Monday, December 15, 2008

Several Things, One of Them Sucky

What's Next - A Bouncer?

This little sign appeared on our 8-year-old son's door yesterday:


Now how am I going to unload all these dang Girl Scout cookies?

One More Thing to Worry About

So I was reading this book in my house the other day. (I don't think it's of consequence in which room I was reading, exactly. Suffice it to say I was sitting down.) Anyway...I was reading about black holes. Have you heard ab
out these things? They're crazy!

Basically, a black hole can result when a huge star dies out and collapses upon itself, compressing into a single point with no radius and infinite density. (Lost yet? Join the club.) This single point is so dense that even light can't escape it. (That sound is my mind breaking.)


[Flashback to my high school senior physics class, in which we spent approximately 72 months studying waves. Nothing but waves. Each lab table had a pan like you'd use to dip a paint roller, and attached to the pan was a tiny model plane engine hooked to a windshield-wiper blade. Now, if conditions were just right, you'd turn on the tiny engine and the wiper blade would smack the surface of the water in the pan, making perfect, regular waves that you could measure. Conditions were, of course, never right. Instead, there would be at each table the equivalent of an airboat turned on its side in a dank bayou, spewing funky water on us and making my hair all fuzzy from the humidity. Only Unibrow Guy could make that dang contraption work. (Side note: Unibrow Guy went on to attend Cal Tech, but he also kept female hair samples in a Tupperware in his backpack, so that all kind of evens out in my book.) Anyway, it didn't really matter if we got our wave machines to work because all that was riding on it was college admission. But no pressure. Takeaway: my physics teacher had a highly suspect goatee. And that pretty much sums up my grasp of physics.]

Okay, so there's a boundary around this super-dense point called an event horizon. (Yes, I think there
was a movie by that title!) Anything that crosses that boundary gets sucked into the super-dense point in the center and, well, hammered to crap.

Does anyone else find this troubling? I like dangers that I can understand and, if necessary, kick in the juevos then run away from.


So here's a real-life description of the black hole experience:


It says in this book that if you were to sashay across an event horizon, it would look to an outside observer like you were moving more and more slowly but never actually reaching the horizon. (Okay, now I can understand what they're saying, because that's exactly the effect when I am, say, heading to a mammogram appointment or PTA event-planning committee meeting.)

To the person actually crossing the horizon, however, nothing special occurs until you are (surprise!) crushed to death at the center point. (Once again, that certainly rings true with my experience at both of the above-mentioned appointments.)


As we all know, of course (guffaw), this whole idea flies in the face of the law of quantum mechanics, which states that energy can be neither created nor destroyed. The black hole theory poses a dilemma for physicists that continues today and which has drawn comment from several quarters over the years:

"God does not play dice with the universe."
~ Albert Einstein (confirmed smarty-pants with wild-ass hair)


"God not only plays dice. He sometimes throws them where they cannot be seen."
~ Stephen Hawking (confirmed smarty-pants and physics superstar)

"It looks more like Pictionary to me, guys. What is that, an anteater? A yam? No, wait - a garden gnome!"
~ Anna Lefler (confirmed crackpot and wave-machine reject)


Moving On

I've got a new post up on LA Moms Blog, FYI. Full disclosure: this one is not intended to be funny (like the Jeff Foxworthy one was), but is more on the, hmmm, introspective side.

Also, one of my newest favorite places to visit out there in the blogosphere is
Life at Willow Manor. Willow runs a truly classy joint and it's easy to see how she has acquired her robust following. Imagine my glee when she included my recent silly blog acronyms in one of her posts! Thanks, Willow!

63 comments:

One Hypo said...

What a crafty child. I may try this with my parents.

MuseSwings said...

I added your post about Whitey and Pink to the Christmas in Bloggyland tour - it's just waaaay to good to miss! I set out some stale oreos that I found in your cupboard and those 3 half bottle of wine you had in the door of the fridge. Got any Chex mix or anything? You'll be getting visitors. Where's your Dust Buster?

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

That's a lot of food for thought as I head off to work. Or should I say head off to my own personal Black Hole. Where I am slowly getting sucked to the horizon, that (apparently) will crush me to death.

The Self-Deprechaun said...

"I like dangers that I can understand and, if necessary, kick in the juevos then run away from"

This is a great line and one to which I would like to commit my life. Nothing makes me more aware of my humanity than my ability to recreate America's Funniest Home Video crotch injuries. Thank you.

essee said...

love the no solicitors sign. my brain broke as well.

phd in yogurtry said...

I wonder if the Cal Tech guy who kept hair samples is related to the American Idol contestant who kept all of his nail clippings in a baggie?

Braja said...

I don't care what happens out there as long as you keep adding those nice arrows that point to Starbucks.

dizzblnd said...

I try to watch "String Theory" and my head explodes right after the introduction!

What kills me is... NO ONE IS RIGHT! because no one knows anything for sure about the universe except that it does indeed exist and that we are in it. Beyond that.. none of their theories will be proven in this lifetime or the next and they are ridiculous for arguing about it all.

Ann's Rants said...

Baby fish mouth. BABY FISH MOUTH!

(sorry I couldn't resist)

Maggie said...

Love the sign!! LOL

Kimberly said...

Just wait until you get the skull and cross bones sign, with KEEP OUT, and a knife with blood dripping off it for extra effect.

Do they make Prozac for 10 year old little girls?

Note to self.

Swirl Girl said...

As to the first half of this ....{{crickets}}. Physics sucks.


and as to the second half, I am off to read your other post.

Lynda said...

Did we have the same science teacher??

The Hussy Housewife said...

So it the rent cheap on a blackhole? This brings new meaning to foreclosure.

Blissful Babe said...

My pancreas imploded from laughing at the Starbucks directional.

Nice touch.

And the black hole? Yeah, that's my son's room.

Tessa said...

OMG. Now I am thoroughly terrified and completely agog.

Hairline Fracture said...

I'm impressed with your son's sign. He spelled "solicitors" right!

And there are WAY more Starbucks than that in outer space. I'm sure of it.

Comedy Goddess said...

I was married to a guy who has a lot in common with galactic black hole. The event horizon was the divorce.
I survived. See? Matter never dies!

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

My brains hurts now. That black hole thingie sounds not quite unlike trying to read and comment on hundreds of blogs every day.

only a movie said...

Physics make my brain hurt, but it's also totally fascinating for me.

I popped over to read your article on LA Moms - really nicely done, Anna!

Janeen said...

Came by to visit you on the Christmas tour today, I'll check back again later!

HappyHourSue said...

So to recap: You're reading about Physics and I'm reading the 4th Twilight book.

LarryG said...

i use to like physics, now i need to go 'do' my hair!

Grand Pooba said...

Wow, okay I'm not quite sure what to take away from that post. Maybe I shouldn't go selling cookies to an 8 year old because I will be sucked into a black hole where I will be forced to go to parent teacher's conference or some sort of probing by alien space creatures...er somethin.

Rhea said...

You're so much fun to read. I love science, even the parts I havenoideawhatyourtalkingabout.

And where did Starbucks some in with this explanation?!

Reddirt Woman said...

When I first heard about black holes I thought that people were slamming my aging mind...

So glad to find out differently.

Helen

BTW, your son has it going on... good luck.

Renee said...

I'm like 'holy shit where am I'.

You are too smart of a cookie for me.

Love Renee

Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub said...

Loved the "huevos" line, so true....
Love the sign your son made and am inspired to post one of my son's little door signs that warn of dire consequences for those who enter. BTW I am feeling incredibly shallow that my reading consists of Entertainment Weekly and Us. Why can't I sit around contemplating black holes and all that deel sh*t, too? ;-)

doug said...

"It looks more like Pictionary to me, guys. What is that, an anteater? A yam? No, wait - a garden gnome!"
~ Anna Lefler (confirmed crackpot and wave-machine reject)


hahahahahahaha!!!! lmaaaaaooooo!!!

Gosh! How do you do that?

[wipes a tear]

Bruce said...

Woooo go caltech. It doesn't really fly in the dace of QM cuz there is hawking radiation to make up for it. Also what book are you reading? It is the one by kip thorn?

The Wife O Riley said...

You totally lost me at Girl Scout cookies.

How many do you have to sell? Any Thin Mint left? Just sayin' that I might be interested in some. The sign on my bedroom door says "Wave-machine rejects welcome", so just drop on by.

KiKi said...

Wonderful!!!

Clearly the boy has his mother's wit!

:-)

Petra a.k.a The Wise (*Young*) Mommy said...

Thanks for ruining my night. Now I am afraid I am going to go to sleep and fall into a black hole and be crushed before I know what is happening to me...

and yes, I am in therapy

Eudea-Mamia said...

Kids that know how to spell solicitor. Black holes. Only one Starbucks.

I have that little R.E.M. ditty running through what's left of my cerebral cortext.

Nice.

nikkicrumpet said...

Please don't ever do that again...all this knowledge has given me brain freeze! I'm gonna be making that ugly squinty face all night!

wenderful said...

What? It's a hole and it's black. What's the big deal? :)
I linked your acronym post to my Tuesday post. Hope you don't mind.

Good luck with the Thin Mints this year.

Kin'shar said...

please....I will take the cookies

Caroline said...

Great post! I get the whole black hole thing...especailly when it comes to things I hate, like laundry. Wish it would all go down a big black hole, then magically pop out the other side clean and folded!

Bulldog said...

so what you are saying is that light would appear to reach a virtual stop after crossing an event horizon so there would be great big bunch of light just "hanging about", that cant be right. see! This right here, this is why I only have snoopy cartoons to read in the bathroom.

ipv6 said...

whott? 72 months studying waves n nothing but waves..ohh man whott so biggie ab waves anyhow
what cheeky kid you got ere

Kelley with Amy's Angels said...

I love the word "sashay". Too funny (the whole post, not just the use of the word...). : )

jennifersusan said...

hmm...I wonder if I put a "no solicitors" sign around my neck if it'd get me out of changing diapers and catering to every whim of everyone I live with. Hmm...OR..I could just watch more Stargate so I can understand all the fun blackhole stuff (ohohoh..or maybe watch Event Horizon or Black Hole). decisions, decisions.

Wendy said...

I need to read this a couple times. My ears are bleeding.

The Blue Ridge Gal said...

OMG, you and my Hubby... My Mr. Science Guy.... This post is breaking my head wide open trying to take it all in, just like conversations with Hubby who is so into space and science that he reads about it while on the toilet. This kind of stuff makes me scared that I will fall into the black hole under the toilet... Brain cannot absorb... aaaaaaaaahhhh...help!

AngiDe- Nana's Box said...

I think you lost me at infinte density ;)

Angie
"Nana's Box"

A. said...

The black hole sounds like my office...or as we call it "the pit of doom".

To Phd in yogurtry - EWWWWWW... I had just managed to purge that nightmare-inducing nail-clipping baggie from my mind... Now, months of hard work has been completely unraveled.

Shan said...

Looks like fun, cant wait for the teenage years... At least its more clever than keep out. Hes a smart one, that one. Love the Whitey story too.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Wonderful! I so love your postings; thought I'd let you know I've just put your blog on my new 'First Class Blogs I like to read' list on mine.

Have you seen the short 'Black Hole' film on stevyncolgan.blogspot.com ? It's brilliant!!!!

Fifi Flowers said...

My question is WHY? Why are you reading that book? If you want to read about stars pull out the newspaper... HELLO... HOROSCOPE!!! It's all you need to know!

Sabrae said...

Yea ummm ok ... totally lost on it all and the words were way to big.. and I agree... why are you reading that book???

Being Brazen said...

The son on your sons door is so cute and funny.

Being Brazen said...

The SIGN on your sons door is so cute and funny :)

Beth Kephart said...

Weird, Lefler. I was just sitting here reading The Age of Entanglement, the story of those quantum physics guys. Not for myself, mind you, but for my high school sophomore niece, who is obsessed with physics. I thought if I read ahead I could conduct an intelligent conversation with her. Clearly I can't. I'm sending her to your post.

horatio salt said...

thinking big thoughts today, hmmm? that circular black hole diagram looks like a roulette wheel, to me. nothing to do with dice. should i call stephen hawking and tell him he's been on the wrong track?

Needless To Say said...

Your son's a genius! And that stuff breaks my mind, too, and keeps it shattered on the floor for quite some time.

Ronnica said...

Looks like sense of humor runs in your family (among other things).

T said...

my 4 year old daughter has been making signs lately - "no boys allowed" in her room (actually says No BYS alod) and the bathroom signs designating the one in my room as the boys bathroom and the one in the hall as the girls'... well, I've been in trouble a lot lately for mis-using the facilities!

As for the physics - yeah, all over my head - maybe unibrow guy can explain it to me later? Wait, never mind - I don't have enough hair to donate to the Tupperware... and "Unibrow" sounds too much like "unibomber"

The Blonde Duck said...

That sign is seriously funny.

Joanna said...

Wow, I think my brain just turned to mush and got sucked into a black hole.
If it reverses what does that mean?? A cosmic barf hole?? Sorry that's probably not what you wanted to picture.

Michele said...

Hmmmm.....Maybe if I read it again? Do they have Cliff's notes on this kinda stuff?

StandTall-The Activist said...

Studying waves? That's awesome. And I found the "black holes" intriguing

Cassoulet Cafe said...

I thought I was the only one who was forced to study waves for an eternity in Marine Biology, my sophomore year of high school. All I retained was "Feel bottom" and the pervie teacher (who later got fired for sexual harrassment) standing on the table and groping his butt, with a sick pervie smile on his face. ew.

K said...

So I am actually also reading about black holes (and yes, they totally blow my mind).

Thank you - I really thought that I was the only mom out there doing dorky stuff (and I mean that as a compliment).