Black holes, Pantyhose & The Fabric of Our Lives…

….and no, I’m not talking about Cotton, although I do love its touch & feel. I’m actually referring to some of my most secret obsessions.  (excuse me, “former” secret now) 
Space Time, Black Holes and  
(say hello to their little friend) CERN. 

Yes, ME…Moi…The E…who’s math skills stink worse than 2 month old Vieux Boulogne, LOVES the aforementioned topics. (For those who aren’t as obsessed with cheese as I am, Vieux Boulogne is probably THE stinkiest cheese in the world) Now let’s not confuse the fact that because I love all things Quantum and Black Hole-y to mean that I’m a fixture at all Trekie Conventions and have a 12 time W.O.W. Horde Quest Championship ring. I don’t. In fact, I had to look up W.O.W. just to find out what it meant and some of it’s terminology as to not disrespect the role playing Kobe Bryant’s of game and I’m pretty sure I still got it wrong. But I digress…
There’s something about the heavens above that has ALWAYS fascinated me. For as long as I can remember I would get more excited about going to the planetarium than the zoo and literally thought I’d cry forever because I couldn’t make out Orion’s Belt in the sky when everyone else could. (for the record, I can see it now…..and it looks like he’s put on a little weight…just sayin’)  One of my fondest memories of my family was under the stars on the back porch when my parents moved us to a teeny weeny town outside of….well, civilization. 

Due to the fact that the majority of the population was made up mostly of cows, not people, there wasn’t a whole lot of light pollution going on in good ol’ Brenham. This meant that the sky could be seen in a way I’d never experienced before and it truly left me speechless.  (no small feat if you happen to know me) My family and I, including my Aunt Julie who happened to be visiting us at the time, spent hours on end planted outside on the back porch, watching the most spectacular show Mother Nature (and Nasa) could present to us; LIVE, in glorious prime-time & hi-def. Aside from the satellite that would do it’s little dance like clockwork every 15 minutes, there were the most incredible shooting stars I have ever seen in my life. We were lucky enough to catch a meteor shower that night and counted (no joke) over 50 shooting stars. Not those silly little baby ones either. Whoppers that you could see long after your countdown hit 3 seconds.
Cut to several years later, the latest works of Stephen Hawking and the major hubbub with Black Holes. By now I was already hooked and anything even remotely informational about “the existence of a region of space from which nothing could escape, including light”, so this had my name written all over it. Imagine my excitement when I heard scientists have now theorized a connection between Black Holes and the possibility of time travel. (Yes, I am well aware of my “Total Dork” meter now reaching 9 out of 10, thank you) Which brings me to my piece de resistance…Me taking hundreds of thousands of hours in research and review and combining it into four simple paragraphs on how time travel is possible and why I think this is all so freakin’ cool….. (this one’s for you dad)  

If time is a red string and space is a blue string, crochet them together and make a blankey. Like any fabric, the two are now intertwined and it can be twisted, stretched, bent, rolled… get the picture. Basically it can be manipulated. Unlike your snazzy red & blue fabric blankey though, you cannot detach time from space. They’re woven together like a pair of nylon pantyhose and that’s SpaceTime in a nut shell. (sans the L’eggs  logo & snagging when its your last pair…..of course) 
Imagine this snazzy red & blue pantyhose blankey is stretched out. Put a golf ball in the center and naturally, the snazzy red & blue pantyhose blankey will dip. That’s because mass creates gravity & gravity can bend the ‘fabric’ of space time. Something this ‘mass’-ive could have enough gravity to make a “well”, therefore creating a huge dip in spacetime. The only thing in creation that has enough mass to make this happen is a Black Hole. 
But whats a Black Hole anyway? (besides a Vivid Video title…) Picture it, Sicily,  1942, there’s a wild hurricane. It spins & spins; each turn gathering more outside deadly force causing it to grow and grow and grow and…..meanwhile the inside is as cool & calm as The Fonz.  Now picture  the same hurricane but instead of water and wind at its edge, theres beams of light and pieces of planets, asteroids & space trash, all spiraling down into a big dark ‘well’ that’s filled with so much mass, not even light can escape it. Ta-Da! Now you have your Black Hole.

I know what you’re thinking, “Where in the HELL are we gonna find a Black Hole in THIS economy?!?!” Well, my dears, that’s where CERN comes in. Formally known as Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (European Council for Nuclear Research) but then changed to Organisation Européenne pour la Recherche Nucléaire (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in 1954, CERN is the world’s largest particle physics laboratory and is located in the ‘burbs of Geneva. They’re the home to the fancy shmancy Large Hadron Collider (a big high-energy particle accelerator) and they’re the creator of the World Wide Web, all by smashing subatomic particles together, for the bargain basement price of 9 billion dollars. But thats’ not all!!!! They also make tiny black holes too. Every. Single. Day. 

Annnnnd THAT, ladies & gents, is the Cliff Note’s version of “All things space & time travel” AKA: E’s dorky secret shame. I hope you made it to this point in the posting…(I apparently have an issue with “tangents”, i am told), and if you’re in the market for a little trip back to the future, look no further than our Swiss Misses & Misters  over at CERN. If you’ve got the money honey, they’ve got the Delorean.

2 responses to Black holes, Pantyhose & The Fabric of Our Lives…

  1. Coleman says:

    I rode on a train from Amsterdam to Berlin with three 25-year-olds who work on the collider for CERN. They were on their way to Dresden for some sort of physicists convention. I spent 7 hours through the night playing drinking games with rocket scientists, essentially. They were surprisingly cool, and could throw down the Budvar (the original Budweiser, from the Czech Republic). You would have been in heaven.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The look of amazement on your face when we were moving away from civilization at 2 in the morning was incredible. I remember you asking dad "what is that white stuff?". His answer, "The Milky Way!" Your eyes almost popped out of your head.

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