Science > Written History > Fortune Telling

One of the reasons I love science is that it actually does allow us to look into the past and future, beyond our existence in the present.  Written history gives us a perspective of a person who was around before any human currently living on Earth, and allows us to piece together the history of our culture.  This is very important, so no disrespect to historians and their work.  Much disrespect to fortune telling though.  It’s a waste of energy involving a person who fishes for information for a living.  But let’s talk about Science. Since we just passed Canada...

Motivation Monday: Uncertainty

In the world of science, there is no definite measurement.  In any quantity, there is what we call an uncertainty.  In a simple example, let’s say you were using a ruler to measure the length of a rope.  You line up the rope along the ruler, and take a reading.  But how sure are you that the rope was perfectly lined up with the end of the ruler? How certain are you that your reading was correct? There is always uncertainty.  It extends more broadly in life. I’m at a point in my life where I’ve been in the working...

A Cracked Egg Moon

One of the first things you hear when learning about the states of matter is about good old H2O: Steam, Water, Ice.  Naturally you are asked “Why does Ice float?” The answer is a simple matter of density, frozen water is less dense because water expands when it freezes.  You can do a bit of an experiment by filling a balloon with water.  Paint the balloon and put it in the freezer.  When it freezes the water will expand, and so will the rubbery balloon, but the dried paint will crack at weak points. This is exactly the same thing...

A History and Future of the Universe

Data is beautiful.  There is elegance in the artful manipulation of data to communicate information.  I love to see new ways to communicate science to the layman and give an understanding of the collective human knowledge.  So I had to post this timeline of the universe infographic, containing events from the beginning of the universe all the way up to the death of the Sun.  This is obviously just the tip of the scientific iceberg so to speak, but some of the highlights chosen cross several disciplines of science and are truly significant events in history. Enjoy the truly beautiful...

The Past and Future Mars

The Past: Mars has water, and it used to have a lot more.  If modern Mars had the ocean it once had, it would evaporate off into space quickly because there is no heavy atmosphere to help keep it pressurized and in liquid form.  Mars would have had a thicker atmosphere in addition to it’s magnetic field in order to keep all that water in one place.  So where did the atmosphere go? And if there was such a thick atmosphere, how does it account for the fingerprint of excess Carbon-13 and a lack of Carbon-12 found on the red planet...

Solar Wind Stripping the Martian Atmosphere

We know that Mars lost an ocean of water, but what was the exact mechanism?  We also know that the magnetic field of Mars was lost a long time ago, and contributed to this major loss of water and atmosphere.  In a press conference today, NASA officials working with data from the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft, have shown that major solar storms have increased the amount of atmosphere and water loss over time. “Mars appears to have had a thick atmosphere warm enough to support liquid water which is a key ingredient and medium for life as...

Astrophotography Reflections

I was doing my daily check of some astronomy and space news sites to see what was happening today, as I do every morning before I decide what to write about in my daily blog post.  I looked at today’s astronomy picture of the day, a gorgeous work of astrophtographic art showing Mt.Rainier and dozens of meteors, all in front of the sharp filaments of gas of the Milky Way. As a newbie in the world of astrophotography, I look at this picture and try to think about how it was done.  Did he take a foreground shot to get...

Brightest Galaxy in the Universe Discovered

Of the approximately 100 Million galaxies in the visible universe, we see incredible variation.  We always try to classify them based on their shape, size, and peak radiation, but even then we still find others that stray from the usual patterns.  In recent years, a new class of galaxies named Extremely Luminous Infrared Galaxies (ELIRGs) has been found with data from the Wide Field Infrared Survey (WISE).  Now the king of the ELIRGs has been found, the most luminous galaxy in the universe. The galaxy, designated WISE J224607.57-052635.0, has a luminosity equal to 300 Trillion suns, and may owe its brightness...

Motivation Monday: Positivity During the Toughest Times

The real world can be a harsh place.  Sometimes it seems like everything that could possibly go wrong has done just that.  It can hurt even more when you have just been on a streak of forward motion, and then it feels as if the ground has fallen beneath your feet. Maybe you’re working hard, every day, and you just feel bogged down, like you’re making no progress toward your goals, and you wonder why you bother in the first place.  This can happen in more than one area of life, and sometimes it can really put a damper on your motivation...

Motivation Monday: Your Past Exists to Guide You, Not Define You

It’s possible you had a past that is less than glamorous, that you’ve had things happen to you that hurt you deeply, things that you just want to forget.  You spend years of your adult life trying to forget it all, and maybe you succeed. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned, its that trying to forget, remove, or replace an old experience is not the best course of action.  The best thing to do…. Is own it. Your past mistakes are meant to guide you, not define you. It can be painful to look back sometimes, to remember an...