Archives for July, 2011

Neptune turns 1. Kind of.

“Either you repeat the same conventional doctrines everybody is saying, or else you say something true, and it will sound like it’s from Neptune.” -Noam Chomsky Except back before it was discovered, the very idea of Neptune… well… sounded like it was from Neptune! The planets out to Saturn are visible with the naked eye,…

Why does your galaxy spin?

“Sometimes I don’t want to see the puppeteers, sometimes I just want to see the magic therein, and sometimes I just want to pry open the atoms and know why they spin.” -Glen Sutton But it isn’t just the atoms — the minuscule building blocks of matter — that spin. It’s also the individual galaxies,…

Weekend Diversion: Not for Kids Only

“In the United States today, there is a pervasive tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children. The options of children are thus steadily expanded, while those of adults are progressively constricted. The result is unruly children and childish adults.” -Thomas Szasz Some of the email I get, periodically, asks me if there…

“Where there is an observatory and a telescope, we expect that any eyes will see new worlds at once.” -Henry David Thoreau The night sky is our greatest glimpse of what lies out there, beyond our own world, in the expanse of space we know as our Universe. With our naked eyes, we are able…

Poets say science takes away from the beauty of the stars — mere globs of gas atoms. I, too, can see the stars on a desert night, and feel them. But do I see less or more? -Richard Feynman Ahh, the stars that make up our galaxy, and the galaxies that make up our Universe.…

Going Up?

“Through space the universe encompasses and swallows me up like an atom; through thought I comprehend the world.” -Blaise Pascal Whether you have or haven’t seen the xkcd webcomic, height (or my old post referencing it), one of the things that I can’t imagine not fascinating you is what you see the farther “up” you…

“Celebrate the independence of your nation by blowing up a small part of it.” -The Simpsons For those of you who aren’t from the U.S. or U.K., this coming Monday is the day that my nation celebrates the birth of its independence. This date, of course, as Aimee Mann will sing to you, is the…

“We are all agreed that your theory is crazy. The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct. My own feeling is that it is not crazy enough.” -Niels Bohr You know who Einstein is, I’m sure. The E=mc2 guy, the speed of light guy, and…