HMB ENDEAVOUR is a working replica of Captain James Cook's first command. In 1768-1771, Cook circled the world and produced detailed charts of New Zealand and Australia. Onboard is a piece of the original ENDEAVOUR, salvaged from the reef where Cook threw it overboard to lighten the ship. One of the nails was flown into orbit by the shuttle Endeavour. The thoroughness of Cook's mapmaking is extraordinary. How many Naval personnel today can draw their own charts? One has to step aboard a ship like this to appreciate the magnitude of Cook's achievements.
This is the deck containing the officer's quarters. As you can see, the overhead beams are barely 150 cm from the deck! If you didn't bump your head, there were many ropes and lines to toughen one's hands on. How often today do we spend 3 years out of communication making life-or-death decisions? Cook's ENDEAVOUR inspires us to show courage in lonely and difficult spots.
My two cents were added to a Cosmic Variance discussion on the Arrows of Time:
The Universe is based upon a very simple principle: Expansion of Space is indistinguishable from the forward flow of Time. In math terms, R = ct. Scale R of the Universe is its age t, multiplied by factor c. That is why, as t increases, the Universe expands. That is the first arrow of time, the Cosmological Arrow.
The Universe can't expand at the same rate continuously, for gravitation slows it down. Factor c is further related to t by GM = tc^3, where GM combines the Mass and Newton constant of the Universe. When t was tiny, c was enormous and the Universe expanded like a bang. As t increases, expansion slows and contnues asymptotically to this day.
Since the product hc is constant, h increases proportional to t^(1/3). As R increases proportional to t^(2/3), the number of available quantum states in this volume increases. A growing h leads to increasing entropy. That is the second arrow of time, the Thermodynamic Arrow.
If one calculates, the total energy of the Universe E = O! It's the ultimate free lunch, which is how the Universe expanded from a tiny volume to the complexity we observe today. You needn't add any energy to the system. Increasing h leads to complexity in the Universe.
Now we can state some initial conditions: At time t = O, R = O and the Universe resembles an initial singularity. We also have h = O, for in zero size there is no uncertainty in position of anything. The value of c here approaches infinity. These conditions are highly unstable, an initial extremum. A nearly infinite c caused the Universe to expand at an enormous rate, slowed by gravity.
Thoughtful replies are surprising and welcome! (From the assembled big brains, there was one reply: "huh?") Perhaps one day they will look at the math and see how GM =tc^3 fits the data better than other models, without any imaginary inflatons or dark energies. In the meantime, amazing things are discovered every day. James Cook is an inspiration to go where no one has dared go before.