Assyrian Books and Quote Chasing

While reading bits of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Space Chronicles yesterday, I ran across this quote, attributed to “an Assyrian clay tablet from 2800 BC”: Our Earth is degenerate in these later days; there are signs that the world is speedily coming to an end; bribery and corruption are common; children no longer obey their parents; […]

Spaced Out

The final Space Shuttle landed the other day, leading to much lamentation over the end of the program, all over the Internet. It was absolutely choking my Twitter feeds for a while, which is mostly what I was thinking about when I re-tweeted this snide comment from Robert Lamb (though, to be fair, most of […]

Poll: Top Physics Story of 2010?

It’s the last week of the (calendar) year, which means it’s a good time to recap the previous twelve months worth of scientific news. Typically, publications like Physics World will publish a list of top ten physics stories of 2010, but we’re all Web 2.0 these days, so it seems more appropriate to put this […]

How to Teach Physics to Your Dog: Festive Update

We missed the formal presentaion at the World Science Festival stargazing event last night, and it was cloudy enough to prevent actual stargazing, but the giant mock-up of the James Webb Space Telescope is giant and cool even in the dark. More importantly, Neil deGrasse Tyson is awesome. We got there around 9:30, and he […]

Into the Universe With Portentous Music (and Stephen Hawking)

While I missed the controversial episode with comments about aliens, I figured I should at least take a look at the Discovery Channel’s Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking, so I put it on last night after putting SteelyKid to bed. This was the big two-hour “Story of Everything” episode, starting with the Big Bang […]

The Most Amazing Laser Application of All Time Is…

Voting has closed on the Laser Smackdown poll, with 772 people recording their opinion on the most amazing of the many things that have been done with lasers in the fifty years since the invention of the first working laser (see the Laserfest web site for more on the history and applications of lasers). The […]

Hawking on Aliens: Not as Silly as You’d Like to Think

I’m a little surprised at the vehemence of some of the negative reactions to Stephen Hawking’s comments about aliens. Not so much in blogdom– Ethan’s response is pretty reasonable, for example– but there was a flurry of Twitter traffic yesterday of the form “Where does Stephen Hawking get off pontificating about aliens?” which strikes me […]

Reminder: Vote for the Most Amazing Laser Application of All Time

As of 1:45 Monday, 217 people have cast votes in the Laser Smackdown poll. That’s not bad, but it’s currently being handily beaten by the 271 people who have voted for a favorite system of units. The nice thing about using actual poll services for this sort of thing, though, is that I can re-post […]