At the End of the Day


The ability of phonons, Klingons and other forms of antimatter to put things into a proper perspective is exceeded only by the scientific community’s unerring ability to disagree with itself. The Slog confesses to being a fan of Unsettled Science.



Let’s just park for a moment the facts that property prices in US Silicon valley are tumbling to recession levels, the US Fed’s current rate cut noises are confusing TF out of everyone except the braindead milkers, US car dealers are constipated with vehicles they can’t sell, the glut in natural gas is close to bankrupting US drillers, Chinese results auditors stand accused of falsification, the German economy is crashing into inevitable recession with a record deficit, France is officially in Slump mode, and the Italian debt/banking crisis is deemed by all informed sources to be insoluble.

Let’s forget that yesterday, Mario Draghi said of the eurozone, “the situation is getting worse and worse”.

We can park them alright, although the double-yellow line fines from Wales via the West Indies to Woomera Australia would look a tad embarassing for IMF Helmsperson Christine Lagarde. But Queen Pristine herself is able to put all that behind her, for her past policies of incontinent lending and incompetent forecasting have convinced others more skilled than you and I that she has earned the right to become the new custodian of all things euroscience at the European Central Bank, or ECB. Such is the nature of events in the crypto-royal élites, I do not doubt that she and her bank will become, in short order, yet another two jaloppies double-parked along the already overcrowded road to perdition.

Let’s even block out the hysterically risible idea of having Jeroan Djisslebleom on the shortlist to replace Lagarde at the IMF….perhaps the only possibility that could dwarf the madness of Chrissie walking into Frankfurt on the waters of QE the eurozone can’t afford.

So yes – park every last bit of it: the massive overdependence of the UK on financial services, its lack of a percentage manufacturing base in double figures, the incomprehensible (but probably unstoppable) desire of the SNP’s Bonnie Prince Charlies to place their balls under the Brussels jackboot, and the slump in Sterling due to the average currency trader’s inability to hit the side of a barn with a battle bus from three metres.


It is all as nothing, for the multiverse formally known as the Universe (think of it as unrecorded inflation) is up to no good. As predicted by Einstein and ignored by almost everyone else, the Multiverse quite recently developed little things called phonons. ‘Recently’ in astral Time means a Zillion years ago to us, but is a mere blink to the Gods.

Now however, physicists at the Ivy League University Stanford have developed a “quantum microphone” so sensitive that it can measure the noise made by these sub-atomic sound particles. It’s a giant leap forward for hearing aids, and likely to revolutionise the lives of millions: those who currently spend their lives asking “What?” will henceforth be deafened by a single Alien fart in the Andromeda constellation.

Now as it happens, we don’t know if all aliens have arseholes – let alone emit wind from them – but fear not, because the space cadets are on that case too. Pointy-heads are keen to explain how the slight drawback when judging the nature of deep-space emissions is that, as things currently stand, we can’t tell a burp in Alpha Centauri from space debris orbiting earth: what the New York Post calls a message from Ross 128 (a mere eleven million light years away) is, it seems, just as likely to be a solar flare on the sun, or a rebound of Peyton Place episodes from 1955. While confirming the preponderance of repeats in the media at an even more disturbing level than expected, such goes scant distance towards our ability to tell ET from e = mc².

Science hack Andy Norton averrs that the discussion is academic anyway, because of something he calls the Great Filter. That is to say, intelligent, communicating life is probably extremely rare, because even if it does develop, it gets wiped out fairly quickly. Andy’s a little hazy on who or what does all the wiping out, but if it’s a who then they’re not likely to be good neighbours. Sounds to me like a top-notch reason for switching off the entire search for Life Elsewhere, but there’s also an excellent chance of the genocidal maniac being a what.

Antimatter is a likely suspect here. Enjoying a pointless ability to vapourise stuff some 100 times more effective than a hydrogen bomb, a couple of pounds of antimatter colliding with a couple of pounds of matter would cause a devastation 3,000 times more powerful than the Hiroshima explosion. That’s more than enough to disappear a planet whose windy inhabitants are sending your phonon hearing-aid haywire.

But now it emerges that – if Big Bang Theory is on the money – there should be an amount of antimatter equal to matter. There isn’t, and this paradox is called the baryon asymmetry.

Among a great many other funny and insightful things he said, Albrecht Einstein memorably observed, “The more I learn, the more I grasp how little I know”. I have a hunch that the problem with Big Bang is not a paradoxical asymmetry; my gut feeling for a long time has been that huge parts of Big Bang Theory are tosh.

Bringing the whole thing back down to Earth so to speak, I further feel that the success of Homo sapiens in surviving a wipe-out scenario has to be one of the greatest injustices since Time began – even if you think Time didn’t start until Big Bang, and isn’t an illusion. The Conservative/Republican right wing, the Labour/Democrat Left wing – and the combined head of the LibDems and body of Greens plus a tail designed by feminists – do not add up to something that can fly. That they’re still alive, well and flapping about in a panic suggests to me that the Outwipers didn’t go to Specsavers.

There is much to encourage us here – the incompetence of mass murderers, the growing realisation that science can’t settle an acid stomach let alone a Big Bang, the dislocation of Ivy League researchers from three-dimensional existence, filters that let every which way kind of fuckwit through the collander, and above all the élites’ incurable commitment to rewarding failure.

Let’s face it: if they were running a meritocracy, we would all be running a lot more scared than we are.

Sleep well.