Absolutes vs. Plastic »« Debating tips from Ben Shapiro

Comments

  1. Kees says

    No squid in space? You must not have encountered the deep space kraken in Kerbal Space Program.

  2. Larry says

    From the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe:

    Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly, hugely, mindbogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it’s a long way down the road to the chemist’s, but that’s just peanuts to space, listen…

    Be sure to take your towel.

  3. brett says

    That reminds me of the image showing the real distance between the Earth and the Moon, as seen from a space probe. I find space exploration absolutely fascinating, but man are the distances incredible.

  4. Anthony K says

    That reminds me of the image showing the real distance between the Earth and the Moon, as seen from a space probe.

    Fake! Photoshopped! How’d they get the Earth and Moon to line up like that? For that matter, how’d they get all the planets to line up in the OP link? Real planets move around the sun; they’re never all in a row.

  5. Rob Grigjanis says

    Meh. If a person (viewed from above) was a pixel, the scroll to Earth would correspond to a commute (~40 km), and the scroll to Jupiter would be half of the way from Toronto to Ottawa (~200km). Values very approximate.

    Lesson: You can make anything look boring if you put enough work into it.

  6. jasonnishiyama says

    If we shrank the Sun to 1m in diameter, Earth would be 9.1mm in diameter and about 107m from the Sun. Neptune would be about 3.2 km away from the Sun. Alpha Centari would be about 272 km away. The centre of our Galaxy would be about 1.6 million km away and M31 (Andromeda Galaxy) would be about 100 AU away.

    And that’s just the close stuff…. :)

  7. Anthony K says

    Lesson: You can make anything look boring if you put enough work into it.

    You don’t have to put any work into making a 40 km commute boring, though it’s not like people don’t try. Why, just this morning the drivers of 99th Street/Scona Road decided to have one of their flash jams, whereby everyone crawls along, bumper to bumper, as if there’s an accident blocking a lane on the Low Level Bridge, but there totally isn’t and both lanes are fine, so it’s all just for fun!

  8. woozy says

    See? If we believe this model then the distances are staggeringly depressing and the potential of exciting opportunities and uplifting sci-fi like stories are distressingly low. So obviously we should choose to believe in a smaller scale belief of the universe so we can have plenty of exciting opportunities and uplifting sci-fi like stories. I mean isn’t that obvious?

    Sigh… exposure to xian apologist sites tends to take its toll.

  9. woozy says

    Here’s a list of all the labels he put in:

    =====
    [div class="essay" style="left:2885px"]That was about 10 million km (621371 mi) just now.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:8275px"]Pretty empty out here.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:13666px"]Here comes our first planet…[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:20666px"]As it turns out, things are pretty far apart.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:26666px"]We’ll be coming up on a new planet soon. Sit tight.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:33666px"]Most of space is just space.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:37100px"]Halfway home.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:48200px"]Destination: Mars![/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:55100px"]It would take about seven months to travel this distance in a spaceship. [span style="margin-left:100px"] [/span] Better be some good in-flight entertainment.
    [span style="margin-left:100px"] [/span] In case you’re wondering, you’d need about 2000 feature-length movies to occupy that many waking hours.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:67100px"]Sit back and relax. Jupiter is more than 3 times as far as we just traveled.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:80038px"]When are we gonna be there?[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:100038px"]Seriously. When are we gonna be there?[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:120038px"]This is where we might at least see some asteroids to wake us up. [span style="margin-left:100px"] [/span] Too bad they’re all too small to appear on this map.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:130000px"]I spy, with my little eye… something black.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:140000px"]If you were on a road trip, driving at 75mi/hr, it would have taken you over 500 years to get here from earth.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:170000px"]All these distances are just averages, mind you. [span style="margin-left:200px"] [/span] The distance between planets really depends on where the two planets are in their orbits around the sun.[span style="margin-left:200px"] [/span]So if you’re planning on taking a trip to Jupiter, you might want to use a different map.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:180000px"]If you plan it right, you can actually move relatively quickly between planets.[span style="margin-left:200px"] [/span]The New Horizons space craft that launched in 2006 only took 13 months to get to Jupiter.[span style="margin-left:200px"] [/span]Don’t worry. It’ll take a lot less than 13 months to scroll there.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:200000px"]Pretty close to Jupiter now.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:215000px"]Sorry. That was a lie before. Now we really are pretty close.[/div]
    [!-- Jupiter 224041px --]
    [div class="essay" style="left:245000px"]Lots of time to think out here…[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:287786px"]Pop the champagne! We just passed 1 billion km.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:305000px"]I guess this is why most maps of the solar system aren’t drawn to scale.[span style="margin-left:100px"] [/span] It’s not hard to draw the planets. [span style="margin-left:100px"] [/span]It’s the empty space that’s a problem.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:322000px"]Most space charts leave out the most significant part – all the space.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:349000px"]We’re used to dealing with things at a much smaller scale than this.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:376000px"]When it comes to things like the age of the earth, the number of snowflakes in Siberia, the national debt…[span style="margin-left:100px"] [/span]Those things are too much for our brains to handle.[/div]
    [!--Saturn 412397px--]
    [div class="essay" style="left:430000px"]We need to reduce things down to something we can see or experience directly in order to understand them.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:457000px"]We’re always trying to come up with metaphors for big numbers. Even so, they never seem to work.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:484000px"]Lets try a few metaphors anyway…[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:511000px"]You would need [span id="monitors"][/span] of these screens lined up side-by-side to show this whole map at once.[span id="depth"][/span][/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:538000px"]If this map was printed from a quality printer (300 pixels per inch) the earth would be invisible, and the width of the paper would need to be 475 feet.[span style="margin-left:200px"] [/span]475 feet is about 1 and 1/2 football fields.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:565000px"]Even though we don’t really understand them, a lot can happen within these massive lengths of time and space.[span style="margin-left:100px"] [/span] A drop of water can carve out a canyon.[span style="margin-left:100px"] [/span]An amoeba can become a dolphin.[span style="margin-left:100px"] [/span]A star can collapse on itself.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:592000px"]It’s easy to disregard nothingness because there’s no thought available to encapsulate it. There’s no metaphor that fits because, by definition, once the nothingness becomes tangible, it ceases to exist.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:619000px"]It’s a good thing we have these tiny stars and planets, otherwise we’d have no point of reference at all. [span style="margin-left:200px"] [/span]We’d be surrounded by this stuff that our minds weren’t built to understand.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:646000px"]All this emptiness really could drive you nuts. For instance, if you’re in a sensory deprivation tank for too long, your brain starts to make things up. You see and hear things that aren’t there.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:673000px"]The brain isn’t built to handle “empty.”[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:700000px"]“Sorry, Humanity,” says Evolution. “What with all the jaguars trying to eat you, the parasites in your fur, and the never-ending need for a decent steak, I was a little busy. I didn’t exactly have time to come up with a way to conceive of vast stretches of nothingness.”[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:727000px"]Neurologically speaking, we really only deal with matter of a certain size, and energy of a few select wavelengths. For everything else, we have to make up mental models and see if they match up to the tiny shreds of hard evidence that actually feel real.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:754000px"]The mental models provided by mathematics are extremely helpful when trying to make sense of these vast disances, but still…[span style="margin-left:100px"] [/span]Abstraction is pretty unsatisfying.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:781000px"]When you hear people talk about how, “there’s more to this universe than our minds can conceive of” it’s usually a way to get you to go along with a half-baked plot point about UFOs or super-powers in a sci-fi series that you’re watching late at night when you can’t get to sleep.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:808000px"]Even when Shakespeare wrote: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy” – he’s basically trying to give us a loophole to make the ghost in the story more believable.[/div]
    [!-- Uranus 827961px--]
    [div class="essay" style="left:860000px"]But all this empty space, these things of a massive scale, really are more than our minds can conceive of. The maps and metaphors fail to do them justice.[/div] [div class="essay" style="left:889000px"]You look at one tiny dot, then you look for the next tiny dot. Everything in between is inconsequential and fairly boring.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:916000px"]Emptiness is actually everywhere. It’s something like 99.9999999999999999999958% of the known universe.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:943000px"]Even an atom is mostly empty space.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:970000px"]If the proton of a hydrogen atom was the size of the sun on this map, we would need another 300 million of these maps to show the average distance to the electron.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:997000px"]Some theories say all this emptiness is actually full of energy or dark matter and that nothing can truly be empty… [span style="margin-left:100px"] [/span]but come on, only ordinary matter has any meaning for us.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:1024000px"]You could safely say the universe is a “whole lotta nothing.”[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:1051000px"]If so much of the universe is made up of emptiness, what does that mean to people like us, living on a tiny speck in the middle of all of it?[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:1078000px"]Is the known universe 99.9999999999999999999958% empty?[span style="margin-left:100px"] [/span]Or is it 0.0000000000000000000042% full?[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:1105000px"]With so much emptiness, aren’t stars, planets, and people just glitches in an otherwise elegant and uniform nothingness, like pieces of lint on a black sweater?[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:1132000px"]But without the tiny dots for it to stretch between, there would be no emptiness to measure, and for that matter, no one around to measure it.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:1159000px"]You might say that so much emptiness makes the tiny bits of matter that much more meaningful – simply by the fact that, against all odds, they [em]aren’t[/em] empty.[span style="margin-left:100px"] [/span]If you’re drowning in the middle of the ocean, a floating piece of driftwood is a pretty big deal. [/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:1186000px"] What if trillions of stars and planets were crammed right next to each other? They wouldn’t be special at all.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:1213000px"]It seems like we are both pathetically insignificant, and miraculously important at the same time.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:1240000px"]Whether you more strongly feel the monumental significance of tiny things or the massive void between them depends on who you are, and how your brain chemistry is balanced at a particular moment. We walk around with miniature, emotional versions of the universe inside of us.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:1267000px"]It’s reassuring to know that no matter how depressingly bleak or ridiculously momentous we feel, the universe, judging by its current structure, seems well aware of both extremes.[/div]
    [!-- Neptune 1295901px--]
    [div class="essay" style="left:1421000px"]The fact that you’re here, in the midst of all this nothing, is pretty amazing when you stop and think about it.[/div]
    [div class="essay" style="left:1550000px"]Congratulations on making it this far.[/div]
    [!-- Pluto 1699574px--]
    [div class="essay" style="left:1701000px"]Might as well stop now. We’ll need to scroll through 6,771 more maps like this before we see anything else.[span style="margin-left:300px"][a href="http://www.joshworth.com"]Back to JoshWorth.com[/a]  |  [a href="https://twitter.com/misterjworth"]Follow me on Twitter[/a][/span][/div]
    [ul class="nav"]

  10. woozy says

    Just in case anyone is wondering here is the planetary data. A pixel is a moon diameter.

    #sun {
    position: absolute;
    left: -200px;
    height: 400px;
    width: 400px;
    fill: #fde301;
    }
    #suntxt {
    left: -39px;
    top: 184px;
    color: #000000;
    font-size: 2em;
    }
    #mercury {
    position: absolute;
    left: 16666px;
    height: 1px;
    width: 1px;
    fill: #ffcc00;
    }
    #merctxt {
    left: 16462px;
    padding-left: 200px;
    color: #ffcc00;
    }
    #venus {
    position: absolute;
    left: 31138px;
    height: 4px;
    width: 4px;
    fill: #86ffca;
    }
    #venustxt {
    left: 30935px;
    color: #86ffca;
    padding-left: 200px;
    }
    #earth {
    position: absolute;
    left: 43053px;
    height: 3px;
    width: 3px;
    fill: #01fdfa;
    }
    #earthtxt {
    left: 42850px;
    color: #01fdfa;
    padding-left: 200px;
    }
    #moon {
    position: absolute;
    left: 43164px;
    height: 1px;
    width: 1px;
    fill: #ffffff;
    }
    #moontxt {
    margin-top:-110px;
    left: 43160px;
    color: #FFFFFF;
    font-size:2em;
    }
    #mars {
    position: absolute;
    left: 65586px;
    height: 2px;
    width: 2px;
    fill: #ff7443;
    }
    #marstxt {
    left: 65383px;
    color: #ff7443;
    padding-left: 200px;
    }
    #jupiter {
    position: absolute;
    left: 224041px;
    height: 40px;
    width: 40px;
    fill: #ffa043;
    }
    #jupitertxt {
    top: 44px;
    left: 223842px;
    color: #ffa043;
    padding-left: 200px;
    }
    #jupitermoons {
    position: absolute;
    left: 224162px;
    color: #F0E8E0;
    font-size:.4em;
    }
    .moondot {
    margin:0 6px 2px 0;
    }
    #io {
    position:absolute;
    left: 0px;
    }
    #europa {
    position:absolute;
    left: 193px;
    }
    #ganymede {
    position:absolute;
    left: 307px;
    }
    #callisto {
    position:absolute;
    left: 541px;
    }
    #saturn {
    position: absolute;
    left: 412397px;
    height: 34px;
    width: 65px;
    fill: #ffa043;
    }
    #saturntxt {
    top: 44px;
    left: 412225px;
    color: #f9d293;
    padding-left: 200px;
    }
    #titan {
    position:absolute;
    left: 412742px;
    color: #F0E8E0;
    font-size:.4em;
    }
    #uranus {
    position: absolute;
    left: 827961px;
    height: 14px;
    width: 14px;
    fill: #18E6FF;
    }
    #uranustxt {
    top: 28px;
    left: 827763px;
    color: #18E6FF;
    padding-left: 200px;
    }
    #neptune {
    position: absolute;
    left: 1295901px;
    height: 14px;
    width: 14px;
    fill: #45B9FF;
    }
    #neptunetxt {
    top: 24px;
    left: 1295703px;
    color: #45B9FF;
    padding-left: 200px;
    }
    #pluto {
    position: absolute;
    left: 1699774px;
    height: 1px;
    width: 1px;
    fill: #D9F5FF;
    }
    #plutotxt {
    top: 17px;
    left: 1699574px;
    color: #D9F5FF;
    padding-left: 200px;
    }

  11. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    Lesson: You can make anything look boring if you put enough work into it.

    And I’m pretty sure that this was the point! Not common-or-garden boredom, but the lack of anything interesting to see on a truly vast scale.

  12. Moggie says

    a_ray_in_dilbert_space:

    I’m holding out hope for space squids on Europa.

    ATTEMPT NO LANDING THERE.

  13. Moggie says

    Why do people describe size in terms of “football fields”? Don’t they realise that these vary in size (and shape!) around the world?

  14. Anthony K says

    Why do people describe size in terms of “football fields”? Don’t they realise that these vary in size (and shape!) around the world?

    World? W-orld. Nope, doesn’t ring a bell. Is that somewhere in California?

  15. opposablethumbs says

    Yeah, I was just getting an image of that settled in my mind’s eye when I realised … he said football fields instead of pitches. So, clearly – and despite the perfectly proper use of kilometres for the counter at the bottom of the screen – he was referring to something that is the RONG SIGHS.

    (I’d like to have great big markers along motorways (with nice big planet signs on them), so that everyone driving from here to there or from there to here or even from the Smoke to Brum could drive across the solar system at the same time :-) Get your passengers to look out for the next planet … )

  16. lclane2 says

    In the solar system if you open your eyes once a year you’re likely to see changes. If you get reasonably far outside of the solar system and open your eyes once a decade you’re unlikely to see changes.

  17. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    Yeah, the creationists who rhetorically ask how everything could possibly have come from nothing, need to look at that picture to see how much nothing there still is.

    That was running across a linear, 2D picture—it was practically 1D. Set that up as a 3D sphere, sometime.

    Some mention was made of the emptiness inside atoms. If you took all the normal matter in the visible universe, crushed it down into neutrons, collected it all into one neutron star (without collapsing into a black hole), and put it in that picture where the sun was, the outer layer of it would be around the orbit of Saturn. It would be hella big, but it would not fill up even the volume of this solar system. The rest of the universe would not be detectably emptier than it is now.

  18. opposablethumbs says

    If you took all the normal matter in the visible universe, crushed it down into neutrons, collected it all into one neutron star …

    What the hell do people need the supernatural for when reality is this mind-bendingly amazing??!

  19. Rey Fox says

    Don’t they realise that these vary in size (and shape!) around the world?

    Not on a geographic scale. (let alone a cosmic scale)

  20. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    https://xkcd.com/1276/ has the angular size of space objects, drawn as the area of Earth’s surface directly below them. The sun and the moon each cover the area of London, approximately. Everything else fits into the vagueness of that designation. Cartoon includes a couple of soccer fields.

    An area of earth the size of a couple of cities has something directly overhead. For the rest, the sky is so empty that we need telescopes to see anything, and our imaginations to fill it in.

  21. A momentary lapse... says

    Well we do seem to live in a solar system that is rather sparsely populated compared to the typical planetary system in the galaxy. On the other hand, in a typical planetary system the Earth would probably be a mini-Neptune rather than a rocky planet, so I’ll take the boring space travel.

  22. says

    Thanks woozy for providing the code for the page, which confirms that the Galilean satellites are in slightly perturbed locations from average – Io, Europa, and Ganymede are in resonance with their orbital periods in approximately a 1:2:4 ratio (and by Kepler’s law the semi-major axes varies by the same numbers exponentiated to the power 3/2, i.e. 1:~2.8:8), however Europa is drawn too close to Ganymede.

    The page looked like an exercise in being snarky, to be honest…

  23. says

    Bah, I stuffed that comment up a bit by reversing the exponents; if Kepler’s law is summarised as P² = a³ then a ratio of P ~ 1:2:4 results in a ~ 1:∛4:∛16. It still results in Europa being closer to Io! In fact all of the Galilean moons beyond Io have been incorrectly drawn 121 pixels further out than they should appear (the error is the size of Io’s semi-major axis).

    Also, Triton is well over half the size of the earth’s moon; shouldn’t it have been dithered in as a half-black colour – or rounded up to the nearest pixel (i.e., 1!) rather than being rounded down to nothing at all?

  24. sugarfrosted says

    No space squid? Well there goes my plan for world peace. I guess Nixon is going to be president for even longer. *sigh*

  25. latsot says

    I don’t know what’s wrong with sci-fi these days. If it doesn’t have a squid driving space ships and detailed descriptions of pissing in space suits, I’ve already lost interest.

  26. krubozumo says

    So-called space is really not all that empty. Rarified yes, but empty no. If some modern theories are confirmed in some fashion, “space” may itself turn out to actually be something. A thin fabric of strings
    under the enormous tensions of quantuum mechanical forces within the particles that make up the nuclei
    of atoms. I probably have that wrong but it is a first approximation.

    As to our actual solar environment, there is a lot of stuff scattered around out there that is simply too
    small to see. It is mostly concentrated between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter but it wanders about quite a bit and we have little idea how dense it might be outside the conventional dimensions of the solar system. It is the detritious of all the planetary bodies and sun left over from their formation. A few percent perhaps of the total masses involved, if that. But it is fascinating. The general field is called
    meteoritics. Take a look at the meteoritical suite from a petrological point of view and you will at least
    tend to enlighten some of the basic concepts of star formation, nucleosynthesis of elements, and the
    probabalistic nature of things. It all just points up the fact that “knowing things” takes some work.
    The most blatent of the shirkers, who refuse to do any work to know things, are those who just
    believe things stated by authorities.

    Have a thin section of carbonaceous chondrite for dessert.

  27. ChasCPeterson says

    wait…you didn’t see the space-squid?

    did…didn’t anybody, like, else…see the space-squid?

    anybody
    ?

  28. Azuma Hazuki says

    Come on, PZ, you seriously expect us to believe there are no space squids? Based on what cuttlefish and mimic octopi can do, the answer is obvious: they are there, and they are mimicking their background, i.e., space.

    We all know your Cthulhoid minions are out there, waiting for the chance to seize control of this world! …and based on how the hairless apes are doing, I can’t see it being worse.

  29. says

    Hmm, turns out PZ is right. Space travel *is* boring. I just passed Saturn.

    You would need 2128 of these screens lined up side-by-side to show this whole map at once.

    I wonder if anyone’s gotten started on this…

  30. unclefrogy says

    well that graphic illustrates for me how amazing it is we hit any of those with probes seeing as how they are such small targets in all that distance hell
    we even landed on some
    so much to know
    uncle frogy

  31. lpetrich says

    Here’s another way to get a hint as to the size. Rocket launches viewed from the rockets themselves. I’ve found several “rocket cam” videos on YouTube, like this one: Inside a Rocket From Take Off To Orbit (External Cameras) in HD – YouTube I won’t give any more links to avoid getting spamfiltered.

    It usually takes half a minute to get above whatever clouds are present, but several more minutes to get into orbit.

    To get an idea of how fast, I’ll compare how much time it takes to make some trips at various speeds.

    Morris Center to UMM: 0.6 mi / 1 km
    Morris to Minneapolis: 156 mi / 251 km
    Morris to London UK: 4100 mi / 6600 km

    Walking: 5 km/h – 12 min, 2 days, 55 days
    Car on highway: 60 mph, 100 km/h – 36 s, 2.5 hrs, 2.75 days
    High-speed train: 300 km/h – 12 s, 50 min, 22 hrs
    Airliner: 900 km/h – 4 s, 17 min, 7.3 hrs
    Low Earth orbit: 7.7 km/s, 28,000 km/h – 0.13 s, 33 s, 14 min
    Earth orbit around Sun: 30 km/s, 108,000 km/h – 33 mlsec, 8.4 s, 3.7 min
    Sun orbit in Galaxy: 220 km/s, 800,000 km/h – 5 mlsec, 1 s, 30 s
    Light in a vacuum: 300,000 km/s, 1,080,000,000 km/h – 3 microseconds, 0.84 mlsec, 22 mlsec

    Earth orbit around Sun – that’s approximately for spacecraft going to Venus or Mars in a minimum-energy transfer orbit (Hohmann orbit). It takes about 5 months to get to Venus and 9 months to get to Mars in such an orbit. It’s also for getting to the outer planets, and it usually takes a few years to get to Jupiter or Saturn.

  32. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc says

    Re: football fields/pitches. “American” football and “proper” football pitches are more-or-less the same length so the comparison holds.

    There’s no fixed size for “proper” football pitches – the length & width both have to fall within certain boundaries, that’s it. In fact the home team’s ground staff can mark the pitch out tactically to give more or less space to allow the team to play to it’s advantages, or to neutralise specific threats from the other side. Example: the pitch may be marked narrow if opposition has a key player who does most of his work on the wing, or the pitch marked wider if opponents have a particularly strong central mid-field.

    Anyway, I’ve digressed enough!

  33. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    See, here’s the deal. I know it seems like lots of empty space, but this is positively crowded compared to interstellar space. So while it seems vast, it really isn’t If anything, our Solar System is kind of a half-vast place. (say it out loud) Ba-dum-dum

  34. lpetrich says

    There are plenty of places on Earth that have similar boredom potential, like the oceans and big flat forests and grasslands and deserts and the like. They are much smaller, however, though one cannot travel through them nearly as fast as one can across interplanetary space.

  35. David Marjanović says

    Uranus is a bit more than halfway across the page.

    Neptune more than 3/4.

    From there:

    Might as well stop now. We’ll need to scroll through 6,771 more maps like this before we see anything else.

    Boo. Come on, Eris is bigger than Pluto, and it’s not that far away.

    Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaksaaaaaaaaaaauuuuuuuuce!!!

    If you took all the normal matter in the visible universe, crushed it down into neutrons, collected it all into one neutron star (without collapsing into a black hole), and put it in that picture where the sun was, the outer layer of it would be around the orbit of Saturn.

    This is truly baffling.

    well that graphic illustrates for me how amazing it is we hit any of those with probes seeing as how they are such small targets in all that distance hell
    we even landed on some

    Shut up and calculate. :-) :-) :-)

    I won’t give any more links to avoid getting spamfiltered.

    The spam filter allows six links per comment.

    There’s no fixed size for “proper” football pitches – the length & width both have to fall within certain boundaries, that’s it.

    “Pitch”? What a bizarre choice of word.

    Anyway: English Wikipedia:

    “The pitch is rectangular in shape. The longer sides are called touchlines. The other opposing sides are called the goal lines. The two goal lines must be between 45 and 90 m (50 and 100 yd) and be the same length.[3] The two touch lines must also be of the same length, and be between 90 and 120 m (100 and 130 yd) in length.[3] However, in international matches, the goal lines must be between 64 and 75 m (70 and 80 yd) long and the touchlines must be between 100 and 110 m (110 and 120 yd).[3] All lines must be equally wide, not to exceed 12 centimetres (5 in).[3] The corners of the pitch are demarcated by corner flags.[4]

    In March 2008 the IFAB attempted to standardise the size of the football pitch for international matches and set the official dimensions of a pitch to 105 m long by 68 m wide.[5] However, at a special meeting of the IFAB on 8 May 2008, it was ruled that this change would be put on hold pending a review and the proposed change has never been implemented.[6]”

    German Wikipedia:

    “Die Länge der kurzen Seiten (Torlinie, fälschlicherweise auch Grundlinie) muss bei nationalen Spielen zwischen 45 und 90 Meter, die der langen Seiten (Seitenlinie) zwischen 90 und 120 Meter betragen. Die sich in der Theorie ergebende Möglichkeit eines annähernd quadratischen Spielfeldes (Seitenlinie zwingend länger als Torlinie) kommt in der Praxis nicht vor. Üblich sind 68 mal 105 Meter wegen der in Leichtathletikstadien umlaufenden 400-m-Kunststoffbahn mit 100-m-Gerade parallel zur Seitenlinie. Diese Spielfeldgröße muss in einigen Europacupwettbewerben und seit 2008 auch bei Länderspielen exakt eingehalten werden.”

    “The lengths of the short sides (goal line, also falsely called bottom line) must be between 45 and 90 m in national games, those of the long sides (touchline [literally just sideline]) between 90 and 120 m. The theoretically resulting possibility of an approximately square playing field ([the] touchline [is apparently] required to be longer than [the] goal line [– I'm guessing here]) does not occur in practice. 68 x 105 m are usual because of the surrounding 400-m plastic track in athletics stadiums, where the 100-m-long straight part is parallel to the touchline. In some European Cup competitions and (since 2008) in international games, this size must be strictly kept.”

  36. David Marjanović says

    deserts and the like

    Old, old joke about asking for directions in a desert:

    “Go straight ahead, and after 3 weeks turn left!”

  37. lpetrich says

    Some more “rocket cam” videos:

    My previous one had been of Mars Climate Orbiter from Kennedy Space Center, FL
    ▶ Antares A-ONE Launch Rocket Cam – YouTube – from Wallops Island, VA
    ▶ Delta II Onboard Cam – YouTube – from Vandenberg AFB, CA
    ǀ original ǀ On board camera: ATV “Albert Einstein”, Ariane 5ES – YouTube – Kourou, French Guiana – it passes through some clouds 10 seconds after launch

    I can’t find any for launching from Baikonur, however.

  38. ChasCPeterson says

    There are plenty of places on Earth that have similar boredom potential, like the oceans and big flat forests and grasslands and deserts and the like.

    only for the unobservant.
    Especially deserts: are you thinking of Saharan sand-dunes? Because most of the planet’s deserts (defined, as is conventional by low rainfall and high evapotranspiration) are anything but boring.

  39. chigau (違う) says

    If you think that oceans and forests and grasslands and deserts are boring, you’ve never been to any of them.