Martian sunset

I think this picture is from Curiosity… and not from Insight in the Elysium Planitia as is widely being circulated on social media at the moment (and how we are now the first people to have seen a sunset on another planet).

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Still, I think its a pretty cool photo.

 

Siderophobia

For a six year old I find Calvin quite philosophic…

But I think dust speck is being quite generous…

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You know… in the grand scheme or schism of things.

Siderophobia (from the Latin sīdus meaning “star constellation”) is the fear of stars. Individuals avoid venturing outside at night, tending to stay indoors with all the curtains drawn. People suffering from siderophobia upon seeing stars may faint, feel nauseous, sweat, tremble and suffer panic attacks.

As phobias go, I think I am most empathetic towards Siderophobia. I mean looking up into the night sky and seeing tiny, pin pricks of light (some of which don’t even exist anymore) as a visual representation of an infinite expanse laid out before you… how can you not feel like everything you think you understand about existence and your (supposed) role in all of it makes any sense?

Of course there are those of us that look up at the night sky and feel wonder and amazement… and while clearly not phobic, should you not reasonably be considered any less unwell?

I likely fall somewhere in between these two extremes. While ruminating space makes me feel a little tingly and light headed… I still want to poke it with a stick.

Probably because I’m a boy.

Girls, girls, girls, girls are so polite
They don’t crush everything that they see
You can take ’em to a funky funky forest with big glass spiderwebs
Hangin’ from the ceilin’
They wouldn’t feel the uncontrollable urge
To tip and push and kick and rip and tear and smash and squish and…
Poke and destroy
-Presidents of the USA

Windfall

I really like Thomas Sowell. I find him incredibly adroit. Although as a follower it makes Twitter think I’m a right wing conservative (it keeps suggesting these really awful people I might like). Clearly you need to be neatly defined, labelled and classified as one thing or another. I abhor his notion since even on my best days I struggle to keep my crayon coloring between the lines. Mostly I like to think of myself as straddling the political divide… with my testicles resting lightly on the cool linoleum that paves the aisle.  Proving not only that I can do the splits… but also that I probably should have worn pants.

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I don’t think I could ever improve on a Thomas Sowell quote. I am not that ego-maniacal… but I would like to (humbly) propose an addendum.

Isn’t it more of a windfall to have even been born at all?

I mean the odds are pretty much stacked against you. Galactically* I mean. That you should exist at all is amazing. You get to experience life. Well done. You’re a winner.

*you know, Pale Blue dot, that’s not too hot and not too cold in some nowhere, backwater part of some galaxy.

But hey if you want to waste your time comparing your state of a ‘aliveness’ with somebody else… go for it. I just don’t think its very useful.

Going nowhere slowly

Voyager 1 trundles along at 62,140 km/h. Every day our dinky looking space probe  travels +/- 1.5 million kilometers further way from the earth.

1AU… or astronomical unit is approximately 150,000,000 km… or the distance from the earth to the sun. Which would take voyager about 100 days to cover. 

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You would imagine we were getting somewhere. Unfortunately Voyager 1 will only get to the Oort cloud (a more or less spherical cloud of icy objects made out of water, methane and ammonia that surrounds our solar system) in a couple of hundred years….

To get through the Oort cloud… would take another, +/- 30,000 years (we don’t know exactly how… eh… ‘thick’ the cloud is, but estimates put it anywhere between 5000 AU and 100,000 AU)

At its current speed… it would take Voyager 1 about 40,000 years to travel one light year. The closest star to earth is Proxima Centurai  at a distance of 4.22 light years away from us. The math starts to get quite staggering.

In space 64,140km/h is almost standing still.

Good news, bad news

The bad news is… that in about 5 Billion years our sun is going to start burning helium (because its run out of hydrogen)… turning our nice yellow star into an expanding red giant. It will consume Mercury and Venus… and turn the earth into an uninhabitable pool of slag. (assuming we haven’t done this already on our own… being competitive I mean)

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The good news is, that the moons of Saturn and Jupiter will now be in the habitable zone and are likely to remain so for about half a billion years. Yay us!

Sunburn

If ever there was a misnomer its the word ‘Sunburn’.

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What ‘they’* actually mean is radiation damage. You know, from the yellow dwarf star positioned roughly eight light minutes from earth, cooking us with its ultra violet spectrum and general convective-ness.

*the ubiquitous they, that decide these sorts of conventions. Most likely decided in a walnut panelled room, sprinkled with brown leather chesterfields that smell like cigars and spilled cognac. (if you guys are looking for new adherents, I’m available on extremely short notice)

In any event, radiation burns sounds quite serious. Like ‘don’t-go-outside-or-you’ll-die’ serious. And maybe also a little hysterical. So maybe I understand why ‘they’ dumbed it down for us.

Still… some part of me wants to call it what it is.

Maybe it will catch on.

Burn burn the truth the lies the news, Burn burn the life that you cant choose

– Lost Prophets.

I see the Moon. And the Moon sees me

Next time someone complains that the free WiFi is slow. Or that the queue at Starbucks is five people deep… gently remind them that we have bigger problems…

In a hundred years the moon will be…

Does quick mental arithmetic…

Almost FOUR METERS further away!

How are people not freaking out about this?!?Even our celestial bodies are trying disassociate themselves from the earth… probably due to a case of massive embarrassment.

*heartfelt sigh*

 

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