Breaking science news and multimedia, heavy on astronomy and physics (and heavy on citing) New vids, pics, articles, and the occasional research post for http://researchblogging.org/ Join me on http://www.facebook.com/Astronasty for all the juicy in-between-posts picture sharing :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

2 Exceptional Astrophysics Videos

I'd like to share with you a new TED Talk, a presentation about astrophysics and the dedication of the scientists in this discipline so full of wonder.
Here's Anil Ananthaswamy in:
"What it takes to do extreme astrophysics"



Video Credit: Anil Ananthaswamy/TED


Here's a very cool and very brief video, posted today as the Archive Video of the Day on Hubble's Site:
"Matter accreting around a supermassive black hole (artist's impression)"
"At the heart of most, if not all, giant galaxies lies a supermassive black hole. When dust and gas falls into the central black hole, it heats up and emits intense radiation. Quasars, some of the brightest objects in the cosmos, are powered by these phenomena. In this artist’s impression of a quasar, the rotating ring of matter, and powerful jets of particles thrown out at close to the speed of light can be seen." -ESA/Hubble (M. Kornmesser)

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Video Credit: ESA/Hubble (M. Kornmesser)


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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Time Lapse Video of the Milky Way and Undulating Clouds

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Today Gizmodo shared with us this captivating video:
"A Beautiful Glimpse of the Milky Way From Spain’s Tallest Mountain"
Absolutely incredible.


The Mountain from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.

Video Credit: Terje Sorgjerd via Gizmodo | thanks to my friend Jayrol San Jose for finding this!  His photo blog is here.

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Spirituality and Neurotheology

Time's up for the poll I had over on the right.
29 votes in!
Here was the question:
"Have you ever had a non-religious experience you would call 'spiritual' when studying Science?"

18 voted YES

7 voted NO

4 voted for the third option, "Yes, and I'd consider it religious too."


Spirituality is a emotionally laden word.  To some, it seems inseparable from religion.  
First, we have to define spirituality as some of a certain set of feelings, easily lifted from wikipedia:


  • The perception that time, fear or self-consciousness have dissolved
  • Spiritual awe
  • Oneness with the universe
  • Ecstatic trance
  • Sudden enlightenment
  • Altered states of consciousness

The last three seem to me too vague, covering both mild and extreme states of mind.  Lots of further semantics would be required for it to be clear. 
My aim here is not to discredit those having religious experiences, but rather to point out how the act of studying science can induce spiritual feelings.  These feelings are the targeted areas of study by Neurotheologists.  The study of Neurotheology, also called Spiritual Neuroscience, attempts to make some sense of these special and common feelings.


The secular also experience feelings of spirituality, often in cases where the perceived border of the self becomes temporarily blurred with the world around us.
This, I think, is why study of science, especially on scales of the extremely small or large, can induce these feelings.  The results of the poll seem to back that up.







 

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