terça-feira, dezembro 29, 1987

On Horse-Flies: "A Brief History of Time" by Stephen Hawking


(Original Review, 1987)



Will having read Hawking's book help me understand the way a horse-fly "grasps" the arrow of time?
For starters, I'm great at killing horse-flies by hand. Should I get some black pyjamas and a balaclava and become a ninja? And there was me thinking that the horse-fly's all round vision and short nerve pathway had something to do with their reaction speed. Being a horse-fly-killing-ninja, what do I need Hawking’s book for? Move aside Hawking!

The best investment I made was a high voltage zapper in the shape of a tennis racquet, hours of Jedi entertainment and aerobic exercise from a pound shop. Has anyone tried downing a horse-fly with a laser to see if they are indeed faster than light? Many hours of fun at my Granny's house...

I suppose there are flies and flies. House-flies are damned elusive but horse-flies, which are only a little bigger, are dozy buggers, although persistent and aware of the advantages of mass attack. Tsetse-flies are of similar disposition.

I could postulate time is the same for us and the horse-fly: a solid turd moving at 1 m/s will have the same speed for both. But if a horse-fly can perceive at a faster rate, and if its reactions are faster than ours, it is living in stretched time (i.e. it can perceive more, and do more in one second than we can). Then, even though perception of time is subjective, and time remains the same for two objects moving at similar speeds, the horse-fly will have more time to live (a longer life) in one second than we do. Of course, they have a shorter life span, so we catch up to them over time :) I have swatted many a horse-fly head-on with a regular fly-swatter using some corollaries resulting directly from my own theorem “How to Kill Juicy Horse-Flies without a Horse-Fly-Swatter”.

A final thought before the “bottom-line”: What’s the last thing to go through a flies head when it hits a car windscreen.......Its arse. Ta daahhh!!

Bottom-line: Time is a measure of perception. Time is the expression of our reality. Our perception changes the reality. What perception of time would a horse-fly have? Our perception is based on the size and shape of our planet and its closer neighbours. Minutes and seconds, days and weeks, years and ages, and many others. Would a juicy horse-fly see day and night and count them? Could a horse-fly perceive time at all, or is it in the now only, with nothing to measure time with? Or is a horse-fly here and not here, in a quantum kind of way? Maybe an horse-fly is just me in another Multiverse…My brain is now moving so fast I appear stunned as I sit with my fly-swatter contemplating black flies, mosquitos, and .........oh my 'noseeums'. Biting midges are definitely in a quantum reality here in Lisbon, not to mention solid flying turds... And no. You don't need this book to be able to kill horse-flies with a fly-swatter or barehanded. It's all in the wrist you see...