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In Praise of Insignificance

14 Jul 2009, 05:26 UTC
In Praise of Insignificance
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

I just got back from The Amaz!ing Meeting in Vegas, baby! For those unfamiliar with this particular conference, it's sponsored by the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF), founded by magician, escape artist, and scourge of fake psychics and pseudoscience around the globe James Randi. My pal Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy now heads JREF, and he invited me to be a speaker at TAM this year -- an honor I was happy to accept. This was my first time at TAM, and it is, indeed, an amazing meeting: I had many fascinating, thought-provoking discussions to mull over at my leisure.Phil did manage to put me on The Most Intimidating Panel on the Planet: it is a surreal -- and humbling -- experience to share a dais with the likes of Bill Prady (executive producer and co-creator of The Big Bang Theory), Mythbusters' Adam Savage, and the incomparable Penn and Teller. But anyone who writes about space science and cosmology is comfortable with insignificance: the greatest among us, after all, is just a tiny speck, or momentary spark, in a roiling vast cosmos that just keeps getting bigger on time scales that dwarf a human lifetime. Check out this image: see ...

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