Posts Tagged ‘cosmology’

Helium – So Long and Thanks for all the Balloons!

Some­how this didn’t make it into the blog ear­li­er – our 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