new photo blog

i started this blog in 2006, and it's shifted along with my interests through the years. it's been witness to a lot of learning for me...

still, i feel that i need a home for my photography -- so from now on, i'll be posting my pictures on the journal on my reworked website. if you like my photos, you might decide to follow me there!

my first post is here -- check it out!

as for this blog, i'm not sure what will happen. i don't think i'm willing to let it go, and certainly i'll keep it as an archive, but i need some time to figure it out.

for those of you that pop in from time to time, thanks for the visits and encouragement.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

the top 10 greatest mysteries... compiled by livescience

10. what drives evolution?
9: what happens inside an earthquake?
8: who are you?
7: how did life arise on earth?
6: how does the brain work?
5: where is the rest of the universe?
4: what causes gravity?
3: is there a theory of everything?
2: does alien life exist?
1: how did the universe begin?

humans want to know. for me, no made-up answer will do.


  1. I'm interested in what you count as a 'made-up' answer :-) Surely all answers are made-up. We take what we see, add some imagination, play with what we find and that's our theory. Some theories are just more 'made-up' than others ;-)

    The first item seems to be worded rather strangely. What they are driving at in the article is simply that gene expression may be more complex than people had expected. It doesn't mean that there is some strange, external influence.

    The discussion of different bees having the same genomes but different activation simply means that the genomes have a code in them which allows flexible expression. The driving force behind this is still natural selection. I guess I'm just nit-picking with the title of this mystery.

    There IS a theory of everything, there are just many things about it that we don't understand and we don't know for sure whether it's right. Theories sit on varying foundations of certainty and sadly getting a theory of everything which we can be sure of is difficult by the very scale at which 'everything' becomes important.

    If the question is, is there a single underlying law of nature in the universe, I think that the answer is dependent on a human perspective. The universe does, work in a self consistent way. Whether or not we can write down a single equation for this is a matter of our own ingenuity and the underlying power of mathematics.

    I take the question about who I am as a bit of a dead-end, as I think rather nihilistically that consciousness is an illusion created as an emergent phenomenon out of an extremely complex system. I'm just a bunch a complex molecules which have become carefully orchestrated through billions of years of evolution. (ok, sometimes I don't feel that my molecules are so carefully orchestrated, but you get the idea).

    Just my two cents.

  2. Some of these seem awfully easy.

    For example, #10 what drives evolution? Er, that would be natural selection and genetic drift. These are both easy to understand. (I recommend a lovely book called The Beak of the Finch).

    #2-- almost certainly

    #1-- It's true that we no nothing about what happened from time 0 to 5x10e-44 seconds later. The fact that we know pretty exactly what happened in the remaining 13.7 billion years is astounding, though.

  3. For me nothing is more important and fascinating than N.8 .
    It drives me nuts when i think about that question... And in that precise moment, everything, really everythings in my life seems full of overestimate details.