Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Tyson, Neil deGrasse (2012-02-27), Space Chronicles, W. W. Norton & Company, Retrieved on 2012-05-07
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  • Folksonomies: science

    Memes

    07 MAY 2012

     Scientists Must Always Stand at the Drawing Board

    Do I believe in UFOs or extraterrestrial visitors? Where shall I begin? There's a fascinating frailty of the human mind that psychologists know all about, called "argument from ignorance." This is how it goes. Remember what the "U" stands for in "UFO"? You see lights flashing in the sky. You've never seen anything like this before and don't understand what it is. You say, "It's a UFO!" The "U" stands for "unidentified." But then you say, "I don't know what it is; it must be aliens from ou...
      1  notes

    Ready to revise hyptheses and embrace uncertainty.

    07 MAY 2012

     Human Space Exploration is Overrated

    Perhaps what we should do is genetically engineer new forms of Intelligent life that can survive the stress of space yet still conduct scientific experiments. Actually, such creatures have already been made in the lab. They're called robots. You don't have to feed them, they don't need life support, and they won't get upset if you don't bring them back to Earth. People, on the other hand, generally want to breathe, eat, and eventually come home. It's probably true that no city has ever held...
      1  notes

    We don't remember most of the astronauts, but we do have favorite space photos taken by all the robots we've sent out into the solar system.

    07 MAY 2012

     History of Science and Religion

    Some people want to put warning stickers on biology textbooks, saying that the theory of evolution is just one of many theories, take it or leave it. Now, religion long predates science; it'll be here forever. That's not the issue. The problem comes when religion enters the science classroom. There's no tradition of scientists knocking down the Sunday school door, telling preachers what to teach. Scientists don't picket churches. By and arge—though it may not look this way today—science a...
    Folksonomies: history science religion
    Folksonomies: history science religion
      1  notes

    How the Middle East was the center of scientific progress until religious fever took over it, the same is seen in Jewish and Christian cultures.

    07 MAY 2012

     Losing the Human Perspective in the Vastness of the Cosmos

    When I pause and reflect on our expanding universe, with its galaxies hurtling away from one another, embedded within the ever-stretching, four-dimensional fabric of space and time, sometimes I forget that uncounted people walk this Earth without food or shelter, and that children are disproportionately represented among them. When I pore over the data that establish the mysterious presence of dark matter and dark energy throughout the universe, sometimes I forget that every day—every twe...
    Folksonomies: humanity universe scale
    Folksonomies: humanity universe scale
      1  notes

    Tyson talks about how easy it is to forget human dilemmas when we consider the immense size of our Universe.

    07 MAY 2012

     Aliens to Humans as Humans to Chimpanzees

    know what you're thinking: we're smarter than bacteria. No doubt about it, we're smarter than every other living creature that ever walked, crawled, or slithered on Earth. But how smart is that? We cook our food. We compose poetry and music. We do art and science. We're good at math. Even if you're bad at math, you're probably much better at it than the smartest chimpanzee, whose genetic identity varies in only trifling ways from ours. Try as they might, primatologists will never get a chim...
      1  notes

    If small genetic differences separate us from our closest evolutionary relative, then alien brains could easily be vastly superior to ours

    07 MAY 2012

     Optical Illusions are "Brain Failures"

    Human perception is rife with ways of getting things wrong. We don't like to admit it, because we have a high opinion of our biology, but it's true. Here's an example: We've all seen drawings that create optical illusions. They're lots of fun, but they should actually be called "brain failures." That's what's happening—a failure of human perception. Show us a few clever drawings, and our brains can't figure out what's going on. We're poor data-taking devices. That's why we have science; tha...
      1  notes

    They demonstrate how imperfect our senses are and why we need science and scientific instruments to show us the way.

    07 MAY 2012

     Molecules of Water and Air Passed Through Famous People

    Take water. It's simple, common, and vital. There are more molecules of water in an eight-ounce cup of the stuff than there are cups of water in all the world's oceans. Every cup that passes through a single person and eventually rejoins the world's water supply holds enough molecules to mix fifteen hundred of them into every other cup of water in the world. No way around it: some of the water you just drank passed through the kidneys of Socrates, Genghis Khan, and Joan of Arc. How about ai...
    Folksonomies: wonder atoms scale
    Folksonomies: wonder atoms scale
      1  notes

    Best explanation for why the H2O in a glass of water has molecules that passed through the kidneys of historical figures (even dinosaurs).