Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Hilton Head Island: dark energy and Aristarchus of Samos; running against the wind and the man in the arena

Among the magazines I peruse in Apple News+ is SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN.  I read a surprising article there recently about the discovery of dark energy, which the magazine calls ‘the most shocking discovery in astrophysics.’  I like to believe that I even understood some of it.


Several parts of the article particularly impressed me.

First, that the discovery of dark energy was made only twenty-five years ago.

Not long ago I mentioned that it was only one hundred years ago that Edwin Hubble saw proof that our galaxy is not the entire universe.


Now I learn that until twenty-five years ago, we were unaware of 95.1% of the universe.  The article states that 4.9% of the universe is composed of the stuff of us, 26.6% is dark matter, and 68.5% is dark energy.

Also of interest is that dark energy was discovered by two independent teams competing to determine how quickly the universe is contracting.  To the surprise of both they found that the universe is expanding, not contracting, and at an ever increasing speed.

The age of science is brief and that we still know so little is to be expected, yet people want, even demand certainty.

I thought back to Copernicus, who moved the center of the universe from our planet to the sun, and of whom I have written a poem, and I goggled to find the exact dates he lived.

He lived from 1473 to 1543.  Only five hundred years ago.

But in googling Copernicus I learned of Aristarchus of Samos who amazingly had the same idea eighteen centuries earlier.


To be eighteen centuries ahead of everyone else is surely genius.  Perhaps I wrote the poem to the wrong man.

The first film that Carol and I saw together was FOREST GUMP.  We saw it in Key West.  We were also married in Key West.

I thought of the film last evening when by chance I came across this video of Bob Seger singing and Forest Gump/Tom Hanks running to ‘Against the Wind’.


I remember reading long ago a biography of Robert Lewis Stevenson, who suffered from poor health all his life, with the title AGAINST THE WIND.  

I expect that running against the wind, or feeling that you are, is a common human experience.

In the video Forest runs to land’s end and has to turn and run back and forth from coast to coast.

I have been fortunate in the ocean is endless.  I wonder if I am the only one who sometimes wishes this planet were bigger and more difficult to sail around, which is related to a reply I recently made to a comment on the SafeHarbor film in which I made reference to Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘Man in the Arena’ speech.  I know I have posted this before, but it is worth viewing and hearing again.


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