Monday, March 6, 2017

A few quotes about stars to brighten your day

And to enliven your night! 

Credit: Christophe Lehenaff

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” 

― Carl Sagan, Cosmos

“A philosopher once asked, "Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?" Pointless, really..."Do the stars gaze back?" Now, that's a question.” 

― Neil Gaiman, Stardust

"There is no easy way from the earth to the stars” 

― Seneca

“There’s as many atoms in a single molecule of your DNA as there are stars in the typical galaxy. We are, each of us, a little universe.” 

― Neil deGrasse Tyson, Cosmos

“It's lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened.” 

― Mark Twain

“Mortal as I am, I know that I am born for a day. But when I follow at my pleasure the serried multitude of the stars in their circular course, my feet no longer touch the earth.” 

― Ptolemy

"There is, though I do not know how there is or why there is, a sense of infinite peace and protection in the glittering hosts of heaven. There it must be, I think, in the vast and eternal laws of matter, and not in the daily cares and sins and troubles of men, that whatever is more than animal within us must find its solace and its hope.” 

― H.G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau

“The bright sun was extinguish'd, and the stars
Did wander darkling in the eternal space.” 

― George Gordon Byron

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Groove like the sci-fi nerd you are with these sci-fi and ambient sound videos

Gates to Elysium, by Christian Hecker
Getting lost in layers of thought about what else there may be is one of the fun parts of science fiction!

As I've been getting my Ph.D. dissertation closer and closer to being finished, I've been slowly meandering through watching sci-fi (like Star Trek Voyager), listening to music (like metal instrumental and electronic groove music), and finding ambient sounds to groove with in the background while I write. I recently shared a post with a video that had 10 hours of ambient noise mixed with the sounds of an Arctic icebreaker. I've played that video as background a few times now while writing and it's been awesome, but now I've found something else that is definitely pretty groovy.

The Youtube channel for crysknife007, who also goes by Cheesy Nirvosa at Bandcamp, is full of ambient music tracks that are awesome for background noise. But, what's even better, he's put together a whole bunch of tracks that feature ambient sounds from science fiction television shows and movies! Like this one, which features 24 hours (yup, one full day) of the ambient sounds of the starship Enterprise-D from The Next Generation: 

Or, this one, with 12 hours of the engine sounds of the starship Serenity from Firefly:

These ambient sound videos are great for background noise for focusing on work or even for just relaxing. Also, I've found that playing some of these along with some soft background music is really helpful in getting my mind into the writing zone. 

Let's say that living on a spaceship isn't exactly your thing, well why not then enjoy the sounds of a police call booth that's both a spaceship and timeship and a living being, with this video of ambient sounds from the TARDIS from Dr. Who:

It's definitely worth taking a look at the stuff over on crysknife007's page. He's got a bundle of tracks with background ambient sounds from various sci-fi shows and movies, but also a lot more. For instance, he's got some tracks featuring the sonified data from the EM fields collected by our spacecraft around Europa as well as from the Voyager spacecraft. Here's one more that's pretty freaking cool:

If you're a sci-fi nerd like me then you're probably already digging it, but just for a little more enticement, check out crysknife007's biography of himself from Bandcamp:

Crysknife007 specializes in extended ambient space and spaceship sounds. He also enjoys working with other scifi soundscapes.

Also known as Cheesy Nirvosa, his homefried beats break from traditional cycles and regularity. The sound aims more for confusion than melody, often favoring some that sounds particularly out of place than a tune which syncopates expectedly. 

Friday, March 3, 2017

Some Chemical Properties of Sulfur, a Learning Video from FuseSchool

Sulfur is one the coolest chemical elements. It's crucial for life as we know it, has more solid allotropes than any other element, produces a lot of the scents that we recognize with our sense of smell, was one of the few elements in pure form that was known by ancient people (it's even mentioned in The Odyssey), it's yellow in its natural form but melts into a beautiful red and burns blue, and it's become part of the highlight of my graduate research (okay, that last bit probably only makes it super important to me). 

I recently discovered two rare allotropes of the mineral form of elemental sulfur (also, technically called polymorphs) at Borup Fiord Pass, a glacier system in the High Arctic. One of those allotropes, known as beta-cyclooctasulfur (ya, cool name), usually only forms in warm environments and wasn't expected to be found on an Arctic glacier. 

I'm working on some videos to share information about my work with sulfur and Borup Fiord Pass. However, in the meantime, here's a fun video from FuseSchool that explains some of the awesome chemical properties of sulfur. Check it out:

Thursday, March 2, 2017

An Alaskan Aurora, from Tyler Nordgren

If you don't know who Tyler Nordgren is, then you should definitely check out his website. He's an astronomer and artist who's made some of the coolest space-themed artwork I've seen in recent years. Nordgren is up in Alaska right now, kicking off an aurora tour, and shared the above picture to his Facebook profile today. It's definitely a stunning picture of an aurora, with a beautiful mixing of color across the sky.