A chilling news item was posted twelve hours ago on the BBC.com website. The article indicates that thirteen of twenty-five people traveling in a Ford SUV were killed near Imperial, California when the vehicle pulled directly into the path of a Peterbilt truck loaded with gravel. The SUV’s legal capacity was eight or nine. The article attributes a statement made by a spokesman for the Border Patrol as follows: the people in the SUV “could be farmworkers involved in harvesting winter greens in the mainly agricultural area.” Regardless of whether one thinks overburdening an SUV with so many passengers is negligent, the fact that thirteen people died is horrendous. I surmise (though I may be wrong) that the passengers had few options; many or most or perhaps all of them had no other means of transportation. If they were migrant workers, probably they earned very low wages for backbreaking work. They were scraping by. But maybe not; maybe they simply chose to cram into an SUV instead of driving their late-model SUVs and sedans to work in the field. Maybe their work in the fields was simply a hobby, a way to connect with other wealthy people who needlessly take away jobs from people who really need the money. Yeah. Maybe they deserved what they got. The most bothersome aspect of the attitude that they stole jobs and got what they deserved is that many people actually believe such idiocy.
Another, more uplifting, video piece on BBC.com explains why we cannot go faster than the speed of light. One of my favorite sentences from the video says “As a kid, I sorta thought of StarTrek as being like a documentary about the future.” According to the animated video (and according to physicists the world over), it would take an infinite amount of energy to go as fast as, or faster than, the speed of light. And if one were already going that fast, it would take an infinite amount of energy to slow down. These concepts are beyond my capacity to fully understand, but I think I may attempt to disprove Einstein’s theory of relativity in my next incarnation. Except that I do not believe I will have another incarnation, so that becomes a dilemma for which there is no solution. A solution can be, among other things, either an answer to a problem, the process by which one reaches the answer, or a homogeneous molecular mixture of two or more substances. The challenges and thrills of language can be almost orgasmic! I sometimes wonder whether language arose out of the innate need to communicate about sudden waves of keen physical excitement or emotions. Not really; I’ve never wondered that at all. I’m just making things up with my fingers.
If I did not have to meet a schedule today, I think I’d spend the morning watching BBC.com videos on subjects related to physics and science. Consider the following titles available right now:
- Does Our Universe Have a Twin?
- Is Our Perception of Time Wrong?
- The Flaw in Every Recipe Book
- How Your Toaster Explains the Universe
- Probing the Universe’s Dark Energy
- Our Window into the Universe
- Is Our Future Set in Stone?
- The Other Dimensions that Could Exist
- What is the Smallest Particle?
- Einstein’s Big Idea Made Simple
- What Happens Inside a Black Hole?
- What is the Universe Expanding Into?
- Why the Sky is Dark at Night
- Can We Trust What Science Tells Us?
Granted, several of these are extremely simplistic, presenting information most of us already know (or think we do). But they tend to resurrect interests that we might have lost. Or, at least, they trigger curiosity that helps retrieve the awe we felt, as children, when we looked into the sky and wondered what was “out there” or what part we play in the overarching scheme of existence. Too often, I allow myself to overlook the awe I still feel when I look at close-up images of insects and see the intricate patterns woven into their bodies. And I don’t take the time to think deeply enough about what might be hidden from our view on the other side of the Milky Way galaxy. And I fail to give in to the sense of overwhelming wonder at the ability of ants to communicate in the midst of chaos on the ant hill. It’s not science so much that enthralls me as all of existence. Our life spans should be thousands of years long, not just decades; we could absorb so much if we just had the time and took it seriously.
No word yet on my application to adopt Rosie the Chihuahua mix. I’m patient this morning (believe it or not), though. Whatever happens, happens, when it happens.
If life were fair and just, my sculpted bronze well-muscled body would not be changed by the unlimited consumption of highly caloric foods. Exercise would be irrelevant, though with a body like mine it would be easy and enjoyable. Excellent health would be my lifelong destiny, no matter my habits, the risks I take, or the environment in which I live. My brain would quickly and complete absorb all information and knowledge passing through it. My unfulfilled desire this morning for two or three jalapeño-sausage kolaches would not trigger feelings of guilt; not even if my desire were fulfilled would I feel guilt. But, alas, life is fickle and harsh and demanding.
It’s nearing 7:00 and I have obligations to meet this morning, so I’ll end my regular morning diatribe and go to battle with the enemies of sloth.