or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Yes, I'm very lax and very apologetic.

Here's something to distract you, though.

From Pharyngula is this little video which compresses the evolution of the Earth, from its formation to the present moment, into a single minute. There's a bigger version here. You may need to watch it a few times to take it all in: the last few seconds are overwhelming. (I should point out that it contains a typo, and a very baffling one: the text on the screen says, "Last Banded Ion Formation", and I thought, "Banded ion formation? Can ions even form into bands?" And then I realized that it must be "iron", not "ion", which, in fact, is the case. The maker is going to correct this.)

And here's the same idea stretched out by Carl Sagan in a bit from Cosmos which maps the entire history of the universe onto a twelve-month year. It has less of a visceral impact--Sagan's soothing voice makes sure of that--but is no less thrilling in the long run.

Do people really find it depressing to be reminded of how short a time humans have been around, how comparatively insignificant we are in the greater scheme of things? I don't. I think it's rather astounding and wonderful. We think we're the centre of the universe, which is so big and so old that it hasn't really noticed us and wouldn't miss us if we disappeared. Puts things into perspective.


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