The Trial of Galileo, Church Inquisition Court, Rome, February 1633, by Ljubo Vujovic

3,500 and Counting


  In 1633, Galileo Galilei was found guilty of heresy and sentenced to house arrest for the remainder of his life for asserting heliocentricity, for suggesting the Christian Bible was wrong when it implied the sun orbited the earth.1 Less than 400 years later, we know that our sun is just one of perhaps 400 billion…

30 Doradus in the X-Ray Spectrum (a/k/a The Tarantula Nebula)

What’s Going On in 30 Doradus?


For astronomers, the Milky Way, our local galaxy, can be a bit of a disappointment. Most of the stars it currently produces are red M-dwarfs. With masses less than half that of the Sun, these stars will burn fuel contentedly for a couple of trillion years and then gradually fade. Boring. Really massive stars, with…

Tree Trunk, Eliis and 21st Street, Boise, Idaho

Pareidoila


If you look at any walls spotted with various stains or with a mixture of different kinds of stones, if you are about to invent some scene you will be able to see in it a resemblance to various different landscapes adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys, and various groups of hills.…

Size Comparison: Apple Snail and Island Apple Snail

Why Charles Darwin Is Smiling


WC suspects that Charles Darwin, wherever he is now, is smiling. The last few months have provided wonderful examples of evolution in action. Here are two. The Snail Kite is a threatened species. It’s primary prey is the native Apple Snail (Pomacea paludosa), but the Apple Snail is threatened by an invasive species of snail, the…

More Proof WC Is Hopelessly Geeky


There’s more proof (if it was needed) that WC is hopelessly geeky. Randall Munroe’s excellent webcomic, XKCD, describes itself as “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.” He sometimes builds wonderful cartoons around arcane physics and chemistry principles. A recent example: Unless you know a little bit about interferometry, this cartoon will go completely over your…