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Friday, September 11, 2009

Levitating Mice! and rooms jam packed with light...

So we send all these astronauts into space without really understanding what the effects of "Zero" gravity are on the human body. Then they get home, and we say Oh, whoops, maybe we should look into that? To be fair, in the sixties when we were sending people to space for the first time, we probably had really no idea what to expect at all, as far as what challenges we would face, but by now I'd think, personally, that we'd sent plenty enough people up, frequently enough, and for extended enough periods, that maybe we'd have done some of this testing in, oh, I don't know, SPACE, instead of SIMULATING space on Mice.

Apparently, I'm wrong.

Of course, this doesn't mean I don't think that it's INCREDIBLY cool that they've found a way to make animals levitate. It is really neat. But isn't it a little bit late to be testing what simulated zero gravity does to Mice? Or maybe what I'm trying to say, is wouldn't it be more productive to send the mice to space to find out? Or can Mice not survive the force of blast off?

It just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Why simulate something, when you can have them experience the real thing and get results without that added avenue of error? Haven't we sent monkey into space? dogs? I thought this kind of thing was what the international space station was for? Or, okay, they want to find a way to simulate zero gravity on earth to train astronauts-- that makes sense-- but wouldn't it also make sense to do parallel experimentation on earth and in space, so that you know it really is an accurate simulation? So that you know the results will be the same?

On an unrelated note, and something which will probably ruin my credibility as someone with any kind of scientific background (I swear, I minored in Biology-- I was going to be a wildlife biologist! Physics was just never really my thing because the New York State Board of Regents destroyed it for me by not allowing me to use calculus-- Yes. You read that correctly. I wasn't allowed to use calculus to do physics. Yes, it was the most idiotic thing ever. Yes it made me hate physics passionately forevermore.) I've always wondered if it was possible to pack a room with light so densely that a person would be unable to move.

You see, light is energy waves, right? It bounces off things and into your eye, and that's how you see colors--different wavelengths bounce off different colors. Well, if something can BOUNCE, it seems to me that it ought to be exerting some kind of force when that happens. (I'm pretty sure this is totally flawed logic, and I'm pretty sure the reason is that energy waves are not matter, and have no mass or something, but I can't shake the idea so just go with it.) So what if you filled a room with tons and tons of light, across the spectrum, so that there was nothing in the room that the light wasn't bouncing off of, and so much bouncing was happening that there was no room for anything else--No Nothing Left. (Nothing being an absence of matter--the space between your molecules. The space between the electrons and the nucleus of your atoms. We're really made up of a lot of nothing, which has always boggled my mind.) So that all the space in the room was taken up with light waves. Could you pin someone to a wall?

Now that I'm thinking about it, I'm pretty sure a person would go blind first.

Anyway. Levitating Mice. I don't think it's worth closing the barn door-- the horses already got out.

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