Sublime

The universe is humbling. Nature hides many of its most interesting mysteries.

The word [Sublime] precisely captures what makes the universe so wonderful and so frustrating at the same time. A great deal seems beyond our reach and our comprehension, while still appearing to be close enough to tantalize us — to dare us to enter and understand. The challenge for all approaches to knowledge is to make those less accessible aspects of the universe more immediate, more understandable, and ultimately less foreign. People want to learn to read and understand the book of nature and accommodate those lessons into the comprehensible world.
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The sublime offers scales and poses questions that just might lie beyond our intellectual reach. It is for these reasons both terrifying and compelling. The range of the sublime changes over time as the scales we are comfortable with cover an increasingly large domain. But at any given moment, we still want to gain insights about behavior or events at scales far too small or far too large for us to readily comprehend.

Physicist Lisa Randall

Via: www.brainpickings.org

Dark Flow

Patches of matter in the universe seem to be moving at very high speeds and in a uniform direction that can’t be explained by any of the known gravitational forces in the observable universe. Astronomers are calling the phenomenon “dark flow.”

The stuff that’s pulling this matter must be outside the observable universe, researchers conclude.

When scientists talk about the observable universe, they don’t just mean as far out as the eye, or even the most powerful telescope, can see. In fact there’s a fundamental limit to how much of the universe we could ever observe, no matter how advanced our visual instruments. The universe is thought to have formed about 13.7 billion years ago. So even if light started travelling toward us immediately after the Big Bang, the farthest it could ever get is 13.7 billion light-years in distance. There may be parts of the universe that are farther away (we can’t know how big the whole universe is), but we can’t see farther than light could travel over the entire age of the universe. wow! More here .

Hounen Matsuri

The Hounen festival at Tagata shrine is one of the most famous (or infamous?) festivals in Japan. Amongst foreigners visiting Aichi Prefecture it is frequently referred to as the “penis shrine”, or “Japanese penis festival”, primarily due to the ancient Hounen Matsuri (a festival celebrating fertility and renewal), which is held here every March 15th.

Every year on March 15 a huge two and a half meter wooden phallus is carried the short distance between two shrines attracting visitors from all over Japan and international media attention. The festival is fun with a lot of sake drinking, however the background of the festival is rather more serious. A shrine is a place of worship. It houses divine spirits and preserves the memory and practice of many aspects of Japanese culture.

More here