Let’s talk about science and technology news!
What’s Jeff Bezos up to with his Blue Earth project? Aside from space tourism, he wants to move manufacturing facilities to orbiting space colonies. He says this will relieve the Earth of all our polluting, Earth-side factories. This is preposterous, so good for him — Jeffy is so imaginative.
I bet his second grade art teacher loved little Jeffy when he colored Santa’s coat green. My art teacher told me my coloring was wrong. But little Jeffy got into a progressive school.
He’s got to know he can’t move more than a fraction of Earth’s manufacturing into orbit. The factories that go up will be the ones specially suited for functioning in orbit. They’ll benefit from weightless environments and easy access to the vacuum of space, and they’ll be able to work with space rocks that can be guided to them.
He talks about getting human beings up there, restoring Earth to a pre-human condition and making it one big natural park. Also not going to happen. These space factories aren’t going to be arks for millions of people who have no pertinent skills to justify their presence, sucking up food and air. The factory-colonies are going to give the people who can’t take part one-way tickets back to the Earth, where they’ll become part of the natural fauna of the world-wide Blue Earth Wildlife Park and Arboretum.
Don’t worry about them; they’ll be able to get jobs at the remaining Earth factories, which will be plentiful.
In other space news, NASA is busy conducting its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART). The idea is to send a space probe to asteroids Didymos and Dimorphos and to crash it into the smaller one, Dimorphos. Dimorphos orbits Didymos and is considered the larger asteroid’s moon. Didymos is about .8 kilometers across, and Dimorphos is only 170 meters across, so slamming a probe the size of a full stand-up refrigerator with self-thawing freezer compartment should be more effective if the target is the little one. The goal is to measure the change in Dimorphos’ orbit around Didymos.
The idea is to find out whether future asteroids on a collision course with the Earth could be sufficiently deflected to miss our planet by throwing large household appliances at them.
In less technology and more science news, biologists were thrilled to witness a mass coral spawning event in a part of Australia’s Great Coral Reef. This is fabulous news, because there’s been a lot of coral die-off in the reef. It means the reef is still capable of repairing itself. It’s also good news for people posting videos of the event on YouTube, because they can get extra likes and shares just by adding classic 1970s porn music.
I’ve saved for last a subject near and dear to my heart. It’s reported that physicists have shown (only theoretically, I believe) that a quantum system can be in two states at once where one goes in the opposite “time direction” as the other, presumably without escaping one another.
I don’t believe the two time directions can be labeled “into the future” and “into the past.” They’re just opposite to each other relative to the other, not relative to our macroscopic determinations of forward and past time directions.
It’s way, way out of my area of expertise to imagine how this idea could be tested in a lab.
But I have seen something like this in mathematics.
I came up with a heuristic in the 1980s. Heuristics, for those who don’t know, are usually wrong ideas that nevertheless give right answers a surprising amount of the time.
For example, I can predict with near 100 percent certainty that if a program is going to get me free Wi-Fi, provided I’m eligible (i.e. poor enough), I’m not going to qualify, because being one quarter of the area median income is not going to be poor enough. That’s what a heuristic tells me.
What of it? What does that have to do with quantum systems moving in opposite directions in “time?”
Well, the heuristic I developed says if you can have time evolutions moving in opposite directions, you ought to have time evolutions moving in many independent directions, like three, four, five, six different directions around a circle.
So, the heuristic says, just like Bezos’ dream, this quantum dream is simplistic.
Read more of the Dec. 1-7, 2021 issue.