Happy Vernal Equinox From My Mammillaria

Not much else to type here. The maple tree is refusing to acknowledge that spring exists, and all the other cactuses in my cactus garden are grudgingly recovering from a couple nasty and traumatic freezes in February, but this little dude is going to town. I caught a couple macro shots in the evening sun. There’s not much for scale here – it’s smallish — maybe 4″ in diameter, so these flowers are actually tiny but I think rather lovely.

Looking forward to what look like the beginnings of blooms on a couple other cactuses — my horse crippler & claret cup are showing urges.

May the new spring bring rebirth to the world, and a happy new season to those who celebrate such things.

2022 Book 3: The End Of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking), by Katie Mack

Cover of the hardbound US edition of Katie Mac's book, the End Of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)
At my desk at work, reading through lunch a lot of days this month.

I don’t read a lot of physics, because I really don’t do math. Fortunately, this book was short on equations, and much longer on very clear explanations of what the equations meant. The graphs and illustrations were well-presented. From sub-atomic particle quantum mechanics to cosmology, I never got lost or in over my head. This kind of material has always interested me, and previous attempts at “layman” level writing, like Hawking’s A Brief History of Time have left me giving up in frustration in 15 or 20 pages. The general understanding I got from Mack’s very clear and relatable writing may embolden me to try again.

I follow Katie Mack on Twitter (welcome to the 21st century) and my impression is that she works as much as a communicator and educator as a theoretical astrophysicist, and has the chops to talk to normal people about the extraordinary universe that some of her contemporaries lack as a result. I read this as the Webb space telescope was being unfurled and calibrated, and I can’t wait for some science from the edges of the observable universe to come down and expand on the things cosmologists like Mack are looking for. I get that it’s always an exciting time to be in astronomy or astrophysics, if you’re enthusiastic about knowledge, and Mack’s enthusiasm is one of the most fun, engaging things about this book. I hope she keeps writing!

✨✨✨✨✨ Five quasars up!