Archive for the 'Ancient Wonders' Category

Solving Dark Matter & Dark Energy

The Long Now Foundation offers a series of seminars on long term thinking. The speakers are always incredibly interesting. Their most recent speaker was Priyamvada Natarajan. She is a professor in the Departments of Astronomy and Physics at Yale University and at the Dark Cosmology Center, Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. She is an active proponent for the public understanding and study of science.


“These days,” says Priyamvada Natarajan, “data is coming in from the universe faster than theory can keep up with it. We are in a golden age of cosmology.”





Click here to go straight to her seminar.


The darkness of dark matter and dark energy
ALL THAT WE KNOW of the universe we get from observing photons, Natarajan pointed out. But dark matter, which makes up 90 percent of the total mass in the universe, is called dark because it neither emits nor reflects photons?—?and because of our ignorance of what it is. It is conjectured to be made up of still-unidentified exotic collisionless particles which might weigh about six times more than an electron.


Though some challenge whether dark matter even exists, Natarajan is persuaded that it does because of her research on “the heaviest objects in the universe“?—?galaxy clusters of more than 1,000 galaxies. First of all, the rotation of stars within galaxies does not look Keplerian?—?the outermost stars move far too quickly, as discovered in the 1970s. Their rapid rate of motion only makes sense if there is a vast “halo” of dark matter enclosing each galaxy….”


For the rest of the description and the entire recorded seminar, click here to go to the Long Now Foundation website.


“beauty and magic is not the absence of terror”

Unsanitized tales…


The Importance of Being Scared: Polish Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska on Fairy Tales and the Necessity of Fear


By Maria Popova (Brain Pickings)




“Andersen had the courage to write stories with unhappy endings. He didn’t believe that you should try to be good because it pays … but because evil stems from intellectual and emotional stuntedness and is the one form of poverty that should be shunned.”


“If you want your children to be intelligent,” Einstein is credited with proclaiming, “read them fairy tales. If you want them to be very intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Intelligence, of course, is a loose grab-bag term that encompasses multiple manifestations, but the insight attributed to Einstein applies most unequivocally to the ninth of developmental psychologist Howard Gardner’s multiple intelligences: existential intelligence.


Fairy tales — the proper kind, those original Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen tales I recall from my Eastern European childhood, unsanitized by censorship and unsweetened by American retellings — affirm what children intuitively know to be true but are gradually taught to forget, then to dread: that the terrible and the terrific spring from the same source, and that what grants life its beauty and magic is not the absence of terror and tumult but the grace and elegance with which we navigate the gauntlet….”


More here.


Flowers as metaphor….

A visual treat for today —


From Lost at E Minor,

Flowers that demand you give them a second look

By Kenny Ong


“We do not demand much from our flowers. They look quite pretty as they are and their role in our lives are also pretty standard thus far. But a few have gone beyond their call of duty and they certainly demand a second glance when the first didn’t quite catch the amazing similarity they withhold. We are talking about parts of or even the entire flower that resemble something else altogether.


On closer look, for instance, the Dracula Simia orchid doubles up as a monkey’s face, the Impatiens Bequaertii blooms are dancing girls in disguise, the Ophrys Bomybliflora laughs like a bumble bee and we even have a Darth Vader in the form of an Aristolochia Salvadorensis…”


For the rest and all the pictures, click here.




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