Friday, 12 March 2010


Magic or science? Which do you prefer?

I read science fiction, but if you read my blog you will already know this shameful secret. I also like the popular science books, you know the sort: A Brief History of Time and Why Don’t Penguins Feet Freeze, that sort of thing. I like to think that I understand technology and the science of the world around me. I don’t want to end up like some of the elderly that you see walking around the town looking totally bewildered at the modern world. I know how to use my mobile phone, actually a smartphone, and can surf the internet like a pro.

But I can’t help feeling that something is missing.

Where has the magic gone in the world? There was a time when the television was a thing of magic. Pictures that appeared in the glass fronted box in the corner of the room. Now we know that the pictures are converted into a mass of 1’s and 0’s, transmitted through the air as a stream of microwaves or radio waves to a satellite 36000km up in geostationary orbit, bounced back to the dish and reconverted to pictures again in the telly. Magic was better. In theory planes stay in the air due to Bernoullis Principle, that says that the air flowing over the top of the wing is faster and therefore at lower pressure. But I also read somewhere that scientists aren’t really sure. Why would the air flow faster over the top? Just because it is a longer distance over the top of an aerofoil doesn’t make the air go faster, it is not a race between top and bottom. Maybe it is magic, or will power. 200 people not wanting to drop out of the sky like a stone!

Would we all be happier if the electric light worked by magic? Father Christmas really existed and the Easter Bunny laid chocolate eggs in your garden? And a Pangolin was a musical instrument?

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