What is Spacetime?

  • #26
marcus
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nightcleaner said:
Hi Marcus, and all...

My cabin is built of natural aspen logs in a hundred year deep woods at the end of half a mile of twin ruts through swamps and drumlin fields. It is seven miles from pavement and another eight miles on secondary roads to town. It is accessible in winter by snowshoe but I don't do that much anymore since I broke my leg three years ago. It has been standing there for twenty-six years.

The cottage, on the other hand, was built this year from squared aspen timbers by my friend Mark, who twitched the logs out of the woods with his team of horses, milled them into timbers, planks, and boards on his property north of Grand Marais last summer, and brought them down the Northshore road on his two ton truck in the fall. Mark is a very resourceful fellow who loves to talk about theoretical physics. He homeschools his two daughters and is a master horseman. I will see them again at solstice in a couple weeks.

The cottage is twelve by sixteen with a sleeping loft and stands on concrete posts sunk four feet into gravel. It has a porch and a sheet steel roof with wide eaves. Makes me wish I played the banjo, or at least a harmonica. It is tucked under maple and birch trees and has a fine view of a cedar swamp. Fifty feet back from The Hill Road, a designated natural and scenic byway, only twelve miles to town in beautiful Clover Valley, a region of abandoned dairy farms now being resettled by a new wave of urban refugees.
...

some notes for others who may be enjoying the echos of Great Lakes geology and poetry: Lake Superior looks like a long-snout coyote-type animal and Duluth is right at the tip of the nose.

Grand Marais means BIG SWAMP (correct me French scholars if this is a blooper) and it is right up near the Canadian border not quite as far as where the ears would be, more like at the level of the eyes. So the NORTH SHORE road is this long almost straight approx 150 mile stretch along the ridge of the nose down to the tip, where Duluth is.

The logs have to be twitched with a cable. Some people drag them with a crank winch device called a "come-along" but Mark has horses. then he has to mill them and then he trucks the lumber approx 150 miles down the n. shore of L. Superior to a place near Clover Valley near Duluth (a place which the dairy cows have all left) and builds a COTTAGE for Peg's poet-caretaker-landsitter. You know how people get a house-sitter when they go away on trips. If you have some land, with animals and vegetables, then you get a land-sitter. Or maybe his job is to inhabit the land which otherwise would not be thoroughly inhabited. What ever it is, we see that it involves a lot of active attention (unlike a house, where you mostly just sit)

the whole thing is pretty interesting. Drumlin refers to the big oval mounds of debris left by a glacier that was there a long time ago.

I could be quite wrong about the geography, but thought some guesses would be helpful to people like myself who know Minnesota only by hearsay (again, I could even have the State wrong----it could be Wisconsin). the vagueness actually helps create a sense of wilderness (and at the same time a sense of a generic woodsy off the beaten), so we do not ask the writer for more than hints of location.
 
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  • #27
nightcleaner
quite right, Marcus. Only the north shore trail is not as straight as it looks on the map. The north shore of Lake Superior is bounded by a very ancient mountain range called the Sawtooth mountains, and the road curves up and down bedrock ridges, crosses many deep cut wild water trout streams, and even goes through two tunnels bored through cliffs whose faces drop practically straight into the water. The only place in the world I know more scenic than this is Big Sur. Of course, I have never been to New Zealand. The world I know is almost entirely on the back of this continent we call Turtle Island. Most people today know it as North America, but the only thing I know about Amerigo Vespucci is that he was an early Italian mapmaker, and I know a lot more about turtles.

I chose to live near wilderness and I put up with many inconveniences to do so. We have singing hourdes of mosquitoes, stinging clouds of blackflies, and paralysing blizzards to encounter. Bears and wolves and cougars are polite and respectful neighbors, nothing to be afraid of there, as long as you respect them in return.

Gardeners here are worried about their seeds rotting in the cold wet mud this spring, but the forest just soaks it up and glows like the inside of a jewel. I munch on blue-bead lily leaves, which taste like cucumber, and unfurling woodland aster leaves, which are mild and nutricious. The pale green buds of spruce trees are sour as grapefruit and more packed with vitamin C. Cattail shoots are absolutely delicious, and fiddlehead ferns are as succulent as asparagus, which also grows here, mostly on old farmsteads. The rhubarb is prolific and maple seeds have a sweet, nutty flavor.

I must be getting hungry.

Be well,

Richard
 
  • #28
marcus
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nightcleaner said:
...

Gardeners here are worried about their seeds rotting in the cold wet mud this spring, but the forest just soaks it up and glows like the inside of a jewel. ...

do some people set up makeshift plastic greenhouses to sprout their veggies, for transplant outdoors later? I fear the cold mud that rots the seeds and i would be tempted to rig something like that on the south side of a house or barn

a vigorous sentence that combines worry, rot, mud, and then tosses off the glow inside a jewel---the urgency of true description leaves no room for sentiment or self-consciousness. it is refreshing to hear about this stuff

but doesnt Peg know local people who have tried greenhouse-type temporary lean-to shelters
 
  • #29
nightcleaner
Yes, Marcus, greenhouses and raised beds and covered beds are all useful. Most gardeners start their seeds indoors in trays in April and hope for good weather. Another friend a few miles down the road grows blueberries and raspberries for cash crop and vegetables for the table. She started with sheet plastic greenhouses but a few years ago she built a real greenhouse on concrete foundations. She is the only gardener I know who reliably has homegrown tomatoes every year.

Actually, I would have thought placing a greenhouse on the south side of a building would be a good idea, as you describe, but there is a peculiar habit of the sun in these northern climes. (We are at about 45 degrees North lattitude, as you know.) In the early summer, the sun rises in the North! Well, a good ways North of East anyhow. So a greenhouse next to a building loses some hours of light. The same thing happens in the afternoon. Most greenhouses are built in the open for that reason.

Thank you for the editorial comment. BTW, I bought some peaches in the grocery yesterday. I thought of you with your feather. Peaches here are a sad reminder of those that grow in California and Georgia. Small and hard, not juicy, they spoil before they really ripen. Some grocers carry better produce, but I am not in the one percent column. I will wait for the apple crop to gloat over abundant riches.

Be well,

Richard
 
  • #30
selfAdjoint
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nightcleaner said:
In the early summer, the sun rises in the North! Well, a good ways North of East anyhow.

Yup, and it sets north of west too. As you move in spacetime further north and later in the summer, these rising and setting points approach each other to your north and give the midnight sun.
 
  • #31
Kea
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nightcleaner said:
The only place in the world I know more scenic than this is Big Sur. Of course, I have never been to New Zealand.

Hi nightcleaner

It sounds like you live well. I would like to visit sometime. Of course it is also very beautiful here - and when the oil runs out I know where I'd rather be!

Cheers
Kea :smile:
 
  • #32
nightcleaner
Daminc said:
What about at the center of the Universe? (The point where everything is moving away from).

Hi Daminc

Sorry I missed you earlier. I marked your question mentally but then got off into all kinds of distractions.

Well, it would be nice if there were such a point, at least a unique one. But as it happens it appears that everything is moving away from everywhere. I imagine Hubble must have been surprised, at least for a little while, when his research showed that everything in the universe is moving away from Earth. Isn't that special? Maybe Earth was created for God's amusement and for our enjoyment after all.

But it turns out that Earth is still a tiny point in a vast space full of other interesting objects, and is not specially at the center of the universe at all. Another unfortunate turn for the creationists. You could go anywhere in the visible universe, look around you, and things would still look pretty much the same. There is no evidence of an edge of the universe anywhere, nor of an end, nor of a center, nor, we may have to conclude, of a beginning. Every single point in space and every single event in time may have to be center, edge, beginning and end all in one.

This has inspired interest in all sorts of strange geometries. We have to try to think in more than three dimensions, more than four. Spirol twisty things that are shaped like rotini noodles rise up from the complex plane (part of it is imaginary!) and are shown to be mathematical spheres! I read about this in chapter eight of Penrose, The Road To Reality. I only vaguely understand it, but that is what, it seems to me, he says.

Be well,

Richard
 
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  • #33
nightcleaner
selfAdjoint said:
Yup, and it sets north of west too. As you move in spacetime further north and later in the summer, these rising and setting points approach each other to your north and give the midnight sun.

Hi selfAdjoint

I got to go to Alaska a couple times last decade, and was in Fairbanks in June so I saw the sun set and rise again in the space of a few hours. In the North. And I was also above the Arctic circle for two weeks in January, I forget what year, maybe it was 1988. So I saw days with no sun at all. It was a very interesting experience.

But if you truly want to experience a sun that rises in the Due North, it can be done. Just get in an airplane at night in July and fly toward the arctic circle. As you fly North, the sun can be seen to rise directly in front of you. I saw that once. It was incredibly beautiful, and if you add Denali peak above the clouds, there can hardly be a more ethereal sight on Earth.

Be well,

Richard
 
  • #34
nightcleaner
Kea said:
Hi nightcleaner

It sounds like you live well. I would like to visit sometime. Of course it is also very beautiful here - and when the oil runs out I know where I'd rather be!

Cheers
Kea :smile:

Hi Kea

I think we all want to be at home when the final bell tolls. I know New Yorkers and Los Angelenos who would not abandon their hives for fire, earthquake, flood, storm or WMD. Something about the last stand as a human pre-occupation is admirable. But we have come to expect that: the whimper, not the bang, will be the last human sound.

I don't know and hope not to be there. But, there is good cheer in the thought that humans lived on this planet for hundreds of thousands of years without needing to burn a single drop of oil. I think it is likely that humans will remain when the oil runs out. Automobiles, airplanes, spaceships, well, that is a different question.

What is the common goal anyway? Or if we stick our heads above the common, what more can we see? Shall Humanity establish new empires in the cosmos? Or breed a new gray slime of nanobots that may evolve into intelligent planets some day? Or vaporize in the instant when branes collide? We do not know. Each of us has only the tiniest part.

For me, it is enough to do what is in front of me. Feed the mosquitoes. Push seeds into cold mud. Gaze on a star rising in the North. Wonder what a visitor from the other side of the world might look like. Smile for the center of the universe.

It would be a great honor for me to meet you. I would even fly to New Zealand to do so, if it were in my power. But the truth is I don't travel much even on this continent any more. I am so glad we have this internet connection! We can talk, exchange ideas, as if lying side by side, kept apart by the merest gossamer curtain. Here, perhaps, we may even be closer than we could ever be, with physical bodies to get in the way.

Be well,

Richard
 
  • #35
Kea
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nightcleaner said:
I think we all want to be at home when the final bell tolls...I think it is likely that humans will remain when the oil runs out...

nightcleaner

I agree that humans will remain (briefly, until we evolve ourselves) ... just not 6 billion of them. I was thinking of the problem of food distribution. Supply and demand. Fighting. The NZ West Coast would be relatively underpopulated and defensible; a few critical passes to guard.

Sigh. But perhaps I shouldn't spend too much time thinking about this; not because I don't think it's going to happen, but because if I focused more on the Category Theory revolution then I would be playing my little part in improving technology that would enable us to be more energy efficient and clean.

Then again; maybe I should have stuck with the mountaineering. I've laid in the tussock by crystal tarns, a braided river in the deep valley below, surrounded by waterfalls and weeping glaciers, happy in the knowledge that there was no other human within some days walk; the keas for company. How many people really know that they have never seen a clean environment?

Kea
:blushing:
 
  • #36
nightcleaner
Yes, Kea, our privilege is enormous, and it remains to be seen if we deserve it. Why have we been shown these things? Probably just mother playing with statistics. But we are here, and we have this time to talk. Amazing.

I know hiding in the woods is not any kind of answer. Advertising the beauty and richness of wilderness may even be another step toward the destruction of what we love. Maybe John Muir, the great American naturalist, is to blame for the desecration of Yosemite and Yellowstone. This is useless thinking. The mind, as a friend constantly reminds me, is a doubting mechanism. I don't know where he got that line.

So we study and we reach across the planet looking for like minds. We have been given this incredible opportunity, perhaps the first steps toward a planetary consciousness. Joy of heart, fear of the doubting mind. Do we pursue our joy, act from the heart, or curl up and try to protect our doubts? I guess that depends on the weather.

Today the clouds have shifted and the local weatherman, a snaggle-toothed child, predicts a week of sun and warmth. God knows we need it. It has rained here nearly every day for six weeks. Maybe, now, those seeds will warm up in the mud and make it to daylight after all. I am glad I planted them instead of giving in to doubt.

About six weeks ago I wrote in this forum that we do not need a dry season. It was early spring then and the snowmelt had already gone, the streams were mostly boulders in dry wash. Now the streams are high, the ditches are full, and the ground is a wet sponge. Summer is a few days away. I think we can take a deep breath and get ready for whatever comes next.

I want to know more about catagory theory. I am reading Penrose, The Road to Reality, altho I was initially put off by the self-assured title and subtitle, A Complete Guide To The Laws Of The Universe. Well. Anyway, this book is helping me get an idea of things Marcus and selfAdjoint and others, like yourself, talk about fluidly. Like the Riemann surface, the complex plane, inside and outside loops. I was not so favorably impressed by Penrose in his earlier book, The Emporers New Mind.

With all the goings on in string and loop, there is a lot to try to catch. And I am working on a borrowed phone line, with a rather anxious owner. But I will make another go at catagories. Onward and upward, eh?

Be well,

Richard
 
  • #37
Kea
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nightcleaner said:
Advertising the beauty and richness of wilderness may even be another step toward the destruction of what we love.
...
I want to know more about catagory theory. I am reading Penrose, The Road to Reality, altho I was initially put off by the self-assured title and subtitle, A Complete Guide To The Laws Of The Universe.

Oh dear, you're right about the advertising. OK. Everybody: The West Coast is a horrible, bug-infested jungle where it doesn't stop raining and it's impossible to get rid of the rot and mould.

I flicked through Penrose's book. It looked pretty good. Not wordy and obscure like the Emperor's. I see he ends up trying to explain some of the mathematics of Twistor Theory. That's ambitious, but admirable. It bugs me when politicians and academics alike underestimate the layman. Anyway, I thought the subtitle A Complete Guide To The Laws Of The Universe was hilarious. No doubt he is partly serious, but since he's on the right track that's OK. Mostly, I suspect he's having a go at the pop physics culture.

It's raining a lot here too now, which is seasonal. The exotic trees have shed their leaves, and there is a light snow cover on the foothills which I can see in the distance from the Physics building even though this town is smoggy in winter because most people burn wood for warmth.

Kea :smile:
 
  • #38
selfAdjoint
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Kea said:
How many people really know that they have never seen a clean environment?

Kea said:
this town is smoggy in winter because most people burn wood for warm

"O wad some pow'r the giftie gie us..."
 
  • #39
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nightcleaner said:
Well, it would be nice if there were such a point, at least a unique one. But as it happens it appears that everything is moving away from everywhere.
If the Universe is expanding at an accelerating rate then it would appear 'that everything is moving away from everywhere' and this phenomena would be evidence for a single point of origin, surely?
 
  • #40
nightcleaner
Daminc said:
If the Universe is expanding at an accelerating rate then it would appear 'that everything is moving away from everywhere' and this phenomena would be evidence for a single point of origin, surely?

Hi Daminc

It is a hotly debated topic. The point of origin you seem to be inferring is often called a singularity. Singularities are fairly common in math, but not seen in physics. We have ample evidence of something going on at the center of many galaxies, called a black hole, and it seems to be something like a mathematical singularity, but we can't see them directly. Stephan Hawking is probably the most prodigious popular authority on this question. He recently reversed himself on one of his major findings, the question of whethor any information going into a singularity can ever come out again. Currently, if I understand correctly, he thinks some information might be able to get through.

Anyway I think the important thing for you is to keep working your imagination, and don't get stuck or overly attached to any "fact", or opinion or idea for that matter. You have been thinking rather deeply about space and have apparently begun to think about time as well.

Lets take a look at what you have so far. Hubble (and countless later astronomers) tell us that the universe is expanding in all directions. If we run the process in reverse, and look (with our imaginations) back in time, we expect that the universe should have begun in some region. Curiously, if we do this with the observables and the maths, we find that the universe started right here.

There is still the question of where, exactly, right here is. Does "right here" mean here in The Milkyway Galaxy? Or does it mean right here in our arm of the spirol? Or does it mean right in our own solar system? Right here on Earth? Right here in Hubble's eyeball? Which cell in the retina?

Singularities are far smaller than eyeballs. You see, if the singularity were the size of Hubble's eyeball, there would be plenty of room for all kinds of information to get through. Some of the infalling stuff would miss some of the other infalling stuff and so would go raceing outward again. That is not a singularity. If all the infalling stuff goes to a single point, nothing can come back out again. It all cancels.

So maybe the singularity is more than one point, maybe it is two or three or some small countable collection of points. Then the infall might cancel out almost everything, but something might still slip through the middle and come out.....where? In another Universe? But if there is another universe, then there is more than one universe, so they are not universes at all, since the universe by definition is only one thing. Sadly, this line of thought reduces to the absurdity of semantics

Things get worse when you add time as a dimension. If the singularity is the first instant of the universe, what came before that?

Consider Euclid's fifth postulate, regarding the existance of parallel lines. If the universe begins in or ends in a singularity, then all lines must converge there, so no lines are parallel and Euclid's fifth is false. Ouch. There is a whole mathematics built on that presumption.

I am still trying to figure all this out myself. Euclid is responsible for most of our ideas of ordinary local space. But there are other ideas. There is deSitter space and anti-deSitter space. Robinson_Walker space (I don't know what that is but I saw it written somewhere IIRC) Riemann space and Minkowski-Einstein space. Each of these variations has some small difference that turns the others upside down, inside out, or frontward for backward or something. You can try to keep all the names straight if you like, I am not good at that.

Then string theory comes along to add a bunch of hidden dimensions. Yikes.

I suspect that the answer in the end will be overwhelmingly simple. Probably 42 or 43 or some modulus added to one of those. Even Penrose pokes fun at himself with his subtitle. Douglas Adams is more fun to read and IMHO may have a better grasp on Reality. But then, Penrose may be a fan of old Bing Crosby Bob Hope movies, I don't know.

My advice is that you should enjoy the summer. Ponder the singularity at the heart of a violet while lying on your stomach in the grass, and don't forget to breathe. We are tiny creatures in an immense Universe.

Be well,

Richard
 
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  • #41
nightcleaner
Kea said:
Oh dear, you're right about the advertising. OK. Everybody: The West Coast is a horrible, bug-infested jungle where it doesn't stop raining and it's impossible to get rid of the rot and mould.

I flicked through Penrose's book. It looked pretty good. Not wordy and obscure like the Emperor's. I see he ends up trying to explain some of the mathematics of Twistor Theory. That's ambitious, but admirable. It bugs me when politicians and academics alike underestimate the layman. Anyway, I thought the subtitle A Complete Guide To The Laws Of The Universe was hilarious. No doubt he is partly serious, but since he's on the right track that's OK. Mostly, I suspect he's having a go at the pop physics culture.

It's raining a lot here too now, which is seasonal. The exotic trees have shed their leaves, and there is a light snow cover on the foothills which I can see in the distance from the Physics building even though this town is smoggy in winter because most people burn wood for warmth.

Kea :smile:

Hi Kea

Most city people here burn gas or oil for heat, because they can and because they don't like sweeping up sawdust, ash, woodchips, and the occasional long-horned wood beetle. My country friends mostly burn wood for heat, with gas for backup. We are proud anachronists. Even so, Duluth had two or three smog alert days last year. Due to a thermal inversion along a stationary front or something, not, as far as I know, due to our campfires and woodstoves.

I can see how a city full of woodstoves could create a kind of smog, especially in mountian valleys where thermal inversions are common. Denver has that problem. I think they even ban woodfires from time to time. Los Angeles, a city famous for smog, mostly from automobile exhaust, is actually pretty clean these days, but for my taste, the air has a slightly burnt, overly used quality, even on a fair day. But once you have tasted and learned to appreciate the highly oxegenated vapours rising off a clean wetland, you are spoiled forever. Most Angelenos don't know that the clouds are not supposed to be orange at midday, and they think, rightly so in their locality, that wetlands stink. Even so, southern California is much cleaner than it used to be. Environmentalists can make a difference.

Maybe I should start a business selling pressurized bottles of cool, clean woodland air. I have a feeling it will be big, someday. I hear they are already selling shots of oxygen to people on the streets in Biejing, Tokyo, and Mexico City.

Thank you for the word images, Kea.

Be well,

Richard
 
  • #42
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I can't stop thinking...

Why doesn't nature have straight lines?
Why do electrons conform to 2, 8, 8 valencies. Why not 2, 4, 8 etc or even 3, 6, 9 ...
Do electrons leave a wake as they circle the nucleus.
why did the fundememntal particles form?
Why/how did they join to create protons and neutrons etc
Why do creatures with a heartbeat have a similar number of heartbeats before they die?
There must be a viable alternative to singularities because infinities has no place in nature.

I have these, and many more questions running through my brain a lot of the time with no ability to answer them. My friend has expressed his concern that continualy thinking about stuff that I can neither prove or disprove is a waste of my time. The result is effecting my sleep patterns because I find it hard to switch my brain of so I've thought hard on why I do this and I've come to a possible conclusion...

I'm searching for a moment of clarity.

I wonder if everyone is like this in one degree or another.

We search for some meaning or other to clear the confusion we live with all our lives. Some people use religion, others use science, some even use art in varing degrees in order to try and find that spark of clarity.

Are we better of just not knowing and just be content to be alive? What drives us to know the unknowable?
 
  • #43
wolram
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By DAMINIC
I'm searching for a moment of clarity.
I wonder if everyone is like this in one degree or another.

Some people may go through life not even wondering where the food they
eat comes from, but most must wonder from time to time about their existence.
I think a beautiful explanation for the universe is possible, and that one day
all the paradoxes thrown up in mainstream science will be solved.
A new dawn may not be far away, and the people of the future may look
back and laugh at our attempts to explain the universe, as we do today
about the flat earth believers.
 
  • #44
nightcleaner
Hi Wolram and Damink

My sympathies are with those who face the existential void with courage. The void does not return anything for our questions, but if you stare at it long enough, it takes on its own kind of beauty. Even meaning. I think the truth is in the paradox...not in any particular, one-sided solution, but in the fact of the paradox itself. We see things two ways. The two ways are both internally consistant, but they confict. Why are we so certain there can be only one truth? What do we lose, if we accept that there can be two conflicting answers?

Flat or curve? Field or particle? Infinite or bounded, open or closed?

There is a story (Taoist I think?) of a monk who was chased by tigers. He fell over a cliff and caught his fall on some thin vegetation. The roots were giving way, too weak to hold him long. Looking down, he saw more tigers waiting for him below. There was a berry ripe on the twig between his fingers. He tasted it. It was delicious!

Individual life is very short, often painful. But our cultural life goes on beyond our individual life. Beyond that, there is the very peculiar, perhaps even singular (my dear Watson!) condition of being human. And beyond that there is life itself. In what way is it better for the individual to reign in hell rather than serve the common interests of life, humanity, and culture? And it looks to me like only one monster gets to reign in hell, the rest are mere deluded servants of misery. In what way is it better to be a servant of misery than a servant of joy?

No answers. Better questions?

be well,

Richard
 
  • #45
wolram
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Hi Nightcleaner
Your writings remind me of Captain ahab and his manic search for moby dick.
I guess some subjects can get to deep, and with few if any facts to resolve
them, can seem paradoxical, but we should not be captain ahabs, rather i think
we should take time of from our main quest and tour other domains, ahab may
have lived a better life if he could have relinquished his chase of MD.
Our universe seems like an almost empty void with the odd flicker of EMR for
us to ponder, but that is not to say that nothing else exists and that one day
we may find it.
To me our U is a hall of mirrors, that fools us into chasing our tails to catch
the original image, given time we will catch it.
 
  • #46
nightcleaner
Hi Wolram

Thanks! How does that go again? "Call me Ishmael," I think. Well, maybe I am in a manic mood today. The sky here is perfectly clear and the temperature is perfectly seventy two degrees, with a light breeze off the lake. I just have to get outside. There is gravel to shovel and a stubborn rusted nut on my bumper ball hitch to pound on. I made a dent in it yesterday and another hour or so of hammering might break it free today. Such are my hopes.

Herman Melville. A Yank author, I believe?

Well, hammering the nut is another obsessive pastime. I know perfectly well that the mechanic at the garage could twist that thing off of there in a minute, and he probably wouldn't charge me anything either. I am a regular customer. Gravel roads and mud ruts are hard on vehicles. Why do I do it? Why do I yell and curse when I hit my hand instead of the chisel? And the noise hurts my ears. I could wear earplugs but I don't. Obsessive compulsive and self-destructive, too, on top of mania. I should probably be better off today just going back to bed.

Oh well, one has to do something. And if I break that nut I will have the satisfaction that I have once again overcome the vagauries of bad design, poor maintenance, and lack of planning. Why do people run marathons? Some people even die doing it. I guess it is ok if you really like to run. I hate running, and no one expects me to do it anymore since I broke my leg. But what if you really hate running, but you are really good at it, and it is fun to win? I'll keep that in mind when I next bust my knuckles on cold steel. That nut is coming off of there and I will not be delayed by pipe smoking onlookers. Maybe I'll have a good laugh about it later this afternoon as the surgeon sews my fingers back on my hand. Ha. Ha ha. I knew that was going to happen.

Well ok, I have convinced myself to go to the mechanic instead of taking a chance on hospitals. I hate hospitals. I really hate hospitals. I could get a good job in a hospital. Grrrr. If I keep on like this, I may end up filling out applications as well as surrendering to a mechanic! You and your Ahab, what have you done?

Be well (it is the only way I know to avoid hospitals)

Richard.
 
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  • #47
wolram
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nightcleaner said:
Hi Wolram

Thanks! How does that go again? "Call me Ishmael," I think. Well, maybe I am in a manic mood today. The sky here is perfectly clear and the temperature is perfectly seventy two degrees, with a light breeze off the lake. I just have to get outside. There is gravel to shovel and a stubborn rusted nut on my bumper ball hitch to pound on. I made a dent in it yesterday and another hour or so of hammering might break it free today. Such are my hopes.

Good luck, i have had many problems with rusted nuts, i find a nut splitter
an invaluable addition to my tool kit.
 
  • #48
wolram
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Nightcleaner

Well ok, I have convinced myself to go to the mechanic instead of taking a chance on hospitals. I hate hospitals. I really hate hospitals. I could get a good job in a hospital. Grrrr. If I keep on like this, I may end up filling out applications as well as surrendering to a mechanic! You and your Ahab, what have you done?

Well i have fixed the economy seven whatsathingamajig, its a device that allows ofpeak electricity at a cheaper rate, I have took benji my wolf hound
cross red setter his five mile walk, and now my ankle hurts, to many nuts and
bolts and pins, so you can guess i hate hospitals, its about 90c in the midlands
with high humidity, something i am not used to, and every frigging neighbor
is diy ing, the noise is horrendous, so i have fetched myself a rum and coke
turned the music up and am going to close my mind to the world.
 
  • #49
selfAdjoint
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Dearly Missed
6,852
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Wow, 90 degrees (F) in Warwickshire? Better watch out for tornados! (Actually I have a story about that)
 
  • #50
nightcleaner
wolram said:
Good luck, i have had many problems with rusted nuts, i find a nut splitter
an invaluable addition to my tool kit.

Yes, I am sure you are right. I don't have one, but I have about thirty kinds of chisels and a huge assortment of hammers. Where does all this stuff come from?

The nut is still, as of this writing, firmly in place. The dent is quite a bit larger, however, and I still have all my fingers. No hospital visits. I spent another hour hammering yesterday. An hour of that is about all I can stand.

I did go to the mechanic, but he was very busy. I didn't even get a chance to talk to him. We have a marathon starting in town this morning and the restaurants, hotels, and shops are crowded. Good for business. Bad for locals trying to start work on projects that have been sitting around all winter.

The good news: I drove up to my cabin to do the pounding. No use spoiling anyone elses day with loud repetitious noises. The mosquitoes were tolerable, but it is inadvisable to swat one on your forehead when you have a hammer in your hand. On the way up, I stopped by a slough full of wild iris. They are really beautiful, blue with yellow interior, and grow only in standing, clean water. There also were plenty of scouring rushes, a primitive plant with silica in the cell walls, used by campers to remove campfire carbon from their mess kits. And of course cattails and water lilies, and I think I saw arrowhead, a plant with an edible potato-like tuber and heart-shaped leaves that grow above the water, not on the water as lilies do. I always enjoy the blooming of the wild iris, because the colors are so rich and pure to the attentive eye.

There were some kind of large grasses growing there also, and they had flower heads still wrapped inside of leaves. I like to eat the tender shoots of grasses, and was tempted to try the flower heads also. They had a little soft center that tasted like fresh corn on the cob, but the little prickles on the florets made the back of my mouth itch. I guess I won't try them again. I was hoping for the flower spikes of cattails, a delicious treat, but they aren't ready yet. You can eat the roots and shoots of cattails also, very mild and tasty, but the one I picked was full of ants feasting on the rich sweet sticky sap. I have not gotten into eating ants yet, and their feverish excitement at being disturbed spoiled my taste for cattail shoots.

Cattails, horsetails (scouring rushes), wild iris, and arrowroot are all signs of clean water. They are known indicator species, and I am very glad to live where they grow.

I have taken this thread far from where it started, with Pel's interest in Space-Time. Sorry Pel. It is hard to think about space-time when the days are so long and sweet. Is spacetime a thing in itself? I don't know. The utility of Planck's action potential led me to think so for a while, but selfAdjoint and others keep insisting on background independence. I wish I had something to add here, other than botany.

The only thing I do have is that idea with which I started on Physics Forums, which is that the action potential can be taken to comprise a spherical analog in 4d, which then seems (to me) to imply an isomatrical structure to spacetime. Who knows? If I can get the maths right, it may prove useful after all. Meantime it keeps me trying to get the maths right, so provides me with motivation. What else does a spacetime theorist need?

Be well,

Richard
 

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