Friday, September 30, 2005

- The universe is a big place. No, I am serious. It's quite large. I aint foolin around with you...the universe is really, really big! Its bigger than you can imagine, and I will even give you a few minutes to let your imagination try to grasp it. In fact, I lack the necessary vocabulary to adequately describe how enormous the universe really is. Let me simply state that the typical galaxy has over a hundred billion stars in it, and astronomers, so far, have found hundreds of billions of galaxies.

Most scientists believe that the universe formed during the "Big Bang" roughly 15 billion years ago. This means that we can only see galaxies that are within 15 billion light years of us. Any galaxies beyond that distance are sending out radiation (like light waves) that has yet to reach us. This means that the observable universe might be merely a small fraction of the entire universe! Perhaps there are quadrillions of galaxies? Perhaps there has been more than one Big Bang, happening at more than one time? Perhaps the universe is infinite? I like the idea of an infinite universe. It means you always have something to look forward to. Read the following article to learn more:

- I watched Sesame street as a child, and I loved the puppets Bert and Ernie. I am reminded of my brother and me every time I see them. Unfortunately, the persona of Bert is not what we are lead to believe. In the past several years it has been revealed, mainly due to the internet, that Bert is actually one of the most diabolical men in human history! He is behind many of the great crimes of the 20th century! Dont believe me? Follow this link, and you can see for yourself the heinous, unspeakable acts Bert has perpetrated. (By the way, Bert is Evil has been a long running gag on the internet. PBS sued several websites years ago, trying to keep them from claiming that Bert was some kind of criminal mastermind, but the lawsuits didnt accomplish anything. The gag lives on.)

- There is an urban legend which states that water flowing down a drain always spins counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere, and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. There is a kernel of truth to this myth, but it only applies to large scale occurences, like tornados and hurricanes. Its called the Coriolis effect, and the toilet in your bathroom is too small to be affected by this phenomenon. Even tornados dont always spin counter-clockwise. About 5% of all tornados in the northern hemisphere spin clockwise. The following link explains it much better than I can:

- Whether its e-mails, instant messaging, chat rooms, or online messageboards, everyone likes to use abbreviations to save time. Here is a list of the most common online abbreviations:

Friday, September 02, 2005

- No one can claim that the first decade of the 21st century has been a boring one. America is attacked for the first time in almost 60 years, we invade two countries, south-east Asia suffers the worst tsunami on record, and America suffers its worst natural disaster. Here are some aerial photos of New Orleans before and after Katrina hit. Its simply hard to believe that this could happen in the United States:

- There are two methods for determining the strength of a hurricane: its wind velocity, which is measured on the Safford-Simpson scale (from 1 to 5), and measuring its barometric pressure at the center of the storm. The later method is the most reliable (the lower the pressure, the stronger the storm.) Hurricane Katrina was the 4th most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic. Katrina's lowest recorded barometric pressure was 902mb. The strongest storm ever recorded in the Atlantic was hurricane Gilbert, which in 1988 struck 90 miles south of Texas. It had a pressure reading of 886mb. The strongest hurricanes tend to form in the south pacific. In 1979 Typhoon Tip became the strongest hurricane ever recorded. It had a pressure reading of 870mb. Here is a list of the most powerful and most famous hurricanes:

- With all the carnage and chaos in our universe, surely there is something we can rely on? Something we know will never change? How about the constant speed of light? Scientists for years have told us that light travels at 186,000 MPH, and that never changes...until now. Physicists have found ways to not only slow light down, but to speed it up! That's right...making light travel faster than the speed of light! Follow this article for more information:

- Thank goodness football is back! I am going to put myself out on a limb, and make some predictions:
Super Bowl: New England beats Carolina
Rose Bowl (NC game): USC beats Texas
Arizona Cardinals finish 6-10.
Detroit Lions also finish 6-10. Steve Mariuchi gets fired (and rightfully so.)

Here are some more predictions regarding the NFL from people much wiser than me: