i once saw a scientist
on television.
and she was speaking generally
about science things
(being a scientist and knowing science things
etc.)
and, speaking generally
i am not a science
person,
and while i respect them,
i do not have much interest
in scientists
or science things.
so i went to switch the channel
at the precise moment that the presenter sitting beside the scientist asked:
what,
in your opinion,
is the most ASTOUNDING fact
about the universe
?
and this stopped me.
because it is not often that television presenters ask such interesting questions,
and the scientist was pursing her lips in a thoughtful way that made me think
i wanted to her her answer
to the interesting question.
after a pause,
she did not look directly at the
camera,
but directly at the presenter.

did you know,
she said,
that there are atoms in your body.
the presenter laughed.
of course,
he said.
what else would my body be made of?

well,
said the scientist,
and i did not need to look at the television screen to know
she was smiling.
do you know where those atoms came from?
well,
said the presenter.
and he did not say anything else.
i snickered from my place in the armchair
and the scientist smiled again.

the most ASTOUNDING fact that i have ever known,
she said,
is not a fact, specifically,
but the story of every atom on this planet.
the ones that make up the grass and the sea and the sand and the forests and the human
body.
these atoms came
from stars.

the presenter sat forward and so did i.

stars,
continued the scientist,
are mortal
like humans.
they die,
and, in their later years,
are unstable.
it pains me a little to say it, but a star’s death
is far more dramatic than a human’s.
is it? asked the presenter.
the scientist was looking at him still,
and i felt strongly as though i was listening in on a very private
conversation.

it is, the scientist nodded. the stars
i am referring to,
she said,
collapsed and exploded a very long time ago, and scattered their enriched guts across
the entire universe.
here, she paused, and her words caught in my mind in a way that made me wonder
if she was a scientist
or a poet.
their guts, she said whilst sipping from a glass of water, were splayed across every
inch
of time and space.
these guts were made of the
fundamental ingredients
of life and existence.
carbon and oxygen and nitrogen and hydrogen and all the
rest of it.
all in the bellies of these stars that flung themselves across the universe in protest when it was their time to die.

and then? asked the presenter.
the scientist’s lips quirked upwards. and then, she said.
it all became parts of gas clouds.
ones that condense and collapse and will form our next solar systems -
billions of stars with billions of planets to orbit them.
and these planets have the ingredients of life sewed into the very fabric
of their own lives.

so, she said, smile still playing on her lips -
where do your atoms come from?
from those gas clouds, said the presenter.
no, said the scientist.
from those stars.

every atom, every molecule, every inhale and exhale and beat of your heart, is traceable
to the crucibles that cooked life itself.
and you are sitting here and so am i and so are your viewers at home,
and we’re all in the universe, aren’t we?
yes, said the presenter.
but i’ll tell you what’s even better, the scientist smiled wider.
the universe is in us. your atoms and my atoms and your camera men’s atoms came from those stars. you’re connected and relevant without even having to try. you are made of stardust and the fabric of the universe.
that is the most ASTOUNDING fact
i can tell you.
the presenter smiled and the scientist smiled wider and i smiled too,

and later i switched the channel to something less scientific
and wondered if i should feel small,
tiny and insignificant in relation to the stars that collapsed and exploded and
threw themselves everywhere.
and that is how my mother found me,
sitting on the sofa.
and she asked me what was
wrong,
and i said,
nothing. i’m just a lot smaller than stars are.
my mother is very literal woman. as such, her natural response was:
of course you’re not. don’t you see how small stars are?
that’s only from a distance,
i said.
maybe you’re looking at yourself from a distance too, she said.

and she left the room and it is years later now, but i still
think about the scientist and what she said
and my mother and what she said
and i still see the presenter on television.
and i still think that the stars are very big
but now i think,
they are in me.
so i am big too.

'the most astounding fact' - j.c., inspired by neil degrass tyson’s talk of the same name (via girlonfired)

(via gibsonwitch)

These Women have Changed the World with Science - Too Bad a Man was Given all Credit

lilyspring:

Curse you third person

(via tyrannyoftheurgent)

fortheloveofswirl:

bootsnblossoms:

femininefreak:

Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman-Hughes, 1972 and 2014

Both by Dan Bagan

Wanna see my cry like a baby? Ask me who these women were.

Hughes’ father was beaten nearly to death by the KKK when she was a kid, and what does she do? Become an activist to try and stop that from happening to other people. She raised money to bail civil rights protesters out of jail. She helped women get out of abusive situations by providing shelter for them until they got on their feet. She founded an agency that helped women get to work without having to leave their children alone, because childcare in the 1970s? Not really a thing. In fact, a famous feminist line in the 70s was “every housewife is one man away from welfare.”

Then she teamed up with Steinman to found the Women’s Action Alliance, which created the first battered women’s shelters in history. They attacked women’s rights issues through boots on the ground activism, problem solving, and communication. They stomped over barriers of race and class to meet women where they were: mostly mothers who wanted better for themselves and their children.

These are women are who I always wanted to be.

OMG this

(via gibsonwitch)

I asked my ex, now good friend, if she would ever have an open relationship and she said, “No, I don’t think I could do that” then after a pause and a smile, “but what about love affair friendships?” She went on to describe an impenetrable fortress of female friendship, her own group of best mates who’d known each other since school and had supported and loved each other through almost all of their lifetimes. They sounded far more bonded to, and in love with one another, than their respective husbands. It struck me that we don’t have the language to reflect the diversity and breadth of connections we experience. Why is sex the thing we tend to define a relationship by, when in fact it can be simple casual fun without a deep emotional transaction? Why do we say “just friends” when, for some of us, a friendship goes deeper? Can we define a new currency of commitment that celebrates and values this? Instead of having multiple confusing interpretations of the same word, could we have different words? What if we viewed our relationships as a pyramid structure with our primary partner at the top and a host of lovers, friends, spiritual soul mates, colleagues, and acquaintances beneath that? — Rosie Wilby, “You’re More Polyamorous Than You Think” (via foutue)

(via gibsonwitch)

lizzysmart:

sandandglass:

Fox News shocked that Harvard students think the US is a greater threat to world peace than ISIS. Students who don’t agree with Fox are ‘twisted’, elitist and wrong apparently. 

Source

Next Gen STAND UP

(via gibsonwitch)

somethingsomethingrandomblog:

annies-booobs:

tits-mcgeek:

not-pizza:

My idol

This will never not be funny.

a hero for the ages

I laugh every time I read this

somethingsomethingrandomblog:

annies-booobs:

tits-mcgeek:

not-pizza:

My idol

This will never not be funny.

a hero for the ages

I laugh every time I read this

(via the-alien-strawberry)

elysedc:

The ultimate dad joke compilation

(via gibsonwitch)

throh:

unleash hell for just $1.25

throh:

unleash hell for just $1.25

(via jackspacepirate)

avadakedavros:

i work at a gym largely frequented by older women, and today as one of them left after her workout she accidentally pulled the entire door handle off and just slowly looked at her bicep in horror as if she was terrified of her new strength. it was beautiful.

(via epimeral)

rrrick:

astrodidact:

Three years ago, researchers fired whisky to the International Space Station as part of an experiment to see how the conditions in space change flavours. Next month, the whisky will return to Earth.
 http://www.sciencealert.com.au/news/20143108-26097-2.html 

Scotland’s contribution to space research. Good job.

rrrick:

astrodidact:

Three years ago, researchers fired whisky to the International Space Station as part of an experiment to see how the conditions in space change flavours. Next month, the whisky will return to Earth.

Scotland’s contribution to space research. Good job.

(via gibsonwitch)

officialwhitegirls:

shoutout to those followers that aren’t the same blog type as you and never even reblog you but still follow you

(via evasivereasoning)

imawalkingtravestyy:

i wanna lie on the floor and not think for a month or two.

(via gibsonwitch)