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Sir Roger Penrose: Cosmic Inflation Is ‘Fantasy'

(NPR Science Friday) Sir Roger Penrose calls string theory a "fashion," quantum mechanics "faith," and cosmic inflation a "fantasy." ... What's wrong with modern physics—and could alternative theories explain our observations of the universe? Full lectures: Fashion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe (Lecture 1: FASHION)(Lecture 2: FAITH.)(Lecture 3: FANTASY.) [more inside]
posted by Golden Eternity on Apr 4, 2014 - 48 comments

A connection between the Mandelbrot set and the way nature operates...

Arthur C. Clarke, Benoit Mandelbrot, Stephen Hawking, David Gilmour and many more trip the fuck out about Fractals, the Colors of Infinity.
posted by loquacious on Apr 3, 2014 - 19 comments

Socrates in his own words

An introduction to Socrates in his own words through Plato by Michael Griffin, Assistant Professor of Greek Philosophy at the University of British Columbia [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 17, 2013 - 20 comments

Naturalis Historia

"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

My God, it's full of stars

Chandra Sky Map - Joe DePasquale runs through the process of creating the map and some helpful tips for using the interactive tool.
posted by unliteral on Oct 2, 2013 - 8 comments

“New textbooks will have to be written!”

The truth IS out there: British scientists claim to have found proof of alien life
A team of British scientists is convinced it has found proof of alien life, after it harvested strange particles from the edge of space. The scientists sent a balloon 27km into the stratosphere, which came back carrying small biological organisms which they believe can only have originated from space.

'Alien Life' Claim Far From Convincing, Astronomy Experts Say
Isolation of A Diatom Frustule Fragment from the Lower Stratosphere (22-27Km) - Evidence for a Cosmic Origin
posted by andoatnp on Sep 20, 2013 - 64 comments

The Cosmology of Serialized Television

Perhaps the most dangerous effect of the Big Crunch mentality has been to make television creators think of themselves as auteurs, to convince them that in spite of the massive interference with their work, they can somehow create a work of aesthetic integrity and sociological insight even if they don’t know where it’s going. Well, sometimes you get lucky, but more often, the result is disaster, and the effort spent toward that failure is redirected from where it would be better put: creating great trash. An essay on the challenges and pitfalls of writing serialized TV plots from The American Reader. [more inside]
posted by chavenet on Jun 23, 2013 - 48 comments

Socrates (In the Form of a Nine Year Old)

When he rang the doorbell, Zia hadn't planned to step inside. He was there to pick up his fiancee who was babysitting, but she couldn't leave (the parents were running late) so Zia agreed to hang out for a bit. His fiancee said, "Let me introduce you to the kids" — the 2-year-old girl, the 7-year-old boy and, most important, squatting, with no shoes on, surrounded by ants on the back patio, the oldest — the 9-year-old — the one he would make world-famous on YouTube.

This is the boy he now calls "The Philosopher."
posted by These Birds of a Feather on Mar 29, 2013 - 31 comments

direct realism

The Nature of Computation - Intellects Vast and Warm and Sympathetic: "I hand you a network or graph, and ask whether there is a path through the network that crosses each edge exactly once, returning to its starting point. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Eulerian' cycle.) Then I hand you another network, and ask whether there is a path which visits each node exactly once. (That is, I ask whether there is a 'Hamiltonian' cycle.) How hard is it to answer me?" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Dec 1, 2012 - 19 comments

ex nihilo (via negativa) something/multiverse/life/consciousness

Jim Holt asks John Leslie why is there something rather than nothing? [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jul 28, 2012 - 84 comments

42

What Happened Before the Big Bang? The New Philosophy of Cosmology
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Jan 24, 2012 - 50 comments

SciGuy Eric Berger

One of my favorite blogs happens to be local to me. Eric Berger, the Houston Chronicle's "SciGuy" usually reports on the weather. But he also posts entertaining and serious stuff as well. [more inside]
posted by PapaLobo on Nov 22, 2011 - 3 comments

In and Out

"Zoom from the edge of the universe to the quantum foam of spacetime and learn the scale of things along the way!" [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jun 27, 2011 - 28 comments

Now, witness the power of this fully-armed and operational battle station

The discovery indicates there are many more free-floating Jupiter-mass planets that can't be seen. The team estimates there are about twice as many of them as stars. In addition, these worlds are thought to be at least as common as planets that orbit stars. This would add up to hundreds of billions of lone planets in our Milky Way galaxy alone.
posted by anigbrowl on May 18, 2011 - 52 comments

Cosmic

National Geographic's Journey To The Edge Of The Universe. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Mar 11, 2011 - 5 comments

riverrun, past Eve and Adam's, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirculation back to Howth Castle and Environs.

to talk about the concept of "time" before the big bang; the Cyclic Universe Theory proposes an alternative to the predominant Inflation Theory that led to this intuition. Now Gurzadyan and Penrose have observed low-variance rings in the CMB, supporting the notion that it makes sense
posted by jjray on Nov 27, 2010 - 41 comments

Imagine as basket filled with billions and billions and billions of eggs

We are nearing the end of a golden age of astronomy as more than a dozen space observatories reach their end of life in a few years. The only replacement on the horizon is the James Webb Space Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2014. Due to its enormous complexity and ever-rising costs, the JWST has starved other projects of funding. The fate of an entire generation of cosmologists and astrophysicists rests on its success.
posted by Rhomboid on Oct 28, 2010 - 33 comments

Cosmology

The ancient Hebrew Conception of the Universe. Mayan Interdimensional Star Map. A scale model of the orbits of the planets in our solar system. More by Michael Paukner (via).
posted by Artw on Jul 14, 2010 - 28 comments

Stop. Motion time.

A Brief History of Pretty Much Everything
posted by DU on Feb 11, 2010 - 38 comments

Turn around, bright lights

Starlight - (late) Friday Flash Fun.
posted by Eideteker on Dec 11, 2009 - 26 comments

At 1,789,549 mph, that's a hell of a flow ...

"You have no idea how big that is. This is giant on a scale where it's not just that we can't see what's doing it; it's that the entire makeup of the universe as we understand it can't be right if this is happening."
posted by WCityMike on Sep 1, 2009 - 84 comments

The Size of Things

Welcome to the Universe - III: The Size of Things . . .we take a breif trip through the Solar System and beyond to see the size of the Universe. A youtube video by AndromedasWake about the scale of the Universe.
posted by nola on Jul 8, 2009 - 20 comments

The Great Work

Thomas Berry passed away early on the morning of June 1st. He described himself as a cosmologist and "geologian," an Earth scholar. He was an advocate of deep ecology, and believed passionately in the power of the New Cosmology and the Great Story. Berry believed that "Our future destiny rests even more decisively on our capacity for intimacy in our human-Earth relations."
posted by diogenes on Jun 22, 2009 - 7 comments

Wu Xing

Behind Chinese medicine, feng shui, acupuncture, diet, music and cosmology itself is the concept of Wu Xing. [more inside]
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing on May 7, 2009 - 15 comments

Fun for all ages, dimensions.

Topology and Geometry Software by Jeff Weeks.
posted by Eideteker on Apr 22, 2009 - 5 comments

Composition of the Universe

A fascinating talk about the composition of the universe [Youtube, approx 1 hour], presented by Sean Carroll, theoretical physicist at CIT. [via] [more inside]
posted by knave on Feb 11, 2009 - 29 comments

The Spherical Wave Structure of Matter in Space

On Truth and Reality. Despite several thousand years of failure to correctly understand physical reality (hence the current postmodern view that this is impossible) it is actually very simple to work out how matter exists and moves about in Space. The rules of Science (Occam's Razor / Simplicity) and Metaphysics (Dynamic Unity of Reality) require that reality be described from only one single source existing, as Leibniz wrote: "because of the interconnection of all things with one another." [more inside]
posted by netbros on Jan 30, 2009 - 46 comments

CNN doesn't seem so silly now, does it?

The universe may just be a giant (five dimensional) hologram.
posted by Caduceus on Jan 18, 2009 - 77 comments

What Lies Past Eternity, for the Universe?

Exit Mundi's thoughts on the latest anticipated apocalypse: the coming apocalypse in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 A.D.. (No kidding.) [more inside]
posted by WCityMike on Jan 3, 2009 - 79 comments

Star Stories and the Nobel Prize

Star Stories explains the life and death of stars using a multimedia approach that incorporates images, animation, video and text. From the official website of the Nobel Foundation. Don't miss out on the other cool games . [more inside]
posted by ozomatli on Sep 25, 2008 - 6 comments

Not the Ford Galaxy

Five years and 800,000 images went into producing a 4 gigapixel mosaic image of the galactic plane, which when printed out is 180 feet long. But it has been made browser-sized by GLIMPSE, the Galactic Legacy Infrared Mid-Plane Survey Extraordinaire, the research group which, along with MIPSGAL, created the image: A Glimpse of the Milky Way.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth on Jun 5, 2008 - 14 comments

Orders of Magnitude

Leave the planet to travel into the largest structures of the universe, then plunge into the tiniest. Forty two orders of magnitude in thirty six minutes.... Cosmic Voyage. (single link Google video via) [more inside]
posted by Kronos_to_Earth on May 30, 2008 - 11 comments

Brains in Space!

Are We All Really Just Disembodied Brains Floating in Empty Space? Recent mathematical results in the field of cosmology related to the Boltzmann's Brain Problem may point toward a peculiarly arbitrary universe in which, as improbable as it sounds, it's more likely than not. [more inside]
posted by saulgoodman on Jan 16, 2008 - 104 comments

There's a hole in the Universe, dear Martha, dear Martha

Astronomers find a giant hole a billion light years across & located 8 billion light years away from us. They believe it could be evidence of another Universe at the edge of ours.
posted by scalefree on Nov 27, 2007 - 53 comments

Earth gone rogue.

Would you like to read classic science fiction short story A Pail of Air? Or would you prefer to listen? [more inside]
posted by Eideteker on Nov 15, 2007 - 19 comments

Half of he Universe

The Horizon Simulation 70 billions particles : a new world record for a large scale simulation of the universe. [more inside]
posted by bru on Sep 18, 2007 - 29 comments

Renegade Physicists!

Renegade physicists! have published the book Endless Universe and talked to NPR's Tom Ashbrook about their alternative theories of the beginning of the universe: 'The Big Bang' is an unfortunate misnomer and was not the beginning of time, but rather the formation of a singularity in the universe. "And what we're seeing is that the Big Bang doesn't have to be the beginning of time. It's perfectly possible that the Big Bang was just a violent event in a pre-existing universe..."
posted by frobozz on Jun 2, 2007 - 18 comments

The dark energy backlash

Prominent cosmologist Simon D.M. White has written a provocative paper posted to the astrophysics arxiv complaining that too much time is being devoted to the quest to understand the nature of the elusive dark energy: "Dark Energy is undeniably an interesting problem to attack through astronomical observation, but it is one of many and not necessarily the one where significant progress is most likely to follow a major investment of resources." He worries generally that observational cosmology/astrophysics/astronomy may turn away from the construction of instruments of general utility (such as the Hubble Space Telescope), to concentrate on a small number of massive experiments narrowly focused on solving particular problems (such as WMAP and the Large Hadron Collider), to the detriment of the "quirky small-science" type of astronomy.
posted by snoktruix on Apr 21, 2007 - 8 comments

Biocentrism: putting ourselves (back) on a pedestal

We, the observers: an-entirely-nother approach angle to 'intelligent' design? Robert Lanza, a researcher at Advanced Cell Technology and a professor at Wake Forest, thinks scientists need to privilege life in order to understand the universe (and everything :) by placing the observer at the center (or end?) of it all.
posted by kliuless on Mar 10, 2007 - 35 comments

Physics Cosmology Resources

A History of Scientific Cosmology from the American Institute of Physics has some great articles on the history of cosmology.
posted by RussHy on Jan 3, 2007 - 5 comments

Newtonian dynamics unmodified

Good evidence that dark matter is for real.
posted by kliuless on Aug 16, 2006 - 57 comments

maybe the Sarumpaet Rules will be worked out afterall

Before the Big Bang - way, way out of my depth, but I thought this comment was intriguing: "The paper as published, along with a longer follow up paper, looks to my untrained eye a nearly complete quantum gravitation theory, which is an exciting prospect in itself. However, as with all physical theories, we will await for experimental support before popping the cork." Here's some more on loop quantum gravity, spin networks, the big bang and ekpyrosis.
posted by kliuless on Apr 16, 2006 - 18 comments

Won't somebody think of the thieves?

It's looking like the Pope will abolish the doctrine of Limbo. The real story, of course, is how this change in cosmology will affect D&D players. What’s a Chaotic Neutral to do?
posted by Zed_Lopez on Dec 7, 2005 - 46 comments

The truth behind the first cheesy special effects

Misconceptions about the Big Bang
posted by Gyan on Feb 23, 2005 - 39 comments

(S/W)AP

Smolin vs. Susskind on the anthropic principle. For those keeping score: Stephen Hawking is for it. Brian Greene is not.
posted by kliuless on Sep 4, 2004 - 10 comments

Information Salvation

It would seem that black holes may not lose information after all, in which case Stephen Hawking has lost another bet.
posted by Songdog on Jul 16, 2004 - 24 comments

Dork Matter.

Dark matter flowchart.
posted by monju_bosatsu on Oct 31, 2003 - 11 comments

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