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bigjeff5 comments on Joy in the Merely Real - Less Wrong

63 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 20 March 2008 06:18AM

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Comment author: bigjeff5 02 February 2011 03:21:18AM *  3 points [-]

"Cosmos" is absolutely fantastic. Can't recommend it enough.

I too can't understand the idea that knowing how a thing works can make the thing any less awe-inspiring.

Case in point: supermassive black holes. I understand the basics of what they are, but I find the idea that the mass sometimes in the neighborhood of billions of suns could be compressed into sphere smaller than I could ever hope to see, even if it didn't prevent all light from escaping its grasp, to be absolutely amazing. That the gas falling into these black holes can move so fast and so forcefully that the friction generates the most powerful bursts of energy known to exist in the universe, sending bursts of gamma rays lancing across the universe.

How can anybody find such things anything but amazing and worthy of wonder?