Wondering about wild grapes

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wondering about things that make me dizzy.

Yea, I know my name is Dizzy Dick, but some things I try to think about and understand, make my head spin. Like when I was in school, taking math, they said that if you divide any number by zero you get infinity. Infinity was a funny symbol that looked like a distorted 8 lying on its side. I couldn’t imagine infinity. Now that I am old, I still can’t comprehend infinity, can you?

I love astronomy, and that word (infinity) comes up quite often. I think that scientists use it when they don’t comprehend something. It is sort of a cop-out. It still makes me dizzy thinking about it.

Speaking of astronomy, there are things out there in space that really make me dizzy when I try to understand them. You know, like black holes. Of course I am not alone there. Another thing is pulsars.

I remember when I was a kid in grade school, they had a science guy come in and do a show. The auditorium was filled with all us kids, and we didn’t know what to expect. Sort of hoped he would saw a few teachers in half or show us how to be invisible. Nah, he just demonstrated science things. He put out a candle using only sound waves and other neat things that I can’t remember right now, except for one other thing he did. He put discs of different materials on a motor driven rotary shaft. These things, paper was one I can remember, would explode when a fast enough rpm was reached. Bang, there would be pieces flying everywhere. This taught us that any object, if it rotated fast enough, the centrifugal force will exceed the forces that hold the object together and it will suddenly come apart – BANG.

OK, I learned my grade school science lesson well. That is why pulsars are so hard for me to understand. You see, I have a real simple mind that runs on simple, straight forward rules. Pulsars blow my mind and in turn make me dizzy.

In case you don’t know what a pulsar is, let me give you a brief explanation. A pulsar is an extremely fast spinning neutron star that has such an extremely high magnetic field that it sends out highly energetic beams. As these beams go past earth, it appears as if the neutron star pulses, thus the term “pulsar”.

Ok, you ask, what is a neutron star? A neutron star is formed when a large star collapses and goes supernova. A neutron star can be about 12 miles in diameter and have a mass of almost a half million Earths. Nothing is more compact, except for black holes.

Now, back to the pulsar, as it collapses, it must conserve the angular momentum of the original star, so like a spinning skater pulls his/her arms in to increase the spin, the stars spin increases to fantastic speeds. The fastest one detected so far spins more than 700 spins per second. That is 42000 rpms and at 12 miles in diameter, the surface speed at its equator would be over 8 million miles per hour. My math says it would be 8,143,008 mph, check and see if I am right.

Now, what the heck holds this thing together? Now, not only that, but can you imagine something that large spinning that fast? Now my head is really spinning and like my name, I am really Dizzy.


  1. Getting out of bed makes me dizzy! I don't have to spin at 42,000 RPM to make that happen! LOL.

    As a kid, I lived in a city of 100,000. Densely packed three decker houses was the norm for block upon block. With that many people all packed in so densely, something had to be done to take care of the garbage so the rats wouldn't get it.

    We put the garbage in a little house in the back yard called 'The Garbage shed!'

    It was only about 5 feet tall so I could easily climb up on the roof, something I did quite often as a kid.

    One day I was lying on my back on the roof of the garbage shed, staring at the sky, and wondering!

    "Hey dad! How big is space, as he walked by?”

    "What are you talking about,” he'd ask?

    "You know, outer space, how big is it?"

    He got mad at me for asking him such a question, and walked off!

    That told me that he didn't really know! Even as a kid, I knew that he was embarrassed by a question that he had never even entered his mind to ponder!

    Lying on garbage shed can make ‘Other people dizzy!’

  2. Ernest, I love that story. Your Dad wasn't and still isn't the only one who doesn't know the answer to that question. In fact scientists now think that it may be infinite. Dang, there goes my head spinning again.

  3. If that makes you dizzy, how about this one!

    I read an article on this subject and the scientist who wrote it said that space was curved, sort of like a giant balloon. He gave some examples of the physics involved but that kind of math is beyond me. Its not that I don’t like math, its ‘Math that does not like me!’

    Anyway this guy said that if you could travel fast enough and far enough in one direction towards where the galaxies are going as the galaxies and nebula expand, you would simply curve around and come back to the same place where you started without taking any turns.

    Space would just gently ‘curve you around’ as you went!

    Now!!!! If that don’t make your head spin, you need to find an amusement park and ride the ‘Round Up’ or the ‘Tilt-a-whirl!’

  4. Was reading about the "Glob" a few days ago,,,,somewhere out there, and NO,,,didn't misspell it. hahahaha,,,,

  5. O yeah,,,,AND today i find out the zodiac signs are off,,,I'm not really a Scorpio!!! They're off by a month and,,,there's a 13th one!!lololol

  6. Ernest, yes that theory of a curved universe has been around for awhile and also the one that says it is a bubble that started from a finite point, the big bang. Now scientests are questioning both those theories and saying maybe the beginning was an infinite time ago (for ever) and stretchs to infinity. Only God knows.

    Trouble, I have seen globs up there and down here. By the way, if you were born under Scorpio than you still are one, only the people born lately are different. I, although, don't believe in astrology, just astronomy.

  7. There are more things in heaven and earth, Dizzy, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

    How true, and both terrifying and joyous at the same time. I'm glad that every time I seem to learn something new, it only adds a few more questions. How boring life would be if you knew it all. No wonder God made people.

  8. Grant, My philosophy is not to have a phlosophy, but an open mind. Well, maybe it used to more open than it is now.:-)

  9. That sounds like a good philosophy to me. Pun intended.