The BBC News that caught my attention this morning at breakfast was the picture of the universe just taken by the Hubble Space Telescope after some 500 hours of unblinking exposure, a 2D rendition of galaxies galore now and gazillion of light years away, back to just after galaxies started shining.
Galaxies 2012 rubbing shoulders with galaxies long extinct (but whose light only reached the Hubble lens now) within the confines of the same rectangle makes the picture a great piece of unpredictable spacetime, which is not the sort of thing futurists and meteorologists would get busy with, despite abundant evidence to the contrary, but an entretien of brilliant mathematicians since the crack of intellectual dawn, whenever that was.
Unpredictable spacetime (or perhaps just unstable spacetime which is a triffle less unpredictable) is also the place, or more precisely, the placetime, where Facebook briefly framed me yesterday. But whereas the Hubble picture shows a lot of different times in 2D space, Facebook put me in a lot of different places more or less at the same time, as I started filling the map feature with places I’ve been to in my life, but without entering dates.
Messages stating that I’d just been to places as far and wide apart as Hongkong, Seattle, Nairobi, Narvik and Knysna started flooding my Facebook screen – and my friends’ screens, too. Within a few minutes, I’d been to more places all over the world than what it is possible within the current limits of avionics and light travel. A friend in Sweden asked dryly, “Globetrotting?”, while another in Frankfurt, about to cruise the Mediterranean, asked ” is it a nice place?”, since their ship would stop there. I was momentarily clueless about the “it”, but mercifully the view of my map app was still parked in Taormina, which made sense, seconds before it moved to Sal Island, which isn’t a logical Mediterranean cruise detour.
I did end up entering one more time dimension than present time, obliging the message from a Belgium friend stationed in Bangkok urging me to “don’t forget Acapulco 1987!” Not that it makes any difference to the stability of undated Facebook placetime, triggering the first of a series of Morninglory quotes:
Time is overrated. Place is all that matters.