I don’t know about anyone else, but I can’t stop looking at the images of the Andromeda Galaxy.
Please watch this video.
The image from the Hubble telescope was released earlier this month, and it’s awe inspiring. Andromeda is our sister galaxy about 2 million light-years away, but it is far larger than the Milky Way. In the pictures you can see what look like brighter stars in the galaxy, but those are actually globular clusters, a tightly-bound collection of tens or hundreds of thousands of stars packed into a ball. The Milky Way has more than 150 such globulars orbiting it; Andromeda has more than 500.
All this is enough to blow your mind, but consider now that the universe contains somewhere between 100 and 200 BILLION galaxies. Sorry for the brain explosion.
If this threw you into a little existential mood to ponder our place in the universe, I like Edward O. Wilson’s metaphor that, “Earth relates to the universe as the second segment of the left antenna of an aphid sitting on a flower petal in a garden in Teaneck, N.J., for a few hours this afternoon.”
In other nerdy news…
A few years ago, I tried to read 50 books in a year. I fell short at 43, but enjoyed the challenge. Last year, my reading total was well short at 14. Here’s the list in no particular order:
The Satanic Verses
The Broken Shore
*The Meaning of Human Existence
Me Talk Pretty One Day
The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth
Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
*Thank You for Your Service
The Game of Thrones series (actually called A Song of Ice and Fire)
– A Game of Thrones
– A Clash of Kings
– A Storm of Swords
– A Feast for Crows
– A Dance with Dragons
* personal favorite
This year, I’m hoping to increase the reading load a bit, so I’m calling for recommendations.
Here’s what I’ve read so far:
Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Don Quixote (In Progress)
I’m going to try to read some more education related books this year, but I will take suggestions from any genre. Bring ’em on.