There’s something exciting afoot in the world of cosmology. Last month, Roger Penrose at the University of Oxford and Vahe Gurzadyan at Yerevan State University in Armenia announced that they had found patterns of concentric circles in the cosmic microwave background, the echo of the Big Bang.
This, they say, is exactly what you’d expect if the universe were eternally cyclical. By that, they mean that each cycle ends with a big bang that starts the next cycle. In this model, the universe is a kind of cosmic Russian Doll, with all previous universes contained within the current one.
That’s an extraordinary discovery: evidence of something that occurred before the (conventional) Big Bang.
Today, another group says they’ve found something else in the echo of the Big Bang. These guys start with a different model of the universe called eternal inflation. In this way of thinking, the universe we see is merely a bubble in a much larger cosmos. This cosmos is filled with other bubbles, all of which are other universes where the laws of physics may be dramatically different to ours.
These bubbles probably had a violent past, jostling together and leaving “cosmic bruises” where they touched. If so, these bruises ought to be visible today in the cosmic microwave background.
Now Stephen Feeney at University College London and a few pals say they’ve found tentative evidence of this bruising in the form of circular patterns in cosmic microwave background. In fact, they’ve found four bruises, implying that our universe must have smashed into other bubbles at least four times in the past.
Again, this is an extraordinary result: the first evidence of universes beyond our own.
It’s been a great year! You’ve successfully made yourself look amazing in your online photos and people are starting to forget that you’re a socially handicapped pole smoker with man boobs who’s incapable of receiving or giving a handjob. By uploading pictures of yourself wearing headphones, people really believe you’re a skilled DJ and are lining up to ask you questions like “Why don’t you go fuck yourself?”
Your prescription-less glasses are letting us know you’re completely clueless on how to do something different and so you’ll do whatever a 12-year-old came up with. You know it’s a bad idea, you know we’re all laughing at you, but you did it, and now we can’t look at you the same way. Why not just get cornrows? Enjoy your glasses, hope it was worth it, but you can’t polish a turd.
Your existence is as depressing as a high school shooting and you smell like a yeast infection. May the passing of Farah Fawcett be a reminder to you that when you’re gone, your life and death will also be forgotten immediately. Except when we are so relieved of your absence that we drink five kegs of beer, then piss every last drop of it on your $300 grave.
You’re decrepit. You’re such an embarrassment that even the junkies are judging and scoffing at the outfit you picked for the day. Since you went traveling ALL THE WAY through the beaches of Mexico, you’ve noticed it’s not just local judgment being passed on you. You’re a loser even to men in “1 Tequila, 2 tequila, 3 tequila floor” shirts.
It’s people like you that created the inbred. You’re such a self-obsessed Twitter whore fuckhead that the only person who’s impressed with the pointless drivel you spit is your baby sibling/soon-to-be best friend because no one else can look you in the eye. Go find a room with fluffy animals you can make pretend picnics with, you loser. Next time you send a Twitter, just remember: everyone hates you and doesn’t give a fuck what you’re doing.
Next year you’re finally gonna make it to the big screen! Unfortunately, it’ll be on an episode of Cold Case Files. No one will know, or really care what happened to you. But we’ll get to see our city and surroundings on A&E and hear the sweet, soothing, ‘whiskey and peanuts’ voice of Bill Kurtis. You’re lucky numbers are nine, one and one.
You’re a bloated washed up midget. When you open your chubby mouth your jowls give us wood because they look like bouncing tits. It’s time for that gastric bypass surgery because you’ve gone gordo, which is Spanish for fat. All the king’s hookers and all the king’s blow, can’t trim your gunt… to the gym you must go. Just to be clear: lose weight.
Nice v-neck tee. Keep bleaching those denim tights and no one will ever see the mounds of blow that’s fallen from your nose. The emo music will help keep your head down while you proceed to bullshit everyone on how much “work” you do and all the “art” you’ve been creating.
There is a ghost lingering in your residence. It watches you pick your nose, stretch your genitals and play doctor with yourself. That ghost that used to be repulsed by you is lately so intrigued with you that while you sleep it picks your nose, stretches your gentials and plays doctor with you. At night it sleeps inside your bacon cave, and when you fart in the morning: that’s actually you blowing the ghost out of your ass. There’s nothing wrong with having a ghost give you the feelies, but your one in particular was a sodomite.
The people in your gym are calling you “pork back with no ribs” which I guess is better than those in your workplace that call you “Devil wears Winners.” If defeat had an image, it would be you. The last time you went to an all-you-can-eat buffet the chef blew his leg trying to keep up with your orders. Put all your clothes in a suitcase, hold it over your head and round around the block 10 times.
You’ve been mentally scarred since your grandma caught you masturbating as a child. How do you think SHE feels? She’s been as dry as a desert since, developed a stutter which makes her teeth fall out and had to start wearing Depends the very next day. Tip: next time you play happy and get caught, don’t finish… it’s frowned upon.
It’s time to get yourself a dog so someone will respect you. The next time you search for love, your prey will be the perfect balance of ‘high enough on drugs’ and ‘low enough self-esteem’ to do sex with you… during which you’ll cry. Date rapists are less creepy than you. No one should wear sunglasses in a club—but you SHOULD, so we don’t have to see your beady, bedroom, Jon Gross-elin eyes. The similarities between you and foreskin are uncanny.
Pisces represents two fishes swimming in opposite directions, bound by a cord. The dualism implicit in its symbolism is a weakening principle, because the fishes strain against each other rather than support each other’s motion. This adds an element of vacillation to the way a Piscean thinks and acts, but it also suggests the ability to receive influences from multiple sources which, whilst tending to undermine self-will, gives the capacity for rounded awareness and instinctive understanding of how gain in one area results from loss in another.
As such a trait suggests, Pisceans are not known for being quick and decisive problem solvers. They are apt to see everything as a dilemma, riddled with numerous options and shades of possibility. A complex and idealistic sign, Pisces sets a high store on conscience and consequence, with the fear of causing upset to others often gaining the upper hand over the desire to assert one’s own interests. Highly sensitive and impressionable, Pisceans are either commended for their compassionate humility and sympathetic consideration, or berated for being weak-willed, gullible and lacking in focus.
Kindness, trust and a ‘willingness to believe’ has contributed to Pisces’ reputation as one of the most spiritual signs of the zodiac. This is not some modern derivation from the attributes of Neptune; its ancient history is riddled with allegiance to spiritual principles, and the symbol for fishes is often taken as an icon for churches and priests, predating the sign’s traditional connection with Jupiter, (itself a significator for priests and religious matters); and the adoption of the sign of the fish by Christianity, where it is seen as an emblem for gentility, peace and denial of the ego in favour of the collective’s needs.
The notion of meekness arises from the creature’s easy representation of the pacifist – the fish is not an aggressive animal and has no natural defenses except its fluid movement, coupled with an instinct to swim away from trouble. Its astrological reputation acknowledges the noble attributes of personal sacrifice and resolution to suffering without retribution, but it also recognizes that human beings seldom live up to highest principles – timidity often appearing at a lower scale under the guise of cowardice, avoidance of personal responsibility or, as Lilly would have it, ‘idle effeminacy’ … ‘representing a party of no action’.* Pisceans certainly don’t fit comfortably in the role of challenging hero who rushes headlong into battle. Their strength is borne from reflection, consideration, and resistance to actions that perpetuate pain.
But pacifism only represents one element of Pisces’ spiritual reputation. A deeper significance lies in the fact that the fish is a creature of the ocean, which since ancient times has been taken as the symbolic realm of emotional and spiritual energy that lies beneath physical existence, where all is connected and nothing moves without creating a tide of motion that pulls or pushes against another. The sea as the magna mater, the primary source, signifies the boundless essence of soulful creativity and elemental life force from which everything emerges and eventually returns. Fishes, as intrinsic parts of this fertile yet deeply mysterious realm, were regarded as sacred representations of the soul and the spiritual connection that animates society.
Being natives of the world of water, Pisceans are highly responsive to their environment, easily influenced by the moods and expectations of others. The element of water signifies dissolution of personal barriers that exist to detach us from the physical pain and emotional suffering of others. Lacking the hardened shell of Cancer and Scorpio, Pisces has least resistance amongst the water-signs to surrounding impressions, making them almost as responsive to excitement, fear, anticipation, joy, hurt and laughter originated from without as that generated from within. If they see tears they will cry, if they see a smile they will smile back; no other sign is so prone to the infectious nature of human emotion.
The ‘boundless ocean’ represents a very open and fluid environment where instincts reign. Changeable and unpredictable, it lacks structure, control and conformity. So too the Piscean finds it hard to cope with discipline, routine and order. Their emotional capacity gives a strong imagination that often finds expression through escapist tendencies or dreamy, hopeful visions. Capable of great inspiration and idealism, they are often accused of lacking realism and being too trusting in the conviction that the power of belief, hope, or love can transcend all bounds and borders. Jupiter, as the traditional ruler of the sign, promotes the urge for freedom from restraint and mundane obligations. But Jupiter struggles to find conscious direction in Pisces, where the emphasis falls upon faith over reason, and freedom of the soul through denial of earthly shackles. Unless a proclivity for self-imposed structure and regulation are suggested by more earthy qualities in the chart, Pisces often wastes its potential by failing to give lasting definition to its latent creativity. It will ‘go with the flow’ and when interest or energy levels drop, so too does application. Pisceans are great starters of projects and initiators of ideas, but they lack the sustained energy that is required to fulfill many of their long-term objectives.
The same is suggested by Pisces’ highly fertile reputation. Pisces and Jupiter are both prime significators for fruitfulness, easy conception, an abundance of offspring, creativity and ideas. Whilst offering a blessing for pregnancy matters, multitudinous fecundity suggests problems through being too easily impressed, too quickly receptive to a host of potentials – to the detriment of the one worthy project that demands singular attention. As the fish spawns numerous eggs, Pisceans are never short of creative possibilities to explore and develop. Most will admit that they abound with inspirational ideas and imaginative thoughts, but they lose motivation once projects begin to require more mundane maintenance than creative investment.
This can present itself as restlessness and unreliability. Most professional Pisceans need to find a career path that allows for flexibility and a constant exploration of new interests and emotional stimulation. They excel in design and development, but suffer in management and administration. Their fields are the arts and the caring professions, where they can fulfill their urge to nurse, heal or soothe, or absorb and reflect the power of the psyche. Although they may be unreliable in time-keeping, often best when working to their own agendas or allowed flexible hours, once roused to action they will give their all, because everything they do is invested with feeling and emotion.
The modern rulership of Neptune over the sign demonstrates the close affinity that exists between Pisces’ soft and subtle nature and the observable effects of this nebulous outer planet. Neptune’s principle is dissolution into collectiveness. Although often marveled as a planet of great spiritual mysticism, mundane astrology accepts that part of its influence is to weaken vital force and strive towards communism, where all are equaled, segregations and barriers are broken down and no one shines brighter than the rest. Neptune can bring depression and Pisceans are known for having low vitality which makes them easy prey to lethargy. Their temperament is defined as phlegmatic, which is associated with delicate constitutions, pale complexions and inertia. The poor generation of heat describes the sign as one that is slow to rouse to temper, but easily susceptible to emotional hurt. Other negative Piscean traits include carelessness, inattention to details, manipulation, and an easy dependence upon drugs, alcohol, and artificial stimulants. Part of the latter problem is due to a casual disregard for regulation and self-imposed limitation, the rest is due to their extreme sensitivity which makes them readily responsive to addictive substances. The reputation for manipulation arises less as a result of an inclination towards dishonesty, but as reluctance to deal directly with uncomfortable issues that feel too painful and distressing to tackle head-on. Instead the Piscean will introduce a softening principle, distorting little realities so that the truth seems easier to swallow.
Pisceans are rarely motivated by pure self-interest but they are easily distracted, effortlessly led, and subject to the powerful temptation of aroused emotion. Venus has played an important part in the ancient myths surrounding the constellation Pisces and is considered exalted in this sign because its delicate and tender nature is so responsive to romanticized visions of love and attraction. Pisces needs a soul mate, and they take no greater pleasure than when sacrificing everything for that which they find attractive and beautiful. Unfortunately, Pisces is not a sign of clear and rational vision. When they fall in love they often, quite literally, fall into an abyss of intense confusion and distorted reality that allows no room for critical reasoning. Pisceans can make the most generous, open and tenderhearted lovers but they can suffer in relationships, either by clinging to false dreams that bear no basis in actuality, or through the inability to deal with the practical rules of engagement that remain in relationships once the initial blush of romantic sensation has faded.
The modern world, with its message that anyone can have anything they want so long as they demand it aggressively enough, take no prisoners and impress their will firmly upon everyone else, can be a hard and hostile environment for the gentle, non-confrontational Piscean. But this sign has been blessed with great intuition and a deep spiritual source from which to draw calm resolution. The cord that binds the two opposing fishes shows that although they are open to a wide range of emotions and psychic impressions, they are forever tied to the process of centering themselves and bringing equilibrium to their own lives, and those of others around them.
Famous Pisces: Albert Einstein, Elizabeth Taylor, Nicholas Copernicus, George Harrison, Prince Edward, Liza Minelli, George Washington, Jean Baptiste Morin..and ME!.
Chinese New Year 4705 or 2008 in the Western calendar is the Year of the Brown Earth Rat. This year of the rat begins a new 12 year cycle of the Chinese zodiac.
Like the houses of the zodiac, the animals of Chinese astrology are said to influence your luck during the year. Your horoscope for 2008, the year of the rat, depends on which animal signifies the year you were born.
Rats are water signs and it is said that they make a very good match for monkeys and dragons, but do not get along well with rabbits, horses and roosters. The brown earth influences of this year also make oxen a favored friend of the persevering rat but add conflict to the year as the elements of earth and water seek a balance – especially during the early part of the year.
The rat’s stone, the deep red garnet, is the color of joyful celebration. It signifies the loyalty and passion of the most honorable traits of the sign that will rule the year ahead.
In China, it is said that there are few poor rats. It is considered very auspicious to be born in the year of the earth rat. Babies born under this sign are intelligent and hard working. They are intelligent, curious, sociable born leaders who do well in any group, but value ties with family and close friends more than social contacts. The earth influences balance the rat’s water nature for those born in this year making them able to control the flights of intellect that often draw the rat away from a good course. The selfish and calculating aspects of the rat are toned by the nurturing earth force. These are leaders to be followed with trust and good partners for a life filled with good fortune. The rat is clever, sometimes too clever. When mixed with the passion and charm of this sign, the rat can be manipulative as a life partner or business associate. The ability to initiate new ideas and work hard to reach a goal led the rat to the first place of honor at the side of Buddha. These are traits that bring success in both business and personal affairs.
The last time the earth rat was seen as the ruling influence was February 10, 1948 – January 28, 1949. Baby boomers who were born under this sign will be celebrating their 60th birthday looking back on many years of good fortune and looking ahead to many more.
Here are a few general conclusions from the opinions of the sages…
Rat : 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996, 2008
The clever rat has made many ambitious plans that will be put into action this year. Good fortune and good times will surround the rat in this year of glory. Easy social grace is a gift of those born in this sign, but trusted close friends and family are the center that the rat needs to secure prosperity. Beware of the battle of earth and water that may confuse the scurrying rat. This beginning of the year will see the rat tempted by many flirtatious relationships. Faithfulness and loyalty are difficult with so many admiring glances. Understand the fear of those you care for as you seem to be drawn to many new relationships. Take steps to avoid damage to your true partners. As the year passes the successful rat will see more serious relationships bear fruit. Although the rat is a water sign, boat cruises are not a good vacation plan. Travel to exotic lands to explore,meet new people and experience adventure may be the perfect honeymoon. With the influence of the earth aspects of this year, promises of commitments become real and those born in this sign may experience the blessings of marriage and of children added to their family. The rat who cannot focus on success will be misled and find much conflict and many uncomfortable scenes caused by straying from a match that will bring good fortune. When prosperity and love come easily they may not be treated with respect. The rat who will succeed is the one who remembers that greed and manipulation may bring quick victories but ultimately strengthen enemies. The cat is ever watchful of the rat who stole its place. Listen to the guidance of ancestors, loved ones and trusted friends. Beware of the flattery of casual admiration to completely fulfill the promise of extreme good fortune that this year holds.