Dark Trivia

I’m sitting in the darkness of the junk room, listening to an internet radio station, and pretending I’m a writer. Of course we all know I’m really a software developer that just spent all day running around in circles, re-designing something I won’t be able to tell you about - which beggars why I mentioned it in the first place. I can pretend to be a writer though.

I’m writing these words though, right? That means I’m writing. Ergo, I’m a writer.

Miss 15 sat her first exam today - an English Language exam. Her school takes the English Language exam a year ahead of the Literature exam - reasoning that allowing the students to focus on one thing or the other is more fruitful than learning both at the same time. Apparently the results bear this out.

I don’t really remember my English exam at the end of secondary school. I don’t really remember any of my exams, truth be told. I remember sitting in the school gymnasium and being watched by invigilators for hours on end. Maybe I can remember a mathematics exam, but that’s about it. I got lots of C grades, I seem to remember - then went onto further education, and started to care a bit more. Not enough to go to University though.

People are invariably surprised when they find out I didn’t go to University - I’m not really sure why. I’m not really sure why I didn’t go either - I had the chance. I wonder if I would have turned out any differently had I gone? It’s a “sliding doors” question, isn’t it.

Imagine if you could go back in time and re-visit a scene from your own past. Would you be able to help yourself from somehow influencing unfolding events ? I remember reading a book of short stories called “Golden Apples of the Sun” by Ray Bradbury many years ago - I believe it’s one of the books that gave rise to the “Butterfly Effect”. In one of the short stories a time traveller visits pre-historic times on a tour, and is instructed never to leave the designated path under any circumstances. Of course they do, and accidentally kill a butterfly. When they return to the present, the world is very subtly different.

It’s the whole “Chaos” thing, isn’t it.

I read a book by James Gleick about Chaos Theory years ago. It described the combinatorial explosion that goes on in the world all the time - meaning that even with identical starting conditions (as far as we can tell), the future always remains unknowable. We might have a good idea of how things will unfold, but we can never know exactly - because even inspecting what is going on changes what’s going on - I believe that’s what “Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle” is partly about.

Fun piece of trivia - the writers of Star Trek knew about the ramifications of the uncertainty principle - that it dooms the entire idea of “transporters” to science fiction - so they wrote a device called a “Heisenberg Compensator” into their scripts to deal with it.

How on earth did I get from and English Language exam to Heisenberg Compensators?

Maybe it’s time to go to bed, and to stop thinking so much.