Word for the day – Zenith

11 March 2008

One of my favorite words.

Zenith

Go out on a clear night an look straight up. That’s the Zenith.

The terms Zenith and Nadir are also used when referring to the two of the six Common Berthing Mechanisms (CBMs) of the Unity and Harmony modules of the International Space Station. CBMs are the docking ports where other modules of the space station are connected.

The image below depicts Node 2 now renamed Harmony. The image shows the Zenith CBM (on top), the Forward CBM (to the left) and the Port CBM (to the right) are shown. Not shown are the Nadir CBM (on the bottom opposite the Zenith CBM), the Starboard CBM (opposite the Port CBM) and the Aft CBM (on the opposite end to the Forward CBM).

harmony_detail.jpg

ESAs laboratary Columbus is now permanently berthed to the Starboard CBM of Harmony.
The Experiment Logistics Module Presurized Section (ELM PS) of the Japanese Experiment Module (Kibo) will be temporarily berthed to the Zenith CBM during the current STS-123 mission.


Word for the day – theory

27 July 2007

The Bad Astronomer posted an article just over a week ago on his irritation with the argument that “evolution is just a theory”. He says:

It’s like saying the Eiffel Tower is just a tower.

His article links to this site which explains what scientists mean when they use the word theory.

In everyday use, theory means a guess or a hunch, something that maybe needs proof. In science, a theory is not a guess, not a hunch. It’s a well-substantiated, well-supported, well-documented explanation for our observations. It ties together all the facts about something, providing an explanation that fits all the observations and can be used to make predictions. In science, theory is the ultimate goal, the explanation. It’s as close to proven as anything in science can be.

So by saying “evolution is just a theory” what you are saying scientifically speaking is that evolution is as close to being proved as it can be. Which is what mainstream scientist have been confirming for the last 150 years.


Word for the day – risible

27 May 2007

Every now and again for some unknown reason I seem to jump over into another parallel universe. This parallel universe always lies close up to the old one and is almost indistinguishable from it. Because the new parallel universe is so similar to the old one it probably takes some time before I am aware of the jump. I usually notice the jump because some change suddenly grabs my attention. Usually the change is a new word I suddenly notice. Sometimes it is a company name that is unfamiliar.

Of course I cannot prove that I have recently jumped over to here from another parallel universe. To you guys that word or company name has always been here. The great adventure of course will be the time I jump into a parallel universe where everything has changed.

I must have recently made a fresh jump because a new word (new to me that is) caught my attention in this sentence:

This would be risible if anti-evolution forces were confined to a lunatic fringe, but they are not.

I found that new word (new to me of course) mentioned in a quote in this blog. The originating newspaper article is here.