July 5, 2008
Today, I saw two Doctor Who episodes that were REALLY good. It was called Blink and Forest of the Dead. Two incredible episodes written by Steve Moffat. Blink had weird time paradox, and creatures which will actually make you feel to think twice before you look away from all of those building statues. The second one had flesh eating pests that looked like shadows, and incredible plot twists. You are missing the best of TV if you don’t watch those two episodes.
July 5, 2008
Just in case anyone of you don’t know, or are curious. The term island universe was originally coined by Immanuel Kant before he was a philosopher. He was reading an article from some fundie named Wright. With the ancient Greek arguments ”spheres are perfect, so the universe must have such structure” mentality, he thought that the Milky Way was a giant sphere, hollow in the center, but Earth was on the edge, so it looked like Milky Way was edge on. Well, Kant, correctly misinterpreted (luck him ) the article to mean that the Solar System was on the edge of a disc which is the Milky Way. Unfortunately, most went with the hypothesis that the spiral nebulas were places in which star systems were being formed.
It wasn’t until Edwin Hubble in 1925 that the spiral nebulas were confirmed to be more island universes other than the Milky Way. He did it by finding Cepheid variable stars. Those stars change brightness as they change size, using them as reference point, one can determine the distance to such place. The way it works is that if you know its absolute magnitude, then you can determine its distance, since the more distant it is, the dimmer it is. Not only is the fact that he found stars in the galaxy counter to the claim that it was a place of star formation, but it was measured to be 1,000,000 light years away! That is so far out that it couldn’t have been in our galaxy. After the way it was measured was calibrated, the actual distance is over 2,000,000 light years away! The universe is much larger than we could have ever imagined.
July 5, 2008
This is probably the most irritatin argument for me personally (other than the all natural stuff). The following sketch was designed to get my point across in a short manner. It goes like this: (and anyone religious, please, don’t be offended, it is just that this kind of argument doesn’t cut it with me, and this is a satire which expresses my feelings in a hyperbolic way)
Questioner: I wonder why is the sky blue?
Know-it-all: I don’t know… Wait, I know! Since we don’t know, this universe must be working by some myterious force! It must be all perfect, since it must be able to encompass all unknown phenomenal… I know! It must be God! So, yeah, the answer is God.
Questioner: Okay! Wow, you really know your stuff. So… do you know why people don’t fly off the Earth even though it rotates?
Know-it-all: It is God pulling us down, duh.
Questioner: Why does the sun burn?
Know-it-all: God is using his awesome power to burn it and make it last forever.
Questioner: Okay, now you are pushing it, but gosh! God sure solves a lot of problems.
Now, replace all of the question with “how was the universe created?” And you get the ultimate god of the gaps, religion. See the problem I have with god (and faith in general)? One pretends to know everything without knowing anything. You can’t know anything by following your guts. Since when has anyone gotten an A+ in a test by guessing in all multiple choice questions? (Extra Credit if anyone answers all of the questions above )