. All laws are racist. The law of gravity is racist.” -Marion Barry The law of gravity, contrary to what Marion Barry says, is — perhaps — the most indiscriminate of all the laws of nature. What do I mean? Well, you get a large collection of matter…

How far away are you?

“It is a mistake to look too far ahead. Only one link in the chain of destiny can be handled at a time.” -Winston Churchill And yet, when you look out, you can’t help but wonder how far away these points of light in the sky are. Some things are easy. Our Solar System, for…

Weekend Diversion: As winter approaches…

“The Dancer believes that his art has something to say which cannot be expressed in words or in any other way than by dancing… there are times when the simple dignity of movement can fulfill the function of a volume of words.” -Doris Humphrey I don’t know what the weather is like for the rest…

The Scale (and Limits) of the Universe!

“The chess-board is the world, the pieces are the phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game are what we call the laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us.” -T. H. Huxley There’s an amazing interactive application on the Scale of the Universe that was just pointed out…

Why is the Sun yellow?

Calvin: Why does the sky turn red as the sun sets? Calvin’s Dad: That’s all the oxygen in the atmosphere catching fire. Calvin: Where does the sun go when it sets? Calvin’s Dad: The sun sets in the west. In Arizona actually, near Flagstaff. That’s why the rocks there are so red. Calvin: Don’t the…