The Final Frontier

By Sheril Kirshenbaum | August 20, 2009 11:09 pm

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Media and Science
MORE ABOUT: height, xkcd

Comments (10)

Links to this Post

  1. St. Eutychus » Lost in space (and time) | August 23, 2009
  1. Ian

    Fantastic cartoon – love it.

  2. robert

    Are there really only 5 star candidates that humans might eventually travel too?

  3. Marc

    Pedant point: the age of the Universe from WMAP is 13.7 +/- 0.2 Gyr, not 46 Gyr. Cute otherwise.

  4. Rules For

    But space has been expanding that entire time, and the distance from here to there is now 46 billion light years, even though the light we see only traveled 13.7 billion light years.

  5. You wonder what that cartoon would look like if it was drawn fifty years from now, in time, not light. If anyone is still around to draw it.

  6. Brilliant, wonderful depiction of our Universe.

  7. Allen Hook

    Is there anywhere I can purchase this as a chart ?

  8. Susan Anderson

    I love it! I looked for the Bamiyan Buddha, for the knock the tall buildings down phallic obsessives (joke, I hope, but I can see it might not be funny for some, to whom I apologize in advance) …


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About Sheril Kirshenbaum

Sheril Kirshenbaum is a research scientist with the Webber Energy Group at the University of Texas at Austin's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy where she works on projects to enhance public understanding of energy issues as they relate to food, oceans, and culture. She is involved in conservation initiatives across levels of government, working to improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Sheril is the author of The Science of Kissing, which explores one of humanity's fondest pastimes. She also co-authored Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens Our Future with Chris Mooney, chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Sci-Tech Books of 2009 and named by President Obama's science advisor John Holdren as his top recommended read. Sheril contributes to popular publications including Newsweek, The Washington Post, Discover Magazine, and The Nation, frequently covering topics that bridge science and society from climate change to genetically modified foods. Her writing is featured in the anthology The Best American Science Writing 2010. In 2006 Sheril served as a legislative Knauss science fellow on Capitol Hill with Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) where she was involved in energy, climate, and ocean policy. She also has experience working on pop radio and her work has been published in Science, Fisheries Bulletin, Oecologia, and Issues in Science and Technology. In 2007, she helped to found Science Debate; an initiative encouraging candidates to debate science research and innovation issues on the campaign trail. Previously, Sheril was a research associate at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment and has served as a Fellow with the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation at the American Museum of Natural History and as a Howard Hughes Research Fellow. She has contributed reports to The Nature Conservancy and provided assistance on international protected area projects. Sheril serves as a science advisor to NPR's Science Friday and its nonprofit partner, Science Friday Initiative. She also serves on the program committee for the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She speaks regularly around the country to audiences at universities, federal agencies, and museums and has been a guest on such programs as The Today Show and The Daily Rundown on MSNBC. Sheril is a graduate of Tufts University and holds two masters of science degrees in marine biology and marine policy from the University of Maine. She co-hosts The Intersection on Discover blogs with Chris Mooney and has contributed to DeSmogBlog, Talking Science, Wired Science and Seed. She was born in Suffern, New York and is also a musician. Sheril lives in Austin, Texas with her husband David Lowry. Interested in booking Sheril Kirshenbaum to speak at your next event? Contact Hachette Speakers Bureau 866.376.6591 For more information, visit her website or email Sheril at


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