Thursday, October 29, 2009

Presidential down-time

It hadn't occurred to me before, but when I heard Bill O'Rielly once again defending this President and Presidents past for taking recreational time, it really hit home that these guys really don't work that hard.

I had been in agreement, not having given it much thought. After all, he's the President of the United States. That's a very demanding job right? Then I thought about when the last time was that I had 3 free hours to go golfing, take in a show, play some hoops. I took the family on a weekend trip to visit my son in Kansas recently. That was our first family "vacation" in 20+ years. There's no time during the week and rarely a weekend that I don't put in a few hours at the shop. But that only takes away from time I need to spend working around the house and getting other things done.

The top dogs in Washington D.C. seem to have a tremendous amount of down time. When they are working, they aren't exactly shoveling coal. It's mostly speaking, strategizing about how best to manipulate the rest of us and delegating any real work to their extensive staff.

They don't have to sweat things like mortgage payments or grocery bills and all this "down-time" is in addition to the many vacations they take every year. When they retire, which can be as little as 8 years into their career, it gets even better!

All in all, I'd say it's a pretty sweet gig.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Incredible Shrinking Universe?

I'm going to get all sciencey again for a few minutes. I just watched an episode of the Universe series on Discovery channel. It never ceases to amaze me how so many geniuses can often miss the coolest implications of their own conclusions.

Okay, here's the Cliff Notes version: Galaxies come together in clusters, over time the clusters cluster into super-clusters. Eventually, they merge into one big super-galaxy, but the various super-galaxies continue to move away from each other so that, in umpteen bajillion years or so, if you were in our supergalaxy and had no record of the past, as far as you could tell our supergalaxy would be the entire universe. You would not be able to detect the others. They would be too far away.

While they commented on the possibility that future sentients might not be aware of the real size and scope of the universe, they seemed to miss the distinct possibility, or extreme probability, that neither do we. Especially given the recent discovery that our universe seems to be getting pulled toward something ultra massive beyond the cosmic horizon.

Why would one assume that we are at the beginning of such a cycle? It seems more logical that what we know as the universe was once part of something much larger and that when our neighborhood becomes this "supergalaxy" it too will separate into clusters which will go their own ways.

No need for panic though. For one thing the time spans involved are unimaginably long and for another, there really is no limit to how small a universe can get. Everything is relative.