Best Of The Web
“Close your eyes and try to imagine nothing.
Too late. Odds are, you’ve already thought of something: maybe the color black, or the word “nothing,” neither of which are nothing.
Pondering nothing could be considered, at best, a form of meditation, and, at worst, a total waste of time. Or, it would be, were it not for the simple fact that there is an unresolved question at the heart of physics that requires at least some consideration of this matter, or lack thereof: why is there something (our universe) instead of nothing?
Nothing is a concept so deceptively simple that it inhabits the strange intersection of science, philosophy, and language itself. Like a child asking “Why?” to the point of absurdity, trying to get to the bottom of this problem can be pretty frustrating, so I enlisted the help of a physicist and a philosopher to get an idea of what—if anything—”nothing” means. Apparently, this is also a frustrating question for experts.
What is nothing, according to physics?
Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist at California Institute of Technology. Nothing has been a recent concern of his, insofar as it relates to something.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Apple, Google, Starbucks, and companies like them all claim to be socially responsible, but the first element of social responsibility should be paying your fair share of tax."
"One problem with today’s polarized politics is that both parties don’t mind stretching constitutional limits to achieve their policy goals. Democrats cheered on Barack Obama’s legal abuses on immigration and so much more..."
"The Democratic Party has problems with Israel. But Reps. Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), the new members of Congress who have attracted attention with toxic tweets and support for boycott, are not the main protagonists."
"Chicago Police sources now suggest he staged what he says was a racist and homophobic attack on him. Smollett vigorously denies it. Whatever the truth, it's a moment to reflect."
"In talmudic tort law.. the responsible party must transfer to the plaintiff an area of his best land of equivalent value- rather than a larger area of low-quality land. From the standpoint of classical economics, such a requirement is nonsensical."
"“Alexa, can I use you on Shabbat?” The journalist spoke into a small glass-and-metal device he held in his hand, which connected him to a distant supercomputer in a place known only as “the Cloud.”"
"Racial capitalism is the process of getting some sort of social or economic benefit from someone else’s racial identity. In the United States, this usually, though not always, involves white people benefiting from nonwhite racial identity."
"A gay French writer has lifted the lid on what he calls one of the world’s largest gay communities, the Vatican, estimating that most of its prelates are homosexually inclined..."
"I’ll state the obvious and say that much if not all of the reason my life hasn’t changed is that I’m not a parent. Children are life’s great timekeepers, and when you don’t live with any, you’re at the mercy of your own internal clock..."
"...cooking without recipes is a kitchen skill same as cutting vegetables into dice. It’s a way to improve your confidence in the kitchen and to make the act of cooking fun when sometimes it seems like a chore."
"Psychedelics have frequently been maligned in both the scientific community and mainstream culture. But new medical research and a more capacious understanding of the drugs have started to shift opinions."
"The story of angels stretches all the way back to the opening sections of the Book of Genesis. There, God posts cherubs as sentries at the gates of the Garden of Eden, following Adam and Eve’s expulsion. "