Posts Tagged ‘cosmology’

Helium – So Long and Thanks for all the Balloons!

Somehow this didn’t make it into the blog earlier – our Time.com video about helium.  A flight in a zeppelin, a visit with the Balloon Lady, and the end of an era?…

Related Post:
Science Comedian Riffs on Hydrogen and Helium at Ignite

Science Comedian Riffs on Hydrogen and Helium at Ignite

Our Ignite presentation is up on YouTube and the O’Reilly Media Ignite Show page.

Tara and I created the presentation – with me doing most of the writing and her doing most of the graphics. Our friend Michael Capozzola hand-drew the final slide for us (primitive technique but effective!).

We attempt to tell a 14-billion year story in five minutes: “A Tale of Two Elements” takes us from the Big Bang to the Earth and touches on a problem that many people are not aware of – the helium shortage (a local problem). Enjoy!…

What is Ignite?

Read the rest of this entry »

The Galactomatic-1000 (TM) Basement Universe

…Basement Universes aren’t just for basements any more! The Galactomatic-1000 comes with an attractive imitation wood-grain negative-matter case that makes it perfectly at home in your den or family room. The case reduces its total mass to zero, so you won’t have to worry about imploding your house into a black hole, or discoloring the walls with unattractive gravitational redshifts (**)…

(**) Although the Galactomatic-1000 has no mass, it still has volume, so a shipping and handling charge will apply.

- Carl Feynman,
Extropy #13

Once upon a time there was a little transhumanist magazine called Extropy.  I probably still have an issue or two around here somewhere. Most of the content was serious but I remember this one fake advertisement for The Galactomatic-1000 (TM) Basement Universe.  It was hysterical.  Science comedy at its best!

Written by Carl Feynman, computer engineer and son of Richard Feynman, the piece appeared in Extropy #13 (6:2), Third quarter 1994, page 39.

The magazine and the Extropy Institute itself are now defunct.  But god bless the internet for its archival uses.

Witness the glory of…  The Galactomatic-1000 (TM) Basement Universe!

Why is there something instead of nothing?

For all that astronomers and physicists, philosophers and poets have learned about the universe since women and men first peered out of those tiny holes in our skulls, we are still no closer to answering perhaps the most fundamental cosmological question of all:

Why is there something instead of nothing?

But I have my own theory:

It was a tax write-off.

It was more beneficial to have a universe than not to have one. And it was designed to fail – which it has, if local conditions can be taken as any indication.

The Universe – Why?

“In answer to the question of why it happened, I offer the modest proposal that our universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time.”

- Edward P. Tryon