View through my window

March 10, 2006

Wonder.

I caught that 'The Planets' thing on Beeb 3 the other night. I love all that. The one thing that I missed when I moved out of my parents' home all those years ago was the old man's New Scientist subscription.

The prog mentioned the latest estimates re the number of stars in the universe. Our galaxy contains a hundred billion stars. And there are maybe fifty billion galaxies. They said that this is as many stars as there are grains of sand on every beach on Earth.

Imagine, if you will, going down to your favourite beach - wherever it is in the world - digging a little hole in the sand with your hand, pulling your hand out, looking closely at your index finger, and choosing one particular grain of sand sticking to your finger. Pick a pretty-coloured or shiny one if you want. That's our sun. Life is here.

Now look at your hand, at all the other grains stuck there. And now look around, slowly, at the grains on your feet, on the beach beneath your feet, the wet ones down by the water, blowing around up by the car park, in the distance, close to, at the bottom of the kids' hole, under the crisp packet, washing about in the little waves, stuck to the dog turd.

Imagine how many beaches there are in whatever country you're in. Repeat. Imagine how many countries there are in the world. Cote d'Azur, Cote d'Ivoire, Corfu, Cork, Coromandel. Cornwall. Cook Islands. Repeat.

Now tell me we're the only life in the universe.

11 Comments:

  • Did you ever read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy? It had a machine in it called the Total Perspective Vortex that could make you realise how totally insignificant you were in the grand scheme of things

    By Blogger Universal Soldier, at 10:24 am  

  • i am scared of the total perspective vortex.

    we're the only life in the universe.

    By Blogger surly girl, at 11:18 am  

  • We all need a Total Perspective Vortex every couple of weeks.

    By Blogger crisiswhatcrisis, at 3:23 pm  

  • I buy New Scientist weekly from the newsagents. Fabulous read. (Great article this week about velcro.)

    Do you collect ever sand from beaches you've visited? I do - and used to feel slightly guilty about that whole "take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footsteps" thing (or whatever it is). Now, reading the above, I put it into Total Perspective: I can see it means nothing. Which is quite a relief.

    Unless, even though "one" is totally insignficant, "one's actions" might not be. . . like that butterfly/tornado thing.

    Shit. Maybe I should revist all those beaches and return the sand grains - but what if I got the beaches mixed up? (read NS velcro article for explanation) (if you can be fagged)

    *have a good weekend*

    By Blogger don't chase it, at 4:53 pm  

  • Why has nobody told you we're the only life in the universe, as requested?

    Aaaaaanyway, if the chances are that we're not the only life in the univers, then the same chances say we might be.

    It's a possibility. With no evidence against, thus far.

    So snuggle up close to someone tonight. It's very lonely out there.

    By Blogger the Beep, at 11:03 pm  

  • Beaches in Cornwall are so fantabulous, on a hot summers day you could believe that you were in the mediterranean somewhere...not in Cornwall!!

    By Blogger Moo, at 3:55 pm  

  • I've tagged you as you were once daft enough to say once you would welcome being caught with one...fool!

    By Blogger Just Jane, at 1:20 am  

  • Shit, and it's a big one. I've no choice but to give it a go, though. Me and my big mouth.

    By Blogger crisiswhatcrisis, at 10:06 am  

  • while you're working on your tag thingy, here's a thought: did you see that Time programme on BBC something or other last night?

    might explain why so many people are suffering from MLCs

    By Blogger don't chase it, at 10:16 am  

  • Damn, I didn't. I do try and watch it in the week, though, so perhaps I'll catch a repeat. Not that I need any further excuse for an MLC.

    By Blogger crisiswhatcrisis, at 10:33 am  

  • well, Ive written it all up for you (with a few of my own thoughts naturally), and you are welcome to read my (badly written) (poorly thought out) summary, on my blog

    if you can be arsed!

    wv: ticketky-boo

    By Blogger don't chase it, at 11:06 am  

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