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20 October 2011

Posted by DMC on 21 October 2011 in Diary |

Tony and Jill (Griggs see yesterday’s the joke!) came to lunch with us today at the Cricketers. As it happens, I had not seen Griggsy for a month as he has not been able to play golf due to a bout of sciatica, so it was particularly nice to see them both. They were quite amused by yesterday’s Tony and Jill joke. Tony, pulled my leg and asked Jill to show. .me her bruise .”What bruise”,. asked Jill .”Why”, said Tony, “the one you got when you fell out of the helicopter 

It was quite warm in the sunshine but .sadly, it was far too cold to eat outside so, after a quick drink and a small cigar, we moved inside.

If you think that the modern car has too many gadgets and switches just think what having to remember what all the switches in the cockpit of the spacecraft Discovery do. Imagine, if during a flight, you suffered from what is politically correctly known as ‘short-term cognitive impairment’ in other words, short-term loss of memory. You know the sort of thing, getting to the top of the stairs and wondering why you’re there, or what it was you came up to do. Well look at the video at the end of this entry. This 360 degree image auto plays but you can move the camera around for yourself. Use the arrow keys to move left, right, up & down, or you can also just click and drag the camera view around it with your mouse.

This incredible spaceship interior sparked off memories of a fascinating programme I saw on television, some time ago, called Edge of the Universe. My regular readers will know that space and the universe hold a great fascination for me. I am not going into a lot of detail about this programme, as I have in the past, in order not to bore those of you whose eyes glaze over at t5he mention of space, except to say that our galaxy, The Milky Way. is said to contain 200,000,000,000,000 (200 billion) stars and bearing in mind that our galaxy is only one of billions of other galaxies that’s a pretty impressive figure.

In  this film we saw the famous Keck telescopes in Hawaii which are so powerful they could detect a candle light on the moon. These telescopes are engaged in seeking out planets where some form of life could exist. To put it in its simplest form, as I understand it,the presence of water, an atmosphere, a reasonable range in temperature and the right combination of gases.

The breakthrough came in 1995, by a young student reading for his Ph.D. in Switzerland, who observed a star called 51Peg, – so called because it’s the brightest star in the Pegasus constellation –which seemed most promising. What was even more amazing about this was that even at the speed of light (186,000 miles./sec). the light from that star had taken over 50 years to reach us. It makes you think doesn’t it?

Readers may remember that I recently mentioned the opening of the 27km long accelerator at Cern, in Switzerland. The object of this accelerator . is to speed particles up to the speed of light. In doing so they recently discovered, that, what they call neutrinos, actually travel faster than the speed of light, which previously was thought impossible. All modern scientific thinking is based on the fact that the speed of light is absolute. In fact, the scientists have now calculated that neutrino travels at one 50 billionth of a second faster than the speed of light (186,000 mi./s – how on earth can they measure that?). If this is indeed true, then it has turned modern scientific thinking on its head and in theory opens up the possibility of time travel. Without boring the reader any more ,in order to show how small the neutrino is, and therefore cannot be seen, in relation to the size of the whole of our galaxy, The Milky Way, a neutrine would be his big as a golf ball. (I knew that, if I tried hard enough I could bring this subject back to golf!)

 Click here to see the amazing cockpit of the spacecraft Discovery and imagine having to know what every switch or dial does Get it wrong and you could be floating around in space forever!

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