Archives for September, 2011

Neutrino fun facts!

“We should do astronomy because it is beautiful and because it is fun. We should do it because people want to know. We want to know our place in the universe and how things happen.” -John Bahcall Of course you’re all going to watch the exciting Live interview with me on KGW tonight (streaming here;…

“Neutrinos, they are very small. They have no charge and have no mass And do not interact at all. The earth is just a silly ball To them, through which they simply pass, Like dustmaids down a drafty hall Or photons through a sheet of glass. They snub the most exquisite gas, Ignore the most…

Why does the Earth have a liquid core?

“If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, let ‘em go, because, man, they’re gone.” -Jack Handey Take a look at our home planet, Earth, and one of the things you’ll notice is that over 70% of the surface is coated in water. We all know why this is, of course:…

“The first principle is that you must not fool yourself–and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.” -Richard Feynman Last week, a…

“It is the function of art to renew our perception. What we are familiar with we cease to see. The writer shakes up the familiar scene, and, as if by magic, we see a new meaning in it.” -Anais Nin We’re all used to trusting our senses for information about this world. And while there…

“Nothing travels faster than light, with the possible exception of bad news, which follows its own rules.” -Douglas Adams My inbox is on fire today with messages about this story about neutrinos breaking the speed of light: What’s going on here? A group (a large group, mind you) of physicists known as the OPERA collaboration…

And the Temperature of Dark Matter is…?

“A fact never went into partnership with a miracle. Truth scorns the assistance of wonders. A fact will fit every other fact in the universe, and that is how you can tell whether it is or is not a fact. A lie will not fit anything except another lie.” -Robert Green Ingersoll One of the…

Who Discovered The Earth is Round?

“When Columbus lived, people thought that the earth was flat. They believed the Atlantic Ocean to be filled with monsters large enough to devour their ships, and with fearful waterfalls over which their frail vessels would plunge to destruction. Columbus had to fight these foolish beliefs in order to get men to sail with him.…

Going Nuclear: How Stars Die

“After all, the universe required ten billion years of evolution before life was even possible; the evolution of the stars and the evolving of new chemical elements in the nuclear furnaces of the stars were indispensable prerequisites for the generation of life.” -John Polkinghorne There are close to a whopping 1028 atoms in your body.…

Weekend Diversion: Fighting on the Internet

“When you roll around in the mud with a pig, you both get dirty, and the pig enjoys it.” -Old Folk Wisdom One of the things I’ve learned over the time I’ve been blogging is that, no matter what position you take on any issue, whether it’s science, politics, religion, morality, or anything else, is…