August 9, 2006

universe at 380,000 yrs (not actual size)

this is the cosmic microwave background presented in the best known way of conveying scientific information: printed on a beach ball. talk about an inflationary universe! (i'm so sorry.) anyway, if more results were presented through this medium, no one would ever again have trouble getting funding.

a few years ago wmap secretly distributed them to cosmologists. needless to say, the early universe printed on a inflatable ball is something that i have decided i must have. For some reason, despite not being for sale, the ball seems to have its own web site. as consolation there is a whole page of other merchandise bearing the cmb pattern (those greedy cosmologists!), but mugs and boxer shorts don't have quite the same appeal. i pledge now to the internet, ultimate keeper of pledges made to no one in particular, that i will acquire this ball. i am not sure how yet, but i swear to do whatever it takes--breaking into someone's office, posing as an elementary school, sending threatening letters to beach ball manufacturers. whatever.

Update: Mission accomplished.