Archives for December, 2015

“I just think too many nice things have happened in string theory for it to be all wrong. Humans do not understand it very well, but I just don’t believe there is a big cosmic conspiracy that created this incredible thing that has nothing to do with the real world.” –Ed Witten If you calculate…

“Did you ever read my words, or did you merely finger through them for quotations which you thought might valuably support an already conceived idea concerning some old and distorted connection between us?” -Audre Lorde One of the most damning, albeit accurate, condemnations of String Theory that has been leveled at it is that it’s…

“You are the salt of the earth. But remember that salt is useful when in association, but useless in isolation.” -Israelmore Ayivor When NASA’s Dawn spacecraft began photographing Ceres, one big surprise emerged: the presence of a spectacularly and unusually bright spot at the bottom of Occator crater. As we got closer, we discovered it…

“We cannot be vengeful. We need to find pono [righteous] solutions. We need to find good things for astronomers. Cooperation is, I think, really the true part of our human nature, not competition. I think we have to go back to cooperation to survive the future.” -Kealoha Pisciotta, president of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou If you…

“Mars is much closer to the characteristics of Earth. It has a fall, winter, summer and spring. North Pole, South Pole, mountains and lots of ice. No one is going to live on Venus; no one is going to live on Jupiter.” -Buzz Aldrin When we think about life in the Universe, we think about…

“It will be found that those contained in one article [class of nebulae], are so closely allied to those in the next, that there is perhaps not so much difference between them, if I may use the comparison, as there would be in an annual description of the human figure, were it given from the…

“Every moment of light and dark is a miracle.” –Walt Whitman Every once in a while, the Earth hurtles through the orbital path of a comet or asteroid, with the Sun having torn tiny bits of debris from the parent body. As a result, the Earth strikes these dusty fragments at speeds often exceeding a hundred…

“Pluto was part of their mental landscape, the one they had constructed to organize their thinking about the solar system and their own place within it. Pluto seemed like the edge of existence. Ripping Pluto out of that landscape caused what felt like an inconceivably empty hole.” -Mike Brown We had an awfully busy week…

“Maybe that is our mistake: maybe there are no particle positions and velocities, but only waves. It is just that we try to fit the waves to our preconceived ideas of positions and velocities. The resulting mismatch is the cause of the apparent unpredictability.” -Stephen Hawking Black holes are the densest, most compact objects in…

“We’ve learned that the view of four inner rocky planets and four outer gas giants and one misfit Pluto is wrong. Now we understand Pluto’s context.” -Alan Stern After a 9 year journey to Pluto, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft made its closest approach to Pluto this past July, taking so much data that it will…