Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Photos that Changed the World

Some of these photos are wonderful, some are chilling
all are awesome.*

Stopping Time
Dying Soldier Hangs to Priest
Starving Boy and Missionary
Last Jew of Vinnitsa
Niagara Falls Frozen
Lynching of Young Blacks
Notice the looks on their faces.Starving Child and Vulture
The Baby Hand
*as in: causing one to awe.

Storming the Brain

I'd like to write a new planetarium show. My previous show, The Universe Near and Far, seems to have been a success. People almost unanimously love it and I've been asked twice to present it to special VIP planetarium crowds.

But, that show was written as a group - me and two friends. You see, I want to write a show that's completely mine, but I can't seem to decide what to do it on!

So here's a few ideas I came up with the other day. I'm interested in seeing which of these you like. I have three basic show ideas, but I can always mix and match if you like elements from different suggested shows. If you don't know what some of this stuff is, then just assume it's really cool because I'm not going to have anything lame and boring in my planetarium show.

Science Fiction and Science Fact – What a strange place we live in!
Science Fiction
Science Fact
Science Unknowns
The future…

Physics in space

no sound
explosions yes
laser beams “instantaneous”
inertia! Pesky inertia.
speed and traveling the distances
tachyons, transporters, tractor beams, force fields, holo-decks, replicators, subspace, and other mostly unrealistic Star Trek technologies

Huge Science Fiction (perhaps science future?)
Dyson spheres
Interstellar travel STL (slower than light)
Interstellar communication
Extra-solar colonization
moving through the 4th dimension

Strange Universe (Facts)
special and general relativity - 4 spatial dimensions
black holes
drake equation

Astronomical and Physical Mysteries
basic assumptions of cosmology
- physical constants
- homogeneous and isotropic universe
dark matter/dark energy
future of the universe – shape of universe
magnetic monopoles
anti-matter distribution
gravitational waves
Higgs boson
extragalactic GRBs
grand unification theory

Man’s place in the universe
God is not just the god of this world
“Worlds without number have I created”
The amazing fact that life even exists – let alone us!
The creation – from beginning to end

Movie: Scaled zooming from the milky way all the way to the planetarium

The Creation – How we and everything we’re made of got here
Big Bang
Formation of galaxies
strange early universe phenomena
giant black holes
formation of stars
stellar evolution
system formation
earth’s formation
- habitability zone
- the moon
- tides
- meteoroid shield
- rotational tilt
life (woah!)

Aliens and such

Drake equation – an equation predicting extra-terrestrial intelligent life
Size of the universe

What is all this astronomy stuff?
So, you don’t know a thing about astronomy…
Why astronomy is as cool as it is.
Why we should care.

What is?
- the universe
- galaxies
- stars
- nebulae
- planets
- constellations

Life? What the heck?

Weird but True!
black holes

Where are we in all this?
Why should we care?
Something dramatic.

A coronal mass ejection in false color
A coronal mass ejection in false color.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Zion Afar

Zion afar begs us to rise
To resume
To push on
to come to her gates.

Our hearts would rejoice
upon seeing her face.
So fair
so pure
we long to be there.

The world drags us down
it pulls at our feet.
Distracting our eyes
haunting our sleep.

Babylon is calling
the drums are so loud!
It lures us
It taunts us.

So many travel there.

We stand here between
the mountain and the gulf.
Zion afar,
Babylon so close.

Our hearts yearn for freedom!
Our bodies beg for pleasure.
Our feet fear the journey.
Our souls long for home.

The sun has come out!
A break in the storm.
Afar, on the hill
the gleaming city – our home.

Zion afar calls us.
She begs us to rise.
To resume
To push on
To enter to her gates.

The distance to home
doesn’t seem so far.
Perhaps possible
Perhaps passable,

To Zion we will go.

But the drums from below
echo up to our ears!
The cries of the crowd.
The jeers of our peers.

The path is so steep!
The way is so far!
Yet Zion is calling.
Our friend, our love.

Our heads may sway
our legs may grow weak
but it's Zion we desire!
To Zion, we will go.

Our heart pulls us up
away from the din.
Their cries are so loud!
Yet we do not belong.

Our home is up there
Where the air is so sweet!
Where the light is so pure.
Where our friends wait to greet.

Our friends – true friends
Live inside of her gate.

Still behind us the pit,
the tumult so deep.
Above us the hills,
the land so sweet.

Our hearts, so impure,
still long for repose.
To Zion
...To Jesus
He’ll show us life there.

By Nicholas Herrick

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Pythagorean Theorem - Reprise

I have a counter that tracks how many visitors come to my blog, the city they're from, and how long they spend reading, among other things. It's all pretty generic information but it gives me a fun activity to look and see who's reading. An interesting trend started popping up a few months ago and I have finally tracked down its cause. Check out some of this data:

Visit Length of Unique Visitors

"Now Self," I asked myself, "Why are so many people visiting your blog for less than 5 seconds? Don't they like your blog? Don't they find it incredibly interesting? What are you doing wrong!?"

Well myself decided to find out what was going on. Here's the answer:

Entry Page of Unique Visitors

Fifty percent of unique visitors to my blog are entering the site on the Pythagorean Theorem entry and most of these people stay for less than five seconds!

Granted, the Pythagorean Theorem entry is quite short, but it takes a little longer than five seconds to read it.

"Self," I asked, "What on earth are all these people doing?" Myself replied by doing a Google image search for "pythagoras," and lo-and-behold my blog - my little ramblings and amblings - came up ninth, NINTH! Try it for yourself! (Or just click here.) Isn't that neat? Who woulda thought I'd be famous. Wow.

Kinda makes me think I should put a real proof up...