Ask Ethan

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“Ignorance is hardly unusual, Miss Davar. The longer I live, the more I come to realize that it is the natural state of the human mind. There are many who will strive to defend its sanctity and then expect you to be impressed with their efforts.” -Brandon Sanderson At the risk of inflaming everyone who…

“You can observe a lot by just watching.” -Yogi Berra Sure, the quantum Universe is a little bit spooky. Things that we’re used to being “determined” here in the macroscopic world, like where a particle will end up if you throw it, aren’t so simple if we head on down to subatomic scales. While you…

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” -Dr. Seuss For almost a year now, you’ve all been sending in your questions and suggestions to me, and I’ve been picking my favorite one of the week for Ask Ethan, our weekly Q&A series.…

“One has to be an optimist; one has to hope that somewhere there’ll be new measurements to be made and that they will open up new vistas for us theorists to play with.” -Jim Peebles It was one of the most hotly contested questions for decades: we first expected and then found supermassive black holes at…

“I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.” -Johannes Kepler, 1601 It’s easy to think of some things as eternal, even though nothing truly is. The Sun is long lived, and it has another 7 billion years (or so) to go before it runs out…

“The brighter you are, the more you have to learn.” -Don Herold There’s a big difference between the Summer Sun and the Winter Sun, and I’m not talking about anything to do with the Sun itself. No, I’m talking about what you feel here on Earth due to the Sun’s rays! There’s no doubt that…

“Sometimes a person has to go a very long distance out of his way to come back a short distance correctly.” -Edward Albee Every week on Ask Ethan, we’ve been taking a look at my favorites of the questions you send in. And one of the things you’ve been wondering about is this: when we…

“If you are a dreamer come in If you are a dreamer a wisher a liar A hoper a pray-er a magic-bean-buyer If youre a pretender com sit by my fire For we have some flax golden tales to spin Come in! Come in!” -Shel Silverstein There are fakers out there of all types, to…

“They say the universe is expanding. That should help with the traffic.” -Steven Wright When you think of the expanding Universe, you very likely think of galaxies moving away from one another, of space getting stretched, and quite possibly, of light redshifting as it travels through this expanding, stretching space. But does it have to be this way?…

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” -Maya Angelou From questions about the smallest scales to the largest, from Earthly phenomena to things we could only conceive of in theory, our Ask Ethan series is your opportunity to have anything you ask considered for a column. This week, though, is a…