Category Archives: Science

Black Holes Give Me a Sinking Feeling

English: This artist’s impression shows how je...
English: This artist’s impression shows how jets from supermassive black holes could form galaxies, thereby explaining why the mass of black holes is larger in galaxies that contain more stars. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Clara Moskowitz, Assistant Managing Editor has posted an interesting article on and as some of you know I am a fan of all things spacey even though I do not understand a lot about it.  But lack of understanding has never prevented me from engaging in awe or writing about my thoughts.

Of particular interest is the last line which says,  “It’s an exit door from our universe. You walk through that door, you’re not coming back.”

The article announces that scientists have been able to measure the point of no return for matter.

Charles Q.  Choi, Contributor says Black holes are gigantic cosmic monsters, exotic objects whose gravity is so strong that not even light can escape their clutches.

Now the main thought to keep in mind is the idea that whatever goes into these black holes does not come out – including light.  Just so we are clear on that.

Choi also says, “Nearly all galaxies are thought to harbor at their cores supermassive black holes millions to billions of times the mass of our sun. Scientists recently discovered the largest black holes known in two nearby galaxies. One of these galaxies, known as NGC 3842 — the brightest galaxy in the Leo cluster nearly 320 million light years away — has a central black hole containing 9.7 billion solar masses

Now anything that would hold billions of our suns is hardly the mere size of a hole as my mind pictures it.    Black holes are also cannibalistic and gobble each other up – so now I am imaging the old mario nintendo game that scrambled after whatever they were with gaping mouths in a maze.  But that is still not my point of wonder.

THIS IS…….”Bullet-shooting Black Hole Black holes are known for sucking in matter, but researchers find they can shoot it out as well. Observations of a black hole called H1743-322, which harbors five to 10 times the mass of the sun and is located about 28,000 light-years from Earth, revealed it apparently pulled matter off a companion star, then spat some of it back out as gigantic “bullets” of gas moving at nearly a quarter the speed of light.  **This galactic belch ejects particles, scattering them amongst stars and planets, and may also affect magnetic fields in the galaxy.”


In or out?


The next thought that occurred to me is since scientists are always talking about the universe expanding – some numbers say hundreds of thousand miles per hour and some in the millions – but what if?  What if?

What if it is not the WHOLE universe that is expanding?  WHAT IF in fact our part of the universe is just some spittle from a black hole sneeze way back then?  Sort of like the bacteria of a universal open mouth sneeze?

See what I am saying?  The Big Bang may have been a localized thing – a cosmic burp?

Interesting huh?


CERN, God Particle


It’s a bright sunny warm morning here on the east mountain and the day is yet to begin for this household as G1 and G2 have not yet arisen, which is somewhat unusual although it could be a carry over from two previous nights of watching fireworks.  Canada is 145 years old and comparatively young compared to the old world but still worthy of celebration.

The first item I spotted in the local rag, The Hamilton Spectator, is that ‘Physicists inch closer to proof of ‘God particle’.

Now I love all things CERN aka the European Organization for Nuclear Research and am especially intrigued by its $10 billion atom smasher, not because I understand it (as posted previously) but because of the intrigue.  CERN exists way underground on the Swiss-French border so there is a certain futuristic weird stuff to the whole idea.  It seems that little Higgs Boson subatomic particle,’that if confirmed could help explain why matter has mass, which combines with gravity to give an object weight.’. HUH??

See what I mean??  To me it seems easily explained and I don’t see where God particles come into this. Though I have no idea  what…well anyway, now this very statement will occupy much of my thinking today. All things CERN tickle my grey cells especially since it reports that scientists have compiled ‘vast’ amounts of data that show the footprint and shadow of the particle.

Well I suppose if one must delve at subatomic levels and spend billions of dollars doing it then good for them.  I suspect people of faith, any faith already know.  (And yes I am not looking for an argument on the existence or non-existence of God). Faith means many things and really that discussion is better left to others.

Rob Roser from the Fermilab in Chicago compared the results to finding ‘the fossilized footprint of a dinosaur saying: ‘You see the footprint and the shadow of the object, but you don’t actually see it.

HUH???  Sounds a little like a barker at a circus, Now you see it!  Now you don’t!

Soft Kitty Warm Kitty Little Ball of Fur

Soft Kitty Warm Kitty

This is the song sweetest song. It came out of The Big Bang Theory, a song that Sheldon’s (Played by Jim Parsons) mother sang to him when he was sick.

It has become a song of amusement for my friends when we get together and the series comes up in conversation, which probably happens way too much, but the show just tickles that old funny bone.

When the show first premiered in about 2007 I chose not to view it in spite of friends encouraging me to do so, having decided to limit my television viewing. I think it was about a year ago when for some reason it became convenient to watch it.

Well the laughs haven’t stopped due to excellent writing and central characters that while exaggerated have a certain humanness about them and guest roles by some of the best, including Christine Baranski who has long been a fav on stage, film and the small screen.

The story is about four scientists, brilliant in their own field but woefully unable to assimilate into real life (or as real as sitcoms can be.)

Johnny Galecki … (Leonard Hofstadter) caught my eye many years ago and I always hoped to see him do well.

Jim Parsons … (Sheldon Cooper) is someone I had not seen before but is an incredible talent.

Kaley Cuoco … (Penny) plays a neighbor/potential love interest whose work was new to me but she ‘is’ Penny.

Simon Helberg … (Howard Wolowitz) is hilarious as the only scientist who does not have his doctorate, just a Masters, but he does have a mother who you never see but her voice is unforgettable.

Kunal Nayyar … (Raj Koothrappali) is also excellent and is unable to speak aloud to any beautiful female unless aided by fermented fruits or vegetables.

Mayim Bialik … (Amy Farrah Fowler). Amy is always addressed by her full name and used to be the star of the ‘Blossom’ series of years ago..ER decades ago and while I did not care for her then she is absolutely brilliant.

Melissa Rauch … (Bernadette Rostenkowski) is also new to me but stands inherent own right as a scientist and has just completed her doctorate making her boyfriend,poor Howard, feel even worse.

Throw in Laurie Metcalf as Sheldon’s Mom and Christine Baranski as Leonard’s Mom and it can only be good if not best.

This was not at all what I was going to post on however for some reason here it is. My intended post? Something else…I am using the Word Press iPad app for the first time and it seemed friendly enough but as soon as I tried to add a picture I seemed to lose everything else…will publish this sans pics just to see how it works..apologies in advance of any difficulties!

Another day I guess!

Why Do We Keep Surprising Ourselves?

Why Do We Keep Surprising Ourselves?

We seem to have a smugness problem that is as old as mankind.  Once we discover a new fact of science our past naiveté on the subject perfectly demonstrates persistent limited thinking and then we do it again.  And again.

The earth was flat, we were the center of the universe, new discoveries, expanded truths and finally we know it all.  Most would say we don’t know it all and I suppose that was a blanket statement but even people who realize there are so many new things to be learned sometimes make statements that make no sense to me.

I read an article the other day and wish I had saved it, in which an ‘expert’ said that scientists accepted the premise that nothing can ever travel faster than the speed of light.  My immediate thought was how could anyone be so smug in that belief?  You would think that the debunking of past beliefs would be proof enough that we can never declare absolutes, we can only state that ‘at this time we believe’. posted this today:

“This result comes as a complete surprise,” said OPERA spokesperson, Antonio Ereditato of the University of Bern.

” The OPERA result is based on the observation of over 15000 neutrino events measured at Gran Sasso, and appears to indicate that the neutrinos travel at a velocity 20 parts per million above the speed of light, nature’s cosmic speed limit.”

My point is not that we should be surprised, my point is that we should expect to be surprised.

These thoughts were inspired by Bob Vardeman’s blog at

Consequences UARS Style

Consequences UARS Style

Tomorrow, September 23rd confirms that old adage, ‘what goes up must come down’. The predictions for it’s return vary from nothing to worry about, to, it’s a monster and it’s going to get you.
I love how describes the coming event.
“Although most of the spacecraft will be destroyed during re-entry, some will survive. These pieces of debris could pose a small risk of damaging property or endangering people when they fall. “The risk to public safety or property is extremely small, and safety is NASA’s top priority,” NASA said in a statement.”
“The spacecraft will break into pieces as it plummets through the atmosphere, but not all of it will burn up in the heat of re-entry. One analysis of the spacecraft suggests that of its total 6 1/2-ton bulk, only 1,170 pounds (532 kilograms) will survive when it reaches the ground”
What part of that is supposed to be reassuring?  There is a small risk?  Endangering people or damaging property? And…safety may be NASA’s top priority but they have no control over where it will fall or even able to predict with accuracy. It’s true scientists have pinpointed it to between 57 degrees north of the equator and 57 degrees south of the equator which pretty much covers the populated world.
Only 1170 pounds will survive reentry to teach earth. Now wouldn’t that weight from 10 feet be disastrous if it fell on..well me…? Never mind hurtling through space.
Another article says the pieces will miss North America. With friends and family around the world that’s not very consoling. In it’s entirety the school bus sized satellite weighs about six and a half tons the same as the asteroid which reportedly ended the dinosaur rulers of earth. We are consoled by the fact that most of it will burn in the atmosphere.
Apparently human-created orbital debris has reached a critical point so it looks like we can expect a lot more…not exactly raindrops falling on your head. You know there may be something to that Chicken Little Story.
Stay safe my friends and either duck or run whenever appropriate.