Wednesday, September 23, 2015

I grew quickly twittery this morning when I read that particle physicists have successfully demonstrated the plausibility of communication with applied quantum entanglement. Over-simply put, the scientists "entangled" two blue photons, separated them, exposed one of them to a yellow photon, and the other photon reacted, over a distance of about 100 meters. This idea stokes my imagination -- that entangled particles communicate with each other instantaneously, no matter how far they are separated -- even be it by galaxies -- which means information can travel faster than the speed of light! So later this morning, I put on my old running shoes, demoted to lawn mowing shoes, and fired up the grass cutting machine. While I am purring around the yard I am pondering how to use ideas from quantum mechanics and Einstein's other theories in sermons. My thoughts move from a possible explanation of voodoo dolls, telepathy, and emotional entanglement of identical twins to the theory that gravity is not really just an attractive force but a beautiful, graceful bending of the structure of space time by massive objects. And that this has practical application, because our GPS devices which tell us where we are would not work unless the satellites in synchronous orbit above the earth have been set there with mathematics that take the influence of the earth's mass on space/time into account (otherwise they would drift, if purely Newtonian laws of physics were considered, and we would be forever arriving at the wrong address, which may explain those glitches with Googlemaps). I wondered how I would illustrate this, and remembered playing with my baby son on the floor of our home, an farm old house whose weak foundations, exposed for years to the influence of the earth's mass, settled and so set the floors out of level -- so that when I rolled a ball to my son, it travelled in an arc across the linoleum rather than in a straight line. After an hour of cogitating and collecting leaves and grass in the mower bag, I put the labor down, picked up the latest Smithsonian magazine which arrived in the mail earlier today, which I had not yet opened, and went out to my office at McDonalds for a fish sandwich and a read. I settled down across from my french fries and opened the magazine, to find an article all about Einstein's arduous but successful arrival at a General Theory of Relativity, including an interesting exposition on the challenges of comprehending gravity as a function of mass affecting the structure of space/time. How to explain this? The illustration concerned not a floor, but a table top, which I was asked to imagine had been warped in some fashion so that a marble rolled across its surface would travel not in a straight line, but an arc . . . So perhaps you've been thinking about this, today, as well, eh?

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I ride a 1980 something Schwinn Mangusta 5000 super light weight, aluminum frame road bike with a bio pace sprocket. Some of you road bike geeks will find that interesting, as this is an ellipsis shaped sprocket that supposedly increases efficiency and power and is happily dweeby. Others maybe are still waiting for a story. Anyway, my son Phillip, age seventeen and an upcoming beast, has taken to timing himself on a few routes we share, on my Mangusta. We are, for the moment, competitive on elapsed time, and usually have more to say to each other about how taking on the hills hurts. "Murderous" is my favorite observation from the offspring. Well, how to get faster on thos inclines . . . Sometime back I removed the old fashioned rat-trap pedal straps, but around hilly here soon have realized how helpful they are in stabilizing our feet in the pedals and enabling "spin" in addition to "pump", especially on the climbs. He has taken to the modification easily and so now I have, no doubt, hastened the moment when he will exceed me in this, as well. This gives me great joy. "You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness; for even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable." - Kahlil Gibran

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

I just celebrated my life upgrade to version 6.0. The new operating system is downloaded, now in the process of installing. While this runs in the background, my feet carried me to the lookout fence next to the Cape Meares lighthouse. Clouds and sun shared the sky, leaving a gorgeous shadow pattern on the sea. As I watched this, I began to see great plumes spurting from the glittering waves. Whales! I did not expect to see whales. They swam all around in front of us, some only a bare hundred yards off shore.
We oohed at their steamy plumes and ahhed at their graceful backs breaching the waves. "It leaves a shining wake behind it; one would think the deep to be white haired. On earth it has no equal, a creature without fear. It surveys everything that is lofty; it is king over all that are proud." - Job 41:32-34