at the air and space museum there’s a scale that’ll tell you how much you weigh on earth and how much you’d weigh on the moon. i stepped on it and i weigh 195, which is more than the last time i paid attention to a scale, so i had a little tiny fit of self-loathing, as one does
but then i thought about the moon number and then i thought about the moon and how i got to touch a Moon Rock; and how humans have stood on the moon; and how close she is; and how far away everything else is
and how the universe is contradicting itself by being both infinite and expanding; and how the sun’s going to consume the earth before it puts itself out; and how long that’ll take; and how little time we all get
by that point i didn’t care about weighing 195 anymore
i think it worked the way museums and science and wonder are supposed to work: you lose yourself in awe at how small you are, and how grand a system you’re suspended in. 195 isn’t much in the grand scheme of things
what a gift it is to be a speck in all this, right
my friend is studying for the mcat and was just trying to explain to me about heat transfer and she said ‘you know, like the reason you get cold when you go outside on a freezing day is that your tiny human body is trying to warm up the entire universe’ and i think that’s the best thing i have ever heard
We all have a thirst for wonder. It’s a deeply human quality. Science and religion are both bound up with it. What I’m saying is, you don’t have to make stories up, you don’t have to exaggerate. There’s wonder and awe enough in the real world. Nature’s a lot better at inventing wonders than we are.
It has to do with curiosity. It has to do with people wondering what makes something do something. And then to discover, if you try to get answers, that they are related to each other–that things that make the wind make the waves, that the motion of water is like the motion of air is like the motion of sand. The fact that things have common features. It turns out more and more universal. What we are looking for is how everything works. What makes everything work.
Teraterpeton, an unusual archosauromorph from the Late Triassic of Nova Scotia, Canada (~235-221 mya). Probably around 1m long (3′3″), it was a member of the trilophosaurs, a group of lizard-like archosauromorphs with toothless beaks at the front of their jaws and chisel-like cheek teeth at the back.
It had a very long, thin, rather bird-like snout, with a huge nasal opening, and a euryapsid-type skull with the lower temporal fenestra closed off – a condition seen in some marine reptiles like ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs, but unique among all its close relatives.
Its forelimbs also had deep narrow blade-like claws, and the rest of its body is only known from fragmentary remains. It was clearly adapted for some sort of highly specialized niche in its ecosystem, but we just don’t yet know what that niche actually was.
Maybe one day we’ll find more complete fossils of this odd animal and get some answers… or even more surprises.