Fitz and the Tantrums — Tighter
— William Saroyan, Madness in the Family: Stories (via waxenneat)
Ofelia — Hawk Fly Tiger Run
Craziest thing you’ll see all day: a dozen cypress trees get swallowed up by a sinkhole.
Craziest thing you’ll read all day: the story of how the sinkhole got there.
(.gif by io9.)
Bayou Corne is the biggest ongoing industrial disaster in the United States you haven’t heard of. In addition to creating a massive sinkhole, it has unearthed an uncomfortable truth: Modern mining and drilling techniques are disturbing the geological order in ways that scientists still don’t fully understand. Humans have been extracting natural resources from the earth since the dawn of mankind, but never before at the rate and magnitude of today’s petrochemical industry. And the side effects are becoming clear. It’s not just sinkholes and town-clearing natural gas leaks: Recently, the drilling process known as fracking has been linked to an increased risk of earthquakes.
We are killing our planet and I really don’t think the majority cares enough to do something about it.
She & Him — Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me (Cover)
When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me — it still sometimes happens — and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. But, the great thing is that when we were together, for nearly twenty years, we lived with a vivid appreciation of how brief and precious life is. We never trivialized the meaning of death by pretending it was anything other than a final parting. Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous — not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were beneficiaries of chance… That pure chance could be so generous and so kind… That we could find each other, as Carl wrote so beautifully in Cosmos, you know, in the vastness of space; the immensity of time… That we could be together for twenty years. That is something which sustains me & it’s much more meaningful…
The way he treated me and the way I treated him, the way we took care of each other and our family, while he lived. That is so much more important than the idea I will see him someday. I don’t think I’ll ever see Carl again. But I saw him. We saw each other. We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful."
Ann Druyan, talking about her husband Carl Sagan.
Marie Moreshead — Ahyoko’s Song
Josh Rouse — Saturday
I’m sitting in a cafe, done with the work I came here to do.
I want to go home and eat a hideous amount of food in front of the television to celebrate, but it’s rush hour.
I’m staying put.
The girl behind me says that when she’s on her period, her boobs jump from an A-cup to a C-cup. She really admires her friend for knowing what he wants to do with his life. He doesn’t see himself as just his body. He feels he is more than his body.
The reason this doesn’t seem to have a coherent progression is because I have no desire to eavesdrop but their shrill voices and mind-numbing topics are forcing me to drift in and out of their conversation every few minutes.
She doesn’t run often but she can totally keep up with the long-distance runners, she says.
Oh my god, Michael like totally does meth now.
I change my mind.
I’d rather sit in the traffic.
“Perhaps you’ve heard stories about how close many of our most well-known animals are to extinction: 97 percent of the world’s tigers have been wiped out in the last century and the World Wildlife Fund warns the remainder could be gone in a decade or two. Ditto for elephants, sharks, and even the tiny honeybee, which is essential for pollinating our food sources.
But these are just the high-profile examples. Escaping the broader public’s attention, warns the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) is the possibility of ‘30 to 50 percent of all species possibly heading toward extinction by mid-century.’ Not just animals, but plants that are critical for human life. Rain forests, coral reefs, grasslands, tundra, and the polar seas — these critical, life-enhancing ecosystems that humans take for granted are all at risk. It is, the CBD warns, the ‘worst spate of species die-offs since the loss of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.’ Granted, some of this is natural, but human behavior — habitat destruction, pollution and yes, global warming — is accelerating the process.
Although few Americans have knowledge in basic sciences, it hasn’t stopped us from challenging or dismissing the peer-review findings of those who do. We don’t want to invest in addressing a slow-moving catastrophe like this because it’s just too hard to focus or acknowledge something that isn’t top of mind. ‘If honey bees become extinct,’ Albert Einstein noted, ‘human society will follow in four years.’ If you’re smarter than Einstein, Mr. Armchair Expert, tell me why he’s wrong.”
The extinction crisis, and four other disturbing trends you should pay attention to in 2013
What lies outside the universe?
Physicists have long studied the nature of the universe. But some go a step further into the unknown (and probably unknowable), contemplating what lies outside the boundaries of our universe.
Is it possible that something else exists beyond existence? Yes. Here are five theories about what that “something” might be.
The “outside the universe” question gets tricky right off the bat, because first you have to define the universe. One common answer is called the observable universe, and it’s defined by the speed of light. Since we can only see things when the light they emit or reflect reaches us, we can never see farther than the farthest distance light can travel in the time the universe has existed. That means the observable universe keeps getting bigger, but it is finite – the amount is sometimes referred to as the Hubble Volume, after the telescope that has given us our most distant views of the universe. We’ll never be able to see beyond that boundary, so for all intents and purposes, it’s the only universe we’ll ever interact with.
Beyond the Hubble Volume. We know with some certainty that there’s “more universe” out there beyond that boundary, though. Astronomers think space might be infinite, with “stuff” (energy, galaxies, etc.) distributed pretty much the same as it is in the observable universe. If it is, that has some seriously weird implications for what lies out there. Beyond the Hubble Volume you won’t just find more, different planets. You will eventually find every possible thing. In fact, cosmologists think that if you go far enough, you will find another Hubble Volume that is perfectly identical to ours. There’s another version of you out there mirroring your every action 10 to the 10^188 meters away. That may seem unlikely, but then, infinity is awfully infinite.
Dark Flow. In 2008, astronomers discovered something very strange and unexpected – galactic clusters were all streaming in the same direction at immense speed, over two million miles per hour. New observations in 2010 confirmed this phenomenon, known as Dark Flow. The movement defies all predictions about the distribution of mass throughout the universe after the Big Bang. One possible cause: massive structures outside the Hubble Volume exerting gravitational influence. This would mean that the structure of the infinite universe beyond our view is not uniform. As for the structures themselves, they could be literally anything, from aggregations of matter and energy on scales we can barely imagine to bizarre warps funneling gravitational forces from other universes.
Infinite Bubbles. Talking about things outside the Hubble Volume might be a bit of a cheat, since it’s still really the same universe, just a part of it we can’t see. It would have all the same physical laws and constants. In another version of the story, the post-Big Bang expansion of the universe caused “bubbles” to form in the structure of space. Each bubble is an area that stopped stretching along with the rest of space and formed its own universe, with its own laws. In this scenario, space is infinite, and each bubble is also infinite (because you can store an infinite number of infinities inside a single infinity). Even if you could somehow breach the boundary of our bubble, the space in between the bubbles is still expanding, so you’d never get to the next bubble no matter how fast you went.
Black Hole Spawning. A theory proposed by physicist Lee Smolin, known as the fecund universes theory, suggests that every black hole in our universe causes the formation of a new universe. Each universe will have slightly different physical laws than the forerunner universe. In this way, Smolin suggests a sort of natural selection for universes, as laws that lead to the frequent formation of black holes lead to the creation of more universes, while non-black hole forming universes “die out.” This theory has since been discounted (by Smolin himself and others).
Many Parallel Universes. There are tons of theories about parallel universes, but the most accepted one these days involves an evolution of the ideas of string theory to involve membranes that vibrate in other dimensions. It’s beyond the scope of this article to get too detailed about string or membrane theory, but the upshot of the whole thing is that these rippling membranes in the 11th dimension are whole other universes, and when the ripples slam into each other they form a new universe. The effects of the rippling motion help explain the observed distribution of matter in our universe. One of the weirdest elements of the theory is the idea that all the gravity we experience in our universe is actually leaking into it from another universe in another dimension (which explains why gravity here seems so weak compared to the other fundamental forces).
Russian artists Leonid Tishkov and Boris Bendikov created a fantastic world illuminated with the moonlight where they tried to convey relations between the man and the Moon. This is a romantic story about a man who met the Moon and decided to stay with it forever. They named the installation ‘Private Moon’.