This week I am in Tucson, visiting collaborators at Steward Observatory. We are working on some fairly technical and involved issues, so I won't try and describe it here quite yet. And, since I'm here to work on those tricky issues, I won't have a lot of time for blogging. So, in the meantime, here are some short tidbits:
- Catch up on some of the best of last week's blogs with the 152nd edition of the Carnival of Space, hosted this week by Ryan at the Martian Chronicles.
- Last week, in the Discovery Channel's new series Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking, Stephen Hawking warned that we may not want to try and communicate with extraterrestrials, as they might come here to kill us all and steal our resources. It should be noted that Hawking is not the first person to suggest this; I've heard this argument many times. I think Hawking's point, that space-faring aliens would be so advanced that they may not respect us as an intelligent species, is quite possible, especially when we look at human history. Universe Today has posted an interview that with Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson that appeared on CNN where Dr. Tyson discusses Hawking's opinion from a sociological standpoint. He also mentions the cold, honest truth: we have no idea what an alien intelligence would be like.
- However, while we may not need to fear aliens, we may need to fear black holes. And not tiny black holes like the Large Hadron Collider won't make, we're talking black holes with millions to billions of times the mass of the sun.
- I must be scowling when I go in to restaurants and so be placed in the angry section of the restaurant. Yesterday at a Cracker Barrel in Goodyear, Arizona, a couple of men at the table next to me were making horribly misogynistic comments. One of the men even refused to use feminine pronouns to refer to women. It was very uncomfortable to listen to; thank goodness they finished their meal shortly after I arrived. Today, at Tucson's El Charro, a guy at the next table were laughing about how his dad used to mess with a "flaming liberal *$#%#@ astronomy professor" by training lights on the telescope as often as possible. Seriously. And this guy found it uproariously funny -- I think that's just kinda weird.
- Speaking of weird, The Onion reports that scientists have found that dinosaurs aren't extinct; they're just hiding. I thought there must be something lurking in the shadows.