How Many Bignesses

You know that thing about space?  About how space is, you know, kind of on the big side?

Douglas Adams mentioned it once, and it is actually The Law of the Internet™ that you have to quote him whenever you’re presenting any item dealing with the size of space.  So in order to satisfy this requirement:

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

With that out of the way, I can also offer an insightful observation by Futurama’s Philip J. Fry, who had his own take on the matter:

“Space. It seems to go on and on forever. Then you get to the end, and a monkey starts throwing barrels at you.”

Moving on.

If you’ve a hankering to know just how many bignesses space has, you could start by examining the solar system.  We’re all familiar with the structure: the Sun in the middle, followed by eight planets, if you’re the International Astronomical Union (IAU); or, if you’re me, the Sun in the middle, followed by at least fourteen planets and probably dozens more yet to be found*.

But what we don’t usually get from our astronomy books and star maps is the actual scale of the thing.  Well, thanks to writer and designer Josh Worth, there’s now a chart that does give you a rough idea. Imagine the Moon the size of one pixel on your computer screen…

If The Moon Were Only One Pixel

Click, and scroll, and try not to get too mind-boggled.

Advice: once you’ve loaded the page use the left and right cursor keys to scroll the map.  And, if you want to skip ahead just click on the left or right arrows on the button menu at the top of the screen. That way you won’t miss any text captions (they’re worth reading).


[* In 2006, a decision by the IAU to demote Pluto to the status of ‘dwarf planet’, while promoting a handful of asteroids to the same status, was announced, and is still being argued about, with the IAU, every astronomer on Earth and most people who take astronomy seriously on one side, and me on the other.  It’s like that bit in Blackadder II, after he hires the ship and captain, and they’re adrift at sea:

Edmund Blackadder: Look, there’s no need to panic. Someone in the crew will know how to steer this thing.
Redbeard Rum (the drunken captain): The crew, milord?
EB: Yes, the crew.
RR: What crew?
EB: I was under the impression that it was common maritime practice for a ship to have a crew.
RR: Opinion is divided on the subject.
EB: Really.
RR: Yerss. All the other captains say it is; I say it isn’t.
EB: Oh, God. Mad as a brush.]

‘Twas the night before Christmas…

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the Hall
Not a creature was stirring, not warrior nor thrall.
And I in my armor, my greaves and my helm
Was drunker than anyone else in the Realm.
.
I staggered upstairs and fell into bed
While four quarts of mead were ablaze in my head.
Then up from below came the sounds of a brawl
So I grabbed up my axe and ran down to the Hall.
.
I missed the last step and crashed down in a heap
Thinking, “Why can’t those low-lifes downstairs go to sleep!”
When what to my wondering eyes should appear
But two brawny strangers, wielding mallet and spear.
.
I said to myself, “We’ll soon have them beat!”
Then I noticed ten warriors laid out at their feet.
I gave out a yell and leapt into the fray…
I’ll always regret my poor choice of that day.
.
For the one laid his hammer to the side of my nose
And up, up, up to the rafters I rose.
Then came a lone frightened voice from the floor,
“Those are no mortal warriors — that’s Odin and Thor!”
.
Then they looked at each other and they said, “Battle’s done.
Now they know who we are, it no longer is fun.”
Then Thor raised his hammer, and his elbow he bent,
And with a loud crash, through the ceiling they went.
.
I crawled through the Hall and flung open the door,
Not really sure that I’d seen them before.
The snow bathed in starlight, the moon like a glede,
I saw them ride off on an eight-legged steed.
.
And I heard them exclaim, ‘ere they flew out of sight,

“TO HELA WITH CHRISTMAS, WE JUST LOVE A GOOD FIGHT!”

Whatever you’re celebrating in the next few days, we hope you have an excess of fun, friends, laughter and family 🙂   Waes hael!

Because sometimes what you need is a giggle…

The internet is a wonderful thing:  it allows me to check my e-mail, research a pesky work project and just occassionally throws up a gem or two which makes me smile.  Then I figured, why keep the smile to myself?  Sometimes what you need, nay want, is a little bit of a giggle, a funny pause from which you can return to whatever you were doing feeling a little lighter.  Without further ado: enjoy 🙂

10 Ways to Piss off a Witch (or indeed any pagan…)
(Author Unknown)

1. Ask them if they are Satan worshippers.
2. Be considerate, rearrange their altar/ sacred space so it will look neat.
3. Blow out their altar candle if it is still day light. (No need to waste a good candle!)
4. Pick up their gems for a closer look.
5. Sharpen their dull black-handled knife.
6. Witness to them about the “true religion”.
7. Untie the knots in their cord.
8. Take hold of their jewelry for a closer look.
9. Play card games with their Tarot cards.
10. Ask them if they are Satan worshippers.

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