The Nightshirt Sightings, Portents, Forebodings, Suspicions

Ebert on the Universe

One day last week Roger Ebert turned is mind from film to contemplate the immensity of things:

… The universe is too large for me to comprehend how large that really might be. I’ve seen those animations where Earth shrinks to a pin point, and then the sun shrinks to a pin point, and then the Milky Way shrinks to a pin point. The whole map might as well shrink to a pin point, along with the horse it rode on.

None of this immensity is affected by what I think about it. It doesn’t depend on being thought about. If it is true that our galaxy alone might contain 30 to 80 million earth-like planets, and if every one of them were occupied by sentient beings, it doesn’t depend on what they’re thinking, either. It all simply exists. …

Read his piece, “The Quintessence of Dust.”

And while you’re at it, watch the the original animation of the immensity of things, Charles and Ray Eames’ wonderful short film, Powers of Ten:


I am a science writer and armchair Fortean based in Washington, DC. Write to me at eric.wargo [at]

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