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How to Explain Infinity

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"How to Explain Infinity"
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So you're at the huge discount warehouse store, you walk up to the counter. There is a guy that gives you the impression he'd rather be anywhere else, doing anything else, instead of there. He perks up enough to ask if he can be of service. You pull out your list, saying, "I'll take two cans of eternity, one bottle of how high is up? Oh, and an infinity wrapped in a mobius strip.

Sounds a little off the wall, doesn't it? I have to tell you that people throw those insane periods of time, unimaginable distances and mind numbing theories of cats in boxes and multidimensional time warp theories around like they were just cans of fruit and vegetables. I'm going to attempt to show just how far an infinity is.

I am going to ask you to use your imagination in an attempt to wrap your mind around really far away distances. So to start, imagine one drop of water. Color that drop of water; say orange, so that it really stands out from all the other drops of water. Okay, now think of all the water on earth. All the water in the oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, reservoirs, toilets and water tanks. Include all the ice at the poles too, melted of course. Put it all in a big, big bowl and put your little orange water drop in.

Not done yet. Now consider your one orange drop as being a nonillion (which is a 10 with 30 zeros behind it), raised to the power of a nonillion light years distance (a light year is the distance that light will travel in one year. Which is approximately 5,878,630,000,000 miles.). Now multiply that number by the number of drops of water in the bowl.

Now that you have that number firmly written down on paper, which by the way if you were to start writing numbers down this very minute and continued for the next ten thousand years, you wouldn't have written one eye blink of one eternity. (you'd probably have cramped hands too.) Imagine the number you have as being a blue drop of water and start the process of multiplication all over again until you have again achieved a final total number. You have not been able come close to estimating the distance in an infinity. No matter how many times you multiplied, you would never reach a nonillionth of one nonillionth of an infinity. The distance continues to stretch out in front of you.

Should a person conceivably reach even an infinitesimal fraction of a fraction of an infinity, stamped and verified by those people in Berkeley or M.I.T. who do such things, we could then use those super computers of ours to multiply out and find the exact distance. As it stands now though, if our supercomputers could figure at a billion computations a second, they couldn't reach a verifiable infinitesimal fraction in a billion, billion, billion years. Okay, I'm going to stop now, caffeine calls. I hope you have a better idea of just how far an infinity is. Next we can entertain the notion of eternity.

More about this author: Gary Lewis

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