Archives for May, 2012

How Big Is Our Galaxy?

“Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.” -Douglas Adams Here inside the Milky Way galaxy, all you need are some dark skies and a decent set…

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people…

“Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead.” -Kyle Reese, the Terminator Sure, they may look innocent now.  Maybe you think they’ll even live peacefully with…

“This seems to be the law of progress in everything we do; it moves along a spiral rather than a perpendicular; we seem to be actually going out of the way, and yet it turns out that we were really moving upward all the time.” -Frances Willard As spring gives way to summer here in…

“Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you’ve got to say, and say it hot.” -D.H. Lawrence Here in our Solar System, the planet closest to our Sun is Mercury, speeding around in a complete orbit once every 88 days, with daytime temperatures reaching a sweltering 400° C,…

“As always on this boulevard, the faces were young, coming annually in an endless migration from every country, every continent, to alight here once in the long journey of their lives.” -Brian Moore Even the Universe experiences a “great migration” every now and again, where giant, massive globules of interstellar gas are blown thousands of…

“A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.” -Elbert Hubbard I’ve had the great fortune in my life to see a great many wonderful things with my own eyes, including the rings of Saturn, the phases of Venus, a couple of faint, distant galaxies, and…

“But some of the greatest achievements in philosophy could only be compared with taking up some books which seemed to belong together, and putting them on different shelves; nothing more being final about their positions than that they no longer lie side by side. The onlooker who doesn’t know the difficulty of the task might…

“The Earth destroys its fools, but the intelligent destroy the Earth.” -Khalid ibn al-Walid Usually, when we talk about terraforming, we think about taking a presently uninhabitable planet and making it suitable for terrestrial life. This means taking a world without an oxygen-rich atmosphere, with watery oceans, and without the means to sustain them, and…

Umm… is this thing on?

“The doctors realized in retrospect that even though most of these dead had also suffered from burns and blast effects, they had absorbed enough radiation to kill them. The rays simply destroyed body cells – caused their nuclei to degenerate and broke their walls.” -John Hersey Everyone (well, almost everyone) recognizes that radiation is bad…