Here and There

By Sean Carroll | April 18, 2009 5:15 pm

Do not be alarmed! The blog has not Gone Galt in protest of the encroaching socialist menace, or have we been dumping teabags in public parks at outrage over Obama’s tax cuts. Sometimes, you know, the real world gets in the way.

But the internet chugs on! Especially here at Discover. And a good thing, too. Of late:

  • You may have heard the news that celebrity blogger Phil Plait and Discover CEO Henry Donahue made a bet — against themselves, basically — and lost. Or won, depending on how you look at it. The bet was whether Bad Astronomy could get two million page views in a month, and the stakes were permanent: tatoos for everyone! Phil is thinking about a galaxy, while Henry is going for something more piscatorial, in the best tradition of scientific tattoos.
  • If Cosmic Variance gets over two million page views next month, I hereby promise that Julianne will get a tattoo.
  • Discover has also launched its first video game: Star Formation! Just what the title says, you get to play the Hand of God, using supernovae to nudge the interstellar medium into the right configuration to make new stars. After playing, we have more evidence that I would not be any good at being God.
  • Explain evolution in two minutes! It’s biology, right, how hard can it be? This is a contest to make a video that communicates the idea of evolution in 120 seconds or less.
  • Quantum Diaries is back. A set of blogs by a bunch of physicists — experimental particle physicists, more specifically — who talk about the work they do and their lives as scientists. A crazy concept!
  • And speaking of crazy concepts: yes, a list has popped up on the internet of the 50 Most Brilliant Atheists of All Time. No Lucretius or La Mettrie or d’Holbach or Voltaire, but Mick Jagger is on there. Sex appeal sells, baby.
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  • Clerk

    Jagger is on every list!!! Know this…

  • Mick


    Watch that ego of yours. It is bigger than mine.


  • tcmJOE
  • Sili

    If Cosmic Variance gets over two million page views next month, I hereby promise that Julianne will get a tattoo.

    “Another tattoo”, you mean.

    Apropos of nothing, in Danish a “galt” is a castrated boar.

  • Peter Coles

    I wonder how many physicists have tattoos?And whether there’s a systematic difference between theorists and experimentalists?

  • Chuck White

    OK, I give up!

    That Star Formation game has kept me from my “Honey Do” list for two days now. My best score is 4000 + but my average is more like 2000. I can’t improve it and it’s driving me nuts!

    I need the advice of a physicist …. please? Pretty Please?

  • Sean

    Don’t ask me. I was awful at that game.


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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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