Thursday, March 03, 2005


I admit it. Back when the dark force was believed to make up more than 70 percent of the mass-energy budget of the universe, I used to blame my own lack of budget on that repulsive, unknown form of energy that also appears to push galaxies outward. Although it was clear that the gravitational pull between any two objects (such as my money and my creditors) becomes less with distance, on earth there is no distance sufficient to eliminate the pull altogether; thus my constant lack of cash.

Now that I’m older, however, and have acquired some familiarity with the basic conjectures of String theory, I understand more clearly why so many times in my life I had to live on so little, and why it is called a shoestring. I did not know back then, for example, that when money leaves my pocket it just leaves the cosmos altogether and heads for another dimension, never to return. String theory has made this all clear.

Physicists have spent entire careers seeking to quantify the various aspects of these schools of thought, when they could just have quantified the dark force in my checkbook and followed the trail of my credit card receipts like bubbles in a cloud chamber. Now some scientists of my generation seem to have done that very thing or its equivalent (of course they don’t say that in so many words), for they have made the connection and have ‘theorized’ that (like cash-in-hand) gravity itself may be leaking away. That does nothing to help my bank account, though. No one yet has been able to reverse gravity.

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