Monday, January 21, 2008

My Brain is Bubbling Over

Does anyone else find it odd how often apples pop up in the arts and sciences? I mean, why not oranges or kiwis or bananas? Why are we not "as American as cherry pie" since the story of George Washington's cherry tree would be a more logical association in our country?

The question came to mind because I'm watching a show from the Science channel talking about wormholes, and the guy says the term came from using the analogy of a worm burrowing through an apple to reach the other side.

Other famous apple shenanigans:

1. Newton's experience with Earth-bound fruit, contributing to his theories of gravity and motion (and he was NOT hit on the head - he only observed the apple falling and wondered why it always went straight down instead of any other direction).
2. "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." This idea probably goes back all the way to Hippocrates and other Greek physicians living in Rome that declared the fruit good for digestion and constitution, but the actual phrase was more recently made famous in 1904 by J.T. Stinson in an address to the St. Louis Exposition.
3. Adam and Eve's downfall after eating an apple in the Garden of Eden. (Which is also not true - there is no mention on an apple in the book of Genesis, only "the fruit of the tree." I'm thinking the assumption it was an apple probably came from the painting The Fall of Man in 1470 by Hugo Van Der Goes, in which the Tree of Knowledge is depicted as an apple tree, but Cecil Adams from The Straight Dope has some interesting ideas about it too in his article here.)
4. In Greek mythology we have Eris and the Apple of Discord, the golden apple tree that was Zeus & Hera's wedding gift from Gaia (Mother Earth), and the golden apples that Venus gave to Milanion to drop in Atlanta's path so she would lose the race and he would win her hand in marriage.
5. I'd suggest that the tradition of "an apple for teacher" may have come from the incorrect Biblical association of apples with knowledge, but since that story includes negative connotations as well, and I can't find anything else on the net, I'll go with the other theory that fruit was not always easy to get "back in the day" so a poorly-paid teacher may not have been able to afford such luxuries, causing an apple to be a greater gift than we would consider it in modern times.
5. Legendary apple fables and stories: William Tell, Johnny Appleseed, and Snow White.
6. And seriously, how much of a coincidence is it really that the most rad computer company ever is named Apple? I'm just sayin.

What makes apples such Fruity Royalty? And why does everyone assume the apples in all those examples above (save the last one) were red? Well, I guess cuz red ones are sweet and green ones are tart, but y'know, being a little tart once in awhile gives you a better chance at being in the history books. :D


I was looking through the Astronomy Pictures of the Day for pics to add to my Cosmos screen saver, and I found this:

At first glance it only looks like a mangle of colors, but if you unfocus your eyes you'll see a 3D image of a teapot. Too fuckin cool. If you can't see it, pick one of the darker turquoise blotches to the right or left of center, about midway down the picture, and just stare at that one spot without blinking; eventually you should start to see the teapot take shape out of the corner of your eye. It will look like it's floating in the foreground. It's a matter of perception, like seeing a 3D cube drawn on a 2D piece of paper. Of course, thinking about perception sent me off on all kinds of physics tangents.

When I was a kid, I used to color in these geometric books called Altair Designs. I think I've mentioned them in a previous blog but I'm too lazy to go find where. My friend Christina and I would color in all the shapes (with artist's markers - the precise lines don't work well with crayons), then look at it out of focus (as described above) and see different patterns in the geometry (not something as tangible as the teapot of course). It was like we'd done two pictures instead of one at the same time. We called it "blurring our eyes." (Gimme a break, I was like, 8.)

It freaks me out thinking this is related to holographic principles, because who the fuck finds this kind of information on their own at that age (and remembers it clearly in their adult years)? Then again, what kid chooses geometric coloring books and fancy pens over the standard cartoon character/Crayola scenario? (I always found regular coloring books infinitely boring as a kid.) Not that I realized looking at a picture with blurry focus had anything to do with theoretical physics until now.

But still.


I've spent most of my adult years trying to feel "normal" because kids always thought I was weird and they couldn't relate to the things I wanted to play. Maybe they were right. I'm just strange.

Thinking about perception and the holographic principle represented by that picture reminded me of my previous theory (described in the last couple paragraphs of this entry) about how maybe we create the Universe with our thoughts, holding it separate from the Whole by using imagination and water. If you can see either a flat bunch of colorful shapes, or a 3D floating teapot in the same picture, depending on your perception, why couldn't our entire existence be the same way? (No, I have not read The Holographic Universe yet, but it's on my list. I'm sure it has similar ideas.)

In my speculation of our reality being created through a star, I was picturing something like a soap bubble on a stick (cuz everything's better on a stick! sorry - ren faire joke), where our experiences all take place inside the bubble, the star is the circle part of the wand, and creation comes from imagination, or original intent/thought, represented by breath on the other side of the circle (i.e., air being blown through the circle to create the bubble).


I was reading the Wikipedia definition of "holographic principles" and it says:

"...a speculative conjecture about quantum gravity theories... claiming that all of the information contained in a volume of space can be represented by a theory which lives in the boundary of that region. In other words, if you have a room, you can model all of the events within that room by creating a theory which only takes into account what happens in the walls of the room."

Gives the phrase "if walls could talk" a whole nother dimension. haha

So comparing that definition to my bubble picture, it seems to be saying much the same thing. In order to describe our entire universe, all we need is the information (intent/thought) that creates the film separating the air inside the bubble from the air outside the bubble, but what if the information only creates an illusion of separation? Yes, I know, been there, done that, what rock have I been living under? The illusion itself is not my point - I want to know how we find ourselves in the middle of this illusion and can we change our perception so we can see what we've created from outside the illusion. Is that what happens at death? We get to see the bubble from outside?


Does the following picture represent what we're currently seeing from inside the bubble?


Perhaps multiple dimensions then look like this:

Credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Ironically, in looking for that picture I found a whole article on this very theory, using the same analogy, and one of the first scientists quoted was Michio Kaku at City College in New York, one of the very same scientists in the show I was watching earlier that started this whole train of thought.

Coincidence? Get real.