But what if we could see them? How big is our neighboring galaxy, Andromeda, really in our night sky? Below, is an image overlay of the night sky, with our moon, and the actual size of Andromeda.
Isn't this amazing?
It's huge! And keep in mind that it's currently 2.5 million light years away. Here is another picture from NASA: http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130801.html
But, of course, it's going to get even bigger. Andromeda is on a direct collision course with our Milky Way Galaxy, currently approaching at a speed of about 396,000 km/h, and it will slam into us in about 4 billion years (although there is no real risk of actual planets hitting each other). And after a short dance of another 1-2 billion years, we will merge into a new larger galaxy. Here is a simulation https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4disyKG7XtU
Of course, this makes little difference to us here on Earth. You see, Earth won't be a habitable planet by then. Our own sun is dying, and will slowly turn Earth into a wasteland over the next 3 billion years. So by the time Andromeda hits us, we will no longer be here.
Hopefully, we will have become a fully native spacefaring race by that time, with colonies on thousands of planets, as well as entire civilizations living in huge spaceships wandering the universe. http://goo.gl/iTBrr5
This is all about a third category: exocentric compounds that are built out of verbs, which describe what the thing does. wrote her master's thesis on these, where she named them "cutthroat compounds," after such an example: A cutthroat is someone who cuts throats.
These are surprisingly rare in English, but are common among kids: apparently, children go through a phase where they spontaneously generate lots of these, and then stop.
This is what's called a "productive" grammar: you can make up new ones and people will understand you, so if I call someone a lack-faith or Bob Stealhorse people will understand me. But they don't fit naturally into English grammar, because English is what's called a "head-initial" language: you tend to put the most significant part of a phrase or sentence first. Since English verbs have to go before their objects, this gets it backwards; it sounds like more natural English to call someone "faithless" or a "horse-thief." That's why, apart from a few cases which happened to survive, English has relatively few cutthroat compounds.
But the few we keep are pretty great, and tend to be very evocative: a sawbones, a killjoy, a slingshot. (And some, like "breakfast," become so common that we even forget that they're compound words) Apparently they dominantly fall into three categories: occupational names, local nature-words, and insults.
What it says about us that we primarily use these especially colorful compounds to describe just what we think of one another, I leave as an exercise for the reader.
On Tuesday, May 26th, starting around 7pm Pacific we will be livestreaming the keynote talks from GopherFest 2015 in San Francisco.
OK Google... Phyllis is my mom
GoT the musical!
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