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"Mysteries Of The Universe Solved Cheap"

My pal Ric and I occasionally get involved in deep doo-doo.

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Ric writes...
Scientists now believe
the universe is expanding at a greater speed than they had thought,
and in order for it to have expanded this far in that amount of time,
many parts of the universe (suns, planets, galaxies, etc.)
All of which supports a position I had taken a couple months back,
that Einstein's theory that nothing can travel faster than the speed of

Jack writes...
If time is variable,
and light speed is a measurement of motion against time,
then the speed of light itself may not be constant...
ergo, objects may travel at an accelerated speed of light.
That's the first time I've ever said "ergo".

Ric writes...
Variable time... that is a new concept to me.
Where have you picked up that?

Jack writes...
Most of my deep scientific knowledge
comes from science fiction and comic books,
with rare readings of Einstein, Hawking, and lesser knowns.

"Variable time" is the basic plot for a lot of sci-fi stories,
where the astronauts return young
and find everybody old,
or vice versa.

Another common proposal is
that space, and the distances in space, are not constant.
Maybe the mps or light years are sometimes shorter.
This would throw the speed measurement off.

Also, funny things are believed to happen
when approaching the speed of light...
for instance, objects become gradually foreshortened, or squashed.
In some theories, the passengers in a speed-of-light spacecraft
would not sense it happening.
(I've often wondered what would happen if the ship had headlights.)
Maybe space miles become shorter too?

All of what we call reality seems very fluid to me,
so I'm open to the idea that nothing much can be relied upon
to be constant.

Straight lines, right angles, and accurate measurements,
seem to be more popular with Man than with Nature.

To quote my younger self:
"Time is slow on the clock,
and fast on the calendar."

Stare at a clock and it stands still.
Look away and it moves the scenery around
and turns babies old.

Yes, it could just be our perception,
but so could everything else.

*     *     *

This discussion will probably never come to a happy ending,
and will not improve our looks or financial condition,
but it's fun.

Copyright  Dec. 29, 2004, Jack Blanchard. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission.


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