Hot damn, I’m losing it. I’m starting to read more and more. Not only that, but after the reading the thinking doesn’t stop when I sleep, or try to anyway. Sir Isaac Newton’s & Albert Einstein's intellectual fever, a much, much milder strain than theirs though, seems to have hit me. [Difference is, I might think about it but will not come up with anything!] It's gotten to be so bad I even haven’t gotten a haircut or shaved for the longest time – there isn’t any time for any of that! I need more time to read, and think! I seem to be especially partial to stuff about space & time. The idea that space is both unimaginably vast yet so infinitesimal is fascinating to me, as is the hypothesis that time isn't necessarilly consistent.
Say, for instance you were floating around in space taking in the sights, right by the Earth. Haley’s Comet whooshes past you at a distance – assuming it was that time of the century - and there’s all sorts of other debris flying around, thanks to NASA.
They leave parts of spacecraft floating around thinking they'd be harmless, but sooner or later the debris starts orbiting something and pretty soon starts moving at crazy-fast speeds. In one experiment, a fleck of paint went through a six inch thick slab of steel – that’s how fast it was moving – thousands of miles per second.
Anyhow, Haley whooshes by, faster than a missile but utterly silent. You pray that flecks of paint won’t rip through you. That bluish-looking planet over there is Earth. The moon is lazily working through its elliptical orbit around Mother Earth. The sun is over there, fiery as ever and huge, beaming the entire spectrum, infrared and UV rays everywhere. Assuming your vision has crazy zoom in real-time, you see the 9 planets in the solar system. But wait, there’s one more planet that’s even further away than Pluto, and it’s circling our sun too! Not only does it exist, but it has a ‘moon’ circling it! You remind yourself to throw away all those textbooks that erroneously stated that there were 9 planets in our solar system, and keep going.
As you move out of the solar system, you see plenty of other ‘suns’ all over the place. Considering that it took you a couple of hundred years to get out the solar system - if you were to live that long - at spacecraft speeds, you might need to bring along lots of food and drink, your wife/husband or girl/boyfriend, as well as plenty of toilet paper; the squeeze for recreation - oh, and for procreation in case you kick the bucket in mid-flight - and... you know what the toilet paper’s for.
On second thought, take a few other couples with you. You wouldn't want any incestuous relationships developing - unless you're from West Virginia. [ouch!]
After eenie-meenie-minie-moe-ing the potential destination, you'd just sit around, mess around and wait until, several generations later after you’re long gone, your children’s children's children get to the aforementioned destination. They then take pictures and video clips which they transmit back to Houston, the photos hitting Houston’s satellites some 400 earth years and a gazillion AUs later [Astronomical Units].
The clincher is though, that the journey, to you and yours, only took, say 250 years, but to the people on earth it might've been 400 years!
Which begs the questions: What is time anyway? Is time dependent on where in space you might be, on what celestial body you might be on or near? For instance, on the threshhold of an event horizon, does time stay suspended forever?
What I’m trying to convey here is the utter vastness of space and the apparent complexity of time, and just how small we are compared to everything else. Not only is it humbling when I think of it like that, but it makes me curious as hell about everything coz I realize I really don’t know anything.
Hence my latest obsession of reading about general relativity and nebulas and quantum physics and quantum foam and quantum tunneling and black holes – not those black holes – and event horizons and…. and all that scientific mumbo jumbo.
Hot damn, *sudden revelation* I AM a geek!
That does it; I need to stop thinking about this sh*t. I need a beer. And a shave.