Socks and The Expansion of the Universe
There's no mystery about what's powering the expansion of the universe: it's the mutual repulsion of paired socks. Everyone knows that. It's a universal phenomenon of course, but is best seen with the particle accelerator that one finds in every home, namely a washing machine. You put a pair of socks in it and after the particles have accelerated and decelerated one sock is found to have been ejected. Maybe it's a version of the twin paradox.
Incidentally the uniform nature of the expansion of the universe (the rate of expansion seems to be the same everywhere, down to the limits of measurement) strongly suggests that socks are uniformly distributed. Since socks are artefacts created exclusively by intelligent life, it follows that intelligent life is quite widespread in the universe---and fairly uniformly distributed. There is a simple inverse relation between Hubble's constant and your expected distance to the closest inhabited planet. The calculation is quite hard, since it relies on various quantities that are poorly constrained (it is not known, for example, whether or not the force experienced by the socks decays over large distances with the same inverse square law that it obeys over short distances) but the closest-distance parameter seems to be of the order of hundreds of parsecs.
Currently, at least! It is interesting, in this context, to note that subtle measurements suggest that Hubble's constant is increasing over time. Since this means that the number of socks is increasing over time, it suggests that new advanced civilisations are appearing faster than old ones die or blow themselves up. This is an encouraging reflection!
Click here for last week's bon mot
Click here for next week's bon mot

Return to Thomas Forster's home page