Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A universe so vast it's filled with those knives that get thrown in free when you order a Veg-o-matic


When the feeling comes over me that it's time again to expand my mind by feeling small, I take a break from work, sit back and let my homemade screen saver take me on a journey through interstellar space. It never stops moving and zooms through billions of years and countless light years.

I made the screensaver from an astonishing photograph taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA's Hubble Ultra Deep Field. I cropped this image along with several others out of the high-res version of the Hubble photo. I put the JPEGs into my Mac's screensaver utility, and the computer zooms in and out and dissolves from one to the other in an endless loop that's like a mind-expanding tour of the farthest corners of the universe. It's not like Gully Foyle in Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination, who could jaunt to just about any place in the universe just by thinking. But it's the next best thing. (Want to try it, but don't have time to make your own cropped JPEGs? Email me and I'll send you a set.)

That still doesn't explain the title. For that, you'll have to read today's New York Times.

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