Category Archives: Universe

Houston, I have a problem for you…

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Standing on the Equator, compared to on the North Pole

About eight years ago I spent some time thinking about things, stuff like the earth moving around the sun. Don’t ask why, but it soon occurred to me that the earth could just as easily spin on its axis in a more or less fixed position, like a spinning top. Assuming that the sun is in a relatively fixed position, then this spinning top made as much sense as an annual ellipse around the sun. Oddly, it is simpler I suppose . . . less work?

Then there’s the other question, “Does the earth rotate at all?” I think about this stuff while I wonder about that other stuff . . . gravity. It struck me how remarkable it is that while a person stands in one place on the equator, they are moving at 1,670 km per hour. At the same time, someone standing on the exact north pole would basically be moving at .85 meters in a 24-hour day. That would be someone like me, with a shoe that measures 27 cm in length, so by standing there, the back of my shoes would move in one circular rotation in 24 hours, or about 0.85 meters, or about 3.39 centimeters per hour.

What’s really amazing, and curious, is how both people, and at the same time, would have the perception of standing still. I still wonder whether there is some kind of subtle perceptual difference between the two locations, even though I know that I’ll never really know the answer.

Standing in the airport, Winnipeg compared to Vancouver

For whatever reason, none that I know of, something odd occurred to me last night, so I did a little research this morning. This concerns flight times, flight patterns and such. For convenience I chose two cities to study. One is my hometown of Winnipeg and the other is Vancouver, B.C. – if you were to look at a map of Canada, you would see that both are basically very close to the 49th parallel.

There is a two-hour time difference between the two cities; Vancouver is two hours earlier than Winnipeg. Today the sun rose at 5:12 in Vancouver and will set at 9:09 tonight. In Winnipeg the sun rose at 5:28 and will set at 9:28 tonight. The difference in sunlight between the two cities is 3 minutes out of 1,440 minutes in a day.

I can get from B to A, but how do I ever get from A to B?

The distance between Winnipeg and Vancouver is about 1,865 kilometers, by air. Winnipeg’s location must be kind of “in the same spot” during its sunrise, the same spot as Vancouver at its sunrise. Put another way, if earth is rotating, then Winnipeg must “travel” 1,865 kilometers in 2 hours and 16 minutes, or moving at a speed of about 823 km/ hour.

So how do the airplane flights come in to play? First of all, apparently the flight pattern is basically right along the arc of the 49th parallel, so it’s very much a direct flight. Since the plane is following such a direct path, and if the earth is rotating at a speed of 823 km an hour between the two cities, shouldn’t it be a lot quicker to get to Vancouver from Winnipeg than getting to Winnipeg from Vancouver?

Apparently the planes fly at 500 km/ hour in both directions, and the flight times are 2 hours and 55 minutes between the two cities, regardless of the departing city. So what am I missing? I mean, if you’re miles up in the air, travelling at 500 km/ hour, and below you, your destination is travelling in the same direction as you, but at 823 km/ hr, how do you ever get there, never mind getting there in just under 3 hours? I really have no problem being wrong about something here, so if I’m missing something simple, silly me . . . and if so, what is it?

http://www.airmilescalculator.com/distance/yvr-to-ywg/

One verb or two?

This is a work in progress, using some candle wax and pieces of a wick in lieu of charcoal.

This is a work in progress, using some candle wax and pieces of a wick in lieu of charcoal.

For many months now my art process has taken a back-burner to the writing process. Why do I use the word process? It’s because the most precious aspect of it for the artist, this artist, is in the joy of creating . . . when something is finished there is a kind of sadness, I suppose mainly because the process is finished.

Many times I’ve found myself moving on to another picture, and right away, simply as a reaction to this sadness. It’s not a deep depression or anything like that, but merely a recognition of a need to move on – it’s a very natural feeling.

Why do I even raise the issue?

While the process is very much a pleasant imaginary journey, often times the discussions about the finished work becomes a bit of nightmare. For lack of a better term, it often gets bogged down in dogma, such as, “What kind of art is that? What is the intent? Is it fine art?” For me the biggest issue surrounds the use of technology . . . as if the use of software negates the “validity” of the final piece, and for that matter, the process. Sadly, there are many who think the machine does everything, while the truth is that it does very little, at least in my experience.

It’s strange how the focus on the piece can get so negative, so divisive, but thankfully nothing can take away from the experience of the process. I’m very tempted to respond to that technical issue here, but I won’t, because no matter how I put it, any comment will only add to the controversy.

The Bigger Picture

I’ve noticed that this kind of controversy seems to be in so many fields. For example, I can experience the same kind of exasperation in a discussion with physicists, especially about issues such as the big bang theory, the nature of the universe, and the center of the universe.

Many people get upset because of my views come from a different way of knowing, such as by simple observation and perhaps a little logic? I don’t why it’s important, or if important is the right word, but it seems it’s easy to learn things this way, more so when there is simply no intent. This issue of intent, or lack of it, is what I refer to as important.

A Very Kind Way of Learning

One of my favorite learning experiences comes from spending time with a candle now and then, gazing into the flame and watching pieces of the wick kind of swimming in the melted wax around the flame. I mention this because I’ve learned so much this way. After watching the dance within the flame, a wonderful dance, one night it hit me . . . there is no center. It is completely impossible to find the center of any given flame on any given candle.

As this is true, then it follows that if you cannot find the center of a flame, how can you ever hope to find the center of the universe? For me there is great beauty in this truth, as in my experience in the process of art. Unfortunately, the discussions that follow aren’t so wonderful, especially with those consumed with quantifiable measurement . . . sometimes logic and a little imagination should be enough . . . some say art is an expression of life without numbers.

That’s also how I see nature – an expression of life without numbers.

Truth moves around . . . thankfully!

Sunshine on My Mind

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Lately a little sunshine has come up in discussions with some really bright people.

Over the last number of years I’ve enjoyed times of solitude where I just reflect on life, mostly the non-human varieties. In the last year or so, since immersing myself in social media, every now and then I get involved in online discussions that relate to this issue of the sun. Sometimes this includes discussions with various scientists.

To be sure, I’m an artist at heart, though I’m also well trained in scientific methodology, statistics and so on, but I don’t pretend to be an ‘expert’ in any of it, don’t need to be. Recently a discussion came up from a scientist who has a blog about the role of artists in kind of “feeding” science. The person actually works in this field, some kind of institute that seeks to combine the two endeavors.

On one hand I can appreciate this, but on the other hand, there is an arrogance behind it that is hard to stomach. It’s the arrogance that all life has a scientific basis. This belief seems to be ingrained in so many people at an alarming rate over the last few decades. As a belief it is very much like a religion. Perhaps not so surprising is the negative reaction that such people have when you point this out, and yet it is so very true.

Many artists tend to look at life differently, to observe and come to know certain things without measurements. Scientists seem to think of this as what, romantic? Dreamy? Idealistic? Whatever term is used, the common one would be “inferior”, at least in terms of comparison to the observing through the use of science. At the unavoidable risk of sounding confrontational, I see it as quite the opposite.

So what does this have to do with the sun?

We’ve all been taught that the sun is very far away, but that’s not really true is it? When you think of its light continually blending in with the planet we live on, and how life here couldn’t exist without it, then you can easily appreciate how inseparable we are from the sun…it’s not just ‘out there’, it’s right here.

Think of the stream of light as an indivisible umbilical chord.

As I mentioned in a previous post, time and gravity are inseparable aspects of life on earth. Now when you combine this with the indivisible aspect of the sun, then you can understand that the earth as a mass, with its time and gravity, are indivisibly connected to the sun.

The problem in physics then is the equation ‘energy = mass x the speed of light squared). This equation involves mass (earth), the sun, and time. It’s not really a valid equation once you accept this indivisibility as I’ve described it.

The reason for that can be shown in a simple question, “How you can multiply something when you can’t really divide it?”

I don’t know what all this means, I just know that I need to say it.

The picture at the top is another one of my unfinished works; it began as a photograph of the door know and keyhole of my storage shed. The link below is on the lighter side, and is a great presentation on the creative thinking process. What I really like about it is that it presented by someone like myself in terms of starting out as someone trained in science.

John Cleese on Creativity

And finally, here is such a wonderful example who in her own way seems to “get it” in terms of light.

Madonna – Ray of Light

An Infinite Universe…How Nice

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I’m tired of this endless debate, so many smart people who don’t seem to get it in terms of the simplest truth. The universe is boundless, infinite, end of story.

One thing we all know about walls is that there is always something on the other side. Those who claim that the universe is finite must then claim that the universe has some kind of invisible wall, like a shell of sorts. If so then how thick is the wall, and what’s on the other side?

So either the wall goes on forever or it doesn’t and there is something on the other side…either way it keeps on going…it is infinite, immeasurable.

I’m so tired of any claim else-wise. When you come to understand this boundless aspect, then with  a little thinking you can actually appreciate that in its totality there is a kind a unity. I say this because an infinite universe can neither expand nor contract.

Many people of science get very upset when you can explain this universal truth to them with simple reason, and a little imagination. To these people it seems reputation and the sale of textbooks seem much more important than truth.

Thankfully there are still those who have a passion for truth, and for them it is more important than tradition, more important than egos and more important than reputation, past or present. And thankfully there is no money to made from this simple truth, which speaks volumes when you think about it.

Your comments are welcome, as is freely sharing a little truth…just please don’t ask me what it means! 🙂