Part III: Science Alert, Serious Wonder and Cosmos Up
[All three posts in this series have the same introduction, but I choose info from each of the four science compilation sites separately for each post. This post focuses on gleanings from Cosmos Up]
INTRO: I should have been a research scientist. I love science. I’m extremely intelligent, determined, creative, and organized. I coulda been a contenda for a Nobel prize. That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.
Why am I not a scientist? I had a series of misogynistic (one of my teachers hated the four girls in my advanced science class so much he would pith [paralyze] the frogs by holding them in the air directly in front of one of us so that each frog would urinate on our blouses), anti-Semitic (another one wore his “John Birch Society” pin to school every day, displayed prominently on his lapel; there were three girls in my class and he insulted each of us daily), incompetent (in an lab accident at his “real” job, this poor man had lost most of his sight and drive and spent each class time mostly ignoring all of us) and otherwise horrible science teachers in 8th, 9th, and 10th grades.
With better teachers in those critical years, my life could have turned out very differently. Those terrible teachers turned me so far off science I only took one more “hard” science course (because it was required, in undergraduate college), despite many more years of education, through getting a doctorate.
As an adult, I became enthralled with quantum physics, health/anatomy, nutrition, child development/learning and the multiverse/astrophysics, so I read. A lot. I also watch documentaries. I am not even close to understanding some of the physics stuff, but the rest I got quite adept at utilizing. To “keep up,” I subscribe to many science-oriented blogs and curation sites.
My favorites are: Science Alert, Serious Wonder, Brain Pickings Weekly and Cosmos Up. I will excerpt from some of the “best of the best” of what I’ve recently perused.
Part III is all from Cosmos Up, which means this month’s offerings are all astronomical! I hope you enjoy! Go subscribe!
Astrophysics and Quantum Physics/Mechanics
1. Jan 11, 2015, “NASA Reveals Three Amazing Travel Posters for Earth-Like Planets”
“NASA has marked the discovery of potentially habitable worlds by its Kepler space observatory with a poster series imagining the ‘out of this world’ holiday options they may one day offer. Drawing inspiration from travel billboards of the 20s, 30s and 40s, the posters are the brainchild of NASA visual strategists Joby Harris, David Delgado and Dan Goods.”
“These posters are even available online and can be downloaded for free via JPL’s website. There are additional exoplanet posters in the works, NASA said.”
- January 14, 2015, “Rare Phenomenon In The Solar System, What Has Cassini Photographed?”
“Cassini…captures a strange hexagonal formation present at one pole of Saturn. The diameter of the ‘hexagon’ is 30,000 miles. This formation is present at the north pole of the planet. Inside the formation…the wind blows up with a colossal speed [of] about 322 kilometers per hour. The center of this strange formation is actually a very powerful storm. Scientists say that…it isn’t present on any other planet in our solar system.”
January 27, 2015, “Oldest Star System in Galaxy Discovered by NASA ‘could Point to Extremely Advanced Alien Civilisations’”
“’There are far-reaching implications for this discovery [of a sun-like star with 5 orbiting planets ranging in size from Mercury to Venus],’ lead researcher Tiago Campante said in a statement. ‘We now know that Earth-sized planets have formed throughout most of the Universe’s 13.8 billion year history, which could provide scope for the existence of ancient life in the Galaxy.’
“’Planetary systems around stars have been a common feature of our galaxy for a long, long time.’”
February 11, 2015, “New Crazy Theory: The Universe has ‘No End and No Beginning’”
“They showed that quantum particles can never meet or cross paths.’As far as we can see, since different points in the universe never actually converged in the past, it did not have a beginning,’ Professor Saurya Das said.”
April 14, 2015, “New Map Reveals Distribution Of Dark Matter At Cosmic Scale”
April 15, “NASA: No Signs Of Advanced Alien Civilizations In 100000 Galaxies”
“Either they don’t exist, or they don’t yet use enough energy for us to recognize them.”
MY VIEW: Or, they don’t use energy in the form we expect them to be using it, which is “high levels of mid-infrared radiation.” Why do earth-based scientists presume that signs of alien “intelligence” will be recognizable to humans from great distances or at all? We could be looking for “life” in all the wrong ways.
- July 7, 2015, “There Are Millions Of Hidden Supermassive Black Holes In The Universe, Scientists Says”
The closest supermassive black hole to Earth is V4641 Sagitarii which is 1,600 light years away.
“Astronomers have spotted five monster black holes previously hidden by dust and gas in space and they suggests that there might be millions more of them lurking around our universe.”
Look for Part I, published on June 1, which focused on info gathered by Alert.
Part II was published June 30, with info from Serious Wonder
and Brain Pickings Weekly.
I suspect that much teaching is the bane of education. Some “failing” students blossom with a different teacher. ALL KINDS of prejudice apply (I was much taller than my diminutive English teacher). My group – all science-fiction readers – was straining to learn about post-Newtonian physics, to no avail. And on it goes…
When asked why I wanted to be a successful science fiction writer, my reply is, “To prove my English and Physics teachers wrong in a single stroke!”
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I hope they both lived to see that you did, Andy, and that you made sure they knew!
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Sadly, no. But perhaps there is an afterlife for bad teachers who are condemned forever to watch the results of their mistakes?
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Actually, in some reverse-psychology kind of way, you are their biggest success! LOL
Best to you, Andy!