Democracy vs. Meritocracy: how science doesn’t care about your vote (Synopsis)

“The evidence at present available points strongly to the conclusion that the spirals are individual galaxies, or island universes, comparable with our own galaxy in dimension and in number of component units.” -Heber Curtis, 1920 In many different areas of life, we settle disagreements by popular vote. But in science, we know better; regardless of … Read moreDemocracy vs. Meritocracy: how science doesn’t care about your vote (Synopsis)

The Science of Error: how polling botched the 2016 election (Synopsis)

“Distinguishing the signal from the noise requires both scientific knowledge and self-knowledge.” -Nate Silver When you take a poll, you survey a number of people with an opinion about something in an attempt to predict the behavior of a much larger number of people. If you increase the number of people you poll, your poll … Read moreThe Science of Error: how polling botched the 2016 election (Synopsis)

Is Earth Our Solar System’s Missing ‘Super-Earth’? (Synopsis)

“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.” -Albert Einstein When we first began looking for exoplanets, we were expecting that other solar systems would be like ours: with inner, small, rocky worlds and outer, large gas giants. What we … Read moreIs Earth Our Solar System’s Missing ‘Super-Earth’? (Synopsis)

Comments of the Week #134: From alien evidence to signs of new physics

“Computers don’t make mistakes. What they do, they do on purpose.” -Dale Gribble, King of the Hill Alright, so I know you’re all impatient with the most burning Starts With A Bang! question of all: what was Ethan for Halloween? Well, without further ado, I’d like to introduce you to my avatar for the next 12 months: … Read moreComments of the Week #134: From alien evidence to signs of new physics

Ask Ethan: Could the Universe be infinite? (Synopsis)

“Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not yet completely sure about the universe.” -Frederick S. Perls, quoting Einstein The Universe we can see and access is certainly a big place. We see that it goes on for 46 billion light years in all directions, full of stars, galaxies, matter … Read moreAsk Ethan: Could the Universe be infinite? (Synopsis)

How does the CMB tell us what’s in the Universe? (Synopsis)

“Cosmology is the study of the origin, evolution, and fate of objects in the observable universe. […] The key to the birth and evolution of such objects lies in the primordial ripples observed through light shining through from the early universe.” -Wayne Hu The Big Bang’s leftover glow — the cosmic microwave background (CMB) — is … Read moreHow does the CMB tell us what’s in the Universe? (Synopsis)

New Impact Hypothesis Might Explain Our Moon’s Uniqueness (Synopsis)

“The pressure to compete, the fear somebody else will make the splash first, creates a frenzied environment in which a blizzard of information is presented and serious questions may not be raised.” -Carl Bernstein Why is our Moon so unlike every other moon in the Solar System? No other moon is such a large percent … Read moreNew Impact Hypothesis Might Explain Our Moon’s Uniqueness (Synopsis)

Why Are Dark Matter And Modified Gravity In Such Conflict? (Synopsis)

“All we know so far is what doesn’t work.” -Richard Feynman The past month has seen a slew of papers out highlighting the tension between modified gravity and dark matter. Both recognize the same puzzles and problems with the Universe, and both ideas recognize that either one could be valid. In fact, if you look … Read moreWhy Are Dark Matter And Modified Gravity In Such Conflict? (Synopsis)