Thursday, June 12, 2014

Visualizing our solar system

Worth the scroll: If the Moon Were Only One Pixel. I’m with Pascal: “Le silence éternel de ces espaces infinis m’effraie.”

[Found via Creative Good’s newsletter.]

comments: 9

The Crow said...

This is not the map at the front of the room in second grade, I can tell you that!

Yes, very much worth the scroll. Funny, thought-provoking, near mesmerizing. I have a select few friends to whom I will pass this along, who also will enjoy it. Thanks for this.

(RSVP coming soon.)

JuliaR said...

Kant analyzed 'the sublime' in his 3rd Critique. It's the way our brain handles enormous quantities of anything that causes the mind-boggling effect. A thing tends toward the sublime when it is too big to contemplate. Too far, too old, too large. Kant was a cool dude.

Fresca said...

Love this! Star Trek skips the space part of space.

Fresca said...

P.S. Speaking of spacecraft, I thought of you when I saw Raymond Loewy's pencil sharpener:
(Of course you already know it.)

Michael Leddy said...

Martha, I look forward to your reply.

Julia, thanks for the Kant.

Fresca, that’s a funny Star Trek observation. I have that pencil sharpener on a USPS Pioneers of Industrial Design stamp.

Jim and Lu K said...

I can only think of Frost's Desert Places:
"They cannot scare me with their empty spaces
Between stars - on stars where no human race is.
I have it in me so much nearer home
To scare myself with my own desert places. "

Michael Leddy said...

Yep. He’s sassing Pascal.

Slywy said...

Bill Bryson did something not dissimilar in words in A A Short History, pointing out that neat school models of the solar system make it look to kids like it's all close together. Then he writes about how many miles on a scale it would be to represent the solar system, rather than a couple of inches. It was eye opening . . . Star Trek solves space with warp. A couple episodes do make it clear that there's some vastness involved . . . Voyager being in a distant quadrant, and there's one too where an unstable wormhole could strand you forever.

Anonymous said...

As to numbers, an eye-opener is to research and write out a number - one's annual income, or perhaps one's hourly wage - and then research and write down a number - the national debt. T. S. Eliot wrote in an introduction to an English edition of Pensées: "The majority of mankind is lazy-minded, incurious, absorbed in vanities, and tepid in emotion, and is therefore incapable of either much doubt or much faith; and when the ordinary man calls himself a sceptic or an unbeliever, that is ordinarily a simple pose, cloaking a disinclination to think anything out to a conclusion." While the distances between planets is seemingly unfathomable, the distance between solvency and unsustainable debt is also almost unfathomable. Pascal also suggested he was "up" for being ridiculed. Good on him.