There are many different sos to speak, as it were

Well, it’s Saturday, and I’m at the train station instead of the bus stop, because I was able to ride my bike this morning.  I’m not going to have time to finish this post’s first draft before the train gets here, because I took a little too long getting ready at the house, dilly-dallying and puttering around because the first train on Saturday comes thirty-five minutes later than the one I would catch—if riding my bike—during the week.

Still, I had time to park and lock up my bike with two cables, one of them through the seat, and my U-lock thing, or whatever the proper term is.  I don’t see how someone could easily or readily steal the bike or any of its parts, including the front tire.  If such a thing nevertheless happens, I think I’m probably going to give up on the bike.  Then again, I’ve thought that way before.


I’m on the train now, and it’s not too crowded, which is one of the nice things about riding on a Saturday.  The horrible rain and consequent flooding seem largely to have tapered off, though I don’t imagine they are entirely gone.  Still, I was able to walk back to the house from the train station last night, and though I encountered about three minutes of very modest rainfall—prompting me to get my umbrella out, which I then carried, uselessly, the rest of the way to the house—I had much more irritation from gnats, which appear to have been given a boost by the rain.

I was quite nervous about termites swarming, honestly.  They tend to do that after the first big, heavy rain, when it’s followed by more pleasant, warmish weather.  Well, there were definitely termites in the air in the neighborhood near the house, and even a few of them around the outside lights, but it wasn’t a too-irritating and annoying batch, and none of them seemed to be swarming inside the house.

That happened a year or two ago, and at least once before that, though it was when I lived in a different room.  It was horrible, mainly because you certainly couldn’t ignore it, and they got into everything, and we literally had to suck them up with a Shop-Vac and find their holes and seal them up.  It is rather disgusting.  It’s not as big a problem for the house structure as it might be up north, because, like many slightly older houses in south Florida, the one in which I live is basically cinderblock with aluminum framing.

There are wood parts of some of the structures, I think, but nothing load-bearing in any sense.  This is a house that barely notices anything short of a category five hurricane.  If civilization ended, and assuming the sea level doesn’t rise too much, I could imagine much of the basic outline of the structure enduring for thousands of years, perhaps to be discovered by some future archeologist.  Cinderblock is tough stuff.

Of course, everything will fall apart eventually; but perhaps everything will then happen again.  The laws of nature (even discounting cyclical cosmologies like “the big bounce” or Conformal Cyclic Cosmology) seem to allow  for random fluctuations to lead, perhaps, to the spontaneous ne occurrence of concentrated inflaton field* and thus to a new period of inflation and a new universe in our future.

And if that universe has the same constants of nature that we have now, and infinite space—as we seem to have—then we will all happen again, and do so in infinite profusion, because in any given region of space, there are only a finite number of possible quantum states, and with any finite number of configurations happening in an infinite range of available slots, they will eventually repeat—and repeat infinitely.

I’m sure I’ve talked about this before.  I’ve probably even talked about my notion that the inflationary burst could go in both “directions” in time, and that our own inflationary burst could also have happened in the other (so to speak) direction even “when” it happened with us (so to speak), and that the future history of our universe could be peppered with “big bangs” coming and going, analogous to the way the present universe is mostly empty space, but there are pockets of places where matter has condensed into local regions where gravity makes the concept of an “up” direction and a “down” direction locally relevant, unlike everywhere in between.

And just as our kind of life can only really apparently happen on the surface of particularly hospitable local globs of heavy matter that we call planets, using the very up/down, purely local dichotomy as one of the facts that makes it possible, so life may also only be able to come into existence near the “surface” of these regions in time in which there is a gradient in entropy that makes “past” and “future” meaningful, though globally (so to speak) time may be nondirectional.

This last bit is all, by the way, my own speculation.  Inflationary cosmology is mainstream physics, but my own thoughts on the omnidirectionality of time are just that—my own thoughts.  I’ve encountered at least one real physicist who discusses something somewhat similar, but I get the impression that the idea is not generally paid much attention.

Still, it’s interesting to speculate.  And now, I have to draw to a close, because my stop is approaching, or we are approaching my stop—either description can be valid.  I hope you have a good remainder of your weekend, and I hope that Monday morning I’ll again be able to ride my bike.

cyclic cosmos

*This is, of course, if inflationary cosmology is the correct description of the universe.  That is by no means certain, but the theoretical structure of inflationary cosmologies answers many questions about the large scale structure of the universe, the horizon problem, cosmic uniformity as evidenced by the nearly completely smooth CMB, where the “bang” part came from, the power spectrum in the tiny variations in the CMB, and so on.  But it’s not the only dog in the race, and there is much that isn’t well known about the nature of, for instance, the inflaton field, whatever it may be.

But that state of not knowing is part of what makes science enjoyable and gratifying.  I may have mentioned this before, but the most exciting non-personal thing I’ve encountered in my life was when Perlmutter et al’s work showed that the universe’s expansion was accelerating.  No one had really even considered such a thing seriously, and so it radically changed the cosmological picture, at least regarding the future.  It was amazing and thrilling—the discovery of our time—and I felt privileged simply to be able to witness it.

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