Agnotologist

Therefore, to stop the rumor [that he had set Rome on fire], he [Emperor Nero] falsely charged with guilt, and punished with the most fearful tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were [generally] hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of that name, was put to death as a criminal by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea, in the reign of Tiberius, but the pernicious superstition - repressed for a time, broke out yet again, not only through Judea, - where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, whither all things horrible and disgraceful flow from all quarters, as to a common receptacle, and where they are encouraged. Accordingly first those were arrested who confessed they were Christians; next on their information, a vast multitude were convicted, not so much on the charge of burning the city, as of “hating the human race.

In their very deaths they were made the subjects of sport: for they were covered with the hides of wild beasts, and worried to death by dogs, or nailed to crosses, or set fire to, and when the day waned, burned to serve for the evening lights. Nero offered his own garden players for the spectacle, and exhibited a Circensian game, indiscriminately mingling with the common people in the dress of a charioteer, or else standing in his chariot. For this cause a feeling of compassion arose towards the sufferers, though guilty and deserving of exemplary capital punishment, because they seemed not to be cut off for the public good, but were victims of the ferocity of one man.

Roman historian Tacitus’ account of Nero’s persecution of Christians, from his book Annals, published a few years after the event. At the time, Tacitus was a young man from an equestrian family (roughly equal to a knight’s family) living in Rome. (via historical-nonfiction)
nevver:

Staring at the Sun, [to scale]

nevver:

Staring at the Sun, [to scale]

startswithabang:

The Stars Beyond

"Each galaxy has a story. Some are small but growing rapidly. Others look bland but betray a complex, vibrant past. What’s more, most large galaxies — again like some cities — appear to be built upon the ruins of smaller, more ancient ones. Our home galaxy, the Milky Way, is not unlike Rome in this respect. Ancient stellar remains show up viscerally in the the faint, extended outer reaches of galaxies — regions of light so diffuse that they’ve been difficult to study until recently."

You’ve no doubt heard of dark matter halos around galaxies: vast, extended, spherical collection of mass that reach for hundreds of thousands of light-years beyond what we typically think of as a spiral or elliptical galaxy. But did you know that galaxies contain vast, extended stellar halos as well? Moreover, they look nothing like you’d expect! They’re not spherical or even ellipsoidal, but highly irregular, and have an awful lot to teach us about how galaxies came to be the way they are today. Galaxy evolution expert James Bullock has the story.

businessweek:

These are the most disaster-prone areas in the U.S.

businessweek:

These are the most disaster-prone areas in the U.S.

sagansense:


A new theory suggests that the birth of the Universe could have happened after a four-dimensional star collapsed into a black hole and ejected debris.The standard theory is that the Universe grew from an infinitely dense point or singularity. The standard Big Bang model tells us that the Universe exploded out of an infinitely dense point, or singularity. But it is not known what triggered this outburst. Now, it is proposed that the Big Bang was mirage from collapsing higher-dimensional star.
In a paper posted last week, Afshordi (an astrophysicist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics) and his colleagues turn their attention to a proposal made in 2000. In that model, our three-dimensional (3D) Universe is a membrane, or brane, that floats through a ‘bulk universe’ that has four spatial dimensions.
Ashfordi’s team realized that if the bulk universe contained its own four-dimensional (4D) stars, some of them could collapse, forming 4D black holes in the same way that massive stars in our Universe do: they explode as supernovae, violently ejecting their outer layers, while their inner layers collapse into a black hole. When Afshordi’s team modelled the death of a 4D star, they found that the ejected material would form a 3D brane surrounding that 3D event horizon, and slowly expand.

via sci-universe

sagansense:

A new theory suggests that the birth of the Universe could have happened after a four-dimensional star collapsed into a black hole and ejected debris.

The standard theory is that the Universe grew from an infinitely dense point or singularity. The standard Big Bang model tells us that the Universe exploded out of an infinitely dense point, or singularity. But it is not known what triggered this outburst. Now, it is proposed that the Big Bang was mirage from collapsing higher-dimensional star.

In a paper posted last week, Afshordi (an astrophysicist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics) and his colleagues turn their attention to a proposal made in 2000. In that model, our three-dimensional (3D) Universe is a membrane, or brane, that floats through a ‘bulk universe’ that has four spatial dimensions.

Ashfordi’s team realized that if the bulk universe contained its own four-dimensional (4D) stars, some of them could collapse, forming 4D black holes in the same way that massive stars in our Universe do: they explode as supernovae, violently ejecting their outer layers, while their inner layers collapse into a black hole. When Afshordi’s team modelled the death of a 4D star, they found that the ejected material would form a 3D brane surrounding that 3D event horizon, and slowly expand.

via sci-universe

we-are-star-stuff:

Can our brains see the fourth dimension?
Most of us are accustomed to watching 2-D; even though characters on the screen appear to have depth and texture, the image is actually flat. But when we put on 3-D glasses, we see a world that has shape, a world that we could walk in. We can imagine existing in such a world because we live in one. The things in our daily life have height, width and length. But for someone who’s only known life in two dimensions, 3-D would be impossible to comprehend. And that, according to many researchers, is the reason we can’t see the fourth dimension, or any other dimension beyond that. Physicists work under the assumption that there are at least 10 dimensions, but the majority of us will never “see” them. Because we only know life in 3-D, our brains don’t understand how to look for anything more.
In 1884, Edwin A. Abbot published a novel that depicts the problem of seeing dimensions beyond your own. In “Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions" Abbot describes the life of a square in a two-dimensional world. Living in 2-D means that the square is surrounded by circles, triangles and rectangles, but all the square sees are other lines. One day, the square is visited by a sphere. On first glance, the sphere just looks like a circle to the square, and the square can’t comprehend what the sphere means when he explains 3-D objects. Eventually, the sphere takes the square to the 3-D world, and the square understands. He sees not just lines, but entire shapes that have depth. Emboldened, the square asks the sphere what exists beyond the 3-D world; the sphere is appalled. The sphere can’t comprehend a world beyond this, and in this way, stands in for the reader. Our brains aren’t trained to see anything other than our world, and it will likely take something from another dimension to make us understand.

But what is this other dimension? Mystics used to see it as a place where spirits lived, since they weren’t bound by our earthly rules. In his theory of special relativity, Einstein called the fourth dimension time, but noted that time is inseparable from space. Science fiction aficionados may recognize that union as space-time, and indeed, the idea of a space-time continuum has been popularized by science fiction writers for centuries. Einstein described gravity as a bend in space-time. Today, some physicists describe the fourth dimension as any space that’s perpendicular to a cube - the problem being that most of us can’t visualize something that is perpendicular to a cube.
Researchers have used Einstein’s ideas to determine whether we can travel through time. While we can move in any direction in our 3-D world, we can only move forward in time. Thus, traveling to the past has been deemed near-impossible, though some researchers still hold out hope for finding wormholes that connect to different sections of space-time.
If we can’t use the fourth dimension to time travel, and if we can’t even see the fourth dimension, then what’s the point of knowing about it? Understanding these higher dimensions is of importance to mathematicians and physicists because it helps them understand the world. String theory, for example, relies upon at least 10 dimensions to remain viable. For these researchers, the answers to complex problems in the 3-D world may be found in the next dimension - and beyond.
[via]

we-are-star-stuff:

Can our brains see the fourth dimension?

Most of us are accustomed to watching 2-D; even though characters on the screen appear to have depth and texture, the image is actually flat. But when we put on 3-D glasses, we see a world that has shape, a world that we could walk in. We can imagine existing in such a world because we live in one. The things in our daily life have height, width and length. But for someone who’s only known life in two dimensions, 3-D would be impossible to comprehend. And that, according to many researchers, is the reason we can’t see the fourth dimension, or any other dimension beyond that. Physicists work under the assumption that there are at least 10 dimensions, but the majority of us will never “see” them. Because we only know life in 3-D, our brains don’t understand how to look for anything more.

In 1884, Edwin A. Abbot published a novel that depicts the problem of seeing dimensions beyond your own. In “Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions" Abbot describes the life of a square in a two-dimensional world. Living in 2-D means that the square is surrounded by circles, triangles and rectangles, but all the square sees are other lines. One day, the square is visited by a sphere. On first glance, the sphere just looks like a circle to the square, and the square can’t comprehend what the sphere means when he explains 3-D objects. Eventually, the sphere takes the square to the 3-D world, and the square understands. He sees not just lines, but entire shapes that have depth. Emboldened, the square asks the sphere what exists beyond the 3-D world; the sphere is appalled. The sphere can’t comprehend a world beyond this, and in this way, stands in for the reader. Our brains aren’t trained to see anything other than our world, and it will likely take something from another dimension to make us understand.

But what is this other dimension? Mystics used to see it as a place where spirits lived, since they weren’t bound by our earthly rules. In his theory of special relativity, Einstein called the fourth dimension time, but noted that time is inseparable from space. Science fiction aficionados may recognize that union as space-time, and indeed, the idea of a space-time continuum has been popularized by science fiction writers for centuries. Einstein described gravity as a bend in space-time. Today, some physicists describe the fourth dimension as any space that’s perpendicular to a cube - the problem being that most of us can’t visualize something that is perpendicular to a cube.

Researchers have used Einstein’s ideas to determine whether we can travel through time. While we can move in any direction in our 3-D world, we can only move forward in time. Thus, traveling to the past has been deemed near-impossible, though some researchers still hold out hope for finding wormholes that connect to different sections of space-time.

If we can’t use the fourth dimension to time travel, and if we can’t even see the fourth dimension, then what’s the point of knowing about it? Understanding these higher dimensions is of importance to mathematicians and physicists because it helps them understand the world. String theory, for example, relies upon at least 10 dimensions to remain viable. For these researchers, the answers to complex problems in the 3-D world may be found in the next dimension - and beyond.

[via]

maptacular:

Mapping the future of sea-level rise on the Potomac, the Chesapeake and the Atlantic
“Climate Central on Tuesday released new maps for the District, Maryland, Virginia and Delaware cataloguing flood risk from climate change. The topline news is that roughly $42 billion worth of property in the region lies within 5 feet of current high tide and is therefore likely to be inundated by storm-related flooding within the next few decades as sea levels rise.
But the maps are more interesting for their local details than for the broad sweep of data. The organization of scientists and journalists is mapping flood risk on the entire U.S. coast, taking note of every school, police station, hospital, museum, roadway and environmental hazard. So it’s worth poking around to see what’s likely to get hit at various flood levels.”
Via The Washington Post

maptacular:

Mapping the future of sea-level rise on the Potomac, the Chesapeake and the Atlantic

Climate Central on Tuesday released new maps for the District, Maryland, Virginia and Delaware cataloguing flood risk from climate change. The topline news is that roughly $42 billion worth of property in the region lies within 5 feet of current high tide and is therefore likely to be inundated by storm-related flooding within the next few decades as sea levels rise.

But the maps are more interesting for their local details than for the broad sweep of data. The organization of scientists and journalists is mapping flood risk on the entire U.S. coast, taking note of every school, police station, hospital, museum, roadway and environmental hazard. So it’s worth poking around to see what’s likely to get hit at various flood levels.”

Via The Washington Post

ddotdc:

A series of picture maps of the Washington Metropolitan Region, created for the official bicentennial celebration of the American Revolution (1776-1976). Dated 1975. 

Please view a full, high-resolution version of the map.

Image 2: This section of the document gives an overview of the District, as well as listing information about different Metrobus stops and the in-progress Metrorail (which opened in March 1976, just before the bicentennial). 

Image 3: The section gives an up-close look at different sections of the city and inner-ring suburbs, including: Georgetown, Dupont Circle, Southwest, Capitol Hill, and Old Town Alexandria. These special sections point out landmarks such as Howard University, the Library of Congress, the Folger Shakespeare Library, and Rock Creek Park. It also provides information on famous buildings such as the Willard Hotel, the Old Post Office, and the British Embassy. 

Image 4: The inset provides historical details about the District and the surrounding region: including a graph that charts the city’s population growth and facts about the National Mall and the March on Washington in 1963.

s-c-i-guy:

600 Million Years and Counting…

I was pretty bored so I decided to make some GIFs of the last 600 million years of our planet’s plate tectonics.

The first GIF is a global mollewide projection. The second one is of the Colorado Plateau and the North American Southwest. The next GIF is of the entire formation of the North American Continent. The fourth GIF is of geologic and tectonic evolution of Europe. And finally the last one is the same as the first except in rectangular format.

I obtained the images from Global Paleogeography and them compiled them one by one into Photoshop with the end result being the above GIFs.

Geology rocks

curiositycounts:

A history of Earth in 24 hours   (via)

curiositycounts:

A history of Earth in 24 hours   (via)