Archives for July, 2012

“Black holes, which have no memory, are said to contain the earliest memories of the universe, and the most recent, too, while at the same time obliterating all memory by obliterating all its embodiments. Such paradoxes characterize these strange galactic monsters, for whom creation is destruction, death life, chaos order.” -Robert Coover Our Milky Way,…

“Arithmetic! Algebra! Geometry! Grandiose trinity! Luminous triangle! Whoever has not known you is without sense!” -Comte de Lautréamont When you think about it, it’s amazing that our physical Universe makes sense at all. The fact that we can observe what’s happening, determine the laws that govern it, and predict what will happen under the same…

“Nothing exists except atoms and empty space; everything else is just opinion.” -Democritus of Abdera When you take a look out at the Universe, past the objects in our own solar system, beyond the stars, dust and nebulae within our own galaxy, and out into the void of intergalactic space, what is it that you see? What…

The one and only true “Space Needle”

“If you don’t like what you’re doing, you can always pick up your needle and move to another groove.” -Timothy Leary Up in the night sky, shortly after sunset, the night sky holds some spectacular sights. Some are permanent, some are transient, some have been known for thousands of years, and some are still being…

The Legacy of Sally Ride

“Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we’ve ever known.” -Ronald Reagan Earlier today, Sally Ride, the first American woman ever to fly in outer space, passed away at the age of 61 from pancreatic cancer. To many…

“The achievements of Apollo were so bold and our subsequent efforts so timid that the energy of those years seems like a youthful dream.” -Buzz Aldrin 43 years ago today, humanity took our first steps on another world, venturing nearly 400,000 kilometers from home and walking on the surface of the Moon. Of course, what…

This is an enhanced version (with some upgraded images and text) of an article I first wrote over two years ago. It is just as valid today as it was back then, only today, I have a special offer to go with it. Next week, a bunch of cosmologists and myself are getting together and…

How Big is the Entire Universe?

“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” -Stephen Hawking The Universe is a vast, seemingly unending marvel of existence. Over the past century, we’ve learned that the Universe stretches out beyond the billions of stars in our Milky Way, out across billions of light years, containing close to…

“So when the cat has got your tongue, there’s no need for dismay! Just summon up this word and then you’ve got a lot to say! Pick out those eighteen consonants and sixteen vowels as well, And put them in an order which is very hard to spell…” -Supercalifragilisticexpialadocious, The Sherman Brothers There’s something mysterious about…

“For most of the history of our species we were helpless to understand how nature works. We took every storm, drought, illness and comet personally. We created myths and spirits in an attempt to explain the patterns of nature.” -Ann Druyan Here on Earth, we are well aware of how devastating storms can be. From…