Friday, 12 February 2016

Electromagnetic Waves

I haven’t posted anything lately because nothing much has been happening that wasn’t happening before. In America they continue to argue over which of several rabble-rousing nonentities should be the puppet of big business for the next four years, and in the rest of the world there are various wars, squabbles, and humanitarian disasters, nearly all caused, ultimately, by America’s gross materialist greed.

But this morning something was announced that is indeed new and important: what was pretty unequivocally a gravitational wave has actually been detected. And yes, the detection took place in America, though it has been corroborated at the gravitational wave detector in Scotland.

Gravitational waves belong to the electromagnetic wave family, among whose more familiar members are light, radio waves, and x-rays. They might be described — not very helpfully — as ‘Ripples in the space-time continuum’. Their existence is entailed by Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity — the one, unlike the Special Theory, that no-one could understand — but this is the first time one has been detected. It’s as difficult to say what a gravitational wave actually is as it would be to explain vision to the congenitally blind, and of course I can’t feed your appetite for pictures with one of a gravitational wave, so here instead is one of Einstein:

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