Friday, December 20, 2013

An Amazingly Complex Way to Deliver a Simple Message

Here's a Rube Goldberg style way of delivering a simple message.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Interstellar-Teaser Trailer

This teaser shows very little of the actual film, but it gets me excited anyway.  I love space, and I'm a proponent of space exploration, so that probably has a lot to do with it.

The description for this film (quoted from IMDB) reads: "A group of explorers make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage."

I know I'll have to see this one.

Friday, December 6, 2013

The Greater Good-A Harry Potter Fan-Made Film

The Harry Potter fans out there know about the story of Albus Dumbledore and Gellert Grindelwald. This fan-made film recreates the moment when their friendship resulted in a tragedy that forever changed the Dumbledore family.

If you love Harry Potter, you need to see this.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Neil deGrasse Tyson and an Awesome Kid

At age 9, this kid is obviously quite intelligent and curious, asking thought-provoking questions.  The future looks bright from here.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Thomas Kinkade + Star Wars = Epic!

I saw this and I just had to share it with you!  This artist has created some amazing images.  I've always been a fan of Thomas Kinkade paintings, and of course I'm a fan of Star Wars.  So this combination is too cool for words!

If you like this image, check out his other work!  You won't be sorry!

Image by RolandDeschane/

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Fun Webcomic Featuring Death

I saw this on an awesome site, xkcd: A Webcomic of Romance, Sarcasm, Math, and Language, and couldn't help but laugh.  If you like this, head on over there for more!

Lesson learned: If you're going to challenge death to a game, choose wisely.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Keloid Trailer

This trailer looks pretty cool.  Check out this site to learn more about this short film.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Rules to Make Star Wars Great Again

I saw this over at Alex J. Cavanaugh's site, and I thought it was worth sharing.

Do you agree with these rules?  What is Star Wars when it's at its best?

Video-Tesla Turret Opera (Cara Mia Addido)

I have an affinity for things like this.  I just can't help it!

Friday, September 27, 2013

A Capella Science-Rolling in the Higgs (Adele Parody)

Seriously, how long does it take this guy to do these videos?  He rocks!

Brian Cox on Why Democracy Depends Upon a Scientifically Literate Populace

I often worry that those in power who make decisions about the way we do science have no actual clue about how science works.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Epic Beer Plumbing Prank

Talk about an epic prank!  What would you do if you came home and cold beer came out of your faucet?

It's Bat Dad!

Bat Dad rocks!  This is one way of having some geeky fun with the most mundane tasks.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Awesome Halloween Costume

Last year we made a homemade robot costume for my son Jude.

Jude in his robot costume, and Lyle in his
dinosaur costume.

The robot costume all lit up.
I don't think we'll be able to top it this year, mostly because we aren't the most adept at that sort of thing.  Still, in the course of searching for ideas, I came across this impressive costume.

And no, we won't be trying to replicate this.  I already know this is beyond our abilities to duplicate, but it's very much worth sharing.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thank You, Voyager-1

Voyager-1 is now officially the first human made object to enter interstellar space.  Here are a couple of videos honoring that achievement.  They're both short and well worth watching.

I already tweeted my #MessageToVoyager.  Here it is.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field in 3D

These stunning and humbling images leave you thinking about your tiny place in the universe.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sunday, May 26, 2013

20th Anniversary Babylon 5 Memorial

Babylon 5 is one of my all-time favorite shows.  I've seen the entire series several times through.  I wanted to share this video that memorializes all of the people associated with the show who are no longer with us.  It's beautifully done, and well worth your time.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Happy Towel Day!

As a lifelong Douglas Adam's fan, I have to say happy Towel Day!

I'm hosting a Towel Day Blogfest on my writing blog.  Feel free to check out my own post honoring the memory of this amazing writer.

Here's a great Google doodle done earlier this year to celebrate what would have been his 61st birthday.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How It Should Have Ended

My husband and I recently discovered this site that has videos about how popular movies should have ended.  Plenty of my favorite movies are represented there, while movies I couldn't stand are also mocked.  I like the mixture of good and bad and the way they have fun with them.

This video presents an alternative ending for Aliens.  This is a film I love, by the way.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Liebster Award

Mina Lobo at Some Dark Romantic,  lillian888, and  Julia Stevenson all tagged me for the Liebster Award.  The rules are simple. 

  1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator, list 11 random facts about yourself and create 11 questions for your nominees.
  3. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 11 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed and leave a comment on their blog letting them know they have been chosen. (No tag backs.)
  4. Upload the Liebster Award image to your blog.
I'll start with the 11 random facts about myself.  I've been tagged three times, but coming up with 33 facts seems a wee bit difficult.  So I'll just do the 11 and hope no one calls me a cheater.
  1. I have a special love for British comedies.
  2. I have a TARDIS.  It's only a bank, and it doesn't even hold that much spare change, but I love it anyway!
  3. I would love to meet aliens, but somehow I doubt I'll ever get the chance.
  4. Summer is my favorite season.
  5. I look before I leap.  I used to be more spontaneous, but now I have kids, which motivates me to be a little more careful about things.
  6. One of my favorite foods to make is chili.  Though I may be biased, I think I make pretty awesome chili, and it reheats really well.  I think it tastes better as a leftover than it does fresh, and I love that quality in a food.
  7. I can never find matching socks.  I think my sock drawer contains a portal to another dimension.
  8. Book shopping is way better than shoe shopping!
  9. I have a BA in writing and philosophy, so I'm good at arguing.
  10. As I write this, my kids are plotting something.  I'm not sure what it is, but it can't be good.
  11. I'm a bit of a recluse.  I love travelling and things like that, but I also value the time I can spend by myself.  That's when my best writing gets done.
Now, it's time to answer 33 questions posed to me by three awesome bloggers.  I'll start with Mina's questions.

1. Some movies I love are: Harry Potter (the entire series), Star Trek: First Contact, Contact, Deep Impact, Clerks, and Clerks 2.  There are a lot of movies I enjoy, but this is a small sampling of them.

2. As for music, I groove to: Rock music, be it soft rock or metal or anything in between.  I also enjoy classical music.
3. I rarely miss these TV shows:  Right now, I watch Game of Thrones, Arrow, How I Met Your Mother, and Revolution.  I also need to get caught up on The Big Bang Theory.
4. I hated these foods when I was a kid, but now I heart them: pickles, corn
5. I like to celebrate my loved ones by: Spending time together over a good meal, or going for a good walk together.  The simplest things can be some of the best.
6. Some authors whose every work I will read without fail are:  Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling
7. These colors make me feel great when I wear them: blue, purple, black
8. I'm always up for a game of: Trivial Pursuit
9. My fave treats from that special someone are: Chocolates and coffee.  He knows exactly what kind to get.  Years of practice, I guess.
10. I think it'd be fun to try out this job for a day: Motivational speaker.  I like the idea of inspiring someone.
11. I really liebe: Writing.  That's my main passion in life other than my family.  I also love stargazing.

Now I'll answer the questions given to me by lillian888
What do you like best about blogging?  I love the sense of community.  People can be so supportive.
What’s your happiest memory?  That's a tough one.  The day I married my husband and the days I gave birth to each of our children all stand out.  I also loved my first day of college.  That day felt special because I had the sense that I could do anything.
Where do you want to be in five years? I want to be a successful published author, and I want my family to be happy and healthy.
Favorite animal?  The wombat.  Why?  It has a cool name.  But if we're speaking of domestic animals, I'd have to say I like dogs.
Favorite dessert? Lemon bars.  I love lemon!
Is there anything or anyone you hate?  If yes, why?  If no, why not?  I try not to hate people.  Hatred can be a nasty thing that only wastes precious energy.  One thing I do hate though is the human tendency to look for scapegoats.  When we're worried that things aren't going right, someone always seems to step up to the mantle to blame a certain group of people for everything.  I hate hearing people say "Oh if only we didn't have Muslims" or "The gays are ruining everything" or anything along those lines.  It's mean, shortsighted, and only serves as a distraction so the real issues can go on unsolved.  Yes, each community of people has its bad apples, but each community also has many more who simply want to live their lives with dignity.
What inspires you?  As a writer, I'm open to inspiration from any source.  Still, I find the stars are an infinite source of inspiration for me.
Where is your favorite place in the whole world?  I have a special love for Stonehenge in England, though I've never been there.  I may have to make it a point to go sometime.
What’s more important, justice or mercy? Why?  Wow.  This is a deeply philosophical question, which is just fine with me.  For me, I think justice must by necessity have mercy included in it.  We all make mistakes, and when it comes to the smaller slip ups in life, we should be forgiving.  Life is too short to dwell on bitterness.  (That doesn't mean you should leave yourself open to someone who continually hurts you, though.)  When it comes to the legal system, I don't like the death penalty.  Never have.  My main reason, other than the fact it seems hypocritical to me to say you can't kill someone then have the state do it as punishment,  is that our system is imperfect.  We know innocent people have been executed, and that isn't a mistake you can take back.  A person who spent 20 years in prison can't get those years back either, but if we learn they were wrongly convicted, we can release them and give them a chance at putting their lives back together.
Name three people, living or dead, you’d like to meet.  Neil Gaiman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Carl Sagan.
What is the best thing about being a human being, vs. and animal or an object? The ability to think rationally about the world around us while still being able to unleash our creative side.  I think those two parts of ourselves work well together and create amazing things.

And finally, here are the questions given to me by Julia Stevenson, along with my answers.
  1. Are you a coffee drinker or a tea drinker?  Both.  I have to have my morning coffee, and late afternoon coffee.  When I drink tea, it's usually later on in the evening when I'm trying to relax.
  2. Do you have any pets?  If so, what?  Not at the moment.  We had lots of pets when I was a kid though.  Mostly dogs and cats.  Even had fish until one of the cats decided to go fishing.
  3. How long have you been blogging?  Since January 2012.
  4. If you were a super hero, who would you be and why? I would be the The Diplomat.  My super power would be to speak words that would inspire people to strive for peace.  It may sound silly, but I think our world could use a superpower like that. 
  5. Name one book/magazine you’ve read lately that really inspired you to do something.  I read an article in a local publication called Toons.  In it, someone wrote a column about becoming a writer.  I found it so inspiring I cut it out and framed it.  HERE's a copy of it available online.
  6. If you found a magic lamp and had ONLY three wishes, what would they be?  To become a successful author, to keep my entire family healthy and happy, and to be able to contribute to the general well-being of the world.  Of course, from what I've read of people making three wishes, they always seem to backfire somehow.  I think genies have a wicked sense of humor. Maybe spending an eternity trapped in a lamp makes them desperate for entertainment.
  7. Have you ever visited another country?  If so, where?  When I was 17, I got to be a student ambassador.  Over the course of three weeks, I visited Italy, Austria, Switzerland, and France. It was an amazing trip, and I'd love to travel abroad again!
  8. Name something that is unusual about you.  My red hair is unusual.  Well, there's a lot unusual about me, but that's one of my more visually apparent oddities, and it's also one that I happen to love!  I just wish my hair would cooperate when I try to do something with it that isn't a ponytail.
  9. If you could spend the night in a haunted house, would you?  I'm skeptical about those things, so I would do it in the interest of science.
  10. Do you believe in reincarnation?  No, but I think it's a fun idea to play around with in fiction.  I also love that when we die, our bodies break down and the materials that once came together to build us go on to create new things.  I guess that's a form of reincarnation, but certainly not one that maintains a continuation of self.
  11. What’s your favorite thing to eat?  A really good spinach and garden green salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, green onions, green peppers, and grilled chicken (or ham, or bacon).  A plethora of other vegetables on top would also be acceptable.  Dang it, I'm making myself hungry just writing about it!
Now we get to the point where you truly can call me a cheater.  I'm exhausted after doing all this, so I'm not going to take the time to tag certain people.  If you could, though, take the time to answer one, or several, of the questions in the comments below.  I'd love to learn more about all of you!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Jurassic Park Honest Trailer

I love Jurassic Park.  When I saw this movie in the theaters as a kid, it launched my love of dinosaurs into the stratosphere.  I also admit that I wish I could have seen it in 3D.  I guess I still technically could, but the odds of this happening are slim due to real life factors.  I just can't get to the movie theater as often as I used to.

Still, even with my love of this film, I thought this trailer was pretty funny when I first saw it, so I thought I'd share it.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A-Z Challenge Reflections

April came and went far more quickly than I figured it would.  I'm happy with the theme I chose to do on this blog.  Science and promoting science literacy has always been a passion of mine.  In a world filled with uncertainty and misinformation (you don't need to go far on the internet to find plenty of that floating around), I think it's crucial to learn to think critically.  The scientific method is good at that.

The theme I chose to do on my writing blog was also far more demanding than this one, so I'm glad I decided to balance it out this way.  Hunting down the videos I posted here proved to be a good break from writing my serialized story, and I even learned a few things that I didn't know about the cosmos in the process.  To me, that's always a desirable thing.

My main goal, however, for doing the challenge on this blog was to get some more traffic here.  This is the smaller of my two blogs.  I post less often, and I have fewer followers here than I do on my writing blog.  I felt like this one needed some more love, and I feel like I was successful in achieving that goal.

Thanks to the hosts for stopping by on occasion and offering support and encouragement.  Thanks also to everyone else who wandered here and left wonderful comments.  I love sharing things with all of you!  Why else would I be here?

I'll probably join in on next year's A-Z Challenge when it comes around.  How about you?

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Z is for the Zoo Hypothesis

Since this is the last day of the challenge, I wanted to have a little fun.  That's why I decided to post about the Zoo Hypothesis.

The Drake Equation is useful for calculating the possible number of intelligent civilizations in our galaxy.  The answer garnered varies depending upon the values used for each variable (we know some values fairly well, while some are more of an educated guess), but it's a fun intellectual exercise even if we don't get any solid answers from it.

I believe there's life elsewhere in the universe.  It's too large and amazing for me to think otherwise. Still, I'm not holding my breath while I wait for a spaceship to come down and take me for a ride, no matter how cool it would be!

There's debate over whether we've ever been visited by extraterrestrial life.  Some contend we have, while the official consensus is that we haven't.  Those who believe in alien life often claim that we haven't been visited due to large cosmic distances, but this isn't the only hypothesis out there.

The Zoo Hypothesis speculates that intelligent alien life hasn't contacted us in order to allow for us to evolve and mature on our own without interference.  If they observe us at all, we're like animals in a zoo (except we don't know we're in a zoo and we can't see those who are watching us).  Maybe it should be renamed the Prime Directive Hypothesis.  That name seems more appropriate to me.

And for a little bit of fun and deep thinking, here's a clip from Star Trek TNG where the crew of the Enterprise debates the scope of the Prime Directive.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Y is for Yellow Sun

Our yellow sun is an average star.  In the cosmic sense of things, it isn't anything special, though it will always be special to us since it keeps us alive from day to day.  Even though it is decidedly average, there are a lot of things about the sun that you may find quite interesting.  Have a look!

The following is a time lapse video of the sun.  It's kind of neat to see how the surface of the sun changes over a period of time.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for X-Ray Astronomy

X-rays have a shorter wavelength and higher frequency than visible light.  Most people encounter x-rays for the first time in a medical setting, but x-rays are extremely useful for astronomical purposes as well.  That's because plenty of objects emit x-rays.

Here's a video that discusses the history, present, and possible future of x-ray astronomy.

Friday, April 26, 2013

W is for Wavelength

Electromagnetic waves bombard us from every direction each second of every day.  One of the important properties of EM waves is the wavelength. We can only visually observe waves of a certain wavelength, which is often referred to as the visible spectrum.  

To learn more about the higher and lower wavelength EM waves you cannot see, watch the video below.

The following video gives a brief explanation of the Doppler Effect, which deals with the shift in wavelength observed when the object emitting the waves is in motion relative to an observer.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

V is for Variable Star

As I mentioned in an earlier post, parallax is a method of measuring the distance of nearby stars. The next step on the cosmic distance ladder is a kind of star known as a Cepheid Variable.  This video explains what these stars are and how they're used to determine cosmic distance.  There's also a little bit about the history of women in astronomy, which I think is cool.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

U is for Universal Time

What is Universal Time, and how did it come into being?  First off, it's the basis for all civil timekeeping, and it is frequently referred to as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).  To learn more, watch the dandy little video below!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

T is for Trans Neptunian Objects

Our solar system is pretty nifty and fun to study.  We have our sun and planets, and those planets are filled with such variety that they keep people studying for a lifetime.  Yet, there's more to our solar system than the planets that orbit our sun.  Trans Neptunian objects far outnumber the planets, and they inhabit the region beyond Neptune (hence their name).  These little icy worlds warrant our attention too.


Monday, April 22, 2013

S is for Scales of Size

The universe is so grand in scale that the human mind can scarcely imagine its size.  Nevertheless, we try to find ways to make sense of that incomprehensible size.  Here are a couple of videos that boggle the mind and stimulate the imagination.  And the second one (which I posted on this blog months ago) is narrated by Morgan Freeman!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

R is for Relativity

Einstein stunned the world with his insights into the cosmos.  I remember when I first learned about the specifics of both the Special Theory of Relativity and the General Theory of Relativity in college, it was almost enough to make my head spin.  I'm in awe that anyone could be so in tune with the universe that they could come up with these concepts through thought experiments.

These videos break down the concepts in relativity and make them easier to understand.  Feel free to watch them all (though it may take more than one sitting to do so), or watch until it feels like your head might explode.  (Trust me, the feeling that your head may explode is a perfectly normal reaction.)

This first video deals with the examples of relativity we see in daily life.  These are easily observable and were adequately handled by classical physics.  We knew these things before Einstein, but knowing this stuff sets up a foundation that helps you understand the more bizarre things to come.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Q is for Quarks

Have you ever wondered what a quark is?  Here's a catchy song that will answer questions you may never have thought to ask!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

P is for Parallax

Astronomers use different methods for measuring the distances of stars.  As you may imagine, cosmic distances can be tricky to pin down accurately given how impressively far apart everything in the universe is, but with the right measurements and a little mathematical prowess, it can be done.

One method for measuring stellar distances is parallax.  Parallax refers to the apparent change in position of a star that occurs as the Earth orbits the sun.  The shifts are tiny given that we're dealing with such large distances, and they grow smaller as that distance increases.  That's why parallax, while useful, is limited to our cosmic neighborhood.  Anything too far out requires other means of measurement to determine distance.

By P.wormer (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

If you're interested in learning how to determine parallax, you can watch these videos.  They spell out the process as clearly as possible and should give you a good idea of how it's done.  Yes, they're a bit long, but they're packed with information!  (And yes, I personally watched all of them all the way through!)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

O is for Olympus Mons

I've always had a fascination with Mars, and I don't think I'm alone in this.  The red planet not only has an appealing color, it also once had liquid water on its surface.

Image source: Forsetius/ Flickr.
As a kid though, I had a particular love of Olympus Mons.  The amazing size of it impressed me.  It stands at about 3x the height of Mt. Everest.  It's so tall that it sticks out of the Martian atmosphere. When compared to anything on Earth, Olympus Mons dwarfs it all.

© SĂ©mhur Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

To give you and idea of just how large the base of this volcano is, here's what it might look like if it were on Earth.

Image Source: Lunar and Planetary Institute/ Flickr.

And lastly, since I wanted to give you a video of some kind, here's a neat one showing how Olympus Mons might look to a human who's landed there.  Maybe one day soon, someone will get to see this sight in real life!  Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

N is for NASA

NASA was founded in 1958, the year after the Russians put Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, into orbit around the Earth.  The space race was on, and the hard work and dedication of those working for NASA took America into space.  That's something worth celebrating.

You can also find more information on the NASA's founding HERE.

Monday, April 15, 2013

M is for Milky Way vs. Andromeda

We live in the Milky Way galaxy, which is a spiral galaxy.  Our neighboring galaxy, Andromeda, is also a spiral.  Andromeda is also the only galaxy moving toward us while all other galaxies are moving away.  It's been predicted that billions of years from now, the Milky Way and Andromeda will merge to form a new galaxy altogether.  To see some spectacular predictions of how that will occur, watch the video below.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

L is for Lagrange Points

Lagrange points are great for astronomy.  These points in space give us a nice, stable spot to keep telescopes and things.  However, I don't feel like I can give a proper description of what Lagrange points are.  I'll let Phil Plait, also known as The Bad Astronomer, explain what they are and why they're important.

Friday, April 12, 2013

K is for Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion

Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion are a basic that any student of physics and astronomy must know. When Johannes Kepler derived them from the motions of the heavens, they revolutionized our understanding of the solar system.

First, here's a brief biography of Kepler.

Next, let's learn more about the laws themselves.  Who better than Carl Sagan to introduce the specifics of Kepler's Laws of Planetary Motion?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

J is for Jupiter

Growing up, I was fascinated by all the planets.  Most of all, though, I had a soft spot for Jupiter. Maybe witnessing the impact of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 in July 1994 played a role in this fascination.  I was eight years old, and I'll never forget that excitement.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I is for Isaac Newton

Yes, I'm going by the first letter of his first name rather than by last name.  Either way, I say it's okay for me to do that, and I'm going to do it anyway.

Isaac Newton contributed greatly to scientific understanding.  Neil deGrasse Tyson credits him with being the greatest physicist of all time, so that's a good endorsement as far as I'm concerned.


Here's a brief biography about Isaac Newton with the briefest of overviews of his work.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

H is for Higgs Boson

With the recent discovery of the oft hypothesized but elusive Higgs Boson, I could hardly choose any other topic for H.

When it comes to particle physics, it can be difficult for the layman to make any sense of what these physicists are talking about.  I've met my share of people who think the science community is simply making these things up.  Still, just because a concept can be slippery to grasp, it doesn't mean that it isn't worth the effort.  And luckily, some scientists take the time to adequately explain these matters to the rest of us.

Science can certainly be ambitious, as I think it should be.  However, science also knows how to celebrate.  Next I would like to share two episodes of Star Talk Radio.  These are live episodes that are dedicated to the discovery of the Higgs Boson.  Scientists and comedians come together to make science fun and entertaining for a live audience.  I highly recommend taking the time to listen to these.  I did and it was time well spent.

Monday, April 8, 2013

G is for Galileo Galilei

Galileo Galilei deserves credit for pursuing scientific truth in the face of opposition.  It is this perseverance that makes possible our growing knowledge of the universe.  Here is a brief introduction to his life and works.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

F is for Feynman Diagrams

Physics is full of interesting diagrams.  I always thought Feynman diagrams look cool.  Here's a simple video that will help you learn what those wibbly looking diagrams mean.

Friday, April 5, 2013

E is for the Event Horizon and Beyond

No, I'm not talking about the film, but rather the event horizon of a black hole. A black hole is a singularity, and its gravitational field is so strong that not even light can escape.  The event horizon is the boundary.  At this point, escape velocity is equal to the speed of light, so once you reach that point, you're going along for the ride whether you like it or not.  Though no one can venture beyond this point and report back about what they see, scientific theory lets us speculate about what it would be like to fall into a black hole.

Warning!  Venturing beyond the event horizon of a black hole is for experienced virtual travelers.  Do not try this at home! :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

D is for Drake Equation

The Drake Equation is well known to most who wonder about the possibility of intelligent life existing elsewhere in the universe.  Personally, I have no doubt intelligent life exists somewhere in the universe.  The only question is, how common is it? 

The Drake Equation is meant to estimate how many intelligent civilizations may exist in our galaxy that have the technological capability to communicate with us.

Background Image courtesy of tungphoto /

This video gives a good background of the equation and looks at a couple of the estimates that have been made using the equation.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

C is for Constellations

Throughout human history, we've looked up at the night sky in awe.  Before we had science to explain the things we saw, each culture made up it's own stories about the pictures it saw in the sky.  These stories say a lot about the groups that made them.  Though we know now that the constellations are not actual groupings of stars, but rather appear that way from our perspective, they are still a part of who we are.  We grow up looking at them.  For many, they are our first exposure to the wonders of the cosmos.

Sometimes I find myself wondering about a hypothetical alien race and what they see in the unique images they would see in their own night sky.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

B is for Big Bang

First of all, I thought I'd share a little fun.  Here's a link to the full theme song from the show The Big Bang Theory.  I highly recommend you take the time to listen to the whole thing if you haven't heard it.

Most people know that the Big Bang is the most popular scientific theory regarding the beginnings of our universe.  Here's a brief summary of how we made it from the moments immediately following the Big Bang to today.  Science is learning more every day, so no summary will ever offer a full picture, but this is still a good overview.

Once you posit that the universe started with the Big Bang, the question naturally becomes "What caused the Big Bang?"  This next video looks at why we ask that question and how we try to answer it.

For anyone who wants to know even more and has a little more than an hour to dedicate to it, here's a link to a lecture given by Andrew Lange at UC Berkeley.  There's a lot more detail here and is, in my opinion, relatively accessible for those who don't have a much of a background in science.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A is for the Andromeda Galaxy

First of all, since the first letter of the alphabet is A, I'd like to give a shout out to Arlee Bird, the creator of the A-Z Challenge.  If it weren't for him, we wouldn't be here for this.  Thank you!

The Andromeda Galaxy, or M31, is our cosmic neighbor.  As such, it intrigues us with its beauty. We study it in our quest to deepen our understanding of the cosmos.  One day, it will collide with our own Milky Way Galaxy and create something new.  For me, this only adds to its allure.
Photo: Chris Lasley
Here's a fun video tour of the stunning Andromeda Galaxy.

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Star Wars Conspiracy

This video contains some thought provoking evidence that might make you think differently about Star Wars!  It's great fun!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Oreo Separator Machine

Personally, I love the whole Oreo, but I still thought this was pretty neat.  David Neevel definitely demonstrated determination and ingenuity when he built this.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Asteroids and Meteors, Oh My!

I support the space program, and I always have for many reasons.  The dangers posed by asteroids and other cosmic objects are as good a reason as any to consider the future of the space program and how dependent we are on this planet of ours.  

People complain that the space program is a waste of money.  I say that if we want to ensure the continuation of our species, this isn't an issue we can afford to ignore.  We can't afford not to invest time, money, and intellect in space.

Friday, January 18, 2013


As an Iowa native, I understand all too well what a pain snow can be.  However, I've always found snowflakes to be fascinating.  They're beautiful and come in an endless variety of shapes.

This first video shows a scientist in his quest to study snowflakes.

The second video has some amazing close-up photos.