Archives for August, 2011

“My girl, my girl, don’t you lie to me, tell me where did you sleep last night? In the pines, in the pines, where the Sun don’t ever shine, I’ll shiver the whole night through.” -Leadbelly, among many other variations It’s already been a couple of months since I wrote about Global Warming, and was…

Weekend Diversion: Animals Being Dicks

“Some of them act badly because they’ve had a hard life, or have been mistreated…but, like people, some of them are just jerks. Stop that, Mr. Simpson.” -The Simpsons Sometimes, it’s good to just take a step back and enjoy something that’s easy. There’s a lot in this world to think about, worry about, learn…

How Smooth is the Universe?

“A cloud is made of billows upon billows upon billows that look like clouds. As you come closer to a cloud you don’t get something smooth, but irregularities at a smaller scale.” -Benoit Mandelbrot It isn’t just the clouds that appear smooth, but aren’t if you zoom in close. In fact, it isn’t just the…

The Universe is Biased!

“Fortunately for serious minds, a bias recognized is a bias sterilized.” -Benjamin Haydon You might look up at the night sky, at the vast canopy of stars we can see, and ask, exactly, what we’re seeing? Thousands upon thousands of stars, of course, even with just your naked eye. These stars come in all sorts…

“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love and to be greater than our suffering.” -Ben Okri Let me take you back 20 years, to the early 1990s. Back then, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator was right here in the United States: Fermilab’s…

Weekend Diversion: Aim for the Heart

“The heart, Ramone. Don’t forget the heart. Aim for the heart, or you’ll never stop me.” -Clint Eastwood, in A Fistful of Dollars Sometimes, the greatest things that art, music, or even astronomy has to offer are the traditional standards that have been around for a very long time. Only, a new interpretation sheds a…

How to Eat the Earth

“An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” -Winston Churchill Ever wonder what will happen to the Earth once the Sun dies? Although it’s happening very slowly, the Sun is burning through the nuclear fuel that powers it, giving off a tremendous amount of energy all the time as…

What Dark Matter’s Alternatives Must Do

“The only relevant test of the validity of a hypothesis is comparison of prediction with experience.” -Milton Friedman Dark matter is one of the most important components of the Universe today. And yet in the public’s eye, almost no one accepts it the way, say, the Big Bang is accepted. But it should be, and…

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.” -Winston Churchill It’s often said that you can’t get something from nothing. And while this may be true for most practical applications of your life, it isn’t true for our physical Universe. And I…

Weekend Diversion: The Dreams of a Hero

“Anyone who has spent any time in space will love it for the rest of their lives. I achieved my childhood dream of the sky.” -Valentina Tereshkova We all have our heroes. Many of them meet with tragedy, and get eulogized in song. This week, I present to you a wonderful, bluegrass cover by Keller…