Existentialist Dread, Illusionary Time, and Middle School

Do you know what time it is at the North and South poles? 


Answer: there is no time at the North and South poles. Since it’s where all the time zones meet, each researcher or base goes by the time from their homeland. Isn’t that wild? Nothing in this world is real, time is a construct, and if you are still denying that, I can help you. Heck, 40 years ago Arizona decided to not participate in Daylight Savings. It’s all fake.  


I’ve been thinking a lot about Einstein’s twin paradox, and I hate it. One twin stays on earth, and the other travels at the speed of light to a near star. When the space twin returns to earth, they are younger than their sibling. Although they are technically the same age, the sibling that stayed on earth has lived through several decades and years, whereas the space twin has only aged two years – one to the star and one back. It’s like the plot of Interstellar but German. 


In seventh grade I decided I was going to write an equation that would successfully form a black hole in a bucket of water. The idea was that I could aim a powerful laser between the subatomic water molecules to sever them, thus creating a rift at a molecular level. This could only be achieved inside a bucket of water because there are approximately 3.343×10^26 molecules in one gallon, which is a lot, and I had a bucket in my garage. Everything was written down in this groovy little notebook I carried around with me; I’m talking calculations, definitions, observations, it was full of scientific inquiry. I would stay after school learning scientific notation and the nature of isotopes with my science teacher, but I never managed to create the black hole. I also never had a laser. Probably for the best. In another life, I’m definitely a mad scientist. 

Now that I think about it, I went through a really weird quantum physics phase in middle school. I remember being in the lobby before ballet class reading about the hypothetical quantum drip at the back end of a blackhole that’s created when a wormhole momentarily closes, then immediately switching gears and becoming a dancing flower. Who does that?? I had like two friends in dance class. Oh my god, and one year I wrote up a fake will that I carried around in this atrocious green polka dot folder for emergencies, and this girl in ballet opened it and read it with this look of utter horror and confusion on her face. Then at the end of the year she got me a journal because I’m “creative”. I can’t believe people talk to me.


Did you know there might be another planet in our solar system? Planet X hasn’t been proven to exist, but its existence explains weird outer solar system behavior, as well as the extra tilt our sun has. I think about it a lot. Maybe one day I’ll be running away from coyotes at midnight – which has happened far too often already – and I’ll look up to see a massive planet astronomers have somehow missed. Like the custodian. 

I’m not sure what the point of this post was, it seems to have gotten away from me. However, I do want to note that the header image is a photo I took on a cool, clear night. It was the first time I ever saw a galaxy through a telescope, and the last clear night of 2020. The blurry yellow dot on the left is our galactic sister, Andromeda – a close 2.5 million light years away from us. I hope you leave this corner of the internet with an opinion on the concept of time and the power STEM has on young girls.

W.F.

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