The Weekend Edition

One of the few things worth waking up at 10 am for — besides chocolate chip pancakes or international flights back home — is yoga, as I’ve recently discovered. Perhaps it’s the heady feeling of power occasioned by the purchase of my own yoga mat, or the feeling that I’m finally settling myself back into some kind of exercise rhythm. No matter; when I focus on the stretching, which somehow always unearths another muscle group I didn’t know existed, I feel simultaneously calm and energized. I feel like a strung out elastic band walking home, but an elastic band with a sense of accomplishment.

Weekends are always a struggle to balance the purposeless with the fun. The combination of being the world’s least convincing introvert and the worst friend-maker is not, shall we say, spectacular. On the other hand, the past few weeks have been miraculously effective in helping me remember exactly why I don’t actively look for new people to befriend: the ones I already have set absurdly high standards.

Further updates: I have taken the monumental step of learning how to drive. Let’s face it, I’m no Schumacher and have no intention of being one, but it would be nice to occasionally take 30 minutes to get something done, instead of 2 hours. Since public transportation in the Bay Area is notoriously uneven and resembles a traveling caravan of all of society’s sketchy elements, I’m not wild about that alternative. This, however, gives me time to catch up on my reading. So far, Brian Greene has explained the successes of quantum physics and general relativity and is now on the chapter where he explains how superstring theory reconciles the two originally incompatible models.

Speaking of which, I recently met a friend of  a friend, sort of, who was boggled at the whole idea of space-time warping and rather gleefully explained the muon experiment. It made me wonder why someone who was obviously well-read and very intelligent would have trouble accepting that there was evidence for such a thing as relativity, and then I wondered whether it was simply a lack of exposure. When I think about it, I’ve been reading bits and pieces of particle physics-related information and/or news for about ten years now, on and off. Perhaps it’s the regular inundation of all that’s fascinating and counter-intuitive that makes things like this easier to stomach. For instance, researchers recently discovered that electrons, when excited into a higher orbital state, could spin off into two constituent parts — one that contains information about the spin of the electron, and another that contains information about its orbital velocity. What’s most confounding for me is that this was actually a prediction. I had no idea anyone had even been contemplating the possibility of an electron decomposing.

At 2 am, alas, this is less of a coherent narrative than a ramble of passing thoughts, but then again, that’s a pretty accurate picture of any of my weekends. Goodnight, world!

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