Sunday, February 27, 2011

Watching a Space Shuttle Launch from the Air

Apparently, this video has been circulating on the Internet the past day or so. I watched it, and was just astonished. I have seen some amazing sights from an airplane -- including the Grand Canyon -- but this video just blows me away.

Saturday, February 26, 2011


I went to the AAAS meeting in Washington, D.C. a few weeks ago, and while I heard some interesting talks, I had to miss this talk on alchemy. Alchemy seems really interesting: a mix of chemistry and Aristotelian physics. I've read a little about it, and was thoroughly confused: the discipline is like nothing practiced today. For more information, people can also read a book published by Taschen. (Information is here.)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Wormholes and Stars

Here's a fascinating story about stars and wormholes. There are few entities in astronomy more interesting, and weird, than black holes and wormholes.

Magnets Are Cool!

Wow! There's something fascinating about playing with magnets. There's also something eerie and mysterious about them. Imagine trying to explain them without knowing anything about magnetic fields. How would you do it?

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Living Fossil

Here is a National Geographic article about the coelacanth. I would love to have the power to lift all of the water out of the oceans and peer under rocks and in crevices, looking for creatures never seen by humans. Ah, the oceans...

Photo Credit: Laurent Ballesta / National Geographic

Design and the Periodic Table

I have become more interested in chemistry ever since reading Uncle Tungsten, Oliver Sacks' autobiography. As a child, Sacks had a passion for chemistry, and purchased chemicals from local shops for experimentation in his home lab. Sacks had a visceral feel for each element, and developed an intimate knowledge of their smells and feels. I would bet that Oliver Sacks would agree with the author of this article. Anyone interested in chemistry should not only learn about the periodic table, but also, in some way or other, become familiar with the tactile qualities of elements.

Roger Penrose is Amazing!

I read this interview when it was first published, and thought it was fantastic. What an astonishing family this is. I especially loved the notion that Penrose's father made slide rules and puzzles.