R: I looked up the newly reported supernova; it’s in the Pinwheel Galaxy, right above the outermost two stars in the handle of the Big Dipper, something even I can find. We’re having marvelous clear weather here so I went out last night with a small scope to try to see it. I saw a couple of teeny stars embedded in fuzziness, so maybe I did. It’s supposed to increase its magnitude from its present 17 to about 10, so we might get to see it. A first and only for people of our generation.
While I was outside my Android rang and it was D’protz, Dread Emperor of the Pinwheel Galaxy via FTL spacephone. He said that our name for his galaxy sucks. Its real name, he said, is Galaxy of Doom Death Horror Galaxy, and he swore vengence upon us for giving his home Messier object such a paltry name. As soon as his vast armada of giant stompy robots can figure out which one is us. I told him at least we didn’t have a supernova going on in OUR galaxy and that he should spend more on maintenance instead of interstellar warfare. There was silence for a moment, then he wanted to know how I knew he had a supernova, since his galaxy is 200 million light years away from ours. I told him I had a friend at Goddard and gave him your name and phone number.
B: I am thinking D’protz is putting you on a bit, as the Supernova is old news to him by 200 million years… In fact the radiation of that supernova lead to the genetic mutations that gave rise to the race from which D’protz is descended (according to my Stargate sources). This appears to be just D’protz’s lame attempt to expand his mind games to a new realm, thus furthering his “Dreadedness” to new corners of the universe, don’t fall for it.
R: Actually I believe that D’protz doesn’t know about the supernova of 200 million years ago. I was trying to make him think that I could see the supernova they’re having now (they call it Irene). I was messing with HIS heads.
B: My mistake…
A recent conversation with a friend:
R: Okay, I just heard that some of your co-workers are claiming to be able to see evidence of ‘the time before the Big Bang.’ I think you should go see them, and, in your authority as the oldest employee at Goddard, to knock it off. Things are confusing enough as it is.
B: I suspect there are some problems with the definition of “Big Bang” in such statements. If the Big Bang is considered to be the beginning of the Universe, then they or the reporters who are reporting it should indeed Knock It OFF! If, however the Big Bang is the period of Inflation that supposedly happened a split second after the beginning of the Universe, then there is a chance something can be figured out about that time before the Bang, though actually “seeing” it may be a bit of a conceit.
R: Speaking of the Big Bang, and waffling around it, there’s a similar issue emerging in deep-time geology. Lately I’ve been trying to study more about the early history of Earth, the Hadean Eon and all that, and I notice that there is a tendency to start Earth history at the point the moon was created, supposedly by a collision with a big, big planetoid named (By whom? Why wasn’t I consulted?) Theia. What if I want to hear about before that?
It’s like the big bang not really being the Big Bang.
B: It seems likely that anything large enough to generate the moon from an Earth collision probably would fundamentally change the evolution/history path of the Earth. So maybe it will never be possible to do anything but speculate on what the Earth was like as a baby. Either that or it was a pretty dull place before Theia arrived…
There has been a lot of theory and research done on solar system and planet birth, but not much on Plant/Planetoid collision. Sounds like a good place to start or climax a story….
B: This is another example of improper market signals about the true cost of a product. If it cost $4000/ton to recycle this harmful environmental pollutant, but can only be sold for $32/ton, then the true cost of a plastic bag should be at least 12,500% it’s current market cost.
R: Yes, years ago, Mogo decided that the future was plastic bags. He saved all he got at the mall, plus collected everyone else’s. He has an entire industrial park in Bhopal, warehouses full of used plastic bags, and only one of them is on fire! Now he’s ready to collect his 25k percent profit. Please send information as to where the buyers are and do they pay cash.
B: I always have a hard time knowing when you are pulling my leg or telling me I am full of crap.
R: In all the years I’ve known you, you have never been full of crap.
It’s Mogo– I don’t know why I know his history. I just do. He’s still waiting for the signal to sell off his stock of plastic bags. He’s always wanted to be a market wheeler-dealer, and this imminent boom in plastic bags, well, it’s what he’s dreamed of.
I loathe and detest plastic bags. Never use ‘em.