Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

One of the dangers of being a scientist is that you tend to overthink things. Take this gem from Perfect From Now On, one of the best albums of the 1990's. Here, Doug Martsch does a pretty good job of, well, describing eternity*. Let's get the gist of it — big object (10 times the size of Jupiter) swings by every once in a while (every thousand years) and you decide to hack at it with a feather, but you're not very good, so you don't hit it too often (hit it once every thousand years). However, you happen to a persistent bugger and you do this long enough really make a dent (you've worn it down to the size of a pea). So, that means you hit it every 1,000,000 years. Now, the diameter of Jupiter is 142,800 km, so ten times that is 14,200,00 km and if you assume that you take 1 micron of the material off each time you hit it, how long is this song actually describing to get down to a pea (~3 cm diameter)? Well, let's figure it out!

The difference in diameter between the object originally and the pea is, oh, 14,199,999,997 cm. If you remove 1 micron (1 micron = 0.0001 cm) every 1,000,000 years, it should only take 142,000,000,000,000,000,000 years to pull off your mythic feat. Wow, that is a long time, isn't it?

And think, you though TIG wasn't going to teach you some science today? Thanks, Built to Spill!

* note: are "eternity" and "infinity" equal? Can two things with undefined bounds be equal? Where are the theoretical mathematicians when you need them?


{iPod Roulette is a daily feature from TIG writer Erik Gonzalez, where he highlights the first track his 11,400 track iPod picks for each day. Think of it as your imaginary daily affirmation. For past rounds of roulette, check the iPod Roulette archives.}