Monday, January 31, 2011


I intended to write a post on Brian Greene's new book, The Hidden Reality, which I finished last night and which came out a few days ago. But the best intentions are often thwarted by... weather.
It took me almost an hour to get to work this morning. Snowy roads and idiots in four-wheel-slide SUVs kept the pace at half normal. But this evening... this evening was far, far worse. Snow and ice was only a part of it. Traffic was horrendous. It was so cold outside that my car's heating struggled to keep above the peg at the bottom of the dial. It was nearly three hours after leaving my office that I finally made it home. I know some people are used to commuting. I'm not one of those people.
There are generally three stages which one goes through upon encountering traffic.
Stage 1: Optimism. It doesn't look too bad from here, you think. I can get through this without too much hassle. It won't last long. Perhaps you even turn the radio up a bit too loud and sing along with AC/DC, much to the chagrin of those trapped in cars around you.
Stage 2: Anger. The optimism from Stage 1 quickly drains, replaced even more quickly with frustration. It's not fun anymore, and soon it's positively embolism-inducing. You grumble, shout, gesture, hit the steering wheel, honk the horn, drive so aggressively that your fuel economy is quartered. More often than not, the commute, or at least the traffic, finally ends during this stage. We slam the door as we come in, breaking a picture frame by knocking it off the wall, then drop into a vague remorse and soothe ourselves with a beer.
Stage 3: Catatonic. It's not often one reaches this stage, but after two hours of strain on your shifting knee, the possibility arises. You're resigned to your fate. There's nothing left in your future but more traffic. Taillights as far as the eye can see. You're no longer really there, no longer fully present inside your own head. Your eyes don't waiver from straight ahead, nor is any movement anything more than an automated gas-brake-gas-brake. You're dead inside. The traffic wins.
Needless to say, I hate commuting. I may work from home tomorrow. Maybe then I'll be able to tell you about Brian Greene.


  1. Tough stuff! Glad you made it safe.

    Now tell me about the new Greene book! I doubt I will be able to read it anytime soon, but I enjoyed The Elegant Universe several years ago. And he is an amazing speaker - eloquent and lacking in "um"'s, "like"'s and "you know"'s.

    I am curious how much he explores and ties together the multiverse theory of cosmological origins and MWI of QM.

  2. It's four hours of my life I won't get back... a bit depressing. But I'm working on that next post for ya!

  3. ...and one more comment so I can check "email followup comments..." ;)

    Warning - in another universe I did not do this, so I will not be reading comments there....


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