Category Archives: Thinking

Behind Every Man – Arthur C Clarke

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I stumbled across this from Arthur C Clarke and it inspired me to share it:

“Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth.

Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star.

But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many–perhaps most–of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-sized heaven–or hell.

How many of those potential heavens and hells are now inhabited, and by what manner of creatures, we have no way of guessing; the very nearest is a million times farther away than Mars or Venus, those still remote goals of the next generation. But the barriers of distance are crumbling; one day we shall meet our equals, or our masters, among the stars.

Men have been slow to face this prospect; some still hope that it may never become reality. Increasing numbers, however are asking; ‘Why have such meetings not occurred already, since we ourselves are about to venture into space?’

Why not, indeed? Here is one possible answer to that very reasonable question. But please remember: this is only a work of fiction.

The truth, as always, will be far stranger.”
―Arthur C Clarke

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Thought for Tuesday – Water chillers are bad for your health!

Water chiller drinking stations, you know you get them at work and they’re a good source of cool refreshing water at work. Often found in random corners of any place of work.

These are bad for your health, well – more accurately your back. I’m not sure who these are designed for, some kind of dwarf. The angle I need to bend down at to use it is precisely the right angle to ping my back.

Then, if you need to replace a water bottle – extra back breaking work and for heaven’s sake don’t drop the bottle!

Just saying… or is it my age?

Simon 🙂

Thought for Tuesday – Car Headlights

So here we are and watch out I’ve been thinking again. As the data get darker and those who drive have to start using headlights I’m left wondering about makes of high end cars who put ultra bright headlights in their cars that help the driver to see better.

This is all very well you selfish little shit but me and everyone else you pass had to suffer their retina bring burned out just so you can see better so you can keep driving like a bastard!

Thanks… Do us a favour car makers, knock it off! It’s not funny!

Simon ☺️

The Shape of Things to Come – Awesome Quote

My friend Roger of Heroically Bad Writers quote this to me today – it was so awesome I had to share it!

 

“But for Man, no rest and no ending. He must go on, conquest beyond conquest. First this little planet with its winds and ways, and then all the laws of mind and matter that restrain him. Then the planets about him and at last out across immensity to the stars. And when he has conquered all the deeps of space and all the mysteries of time, still he will be beginning.”

Hope you’ve all had a great day!

Simon 🙂

Humans on Mars – My view on the Logic and Insanity

The concept of human colonising Mars isn’t new – it’s decades old and has been talked about since space travel started in the 1950’s and 60’s. Since the Moon landings the science community has viewed that travelling to Mars as being the next logical step in manned space exploration. The science and engineering behind this effort is staggering and while no actual missions are definitely planned in, the discussions have not ended and will carry on until we finally achieve this.

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The way in which we travel to Mars has modified over time, I can remember when then missions talked about would last for some months on the Red Planet in order to make it worth the effort. I recent years though this has slowly changed to the realisation that missions to Mars are going to be one way only. You go to live the rest of your days there. This ties in nicely with the ethics of the colonisation of Mars, the preservation and advancement of the human race seems to be important right now. While I get this and there are those that have volunteered for this which is amazing, but do they really know what it’s going to be like? I’m sure a few months will be brilliant fun, but let’s face it 10 years down the line you might well have gone completely insane – if you haven’t starved to death.

Starvation and human preservation is kind of what brings me to some of the insanity around this. I’ve seen people talking about Mars being the next place the hum races goes to once we’ve finished ruining the Earth.

Seriously… WTF?!?

Do you seriously think that it’s all going to be ok to plunder the Earth until it’s a wasteland and then park up on Mars? When was the last time you saw this place?

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This is it. It doesn’t change much. Nothing grows here, there is no atmosphere to breathe despite what science fiction movies tell us (it’s called fiction for a reason). If we reduce Earth to a wasteland we won’t find anything better on Mars. Colonising Mars is a huge step towards human living permanently off Earth but it’s not a second option to Earth. Earth must be preserved!

The other insane idea is that of Elon Musk’s to create a martian atmosphere by detonating nuclear warheads at the poles, melting them and creating an atmosphere. This is so flawed it’s not funny. Mars has a tiny magnetic field, so it cannot keep much of an atmosphere. But even if it could – everyone would be breathing radioactive air for the next 1000 years! There is also his vision to make travel to Mars accessible to all, costing around $200,000 a trip.

As in every huge project, there is insanity that rides with it. Travelling to Mars is going to be expensive. Living on Mars will be even more expensive and will be very hard! The rewards could be unimaginable and ultimately so will the costs.

Simon 🙂

Adam and Eve and those 900 Years

Just to make sure that everyone reading this starts at the same point, Adam and Eve were supposed to have been about 900 years old when they died. During a quiet time this got me thinking – how can humans, even the humans that were meant to have walked this Earth first possibly live to 900 years old?

It’s said that the human being is meant to live about 70 years. Sure you get some living longer, especially in this day and age but so far to live over 100 years old is the exception and not the norm. A human that’s over 100 years old is normally pretty frail as well so getting to 900 seems a bit of a stretch.

But I think I have a possible explanation, at least in my mind anyway.

Imagine you’re the first humans on Earth. You’re supposedly living in the fertile crescent and it’s a fairly temperate place to live. How much difference is there between winter and summer? There are no watches and Gregory hasn’t yet invented his calendar. The other issue is that the Chinese and their astronomers haven’t been invented yet either. There will be only two indications of time that you will be aware of – the first is obviously day and night and the only other that I can think of is the moon.

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Every 28 days this shining disc in the sky waxes and wanes and every 28 days there will be a full moon where for a few nights the scary darkness is illuminated and isn’t quite so scary. That moon thing sure would be important and you would get used to knowing when it comes out and how long it would be until it comes again. I’m sure the time it took between full moon’s had a special name, something like a cycle or something.

However at this point there probably isn’t any way for you to tell that the huge rock you’re on is circling the bright warm thing every 300 and something odd days. But that cool Moon thing – yeah! You’ll know all about that! So if we wanted to work out what was meant between a lunar cycle and a year, it could be pretty confusing.

 


 

So I did a little bit of thinking to see how this held up. Working out how many times the moon would have orbited the Earth i that time, which is once every 28 days, so thirteen times a year. Assuming Adam and Eve lived to 70 – guess what? They would have seen a full moon 910 times.

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Now I don’t want to be hung drawn and quartered for heresy or anything, I’m not saying this is how it was – but it’s a bit of a coincidence. So often we’re told thing that we take as fact. I’m not trying to prove or disprove God, this is merely an exercise in thinking outside of what we’re told and putting myself in their shoes.

Time in many senses is not easily perceivable. Without watches and the gadgets we have today time could only be measure in the crudest of ways and this is what we would all face without it. Day and night would be the smallest measure we could know about working out a year without a calendar and a lot of spare time (which you don’t have when you’re trying to survive) would be pretty damn hard. Counting 900 of them might have got a little boring too!

Simon 🙂

Black Holes – Time dilation and messing with my head

My mind is getting a bit fried right now. Maybe it’s to do with this time of year, but I’ve been thinking about time dilation, black holes and that kind of thing. This has all come about from the film Interstellar where a group of astronauts try to find a new home for the human race in a far away galaxy.

They get there through a wormhole that’s in the area of Saturn and find themselves in a star system where three planets orbit a black hole. Things are ok so far, this is good old fashioned Sci-Fi stuff.

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The first world they visit is closest to the black hole and they work out that an hour on the surface for them will mean seven years will pass from the point of view of their mother ship, the Endurance. This is also ok, this is now not only science fiction but thanks to the theory of relativity also science fact (or as good as becasue no one has yet verified this fact).

This time dilation was demonstrated in the story when an unscheduled delay meant that rather than the mission to the planet taking a mere seven years, it in fact took 23 years. To them they were only a few hours, but the guy left behind on Endurance had aged 23 years and Joseph Cooper’s kids had turned into mature adults who had thought he was either dead or had abandoned them.

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Towards the end of the film, the pilot Cooper ejects himself and his spacecraft from Endurance. He ejects so that the rest of the Endurance can escape to the third planet carrying Anne Hathaway’s lone survivor. In the film it gets weird and there’s a kind of 3D thought / reality  thing going on and this is where I split from the plot to my thinking.

 


 

By ejecting, Cooper has essentially given himself to the black hole (called Gargantua). Our understanding is that spectacularly intense gravity would kill him, crushing anything physical completely and utterly to mere atoms. From his point of view this would happen quickly, but probably not quickly enough thinking about it.

Getting to the point here – if Anne Hathaway could watch Copper falling into the black hole and past the event horizon (again another problem with this as light has a little trouble escaping a black hole – hence it’s name) things would be happening  slowly. Whereas for Cooper looking back up things would be happening  very quickly.

The first thing is that this is a total brain fuck in itself.

The second thing kinda blew my mind away, I’ve been picking up the pieces all week! Cooper may never, ever reach the physical entity of the black hole. If time is moving so fast outside the black hole what may actually kill Cooper (he’s not going to be too bothered by this I think) is the end of the universe.

Think about it… while he’s merrily (Ha!) falling towards his doom, the universe is speeding by up there. So much so that it ends before he reaches it?!?!

Damn – my mind blew again. Sometimes I wish I didn’t think so much!


 

This is some purely wildly out there thinking – this would mean that falling into a black hole could be a bath to living forever. Firstly it wouldn’t you would die from the gravity crush, but it’s the possibility. When the kind of concepts can be thought of in mathematics and proved in theories on relativity it begs the question – what the hell else can we discover?

The only limits are the limits that our human mind can actually perceive and cope with and maybe even accept.

That’s kinda big.

Simon 🙂

No ownership claimed on images – found on Google from the film Interstellar.