Friday, January 28, 2011

13.2 Billion

A galaxy 13.2 billion light years away? That's a mere 400 million years after the Big Bang. And ~8 billion years before the earth was created. The speed of light and looking into the distant past always twists my mind into a Gordian Knot. Mind blowing stuff.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pale Blue Dot

Carl Sagan's famous thoughts on this picture, which was taken as Voyager 1 passed Pluto:

"Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.

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 us from ourselves.

The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.

It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known."

Sunday, January 16, 2011


your picks are on backwards."

Friday, January 14, 2011

From XKCD (847)

Speaking of which (clicking on the image will enlarge it, making reading a little easier):


The full version is even better.

Please enable JAVATM to use the Mini-AstroViewer night sky map.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Still Running and Eating Cheese

I'll be making a cheese run later today. I had an absolutely horrible stinky cow's milk cheese a couple of weeks back (Morbier = not good to this man).

Also running. You'll be happy to note that I am finally back to my race weight after putting on 20 pounds last January.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

One Day

Liz surprised me with one of these beauties for Christmas.

She asked me last summer (LAST SUMMER!!!) what instrument I would choose to learn how to play. I told her the banjo because I love bluegrass and the clarinet because the the jazz clarinet is something special.

I already have my forward roll down. I'll report back in 5 years.

Bogus, Fraudulent, Debunked

The British Journal of Medicine reports on the fraud committed by Dr. Wakefield and his sensational and untrue claim that there was a link between the MMR vaccine and autism.

I wonder how many children were sickened and/or died due to the fear this man's claims put into parents.