Gravitational waves – Andrei Linde and Inflation

You might recall a gentle excitement reported in the news last month about a huge breakthrough in physics. The discovery being reported was the confirmation of primordial gravitational waves, which to be fair, may not mean much to you or anyone else not involved in cutting edge cosmology and physics. Even if you have little interest in the detail of the discovery and its implications I implore you to at least watch the first video below. It is the moment that Andrei Linde is surprised with the news that such waves have been confirmed. Linde was the physicist who initially proposed the idea of  inflation (the huge expansion that the universe went through in the tiniest fraction of a second after the big bang) which is now confirmed by the discovery of these waves. Even if you dislike physics, watching a man and his wife receive confirmation of their life’s work is a genuine joy.


If that has whetted your appetite to understand what the fuss is all about then this video from Veritasium does a good job of explaining the discovery and why is is so fundamental to our understanding of the big bang and subsequently the universe.



The Despair Squid – the prat version of Rimmer

Set up: The Red Dwarfers are investigating the wreckage of the SSS Esperanto. It quickly becomes apparent that the crew of the Esperanto have all killed themselves and eventually it is realized that the suicides were due to severe depression caused by a toxic hallucinogen. Subsequently attacked by a giant squid, they crash Starbug which explodes seemingly killing all. However, it transpires that in fact the entire series has been a total immersion gaming experience and that they have all been wired into a gaming terminal for the last 4 years. The great Timothy Spall plays Andy, the technician who welcomes them ‘back to reality’. It soon becomes apparent that in the game each character can in fact, and should in fact, have achieved all of their innermost desires.

ANDY (Brummie accent): he [Rimmer] was a handpicked special agent for the space corp, he had his memory erased and was programmed to behave like a complete twonk, so no-one would suspect he was on a secret mission to destroy Red Dwarf in order to guide Lister to his destiny as the creator of the 2nd universe………………………..



ANDY: here hang on a minute, are you seriously telling me you were playing the prat version of Rimmer for all that time…for 4 years…ho ho ho whoa, that’s a classic that is, a classic

Observation: Back in our world, (not the Red Dwarf fictional universe) it strikes me that if there is a god, a compassionate and loving god (and the positive architectures of any of the main religions will do), then surely the only way to interpret what has happened, history as we understand it, is that God is Timothy Spall, and we have completely ballsed the whole thing up and played the prat version of Rimmer for all eternity. Doh.

The other side of the coin: reverse paradigm

Set up: The crew have discovered a transmogrifier and have accidentally turned Kryten (an android) into a human. He has some questions for Lister.

KRYTEN: Now then, uh, my optical system doesn’t appear to have a zoom function.

LISTER: No, human eyes don’t have a zoom.

KRYTEN: Well then, how do you bring a small object into sharp focus?

LISTER: Well, you just move your head closer to the object.

KRYTEN: I see.  Move your head … closer, hmm, to the object.  (He practises with the list.) All right, okay.  Well, what about other optical effects, like split screen, slow motion, Quantel?

LISTER: No. We don’t have them.

KRYTEN: You don’t have them — just the zoom?  Hmm.  (He holds up one hand in a placating gesture.) Well, no, that’s fine, that’s great, no, no, that’s really great, that’s great.  Now then, my nipples don’t work.


Youtube: watch this