No picture: everything would be too messy, and nothing at all – well …. snuff said.
(if you are weird enough to read this stuff you might enjoy “Santa and the Christmas Count” also on WordPress)
‘nothing’ © reserved
(I gave in to popular demand – there is the picture – above, above the nothing copyright line, and below … etc)
A theory of nothing: I don’t know anything about it – needless to say. Its all in the name. Still I am pretty sure its right. Back in my youth when I’d glance at Peter Simple’s column in the Daily Telegraph – the current fad amongst the (astro)physicists was whether the BIG BANG theory was correct – or its rival the STEADY STATE theory. Peter Simple sagely posited the STEADY BANG theory as a compromise, and who is to say even now, that he was wrong? But thats all positrons down the plughole now – or should I say black hole (its pretty much the same thing after all with a few extra dimensions thrown in to make it harder to understand. If you’ve watched it swirl down the bath plug you’ve seen it all – and you’d lose your rubber duck too if it was big bath plug or a small duck. However, Stephen Hawkings now assures us we’d hear the duck radiating its distress even though we’d lost it, so thats comforting). Anyway to cut to the chase, the current fad is for a “Theory of Everything”. They aren’t quite there yet. Nothing new here. It just like that in the 1890s – when there was just a little glitch in the heat radiation law but once that was patched up with a Planck or two here, and spline function there, they were done. Well, as you may have noticed, and despite our addiction to television, telephones and battery-driven toys we still don’t have teleportation, although we still have “instantaneous” action-at-distance – gravity (one of Isaac’s little worries) since no one has found a graviton yet, despite using enough cleaning fluid to clean out Death Valley. Its got a fancy name now too – “Entanglement” – sort of like a B+ movie. A and B get fully frontally entangled, but fate intervenes, A goes off the ends of the earth (its a square world) and B goes off to the moon. When A comes to her senses and puts on her panties and bra – lo and behold B approaching the moon in his GatesSHIP is instantaneously standing in his boxers. You had dreams like that? Well thats entanglement. It really worried Isaac – well the gravity bit did (he never knew about B+ movies). Still, at least he got lucky with the apples, and so he knew the Moon was more likely a pock-marked apple than composed of green cheese. Of course there are some good points nowadays .. the “Standard Model” of quantum mechanics has been called one of the most amazingly successful scientific models of all times – fitting theory to experiments at some infinitesimally remote decimal point (in 10% of the known Universe, and none of the unknown Universe); but as one very successful scientist once pointed out – physicists get such good answers because they only study simple problems. Recently a physicist reported that mathematics (and physicists need mathematics like accountants need beans – to count, not to make them fart) had made no useful contribution to physics in the areas of friction, turbulence and protein unfolding. Well forget the latter since it seems to work anyway when you swallow your Wheaties, but heck, son Alfred (a hydraulicist) warned his Dad off when he thought he might dabble in fluid mechanics. Relativity is one thing – but turbulence was quite another. But friction is useful – it slows you down a whole lot and actually thats helpful. But there is one more tiny problem for the Standard Model. DARK energy & matter … 90% of the universe is composed of it (please check the Internet for the latest % estimate of how much we don’t know) . You can’t see it, you can’t touch it, and its commonly thought to have been left over since the **** (your choice) BANG (see above). Neil Turok remarks on the lady who would always go to astrophysical lectures and ask – “what banged?” She never got an answer but maybe now, is somewhere she can find out by other means. And I was going to tell you there isn’t a physicist in the world who can tell you what its is. In fact, just now my wife asked me what I was doing. So I sketched out the above, mentioned DARK matter, and how no-one knew what it is. She looks at me quizzically and says “So what is DARK MATTER?”. So – it may be better to say there aren’t any two sober physicists not currently living in a black hole who agree on what they think they might tell my wife. Now my wife was knitting when she asked that question- and that brings us to string theory. Billions of $ have been spent in research funding for string theories of the Universe. You can’t hang your hat in a semi-respectable physics department without a PhD in string theory (perhaps you need as string of PhDs – and no-one has figured out that inversion). Even my wife said she’d heard of string theory. Paul Dirac once told his wife that one of his particles (or was it one of his Aunty particles?) was the same as knit one, purl one. This makes me think there may be an extra dimension composed entirely domestic knitters. Science progresses by posing questions which can be answered by experiment, doing the experiment to test your question, and refining your next question (revert to start of this sentence) in light of the answer. Not so in STRING theory. No, there its JUST theory. No testable questions (well none you can afford to answer anyway). Marvellous theories though – I can’t say GOD knows how many dimensions the universe has, since its not even clear he’d know, and besides HE’d need some breathing room to turn round in. Assuming he consumes all n dimensions, GOD(n), there would have to be at least GOD(n) + 1 dimensions just for HIM to unwind his strings. But you can see the trouble with extra dimensions – how do you get your fingers on them? It is said they are are curled up, and that all the strength of that extra weak force – gravity – is locked up in one or more of them (WEAK???? – I know – you fell and banged your head on a concrete floor – but don’t shoot me I’m just the messenger). So how do we get into it? Pry it open with a sharp knife? Be sort of handy and who knows were the knife would come out? David Cameron’s butt at Question time? String theory doesn’t tell us. Mind you I’m not surprised. As a child I had to help my mother wind her wool from a contorted mass like a donut made of spaghetti with my two hands held out. But that was easy compared to unwinding it when the kittens had been in it. Even unwrapped it had an insatiable appetite for tying itself in knots – uncannily like the threads of water we call turbulence – hey!!! am I on to something? Imagine endless monster balls of wool, the three dimensional threads of wool stretched and twisted into time like monstrously contorted noodles, coming and going as the particles appear and disappear – but you lose your mind following them. Probably some of the very naughty strings play in the extra dimensions – showing up only to perplex us poor low dimensional beings. No wonder A and B get their undies synchronized faster than an Executive can synch his Blackberry. GOD is yanking the strings in hidden dimensions just like barefoot Sandie Shaw in the Eurovision Song Contest all those decades ago (“PSSST she sang “Puppet on a string” for you new timers). He saw the error of his ways – I mean who knows about Sandie Shaw now? SO – as Shakespeare said – “the world is but a stage” – and now we see why ! Of all the people rumoured/claimed/proved to be Shakespeare – NO ONE has mentioned GOD – poor guy! But you got to give it him, he is hiding his talent under a bushel.
Strictly one might have to do this every few seconds (update I mean)! Someone has now done teleportation – with a less than nano scale particle and a lot of messing about. They can try my cat next. After that just build a bigger whatnot to handle 90 billion cells or so and its beam me to MacDonalds, Scottie. Thought of the day: Nothing is composed of everything – but its hard to know what is what, or even who, and least of all where it is.
Its now clear that nothing isn’t quite that simple – on the principle that nothingever is. In fact its seething with somethings that all balance out exactly if the Universe is flat – not unlike the earth of old – in all its dimensions. The net result? Nothing !!! Didn’t you just guess? Math getting easier all the time – and what will this do to economic theory?
One last thing – á la Columbo – exactly where was this tiny bunch of nothing that was so full of everything? I can hear the “no such thing as a free lunch” theory of economics is gurgling down an economic black hole, and background laughter – or is that just God’s laugh track?
VERY LATEST UPDATE
It turns out now, that ‘ ‘ – no time & no space (and it turns out no black holes either) exist below the Planck scale. Basically this is a very, very, tiny spot of ‘ ‘ although I’m not sure where it actually is – perhaps at the core of anything that is a tiny bit bigger. Since everything is composed of ‘ ,’ one presumes it sort of hops out of the pan and becomes evident when its needed. SO at least we can understand where everything is coming from. One more question (more Columbo) a la tree in the forest – is it there if you aren’t looking for it or using it? Oh yes, and what does it do to the real number line one wonders?