Joel on Science:
Uh-oh. This can't be good:Astronomers have found an enormous hole in the Universe, nearly a billion light-years across, empty of both normal matter such as
stars, galaxies, and gas, and the mysterious, unseen "dark matter." While earlier studies have shown holes, or voids, in the large-scale structure of the Universe, this new discovery dwarfs them all.
"Not only has no one ever found a void this big, but we never even expected to find one this size," said Lawrence Rudnick of the University of Minnesota.
[Update: I've been thinking about this all morning and have two rather obvious thoughts:
First, if we could penetrate this enormous void, we might not find ordinary matter or dark matter, but we would discover billions and billions of unmatched socks.
Second, the void was surely created by a technologically advanced civilization in which someone at an "open house" saw a mysterious switch on the wall and flipped it.]
Joel on Literature
Transitioning out of vacation. Went to the Elephant & Castle at12th and Penn and had dinner with a gaggle of academics and literati. Michael Dirda had the best line: He said he reads a lot of science fiction and genre literature "to avoid having to read another novel about adultery in Connecticut."
That gets to the main reason I don't tend to read a lot of non-genre fiction. Most of it seems to be about people with messed up lives telling stories that I'd find tiresome even if I were their friend. Both chick lit and lad lit tend to strike me this way as well. I do feel I should be reading a bit more proper literature, but for now I'm happy with reading a lot of book reviews and being willing to jump out of my genres if something sounds really good. I think a good part of it is that I don't read for aesthetics, I watch movies or listen to music for that.