By Ned Hickson
I certainly feel a deep kinship with the surrounding universe. Particularly after reading how, like my own waistline, it is continuing to expand as it gets older. According to a recent article in TIME magazine, there are a number of discoveries that answer fundamental questions about the mysteries of space - beginning with a property called "dark gravity." It is something that parents have suspected for eons, and that astrophysicists have only now proven the existence of: An invisible force slightly stronger than normal gravity that pulls in the opposite direction. It is this property that keeps the universe expanding in spite of the pull of planets and constellations.
According to physicists at Princeton University, children naturally possess this gravitational force, which explains their ability to pull their parents in two directions at once.
The other effects of "dark" gravity aren't as straightforward. In fact, the difference between the two types of gravity are a little hazy; both are invisible, and both earn their living by pulling things. Here are a few examples to help illustrate their differences:
A baseball landing in your mitt is gravity; a baseball landing on your forehead is "dark gravity."
Push-starting your car by rolling it down a hill is gravity; if the car doesn't start before you get to the bottom, that's "dark gravity."
Weight-lifting, gravity; weight-gaining, "dark gravity."
Getting sick on the Tilt-a-Whirl, gravity; being strapped next to the person getting sick on the Tilt-a-Whirl - you get the idea.
And the discovery of light and "dark" doesn't end there. Apparently, physicists have discovered that matter also has a bright and not-so-bright side. While regular matter is easy to see, taste, touch and feel, "dark" matter is an invisible substance that, by a ratio of 10 to 1, outweighs all visible particles that stars, planets and people are made of. This is why eating a three-ounce candy bar means that you will gain - on average - 26 pounds. It's all of that invisible "dark" matter surrounding what we eat that's causing America's obesity problem, not the calories or lack of exercise.
The trick is to find a way to remove the "dark" matter from our food sources - something that is harder than it sounds since scientists have no idea what the stuff is, what it looks like, or where it came from.
The only thing we know for sure is that it was recently approved by the FDA.
Though there were a handful of other revelations, nothing compares with how the universe will eventually collapse. Much like the elastic waistband in my swimming trunks, the universe will continue to stretch until it reaches a point of critical mass known as "The Big Snap."
What happens after that is anyone's guess.
As for me, I'd rather not dwell on the gravity of such matters.
You can write to Ned Hickson at:
The Siuslaw News at P.O. Box 10, Florence, OR 97439.