My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Wednesday, October 19

Mind-Boggling Numbers

I just read in the news that astronomers now believe the universe is considerably larger than previously thought, like twenty times bigger, with twenty times as many galaxies as first thought. The numbers are staggering. Our minds simply can’t relate to them. The galaxy, they believe, has an expanding diameter of 93 million light years and at least two trillion galaxies. A light year is the distance that light travels in a year, about six trillion miles. See, these numbers are almost too huge to comprehend. I now know what a mind boggle is. We live on the planet earth in a minor galaxy we call the Milky Way. It looks milky because the number of stars in it are so tightly packed to our eye that it looks like a continuous patch of light like milk. And our little solar system is situated out on the edge of our galaxy, with millions of other solar systems closer to the center. The triple star system known as Alpha Centauri is our closest neighbor in our galaxy, a mere 4.37 light years away. Our Milky Way is only one of two trillion. Boggling. I remember from many years ago on 20-20 a simulation that showed viewers what our outer and inner limits were. First, the outer. We saw an overhead camera shot of a couple lying on a beach in Illinois, probably on Lake Michigan near Chicago. At about three-second intervals, the view moved up, squaring the distance for each shot. Up and up and up, until the couple was gone, Chicago was gone, Lake Michigan was gone, the U.S. was gone, the earth became a ball, then a dot as the view moved out of our solar system to show only our sun, which became a red ball, then a dot, and then our galaxy as it too became a spot, then a dot, then the coalescing of galaxies into a super galaxy which also became a spot, then a dot among countless other dots. And with us all holding our breath, the camera view paused, then came back to earth in rapid motion, back to the sun and earth and the U.S., back to Chicago and the couple lying on that Lake Michigan beach. Then it showed us the same thing inwardly, ending up with tiny atomic structures that looked alarmingly like the galactic images we’d seen on our outward journey. Boggling. It was hard then as it still is today to take oneself too seriously in light of knowing just how tiny we are, how petty our concerns.

Another set of numbers too large to comprehend. I also read in the news that each of our F-35 fighter jets costs about 100 million dollars to produce and that the total defense cost for the F-35’s and their successors is around a trillion dollars. A trillion dollar bills strung end to end would reach to the moon and back not once but twice. Boggling. If we lived in a saner, more peaceful world, we might use that money to pursue what President Obama has been encouraging, a plan to colonize Mars. Others believe we should be concentrating on a moon base instead. The next frontier is space and the next step is the outer limits of our solar system. Except for the oceans on earth, we’ve pretty much run out of frontiers here. I can see that sometime in the future, if we can somehow avoid killing ourselves and destroying the earth, we’ll find a way to travel in space ships at or near the speed of light. That’s Star Trek stuff but may be possible. We’ll probably also find a way to harness the 80% of man’s brain that we aren’t currently using. Mental telepathy isn’t hard to imagine. I’m too old to be around for much what may lie ahead, but I can dream of it. And now I just have to find some way to live through the third debate and the coming election on November 8. After all, Donald Trump seems to be using only about 5% of his brain.
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