BBotE Ambassador Supplies and Approaching Science

Alright, as of tomorrow, resupply cases for all your local BBotE Ambassadors (except for College Station, TX and Dublin, Ireland) are either there or on their way. In fact, Portland may be out of stock again and in need of another. I am to understand the case for Delta City (AKA Detroit) has disappeared into a black hole somewhere between Oaktown and the Motown so a replacement may need to go out. Per Justin, Ambassador of London, that the clouds cleared over his blighted city for the first time in months and angels could be heard singing. That might be a titch of hyperbolic exaggeration, but he sure was happy to get resupply.

And I am pleased to announce that I can finally repay New Zealand for all the kindness it’s shown me for the last decade or so. Next week I will be shipping the inaugural case to the BBotE Ambassador of Wellington, Ms. Meredith Yayanos. Do you not know Meredith? Allow me to acquaint you. Admittedly, this entry needs a bit of an update as she is now a denizen of Wellington, which is California’s loss but New Zealand’s gain.

You see, back in the dawn of BBotE Warren Ellis asked, pretty please, if would I drop a bounty of BBotE on his co-conspirator Ariana Osborne (AKA She Who Turns Warren’s Muttered Ramblings Into Things & Stuff) to see what wonders might result if she slept even less than normal. The story gets a bit fuzzy after that but, somehow, a bit of that bounty made it Meredith’s hands, an edition of Coilhouse was published in record time, new music projects were contemplated, the Pacific Ocean was leapt in a single bound, and other Pythonesque feats as well. So drop her a line, New Zealand!

On a completely unrelated note, my brain sometimes works slow but the background processes are always turning away. Roughly a year ago, I offered to do some science nerding for a friend’s 10yo daughter. He somewhat apologetically waved me off and said that, much like her dad, while she was interested in science, the math skills weren’t really there (much like him) and that music & art were really her passions.

Last night, while enjoying the zen like meditative state of a BBotE extraction, I had a realization and answer to that.

I have forgotten more math than most people ever learn. I feel like a case study of “use it or lose it” as, at one point, I had to shove more or less an entire undergraduate math degree in my head in six months in order to complete my BS in physics. Tensor analysis, bra-ket notation, Legendre polynomials, Bessel & Von Neumann functions…all those things I used to be rather good at in order to do quantum mechanics, GONE. I remember what they were for and why I’d want to use them, but I’d need to spray a whole lot of WD-40 into my brain to free those rusty gears and actually do something.

But honestly, the shape of those things is what was important in the first place. The ability to look at the world, tilt my head slightly to the right, squint, and say to myself “Yeah, I’m pretty sure it works that way.” The math to prove it is an afterthought, the confirmation with elegant numbers & equations that the universe works like you intuitively thought it did. The name I’ve been calling this for as long as I can remember is Physical Intuition; that deep down knowledge of how physics works that changes how you see the world around you.

I don’t see waves on the ocean, I see possibilities of what the ocean floor looks like and wind/water interaction. I don’t see a rock with crystals in it, I see the Earth baking in a magmatic kitchen with temperature-pressure diagrams vs. different chemical concentrations. I don’t see a satellite TV dish out the window, I see the perfect curvature for impedance matching for receiving a electromagnetic beam originating in Low Earth Orbit like the last puzzle piece dropping in place.

This is an artistic way of looking at the wonder of world. The math is just another way of trying to express it. So, don’t let the fear of math, or perceived incompetence, keep you away from trying to find a deeper understanding of the world. The worst that can happen is you learn something new when you’re wrong.