Recently in SCIENCE! Category

Man, now that is sculpture for you!

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(From the Astronomy Picture of the Day. Click on the thumbnail for 'full sized' picture of a nebula that's actually ten light years tall, so how 'full sized' can we really claim it to be?)

I love the nebula pictures the Hubble gives us. I've loved them since we got the Hubble picture of the chunk of the Carina Nebula that looks like God is flipping off the universe. Never underestimate the power of juvenile humor in inspiring scientific research.

Today's interests me because of the comparisons to fairykind. I can kind of see it, too -- a standing female fairy crowned in light. It reminds me a touch of the actual Hubble photograph they used as a background in a seminal battle between the Vorlons and Shadows on Babylon 5. They managed to put the Vorlons' entry into the battle right into a whirl of the nebula that looked like a gigantic face of God, never come right out and stating it -- it was a profound statement that took maybe a second to resolve and then they moved on.

Maybe it comes down to the human need to believe, or to find patterns where there are none. Maybe it's a reminder that the majesty of the universe is greater than anything we could possibly expect. Maybe it's just our way of making a cloud of dust and radiation more interesting. But I believe in the fairy of the Eagle Nebula.

Of course, I also hold forth that seeing a fairy means you're marked for death. But there's no ruling yet on whether or not photographs produce the effect. Check the mirror later just to be sure.

AAAAAAIIIIEEE!!!!

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(From The Astronomy Picture of the Day! Click on the thumbnail for full sized HOLY SHIT! SAVE THE CHILDREN!)

Look, I respect Albert Einstein. I really do. I think he's a man of nearly unparalleled greatness in science -- the equal of Newton, of Archimedes, and of Fire. (Fire named her greatest invention after herself, you see.)

But that doesn't mean I don't desperately fear EINSTONE, DEADLY PHYSICS GOLEM! He's going to start by crushing that telescope he's looking so bitterly at, and then follow it up by EATING CHILDREN! Death! Horror! Death and horror!

And in case he gets bored? He has a GIANT METAL BOOK HE CAN CLUB US WITH!

Horror! Horror! HORROR!!!!

Also, did the sculptor have to make him look so unstylish? His sweater's not exactly flattering to the father of Relativity. Even one who is going to kill us all.

Hi all!

In preparation for Nanowrimo, I find myself needing a few questions answered. Specifically, a few questions on high energy physics. I immediately thought of Winchell Chung, but I have no idea if this is his field or not. However, there are some engineering considerations involved as well. Just for the record.

So, if you're a physicist with some understanding of engineering or an engineer with a good grounding in physics... and in either case have some understanding of tremendously powerful explosions... I'd like to talk to you. You could potentially receive a wonderful... and completely worthless... acknowledgment in the book... as well as alcohol I'll gladly buy for you if we ever find ourselves in such a position.

(Extremely powerful explosions. Physics. Engineering. Alcohol. Why do I expect Casey Grimm and/or Andy Weir and/or Gav Bleuel to comedically appear?)

SpaceShip One did it.

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Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew -
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

High Flight, Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

(From The Astronomy Picture of the Day. Click on the thumbnail for full sized interstellar gases.)

It's not that it's a gorgeous picture. It is. It's not that it isn't impressive. It is.

It's just... I can see the brush strokes.

Total fake, man. God's going to have to try harder if he's going to convince me.

Logo: Sleeping Snarky

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