Creativity, Science

Mix Tape #8: thirteen point seven billion light-years from the edge

Tim Minchin’s Storm the Animated Movie (????)

Comedian Tim Minchin argues with a hippy named Storm. Not really a song about science, but … great british accents, great animation, great word-plays!

“Knowledge is merely opinion! The human body is a mystery, science just falls in a hole when it tries to explain the nature of the soul”

Another science that has trouble explaining the soul is physics. But they are good at banging things together. Small things:

Large Hadron Rap (????)

“We see asteroids and planets, stars galore/ We know a black hole resides at each galaxy’s core/ But even all that matter cannot explain/ What holds all these stars together – something else remains”

But sometimes banging things together goes wrong:

Burli – Erste Allgemeine Verunsicherung (1987)

“So ein kleines Tschernobyl,/
das ist für uns ein Kinderspiel/
Kommt vom Osten her die Wolke,/
strahlt die Kuh mitsamt der Molke/
der Salat und auch die Möhr’n/
doch alle könn’ mer Radio hör’n”

Blondie — Atomic (1979)

Speaking of beautiful people:

“Oh uh huh make it magnificent\
Tonight\ Right\
Oh your hair is beautiful\
Oh tonight\ Atomic!”

Katie Melua — Nine Million Bicycles (2005)

And to end this post with some scientific indoctrination. Listen to Melua’s lyrics and guess what’s wrong with them:

“We are 12 billion light-years from the edge,/ That’s a guess,/ No one can ever say it’s true,/ But I know that I will always be/ with you.”

Exactly, you got it! All the physics stuff is wrong (and I’m sure her estimate of bicycle numbers in Asian capitals is also way off). As Simon Singh wrote in the Guardian when the song came out some years ago, the lyrics should be changed to something like:

“We are 13.7 billion light-years from the edge of the observable universe,/ That’s a good estimate with well-defined error bars,/ Scientists say it’s true, but acknowledge that it may be refined,/ And with the available information, I predict that I will always be with you.”

And just to end this somewhat physics-centric post, here is an excursion into medicine, sent to me by a friend who had worked at the Highland Hospital in Oakland, California, with the people of the Sepsis Committee featured in this video:

Sepsis Committee, Highland Hospital, Oakland, California —  Sepsis the Highland Way (2010)

It seems these folks have fun at work, and even in the morgue everyone is tapping their feet and shaking their heads.

And with the available information, I predict that the next mixed tape is coming out soon.

Look up the tag mixed tape for a list of all science-themed music collections at Scientific B-sides.


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