I can’t keep up with the sciency goodness on the internet this morning, and I have other stuff that needs doing! So, here is a small cross-section of what I’m reading today, and I’ll try to have a post of my very own later on.
- “Five Iconic Science Images, and Why They’re Wrong”, by Frank Swain (the Science Punk) is an excellent summary of why familiar images can be extremely misleading.
- “What is Pseudoscience?” by Michael Shermer examines why it’s so difficult to demarcate the boundary between science and pseudoscience. I taught a whole class on this subject (and the original blog name was Science Vs. Pseudoscience), so like Shermer I’ve given a lot of thought to this subject.
- Mike Brown (co-discoverer of Eris, Quaoar, etc.) will be presenting a live webcast from the W. M. Keck Observatory at 7 PM Hawaii time. (That’s um… 1 AM Eastern time. Well, maybe I’ll have to catch the archived version tomorrow.) You can also find more information on the Keck Facebook page.
- An interesting possibility: maybe some terrestrial (rocky, Earth-type) planets were originally gaseous (article in Astrobiology by Nola Taylor Redd), but their outer layers were stripped away by tidal forces. My Twitter conversation with exoplanet expert Caleb Scharf leads me to think I don’t actually know anything at all about planet formation. Time for Dr. Francis to go back to school!
Whether or not you read any of the above, go right now and look at today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day. It’s a stunningly beautiful image of a spiral galaxy NGC 3521 surrounded by a bubble of gas, the probable remains of smaller galaxies pulled to pieces by NGC 3521’s gravitation.