BAN #109: MARVELous, Science wedding

April 29, 2019 Issue #109

[Saturn image credit: NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute / Gordan Ugarkovic]


Subscribers are my one true love.


I recommend

Something I think you’ll like

Yeah, so Endgame. No spoilers, I swear.

[Credit: Marvel Studios]

I watched it over the weekend, and I wouldn’t hesitate to tell others to see it, bearing in mind that if you’re a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe you either already have or have plans to, and if you’re not, well, there are 21 other movies you might want to watch first before this one would make any sense.

I really liked it. It was, in fact, so good, that nitpicking flaws seems a little nerdgassy. But… If you’ve seen it then I highly recommend Chuck Wendig’s discussion of it on his blog Terrible Minds. I agree with pretty much everything he said, including some of the issues he had with it.

After I read it he and I DMed back and forth and I brought up another issued he hadn’t written about in his essay (and about which he agreed with me; we’re on a wavelength about all this). I really don’t want to spoil anything here, so I wish I could talk about it. Maybe in next week’s issue. By then I’m sure you’ll have seen others making the same points I would, so we’ll see.

I rarely see a movie twice in the theaters any more, but I might make an exception here. I was actually thinking of going to see Captain Marvel again, since I missed a couple of the more interesting feminist statements it made — while I consider myself a feminist, I’m not a woman, and don’t have the same experiences women have in life, so there were some scenes I interpreted differently as a man. I did some reading about the movie, and now I want to go back and see those scenes again with a little bit of a differently lit point of view. I expect that’ll be fun.



Personal Stuff

Yeah, but not too personal

Also over the weekend I did something I’ve never done before: Officiated a wedding.

Yup. Marjorie Halbig and Tim Alexander wanted to have a science-themed wedding, and approached me to officiate it… and even give a talk! I’ll admit it took me a little while to wrap my head around the later part (giving a talk at a wedding seemed like a non-sequitur at first) but once I got it I loved the idea. [BTW you don’t need to have a license or anything like that to officiate a wedding in Colorado, which I think is the right way to go.]

The ceremony was held at Fiske Planetarium in Boulder, Colorado, and let me tell you, having a wedding at a planetarium is simply brilliant. Fiske, for example, seats around 200 people, so there’s plenty of room, and the way the seats are arranged it was easy for everyone to see the stage where the wedding party was. They have a sound system already set up, and could display the sky on the dome as guests came in.

[An indication of how much fun the wedding was; the photographer, Loria Carnefix, posed us like a Vanity Fair shoot and everyone immediately snapped into position. This was taken by one of the wedding guests from off to the side during the shoot. Credit: Marjorie Alexander]

I wrote a special presentation just for Marj and Tim, about how the Universe isn’t really random; it can be chaotic, but the underlying rules (like gravity and chemistry) allow, even mandate order to emerge. This, I posited, is comparable to how we meet people in life, which then segued into a dismissal of the idea of a “soul mate”, that there’s a One True Love for you. Soul mates aren’t found, I argue: They’re made over time as you grow together. So, that was a fun narrative to put together. And I got to mention Star Trek several times.

The reception was amazing, with something like 200 nerds talking and laughing and celebrating. If your friends are a measure of who you are, Marj and Tim are truly wonderful people.

It was an honor and a true pleasure to be a part of their wedding. I hope their world lines remain intertwined for a long, long time to come.


Blog Jam

What I’ve recently written on the blog, ICYMI

[From Wednesday’s post, an incredible image of the Large Magellanic Cloud. Credit: Jean Claude Canonne, Philippe Bernhard, Didier Chaplain, Nicolas Outters, and Laurent Bourgon]

Monday April 8, 2019: Gaia: The sky is littered with undigested galaxies

Tuesday April 9, 2019: No, 'methane bombs' aren't a catastrophic climate change problem… unless we make them so

Wednesday April 10, 2019: 'Amateur' astronomers create an incredible 1000+ hour image of a galactic neighbor

Thursday April 11, 2019: Could interstellar visitors like 'Oumuamua actually help planets form?

Friday April 12, 2019: SPECULOOS (yes, seriously), a new exoplanet hunter, comes online


Et alia

You can email me at thebadastronomer@gmail.com (though replies can take a while), and all my social media outlets are gathered together at about.me. Also, if you don’t already, please subscribe to this newsletter! And feel free to tell a friend or nine, too. Thanks!