Someone requested more science content, so here you go chums. Happy now? These are the incredible scientific discoveries that remind us that all human endeavour is vanity.
Most people have a love/hate relationship with the universe. It’s where everything is, and some of that stuff is pretty cool I guess, but there’s also a lot of sh-te in there too. So in 2011, when three nerd-type scientists discovered that the universe was not only expanding (as we’ve known for decades), but expanding at an accelerating rate, many of us probably felt that this was the last thing we needed to hear. Although those nerds certainly earned the Nobel Prize in Physics, they probably also deserved some sort of award for 2011’s Most Spirit-Crushing Announcement because essentially what this means is that the universe is speeding away from us to the point that eventually we’re going to left staring up at an empty sky, until the memory of the stars that once shone down on us from above fades into history, then legend, then silence – just like new rave.
It all started in 2011 when Saul Perlmutter (head of the Supernova Cosmology Project at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) looked up at the night sky and marvelled at the majesty of Christ’s Heavenly Kingdom. Or whatever. Meanwhile, over on the other side of town, two young bucks out looking to make a name for themselves in this cosmology game had formed a crew called the High-Z Supernova Search Team. Them’s names were Brian P. Schmidt and Adam G. Reiss.
Together, yet competitively, these Wild Men of Science discovered that the rate at which the universe is expanding is increasing, by measuring the luminosity of supernovae (dying stars: for more information, see 2016) in order to determine their distance from Earth. The whole world lost its collective mind over this and awarded these two teams shared custody of the Nobel Prize in Physics. 50% went to Saul Perlmutter and 50% went to Brian and Adam*. I guess that means the High-Z mandem get the prize on weekends or sumpfin. Har har har.
Now Adam Reiss (who won a quarter of a Nobel Prize) is back and he’s here to say that new calculations suggest that the universe is expanding at a rate 9% faster than expected. Why is this happening? Here’s how BBC News describes it: “This phenomenon (is) widely attributed to a mysterious, unexplained “dark energy” filling the cosmos.” That’s science for you. The universe is accelerating away from us in all directions, because of unexplainable darkness. We are all living in a Red House Painters song.
So what does this mean for humanity?
Well, basically it means that we’re like children left at the side of a country road, watching our parents wave goodbye to us through the rear windshield as they drive away without us. All the stars, planets, galaxies etc. – all the stuff that makes up “stuff” in the universe, in other words – is peeling away and leaving our douchey little planet coughing in the dust. And why? Because of “dark energy”. Yes, this is exactly the story of The Force Awakens. Only difference is that if you think John Boyega is going to show up dressed as a stormtrooper, precipitating a series of interstellar adventures and grossing billions at the box office, then you’re even stupider than you look.
As scientists have known since the days of Euler, the universe is best imagined as a school cafeteria and the Earth is like the new kid who cuts his own hair and smells like stale milk. Earth, desperate to fit in, finds itself instead sitting alone at a deserted table, while literally every other kid at the school congregates at the far end of the room, crowded together to the point that most of them are standing, none wanting to get close to the new dork. Earth sits alone, silently weeping over its Tizer and Monster Munch (this school is in Britain and it’s the late 90s). But Earth’s tears only push people further away – Earth is too pathetic to even bother bullying.
So really, this is all we need from this awful universe. It’s getting bigger but it’s also getting further away from us. It’s expanding due to “dark energy”, becoming increasingly bloated, leaving us in an incomprehensible void where everything we thought we knew is declared wrong, and we are utterly alone in a senseless universe. But enough about President Trump *clown horn clown horn*
On the other hand, maybe we shouldn’t feel too upset by the fact that the corporeal reality of all things wants nothing to do with us. The universe, despite an enormous complexity of physical and chemical matter, is almost entirely devoid of life, and the life which does exist is almost entirely composed of braying d-ckheads. The kind of people who’ll casually tell you that they’re saving up for a “LIVE LAUGH LOVE” neck tattoo and who call people “huni XxXx” on facebook.
I question the wisdom of humanity looking for meaning in the stars. Shouldn’t we be looking for meaning right here on Earth, in our own backyards, among our fellow human beings? No we shouldn’t, because there’s no meaning there either.
*Not to be confused with Bryan Adams, who has never won a Nobel Prize and never will until the Swedish Academy officially recognises “matching denim with denim” as a prize category.