“I think it’s one of the scars in our culture that we have too high an opinion of ourselves. We align ourselves with the angels instead of the higher primates.” –Angela Carter When I’m getting clear nights, sometimes I’ll wake up in the middle of them, and just go and look outside; the allure of … Read moreWeekend Diversion: Watching the Planets Go By
“We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of Earth’ to ‘touch the face of God.’” –John Gillespie Magee, Jr.; spoken by Ronald Reagan after the Challenger tragedy Twenty-five years ago today, I remember being … Read more25 Years After Challenger
“It’s the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet, tender joy. The mild serenity of age takes the place of the riotous blood of youth. I bless the rising sun each day, and, as before, my heart sings to meet it, but now I love even more its setting, its … Read moreBig News from the Distant Universe!
“The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult.” –Madame Marie du Deffand If you’ve got some solidly dark skies, you might notice — in addition to the great field of thousands of stars — a few faint, fuzzy objects. Visible with the naked eye (and captured with only a digital … Read moreDifferent Views of our Closest Neighbor
“There was an old man with a beard, Who said: ‘It is just as I feared! Two owls and a hen, Four larks and a wren Have all built their nests in my beard!” –Edward Lear No better song for this week than an early, live version of Jeff Tweedy‘s Bob Dylan’s 49th Beard.Some of … Read moreWeekend Diversion: Sunday Funday, for Beardos and Fans!
“You can lead a boy to college, but you cannot make him to think.” –Elbert Hubbard If you listened to some of the headlines accompanying a recent news story, you might conclude that College is a waste of time, money, and resources for practically everyone involved. The three links above have, as their headlines: $80,000 … Read moreIs College A Waste?
“What do we mean by setting a man free? You cannot free a man who dwells in a desert and is an unfeeling brute. There is no liberty except the liberty of some one making his way towards something. Such a man can be set free if you will teach him the meaning of thirst, … Read moreThe Telescope’s Best Friend? Gravity!
“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him … Read moreThe Stingray Nebula and XKCD
“Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree.” –Terry Pratchett With a high unemployment rate and many people having stopped looking for work, it’s pretty hard to live in the United States and not be aware of the struggles many people are facing. Here’s a song by Loudon Wainwright III to set the tone, The Home … Read moreWeekend Diversion: Never Give a Physicist Your Data!
“This is the first time in my work that I’ve really gone out on a limb and made a very specific prediction – I didn’t give myself any elbow room… If we’re right, then it’s a huge success and you can find very dim or effectively dark galaxies simply by analysing disturbances in the gas … Read moreThe Search for Dark Satellites