The blog io9 posted a collection of the top science stories of 2014. Many of them are more along the lines of “how marble is quarried” and “how honey is harvested in Nepal” (both very carefully) than hard science reporting, but they’re all cool to read about–especially if you need perspective or a reminder that the world is an awesome place. Because it is. And now we have another year to be in it and see more of it. Happy 2015!
I’m sure you’ve heard, but humans landed a probe on a comet yesterday for the first time. The probe and its “mothership,” Philae and Rosetta, took ten years to travel the 300 million miles to the comet and then had to spend time orbiting it to find a good place for Philae to land. (You can watch a really charming video about the lead up to the landing here–I can’t embed it but it’s really worth a click.)
Philae’s harpoons to keep it anchored to the comet failed to deploy, which is a concern since tere’s hardly any gravity on the comet, but still: We have a scientific probe on a comet about the size of a mountain that is 300 million miles away. I think this xkcd comic sums it up:
Over the weekend I went on a guided snowshoe hike with a volunteer from the Cottonwood Canyons Foundation (this was arranged through Tree Utah, but you can get in on the action through March 23rd, directly through the CCF). It was an hour and a half tour of SCIENCE!
I got to see a moose foot (taxidermied, produced by the guide) and learn about prints, animal adaptation, and winter habits:
I learned how to tell the difference between spruce (with scaly bark on the right) and fir (on the left, flat bark).
And the guide even pointed out another squirrel mess at the base of a tree, just like I saw the weekend before.
exposure to 30 minutes or more of negativity–including viewing such material on TV–actually peels away neurons in the brain’s hippocampus.
Our actions and states of mind matter…Working on our own consciousness is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment, and being love is the supreme creative act.
(Ram Dass, via Mystic Mamma)
I realize it’s only been a week, but just Tuesday I was thinking, “Being kind and non-judgmental and happy is going so well!”
Then, of course, yesterday happened. So today I am re-grouping and thinking about space. This is Dr. Neil Tyson telling us we’re all connected, much more eloquently than I did:
“We’re all connected–to each other, biologically; to the earth, chemically; and to the rest of the universe, atomically…It’s not that we’re better than the universe; we’re a part of the universe. We’re in the universe and the universe is within us.”
Let that thought get you through the rest of the week.
Last night I was able to catch the second episode of the latest NOVA series, The Fabric of the Cosmos. (Have you figured out by now that if you put “cosmos” in the title of something, there’s a 99.9% chance I will like it?)
I am as average a layperson as it gets when it comes to science, so I had to admire how the show’s team explained concepts such as the past, present, and future all existing at once, or why time appears to only flow in one direction, in the simplest way possible.
Check it out–the last two epsiodes are on the next two Wednesdays, and you can get caught up on the first two online. (And I dare you not to think of Dr. Who while the show talks about the nature of time. Sorry, physicists.)
Have you been trying to ignore the gearing up of the presidential race, too? From what I’ve been unable to ignore, it seems every potential candidate so far is trying to win by being anti-science–anti-vaccine, anti-evolution, anti-global warming, etc. Thank god for satire:
“Luxurious palace of science”–I love it. Found via one of my favorite science blogs.