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– 8 days ago

When Science Fiction and Science Are Indistinguishable.


I have been a big fan of Douglas Adams and the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books since I started reading his books as a teen.  Among the passages I remember the most was an offhand mention of the Great Green Arkleseizure.

Jatravartids are small blue creatures of the planet Viltvodle VI with more than fifty arms each. They are therefore unique in being the only race in history to have invented aerosoldeodorant before the wheel (though their wheels are the wrong shape; a bike with literally square wheels can be seen).

Many races believe that the Universe was created by some sort of god or in the Big Bang. The Jatravartians people, however, believe that the Universe was sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure. They live in perpetual fear of the time they call “The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief” (their version of the End of the Universe). The theory of the Great Green Arkleseizure is not widely accepted outside Viltvodle VI.

So I got to thinking earlier today that our theory of the Big Bang is really no different.  If you accept the fact that the universe exploded into existence and is traveling outward at great velocity, you have bought into a theory that is, on the surface, the Big Sneeze Theory – one big event and all the stuff in the universe goes flying.

But as I was thinking that, and browsing the net for randomness (as I am apt to do), I came upon a related theory. A physicist has suggested that a “bubble” moving at the speed of light could simply wipe us all away before we even knew what happened.

According to Discovery News, Lykken said if this happens, it’ll happen at light speed, which means if anyone is around to witness it — our solar system will be long gone — they’ll be gone before they realize it.

So despite our best science, we actually haven’t advanced much beyond the sneeze and hanky wipe theory that Adams attributes to the primitive, body odor-challenged inhabitants of a backwater planet.

Granted, we haven’t attributed the big sneeze and to a much larger alien (unless you count God), but it kind of makes me feel a little less confident in our scientists.



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Written by Michael Turk