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Scientific Paradoxes are Omens of Advance

“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.” -Charles Darwin There are problems with science today, no doubt. With all the knowledge we’ve accumulated about the Universe, from…

Ask Ethan #4: Weird Astronomy Maps

“I have an existential map. It has ‘You are here’ written all over it.” -Steven Wright So just because the Ask Ethan series is becoming way more popular than I can handle — I’ve got more than 200 questions that I’m sitting on by now — doesn’t mean you should stop sending your questions! There…

“Being told about the effects of climate change is an appeal to our reason and to our desire to bring about change. But to see that Africans are the hardest hit by climate change, even though they generate almost no greenhouse gas, is a glaring injustice, which also triggers anger and outrage over those who…

“We make the world we live in and shape our own environment.” -Orison Swett Marden If you had never heard of global warming before, how would you figure out whether it’s real or not? And if it is real, how would you figure out what humanity’s role in it is? To answer this, I’ve decided to…

“There is no question that climate change is happening; the only arguable point is what part humans are playing in it.” -David Attenborough It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything on this blog about global warming, climate change, or most Earth-based environmental topics in general. After all, I’m a physicist — an astrophysicist…

“Next to reasoning, the greatest handicap to the optimum development of Man lies in the fact that this planet is just barely habitable. Its minimum temperatures are too low, and its maximum temperatures too high. Its day is not long enough, and its night is too long… These factors encourage depression, fear, war, and lack…

“You can spend too much time wondering which of identical twins is the more alike.” -Robert Brault You’ve of course heard by now the news that Kepler, the most successful and prolific planet-finding mission of all time, has probably reached the end of its useful lifespan. With nearly 3,000 planet candidates under its belt, including…

The Universe Just Keeps Trying to Kill Us

“Don’t wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects.” -Roger Zelazny It’s always the ones you least expect that get you the worst, it seems. I went to bed last night excited that Asteroid 2012 DA14, a 200,000 ton asteroid, was going to pass within just 28,000 km (or…

Where will we all be in 100 billion years?

“It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see.” -Winston Churchill We’ve come a long way in this Universe. Over the past 13.7 billion years, we’ve formed the light elements out of a sea of protons and neutrons, cooled and expanded to form neutral atoms for the first…

Another Trip Around the Sun

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” -Satchel Paige Today marks another year and another trip around the Sun for me. For you, and me, and everything on Earth that makes it through another year on this world, there’s a whole lot we get to experience. Some things are…