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There are some very smart scientists who don’t think so. If, for example, it took ten one in a million coincidences. to produce intelligent life (as opposed to say… hold on… don’t get me started…) the resulting number would be far greater than there are stars in the universe. I’ll come back to this subject in future issues – get into the nuts and bolts of it -- but for now…
…this could mean, statistically speaking, we just might be It.
The following is from my essay, “Why Physicists Are The Coolest People On The Planet,” which was a result of my interviews at the Particle Accelerator at Stanford University (SLAC). I was doing research for the screen adaptation of my lunatic novel, Cosmic Banditos, commissioned by John Cusack…
…I asked folks what they might learn from recreating the conditions just after the Big Bang – I mean really really really really just after the sucker (speaking of quantum pubic hairs). Experimental physicist Mike Woods’s answer left me in the dust (although, of course, I nodded a lot), but I’d caught a vibe.
“You mean there might be a message from God in there?” I wanted to know.
This made Mike smile. Then he said, “Okay.”
I can maybe use that, I was thinking.
I loved Mike Woods’s blackboard, by the way, for the childlike (not childish) drawings mixed in with his arcane equations. Later, talking to someone who knows Mike, I mentioned the childlike drawings. “That’s just the way he thinks about physics,” was the explanation.
I’m in awe of this sort of thing.
An operational example of my awe occurred while I was on the Stanford campus after my first interview with a physicist. Due to being disorientated (by the interview), I got lost.
“I’m lost,” I said to a student, a female. (Not wanting to frighten her, I didn’t bring up my disorientation.)
“Where do you want to go?” the student asked.
Physicist Mike Woods and his blackboard
“I’m over at SLAC,” I said, and tapped my little security badge. Listen: I made this declaration as if I were claiming to be “with the band” at a Rolling Stones concert. (The security badge was my back stage pass -- this notwithstanding that in large letters on the badge were the deflating words “Escort Required.”)
A related matter is the SLAC security gate, which is serious. Generally I don’t like this sort of thing and, theoretically, I should have liked it even less here, given that SLAC is a pure research facility – no secret weapons or technology are being developed (not counting someone accidentally coming up with an antimatter cannon or stumbling upon a wormhole portal to a bizarre branch of reality where George W. Bush can correctly pronounce “nuclear,” or the like). But I didn’t mind here. Maybe because the security guy would wave me right on through – I was, after all, with the band.
But what is the reason for the security gate and the passes (and subjecting me to the humiliation of the Escort Required caveat)? Why should anyone worry about the happy-go-lucky SLAC crew and their search for ultimate causes, their quest for What It All Means…
Okay… I think I have it.
Washington, D.C. A secret underground bunker. The red phone rings.
“They’ve come up with What It All Means at SLAC!”
General panic in the secret underground bunker. “Have them seal the place up!”
“Find out who’s behind this!”
“What It All Means!”
“We can’t let that get out!”
And so forth.
If you watch this short (less than 3 minutes) film you may wonder what it’s doing in the What It All Means section: Pay attention and listen to what the ending whispers about us humans. Oh, and it’s okay to laugh your ass off. (By the way, that’s me as “Sancho.”)
A film by Jim Ritterhoff of chowderinc.com
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