Archives for February, 2011

Never a Miscommunication?

Mr. Harley: Your impatience is quite understandable. Klaatu: I’m impatient with stupidity. My people have learned to live without it. Mr. Harley: I’m afraid my people haven’t. I’m very sorry… I wish it were otherwise. -The Day The Earth Stood Still, 1951 People love to talk about the constancy of the natural phenomena. Every 24…

Kepler’s Real Spacecraft

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain You’ve all heard of Kepler before, including the exoplanet-finding…

Weekend Diversion: A Pearl in the Rough

“We are tested academically and the only people who benefit are academics. Everyone doesn’t make A’s and B’s in school – and those people who can’t, it doesn’t mean you don’t have a gift. There are people who are gifted but maybe not academically. You could be an average student but exceptional in other areas.”…

Science > Bill O’Reilly

“How’d the moon get here? Look, you pinheads who attacked me for this, you guys are just desperate. How’d the moon get here? How’d the sun get there? How’d it get there? Can you explain that to me? How come we have that and Mars doesn’t have it?” -Bill O’Reilly Once upon a time, humans…

Your First Year in Physics Grad School

Teacher Writes on Blackboard: “The Method of Guessing” Student: “What! There’s a method???????” Teacher: “Yeah, there’s even a proof!” -overheard in a physics grad school As a physics professor, one of the challenges I face is how to advise young students nearing the end of their undergraduate career on how to succeed in graduate school…

Can You Get Something For Nothing?

“One creates from nothing. If you try to create from something you’re just changing something. So in order to create something you first have to be able to create nothing.” -Werner Erhard One of the oldest adages in existence is you can’t get something for nothing, as over a million websites will tell you, including…

Why the Moon Turns Red During an Eclipse!

“With hue like that when some great painter dips His pencil in the gloom of earthquake and eclipse.” -Percy Bysshe Shelley There may be no greater sight for the naked-eye astronomer than a total lunar eclipse. Normally, we get one or two of these a year, and the same wonderful thing happens at each one.…