Archive for Nothing to do with Books

Explosion on the Sun

No, that’s not the title of a book, it’s the subject of a short YouTube video I just saw, posted on the Bad Astronomer blog. As the poster says, make the video full-screen to get the amazing effect. And watch the lower right area of the sun. Just stunning.

Retire in Peace, Atlantis

One hundred and twenty million miles travelled. Thirty-two flights. Twenty-five years.

Retire now in peace and honour, Space Shuttle Atlantis.


Friday afternoon stream of consciousness: Liquid Diamond!

Can you imagine it? Liquid diamond? I just saw this article, Diamond Oceans Possible on Uranus, Neptune, and went squeeeee! It just seems like the most wonderful thing to contemplate.

As the article is introduced:

Oceans of liquid diamond, filled with solid diamond icebergs, could be floating on Neptune and Uranus, according to a recent article in the journal Nature Physics.

Of course, there have to be certain preexisting conditions: both ultra-high temperatures and ultra-high pressures. If you get the high temperatures only, the diamond doesn’t melt into liquid diamond, but turns to graphite. So that would be why you might find liquid diamond on Uranus and Neptune, where both of those preexisting conditions exist, but never on Earth or the other inner planets.

And they say about ten percent of both of those outer planets are made of carbon, which is what forms diamond under high pressures. Meaning it’s possible out there.

So as I’m reading that article, I’m picturing this ocean of liquid diamond, and those diamond icebergs floating on it. Can you imagine the cool science fiction story you could make of something like that? Not that you need to — the science is amazing enough.

And then one of my favourite Bruce Cockburn songs, “All the Diamonds,” springs to mind. He’s singing about God coming to retrieve his loved ones from the world, but whatever the mythical background, the imagery always gives me goosebumps. Here are the lyrics to the final verse. You’ll probably understand why the thought of liquid diamond oceans made me think of it:

Silver scales flash bright and fade

In reeds along the shore

Like a pearl in a sea of liquid jade

His ship comes shining

Like a crystal swan in a sky of suns

His ship comes shining

Gives me goosebumps. 🙂 Though you probably really need his music to go along with it.

But liquid diamond!

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