Friday, 11 April 2008

Curse the vile Andromedans!

A recent article in Scientific American discussed the future history of cosmology. That is, the history of things to come in outer space.
The future, it seems, is pretty bleak. With the way the universe is constantly expanding, eventually (that is, in 100 billion years) anything out of our Local Group will be receding from us faster than the speed of light. Effectively, there will be no universe out there anymore, just blackness. The Local Group itself, the group of galaxies comprising of our own Milky Way, Andromeda and a bunch of other satellite galaxies will merge into one super galaxy, and for all “we” would know that would be the entire universe. Our descendants will not even be able to tell that once upon a time there was this big bang thing.
The consequences of that eventuality are fascinating. Think of our own universe the way we know it here and now, for example: what if our universe is just a small shred of an even bigger universe that got away from us? The possibilities are pretty much endless. To me, reflecting on this just goes to show how little we know of our world.

But until our universe becomes bleak, we have other worries to occupy our minds. Take, for example, the clash of our fair galaxy with the Andromeda galaxy, commencing as of about 5 billion years into our future.
By then, humanity will probably consume all the oil and dig up all the precious metal the Milky Way has to offer. The prospect of having a brand new galaxy to dig our way through will offer an incredible opportunity for our future economy to continue expanding, our GDP to grow, and interest rates to go down and provide some relief to home and investment property owners.
Or will it? What about the distinct possibility that we will find the whole of Andromeda was dug and exhausted just the same by those evil selfish Andromedeans? I say, those self centered aliens will just have to pay for robbing us what is our god given right. Curse them all!

OK, I admit, I was fooling around in that last paragraph. As much as I care about the future of my descendants and humanity in general, the events to come in 5 billion years interest me as much as the events that happened here, on earth, 500 million years ago. It’s interesting, but you can’t feel the personal touch.
However, jokes aside, if you were to read the above paragraph and replace “Andromeda” with , you will find the paragraph somewhat less stupid; it would sound more like your average tabloid article instead, invoking many arguments that are typically raised whenever foreign affairs are on the agenda.
And that really says something about us and our world.

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