Interdum stultus opportuna loquitur...

Friday, August 17, 2007

PrepRant: Jour-J Moins 3

Note - from June 24th 2009, this blog has migrated from Blogger to a self-hosted version. Click here to go straight there.

Ha.So the speed of light is not an immutable limit. Told you so, Einstein.

What IS an immutable limit, is the extent of my patience with this bloody wireless keyboard. For reasons best known to those who developed it, the bloody 'e' key has a habit of double-tapping... in fact it seems that the problem is associated with my middle finger.

No matter. Soon I will have a shiny new replacement QWERTY non-wireless keyboard, and I will thereby also be able to dispense with the annoying Frog-icisms that currently infest my typing life.

For example, if I hit ' and then e, it results in é on my screen. So if I want to type 'exceedingly' (i.e., the word exceedingly in single quotes), I have to hit ' TWICE and then delete one of them, then type exceedingly, then hit '. Otherwise I get éxceedingly'.

Now you might think that it's not often that a fellow wants to type 'exceedingly', and you would be right. But it's ANY word in single quotes that begins with a vowel. That's because the Frogs use 'guillemets' to surround speech. They also use commas in place of decimal points, and decimal points in place of commas as a thousands separator. No wonder they can't win a war by themselves.

This is all by way of explanation that for the first week or so of the new Ranting season, the typography will be even worse than usual.

I am pleased that physics has finally caught up with something I babbled on about while I was still an undergraduate - namely, that it was possible that the observable "Laws" of the universe may actually only be "Rules", and may only apply locally (i.e., may not always have applied, may not apply in the future, and may not apply elsewhere in the universe even now). I don't think many of you realise (although you're clever people, by and large) how much of a paradigm shift is involved if you permit matter to travel faster than light; the universe turns out to be prepared to give us loads of stuff for free.

By the way, I've also long held the view that TIME is also not strictly one-way (Feynman discovered as much when he found that some particles' PRESENT states required them to have foreknowledge of their future states... I will find out which paradox that was and let you know on Monday). There will be constraints, of course... go back and change something, go forward and the ramifications of the change mean that you're no longer in the same 'present'... sensitive dependence on initial conditions and all that. Go back and kill Jesus or Hitler, and it will turn out that someone with a different name did similar stuff at about the same time.