Physics Jack-‘O-Lanterns

Now that Halloween is close, Symmetry Magazine has published an article on how to make some physics themed jack-‘o-lanterns. Included are monstrous versions of Einstein, Noether, Dirac, Curie, and Pauli. They even include images that can be used as templates for making your own jack-‘o-lantern.

Boulder to Host Republican Debate Tomorrow

The Republican debate at CU Boulder is happening tomorrow afternoon. Not surprisingly, it’s been quite controversial. Maybe more surprisingly is that much of the controversy has little to do with politics and much more to do with whether or not this is an appropriate use of university funds.

New Star Wars Trailer Out!

The trailer for the new Star Wars trailer is out now. You can find it on Youtube here. My judgment is: it looks amazing. As a trailer, it is one of the best I’ve seen in recent years for this kind of movie. It give a brief glimpse at the main characters, so we get a bit of a feel for who they are. There are some action scenes, which seem to have nearly-completed special effects (rushed effects jobs for trailers seem to be quite common now). There are also just small hints at the story, so we actually learn very little about the plot (unlike, for example, Prometheus).

Have We Found Aliens In Space?

Short answer: no.

Various websites have been reporting on ann odd looking star found with Kepler. There are various possible explanations for it, but of course people are focusing on the idea that it was formed by an advanced alien civilization. Typically, most things that initially look quite extraordinary end up being quite mundane in the end, so I would say that we have almost certainly not found evidence of an alien civilization so advanced as to be able to alter entire solar systems.

Columbus Day News Coverage

Today was Columbus Day and, as is common in recent years, it was marked with wildly different coverage in different news outlets. The New York Times covers celebrations focusing mainly on indigenous people rather than Columbus. The Atlantic has a long article on life in the New World before and after the arrival of Europeans. In contrast, the Chicago Sun-Times writes about the Columbus Day parade in Chicago and focuses more on the day’s role as a day to honor the Italian American community. Even Spanish president Rajoy weighs in, writing about the contributions of Latin American people to Spain. Interestingly, there don’t seem to be so many defenses of Columbus himself.