29 May 2007

Reading Rainbow Revisited: A Book Report

I'm reading this book by my boy Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium and host of "Nova Science Now". The book be called "Death By Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries". Just being seen holding this book makes you look mad smart.

Anyway, Neil has been schooling me on some serious shit. I was never really into science or space much but the idea that we, as in Planet Earth, are just a speck of dust in an infinite universe has always blown my mind as I've always been fascinated with anything that makes me feel totally depressed or completely meaningless.

The concept of this infinite universe is awe-inspiring no matter how you slice it; it will either make you feel worthless and insignificant or it will make you more carefree, knowing so much of our world is totally ephemeral; every beef we have, every little problem we think is the end all / be all of our tiny existence is really absolutely nothing at all when thrust upon the grand canvas of things.

I relate appreciating and understanding the concept of the universe to how we deal with death. Losing someone we love will surely fuck us up in more ways than we could ever prepare for. And once the grief gets comfortable in your soul, you will lean either one way or the other; you'll be paralyzed with fear and regret; feeling like how could there possibly be any real meaning to life when death is so senseless and merciless... or you will be impassioned by a death to live your life more fully and carefree but for the same reasons, because life is so short and meaningless.

The more I read about space and black holes and all this crap, the more I feel like someone I love has just died; someone inspiring and happy, and I need to be happier and live without regret and live everyday doing whatever makes me happy, no matter what it is.

I really didn't mean for this story to turn into some Dr. Phil bullshit. Actually, I only came here to tell you about a fun fact I learned from this book about gravity.

You know how we assume that in space there is no gravity, you just float around and drink Tang and wave to a stupid camera? Well, its all bullshit, save for the Tang and the camera.

The condition of weightlessness in space is one of the most commonly misunderstood concepts of popular science; weightlessness and the concept of zero gravity are actually apples and oranges.

Gravity is an attractive force which all matter possesses. Every bit of matter attracts every other bit of matter. The strength of that attraction depends on two things - the mass of any two objects, and the distance between those objects.

Weightlessness in deep space is due to the tremendous distances between massive objects. Stuff is so far apart out there that the gravitational attraction imposed on an interstellar spacecraft is very subtle, but certainly not escapable.

Thats why when you see those stupid astronauts floating around it looks like their in slow motion or underwater; a very small amount of gravity is pulling on them because they are so far away from earth. Gravity is present but it just isn't that strong a force up in deep space.

Understand? I hope so because this is starting to get a little too Star Trek and I fucking hate that show.

Wow, talk about full circle journalism... I start out talking about Reading Rainbow which was hosted by none other than LeVar Burton who would later play some dick on Star Trek.

Fuck, I'm on fire today.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yo GCI.Late here and the jungle frogs are screaming in the trees for their Juliets. I remember the first time I heard one. It was just outside my friend Kirk's window as the sun set.
"What the fuck is that,"I asked.
He looked at me in disbelief with that ex-attorney grin of his.
"That's the first of many... it's an invasion (this was one of the smartest people I've ever met by the way - I use the word 'was' because he worried himself to death and died last summer, anyway ... he went on to explain how the island was being invaded by a species of frog called a 'Coqui' and that in a few years the jungle around our homes would become inundated with the creatures and that a single male coqui was apable of letting out schrill (sp) in the neighborhood of ninty decibles ... he passed away an what he told me turned out to become a reality and I've been in the process of sound proofing my home ever since which is a major undertaking.

As far as gravity goes, did you know that the speed of gravity is many times faster than the speed of light? It's true. I have a good friend who lives in Wasington State who just happens to be the world's authority on gravity. His name is Dr. Thomas Van Flandern (check him out @ MetaResearch.org).
Regards, DVvR.