Howdy all you Steeplechasers of Inquisitiveness running around the Track of Knowledge, leaping the Hurdles and Water Hazards of Obfuscation, to win the Gold Medal of Truth! Baba Doodlius here, with a Revelation of another Mystery of the Universe!
- Seriously, humans, what's up with that "steeplechase" thing? It sure seems like a strange athletic event, running around jumping over walls and pools of water. Throw in some crocodiles, vine swinging, and gold bars and you could call it "Pitfall".
Left: Steeplechase now. Right: Steeplechase made more interesting by adding vines and crocodiles.
As you may have noticed, I have athletics on my mind lately, ever since a friend told me that I should watch these "Olympic Games" that you humans love so much. I started watching, and I had not been able to tear my eyes away until the closing ceremonies were over. The things you humans do are just fascinating! And it's not just the performances - even coming up with some of the events took some serious human ingenuity. I mean really, only humans could have come up with "Rhythmic Gymnastics" - what the heck are they doing, jumping around with a big ball or a ribbon on a stick? I never would have even thought to do anything like that, and humans make a world-wide contest out of it! And I'm not even going to get into the global geopolitical ramifications of "Synchronized Diving".
Left: She's doing something called "Rythmic Gymnastics". Right: I'm not really certain what these guys are trying to do.
Everyone has their favorite events, and I don't mean to belittle anyone's preferences, but like most humans I have mostly been paying attention to the "marquee events", like swimming, track & field, gymnastics, and basketball. For those of you who have not been paying attention, I shall hereby summarize each of these event categories:
- Swimming. From the press coverage, I'm pretty sure there was only one serious competitor in the pool at this Olympics, and his name is Michael Phlippers. He won every event, including the Women's 4x8000 Meter Blorkstroke.
- Track & Field. Jamaicans run faster than any other humans. In fact, one of them called Usain "Lightning" Bolt (I swear I did not make that name up) actually runs faster than most horses and a more than a few gazelles.
- Gymnastics. The citizenry of China is stronger and more agile than everybody else on the planet, making the other countries' gymnastics contestants look like a bunch of seasick porcupines.
- Basketball. The United States men's team is made up of freaks of nature who can jump over adult male African elephants and won all of their games by a combined score of 3,176 to 25.
So these Olympics are not so much about human versus human contests - its more like a series of utterly dominating performances. So the Olympic Spirit is not really about beating your fellow humans, it's more about competing against the very Laws of Nature. Frequently the worst law for competing against would be the Law of Gravity, which tends to make the primary Olympic activities like running, jumping, and throwing hugely difficult. And with Gravity we have a Serious Mystery of the Universe!
Right now you might be thinking "There's no Mystery about Gravity. Sir Isaac Newton figured most of it out over 300 years ago and Einstein pinned it down about 100 years ago, so there's no room left for any Mystery at all!" Well lah-tee-dah, just who's the Mystery expert around here anyway? It just so happens that Gravity is one of the most enduring Mysteries in all of science! It's such a tough Mystery that most physicists won't even ask the big question
Just What the Heck Is Gravity, Anyway?
Think about it: two objects are mysteriously drawn towards each other, even if they are separated by billions of kilometers! Under extreme circumstances, like near a Black Hole, even light cannot escape the inexorable pull of this spooky force. Sure, thanks to Newton we can describe how Gravity works, and Einstein said Gravity is caused by massive objects denting space-time like a big dude on a trampoline, but nobody in the world really knows WHY it works like it does. What kind of force is so incredible that it could bend the very fabric of the Universe?
An illustration of Gravity: Imagine the big guy in the middle is the sun, and space is the trampoline. Not hard to see that things are gonna get sucked right down into the middle, eh?
One of the big projects in science right now is to detect "gravity waves", which, if Einstein was right, would be produced by such common things as two black holes orbiting each other. Currently there is a herd of science-type folks out there hard at work looking for these waves - and by "hard at work" I mean "they're spending a veritable assload of money designing instruments sensitive enough to detect them". Finding gravity waves would yield great insight into the true nature of gravity, but so far scientists have had no luck in this cosmic endeavor.
Being of such curious nature, I decided to take my super-duper Bird Cam out, take some close-up pictures of orbiting black holes, and see if I could use my unique analysis skillz to get to the bottom of this whole gravity wave Mystery.
So here's a pic I took of some orbiting black holes, about 7 billion light years from Earth. (I have one hell of a zoom lens!)
Two orbiting black holes, magnified about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times.
Not much to look at, really. There are no obvious signs whatsoever of any gravity waves. But the Universe is no match for my photo enhancement ability! If there's a gravity wave in there, I'll find it!
Let's see... change the brightness a little... tweak the saturation... add some color for contrast and visual effect... aaaaaand voila!
A Gravity Wave is clearly visible! What's more, the shape of that wave reveals the True Nature of Gravity, a force capable of altering the curvature of the Universe itself!
Gravity Waves are heart-shaped, leading one to the inescapable conclusion that
Gravity = Love!
That's right, the reason that every object in the Universe tries to get closer to every other object is because they all love each other! The entire Universe is nothing but one big-honkin' group hug of epic proportions!
Those who say that "Love makes the world go 'round" are exactly, scientifically correct. So c'mon all you humans - let's stop with the hate and war and violence against each other and just let Gravity take its course!
And in the spirit of the day, I hereby refuse to fight Gravity/Love by not going to the gym to lift weights tonight. The Way of Love is a whole lot less tiring, but also much less likely to lead to me getting any Olympic medals. Guess I'll just leave that to Mr. Phlippers.