Friday, March 21, 2008

Woo Hoo Physics!!

Hello Dear Readers,

I hope you are enjoying this blustery spring day and not wading through three feet of floodwater somewhere. I hear we have been having good weather for sugaring (freezing nights + warmer days = good maple sap), and it is nearly time to start gardening. We actually had a couple of bulb shoots popping up on the edge of my front lawn, but I'm pretty sure I stepped on 'em last night. oops. Anyway, this post is about science (non) fiction.

Remember that other day when I mentioned asking for a book from our fantastic Random House reps? Well it came yesterday, and I have not been able to put it down. This thing is like easter candy, like sugar on snow, like fresh daifuku shaped like neurons (!) for the nerdy nerds in your life. The book is Physics of the Impossible, by Michio Kaku, and it is so much fun. Kaku takes a broad swath of science fiction standards (laser cannons, force fields, time travel, etc) and divides them into level of impossibility. Class III impossibilities violate current laws of physics, so becoming possible in the future would represent a fundamental paradigm shift. Class II impossibilities lie at the limit of our understanding, so they need not break laws of physics to occur, but if possible they would indicate new laws and demonstrate previously unknown behavior. Kaku considers these to become possible in millions of years, if at all. Class I impossiblities are simply impossible with today's technology, but do not break any known laws of physics and could concievibly become possible in the next couple of generations. This book is light on the math, which makes for easier reading, but it is full of thorough descriptions of why something doesn't currently work, and what would probably be necessary to make it work. This thing is so much fun, seriously. I would recommend it to all the science fiction people in your life, and anyone who enjoys 'physics for laypeople' type books. Seriously, come in and look at it.

Ok, that's all for now. Take Care, Everyone!

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