Categories: "Science"

International Space Station

Here's an image of the International Space Station, if Atlantis wasn't delayed it would of been falling alongside the ISS at the time of this photo.

International Space Station

But on the plus side it means I've got a good reference to measure any gain in brightness from adding the new components to the space station. In theory it will be easy to track progress over the next 4 years or so with the station finally be about 7 times brighter than it is at the moment, around magnitude -4 compared with -1 today.

2003 UB313/Xena now named Eris

The IAU today has named the dwarf planet 2003 UB313 the official name is Eris, after the goddess of discord. I'm pleased to see the nickname Xena, which several astronomers and the press have been calling it, didn't stick.

Its moon has also now been named, previously dubbed Gabrielle, is now named Dysnomia, after the goddess of lawlessness (Lucy Lawless played Xena! *freaky music*).

Here's an image of Eris from the Hubble Space Telescope:

2003 UB313/Xena now Eris from the Hubble Space Telescope

The announcement also hints at two new objects being given dwarf planet status, which would bring the number to five. Charon and Seyda (2003 VB12) maybe?

Awe inspiring

From APOD today:

Space Shuttle Atlantis

Birds don't fly this high. Airplanes don't go this fast. The Statue of Liberty weighs less. No species other than human can even comprehend what is going on, nor could any human just a millennium ago. The launch of a rocket bound for space is an event that inspires awe and challenges description. Pictured above, the Space Shuttle Atlantis lifted off to visit the International Space Station during the morning of 2006 September 9. From a standing start, the two million kilogram rocket ship left to circle the Earth where the outside air is too thin to breathe and where there is little noticeable onboard gravity. Rockets bound for space are now launched from somewhere on Earth about once a week.

I'm just annoyed it was delayed, preventing me from getting a picture of it. Oh well there's always the Progress module which hopefully will be up with the ISS on a favourable pass overhead towards the end of the month.

The bible doesn't say the Earth floats in space

The Daily Creationism:

At a time when it was believed that the earth sat on a large animal or a giant the Bible spoke of the earth's free fload in space: "He... hangs the earth upon nothing" (Job 26:7). Science didn't discover that the earth hangs upon nothing until 1650.

Nice try, but very dishonest of you. Some fragments that survived the burning of the Great Library showed scientists knew the Earth was spherical, a chap called Eratosthenes worked that out and its size in the 3rd century BC (the bible speaks of it as if it is flat), hypothesised that the planets were other worlds and that they all travelled around the Sun in space and that other stars were suns far far away.

Oh wait, I get it now, you christians burn the Great Library down and destroyed over a million works, the collective knowledge of all of civilisation up until that point. Including a three volume History of the World, works on steam power, works on how everything is made up of tiny atoms and so on. Your contempt for knowledge is well known. Burn everything else and claim the bible is factual.

Let's quote that passage of the bible in full:

He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

Stretched out the north over the empty place? Sorry buddy but the Earth isn't hollow, oh wait I forgot... The Earth is supposed to be flat isn't it?

The Book of Job and light

The Daily Creationism:

Sir Isaak Newton

The traditional spelling is Isaac, I don't know why you use a K? Trying to make him seem more evil?

studied light and discovered that white light is made of seven colors, which can be "parted" from white

Errr... Kinda, he discovered white light is made from a complete spectrum of coloured light.

and then recombined to make white again. Science discovered this in 1650.

Yeah you can have some real fun with prisms. And it wasn't 1650, it was later than that.

Now look at Job 38:24 (KJV) "By what way is the light parted, which scatereth the east wind upon the earth?"

Yeah that's nice. So what does the version of the bible I've got actually say (I'll quote the surrounding verses to in order to put it in the proper context):

22 Have you entered the treasuries of the snow, or have you seen the treasures of the hail,

23 which I have reserved against the time of trouble, against the day of battle and war?

24 By what way is the lightning distributed, or the east wind scattered on the earth?

25 Who has cut a channel for the flood water, or the path for the thunderstorm;

Hmm well it’s pretty clear to me they're not talking about the makeup of light, talking about lightning (yes those extra verses are also in the KVJ version), and some kinda storm coming out of the east.

If the bible is such a wonderful source of Truths (note the capital T) why doesn't it list the colours that made up the white light, the order of the colours and so on? Oh wait, I forgot the bible is largely fiction and you should stop picking tiny snippets out of it while ignoring huge chunks of it to try and prove whatever point you’re trying to make.

Evolution happening?

My old friend (he doesn't seem to use his name) from the Daily Creationism is back! He asks do we see evolution happening?

In brief, no. We see changes in living things, but none of them are heading in the right "direction".

Wow! He says it all in his first line. We see changes in living things. Thank you.

Oh wait "direction"? What direction? Evolution isn't some god thing where everything leads to this creature created in god's image, also known as man. Evolution has no direction. What survives lives, what dies, well dies. Natural selection doesn't ask if you're got a big brain or if you've got no brain yet can spin off a new generation inside of an afternoon.

The only direction of evolution is to surviving (and that's because species that don't survive don't pass on their genes). Generally speaking life on Earth at the moment seems to be surviving OK, so I guess that is a direction, the only direction I can think of, and we see that everywhere so what direction isn't evolution going in exactly?

Let me explain. We know that every living thing contains a set of instructions, like a blueprint or a recipe, that specifies weather it will be an alligator or a avocado tree, for instance. For a human, it specifies weather that person will have brown eyes or blue eyes, straight hair or curly hair, and so fourth. This information I written on a ling molecule called DNA.

Yup OK.

Evolution teaches that a simple creature like the one-celled ameba, has become a much more complicated one. Such as a horse. Even though simple one-celled creatures are extremely complex, they do not contain as much information as say a horse.

Yeah you're right one celled creatures generally don't contain as much information as a horse because well they're one cell. It doesn't have to worry about what other cells are suppose be doing or what shape they're supposed to be... So yeah... OK, what was your point?

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