Hiding in the Dark

Mr. Thursday has a significant interest in science, though, among all the branches of knowledge in the world, this is, perhaps, the one we find most frustrating. After all, it takes a specific and specialized group of knowledge to calculate how fast fire travels. No matter how often we ask, our chemical engineer friend always tells us that he must know what is causing the fire to burn, and how much of this combustible is being used. Technical details! we cry, but to no avail. We still don’t know if Jack Bauer or Sylvester Stallone can outrun fire. We know that Arnold Schwarzenegger can do it, because all of his movies are autobiographical events told in real time.

Anyway, our two most favorite branches of science are Deep Sea, and Deep Space (we really like environmentalism, too, but that less for the scientific reasons and more for, well, other reasons–a post for another day). Sea and space are both cold, dark, and have unnerving gravity issues. Plus, people who get to travel to such places wear such absurd suits. We’ve always felt that astronauts and deep sea divers resemble, in a way, Muppets.

Well, in the news this week there have been developments in both fronts.

Space

Among those involved in the space program, there are astronauts (cowboys) and physicists (space nerds). Among space nerds, there are two varieties: theorists, and observers. The theorists gaze into crystal balls and spirit up ideas about how the universe works. Meanwhile the observers build really, mind-bogglingly big telescopes and after months and years of looking, they tell the theorists how so very wrong they’ve been. The theorists then take the new knowledge (read: large series of either incredibly large or incredibly small numbers) and use it for their tarot cards, coming up with other theories, and the observers go back with more telescopes to check out whether or not this wanker is right yet. Now, now, it sounds like we’re bashing the theorists, which isn’t nice. Truth is, the observers wouldn’t know where to point their devices if the theorists didn’t tell them.

Anyway, these space nerds are, among other things, studying extrasolar planets, which are, obviously, planets located outside our scenic solar system. Surprisingly, neither of the two planets under study from the Harvard fellows showed traces of water, which is contrary to most theories of planet creation. These planets are appear to be large, gaseous planets (like Jupiter) with thick, high cloud cover (not like Jupiter). Their sun hits ’em with the light and the heat, right, but instead of bouncing that along, these planets bogart what they receive and so they’re super hot and nobody likes them. Well, everyone likes them, but only from a few dozen light years away.

Dr. David Charbonneau led one of the teams studying the flying space rocks, and was pleased with the progress being made with the discovery of the heat and the salt but not the water, “In a sense,” Dr. Charbonneau said, “we’re getting our first sniffs of air from an alien world.”

Oh Man Is This A Big Squid

Told you it was big.We are not good with titles, sometimes.

Anyway, part of the fun of the deep, dark ocean is that we’ve got an idea of what’s down there, but we don’t know where to find it, what it does, or what it looks like. We know there are things larger than buses, and yet we cannot locate them. Completely amazing.

Anyway, some New Zealand fisherman managed to snag the largest squid ever found. If you look at the picture up top, you can see the Leviathan, and if you look on the right here, you can get an idea of how big this thing actually is. London double decker buses are chump change next to the colossal squid.

Now if only the could find those butterfly looking creature at the bottom of The Abyss.

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1 Comment

Filed under Science

One response to “Hiding in the Dark

  1. Having spent most of my life in the midwest, I confess that I am more terrified of open water than I am of space. It probably helps that spaceships soar into the sky belching fire, while submarines creak and groan and leak. I mean, which one SOUNDS cooler?

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