Do You Feel Lucky?

(and feel free to comment! My older posts are certainly no less relevant to the burning concerns of the day.)

Friday, February 27, 2015

"Library Card"

I think books in libraries are happier than a lot of other books. They have a secure, hopeful sort of life. And while the stacks and shelves of bookstore books anxiously flaunt their covers and thrust their spines at the public, hoping to be browsed and bought, the books at the library can rest easy. "This is my home. I am so glad I have a home! So happy to be stamped 'Property Of' and fitted with my inside vest pocket for the date-card. Oh, it's empty now, we've all got bar codes - but it's a snazzy accessory nonetheless!

"If someone picks me up to borrow and read, I'll be happy! I like to visit, and for people to get to know me - but I love knowing that here is where I belong and will always return. Back to my same happy spot on the shelf, favored by the afternoon sun. Ready to be read by any and all, but happy and content. Just where I am!"

The bookstore book, on the other hand, has a certain forced-cheerful near-desperate look to it sometimes. "Hi! Hi! Hello! A lot of people love me, I could be found very interesting if you give me a chance. I won the prestigious Geathers Book Award! In 2006. Oh, dear."

I try to rescue as many of those as possible.

Then once I've read through, if it's one I can live without keeping on my shelf - I'll donate it to the library! Where it can be happy and secure, be content and be read. Sometimes I'll even bump into one of my books again, at the library.

Which can be a little bit awkward, though.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Me, Defender of Language: That Would Be I

I have hard words, here, for certain honorable and good-hearted, right-thinking individuals, but I cannot apologize any more than I can dissemble. My words here are directed at those who decry what they call a travesty, a sin of degeneracy, an attack on the purity of language: the acceptance of "literally" when used in a figurative way.

There is no legitimate reason to object to this use of "literally."

It is nothing more than an exaggeration for dramatic effect - albeit, one that has largely passed into idiom. Haven't you people heard of hyperbole? "Literally" for "figuratively" is a clear instance.

I love to spring that one on a stickler! But I do it with a heavy heart, because my sympathies in many ways lie with such sticklers.

The worst is, it's perfectly true. Hyperbole is hyperbole. It's a rhetorical device. The word "figurative" may be an antonym of the word "literal" when considering their denotative values, but we know that figurative speech does not create a conflict or difficulty, here. When you speak figuratively, typically you say something that "ain't so." Generally, it's very clear that it ain't so. It doesn't matter that it ain't so.

The fact that it ain't so is not beside the point, it is the point. The exaggeration of "literally" for "figuratively" is in no way worse than the exaggeration of "absolutely" used in a case that is not definite, comprehensive, absolute. This perfectly legitimate rhetorical use. You use hyperbole to convey your excess of feeling in the matter.

Oh, you can call me absolutely wrong, here. But you know full well that if you do - you're literally an ass.

Dating Advice Masterclass #2: DON'Ts.

So we've got the "do"s taken care of - how about some DON'Ts? Depending on timing, these could end up being even more important:

DON'T show up with a reality tv crew in tow. Be a bit classier than that! Show up with a documentary crew, helmed by Werner Herzog.

DON'T narrate the various events of the date out loud as they unfold. Werner will take care of that himself in post-production. The only point to hiring professionals is to let them do their job.

DON'T wear one of those shirts with the padded pectorals. If things do go well, there's going to be no good way to soften the letdown.

DON'T go on and on about how large your dick is. Same reason.

DON'T listen to the advice of others. Trust your mind.

Most Importantly!!


Dang. Ran out. Can't think of another don't. See is, the thing is, I've only made a few mistakes on dates ever. I just don't have many don'ts to share!

Anyway, I feel like a lot of you folks have a real good handle on these things. Trust in your confidence, here. Take a leap of belief in yourself, and be open to surprises! Now we're getting more back into "do" territory, I realize - but in the big scheme that's probably the plan, right?

Thursday, February 19, 2015

My Geeky Pal, Discussions #2, Physical Limits: The Final Frontier

I was just talking about this with a friend the other day: teleportation, also, faster-than-light travel - and which of the various means proposed in fiction were more plausible to less plausible. The actual course of the conversation is too circuitous and discursive to reproduce, but I thought I'd share some of the conclusions and upshots, for the sake of any who may share an interest.

We both agreed that a Star Trek style transporter would kill you. Little consolation to be had from the sudden existence of an exact duplicate of you, even if the duplicate is so close a copy that God, probably, couldn't point out any material difference. Still this would be a new person, a consciousness instantly beginning its life in the middle of your previous uncompleted thought, stepping blithely out of the other transporter chamber with every one of your same connections recreated and hence, all your memories, your personality. Not with them "intact," but rather, with them reproduced. But the you who you were would fade to black. Show's over. No after-credits sequence.

(We also discussed the likelihood of various scenarios in a given sci-fi universe where God exists, and superintends a more-or-less traditional God-style setup. Imagine the plethora of Captain Kirks rubbing elbows in the afterlife, each with a full memory of everything up to their incarnation's first transporter trip! This would include all of that incarnation's memories brought along from all earlier Kirk's trips - indistinguishable from its own brief life's memories! For some people, a heaven indeed. That's not even counting all the Rikers.)

Now, my friend hadn't seen The Prestige, so I couldn't bring in that comparison - and by the way, if you haven't seen The Prestige, spoiler alert! Skip to the following paragraph! It's same principle at play, except 1) the original is not automatically destroyed, and 2) where Star Trek leaves it unspoken, glossed over, in The Prestige the implications of being erased here and remade there take center stage: the you who you really are always falls through the trapdoor and dies. The you who you never were (and never will be) always appears, an instantaneous, new creation, blinking into brand-new being at some remove of distance.

Such borderline metaphysical considerations aside, it's hard to really say how soon or whether the actual transporter hardware can be realized, not without reference to some proposed method. Just how is a beam of energy to build such a complex structure? It's not gone into. Unsurprisingly, most depictions of teleportation don't really get into the mechanics of what happens. Whether turning matter into a signal to beam to a distant location, tunneling through tesseracts or wormholes, or routing one's self instantaneously through adjacent, overlapping dimensions, even when they get into the "how," the how is rarely presented as anything our understanding of reality could call plausible. Naturally, that doesn't mean we won't get there! But we can see in each case what the challenges will be: here we need some exotic element of matter that, as yet, appears nowhere in the periodic chart. There, we need some novel form of energy or force which doesn't appear to be part of our baseline reality at all - or a way to make our known forces behave in novel ways. Such limits are hardly trivial, and we must accept the possibility we may not overcome them if the materials and means for a given method to work simply aren't part of what reality's operating parameters support.

But then again, maybe we'll teleport back from a future where the problem was solved, and lay the secret bare to our previous ignorant selves! As clear as transparent aluminum.

For the record, out of Star Trek tech mainstays transporters, warp drive, deflector shields and...some fourth thing, I forget what...deflector shields seemed (or were agreed to be at least) the least likely to be realized, or realizable, within the limits of known physics - at least as depicted. But given the distances involved in space combat, we both agreed that if space-warping technology could be made to work, it could be adapted to serve the purpose. If you could project a decent-sized defensive warp bubble out to a fair range beyond the ship's hull, one that increases the angle of any incoming light or high-velocity matter, that would do the job neatly. A refractor shield, as it were.

But of course, whether for purposes of travel or defense, creating the warp bubble itself is a bit problematic - a problem shared with other proposed methods of FTL travel. Exotic materials that don't exist, or amounts of energy in excess of the total sum of all energy and matter in the universe, are required.

A tricky nut to crack!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Eternal Questions #3: How Much Wood, Precisely...?

How would one go about designing a wood-chucking contest for woodchucks? How would one entice the woodchucks to compete? Should it be for distance, or just volume of chucked wood? The question after all is not "How hard and far could a woodchuck chuck wood if a woodchuck were to be so inclined as to chuck wood hard and far?" In the classic quandary, it's purely a question of quantity - and more dauntingly, motivation.

But surely in the interest of designing a more gripping contest for spectators, one needs more than merely a count or weigh-in of chucked wood per woodchuck. You need urgency: some kind of a time limit. And I think you need some way to make the achievement more measurable: distance and accuracy perhaps? What about arranging it as woodchuck combat? Each woodchuck stands at the appropriate distance where it's going to take some skill to score a hit, and they just CHUCK THE FUCK OUT OF THE AVAILABLE LUMBER! All kinds of strategies might be involved, dodges, blocks - no blocking with a piece of wood held "in-the-grasp"! One must chuck the wood to knock the incoming block of wood off-course.

There would be a line in front of each woodchuck which could not be crossed. Behind each woodchuck would be an equal supply of wood, in chuckworthy chunks of varying size and weight.

The playing field would be a wide, long elevated mound between two trenches - the trenches being considered "out of bounds." If a woodchuck falls into the trench, that's game. If a woodchuck is incapacitated by a piece of chucked wood - game. If either woodchuck runs out of wood - has successfully chucked their load - game. First woodchuck to chuck all their wood gets +10 points for that.

The winner would be determined by how many pieces of wood chucked "in-bounds," with 1 point for wood in the no-woodchucks zone (between the two front-lines) and 5 points for all wood behind the line. No points for beaning the other woodchuck! You try to so that, of course, but the goal there is purely to put him off (and perhaps out of) his game.

Also note: defensive wrinkle, one woodchuck's wood is painted yellow, the other blue (or suitable contrasting colors) so scoring is easy. But if you choose, you can pick up any of your opponent's wood and throw it back at him! Or throw it out of bounds, etc. - but no kicking of wood allowed. Once again, the wood must be chucked. If you kick a piece of wood out of your scoring area that's a penalty. You'll get 5 pieces of wood added to your stack.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Boring Boring Boring BO RING

I think I've forgotten to write about other crap lately. That used to be my métier! My forte, if you will. Although both those words are french, so probably I'm using one of them incorrectly.

That's neither here nor there. My blog posts lately have been boring me to death! Look at 'em! I used to talk almost exclusively about various crap, junk and stuff. But what I've been mostly talking about lately is, what...philosophy? And viewpoints - ways of looking at life? Where's the life in that!

I need to get back to basics. Talk about things, not relationships between things! Talk about - well, I can talk about the various connections and interrelations as they arise naturally, from talking about the thing itself, but hell! Talk about something first, and foremost, and then note the connections as they arise would be a better way to go about it. Less abstract!

So. Pliers. I'm going to start with pliers. I don't know where that came from, but pliers!

I like needle-nose pliers. It could be because those are the only ones I have in the house. "Write what you know"! But those things do occasionally come in handy! Some missing knob to something, it needs to be turned - but where's the knob? Don't sweat it! Needle-nose pliers to the rescue, just stick 'em down in there and grab the knob's innards, and gently twist it clockwise (probably, clockwise - but go easy just in case it's one of them widdershins deals).

I feel like needle-nose pliers are probably one of the hardest tools to put any sexual symbolism on. Pliers in general, you could probably look at as female, because basically there's an opening between two sides, and it tightens down on your hard knob or shaft, or whatever it is - a nut, maybe?. Doesn't matter - whatever it is you've got to grip or twist - or to coin a term, "wrench." But that sounds painful! Maybe something a bit more skillful: whatever you've got to ply. For that, pliers of course! Ever heard of a woman plying a man with a wrench?

Moving on, of course your hammer is always going to be a ready stand-in for the penis - despite that's not remotely how a penis is used! Come on! The screwdriver, need I say more? No. The wrench - well, this is more just a way to set up a pliers so it has one handle, instead of two. Same deal, it tightens down but you do it by diddling a ratchet-dial, instead of by squeezing the legs together. That's a minor difference at best, I'd say a wrench is roughly about as female as regular pliers. But needle-nose pliers? You can't even look at that as feminine! Sure, it encloses and grasps and squeezes, but not in any encircling way! It's pointy. It's like a long, pokey deal - except then it splits!

For this reason, it pretty much can't be either. And don't nominate it as symbolic of one of those nonstandard gendersexual setups, either - no sale! At no point does anybody's long pokey deal split and then come back together! Not as part of its functional duties during the (or any other) sex act. Ouch!

So arguably, to me, needle-nose pliers are somewhat more "tooly" than other tools, being as they're not susceptible to the rampant sexualization other tools so readily lend themselves to. Needle-nose pliers stand apart from that. They can't be pigeonholed that way.

Not that regular, non-needle-nose pliers are worthless, just because they're easier to sexualize! Nor are other tools any less valid. A tool's value is not in proportion to the degree that one can't use it to symbolize genitals. Point is: these other tools have their use, and they get their use, as needed! That's what a tool's for. It's not for this endless sexualization we see all around us, from which our friend the needle-nose pliers stands proudly pretty much aloof. But when it comes to using the right tool for the right job, regular pliers are no less useful as tools. Depending on the job, of course. In fact, as I perused Google to make sure I was using the right word for the right tool on wrenches, I realized I was wrong. I do in fact have several other pliers in the tool drawer after all, most of which I've used more than once! I guess I just always saw them as wrenches.

A lot of people are ignorant about these things, but I like to pass on the knowledge as I get it.

More About Me #4

It seems there's always more about me. And what have we today? Let's see!

Well, it's Friday. I could do a Fiction Friday, but that wouldn't be really about me though, would it. Still, been a while since the last Fiction Friday. And it's Friday the 13th! I don't believe we've ever had a Fiction Friday the 13th. Maybe Jason Vs. Gog-Bo the Dragon Murderer?

Actually, I have to give Jason the edge on that. It's too early in Gog-Bo's saga, at this point all we've seen him do is brood, farm, and practice with his accursed blade The Wicked Shimmy - an inheritance from his mysterious Aunt Mo! Or no, not "inheritance," as she's still alive. Would it be "bequest"? I like bequest - sounds like a quest could be involved at some point! Which would be good, as there don't appear to be any dragons in the vicinity of his uncle...'s farm. Man, I can't even remember Gog-Bo the Dragon Murderer's uncle's name at this point! But at any rate, I don't see him or any of the other Gog-Bo the Dragon Murderer cast regulars being able to take down Jason. Unless...has Jason ever been beheaded? Running him through the body just seems like a waste of time, but you could probably behead anybody with The Wicked Shimmy. That blade's a beast.

If beheading doesn't work on him, though, than Gog-Bo's probably out as a suitable Jason antagonist.

Guns, too - so the Stranger Lido is probably out as well. Maybe this idea is a non-starter. Also, it's really not "More About Me #4" at that point, so let's get back on topic.

What else about me?

In general, I like to talk about what interests others. Especially if I don't know the first thing about it! Then after, though, I tend to look it up to read deeper into what they clued me into. Sometimes in the process of that, I find out they either tricked me or just didn't know what they were talking about! No worries either way, we can have a good laugh on that later. I don't mind being tricked into a deeper understanding.

I don't think it's important to have a sense of humor so much as a sense of wonder. I don't think personality matters very much, because how can the whole universe somebody carries around behind their eyes be boring? It's a matter of interest, that's all. If a person's interested, they're going to be of interest - to me, at least. Others are into different things, such as I don't know - tits? I'm totally on board with that, myself. And yet when I say personality doesn't matter much, I'm only talking about talking to someone. But when it comes to love, personality matters all the way. Personality - their whole person in all its physical and emotional and intellectual specifics, in all of its virtues and what, specifically, you love about someone.

Love. Love is the thing I've learned the most about, and all of it inapplicable going forward. Which is cool!

That's about it for More About Me #4

Friday, February 06, 2015

My Bucket List Is:


It helps if you say it like the Beastie Boys!

Also, technically I guess that's the same as my everyday To Do List.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Thought of the day: once again, perfection

The real reason perfection cannot be achieved in reality is that reality is what exists between us, for us all to piss on, objectify, riff off of - but perfection can never be anyone's ideal but our own. The other person's perfection is never quite right.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Introducing the Other. A Member of Them.

Some of this may not make sense, for reasons which will become murky.

Hi! I'm the Other.

My Otherness is nothing new. I've always been the Other. True, I'm pretty sure I wasn't consciously aware of it in those terms, originally. But the indications were always there. In any given Us versus Them I've generally been a Them-sympathizer. My particular sense of otherness and knee-jerk them-identification is also the source of my relentless and often infuriating (and effective!) devil's advocacy. But it's only been fairly recently that I've realized how small a them I'm really a part of. Or to be more accurate: the whole of. I just seem to be pretty much the only one I know who relates this way. A pity, because it's pretty awesome! If I had to guess I'd say it consists in my essential nonattachment to self, or a better word: disinterest. Not that I don't love self! I just don't find it interesting, as a subject or as a viewpoint. I'm completely alienated from that, to be honest. I don't relate to self at all. I'm not really sure how anyone does.

I'm well aware they do! It seems beyond dispute that they do. But why they do...that's the puzzler. Are they seeing something I'm not? If so, it's beyond me.

Don't get me wrong, I am unquestionably the unique individual. Of course I am! Who isn't? Just like anyone, I am the unique individual: the ego, who is and who acts. The "I" in reference to which all others undoubtedly stand in the relation of an other.

But that's kind of the point, isn't it? None of them ever seem to see themselves as an other. Let alone the Other. All of them seem to self-identify as...the Self. All of them.

This doesn't make a lick of sense to me. It's ludicrous on the face of it. To how many people do you stand in the relation of other?? All of them! Every single one! To how many people do you stand in a relation of self? Not a single one!

Unless you count yourself, and beg pardon but that's rather begging the question, isn't it? Yes.

To the whole wide world of individuals, I am at home and awake to my nature: unquestionably the Other. That's how everyone seems to see me, and frankly that's always about how it's always felt to me. It feels right. It feels like me, it's what I am comfortable with because I have always been. It fits! When I was a kid in a family of five, six, seven, eight, nine kids, I was pretty much always the Other, perfectly comfortable in that role. That's how everyone saw me and treated me - even mom and dad. Maybe especially mom and dad. But the point is: not a one treated me as the Self, that's for sure! From my earliest days I've always been the Other. My experience of life has always been the experience of the Other.

And why not! I stand confident and secure exactly where you see me: I stand in the place of the Other, in relation to you. You and every other person. People are unanimous on that score - which I'd call a reality check, if I'd ever needed to check! If mine hadn't been the first ballot in the box, but it was. And I'm quite comfortable I do a very good job, representing the Other to all these selves, lost in a featureless sea of individuality, dragging around their definite articles like anchors, insisting on that unique thing of theirs (whatever it is they think it is). Let them have their self-identification. I'm fine! I'm good. I've got something else, and it works pretty well.

In whatever interaction happens, I've been the Other to whoever's asking. I've never had a feel for whatever self-based motive I'd be supposed to care about, to investigate or muster up. I haven't the slightest interest in or understanding of wants or motives - mine, at least. Who cares about that crap! It doesn't bother me when I get upset. It rolls right over me and then I forget. It's pretty easy and I've got no regrets. And people ask me what it is that I got? They try to tell me how I just can't be stopped - how come I always seem to get what I want?

I don't know what they're talking about! I don't care what I want.

I don't even give it any thought. It just feels good. It feels good, being the Other! Not just "an" other, either but the Other. Nice. Pleasurable. Not without distinction. After all, of the billions of others in the world, I seem to be pretty much the only one who identifies that way. Who owns the role, as it were. I can't claim any special credit! It's just natural to me. Preference, habit and inclination. It just goes very well with who I am, with my place in reality, with how I see it.

I'm a disinterested agent of my own fate, basically, and I'm always mystified how the other others have gotten so off-track on theirs. Why are all these other others so self-concerned?

I am always going to be the Other. The object. As far as I can tell, no one's in a position to object to that. The Other flies below the radar it seems: the inessential part of everyone else's self-absorbed day, and why not? Doesn't make my value any less, it just means I'm not an essential part of their purpose, for whatever object or goal they've got at the moment. Maybe I'm a small part of it! If so, I'm interested! I take an interest, I'm glad to help - tell me what I can be to you! What part can I play in whatever story you're the hero of today? What factor or catalyst do you need me to be, in whatever prophecy you're expecting to self-fulfill? I like to take an interest and do what I can! Which is weird, since I claim to take not much interest in my own wants or motives. But think about it, duh! Those wore themselves into my modus operandi by the time I was ten. They're uninteresting because there's nothing there to think about. Natural habit, preference and action - how self-involved would somebody have to be to take an interest in, I don't know, the fact that they like girls? You're not interested in that, you're interested in girls. What's to think about? I use "girls" as an example - I haven't been interested in those in years, I dig women.

Point is, the Other is not the antagonist, nor does the Other like to refer to himself in the third person - that was a one-time mess-up, there. Pray pardon. But while I'm not by any means an antagonist, I do like to react and respond. I've got no agenda of my own to push, but I'd like to understand what your purpose is, and how I fit into it! I make no promises, mind you. But I'll hear you out. And I'll decide if what you're after is something I'd care to do. To do it or not do it. To listen and to understand, to answer, and to move on.

So anyway, that's me! If we happen to meet, that's me: the Other. It's how I identify, and I don't expect you'll see me any differently yourself. I'd be surprised if you did, but then realistically, I'm always surprised that way more people don't see it like this. See it like I do. Identify as otherly. Can't they see how otherly they are, to just about everyone? Me, I try to honor their perspective and preference. I know they identify as the Self, and I try to honor their self-identification. If I'm able, I try to treat every single individual one of them as the Self they imagine themselves to be. But how ludicrous that they can't see for themselves who they are fooling with that nonsense. Sure, pal - you are the Self.

I mean, comfortable as I am with it I'd feel a little bit uneasy about my claim if I had billions of others claiming it.

Maybe we have a self-styled Self reading this right now? Let me ask you: how outnumbered are you as you go about your day, "Self"? Look at all the Others! How do you deal with being the Self, one lonely one adrift in a sea of otherness? Do you demonize the Other? If so, watch out! I don't take kindly to being demonized, and I don't believe any others do either. Do you group a bunch of others into an Us with you, so you can themify the remaining others? So secure in the strength of your intrinsic Us-ness you forget how many others you've let in the fold! Can you trust them? How do you maintain such precarious self-identification? Do you alienate the other from your self - or do you alienate yourself? Fuck. How could you even tell.

You know what? This all sounds like that "angst" crap to me. I've got zero interest in that, let me assure you. My interest in angst is nonexistential. Let's just you keep in mind who you are and who I am, and you'll be fine. I'm the Other.

If you care to dispute me for the title well you can just go fuck your self.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015










Don't let them lie to you: physics works great in a black hole. It's only our description of physics that breaks down. Or as they may say, physics "as we know it" - yet even this is not true! Physics as we know it includes a full and hearty grasp of the facts: and especially, that a fact can overturn even the most well-supported theory, at any time. Physics as we know it does not "break down" in the face of falsification and consequent refinement. Physics builds up in these ways. Physics is not confounded by disproof. Science has no certainty in it. Certainly, it does not expect or proclaim certainty in or declare the perfection of its theories. Certainty is not a goal of scientific theory.

You may say science seeks to perfect its theories, but this is not true of science. Science lacks any absolute sense where "perfect" is a goal to be achieved. For science, perfect is a verb not an adjective. Always science strives to make its theory "more perfect," and always with a certain expectation and acceptance: that within even our best descriptions of reality, there is always the chance we may find error, finer and finer error, which error opens a way to further refinement and a better, more useful theory. All based on the emergence of a new and unruly fact!

No cause for worry. Even the boldest skeptic may feel confident: the explanatory and predictive power of our best theories and descriptions of reality proves those theories useful. Not infallible! They are proved useful. There will always be the possibility of a finer tune to come along, as we ever more finely tune up our instruments and strike up the symphony in C:

Which is: see. And then swing away folks - cause this big band can DANCE.

The symphonic themes are some or all of these: Observe, Analyze, Theorize, Predict, Test, Repeat. Observe the observable, analyze that which is observed, theorize to account for observations and analyses, predict what new observations we can expect to see if theory is true, test for these: either confirm or falsify. Repeat. Experiments should be repeatable - at least, they should be if the experimenters wish us to be compelled and convinced by this demonstration of their theory in action. In theory, it should work just as well for us.

Inside a black hole is a tough place to mount an experiment! But it's still not beyond the reach of theory. Or the conditions within the first few seconds or less of the big bang - also out of reach for our current descriptions. The pressures involved are more enormous than all we've been able to calibrate for thus far, and the actual environs are not open to inspection. We have not much material for comparison and analysis, and science needs grist to grind: it needs new data that can falsify current theory, in order to refine.

Yet again, no worries at all! Not if quantum physics is on the right track - because the point (a point) of quantum physics is that reality is symmetrical throughout all spacetime. Super-symmetrical, in fact, throughout all the universe - and we have good reason for confidence there. While we need to go finer and deeper to express the furthest extremes, still the central tenets seem to apply from anywhen to everywhere, from a few seconds after the big bang, and all the way throughout the universe - with exception of a few places we can't yet see to reach. Places where things do indeed seem to go weird.

We expect and expected them to get weird. By far the greatest chance is that we simply need additional math to describe what happens to reality where conditions become (or became) super-fun! Remember: there didn't used to be four fundamental forces. There was only one, right at the bang and for a bit beyond. But as reality spread out in its lightspeed explosion, creating room to cool and stretch out through, and calm down a bit, that primal force separated out into the apparently distinct forces that we can see (or at least, that we can test and measure).

Strong nuclear, weak nuclear, electromagnetic, gravity. And even there, weak nuclear and electromagnetic are of course, the same exact force! We simply perceive them as distinct, as they operate at different scales.

There's nothing peculiar or unnatural about a force operating in one way at our luxurious macro scale, and getting jiggier down at the level of quanta. Just think of all those extra curled-up dimensions down at the quantum scale, to dig into and twist and anchor around down at that tiniest possible size! A force is gonna work its way into and work its way out, and you better believe it's going to be a different dance than the one it can do up here in the macroverse. Do si do and perfectly natural.

Just so in a black hole. At the extremes, towards a limit to how dense matter can be compressed, it only stands to reason there could be differences in the way ordinary forces interact - which is to say, in the way that reality behaves - compared to how they behave under more ordinary conditions. It stands to reason such behavior would only come out at or near the extreme limit. Whether we're talking size, speed, density - there are some stiff limits out there, and the surface they create is fun to play with and to dance upon!

We should never expect reality not to play.

Yet we should always keep our sense of proportion, and remember the great good cause we have for our confidence in science. For our confidence in the way it comes up with its descriptions of how reality does play: the process of theory and falsification. We have good cause for confidence that even the rules in operation at these extreme limits can be teased out by pushing the limits we can reach - say, with some superaccelerator action! We can push the limits creatively outside big bangs and black holes, to test aspects of the math we propose might govern the most extreme ways of physics. And too, as years go by we do find cleverer and cleverer ways to observe or infer the secret behavior inside black holes. There will come ways to test that we haven't even teased the edges of yet, and testing will falsify theory to its improvement. Or, verify it, I suppose - less good news, that. Nothing new learned there.

I for one am confident. Firstly, I suspect the descriptions we uncover approaching the limits of physics will prove to be an extension and a refinement of what we know. It would be strange indeed if they proved to be a contradiction!

But secondly, I'm confident because science is not scared of that, either. Not a bit. Contradiction by pesky and unforeseen fact? Physics as we know it is built on that.

Science proceeds by leaps and bounds by this means: the falsification of today's theory. Today's step-proved-false leaps us into a further and more useful grasp of tomorrow's path-laid-out. Today's theory - which, prior to falsification, was very valid! In the sense of very useful, fruitful and productive: the best theory available, the best tool to hand! - damn right we've used it, and well, for as long as it held.

But we rejoice to find now where it is wrong. It can then be refined - or discarded, in favor of some new and better one! This calls for a party! And not a single scientist in the gathering is liable to be shamed.

We are a shameless bunch, we who know science for what it actually does. We who know science not by its results, but in its method. Science does not call us to fear being wrong, but to shout: "Eureka!" when we see it! Our error laid bare is the yellow brick road - and lady, beast, gentleman and scarecrow?

We are off to be the wizard.