Category Archives: Scientific Things

Celestial Sprinklers and Galactic Gardens

From National Geographic, to start your week off:

Seven hundred and fifty light-years from Earth, a young, sunlike star has been found with jets that blast epic quantities of water into interstellar space, shooting out droplets that move faster than a speeding bullet.

The discovery suggests that protostars may be seeding the universe with water…What’s really exciting about the discovery is that it appears to be a stellar rite of passage, the researchers say, which may shed new light on the earliest stages of our own sun’s life—and how water fits into that picture.

The water-jet phenomenon seen in Perseus is “probably a short-lived phase all protostars go through,” Kristensen said.

“But if we have enough of these sprinklers going off throughout the galaxy—this starts to become interesting on many levels.”

Indeed. More here.

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Shukla Paksha Pratipada-Happy Vedic New Year!

Today is the first day of the Vedic New Year named “Khara”, which is marked by the conjunction of the Moon and the Sun, of equal degrees in Pisces.

Vedic astrology is founded on the bahndu of the Vedic scriptures. As bahndu is Sanskrit for “the inner and outer worlds”, the ancient Hindu astrology derives from the connection between microcosm and macrocosm. Vedic astrology differs from Western astrology primarily in its focus on the Sidereal Zodiac, rather than the Tropical Zodiac. Both systems chart the ecliptic (the path that the sun traces throughout the year) according signs named after constellations (Cancer, Pisces, etc…). The Sidereal Zodiac charts the ecliptic and signs according to the position of fixed stars, while the Tropical Zodiac is determined by the position of the vernal equinox (the intersection of the ecliptic and celestial equator). The difference between the two systems has been marked by 1.4 arc degrees per century.

(image: Vedic, or Jyotiṣa, South Indian birth chart)

Quite heavy for a Monday afternoon. If you’re interested, you can read more about the 2011-2012 Vedic New Year, written by the Vedic astrologer, Chakrapani Ullal. If you’re dying to know more about the upcoming year, we will happily direct you to Chakrapani’s full, lengthy prediction for the Vedic Year “Khara” after it’s posted next week!

Shukla Paksha Pratipada! Happy New Year!


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While flipping through the pages of “Webster’s Visual Dictionary of Curiosities”, the illustrated entry for ABRACADABRA caught my eye.

The letters are arranged in quite an aesthetically arresting, and well, magical fashion. Taking the shape of an inverted triangle, the design begins with the full word, dropping a letter from each line.

And of course, there’s a magical history behind the typography.

The first record of the word dates back to the 2nd century, used by the physician to the Roman emperor, Caracalla. The physician prescribed this exact design as an amulet to ward off evil spirits and disease. As the letters disappeared, so did the disease. Because of the magical arrangement, the word was meant to be worn, not spoken. It’s believed that this talisman originated from a Kabbalistic Charm, using the initials of the Hebraic words Ab, Ben and Ruach a Cadesch (‘Father, Son and Holy Ghost’).

This charm was used throughout the middle ages, so if you’re lucky enough, you might come across an original pendant. But until that day, we might have to invest in a set of chasing tools to make you one of your own…

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