Fri, May 22, 2009
It is the most beautiful thing in the world and at the same time the most horrid.
Have you ever tried to think about something that sparks two infinitely different emotions at the same time?
The fact that mankind found a way to take a shovel-full of dirt and a bucket of water and turn them into pure energy is nearly impossible to comprehend.
Yeah a shovel of dirt and a bucket of water.
Yes, I realize it is emotionally unstable dirt and finely aged water, but that’s just because we haven’t mastered a way to kick-start other stuff yet.
E=MC**2 doesn’t say the Mass has to be Uranium or Plutonium. In fact any old mass will do if you figure out how to wake it up.
And at the same time, it is the most destructive weapon imaginable.
I think it is a great mental exercise to try and hold these conflicting thoughts in your head at the same time. Can you think of other examples? Can you spend more than 5 seconds trying to grasp the concept?
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Let’s stretch are minds some more.
I believe the camera, the internet, airplanes (since we still don’t know how a wing really works; (do you homework before you pounce on me)), calculus, and the Hubble Space Telescope came way before their time.
• The speed of light is 186,000 miles per second. In college the only way I could grasp that number was to picture light traveling round trip from New York City to Los Angeles about 40 times in a second.
Now that’s Naga Jolokia Pepper fast, but I think I can still wrap my head around it.
Yeah, I can picture that.
• And light makes that same round trip a billion times in a year
That’s a really hard distance for anyone’s melon to grasp; a billion round trips from NYC-LA in a year. Hum…
The Hubble Telescope picked a completely dark area of space, staring at it on-and-off for 4 months. When she rubbed her eyes, this is what she saw.
You have heard of a wide-angle lens, right? Well this is the opposite. The field of view of this picture is so small it is equivalent to focusing your camera on a fly on the surface of the moon while standing in your back yard.
Something that was completely dark had now sprung to life. These objects are 10 billion light years away.
That’s a billion coast-to-coast trips a year, for 10 years.
Here is a blow up of the yellow galaxy in the bottom right hand corner.
I dare you to spend more than 15 minutes trying to comprehend how far away this really is. Most of you will give up after 4 or 5 seconds.
Guerrilla Thinking can be fun.
It’s days like today, that most folks think I should get a real job.