Trying to push the earth down
I’m still cracking up about Nick’s post. It is amazing sometimes that people will fall into belief of things despite clear indications to the contrary. This is why we need to teach our kids to be critical thinkers. Learn all you can, but approach everything with some skepticism. I’m prepared and willing to back up our training techniques and program. If anyone can show us better training methods we’ll adopt them.
Warning, major science geek content follows.
So while laughing at the kiaijutsu master I got to thinking about our reality and how there are quite a few things that do force us to really question the reality that we exist in. Here are some well established concepts about reality that don’t generally fit with how we perceive existence. If you were not aware previous to starting CrossFit Marin I was a chemical engineer and grew up in a household that regularly discussed theoretical physics and other nerdy topics.
Most matter is 99.9999999% empty space. Yeah, most matter is basically nothing. The nucleus of an atom generally ranges from about 1-10 fm (femto meters, which is 10-15 meters). The electron orbits vary quite a bit depending on energy states and atom size, but let’s just be conservative. Average electron distribution is in the range of 10-12 meters. Or about 1,000 larger than the nucleus. So let’s put this in perspective. If the nucleus was a 1m diameter ball, then the electrons would create a cloud at least 1,000m wide. Think about this in terms of the gym. Let’s say the nucleus was a medicine ball (roughly 0.5m diameter). The electrons would create a cloud that would span past our 800m turn around palm tree. Everything else is just empty space. Nothing, nada. So even highly dense materials are basically nothing. So what happens if matter isn’t so sparse and actually packs together. This is what happens in a neutron star. This is what happens when there’s enough gravity to collapse atoms. These things have a density ranging around 3×1017 kg/m3.
Again, perspective. Our two red boxes are pretty close to 1 square meter. This much neutron star would have about 100 times the mass of Mt. Everest.
Now, let’s look at that electron cloud. Due to Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle we can not precisely know the position and velocity of these electrons. We can only know the probability that they may be somewhere at some time traveling some speed in some direction. In fact they exist as both a particle and a wave, which gets us to quantum mechanics and things get really strange. There are things in existence that behave both as a wave and a particle. Beyond that, their path of travel is indeterminate until they are observed. This means, in a sense, that they travel in all directions simultaneously until they are looked at, at which point their probability waves collapse into a single particle path.
Some other strange things…
Matter and energy are interchangeable. This is the power found in nuclear weapons and power plants. Some (very little really) matter is converted into energy in these things. We’re talking 85 million tons of TNT per net ounce of mass. So 1 ounce of matter converted to energy releases 4 times the energy of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima.
Mass warps time and space.
Time is not constant, but varies dependent on your speed.
We may exist in a 10 or 11 dimensional reality.
Two particles can be “coupled” in which state anything done to one, will be instantly reflected in the other, across any distance.
So, think critically, but don’t discount things out of hand just because they seem odd. There are plenty of things about our existence that we have a very limited grasp of. Many of these bizarre behaviors could cause things to happen that we would think of as impossible.