Thursday, May 22, 2014

2232 Know No Thing

Sometimes it seems the whole world is wallowing in a deep well of ignorance. Basic things we all should know, somehow left out of our education. Or if not left out in the teaching, left out in the learning. Those questions we missed on the test, never to be corrected.

I heard an example recently in an advertisement. They had a guy talking in a low comforting voice about the wonder of water. "Take oxygen," he intoned, "and hydrogen, add a little gravity, and you have a pure wonder of nature..."

Um, at the risk of being that annoying guy in a bar who's always insisting on accuracy, it's not gravity that holds hydrogen and oxygen together. Although gravity, in the sense of a collapsing star about to go supernova, may have been responsible for the element oxygen itself, a little different force is involved in creating a molecule like water. 

It's the electromagnetic force. The one that draws different atoms together because of fewer or more electrons resulting in positive or negative charges. Water wasn't forced into existence by gravity, like a shotgun-wielding Appalachian Pa forcing someone to marry his daughter. It was joined by mutual attraction, like the lovers in a bosom-heaving romance novel. 

Speaking of romantic turns of phrase, the ignorance is there too. Recently an Austrian guy named Conchita Wurst won a song prize in Europe. In an attempt to sound inspirational, he said you should, "Always reach for the moon, at least you'll reach the stars..." 

I wasn't inspired. Because that only makes sense if the stars are closer than the moon. But stars are actually hundreds to millions of light years away.

The moon is 1.3 light seconds.  

Just in case you want to win a bar bet.

America, ya gotta love it. 

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