Archives for June, 2012

Whose world is it, anyway?

“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” -Mark Twain So, you’ve been around a while, seen all sorts of things, and learned an awful lot about the world, solar system and Universe that we live in. But how well do you know it,…

The Strong Force for Beginners

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way — things I had no words for.” -Georgia O’Keeffe When it comes to the Universe, it isn’t just the stuff that’s in it that’s important. It’s also how all that stuff interacts with itself and everything else. To…

“We came all this way to explore the Moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth.” -Bill Anders, Apollo 8 astronaut From hundreds of miles up, the International Space Station speeds around the Earth, completing 18 orbits a day, looking down on us and returning some absolutely fabulous images. But what…

“The secret of life is honesty and fair dealing. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” -Groucho Marx Now that the solstice is behind us and summer is officially here (for most of us), it’s time to start enjoying the greatest fruits of the season. With the technical difficulties of the great scienceblogs…

It’s hard to leave this world

“Some prophecies are self-fulfilling But I’ve had to work for all of mine Better times will come to me, God willing Cause I can’t leave this world behind” -Josh Ritter You sure can’t leave this world behind. At least, not very easily. The reason for it, of course, is gravity. Here on the surface of…

“If you end up with a boring miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest, or some guy on television telling you how to do your shit, then you deserve it.” -Frank Zappa Inside of every student I’ve ever taught lives a passionate, curious mind that can either flourish…

“Soon the earth will tilt on its axis and begin to dance to the reggae beat to the accompaniment of earthquake. And who can resist the dance of the earthquake, mon?” -Peter Tosh Every year, there are two special days where every place on Earth receives the same amount of sunlight — 12 hours —…

It’s My ______ In A Box!

“I would rather be adorned by beauty of character than jewels. Jewels are the gift of fortune, while character comes from within.” -Plautus When it comes to astronomy, there’s no doubt that I’ve got a northern hemisphere bias. It’s no surprise, of course; I live here. And while I often write about the skies that…

The Sirens of Titan

“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” -Mark Twain Back before the telescope was invented, Saturn was known as the Old Man of the Skies. The slowest-moving of the naked-eye planets, it’s the only one that would reliably be in nearly the same location, year after year.…

Sometimes, Size is Everything!

“I went into a clothing store, and the lady asked me what size I was. I said, ‘Actual’. I’m not to scale.” -Demitri Martin When you look out at the Universe, what you can see is limited, at the most fundamental level, by the size of what you look with. This is why you can…