Today a buddy at work sent me a news story about the Hubble telescope’s latest findings. The folks who run the telescope had it do it’s “deepest” probe ever of the universe. Looking as far out into space as possible and gathering data from that point allows scientists to see light from events that happened just a few hundred million years after the big bang. It’s pretty insane to think that we’re looking out across a massive amount of distance to point X, to collect light that has itself traveled a massive amount of distance just to get to point X – and this effectively enables us to see back in time.
After chewing on it for a while, and thinking I understood for a while – I think I totally out-physics’ed myself. If the universe is constantly expanding from the big bang, then that’s the reason we’re so far away (distance-wise) from that point of origin. So now we’re using a telescope too look back over a long amount of distance towards that point of origin. However, light from the events that happened billions of years ago at that point of origin have been traveling outward since the events happened. So as we look back over distance to point X, we’re capturing light that has managed to travel to that point X from the point of origin. The farther back in distance we can look, the earlier we can intercept light emitted from events that took place at distances even farther away. Right?
But, we were also a part of those early events right? In some way, at least. How did we manage to get so far away from them that we can look back on them? Why did we get to our current point in the universe before the light that we’re now looking back on? To simplify it, let’s say that the big bang happened and our galaxy as we know it now was created right off the bat. We’re right at the point where everything exploded into stars and energy, surrounded by those events. How did we then manage to drift so far so fast to some point that we can now look back on the light of those events? How did we so well “outrun” the light from those early events? My lack of understanding comes from a severely physics-challenged mind.
I do know that listening to Godspeed You Black Emperor! and A Silver Mt. Zion puts you in the perfect mindset to think about the beginning/end of the universe. You know, confronting your own mortality and insignificance and whatnot. Good music that most people would hate, or as Sharaun calls it “that stuff you listen to that makes me want to kill myself.” Can you guys believe we can look back in time?! Jumping to what Sharaun’s essay trumped for yesterday.
Sunday afternoon and one of the most beautiful days I’ve seen in a while. Not a cloud in the sky and the perfect temperature. I’ve got all the windows in the house open and some Stills‘ “Logic Will Break Your Heart” on the stereo. I know, britpop is old ‘n’ busted, but for some reason I love this album – even if it is Canadian britpop. It reminds me of my brit-soaked last years of high school – and hints somehow at Nada Surf’s underappreciated “Let Go.” Wow? the OC is playing Death Cab and I’m listening to britpop again? maybe my whole musical microcosm is turning inside-out.
This morning I caught up on some much-needed house cleaning while Sharaun was at her game. Now I’ve got to create an “instruction sheet” for using the hack on my Pioneer CD burner – since it sold last night for $250. Then it’s off to a matinee show here in town at Old Ironsides starring the Stars and Dears. We were actually supposed to do that same show last night in San Francisco, but Sharaun discovered on Friday that they would be in Sacramento the next day. Considering the cost of gas to the city and back, and eating out on the way there – we decided we’d actually make money by skipping the one we’d already paid for and taking in the show locally tonight. (From the future – the show was good).
I think I’ve been drinking beer wrong since day one. When I was in middle school and I got my first real taste of beer, I can recall thinking it was completely horrid. I think it was the bitterness of it that put me off at first, I just hated it. After much practice though, I came to love the beer as I do today. Last night we were enjoying some at Anthony’s, and my nose started getting stuffy – like it often does when I drink beer for some reason. I started thinking about why my nose would be affected from one beverage over any other, and I decided it had something to do with the way I swallow beer. And get this, I think I discovered that I’ve been drinking beer completely wrong for like 12 years. See, back in my na?ve youth, the bitterness of beer bothered me so much that I must have subconsciously developed a technique to minimize my tasting of it. When I drink beer, and only when it’s beer, I “throw” the beer right past the front of my tongue and directly to the back of my mouth. I hold it at the back and then let it drain down my throat more than swallow it. I think I must have developed this nasty habit in an attempt to let the beer bypass the front part of my tongue – which in my mind somehow reduced the bitter taste. I think the “draining more than swallowing” is also an effort to keep the front of my tongue beer-free. I don’t drink any other liquid this way.
So, I am now making a conscious effort to drink beer like I drink any other beverage. I mean, I’d hate to think that I’ve been missing out on a whole other element of beer’s taste. It would certainly be a shame if I were to go through my whole life never knowing what beer tastes like when you let it hit the front of your tongue.