23 March 2011


COSMOLOGY. "The study of the universe, and humanity's place in it." Speaking from Columbia University, theoretical physicist Brian Green (author of The Elegant Universe) talks about his latest book, The Hidden Reality, in which he explores whether there are other universes beyond ours. This is heady stuff, but Green has a talent for making science accessible to the general public. The article includes an embedded video interview with Green, in which he addresses compelling questions such as --
  • What is a multiverse?

  • What other kinds of worlds might there be?

  • How does string theory research tie in with Einstein's search for a unified theory?

  • What is the biggest misconception people have about physics?

  • Are these theories applicable in the real world?

In a related article, Hank Campbell speculates on the possible existence of a super-planet which may be binary to our sun, orbiting far beyond the eight planets with which we are familiar in a region known as the Oort Cloud (see image below), which resides some 50,000 AU from the sun and is the hypothetical source of our solar system's comets . Campbell's article includes graphics and a down-to-earth explanation of the research.

Finally, an homage to Carl Sagan, the poet, philosopher, astronomer, cosmologist, and populizer of science who passed prematurely from our midst in 1996. His 5-minute video The Pale Blue Dot is a moving meditation on humanity's physical and spiritual place in the vastness of our universe. Deep sigh.

MAP GAMES. Here are two links to games which will test your knowledge of geography. You can click-and-drag to place U.S. states in their proper position, or you can click-and-drag to correctly match the names of countries in the Middle East with their actual locations. Each may take some practice. I've managed to score 100 percent several times on the U.S. states game, but am embarrassingly still guessing at some Middle East match-ups. Have fun !!

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