Interstellar Overdrive

September 11, 2008 at 5:57 pm | Posted in Musing + Mulling, World + People + Events | Leave a comment
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Today dawned as another beautiful (*coughnonstopraincough*) day. The furious winds, the cold so deep you can almost feel it under your skin, the the smell of the earth, the vivid, lush green of trees, the cloud-laden sky stretching endlessly overhead, glistening raindrops, umbrellas, thick blankets, crisp toast, a steaming cup of coffee…

…hang on. We’re alive!

The Big Bang 2.0 Experiment certainly created no minor waves. Even a nose-permanently-engrossed-in-some-fat-book-or-the-other-and-totally-immune-to-gossip person like me couldn’t escape the wild anticipation, rumours, hysteria and frenzy all around me.

Observations:
JB: *fingersfuriouslycrossed* Go CERN go!
CG: Oooh! A baby universe, isn’t that pretty!
SA: Seriously, what is the point of this experiment? Isn’t it quite ridiculous to think that we can artificially recreate the conditions which created the Universe? When will these self-pompous scientists learn?
N: Ah dinniken why they ur daein it, jist fir tae prove at whit a hale lot aff canny folks they ur? Bliddy tubes aw dem. This ain’t gonnae work.
SF: Shair they ken whit they ur daein! Int nae hairm in tryin, is there? Ah hope fir the bes.
GL: Typical right-winged bullshit to make money off some stupid experiment while millions of children continue die of starvation. What a waste.
BBD: They can’t mess with the world like that! God made it. Only God can decide what to do it.
My wee brother: OMGOMG we’re all gonna die!

As for me, *I* find the whole thing incredibly exciting. It’s a huge undertaking all right. On the whole, I think the whole LHC thing is quite…astounding and a wee bit scary at the same time. I must admit, something on a scale as big as this fascinates me and frightens me. We’re treading dangerous grounds here. This is something that cut right to the core. Messing with Nature is a dangerous thing. The answer to the Big Bang – Universe’s biggest riddle – is something we’ve always sought to find. And yet, when (and if) we do find it…would it all be the same?

Whether we materialise the Higgs Boson particle or not, whether we identify the nature of the invisible dark matter that constitutes 25 per cent of the Universe or not, whether we modify the architecture of space-time or not, one thing is clear: we’re getting closer and deeper to an understanding of the Universe all the time. There is something about this whole thing – the whole element of mystery – the endless search, the maddening nature of the questions, and the hunger for answers.

Einstein put it very well in one of his most excellent essays, Physics and Reality:

The very fact that the totality of our sense experiences is such that by means of thinking, it can be put in order, this fact is one which leaves us in awe, but which we shall never understand. One may say that the eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.’ It is in the sense of creating some sort of order among sense impressions – by the formation of general concepts and relations between them – that the world is comprehensible. The fact that it is comprehensible is a miracle.

The connections of elementary concepts of everyday thinking with complexes of sense experiences can only be comprehended intuitively and is unadaptable to scientifically logical fixation. The totality of these connections – none of which is expressible in conceptual terms – is the only thing which differentiates the great building which is science from a logical but empty scheme of concepts.

Some physicists, among them myself, cannot believe that we must abandon, actually and forever, the idea of direct representation of physical reality in space and time; or that we must accept the view that events in nature are analogous to a game of chance. It is open to every man to choose the direction of his striving; and also every man may draw comfort from Lessing’s fine saying, that the search for truth is more precious than its possession.

Humanity has always been in the search for truth…since the beginning of time. In my opinion, our existence is threatened more by the possibility of giving up this search, than it is by Global Warming or warfare.

On a related note: I was quite taken aback at the number of people who thought that it was their last day on earth. I just hate it when people jump to stupid illogical conclusions concerning the ‘end of the world’. All that talk about the world ending in 2012 is rubbish as well. Weren’t we supposed to die in 2000, or on the of sixth June in 2006? =P It seems that every now and then someone will turn up with their own prediction of the end of the world. Guess I’ll go and make a prediction myself and massively publicise it…I decide to switch on the toaster tomorrow morning and BAM! the world doesn’t exist anymore! People will fall even for that… :roll:

PS. I wonder just what Einstein and Orwell would have said were they to witness this experiment.

One of These Days

September 1, 2008 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Life as I See It, Randomosities + Rubbish | 6 Comments
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‘The best thing about the future is that it only arrives a day at a time.’

I remember reading this somewhere ages ago (it was Abraham Lincoln who said it), and nodding and thinking to myself, ‘Yes, that’s true no doubt, but how boring.’

That was me being the highly dumb girl I was at fourteen, who used to think only thrill and speed amounted to an exciting life. Now that I am older and ahem, *clears throat* wiser, I do not agree with that speed-thrill-stuff philosophy at all.

In fact, I wholly appreciate the truth that future arrives a day at a time and that’s the best thing about it. I mean, what’s the fun in speeding down the road with everything passing by in a blur? That way, you’re always racing somewhere and in the end, you end up getting nowhere at all.

Still, it perturbs me to see the days passing by in a flash when I can’t get anything productive done. A feeling greatly aggravated when I get a book called Scientist Extraordinary: The Life and Scientific Work of Thomas Henry Huxley out of the library, and come across a passage like this:

…continued entries in Thoughts and Doings (Huxley’s little notebook in which he made irregular jottings when he was seventeen) bear witness:

June 20 [1841]
What have I done in the way of acquiring knowledge since January?
Projects begun:
1. German
2. Italian
3. To read Muller’s Physiology
4. To prepare for the matriculation examination at London University which requires knowledge of:-
(a) Algebra-Geometry
(b) Natural Philosophy …did not begin to read for this until April
(c) Chemistry
(d) Greek-Latin
(e) English History down to end of seventeenth century
(f) Ancient History
(g) English Grammar
5. To make copious notes of all things I read…I must adopt a fixed plan of studies…and let me remember this – that it is better to read a little and thoroughly, than cram a crude undigested mass into my head, though it be in great quantity.

…Bloody hell. I can’t imagine how anyone could be so assiduously brilliant.

To be honest, I think it is more inspiring than aggravating. Hmm, I can’t quite say that I would be able to study Greek, Latin and Italian simultaneously, with History, maths and chemistry thrown in (that would really drive anyone up the wall, unless they’re a genius like Huxley which is highly improbable).

My obsession for self-knowledge notwithstanding, it is high time that I got down to work, now that’s summer’s over and all. Wait, SUMMER’S GONE?!

…seriously, where did the last few months go? Oh dear, not Time again.
By the way, it turns out the evil thing is now sending me snide reminders and premonitions. I don’t know why, but ‘Time’ by Pink Floyd comes up every time on shuffle on WMP (Yes, I support Microsoft).

‘Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain
You are young and life is long, and there is time to kill today
And then one day you find
Ten years have got behind you,

No one told you where to run, you missed the starting gun’

And just I happened to be watching the rain when it came on today. On top of that, Anne Dillard goes out of her way to shout at me “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives” from top of the page of the big book of quotations in the morning.

I swear, the Universe is rubbing it in my face.

(Annie, that was certainly a bit of worrying advice. What, am I going to end up spending the rest of my life with my nose buried in a book, living off chips and irn bru, and writing pointless entires like this? Oh, now I’m seriously disconcerted!)

But, but, but at the end of the day, it’s only a day at a time. Phew. And there are so many days. There’s birthday, death day, graduation day, this-day and that-day. There are good days, okay-ish days and some truly terrible days. Our life is sent to us as presents wrapped in these twenty-four-hour-period boxes called ‘days’. All of us would rather the presents were only good, lovely and perfect. Well, hope as we might, that isn’t the case and from time to time a nasty present will turn up. Shocks, disappointments, failures, frustrations – all wrapped neatly with a big fat ribbon on them.

But, when it comes down to it, there’s always another present waiting for us the next day. =D

(Oh, and isn’t Huxley’s opinion on reading stuff just brill?)

When I Don’t Get What I Want

January 2, 2008 at 5:30 pm | Posted in Life as I See It | 3 Comments
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…I get frenzied, restless, agitated.

Even when I know I shouldn’t.

I know I’m not the only one, of course. Most of the people do get frustrated easily when they don’t get what they want. But why? Is it because you can’t bear to stand the wait? When I know I’m going to get it eventually, why do I get so worked up about it? It seems pointless. More so when you count the fact that ‘getting worked up’ in my case is usually in the extreme. Temper and panic and restlessness. The constant yearning. The continuous reminder that I don’t have what I want. The dissatisfaction.

The worst part is, my dissatisfaction creeps into everything else in my daily life too. I get rude and snappy (more than usual), mess things up, and end up having that awful feeling of failure when I go to bed at night. I don’t want it. I don’t like it.

What do I do?

Cultivate patience? Tried that a dozen times already. Doesn’t work with me. Patience is one thing I’ll never have. It’s not that it’s just it in my head, I really can’t get much far however much I try. Perhaps my mind is so conditioned to get what I desire instantly that I can’t bear the wait?

Or is it something else?

Expectation. Endless expectation. Hoping, waiting, wanting. What if I just kill the desire? I kill the expectation and subsequently, the agitation. Or just, divert my mind somewhere else, and try not to think about it? But hang on, isn’t that just what patience is? And now I’m getting tangled up.

I found the following excerpt from The Ten Rules of Happiness highly comforting.

Take life easy and do not be judgemental of others, and yourself too. The world will not come to an end if you don’t get what you want right now. Most of the things are not so important that they cannot wait or be altered if required. And nothing is so helpless that it cannot be improved or solved. Never let small things bother you and never bother with small things. Remember, life is precious; it is to be enjoyed, not endured. It is not a competition, but a beautiful journey. And we are here to make our contribution, lighten someone else’s burden if we can, spread happiness and be happy.

It speaks out to me. As if it was especially written for me. Just how silly can I be? Letting stupid things upset me. I might be impatient, but this is just being silly as well. Honestly, I should try being patient some more. I mean, it’s either the temporary wait or the permanent abandonment of the desire, isnt it?

I’ll take the wait. :D

—————-
Now playing: My Dying Bride – My Wine in Silence
via FoxyTunes

Resolutions!

January 1, 2008 at 5:30 pm | Posted in Life as I See It | 1 Comment
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With every new year come the resolutions. Even though fifty per cent of people give up within the first three months of the year, I can’t think of a better way to start a new year. And they’re fun!

When it comes to resolutions, I’ve always failed abysmally at them. I usually set very high standards for myself, even when it comes to resolutions. The thing is, I’m able to excel at anything I set against myself, save the resolutions. I guess my way of living and habits are so hardwired into my psyche I couldn’t change them even if I’d wanted to.

But an online friend gave me this little piece on resolutions and I thought it was really brilliant. It made me realise that you don’t always have to do great or big things in life, you can do small things with great dedication. I’m gunna put it up here and try to follow it all year long for the rest of my life hopefully!

1. Be observant.
2. Never let any idea go uncaptured.
3. Try to learn something from the people you meet.
4. Take a book or magazine wherever you go.
5. Allocate a minimum of 30 minutes to read a book.
6. Meditate.
7. Take time to reflect on your day. What have you done right? What have
you done wrong? What can you do to improve yourself?
8. Drink water a lot.
9. Exercise.
10. Read a collection of quotes.
11. Choose a quote of the day to ponder and apply.
12. Take notes of every expense you make.
13. Do something for the first time.
14. Effectively read online articles.
15. Use timer to help you actually do what you need to do.
16. Learn to use a tool, either to improve your skill
with a familiar tool or to learn a new tool.
17. Take time to review your life purpose and goals.
18. Rise early.
19. Listen to educational or motivational audio programme when you are
doing activities which do not need full concentration.
20. Be grateful for your day.
21. Read a random article to expose you to new things.
22. Have fun. Be passionate about life.

– Donald Latumahina

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