Friday, July 24, 2015


"The Pleiades, an open star cluster, sparkles in the constellation Taurus. ..Although I can't see it with the naked eye, I know a "brown dwarf" lives there, a faint denizen of deep space too large to be a planet but too tiny to be star. Brown dwarfs, which form from a collapsing cloud of gas and dust, are suns that for some reason didn't ignite into leaping infernos. Frigid to the core, not bright enough to see, they're only detectable because of their abundant lithium.

Lithium, the chemical manic-depressives take to stabilize their moods. I bet manic-depressives would enjoy knowing they share an elemental chemistry with huge objects in the far reaches of space, wondrous objects located and defined by their use of lithium."

Page 157, 'A Slender Thread, Rediscovering Hope at the Heart of Crisis', Diane Ackerman

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