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Stars.

One of the most popular stories at work* recently has been about gravitational waves. To summarize: More than a billion years ago, there were two stars. The stars orbited each other. Eventually, the stars became black holes, and, as the reporter wrote, their orbits continued until they ended in a “violent merger.”

This resulted in shockwaves that traveled across literally time and space…so much so that those waves only reached Earth last year. The ripple effect was slight but noticeable, shifting the distance between sets of mirrors.

I’m no astronomy buff, and what I wrote is likely an oversimplified version of this phenomenon.

And yet. It all sounds so poetic, doesn’t it? A celestial dance that ends in a collision, that remains unknown for what seems like an eternity until waves of the aftermath wash over humanity for the briefest of moments.

It’s enough to make you sit back and wonder.

And also to make you think of appropriate song lyrics:

You and I are just one second/Spinning by in one split second/You and I have just one second and a million miles to go

*I have a new job, which was the change I alluded to in my last post

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#adulting

My AC is out and I have to work the overnight shift tonight. But so far today, I’ve also:

  • slept until 1 p.m. and was only awoken by a telemarketer’s call (let me reiterate that I am working the overnight shift tonight, lest you think I’m a bum)
  • watched part of my favorite soap opera
  • ate chicken wings
  • am now watching Firefly while knitting a lace shawl

I’m going to update my 401(k) and go water a friend’s plants and whatnot. But maybe this #adulting thing isn’t so bad.

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Say what you mean to say.

I watched Before Sunset yesterday when I couldn’t sleep, and it broke my heart as it always does. And now, a little more than 24 hours later, it’s still on my mind, so I looked up the New York Times’ review of the movie, which includes one of my favorite passages written in a review (and possibly just written in general):

Can’t these people just get to the point, you may find yourself wondering, stealing a glance at your watch. Can’t they just say what they mean? Can you? Language, after all, is not just about points and meanings. It is a medium of communication, yes, but also of avoidance, misdirection, self-protection and plain confusion … people often talk because they have nothing to say.

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Survey says…

Right before I left for college, I had the foresight to delete basically everything I’d put on the Internet as an angsty high schooler. Old email accounts with ridiculous handles and Xanga posts filled with the details of my sophomore year drama are gone. I backed up a lot of those files,  but that computer crashed years ago.

Nearly a decade later (OH GOD HOW DID THAT EVEN HAPPEN), it makes me a little sad to think that all of these writings are now gone.

So, of course, I sought out a blog that I happen to know is still on the Internet, and I discovered one of those surveys I use to fill out all the time. Now seems like as good a time as any to look back on my post-freshman year of college life. Also, I had coffee at 3 a.m. to get me through the rest of my overnight shift, and it’s now biting me in the butt.

Continue reading

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North.

I’m in the middle of reading this book, Jennifer Johnson is Sick of Being Married (sequel to one of my favorites from college, Jennifer Johnsons is Sick of Being Single), and in one chapter, it mentions how north is constantly changing.

Being the chick lit that it is, it doesn’t delve into the specifics, just goes right into a metaphor about it.

But, given that I can’t sleep and I’m always questioning just about everything I read, I had to check: is north really changing?

Yes, says a 2009 story in National Geographic (well, more or less: the north that we know as directional north is not changing, but magnetic north — where compass needles point — is).

The magnetic north pole had moved little from the time scientists first located it in 1831. Then in 1904, the pole began shifting northeastward at a steady pace of about 9 miles (15 kilometers) a year.

In 1989 it sped up again, and in 2007 scientists confirmed that the pole is now galloping toward Siberia at 34 to 37 miles (55 to 60 kilometers) a year.

A rapidly shifting magnetic pole means that magnetic-field maps need to be updated more often to allow compass users to make the crucial adjustment from magnetic north to true North.

According to Discovery, this is fairly normal, though it has resulted in the need to renumber a bunch of airport runways.

About every five to 10 years, the shift in the planet’s magnetic pole builds up to the point where compass alignments and the direction of true north render some runway designations obsolete. The shift impacts some runways more than others, depending on which direction they face and when they were last numbered.

“Earth’s magnetic field is changing in time. And as far as we know, it has always been changing in time,” geophysicist Jeffrey Love, with the U.S. Geological Survey in Colorado, told Discovery News.

Two thoughts:

1) Back to that metaphor thing: maybe “your north” or whatever is always changing, too. You thought you knew where it was, and you were following the right path to get there. Then suddenly it shifted and you, just like many an airport, had to readjust. Maybe you got a little lost. But now you’re trying to follow it again, though you’re more aware that it will gradually change.

Just a good reminder (one that I really needed) that nothing in this life is constant.

2) How has this phenomenon not been made into a movie yet? I already see it: the magnetic changes will somehow result in the apocalypse, etc., etc.

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