Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Sun and The Moon

I was lying in bed last week, my mind was in that pleasant semi conscious Saturday morning mode, luckily it was Saturday so there wasn't going to be any of that sudden jumping out of bed because I'd hadn't realised it was a weekday business.

I looked at the blinds on my bedroom window, blinds I am pleased with and rather proud of. I'll tell you the full story about them another time but they're one of the rare examples of Rhythmic DIY, well a rare example that is still hanging up and working well. I may go home from work tonight to find them dangling precariously from half protruding rawlplugs but, as of this morning, things were still doing well.

Anyway, I looked at the sunlight landing on the bedroom ceiling in those lined shadowy strips that venetian blinds make and I thought about light and the sun and something struck me. I haven't searched for any detailed information but the I remember enough from "O" level Physics to know that our sun is many, many miles away. The heat and light from it are so strong and powerful that they can travel through space and time and what not, perhaps final frontiers and things, and they can arrive here on our great but dying planet and provide us with a bucketload of heat and warmth.

The strength of these sun rays, or whatever the technical term is, is so great that we feel direct heat on our bodies from them, that we can see the light coming through our windows and our eyes. We can close our eyes and can usually even detect through our eyelids whether it's day or night.

This energy coming from the sun can power things and be harnessed to make electricity and lamprais and the like.

And that's all pretty amazing in my book, or in my blog, at least.

I remember enough from my schooldays to know that light can't travel around corners, unless of course you've got one of those spy things that makes it look as if you're looking one way when in fact you're spying on a nudey woman in a different direction. But I know that light doesn't actually bend, that it travels in straight lines.

Yet it startles me when I think of how this light gets passed all the barriers and obstacles to get to us, then all we have to do is to stick up a small piece of something and the light can't go any further. What's all that about? It just doesn't seem right.

If I was a ray of sunlight I reckon I'd feel pretty pissed off to go through time and space, to travel through clouds and storms and dodge snipers and bullets only to finally get to good old planet Earth and find some pillock with a pair of cheap sunglasses or a bloke with a venetian blind up that, try as I might, I just can't get past.

In a similar vein I was helping myself to a bottle of mineral water and I glanced at the label the other day. It told the consumer that the water has taken fifteen hundred years to filter through the hills and mountains of the deepest English countryside to get to us. That it is pure and natural and does the most fantastic things to the people who drink it, all the usual stuff.

Underneath that it said:

"Consume within 3 days' of opening".

What's all that about? I ask you.


confab said...

yeah that is kinda strange innit? never thought of it that way, that the sun could penetrate space and atmospheric layers and clouds (to a certain degree), but not solids of the earth?

just goes to say, god has a sense of humour too.

so does ur mineral water company.

Anonymous said...

Maybe that's why we should stick to tap water? :-P

Darwin said...

It's just a case of sunlight (i.e. visible light) being the wrong wavelength to go through solids. You should consider it a good thing that visible light cannot pass through solids unlike shorter wavelength gamma-rays at the other end of the electromagnetic spectrum because you'd be fried.

The mineral water probably has something to do with the fact that whilst filtering through the mountains it's not exposed to as much contamination as it would be if it were opened and then simply left lying about. Also it is possible that the plastic of the bottle can react with sunlight when left out for ages and affect the taste (and the mineral composition) of the water. Of course I'd have to look that up to be sure so don't take my word for it.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Ok, thanks Darwin.