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  • Cosmic insignificance...

    3 feb 2007, 07:25

    Man has pondered about the cosmos ever since he could look up and understand that there is more out there. Philosophers have struggled with with our very existence for millennia, at best coming up with Descartes' claim of "Cogito ergo sum", 'I think, therefore I am'. But in reality all of it doesn't matter. We as humans might understand how we operate, but we will never comprehend the cosmos.

    However, let me illustrate a point, because a picture says a thousand words. You have to view the whole image.

    Remember you have to read this slowly and absorb each step back..


    We start off with our nearest members of stars, only 33 within 12.5 light years.



    We zoom away a little more and we can see within 250 light years, although we're still on the edge of the galactic tail.



    At 5000 light year view, we see that our order of stars was just shading on the tail of the galaxy.



    This is our galaxy, but wait, I'm not done.



    We zoom out even further and 500,000 light years we see that our Galaxy has s few globular galaxy clusters floating around it, drawing them into through gravity.



    This Galaxy system (containing a Galaxy and galaxy clusters} is only one of 3 in our tiny corner of 5 million light years.



    However as we zoom away, we can see that we're only one of many galaxies within the Virgo Supercluster. The Supercluster contains the Virgo Cluster and 2 other clusters. We're only in a lone group of 3 galaxies somewhere cast on the side of the cluster, hanging on to its tail.



    This amazingly huge Virgo Supercluster is but a bump on an endless intertwining of galactic filament that's the texture of the Universe. Connecting like yarn thread to other superclusters.



    WHICH, is but an amazingly tiny portion of yarn on a scale of 14 billion light years. Everything is intertwined and composed of endless possibilities and compositions.



    And where did we start? At a portion so insignificant that you can't even locate without retracing your steps. And you live there.

    We are extremely insignificant beings in a place that is infinite. We will never understand IT, but at least we can realize that we are nothing in comparison.
  • Our journey through the Universe. Part 1: The Solar System and Oort Cloud

    29 jan 2007, 17:06

    This will be a journal of several parts appearing weekly until we are finished with our journey. Distance will be explained when needed, such as AUs, and given as rounded and [exact]. Imagination is required, psychedelic trance music is recommended.

    ******************************************************

    Let's begin by imagining ourselves as giants, titans of the skies if you will. In fact we are so large that the Sun is as big as a basketball to us. Our journey begins here.

    The Sun


    This is our star, without it life on Earth would be impossible. It is a fairly small star, as there are many more that are more massive, more luminous and larger. However we don’t need much more, in fact if it were smaller or bigger we would not be here.

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    1 light second
    As we start walking we put one foot forward. The speed of light is measured as 300 million meters per second [299,792,458 meters/sec]. However, due to our size this is only 5.1 cm away from the basketball. One light second is several times smaller than our foot.

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    1 light minute
    We get to 3.1 meters and have passed the distance known as 1 light minute. We have not reached Earth just yet; we haven’t even reached the nearest planet, Mercury. Did you think that it was much closer? Most of our Solar System, not to mention the Galaxy and Universe is empty space.

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    1 AU, The Earth
    We keep walking and get to a distance known as 1 Astronomical Unit [AU]. This is the distance between the Sun and the Earth, it is 145.6 million km [145,597,870.691 km] away, however because we are so huge this is only 25.7 meters from the basketball. We glance at the Earth, and it's very difficult to find because it is only 7mm in circumference, or the size BB gun ammunition known as BBs. We can't stop and chat with the tiny inhabitants because we wouldn't even be able to see them. The Moon is about 2mm away from the Earth and from our point of view, basically touching it.

    The Earth


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    Jupiter
    We move on because we have to explore most of the Solar System and beyond. We start walking again, this time it'll be a short trip. About 134 meters from the basketball we encounter Jupiter, it lies about 5 AU from the Sun. It is the 5th planet from the Sun and the largest of all. However to us it only appears as big as a strawberry sized ball of gas. It's moon's are tiny strawberry seeds circling the planet.



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    1 light hour
    We keep walking a little further and at about 7 AU or about 1 billion km we get the distance of 1 light hour. Light took 1 hour to travel here, but we made it here relatively fast. This is only 185 meters away from the basketball. It is very difficult to see the basketball from here, it appears as a tiny blur from where we are standing. We need to start jogging at this point.

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    Neptune
    We jog for a while stopping at 771 meters to see if we can find Neptune. Neptune is about as small as a paintball so we have to search carefully. It is the last planet in the Solar System but we are not finished yet. (Also listen to Neptune Towers since we are here.)



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    Pluto
    Once we jogged a little more we get to a place called Pluto's Aphelion, or the farthest Pluto can be away from the Sun. This is 49 AU or 7.4 billion km from the Sun, but for us it was a nice jog of 1,265 meters. If you're good you got here in about 9-10 minutes. Light however took about 7 hours to get here [6h 50m 3s]. Don't bother looking for Pluto however, it is far too small. Only about 1 mm in circumference or the size of the dot at the end of this sentence.



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    Sedna's Aphelion
    We are finished with our jog now but we get into a car, because our next destination is Sedna's Aphelion. Sedna is the farthest planetoid observed in the Solar System. It makes its closest approach only 25 AU away from Pluto's Aphelion, but where we are traveling to its Aphelion which is 975 AU. However we do have a car and the trip will be much easier. We drive until we are 25 km away from the basketball!
    Even at such a size it is still that far for us to travel, however our journey has just begun and we are nowhere near our destination.


    We want to travel to the farthest point in its orbit, it'll be a quick drive but we have to take a pit stop once we get there because we're boarding our airplane.

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    Entering the Oort Cloud
    We get to Sedna's aphelion and board the plane. We travel until we are 1249 km away from our point of origin. We start to enter the Oort Cloud at ~50,000 AU.
    It's going to be a bumpy ride because the Oort cloud is basically a huge cloud of material that’s left over from the creation of our Solar System.
    We are enclosed within a cloud of comets, rock and other debris. The plane's not going to get damaged due to our size, as the comets are smaller than dots in a sentence, but there might be some turbulence due to the amount of material here. It'll be more of a swim than a flight.



    The red line is Sedna's orbit.

    Oort Cloud


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    1 light year
    Once we are inside this Oort Cloud we travel 374 more km, or 1623 km away from our point of origin to the distance of 1 light year. It is defined as 9.46 trillion kilometers [9,460,730,472,580.8 km] or 63,241 AU.
    Light has taken 1 full year to travel to this point, but we have made it here within a matter of hours. We have to continue on and get out of this Cloud, the turbulence might be getting us sick.

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    Exiting the Oort Cloud
    We travel on a bit more to a distance of 2565 km or 1.6 light years or 100,000 AUs and finally exit the Oort Cloud. There are still a few remaining comets here and there, but for the most part it is clear again and we can see the sky. We look ahead and notice that the stars aren't as close as we thought they would be. In fact we can't even make out the closest star. We continue to travel in our airplane, but our adventures to the stars will have to wait for another week. Our journey has just begun...

  • The coolest guy in Black Metal.

    3 dec 2006, 13:27

    Gotta give it to Fenriz. In every single interview I've ever read or watched with him, I've thought nothing else but that "this is the type of guy I'd like to buy a beer for and just talk." Most black metal musicians have an aura around them, and bring it about obnoxiously sometimes, not mentioning Burzum's Varg. Fenriz on the other hand, seems like a genuine guy.

    Aside from the fact that Fenriz has been in one of the most (or arguably the most) influential black metal bands,Darkthrone, he has been in several side projects as well, such as Neptune Towers, his cooperation with Satyr in Storm, and his most well known side project Isengard. This is a musician who has not limited himself to one genre or sound and has explored the many avenues of music in order to better himself as a musician. As is seen within Darkthrone's discography and the evolution it took. Hail Fenriz! A Black Metal hero.

    Fenriz video

    Fenriz recommends an album










    Also played in Dødheimsgard
    Valhall
    Black Death
  • Popular bands that I haven't heard.

    17 okt 2006, 03:52

    The question is, what are the popular or highly acclaimed and influential bands, that you just have not checked out. Despite recomendations and accessability. I think it's an interesting topic that not many people discuss for whatever reason. Maybe it's shame or maybe it's just psychologically locked away for whatever reason. But I'll be the first to admit that these are the popular metal bands that I have not checked out yet. If this makes me less "Metal" then so be it.



    Blind Guardian
    Dark Funeral
    Edguy
    Grave Digger
    Jag Panzer
    Nightwish
    Pentagram
    Root
    Virgin Steele
    W.A.S.P.
    Watain

    Anymore and I'll add them to the list.




    Anthrax
    Gorgoroth
    Celtic Frost
    Black Sabbath
    Darkane
    Windir
    Pain of Salvation
    Candlemass
    Agalloch
    Opeth
    Judas Priest
    Deicide
    Týr
    At the Gates
    Edge of Sanity
    Angel Witch
    Exodus
    Testament
    Sodom
    Destruction
    Watchtower
    Death
    Atheist
    Pelican
    Mastodon
    Isis
  • What has Black Metal turned into?

    14 okt 2006, 09:51

    As many would argue, the 3rd wave of Black Metal was the suicide of the genre. Not that it destroyed the morbid sounds of Black Metal beyond recognition, but that it saw a chink in the armor of the ideology and exploited it.

    When Black Metal formed and eventually matured in the early 90s, these ideologies were born with it in the music. The total rejection of the belief system of modern society was an emphasis on the already rejective ideology of heavy metal music until that point. This ideologically nihilistic approach however was much more than refusing to trust the government, it was a belief based on zero regulation of the mind from outside sources, rejection of all. This of course is the chink in the armor as it is inherently formed from the rejection of beliefs, hence acknowledging those beliefs, rather than ignoring them completely.

    What I am talking about are the pop culture and societal norms lurking in the genre. They have crept in unknowingly and are probably here to stay with the 3rd wave of Black Metal. Does anyone remember when Moonblood and more specifically the LLN were the trend, everyone was talking about them and most were listening to them because conformity, the evil bitch that she is, was stronger than the ideological base. Then that craze died down and new fads were given life. Black Metal seems to be less and less an outsider's sub-genre, as we (the BM community in general) are being infected with these pseudo-elitists that are present in other sub-genres as well. They do not differ at all from those sheep, as they buy into the entire trend of pop culture as well. But that is not to say that some of us have not strayed either, as this is much more psychologically inherent.

    When I think of Black Metal, I think of understanding the world through unimpeded eyes. Cutting away from the trend and being open to intelligent conversations that are not effected by the social norms. There do exist, still, some Black Metal bands in the third wave that have tried to preserve its life through a modern Black Metal renaissance, Xasthur, Deathspell Omega, Drudkh, Leviathan, Hate Forest, Nachtfalke, Sargeist, Judas Iscariot, Nargaroth, Nokturnal Mortum, and Grand Belial's Key to name just a few. Though some of these come from the gray area between the 2nd and 3rd wave, they are present in the current Black Metal world and aim to preserve the genre through offering something new to the genre or working upon those that have created something revolutionary within the current wave. This is not to say that one cannot enjoy the sounds of the others that fail to see the ideological stance of Black Metal, as one can simply appreciate the sounds of Black Metal.

    What Black Metal is not about is what much of the 3rd wave looks like nowadays, fans misunderstanding the ideology so they put on corpsepaint and sing about raping the skull of Jesus because they believe that this is what the genre wants to accomplish. When this became the mind set of the Black Metal community, the final nail was driven into the coffin of the dying genre. Black Metal is about the awareness of the self and realizing that all of this bullshit around us, all of the shit that we are being fed is the sheep’s mentality. Black Metal is supposed to open your mind, not close it.


    Isengard
    Megiddo
  • Which Black Metal scene do you prefer?

    27 sep 2006, 04:30

    I've had this on my mind for some time now, I was wondering which scene is most favorable amongst Black Metal listeners, although you can answer anything you wish, here are the choices are present you with, list your top 10 and I'll add everything up and see what the most favorable one is. Obviously we all know that the Norwegian scene is going to be in the top 5 if not number 1, so let's try to think about this subjectively rather than objectively.

    The bands for each country are just examples of the more prominent and important ones, just for referance.

    Australia - Abominator, Abyssic Hate, By Dawn Cursed, Spear of Longinus, Striborg, Winterfallen

    Austria - Abigor, Astaroth, Belphegor, Summoning

    Brazil - Apokalyptic Raids, Evil, Goat Penis, Holocausto, Mystifier, Sarcófago, Vulcano

    Canada - Blasphemy, Bloodaxe, Dead of Winter, Lust, Megiddo, Necronomicon, Nefastus Dies, Thesyre, Triskèle, Will of the Ancients, Woods of Ypres

    Czech Republic - Amon, Amon Goeth, Inferno, Maniac Butcher, Master's Hammer, Root

    Denmark - Angantyr, Horned Almighty, Mercyful Fate, Nortt, Panzerchrist, Sortsind

    Finland - Anal Blasphemy, Annihilatus, Azaghal, Barathrum, Beherit, Behexen, Catamenia, Clandestine Blaze, Dead Reptile Shrine, Diaboli, Horna, Impaled Nazarene, Sargeist, Satanic Warmaster, Wyrd

    France - Ad Hominem, Anorexia Nervosa, Belenos, Belketre, Blut aus Nord, Deathspell Omega, Glorior Belli, Mütiilation, Nehëmah, Vlad Tepes, + LLN

    Germany - Absurd, Bethlehem, Desaster, Endstille, Frostkrieg, Graupel, Helrunar, Katharsis, Lunar Aurora, Moonblood, Nachtfalke, Nargaroth, Nyktalgia, The Ruins of Beverast, Vinterriket, Wehrhammer, Wigrid

    Hungary - Dusk

    Ireland - Primordial

    Israel - Melechesh

    Italy - Aborym, Bulldozer, Forgotten Tomb, Graveworm, Mortuary Drape, Nazgul, Necrodeath, Opera IX

    Japan - Abigail, Sabbat, Sigh

    Netherlands - Countess, Fluisterwoud, Funeral Winds, Galgeras, Haatstrijd, Infinity, Liar of Golgotha, Lugubrum, Malignant, Sauron

    Norway - 1349, Arcturus, Borknagar, Burzum, Carpathian Forest, Darkthrone, Emperor, Gorgoroth, Ildjarn, Immortal, Mayhem, Satyricon, Taake, Ulver, Windir

    Poland - Behemoth, Besatt, Christ Agony, Graveland, Holy Death, Kataxu, Lord Wind, Moontower, North, Thor's Hammer, Thunderbolt

    Romania - Negura Bunget

    Russia - Ashen Light, Branikald, Forest, HABb, Old Wainds, Rundagor, Satarial, Temnozor, Vargleide

    Sweden - Abruptum, Arckanum, Bathory, Bestial Mockery, Dark Funeral, Diabolicum, Lord Belial, Marduk, Nifelheim, Ondskapt, Sacramentum, Setherial, Svartsyn, Watain

    UK - Akercocke, Anaal Nathrakh, Forefather, Hecate Enthroned, The Axis of Perdition, Venom

    Ukraine - Astrofaes, Drudkh, Dub Buk, Hate Forest, Lucifugum, Nokturnal Mortum

    USA - Absu, Black Funeral, Black Witchery, Goatwhore, Grand Belial's Key, Inquisition, Judas Iscariot, Krieg, Kult ov Azazel, Leviathan, Nachtmystium, Profanatica, Velvet Cacoon, Weakling, Wolves in the Throne Room, Xasthur

    So what will it be? Will it be the Titans of the Norwegian scene? The underrated Brazilian Black Metal rawness? The USBM onslaught? The relatively small Dutch BM? Germany's consistent output? France's legions and the LLN? Or perhaps the overall quality of the Ukrainians? The choice is difficult, this is the best that I could come up with:

    1. Germany
    2. Norway
    3. Ukraine
    4. France
    5. USA
    6. Sweden
    7. Finland
    8. Canada
    9. Poland
    10. Austria


    Updated 11/15, the standings are:

    1. Norway - 507
    2. Sweden - 279
    3. Germany - 278
    4. France - 261
    5. Ukraine - 246
    6. Poland - 235
    7. USA - 191
    8. Finland - 177
    9. Austria - 86
    10. Russia - 80
    11. UK - 58
    12. Australia - 50
    13. Netherlands - 49
    14. Italy - 48
    15. Canada - 29
    16. Japan - 23
    17. Switzerland - 23
    18. Romania - 21
    19. Denmark - 18
    20. Greece - 16
    21. Brazil - 15
    22. Czech Republic - 12
    23. Belgium - 8
    24. Israel - 7
    25. Ireland - 6
    26. Hungary - 3

    *Using the points per rank method.


    Norway a mile ahead of Sweden and Germany, who are neck and neck.