By Gareth Edwards

Monday 18 July 2011

Dark energy and the End of the End

More answers to your questions from the blog that hopes to stumble on a unified field theory for all phenomena by taking an infinite number of guesses.

How will I know when it is the beginning if the end?
I'm afraid you've missed the beginning of the end. It was marked by a touching ceremony where a small delegation of early mammals presented the last of the dinosaurs with a lump of clay in the shape of an asteroid, and then out-competed it for scarce resources until it died. We are now in the early part of the middle of the end. Assuming the life of the universe is more or less like a moving walkway at an airport we will know when it is nearly the end of the end because there will be a flashing light and a robotic female voice saying "Maximum entropy is approaching, please watch your step". At that point you should get off the far end of time as we know it very carefully and proceed to your terminal.

NASA says that most of the universe is made of a mysterious substance called dark energy. Does this have anything to do with Darth Vader?
No. Dark energy is simply energy that has been made without milk. Some people find it a little bitter but it's much better for cooking.
Why is there a light that never goes out?
Because some people in our house think the electricity bill is paid for by the elves or something. These are the same people that never put the lid back on the toothpaste by the way.
What's the difference between a sofa, a couch, and a settee?
A sofa is mainly for sitting on whereas it is possible to lie on a couch, especially to a therapist. A settee is a technical term from the world of canine law and it describes someone who has had something done to them by a setter.
Things aren't going as well as I expected. Is there some sort of reset switch for the universe, and where is it?
It's round the back underneath the Perception socket, right next to the Hope Adjustment buttons. Just hold it down for a thousand years and the universe restarts automatically. Be careful though because any alien civilisations who are using the universe will lose any unsaved work and they are going to be incredibly cross.

Are children inherently wicked or only ever so slightly evil?
It's not really appropriate to apply our subjective 21st century human morality to children. Their brains are very different to ours and where for example we have categories such as right and wrong, two year olds have evolved to think in terms of "cake" and "not cake". Seen in the context of cake acquisition maximisation children's behaviour makes sound evolutionary sense, and in time they may even come to replace us as the dominant species.

That's all the battery there's time for, but do keep the questions coming in if there's anything else you feel needs some kind of explanation.