Summer Vacation

By Sean Carroll | July 18, 2007 3:21 pm

Shakedown problems from our change of hosting services continue to pester us just a bit, but I think we’re getting the hang of it. We had to upgrade to a more powerful plan, which changed our monthly cost from “trivial” to “somewhat annoying,” so we’ve added some hopefully-unobtrusive Google ads to the sidebar. If you take our estimated earnings from the ads, subtract from that the piece demanded by the heavy hand of the state in the form of those collectivist utopians at the IRS, and subtract from what’s left the cost of our web host, you are left with a very good approximation of zero. Freewheeling public-intellectual leisure-time blogging is not the road to riches I was led to expect. (This despite the impression that I am only in it for the money.)

The “latest comments” plugin and the “comment preview” plugin both seem to have recently decided to act up, for reasons that may or may not have anything to do with anything else. They are temporarily disabled, but hopefully will see a comeback at some point.

Since things are largely in working order, however, this is as good a time as any for me to take my quasi-annual Summer Blogging Vacation. Not a real vacation, of course; precisely the opposite. There are a handful of good ideas languishing on my laptop, which need coaxing and encouragement in order to grow into refereed papers in respectable physics journals, and I’m going to concentrate on that for a while. I have all sorts of things I want to blog about, but for the most part it would take time to do a good job, and it’s time I don’t have right now. So I’m going to disappear for a few weeks, leaving you in the capable hands of the rest of the crew.

But I should go without offering congratulations to members of the Supernova Cosmology Project and the High-Redshift Supernova Team, who have just been awarded the Gruber Prize in Cosmology for discovering the acceleration of the universe. This wasn’t their first prize, and it won’t be their last. Our universe is big, it’s getting bigger, and it’s getting bigger faster — Edwin Hubble discovered the first two of these facts, and these two teams discovered the third. Not too shabby. For some inside scoop you should refer to the blogging member of the SCP, Rob Knop, who is also celebrating a new job. A distinguished astronomer forwarded to me the following sites, ready and available for follow-up reading:,25197,22092372-12332,00.html

And of course I can’t resist:

“Cosmology is the most scientifically rigorous, aesthetically elegant, and the most poetic of the sciences.”
Peter Gruber, Chairman of the Board
The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation

Hey, I’m just quoting here.

For Science!
For Science!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cosmic Variance, Science
  • Quasar9

    lol Sean, great cartoon sketch
    and folks, that’s how most of us came to be here

  • JerseyBoy

    :) Talk about selling out to make a buck(err…break even…)! Have you seen some of the adds that appear here?

    1)The Church of Humanity!!

    2)Ace Physics Quickly: Cheat sheets and videos from Asia

    5$ says we’ll see one for a zero-point energy machine

  • Sean

    We are not proud. But they’re actually kind of amusing. Right now I’m seeing an ad for a proof of God’s existence.

  • Neil B.

    Maybe this is a good place to mention a killer cartoon by Tom Tommorrow, “The Quantum Cheneyverse”:


    The physics analogies are actually rather well informed.

    PS – Cheney will “temporarily” assume the duties of President this weekend when Bush gets a colonoscopy – heh. Look for comments at

  • Thomas D

    ‘Most scientifically rigorous’ ?? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The 1998 announcement of acceleration was about the most unrigorous claim you could imagine. Even today there are systematic discrepancies in supernova data which are not much understood.
    On the other hand, it’s free money from someone who’s smitten with cosmology, to the extent of not really caring too much about scientific rigour. Probably better to laugh.

    Interestingly, Simon White is on the ‘selection advisory board’…

  • serafino

    Quotes, quotes.
    Is it true that Lev Landau said: ‘Cosmologists are often wrong, but never in doubt.’?


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Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] .


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