Thursday, July 30, 2009

Blowing Your Mind With Space and Time

So I’ve been reading this book, “The Fabric of the Cosmos” by Brian Greene. Now, to be clear, this is not by Brian Austin Green of Beverly Hills 90210 fame. But rather, this guy is a physics professor at Columbia. So that probably makes him smarter than Brian Austin Green – or at least smarter at physics.

Anyway, the book has totally blown my mind. It’s not a story of high school kids growing up – emotionally and sexually – in one of the most coveted zip codes in the country. There’s no bad boy from across the tracks, who romances the perfect girl next door. There’s no pretty boy class president. There’s no soda shop. No token black person.

None of that. This book is all about science. And as the title suggests, it’s about some pretty fundamental stuff – the fabric of space and time, or spacetime, if you will. I’m only about one-third of the way through the book, but it’s already opened my mind to the most far-out shit imaginable.

What is time? Why does it only seem to flow in one direction? Is the direction of time simply a construct of the human mind, in order to help us make sense of our reality? Is it just a framework within which we live out our tiny existences? It’s fairly well accepted that spacetime consists of 4 dimensions – 3 spatial, and one temporal. We can move any direction in space at will, so why can’t we move in more than one direction through time?

Physics says that there is no reason why time should only move in one direction. So who will be the first one to travel to the past? Will it be Lebron James? Chuck Norris? Maybe we should send him back to 1938 to kick Hitler’s ass?

Why does cream never unstir itself from coffee? Why did Big Papi test positive for steroids back in 2003?

Why do I keep losing socks when I do laundry? Where do they go? Did they travel back in time? Is there a wormhole in my dryer?

These questions seem unknowable. I can only hope that the final two-thirds of this book at least get me a bit closer to the answers. And if I figure out how to travel to the future, I'll let you in on some incredible sports bets.

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