On physics, Planck ruler, and our ever-expanding universe

Wayne Johnson
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If you have read my columns on a regular basis, you obviously have too much time on your hands. Nonetheless (I like it when I have a chance to use “nonetheless”), I endeavor to make my column educational so you readers will feel you won’t have wasted the valuable excess time you could have spent playing Candy Crush on your cell phone, or counting the number of holes in your acoustical tile ceiling. So here comes the valuable educational material:

Physics never fails to serve up some interesting and useful facts. For instance, it’s a fact that for a person on Earth, time passes more quickly than for a person traveling in a rocket ship approaching the speed of light, especially if the person in the rocket is with an Amway salesperson.

Gravity is the complicated result of the interactions of space, time, string theories, meatballs, phlegm, so we’re all left asking what would happen if gravity disappeared. Would dentists still encourage us to floss daily? There would be no up and down, because they’re relative to where you happen to be standing on the Earth. For instance, while standing at the South Pole, if you said to someone, “Up your nose with a rubber hose,” the hose could end up in the wrong body orifice.

If your job or hobby has a connection to linear measurements, you should have a Planck ruler. Planck length is the smallest possible length, equal to 10-to-the-minus-20 times the size of a proton, a proton being the size of 10-to-the-plus-20 times a Planck, about the size of a one-quadrillionth of a nose hair. If you cut a section of 2×4 to a Planck length, don’t drop it. Trying to find it would be worse than trying to find a dropped contact lens, and someone might stumble over it in the dark.

Speaking of the dark, make it a practice to avoid black holes at all costs. If you should accidentally fall into one, some scientists think you’d be sucked toward a rupture in the space-time continuum, possibly be stretched and incinerated, unable to get to the nearest Starbuck’s. Other scientists feel you may pass through and emerge on the other side and, if you do, you would live your entire life over, but still be unable to do the Argentine tango. What they do agree on is, at the very least, make sure you’re wearing clean underwear.

According to Newton, Sir Isaac not Sir Fig, if the sun exploded, Earth would be blasted out of orbit, which is a good reason to not have your credit cards maxed out.

The universe is constantly expanding. This fact can be useful as an excuse for being late to work: “Sorry, boss, my home is farther away now than it was yesterday,” although the chance of this being successful can be measured with a Planck ruler.

If you were to measure the number of Planck-sized objects in the Milky Way Galaxy with a Planck ruler, it still would be impossible to figure out how Donald Trump became president.

I had intended to add a discussion here on the effects of applying the Schrödinger equation to a Junior Whopper, but a Planck ruler could measure my interest in continuing this topic any further.

That being the case, have a magical day.

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