In a gorgeous animation, Malin Christersson shows how much simpler it is to plot out celestial mechanics when you assume that all the bodies in our solar system are in orbit around the sun, rather than the other way around.
Given the lack of a universal reference point, it's not exactly true that anything goes around anything else -- you can plot out the universe as though any point in it were stationary and everything else was moving in reference to it. But when you adopt the heliocentric model, the number of equations you have to do in order to make sense of things drops by an enormous amount, to the point where it's hard to imagine why anyone wouldn't want to default to this model.
My dear old friend Possum Man told me about a trig class in his Waldorf school where the teacher showed them how to calculate the position of the planets in a geocentric universe, to drive home the real meaning of relativity.
Christersson's graph is part of a great potted history of geocentrism and heliocentrism, itself part of a self-directed tutorial on trigonometry.
Trigonometry - Heliocentrism and Geocentrism [Malin Christersson]
(via Bruce Sterling)
In the late 1960s and 1970s, the mind-expanding modus operandi of the counterculture spread into the realm of science, and shit got wonderfully weird. Neurophysiologist John Lilly tried to talk with dolphins. Physicist Peter Phillips launched a parapsychology lab at Washington University. Princeton physicist Gerard O’Neill became an evangelist for space colonies. Groovy Science: Knowledge, […]
The magic of physics.
The new book, Einstein’s Puzzle Universe, by Tim Dedopulos, is a compendium of good physics and logic problems. Here’s one for you to solve: Imagine that there is an even rope of negligible weight draped over a wheel, which permits it to slide perfectly freely. Equal lengths of the rope descend from either side. On […]
Those of us who love music wish we could listen to it 24/7. But it’s impossible when we’re trying to converse with our friends, or when are swimming in the local pool.That is, until now. The KOAR Bone Conduction Bluetooth Headset, now 48% off, has changed the audio game.Made with lightweight titanium memory metal, this headset boasts patented bone conduction technology to transport sound […]
It’s one thing to enjoy dinner at home and a nice glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with your best friend, Netflix, but it’s another thing entirely to make that meal from scratch and get that wine delivered right to your doorstep.But what if we told you there’s a way to make this possible? To keep your social life, […]
Having to pack and drag your stuff through security can put quite the damper on your vacation plans. Thankfully, we’ve got your back with one way to make traveling more painless: the Jumper Overnighter Travel Bag.This compact bag is so lightweight that you can effortlessly carry it, and fit it into any overhead compartment. But just […]