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)
YouTuber Latheman666 takes maglev to the next level by adding nine neodymium magnet cubes to a levitating magnet and then floating a pyrolytic graphite disc about 1mm above the neodymium. Hypnotic!
Swirling a ball in a cup gets it spinning in the direction of the swirl, but adding six more starts them swirling in the opposite direction.
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, […]
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