Friday, May 11, 2007

Where would we be without unanswerable questions?


Sometimes when I can’t sleep at night my mind starts buzzing. Those unanswerable questions of life run through my head, making it hurt. Questions such as ‘if a tree falls in the woods and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?’ and ‘how do they know there was a big bang if there was no one around to witness it?’

Last night I was tossing and turning in my bed, my duvet was lumpy, (there is nothing worse than a lumpy duvet), my Goth Neighbour was pounding a basketball off the wall next to my head, or at least that’s what it sounded like, and I was nowhere near dropping off into the blissful land of dreams.

My mind started racing, the cogs whirring so fast that I was sure I could hear them squeak.

“Is the universe infinite? Surely not, it has to end somewhere, and when it ends there has to be something on the other side…”

“Do animals talk to each other? Do insects? When I killed that spider did he go to heaven? Is there a spider heaven? Or do the spiders share a heaven with humans? Is there such a place as heaven? What does God look like? Is God a person? Does he have a big beard? Maybe sausages are better than cheese…”


I don’t like questions with no answers. It really hurts my head, I always need explanations, otherwise I just don’t understand.

“How high does a plane have to fly until it is in space?”

“Do Eskimos really live in igloos? If so, why don't they freeze?”


But there's always one that really gets me flustered. So, answer me this, if you can, why do triangle sandwiches always taste so much better than square ones?

16 comments:

ColbyPants said...

http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/dec97/873309099.Ph.r.html

The secret to warmth in an igloo is the fact that snow and ice are very good insulators. I have heard that, between body heat and one or two oil lamps, people can keep a relatively comfortable temperature (say, 10-15o C) inside. You won't be able to run around nude, but with warm clothing you'll do alright.

Apparently what happens is that the inside layer does melt, but turns to ice because of the contact with the snow next to it -- so you get good insulation both inside and out. Of course, eventually the igloo would melt, but igloos are typically temporary shelters anyhow, used only for a few days or, at most, weeks.

I was raised in the northern United States (Minnesota) and have read about winter survival. If you are wearing warm clothing and dig into the leeward side of a snowdrift, then curl up and remain still, you can stay reasonably warm for a long time. The same principle is operating when you stay snug and warm in a hut built of snow!

ColbyPants said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ColbyPants said...

http://liftoff.msfc.nasa.gov/academy/space/boundary.html

Where Does Space Begin?


Most people consider space to simply be the region above the Earth's atmosphere. But, there is no tangible boundary because the atmosphere gradually thins with increasing altitude. Traces of the gasses we breathe can be found over 100 miles above the earth.

As a comparison, passenger jets cruise at an average altitude of only 30,000 feet (5.7 miles), and the best military jets have a hard time climbing above 100,000 feet (a little less than 19 miles).

So, how do we define where space begins? Many different definitions exist. The United States awards astronaut status to anyone who flies above 50 miles in altitude. Many flight engineers, dealing with the effects of friction and heating of spacecraft due to atmospheric particles, define the boundary to be at 400,000 feet (75.76 miles). They call this the "entry interface," the point at which heating on reentry becomes observable.

Whichever definition you prefer, it is far, far above the level that humans can breathe.

Princesse Ecossaise said...

That is crazy, why do the male of the species always have all the answers?

So now I know where space begins, but where does it end?

ColbyPants said...

cant say that anyone has been far enough away to answer that for sure (by the way, I am pretty sure that the current theory on whats out past the end of the universe, is in the most literal sense, EMPTY SPACE. Devoid of anything)

I must say I do not have all the answers, but I do know where to look.

TomC

Princesse Ecossaise said...

But it doesn't make sense at all! outside space is more space and outside that empty space muct be more space. It's hard to get your head around infinity...

ColbyPants said...

yes but the space in the universe has stuff in it! planets, suns solar systems molecules, etc etc etc, the empty space outside the universe is a void in the strictest sense, there is nothing out there not matter not light no energy, Nothing!

;)

And yeah, infinity is a weird concept

TomC

Lis of the North said...

Hi Princesse,
The one about the universe being infinite actually gives me a headache!! I cannot get my head around it no matter how hard I try. I keep thinking "right, but when it gets to the end, what is there after?". The answer is "more universe". Yes, but after that?
Enjoying your thoughts :)

T.D. Newton said...

Hey, I just noticed that you are in the top 400,000 blogs on Technorati. Well done! Now THAT'S popularity!

Princesse Ecossaise said...

No joke but I totally can't sleep after thinking about this.

Lis, I am exactly like you! My head really does hurt, and my questions and answers go round in circles...I feel like a dog chasing its tale!

And T.D...wow, I don't really understad technorati whatsoever, and the top 400,000 really doesnt sound so Top, but I guess when I think of all the blogs in the blogosphere, thats not too bad! woohoo!

Here another question that just popped into my head; when a blog or web page is deleted, where does it go? Does it just stop existing? Or does it hang around somewhere in cyber space?

*sigh* I'm never gonna get to sleep tonight.

Zhu said...

Reminds me of my philosophy class questions - the teacher spent a whole semester explaining one student that there way no way her cat could talk ;-)

I'm the same, if I'm not tired enough my mind is racing when I'm in bed.

How about reciting French conjugaison to find sleep and peace of mind ? ;-)

... and... I don't like triangle sandwiches...

The Horns and the Hawk said...

no one answered the big bang question! that means i can since everyone else did!

1. we guess at it because you can observe objects in space moving away from what appears to be a common center point.

2. the universe isn't really infinite because, as is implied from things moving from a center, it's still expanding. but what's beyond that i couldn't say. i think the answer to that greatly depends on personal metaphysical beliefs. i mean, are you a strict big bang evolutionist? a creationist? is life an illusion? it depends on your more ethereal thoughts i think.

and as for why guys know the answers... that's a hard one to answer, and probably depends on your region. if you're in america, there's a good chance no one will know, no matter the gender. it's also a hard one to answer (and ask) without sounding sexist without even trying to be. i could venture a guess about how "curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction brought it back" and how guys are, theoretically, more curious and daring by nature. but then some girl would probably jump me in the parking lot and shank me in the alley.

whereas a girl might posit that men only seem to know the answers because of a patriarchal society, etc., and that girls are equally capable but have fewer opportunities presented them.

another girl might also put forth the notion that i've created a terrible stereotype here.

i would posit that i'm in a deep hole, and no matter how hard i dig, i don't seem to be getting closer to the top. good day to you, sir.

FP said...

And Why, at "10:01" on my alarm clock, even if you return it, its still "10:01" !?!? 8-(

the world is really strange !!

Princesse Ecossaise said...

Zhu...You don't like triangle sandwhiches??! Are you insane? They are way better than square sandwhiches!

So Horns & the Hawk what you are saying is the big bang is a lie. Because scientists just guess.

And I am so not a feminist, and therefore I don't really care if I sound sexist or not - men always know the answers to scientific things, and women know the answers to common sense things.

True, true.

P.S. FP, bb, you need to buy a new alarm clock!

Sebastien said...

To be frank, triangle sandwiches DO NOT taste better than square sandwiches, that is a lie!

Hmmm, animals do talk to each other, dolphins have an intricate method of communication... and there's Marvin the squirrel who lives inside my closet, he smokes a lot of camel reds and talks about music and jazz and all sorts of stuff. Proof that animals talk.

ColbyPants said...

communication and talking (which implies a verbal language) are slightly different things though