The world is blue at its edges and in its depths. This blue is the light that got lost. Light at the blue end of the spectrum does not travel the whole distance from the sun to us. It disperses among the molecules of the air, it scatters in water. Water is colorless, shallow water appears to be the color of whatever lies underneath it, but deep water is full of this scattered light, the purer the water the deeper the blue. The sky is blue for the same reason, but the blue at the horizon, the blue of land that seems to be dissolving into the sky, is a deeper, dreamier, melancholy blue, the blue at the farthest reaches of the places where you see for miles, the blue of distance. This light that does not touch us, does not travel the whole distance, the light that gets lost, gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the color blue.
“If Only We Had Taller Been”
We lost the great Ray Bradbury on this day in 2012. To celebrate this amazing writer, here is his poetic ode to exploration.
Every time I watch this, I almost cry.
In November 1971, Ray Bradbury joined Arthur C. Clarke, Carl Sagan and others at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs in Pasadena to commemorate the Mariner 9 mission to Mars. Here he reads his poem "If Only We Had Taller Been", an ode to exploration, and a fitting tribute to his legacy as a writer and dreamer. In full above (with a captivated Sagan included) and excerpted below:
O, Thomas, will a Race one day stand really tall
Across the Void, across the Universe and all?
And, measure out with rocket fire,
At last put Adam’s finger forth
As on the Sistine Ceiling,
And God’s great hand come down the other way
To measure Man and find him Good,
And Gift him with Forever’s Day?
I work for that.
Short man. Large dream. I send my rockets forth
between my ears,
Hoping an inch of Will is worth a pound of years.
Aching to hear a voice cry back along the universal Mall:
We’ve reached Alpha Centauri!
We’re tall, O God, we’re tall!
(illustration by Lou Romano)
Out of the cradle
onto dry land
here it is
atoms with consciousness;
matter with curiosity.
Stands at the sea,
wonders at wondering: I
a universe of atoms
an atom in the universe.
Happy Birthday, Richard Feynman! Celebrate with my video interpretation of his famous ode to the universe and wine. I love this poem more than words can express.
Remember… all life is fermentation.
Previously: Enjoy artist Maggie Chok’s illustrated Feynman poem, where every line is reimagined as typographic art.
This giant project is finally finished! After being amazingly inspired by this stunning poem, Arbee and I decided a collab was needed. It linked so perfectly to Cecilos that we couldn’t resist :D
An amazing poem dedicated to love and science AND Welcome to Night Vale?! This might be perfect.
Happy birthday to lepidopterist and sometimes writer Vladimir Nabokov! Well, he might be a bit more famous for the writing thing, come to think of it, but I’m convinced that science was his true passion.
Celebrate with one of his poems, an ode to taxonomy:
I found it in a legendary land
all rocks and lavender and tufted grass,
where it was settled on some sodden sand
hard by the torrent of a mountain pass.
The features it combines mark it as new
to science shape and shade — the special tinge,
akin to moonlight, tempering its blue,
the dingy underside, the checkered fringe.
My needles have teased out its sculptured sex;
corroded tissues could no longer hide
that priceless mote now dimpling the convex
and limpid teardrop on a lighted slide.
Smoothly a screw is turned; out of the mist
two ambered hooks symmetrically slope,
or scales like battledores of amethyst
cross the charmed circle of the microscope.
I found it and I named it, being versed
in taxonomic Latin; thus became
godfather to an insect and its first
describer — and I want no other fame.
Wide open on its pin (though fast asleep)
and safe from creeping relatives and rust,
in the secluded stronghold where we keep
type specimens it will transcend its dust.
Dark pictures, thrones, the stones that pilgrims kiss,
poems that take a thousand years to die
but ape the immortality of this
red label on a little butterfly.
Don’t miss his lovely butterfly sketches, drawn as dedications to his wife Vera.
Thanks to Morgan Jackson for the link.
There once was a ripple in space
That grew at incredible pace
Now close observation
Reveals this inflation
Has left an indelible trace.
High above the oasis of Earth, your belly reflecting
The dappled azure glow of oceans rolling far below,
You are waiting patiently for your final pilgrims to arrive.
Soon they will climb to you on twin pillars of fire-
Hauling themselves up out of Terra’s gravity well
By their bleeding fingernails - to find you sailing
So serenely through the void, your mighty wings
Outstretched, shining mirror-bright, reflecting
The diamond-dust light of a million distant suns…
Then, dressed all in fresh-snow white, the bravest acolyte
Will float to your side in reverent silence struck dumb,
By the heart-stopping sight of you hovering there, silhouetted
Against the hazy, air-brushed band of the Milky Way,
Bathing in the luxurious light of ten times ten billion alien stars,
And with the world watching far below, trembling with fear and love…
How The Elements Got Their Names
Have you ever wondered where all those funny names on the periodic table came from? What the heck does “praseodymium” actually mean, anyway?
I’ve got you covered in this week’s video. Here’s the history and etymology of all the names on the periodic table! From Actinium (Greek for “ray”) to Zirconium (Persian “zargun” or “gold-colored”) I’ve got ya covered.
Oh, and I made it rhyme, because why not?