Wednesday, June 27, 2012

How strange can things get?

Modern physics dealing with the fabric of our universe is deeply fascinating. This is one of my personal interests and I spend many hours reading books, watching lectures and thinking about this stuff. There are certain concepts out there that are so mind-bending that I cannot help but marvel and them and share them out to anyone who is interested.

Take black hole physics for example. There is this field of study called 'black hole thermodynamics' which has to do with the entropy (yes, good old entropy again!) of black holes. At first, it was thought that black holes were 'hairless', given their unescapable gravity well, they didn't radiate, their temperature was absolute zero and as a result they would exist for an infinite amount of time. Then this fellow named Stephen Hawking came around, did a bit of thinking about life near the event horizon of a black hole at the quantum level and concluded that black holes do indeed radiate and will eventually evaporate altogether. So called 'Hawking Radiation'. Add some string theory to the mix and we arrive at probably the most mind-boggling concept I know of, the so-called 'Holographic Principle'. First postulated by Gerard 't Hooft (Dutch!), it states that the three-dimensional reality as we experience it is really a projection of information stored in quantum bits on a two-dimensional boundary surrounding us. Yeah, read that a few times and see if it makes sense. If you go deeper into this and see how they came to this bewildering conclusion, it starts making just a teeny tiny bit more sense but it still gives me headaches every time I think about it.

OK, that is enough crazy talk. I came across a lecture by another Dutchman, Robbert Dijkgraaf, who explains these and many other fascinating things. Again, sit back, open your mind and take it all in.

Want to go deeper? Read 'The Black Hole War'. Sounds like a sci-fi novel, but really an account of two theories of black hole physics and their bewildering but immensely interesting ramifications.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A summary

Right then. I have been neglecting this blog. Can I offer excuses like being busy? Lots of travel for work lately? Other stuff getting in the way? Too many video games on the go? Connie still manages to post great stuff on an almost daily basis so I am being feeble here. But enough of that. I just pulled a bunch of photos from my phone so here goes:

This was almost a month ago now but still worth mentioning. The annual Spot Prawn Boil, usually at Refuel but now by it's successor, The Fat Dragon. Fresh spot prawns cooked with chinese sausage, bamboo shoots, baby corn, cabbage and other delectables. Dumped onto the table for hands-on devouring. Brilliant.

We squeezed in a quick weekend visit to LA to see our old friends Tim and Jo. Connie elaborated on this one here. This is a picture from one of our many delectable cafe visits:

Next up, a visit to the new 49th Parallel & Lucky's doughnuts location on 13th & main. Coffee and doughnuts done to a high level of quality. I had a salted caramel covered doughnut as well as a pistachio-orange doughnut. So good...

One of Vancouver's premium car dealers, Weissach, hold these 'coffee and cars' events every month in the summer. People get together at Spanish Banks, park their cars and well, geek out over them. Kai and I like to go to check out the fancy cars. The last visit didn't disappoint with a Lamborghini Aventador present:

Amazing car.

During a business trip to Redmond I treated myself to dinner at John Howie Steak in Bellevue. They had deep-friend bacon...I couldn't was interesting but so overwhelmingly rich that I probably won't order it again.

I took Kai to Lucky's Doughnuts, needless to say it was a success!

Lastly, a painfully bad picture of Kai's big science project at school. I bet Connie has better ones on her blog. The project was about a week's worth of work, a scale model of Jupiter and a board full of facts and information, collected and written by Kai. He certainly worked hard on this one:

That's about it! Three weeks worth of stuff in a single post. I'll try to be a bit more diligent in the future. The parents arrive this week and things will be busy so who knows. I do have a road trip planned, another 3 day sojourn into the BC interior. That will be later in July but I am already very much looking forward to that one!