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“For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.” -John F. Kennedy After a great week over on the new Starts With A Bang blog, where we covered a whole slew…

“You may not feel outstandingly robust, but if you are an average-sized adult you will contain within your modest frame no less than 7 × 10^18 joules of potential energy—enough to explode with the force of thirty very large hydrogen bombs, assuming you knew how to liberate it and really wished to make a point.”…

“There is no question that climate change is happening; the only arguable point is what part humans are playing in it.” -David Attenborough If you had never heard of global warming before, how would you figure out whether it was happening, whether humans played a role, and what the magnitude of it was? Thankfully, we…

“Physical reality does not require that we be pleased with its mechanism; we must see the implications of a theory for what they are and not for what we would like them to be.” -Kevin Michel If you’ve been following along for a while — particularly in light of the recent BICEP2 results — you’re…

“I have announced this star as a comet, but since it is not accompanied by any nebulosity and, further, since its movement is so slow and rather uniform, it has occurred to me several times that it might be something better than a comet. But I have been careful not to advance this supposition to…

“I recognize my limits, but when I look around I realise I am not living, exactly, in a world of giants.” -Giulio Andreotti There are a huge number of deep-sky objects visible from Earth, and every Monday — with the Messier Monday series — I’ve made it my goal to tell you about one of…

“Ten percent of the big fish still remain. There are still some blue whales. There are still some krill in Antarctica. There are a few oysters in Chesapeake Bay. Half the coral reefs are still in pretty good shape, a jeweled belt around the middle of the planet. There’s still time, but not a lot,…

“A scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” -Max Planck It’s been a great week for learning a little more about our Universe, from fundamental particles to scales beyond…

“While friendship itself has an air of eternity about it, seeming to transcend all natural limits, there is hardly any emotion so utterly at the mercy of time.” -Robert Hugh Benson If you were headed out into the Universe — spaceship and sci-fi technology and all — it simply wouldn’t make sense to keep on…

“The particle and the planet are subject to the same laws and what is learned of one will be known of the other.” -James Smithson Now that the Higgs has been discovered, the Standard Model is complete. But are there any other new particles? If asymptotic safety is right — and it’s looking like the…