Monday, July 16, 2007

Curious Laws of Physics


I think that a desire to peer into the deeper mysteries of the cosmos is something that must come with maturity. I don't remember wanting to explore the outer reaches of physics as a younger man, but now such things intrigue me.

For instance, how is it possible for one little old lady with nine inch hips to occupy a whole pavement? Is that something to do with nature expanding to fill a vacuum?

And why is it that coat hangers multiply like rabbits so that you've always got too many of them, when ballpoint pens by contrast are able to decrease their tribe until they exist only in minus figures, so that you then have to buy a dozen in order for there to be one?

Who proposed this ridiculous idea that for every force there has to be an equal opposing force? What nonsense. Headwinds and tailwinds are a good example of opposites that exist only in theory. Go out on a bicycle and battle your way around blustery Yorkshire searching for a 'tailwind'. You'll be a long time gone.

Lately I've been making a study of the levitating properties of ordinary household objects. Yes indeed. And I believe I'm close to disproving the outdated law that everything that goes up must come down. Cups, for instance, and plates and bowls and pickle jars and yoghurt pots and all manner of cutlery. I've noticed how these things are able to rise of their own volition, and float right up through the house until the bedroom ceilings finally get in the way and they can ascend no further. Oddly enough it's always my daughters' bedrooms that they seem to seek out. Something to do with the rarity of the atmosphere I shouldn't wonder, but it's here that they remain, hovering, and emitting a strange hum. You could leave them there till Domesday, but they'll never ever come down.

I find it extraordinary - in fact I'm thinking of writing a paper exclusively on this subject - but our privileged pair show no curiosity in the matter. As I say, I think the enquiring mind is something that develops with age.

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