“Space is big. Really big.”
When I started blogging here, one of the first bloggers I followed was Robin, of Witless Dating After Fifty. Over the years, she’s several times mentioned a great question her dad often posed when discussing religion with someone: “How big is your god?”
Last week my buddy and I were having our weekly beer- and gab-fest and our (typically very meandering) conversation came to touch on the problems with young Earth creationism — the Christian fundamentalist idea that the universe is only thousands of years old.
In fact, there’s a pair of real whopper problems involved!
I’ve written here before about chaos theory and how it prevents us from calculating certain physical models effectively. It’s not that these models don’t accurately reflect the physics involved; it’s that any attempt to use actual numbers introduces tiny errors into the process. These cause the result to drift more and more as the calculation extends into the future.
This is why tomorrow’s weather prediction is fairly accurate but a prediction for a year from now is entirely guesswork. (We could make a rough guess based on past seasons.) Yet the Earth itself is a computer — an analog computer — that tells us exactly what the weather is a year from now.
The thing is: it runs in real-time and takes a year to give us an answer!
The New Horizons spacecraft on its lonely way to the planet Pluto.
As far as I’m concerned, Pluto is — and will always be — a planet. I don’t at all dispute the 2006 decision of the IAU (International Astronomical Union) to classify planets in a way that excludes Pluto (and a lot of other rocks out there). Clearly without that classification, we’d end up with hundreds of new planets. I’m just saying that Pluto gets honorary planet status; it gets “grandfathered in” as one of the original nine.
Why am I writing about this now? Well, it came up in a (real world) discussion recently, so it’s on my mind. The reason it came up was due to a discussion about the New Horizons space mission, which will visit Pluto (the planet) in July of next year — a mere 190 days away. We’ve been waiting since January of 2006 — over eight years!
And I’m not alone in insisting on Pluto’s planetary status; far from it!
It’s party time! Friday night, and everything’s right.
For your consideration, there’s celebration in the air (that’s no exaggeration). We’re talking ’bout elation; lookin’ for participation. Ya gotta feel the situation. Join with the recreation; enjoy the circulation (and the conversation).
Listen to that good vibration, trackin’ jubilation destination. Forget your reputation; forget your moderation; ain’t no humiliation (that’s a stipulation). There’s no registration, no identification authentication.
I’m sure it’s no revelation; fermentation fascination will bring inebriation (and hallucination). Hesitation just won’t do; you have an invitation! There is no limitation at this here presentation.
That was my narration; how ’bout a small ovation?