Thursday, 7 June 2012


Blogwise – I woke thinking of Maureen Jones, the foundation stone of North Wales Supplies, Bangor; a tiny, dying company I managed back to life in 1966. Like priests and politicians Maureen replaced need for evidence with repetition; as in “He’s a really, really, really nice man” – or “It’s really, really, really true – honest to God”.  But I  embrace the scientific method, so, when my blog-follower, Mrs Trellis of North Wales, challenged the concept that if you or I exploded in nuclear fission we would destroy Britain, I felt compelled to explain the most famous formula on Earth, namely E = M x C2, and show it is really, really, really true.

E is for Energy – Energy does work. It moves things. It lifts, pushes, grunts and heaves at things. There are dozens of diverse, bewildering units for energy.  Early motor car engines were ranked in horsepower or HP – an 8 horsepower engine would whisk a small half-tonne car along at a brisk 60 mph, 96 kph (27 mps) – equivalent pulling power to eight large horses, but fuelled not with kilos of grass per day but with the convenient essence of that grass, compressed in rock for millennia – and released like a Genie from its bottle as inflammable rock-oil, petr-oil, or petrol; that Americans insist on calling “gas”.  That is a store of Energy. Scientists usually render this formula into "Joules"

=  (equals)

M is for Mass – We could write books about defining mass – but suffice it to mean here our body weight; say a neat, young, healthy 12 stones, 168 pounds, 76 kilograms. This is mostly water, H2O, about 80% water or two hydrogen atoms & one oxygen atom, mixed with carbon and trace chemicals. Science does not know how these stick together or stay together, in the pattern necessary to make a human – but facts outweigh the shaky theory – of Inertia.  We are “dissipative” systems. We absorb sunlight, air, water and food, add it to our structure, and excrete what we don’t need. We are what we eat – absolutely literally; we really, really, really are. Before bananas flew a thousand miles to our kitchens, we ate and drank locally, we absorbed sun and star light locally at particular angles of incidence – and, thanks to sub-atomic entanglement, we are scientifically, eternally in contact with the long-body that begat us, the soil our food grew in, the hills our water flowed down. We are embedded in the Earth. Think of that next time you feel homesick. And we are intimately connected, forever, with every other person and thing on the planet, with whom we share DNA, air, water and excreted molecules, via sub-atomic (quantum) entanglement.  

X  (multiplied by)

C is the Speed of Light – It is the fastest thing in the universe. Try as we endlessly do, we cannot find anything that moves faster. It does not speed like a bullet – that is a really, really, really poor concept that leads to poor theory. Light spreads out from an energetic event – say a light bulb or flame – spherically. Light “propagates” in spheres, like globes. These spheres expand at the misnamed “speed” of light 300,000 kps, 300,000,000 (three-hundred-million) metres per second or 186,000 mph. Nothing moves faster.  Light propagates in waves, like ripples on a pond - but a little faster.
C2 means C squared – or C X C, the speed of light multiplied by itself.  In kilometres per second, kps, that is 300,000 x 300,000 or 90,000,000,000 kps, or 90 billion kps.  It’s a long, long way to go in one-second. 

Finally, to a crib from the WWW - …from 1kg of matter, any matter, we can get out 9 x 1016 joules of energy. Writing that out fully we get: 90,000,000,000,000,000 joules. That is a lot of energy! For example, if we converted 1 kg of mass into energy and used it all to power a 100 watt light bulb how long could we keep it lit for? The first thing to do is divide the result by watts (remember that 1 watt is 1 joule per second): 9 x 1016 J / 100W = 9 x 1014 seconds. ( NB 1 hp = 745.699 871 582 J/sec)

So, one kilogram of matter is 90 million billion joules. Our 76 kilo body mass has 76 x 90 mbj or 6,840 million billion joules – which is, according to Bill Gates’ MSoft marvellous Excel:

1 hp = 745.699 871 582 J/sec


Or in the common tongue – it is 9 million, billion HORSE POWER per second.  As an atomic explosion takes about one second, all the light (heat) we have compressed into our structure to make ourselves – all our in-tension or intention to be, rather than Not to Be,  - expands outwards in one second – which would do considerable damage to North Wales.  Maureen, Mrs Trellis, you and I are all incredibly, potentially, really, really, really powerful; much more powerful than any atom bomb exploded to date.

Do you feel like letting go, like expanding – and returning to the field of light you have contained, constrained and bottled up to make yourself?

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