Tag: Black Hole

Day 1000: How It Ends


Inside this cubicle the air is thick as honey, with asphyxiating flecks of the mundane bracing against the irrefutable promise of a golden weekend. Outside these pin-cushion partitions – and indeed inside as well – every tiny molecule in the universe is saying its goodbyes to its neighbors and preparing to splash into the unknown permutations of a distant someday. My fingers hammer at these tiny plastic letters, fully ignorant of what’s to come.

Or are they? The hallowed fingers of esteemed science – no doubt similar in size and shape to my own, only tasked with a far more specific purpose – have combed back the hair of the observable now and picked at the scalp-nits of projection. The fields of astronomy, physics, mathematics, and a cabinet full of –ologies have given us a map of what’s to come. A timeline of time’s last hurrah.

And the best part? If any of these predictions are wrong, every record of them will likely be destroyed before anyone finds out. That’s my kind of science.


Within 10,000 years, human genetic variation will no longer be regionalized. This won’t mean we’ll all look the same – the blonde gene will still speckle crowds and set up offensive jokes, but it will be distributed equally worldwide. This forecasted panmixia is far more optimistic than astrophysicist Brandon Carter’s Doomsday Argument, which places our present at roughly the halfway point of humankind’s civilized journey, and projects a 95% likelihood that we’ll be wholly extinct in 10,000 years.

If global warming hasn’t already soaked us into a Kevin Costner-esque hellscape by then, we may also be facing the melting of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet, which will raise the sea levels by 3 or 4 meters above wherever it will be once we lose the rest of the polar ice caps, which should happen long before then.

Long term forecast: buy a big-ass boat. Read more…

Day 632: Einstein’s Others


Someone once asked me if I’d take a thousandth of this project to explain Einstein’s theory of relativity in plain, common-sense layman-speak. I replied that this had been done on numerous occasions, in fact I think they even tried to do it in an Archie comic once. And besides, isn’t poor Al Einstein getting a little pigeon-holed by that equation? He contributed a lot more to the world than E=mc2 and receiving the honor of having Walter Matthau play him in a film.

No, this isn’t a ham-fisted segue into an article about Australian comedian and Young Einstein star Yahoo Serious, though I will tuck that topic into my back pocket for possible later use. Albert Einstein was the father of quantum theory, the great-uncle of particle theory, and third cousin several times removed of the Manhattan Project that ended World War II.

But there’s more to the Einstein pickle-tray than the big ol’ Kosher dills of scientific genius that everyone knows about. That’s what I want to poke at with my typing fingers today – the other Einsteineries.


For one thing, Einstein invented a fridge.

The Einstein Refrigerator has no moving parts, operates at a constant pressure, and requires only a heat source to help it do its thing. He came up with this along with his former student, Leó Szilárd, in 1925 after reading a report of a family that was killed when a seal on their fridge broke, poisoning them with toxic fumes. I’m not going to get into the science of the thing, as I’d rather not completely alienate the short-attention-spanned read-while-they-poop demographic, but suffice it to say, a solar panel would be enough to keep this thing chilling your Bud Lite from here to the Super Bowl. Read more…