Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Time And Toilet Roll

There I was, watching TV and I heard something that grabbed me and sparked a bit of scientific thinking in me. This doesn't happen often and it makes me feel inadequate, like last time I watched Shiraz playing drums at Barefoot. He played a solo and got more emotion and feeling, more excitement and voices out of two drums and two cymbals than I could get out of a kit that was ten times the size. It made me feel inadequate but inspired.

Yet, on the science front, I usually feel just inadequate. Academic and scientific stuff is for people like Darwin and my Academic Bro. They can think for periods longer than ten seconds without their mind going off on one and thinking about drumming or food or baseball boots. As a result of my inherent childishness and my lack of concentration I tend to pay scant regard to long things like textbooks but get grabbed by the occasional fact or set of facts that is presented to me in the appropriate medium. i.e stick it on the back of a cereal packet and I'll read it, well I would if I ate cereal.

For years I've had a vague awareness that this world is quite old, that we've got a few years behind us. I'm no fool and I know that dinosaurs became extinct many years ago, possibly even before cars were invented. Time, or the history of the world, is one of those esoteric concepts for me. It's all in the past too. I know enough about it to be scared shitless when they talk about global warming and I'm aware that, when scientists talk about a hundred years from now in the scheme of things it's like you and I talking about someething that's actually going to happen before I finish typing this sentence.

But it was only the other day when I heard Dot Cotton talking on Eastenders, during her big soliloquy, that I actually started to visualise the concept of time, how old things really and how totally insignificant we, the human race, really are in the big picture. It's all to do with toilet paper and you can read about it here if it interests you, though you're probably aware of it already.

Isn't it incredible and sad that we, who have been on this great planet for about the last millimetre on a roll of toilet paper, are on the verge of destroying the planet. The Earth has outlasted dinosaurs, ice ages, even Mahinda, yet we're about to destroy it because of our greed and selfishness.

The developed world chastises the developing world for doing what the developed world has already done. Except the Americans who aren't that aware of a world outside their own land, apart from Iraq and that country that Al Qaeda comes from, the Netherlands, or no wait, that was Peter Pan's place wasn't it?

Have a look a the toilet roll thing, it really does make us feel small.


Java Jones said...

We can't destroy the planet - possibly homo sapiens and a whole lot of other life forms, but the planet will go on, and other life forms will develop. Evolution of life will go on.

Darwin said...

Java beat me to it. The only way the planet will be destroyed is when the sun starts dying (i.e. when the sun turns into a red giant in about 5.5 billion years). Till then I'm pretty sure we'd be more than capable of wiping ourselves off the face of the planet but life will always come back. It could be a random insect that survives the radioactive wipeout, suddenly finds itself without any natural predators and goes on a binge. Lotsa factors come into play. But no, it is only human conceit that makes us thing we have the ability to destory the planet (the same conceit that makes some people believe we were created!).

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

I think both Java and Darwin have proved my point about my lack of concentration where science things are concerned. But, we're definitely doing some serious damage, and it's related to toilet roll.

N said...

Darn it...Darwin and Java beat me to it...oh well...