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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…

“I see a lot of new faces. But, you know the old saying, ‘out with the old, in with the nucleus.’” -The Simpsons Looking around the Universe today, there’s no doubt that there’s plenty of hydrogen and helium around; after all, it’s the nuclear fusion of hydrogen into helium that powers the vast majority of stars…

“Science literacy is a vaccine against the charlatans of the world that would exploit your ignorance.” -Neil deGrasse Tyson Well, I guess it’s that season again. The charlatan who claims to have invented a cold fusion device — the same device whose flaws were exposed here two years ago — has just held an “independent…

Missions to Mars and Nuclear Fusion

“We are much closer today to being able to send humans to Mars than we were to being able to send men to the moon in 1961, and we were there eight years later. Given the will, we could have humans on Mars within a decade.” -Robert Zubrin Of all the planets in the Solar…

Avoiding Armageddon!

Let’s say we’re having a nice day here on Earth; the Sun is shining, the clouds are sparse, and everything is just looking like a peach: And then Lucas goes and tells me, Oh my God, Ethan! It’s Armageddon! An asteroid is coming straight for us! You’ve got to stop it! Really? Me? Well, how…

Why are Brown Dwarfs so Dim?

Ahh, stars. Giant furnaces of nuclear fusion. Doing the stuff our Sun does, burning hydrogen fuel into helium (among other things) and emitting lots of visible light and energy in the process. But when we take a look at brown dwarfs, they aren’t like normal (i.e., main sequence) stars like our Sun. Instead of burning…

Do all Stars Eventually Explode?

What’s going to happen to all the stars in the Universe as they get older? Well, just as nothing can live forever, stars can’t live forever also. Why? Because they run on fuel: burning hydrogen into helium, for example. When they run out of fuel, something’s gotta give. Barbara Ryden reminds us of an excellent…