Wednesday, February 27, 2013

“Suddenly The World Is Full Of Holes”

RON STOPPABLE: “Suddenly the world is full of holes that people just whoosh away in!”

That’s Ron’s friend Kim Possible falling down into a hole that has unexpectedly opened up right under her feet. The dialogue actually comes from a scene later in the episode when another hole opens up and a different character disappears into it.

That’s from season one of the Disney show “Kim Possible,” the episode called “Number One.”

The idea of the holes is that good guys in a high-tech global justice organization and apparently at least one bad guy have access to this technology that can open a portal anywhere on the Earth’s surface and when a person falls into the portal, the person can be routed through a series of tunnels to any desired destination. The show only used the technology once or twice and if I remember right they never name it or explain it. Although they could have, because it is a variation on, an updating of, a very old science and science fiction concept.

This Kim Possible episode is from about 2002 or 2003, and something like ten years later the horrible remake of the film “Total Recall” would use a more classic example of the technology, implemented as a ‘train’ through the center of the Earth from Britain to Australia.

The real-life theory goes back something like three hundred years, to a British scientist and is sometimes referred to as a “gravity train:”

In the 17th century, British scientist Robert Hooke presented the idea of an object accelerating inside a planet in a letter to Isaac Newton. A gravity train project was seriously presented to the Paris Academy of Sciences in the 19th century. The same idea was proposed, without calculation, by Lewis Carroll in 1893 in Sylvie and Bruno Concluded. The idea was rediscovered in the 1960s when physicist Paul Cooper published a paper in the American Journal of Physics suggesting that gravity trains be considered for a future transportation project.

... A gravity train is a theoretical means of transportation intended to go between two points on the surface of a sphere, following a straight tunnel that goes directly from one point to the other through the interior of the sphere.

In a large body such as a planet, this train could be left to accelerate using just the force of gravity, since, during the first half of the trip (from the point of departure until the middle), the downwards pull towards the center of gravity would pull it towards the destination. During the second half of the trip, the acceleration would be in the opposite direction relative to the trajectory, but (ignoring the effects of friction) the speed acquired before would be enough to cancel this deceleration exactly (so that the train would reach its destination with speed equal to zero).

“Gravity Train”
at Wikipedia

“Suddenly the world is full of holes
that people just
whoosh away in!”

So far as I know, of course, nobody can do this for real.

Witches during the Middle Ages confessed to being able to transport themselves from place to place magically, but the accepted belief is that the accused ‘witches’ were being tortured so brutally, so mercilessly, that they would have confessed to anything.

It seems safe to say that nobody can just whoosh away from place to place right now.

Not physically.

But phones can do this right now. And computers can do this. Just about everybody, nowadays, can type a few keystrokes and establish a voice connection—or even a video connection as well—anywhere on Earth.

And then people do just whoosh away. Mentally.

Everybody’s so far away. Doesn’t anybody stay in one place anymore?

No: I don’t think anybody does stay in one place anymore.

And: Seems like nothing ever comes to no good up on Choctaw Ridge.


Painting a landscape
of a place that’s far away
can be something like

painting a still life
of something anything else
if the painter thinks

about whatever
the something anything else
is and why it is.

A still life of thoughts
can be a landscape of thoughts
in a world of thoughts

if a world of thoughts
has holes connecting all thoughts
and a painter’s thoughts

fall through holes to thoughts
making a portrait of thoughts
and space around thoughts.

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