Scale of the Universe Infographic is the Best Thing Ever

“Space is big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mind- bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space.” Douglas Adams

When I think of objects that are either really big or really small there is a definite limit to my imagination. Once things get past a certain size, I lose all sense of their size relative to each other. Milky Way Galaxy? Horsehead Nebula? Really really big.  Gas Giant? Really really big. It’s just hard to wrap the limited human mind around. But that’s OK. Now I have help:

Scale-of-the-Universe

Thanks to Reddit, I stumbled across this neato interactive infographic made by Cary Huang – The Scale of the Universe. You can zoom in and out from the smallest thing in the universe to the biggest thing, the universe itself. Go right now! You will love it. I swear.

Some highlights:

Minecraft World: Ok, so technically not a thing in the universe, but its included so I’ll mention it. Minecraft world is huge! At 64 000 kilometres, it is pictured as being on a comparable scale with Neptune and Uranus.

Russell’s Teapot: I didn’t realise there was a stated size for the darn thing, but there is. Its 25 centimetres.

Japanese Spider Crab: Bigger than any spidery looking thing has any right to be (3 metres). Yikes!

Phobos: At 23 kiometres, its about the same size as a neutron star.  And both are smaller than Rhode Island. Who knew?

Human Egg: At 120 micrometres it is just barely big enough to be seen by the human eye. Apparently humans can’t see anything smaller than 100 micrometres.

Proxima Centari: At 200 000 kilometres it could easily fit in between the earth and the moon. Except, you know, bad stuff would happen.

Gomez’s Hamburger: it’s a real thing. In space. And it’s enormous, measuring 2.5 trillion kilometres in total, but honestly? It’s a hotdog.

Visible light: those are some teensy wavelengths. Violet light is 400 nanometres, and red light is 750 nanometres. I guess that’s how they fit them in your eye! I’m joking, don’t hit me!

There’s lots more in there to see. Go have a look (but I recommend you turn the music off – it’s annoying). The Scale of the Universe is the Best Thing Ever.

Three Doctor Who Episodes That Need to Exist, But Don’t

1. Death of River Song.

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When I saw this, I was kind of horrified but they make a good case and I do love me a good closed loop. Via io9. http://io9.com/5972259/10-science-fiction-tv-characters-we-hope-will-die-in-2013?tag=superlist

2. The Time War.

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We know very little about the time war, so it could likely take up an entire season to flesh out. All we really know is that after attempting the Ultimate Sanction, Paul McGann’s very brief (and kinda hot) Doctor seals the Time Lords away in a time lock, and flees, very likely dying in the process. We never see this, but the intense, emotional doctor we end up with is a testament to the traumatic nature of this event. Via topless robot. http://www.toplessrobot.com/2012/12/5_reasons_why_making_a_great_doctor_who_video_game.php?page=2

3. The Doctor Meets Arthur Dent.

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Douglas Adams and Doctor Who are a natural match (for obvious reasons). Adams’ whacked-out H2G2 characters would make and awesome foil for the Ninth Doctor, who alternates between broody intensity and light sarcasm. Referenced in the Christmas Invasion.

Am I the only one who does this? What’s on your Doctor Who wish list? Lemme know…

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NASA Plan to give the Moon a Little Sister is the Best Thing Ever

We need some good news today. So listen to this: over at National Geographic they’re saying that NASA is planning a mission to capture an asteroid and bring it into orbit around the moon. The asteroid would then be available to study and to mine at our leisure. How awesome is that?

My first thought was: “Will we be able to see this Little Sister from Earth?” I sincerely hope so. It would be amazing to look up into the sky and see (with the naked eye) something that we put there. How inspiring would it be to stand outside with your kids, point to the sky  and say that despite all the BS that divides us, a bunch of people got together and put a freaking asteroid in orbit around the moon.

And before anyone mentions it I have seen the International Space Station in the sky before (thanks to Heavens Above, which should probably have it’s own Best Thing Ever post.)

Here’s NASA’s conception of how the mission would run:

The NASA page is a little light on details, as they are still in the proposal stage. It mostly focuses on how this mission will piggyback on knowledge gained from other missions, such as the Near Earth Object Program, to select candidate asteroids and to fine-tune the mission details.

According to National Geographic:

In a presentation, NASA associate administrator Robert Lightfoot laid out the agency’s timeline for the mission: target selection in 2016, asteroid capture in 2019, and the first astronaut visits to the relocated rock in 2021.

Isn’t that exciting? With any luck, this will be just the beginning of humanity’s Age of Exploration in space. Humanity growing up and taking its first steps out into space is the Best. Thing. Ever.

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NASA’s Amazing Earth Month Videos

NASA has declared April to be Earth Month – four solid weeks dedicated to, “understanding and sustaining our home planet”. NASA has collected its best views of Earth from orbit of 2012 in one place:

You can always count on NASA for rousing good space images. Also I like how NASA writers say “our home planet” as if they needed to specify…but maybe that’s what they were going for?

Anyway, you can go here to explore all the clips in detail.

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60 000 Penny Floor is the Best Thing Ever

This one is kind of a follow-up to my Repurposing Your Old Pennies post. The details are a bit sketchy since this comes from Reddit. But isn’t this awesome? Redditor rollo1221 tiled his kitchen floor in sixty thousand pennies.

Here shown in its not-quite-finished state, I think it looks pretty awesome. And for a total of $600 dollars! Don’t you wish you were this handy?

Here’s the finished floor:

https://i2.wp.com/i.imgur.com/xHWORG0.png

There was some commenting on Reddit to the effect that when the novelty wears off, they are going to hate this floor, but I wouldn’t. I think your brain would stop processing them as pennies, and just see tiny tiles. And also it’s gorgeous.

It’s going to be thoroughly sealed so corrosion, and lumpiness, and cleaning it are all, um, sealed up. Ahem.

The biggest problem I can see is visiting children (or my own, who am I kidding?) trying to pry the pennies out. A lawyer who lives near my house cemented a Toonie into his retaining wall (it faces onto the sidewalk), and every time we walked by my kids would try to pry it out. I imagine him sitting back in a comfy chair, with a steamy beverage watching the plebes trying to get the Toonie out. Good times! The Toonie disappeared eventually so somebody out there is two whole Canadian dollars richer.

Head over to Reddit and have a look. It is the best thing ever.