Bang: Explaining to Dummies What Recently Happened in Space

Astronomy for Dummies cartoon by Mickey Paraskevas
Cartoon by Mickey Paraskevas

Astronomers around the world are all atwitter these last few weeks over something exploding far away that they had never seen explode before. Using mathematics, they predicted this would happen. But what if they had been wrong? That it has exploded gives proof that there is a whole new set of physics involving some things other than the regular gravity, mass, light and space we know.

I have read attempts to explain this to the general public. I am part of that public. But nothing gets through to me. So I believe there are other people out there to whom it can’t get through, and so, for those people, and also for me, I would like to give a simplified explanation of what’s happened, near as I can see.

This dramatic explosion took place way off at the other end of the universe. Well, not really the other end of the universe. We have not yet encountered an other end to the universe. For the moment let’s just say it was way out there. And it happened more than a billion light years ago.

This is a distance many, many units longer than two shakes of a lamb’s tail. In one account, it said this occurred at the time the dinosaurs lived on earth, but I now believe this was written by someone confusing several million years (dinosaurs) with several billion light years (before the birth of Earth). Light years are to regular years as a trip to the sun and back is to the distance an inchworm wriggles his nose just before a sneeze. Got it?

And by the way, astronomers are atwitter. Not twittering. They can’t say anything in 140 characters. Not by a long shot.

Anyway, backtracking from the explosion, there was a time (is there time?) when two large suns were circling each other because of their mutual gravitational pull. But one sun was larger than the other, so as they slowly burned themselves out, the smaller one got cooler first and, with weakened gravity, began to circle and dance closer and closer to the larger sun, which was probably very surprised at the attention it was getting.

After a while, the two suns crashed into each other, but because the smaller sun was so much smaller, it happened INSIDE the larger sun. A whole lot of fireworks then went off, creating two smaller spheres that were less gaseous and with a much stronger gravitational pull. These two smaller and harder spherical objects then began circling around each other like their parents once did, and they too got closer and closer until—CRASH—they also crashed into each other. The result was another split into two still smaller objects made largely of precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum. Then THEY began circling around each other. I have no idea how much smaller these tinier objects were, but think of it as two objects the size of Volkswagens—except even shinier and harder and just bristling with gravity.

I think you know what is coming. Yes. These two tiny, hard, precious spheres then crashed into each other, and this time, all hell broke loose. And that is what was just seen. We now see kinds of waves and attractions and winds and lights that are just completely different from any we are familiar with. It is up to us, at this point, I think, to name them.

It also raises the issue that if there is a whole new dimension of stuff like this, then there might be still more stuff different from not only this stuff but our stuff, and that’s amazing. As I’ve said, we’ve now seen this, although what we are seeing now is several billion light years ago, Eastern Standard Time. It happened long ago. It may not be still happening. Or maybe it is. Anyway, we’ve seen it happening when it was happening and how about that?

In the early 1960s, a scientific laboratory complex was built atop a mountain in the center of Puerto Rico. Up there were radio towers capable of both listening for sounds made by living creatures from space and transmitters from which we could send out sounds saying, essentially, we are here, we are here, just come say hello, you creatures out there.

So far, we’ve heard nothing. It’s been 60 years of nothing. Well, duh. I think we have to wait a billion light years for anybody out there to hear us. And then another billion light years for them to send us a reply which is Yippee!! Yippee!!

Meanwhile, if you’re thinking this is further proof that the universe is random and there is no God, think again.

God created even this.

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Now, to those who say there is only fake news in Dan’s Papers, I am here to tell you that what is above is absolutely the truth (as well as I can make out), but what follows is not, so this interlude is for those who can’t tell the truth from spoofs in Dan’s Papers or, as we say, the sh-t from Shinola. So be aware. And remain skeptical. I still would like to think that what the astronomers say they saw is what they saw, but consider it completely possible that this is just some elaborate hoax, such as when the American government made that secret video in the Nevada desert that looks like astronauts landing on the moon.



We have a report that one month ago a self-driving car built by the Ford Motor Company took matters into its own hands in tests taking place in Pittsburgh.

Because Ford has been aware that some members of the public are leery of self-driving cars, they built all their cars with an on-off switch. Turn it to “on” and it drives itself, turn it “off” and it’s a regular car and you sit in the driver’s seat, driving.

But then this unexplained thing happened. And now it’s happening in all their self-driving cars, and they don’t know why.

With the on-off switch in the “off” position and the human in the driver’s seat, the self-driving computer takes over Siri and begins speaking to the driver from a vent alongside the glove compartment.

“Look out for that yellow car coming from the right. You can’t beat this light turning red. No. No, you can’t do that. What’s the matter with you? Look out for that woman with the baby carriage crossing the—you’re drifting out of your lane, hit the brake, let that idiot behind you tailgating pass after this turn, no, wait a minute. Don’t get too close to that truck with the lumber stacked in the back….”

But it’s not sweet Siri, it’s the voice of a nasty woman, somebody’s mother-in-law, in that vent. And nobody can get it out or get it to shut up.

This has caused a problem at Ford, and they have for the moment pulled all their self-driving cars off the road. Meanwhile, other car companies—Tesla, Google and BMW—consider it a perk. And they want to duplicate it. If it can’t be shut up, then people might decide its better to let it do its thing.

It’s the same reasoning that caused carmakers to add the beep to seatbelts not being buckled. Works for that. Should work for this. And 30,000 lives get saved every year.

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Fact: The Montauk Observatory is hosting “A Rover’s Eye View of the Ancient Surface & Climate of Mars” program at Guild Hall in East Hampton on October 26 at 7 p.m.
Hosted by Dr. Joel A. Horowitz, Asst. Professor of the Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook University.

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