This is our pale blue dot — ours but for a moment in vast cosmic time.
Time Lapse of Glacier Collapses
The extreme ice survey is recording the collapse and retreats of glaciers over time; these photos and the presentation are amazing and really bring home the retreats. I do not doubt that ice is in retreat; I grew up in Alaska and I have seen it in my lifetime and my own photos. This isn’t something that scientists anywhere argue about: Ice has been in retreat across the world for decades.
I used to argue about the cause, extremity, and urgency of it – I always placed energy and food security for 9 billion people ahead of that in the things to worry about queue, and still do. Global warming however is now higher in urgency after looking at data and studies the past two years. Whereas you can posit other possible causes for some of the alarmism as I have in the past, and you can criticize the models, you can’t argue that global warming is not occurring, and you can’t say that we don’t have some impact on it without being wholly unreasonable.
Every now and again my innate optimism deserts me and I find it best to crawl into a hole in those periods and read a smorgasboard of books, generally shutting out most of the normal worldly inputs. Such has been my life the past two weeks, and in these periods the books around the house pile up atop each other, half-splined to a particular passage or just to where I left off last. It’s a search for a new view, a different prism, a fresh wind amongst the chaos of life – and what’s driven me most of my existence is the unknown; that vast gulf of all the things we do not know. It’s thrilling when I find something new we do not know.
Sometimes I forget that yawning gulf or misplace it, I lose my immense sense of wonder. Is it under the stairs, or did I leave it in the fridge behind the mayonaise the last time I made lunch? These periods of Felicitus absentium usually get displaced by something found in a book, but today the thanks goes to Allahpundit at Hot Air for a pointer to an article at New Scientist.
The thought of the cosmos as a quantum holgram projected from a thin veneer of quanta atmosphere around a massive black hole at the center of the universe like a giant planetarium projector is just astounding, and I will follow this with interest. The interference at GEO600 is also interesting, is it from the index of refraction of the thin layer of glass in the mirror, or defects in the mirror? Is it trace atmosphere in the tunnel? Is it something as yet unknown but only speculated upon? Regardless it’s truly amazing how finely we can now slice time, which leads to many new technological possibilities. (e.g. How much data we can pack on a DVD is a function of how finely we are able to accurately slice time…)
Update: Reading further it appears that they have the issue of refraction well covered with nano-structured diffraction gates.