Archives for October, 2016

“I know perfectly well that at this moment the whole universe is listening to us, and that every word we say echoes to the remotest star.” -Jean Giraudoux Since the 1930s, humans have been broadcasting radio signals powerful enough to be picked up by a sufficiently advanced alien civilization, even one located many light years…

“Man is something that shall be overcome. Man is a rope,tied between beast and overman – a rope over an abyss.What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end.” -Friedrich Nietzsche There are only two types of singularities that General Relativity predicts the existence of in our Universe: one…

“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.” -Francis Bacon If you had previously thought the Universe contained a certain amount of stuff, like stars, galaxies and matter, then you might think that learning it had ten times as many galaxies might mean it had ten times as much…

“The supermoon is a 16-inch pizza compared with a 15-inch pizza. It’s a slightly bigger moon; I ain’t using the adjective ‘supermoon.’” -Neil deGrasse Tyson Earlier this month, the full Moon was the first “Supermoon” we’ve seen all year, where the bright full Moon coincided nearly perfectly with perigee, or the Moon’s closest approach to…

“From our home on the Earth, we look out into the distances … to imagine the sort of world into which we are born… . But with increasing distance our knowledge fades, and fades rapidly, until at the last dim horizon we search among ghostly errors of observations for landmarks that are scarcely more substantial. The…

“There are in fact 100 billion galaxies, each of which contain something like a 100 billion stars. Think of how many stars, and planets, and kinds of life there may be in this vast and awesome universe.” -Carl Sagan And at long last, Carl Sagan’s estimates are finally out of date. It’s not ~100 billion…

“Honestly, if you’re given the choice between Armageddon or tea, you don’t say ‘what kind of tea?” -Neil Gaiman Between the near-Earth asteroids that orbit close by our planet, and the distant comets that plunge periodically into the inner Solar System, Earth has plenty to be concerned about over the long haul. A slight gravitational…

“Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save…

“Scratch a cynic and you’ll find a disappointed idealist.” -Jon F. Merz The stars overhead might twinkle and cause us to wonder what they are, exactly, but perhaps a more important question is to wonder where they are. If we can determine the distances to the stars, and then use those known distances to measure…

“Thus is our treaty written; thus is agreement made. Thought is the arrow of time; memory never fades. What was asked is given; the price is paid.” -Robert Jordan Why does time flow forwards and not backwards, in 100% of cases, if the laws of physics are completely time-symmetric? From Newton’s laws to Einstein’s relativity,…