In Praise of the Telescopic Perspective via Nina Reznick


A 2017 Moon seen through my telescope at home under the Brooklyn skies.



Jupiter’s Great Red Spot as seen by the Voyager. (Photograph courtesy of NASA.)
Neptune as seen by the Voyager. (Photograph courtesy of NASA.)
The Voyager‘s farewell shot of Uranus. (Photograph courtesy of NASA.)





When the Voyager completed its exploratory mission and took the last photograph — of Neptune — NASA commanded that the cameras be shut off to conserve energy. But Carl Sagan had the idea of turning the spacecraft around and taking one final photograph — of Earth. Objections were raised — from so great a distance and at so low a resolution, the resulting image would have absolutely no scientific value. But Sagan saw the larger poetic worth — he took the request all the way up to NASA’s administrator and charmed his way into permission.

The “Pale Blue Dot” — the Voyager‘s view of Earth seen from the outer edge of the Solar System. (Photograph courtesy of NASA.)

After nearly half a century of reign, the Voyager took the now-iconic image of Earth known as the “Pale Blue Dot” — a grainy pixel, “a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam,” as Sagan so poetically put it when he immortalized the photograph in his beautiful “Pale Blue Dot” monologue from Cosmos — that great masterwork of perspective, a timeless reminder that “everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was… every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician” lived out their lives on this pale blue dot. And every political conflict, every war we’ve ever fought, we have waged over a fraction of this grainy pixel barely perceptible against the cosmic backdrop of endless lonesome space.
In the cosmic blink of our present existence, as we stand on this increasingly fragmented pixel, it is worth keeping the Voyager in mind as we find our capacity for perspective constricted by the stranglehold of our cultural moment. It is worth questioning what proportion of the news this year, what imperceptible fraction, was devoted to the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded for the landmark detection of gravitational waves — the single most significant astrophysical discovery since Galileo. After centuries of knowing the universe only by sight, only by looking, we can now listen to it and hear echoes of events that took place billions of lightyears away, billions of years ago — events that made the stardust that made us.

BOSTON DYNAMICS UNVEILS STUNNING ROBOT THAT CAN RUN, JUMP AND EXECUTE THE PERFECT BACKFLIP

Boston Dynamics’ humanoid robot can execute a perfect backflip.
Atlas, which can also keep its balance when it’s pushed and get back up if it falls over, can now perform impressive gymnastic moves.
Boston Dynamics has just released footage of the machine’s latest trick, and viewers are both impressed and concerned.

This Japanese Photographer Specializes In Shooting Ninja Cats, And The Result Is Too Purrfect

Turns out, cats know more martial arts than ninjutsu. Japanese photographer Hisakata Hiroyuki has decided to dedicate a fair portion of his time to shooting cats during their totally serious combat practices, and the result is purrrfect.

Threatening stares, explosive kicks, powerful punches, Hiroyuki has captured it all. He has successfully proven that felines have unlocked all of the secret fighting techniques, and even Mr. Miyagi could learn a thing or two from these martial arts masters. 




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Ninja-Cats-Photography-Hisakata-Hiroyuki



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