Daily chart: March of the middle class | The Economist

Meant to share this last week, since it tied into my post about the state of our civilization, and the difficulty of keeping the broad sweeps of history in sight, but it fell between the cracks until now.  The world is becoming a better place...slowly. TWO decades ago the extremely poor accounted for more than a … Continue reading Daily chart: March of the middle class | The Economist

The multiverse as a scientific concept — part II

Scientia Salon

multiverseby Coel Hellier

[The first part of this essay can be found here.]


The comparison of cosmological models with high-quality and detailed observations of the early universe has led to the “inflationary” version of the Big Bang. This hypothesizes that, very early in the first second after the initial quantum fluctuation, only about 10-35 seconds later, our universe started an episode of exceptionally rapid exponential expansion, growing by a huge factor of about 1030 in only a tiny fraction of a second. This “inflation” was proposed in order to explain several otherwise puzzling features of the universe, including: (1) the similarity of the universe in opposite directions in the sky; (2) the exceptional smoothness of the cosmic microwave background (CMB); (3) the fact that the universe appears to have a very close balance between the total amount of matter and energy and the expansion rate, thus…

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