Leading Atheist Will Be Solving Problems, Having Fun This Weekend

Atheists are like the evangelicals of the late '90s, emerging as a wieldy demographic set to exert sizeable pressure on the political sphere as well as public consciousness. One big difference is that Atheists drink beer and dance.

We are contacting leading Atheists this week to see how they are not observing the holiest seven days on the Christian calendar. Frank R. Zindler, Managing Editor of American Atheist Press, said he's comforted by President Obama's open embrace of all believers and non-believers, but that challenges still lay in the path of total acceptance of atheism in the mainstream.

"It is, indeed, a relief to be living during the term of office of a president who not only acknowledges the existence of nonbelievers but recognizes them as decent citizens. We recall with more than a little bitterness the comment of President George Bush the First to Rob Sherman in Chicago, 'No, I don't think atheists should be considered citizens or patriots. This is one nation under God.'

Even so, it is too early to tell if the wall of separation between state and religion will be repaired to any significant degree or not. We still have "faith-based" services inherited from George the Second, and President Obama has not voiced any objection to the nonbinding resolution of the United Nations "outlawing" blasphemy and criticism of religions in general and Islam in particular...

While millions of Christians will be fantasizing a world of make-believe in order to escape from the problems of the real world, Atheists will be working hard to strip away the illusions that even they may entertain, in order to face head-on the problems threatening the survival of Homo sapiens as it struggles to live in this spaceship we call Earth. As they do every other weekend of the year and on all the weekdays in between, Atheists will be engaging the world's problems and trying to find solutions. But we'll also try to have some fun."

How to make a black hole

Here's the science of black holes, from supermassive monsters to ones the size of ping-pong balls.

  • There's more than one way to make a black hole, says NASA's Michelle Thaller. They're not always formed from dead stars. For example, there are teeny tiny black holes all around us, the result of high-energy cosmic rays slamming into our atmosphere with enough force to cram matter together so densely that no light can escape.
  • CERN is trying to create artificial black holes right now, but don't worry, it's not dangerous. Scientists there are attempting to smash two particles together with such intensity that it creates a black hole that would live for just a millionth of a second.
  • Thaller uses a brilliant analogy involving a rubber sheet, a marble, and an elephant to explain why different black holes have varying densities. Watch and learn!
  • Bonus fact: If the Earth became a black hole, it would be crushed to the size of a ping-pong ball.

10 paradoxes that will stretch your mind

From time-traveling billiard balls to information-destroying black holes, the world's got plenty of puzzles that are hard to wrap your head around.

Big Think
Surprising Science
  • While it's one of the best on Earth, the human brain has a lot of trouble accounting for certain problems.
  • We've evolved to think of reality in a very specific way, but there are plenty of paradoxes out there to suggest that reality doesn't work quite the way we think it does.
  • Considering these paradoxes is a great way to come to grips with how incomplete our understanding of the universe really is.
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China’s artificial sun reaches fusion temperature: 100 million degrees

In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.

Credit: EAST Team
Surprising Science
  • The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius.
  • Nuclear fusion could someday provide the planet with a virtually limitless supply of clean energy.
  • Still, scientists have many other obstacles to pass before fusion technology becomes a viable energy source.
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