This and that …

Haven’t been posting here much lately … work has been keeping me pretty busy and I haven’t really seen much thats inspired me to write (or rant if you prefer) in the last week or so. I’ve been out doing a little bit of photography, but even that has taken a backseat to the day job in recent days. At the end of this entry I’ll link to one of the recent ones I took after wondering what to do with a dead iPod. Also, I stumbled across an interesting post over at Why Don’t You Blog? with a link to the Rense.com pictures that form the base of my “Feeling Insignificant Yet?” post from last year.

I actually tried to leave a comment on their page, but I ran into problems with their spam protection, lol, so I figured I’d make a post here about the links, with a trackback, instead. Of course, Feeling Insignificant Yet? is my post about the sizes of the planets and stars, and how they compare. Its one of the most popular posts on my blog, along with the follow up posts I made.

And You Thought Size Mattered was my second foray into discussions of the “size” of the universe. Using my own diagrams, I tried to show how the distances between stars dwarfs their size, even as we are dwarfed by the size of the stars. The diagrams probably aren’t as visually interesting as the Rense pictures, but I struggled with how to represent the sizes involved accurately. The concentric circles I came up with aren’t ideal (they give some people the incorrect idea that I am trying to show what the universe “looks” like … they don’t represent that at all, just relatively larger distances with larger circles), but they do show the “orders of magnitude” in size involved, especially given that the largest star in the Rense diagram would be only barely visible at our solar system scale.

A few months after that post, I stumbled across a fascinating animation (Java required) that shows the progressions in size from the unthinkably small to the unimaginably huge and back again. Using actual photographs wherever possible, its a stunning visual representation of the various scales in the progression of sizes in the universe. Its a great reminder that very little of the process of the universe operates on “our level” … its all going on far above, or far below us in scale.

Finally, I found another intriguing animation (flash) that discusses what scientists mean when they talk about the universe having multiple dimensions beyond space and time. Extra dimensions are a devilishly difficult thing to get our heads around … initially, we think we can just extend our notions of 3 or 4 dimensions into the higher ones, but attempts to visualize or conceptualize them usually fail for the average person. The layman is usually left asking “Ya, but what IS the 6th dimension??” This animation attempts to explain that in a very understandable way. While I have some specific objections to the way they describe a few of the dimensions specifically (and you can read about all that in the post), those objections don’t change the fact that the basic visualization method they’ve come up with is very good. Even if I object to their specific ideas of what a dimension is, their method of visualization is remarkably clear, and applies as well despite my objections. Well worth a look for people interested in this stuff.

Thats about it for today, except to add that my iPod died recently. I’ve been through the web trying to find ways to revive it, and nothing I’ve found works … just seems to be unwilling to take power or turn on in any way, no matter what sequence I go through, or where I plug it in. So I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I have a dead iPod, or a “diPod” if you will. Today I am attaching the first in what I hope will be a series called “1001 uses for my diPod” … I am thinking of calling this one “Tire Block”

diPod - Tire Block

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