buzzfeed’s “209 Seconds That Will Make You Question Your Entire Existence” doesn’t quite do that, but it does remind me of the 1977 powers of ten video written and directed by charles and ray eames which shows the the relative scale of the universe based on factors of ten. and yes, the title of this post is a reference to steve martin’s ‘lets get small’ comedy album which was also released in 1977, because that’s how my brain works.
cosmologists are once again providing support to british geneticist and evolutionary biologist j. b. s. haldane aphorism that, “…my own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” theorists are proposing that the big bang was a mirage from a collapsing 4th dimenensional star that created our 3D spatial universe which appears to be confoundingly uniform in all directions.
he’s rapidly approaching his seventh birthday?! and odin appears to be Thinking Big Thoughts. the other day he cornered me with a question about the smallest number ( which prompted much discussion in various places in The Real and Virtual Worlds regarding The Correct Answer, including consultation with a university of chicago physicist ).
today, he approached me and said simply, “poppi, you should go upstairs and look. i just drew The Universe on my chalkboard.” as it happens Odin’s Universe is a beautifully chalk-rendered earth with oceans shrouded in clouds and a bit of green land ( that doesn’t come through on the photograph ) and surrounded by stars. it instantly reminded me of carl sagan’s “pale blue dot”. if you haven’t listened to him read from the book, you should go do it now. i’ll wait 🙂
of course, we adults “know” The Universe is bigger than the earth, but he’s off to pretty good start at attempting to conceptualize The Bigness and Beyondness of it which is pretty fascinating when you consider that his schooling has consisted not of memorization and recitation but of playing in trees and singing songs and that he has almost no contact with Media. and that the books we read were mostly written over a century ago ( e.g. “wind in the willows”, “adventures of huck finn etc ).
i truly have no idea where he picks up concepts of negative infinity and space and cloud shrouded earth ( in fact, when i asked him if he’d ever seen a picture of earth from space he said, “no.” ). is he secretly handing out with carl’s ghost?
regardless, i’ll blow him mind some day when we watch the “powers of ten” video.