ten of the most amazing and possibly even true scientific phenomena that blow my mind

by nikki meredith

twin babies

When I was a little girl, my family camped in Yosemite Valley every summer.  My favorite memory from those trips was a night we slept outside on cots.  I assume the moon was a sliver because the sky was inky and I remember saying to my father that the stars looked like diamonds.  I must have been pretty young because when my father pointed out the Milky Way, I remember wondering it they named it after the candy bar. But the memory that stayed with me the most indelibly was when my father told me that some of the stars we were looking at had died. He explained that they were so far away that their light, or, rather, their lack of light, hadn’t yet reached us. That seemed unbelievable.   I remember trying to make out his face in the dark to see if he was kidding. When I was satisfied that he wasn’t, I looked back to the sky in awe.  I couldn’t quite grasp that I was looking at something that wasn’t there. It seemed like magic.

Last month when various news outlets were coming out with their 10 “best” lists for the year – best movies, books, t.v. shows — I thought about bests in my life and for some reason I remembered that night with my family.  Learning about unfathomable distances scored as a kind of best in my life and I wondered how of the many things I learned in 2012 stood out.  I couldn’t come up with ten for 2012.  Off the top of my head, I couldn’t even come up with one for the year. So I changed it to a lifetime and was able to list quite a few more than ten. Read the rest of this entry »