Sunday, September 18, 2005

When Hell freezes over!

Inescapably, famous composers such as Monteverdi, Telemann, Krenek , Stravinsky, Pergolesi and many other authors wrote music about Orpheus who was love stricken and heart broken when he lost his love Euridice. Determined to look for her .... who was, of course, in hell; and armed with his lyre, he went there trying to rescue her ... according to the well known fable.

Now, to me, that was very odd: Why Euridice did not qualify to go to heaven istead of being sent to hell? She must have been a BAD girl! But that is not the subject I want to fuss over today. Today's is the fulfilment of a promise I made to myself for a long time: the subject of predicting when hell will freeze over.

You can easily find that this subject is not new by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, there are numerous discussions about the temperature of hell, whether it is hotter or cooler than heaven, whether hell is endo or exo thermic, etc... To me, these discussions lack rigorous scientific support and that prompted me to throw down the gauntlet and enter the ring. Of course, please do not get me wrong, and please do not think for a minute what you read here cannot be but a complete fabrication on my part.

But first thing first! When I was in school, I had an old and wise professor of applied mathematics, who taught me a lot of odd things, including this: before you want to find the solution to a problem or a question, such as the attempt to calculate this proverbial time when hell freezes over, you may want to make sure that the solution does exist, and if you find that the solution does exist, investigate to see if it is unique. Worse, to me, being an overly cautious person, I think we need to step back even further, adding another level of complexity to this problem: does hell exist? This must be answered even before finding out when it will freeze over, and then whether it will freeze over only once.

So, there we are. Does hell exist? Once we find the answer, we may be able to proceed further. Do you know that there exists a list of Entrance to Hell in and around the UK? It is at:

[The link above is not active for some unknown reason. You will need to manually copy the URL address to your browser. Check it out.]

and this list is updated constantly. So, to these folks, they are certain that hell does exist, and according to this list, it is evident that hell is a manifold structure according to their view. If I had peaked your curiosity, and you can't stand the suspense any longer, here is a photo of one such entrance, aptly named Badadada tatatata.

Hell this way, enter Badadada tatatata at own's risk!

The Bible says hell does exist, and if you do not carefully follow instructions given to you, you will get to go there where you will be tormented and burned by the flames in this furnace. This furnace is said to be in the heart of the earth as it is underground. Now, I think that is going too far and too deep! Physically, that is not possible! Because Satan is believed to live there, it cannot be as deep as all the way to the inner core of the earth because the temperature there is about 10,000 degrees Farenheit! At that depth, even Satan must exist in liquid or vapor form and according to popular belief, he looks like this:

It's closer than you think, and it's HOT!

so that cannot be!

But I am digressing! None of this provides any shred of evidence that hell does exist. So, how does one proceed? Let's be scientific about it, tongue in cheekly! Although it is believed that most statistics are invented spontaneously, let me assert to you that 76% of Americans believe in heaven and 71% believe in hell. I am not sure I trust these two figures as I think they should be the same, but the discrepancy may be in the error in sampling of about 3%. To this crowd, it is perfectly coherent to discuss the time that hell will freeze over as they may be interested to know if that time may coincide with the time they will be sent there because the chance of them getting burned may be lessened. For the remaining other population of the world, I have no idea how many believe hell exists. One of these days, I may find time to learn about that spontaneous statistics, but not today.

It is now apparent that the foregoing mumbling was not totally useless. It has established the fact that the subject of interest here: "When hell freezes over" only has limited appeal if it is kept strictly to the literal meaning of hell as it is usually understood: the bad place where bad boys and bad girls are sent when they don't follow instructions well. To broaden the appeal of this blog, let's make a leap of faith, suspend disbelief and declare that hell is nothing but the places on earth that are really hot and smell of sulfur. Eruptions of volcanoes immediately come to mind when lava is spewed from the vast reservoir underneath. Now you have it, hell is now the place one finds the hot liquid iron lying just under the earth's rocky mantle. So hell is now well defined. It affects everyone in the world equally because molten lava is under all of us. Now that hell is well established, it is conceivable that the specter of it one day "freezing over" is quite real. OK. When will that day arrive? You can be assured that it will not be tomorrow, or Sunday. Let's see how one can proceed from here.

About five billion years ago, earth was just a ball of molten rock. It was just a ball of hell, and hell was everywhere. Slowly, by cooling, the upper 35 - 70 kilometer layer of earth became the crust that eventually supports the homo sapiens for their homes and the highways for their cars. The mantle occupies the next 3,000 kilometer or so, intermingling the crust with hell below, which includes the 10,000 degree Farenheit core, the ultimate hell. You may be surprised to learn that hell is also highly radioactive which is really the reason for the intense heat used to burn souls "eternally." This eternal notion can easily be explained by disclosing that most of the heat comes from Uranium-238 that can burn for 4.47 billion years before losing half of its activity. Now you know where the 5 billion year comes from.

Orpheus in Hell!

It may take another 5 billion years before the half life decay law turns off this radioactivity allowing hell to cool down for good. Then eventually, it will freeze over. Who knows when so I am venturing a lower bound guess: hell will freeze over at least 5 billion years from today, in the year 5,000,002,005 AC or sometime after that date. That will be a cold day in hell. So the solution does exist and I think it is unique as it is not clear how hell will be awaken again to freeze over a second or more times.

May be we should not underestimate Satan as he may know how to do that!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Katrina Euphoria

Longana Euphoria
It was inevitable. I have blogger's block! This is my third attempt to blog something not trashy, but there is no guarantee whatsoever that this will see the end of day. Let's hope it will make it, and if you are reading this, it made it! For weeks in August, I was dreaded of an annual ritual that I must endure: harvesting the fruits off my fruit trees to get the highly sought after longana euphoria. If you are one of those whose tropical fruit tree horizon does not extend beyond the bananas, longana euphoria is the fancy name for longans. Phonetically, it conveys the exotic name of "long nhan" literally meaning "dragon's eye!" You must remember your disgusting reaction when watching one Indiana Jones movie in which Dr. Jones was offered the eyeball soup. Well, these longana euphoria look the same disgusting way, but it turns out that this exotic fruit is highly sought after, and it commands exorbitant prices in New York and other American cities harboring a China town where reportedly male Chinese elderly would kill for these fruits that they eat by the kilos. Come to think, their counterparts, the female Chinese elderly also love them. Recollecting from the childhood tales I heard, these fruits deliver doses of aphrodisiac like there is no tomorrow. This was confirmed by my savant friends living in France years ago. These dragon's eye balls are not labeled "euphoria" for nothing.

A quick astute research will tell you that there is not always agreement upon what foods or fruits are actually aphrodisiacs or anaphrodisiacs. The ancient list includes anise, basil, carrot, salvia, gladiolus root, orchid bulbs, pistachio nuts, rocket (arugula), sage, sea fennel, turnips, skunk flesh (a type of lizard) and river snails... The ancients suggested you steer clear of dill, lentil, lettuce, watercress, rue, and water lily... Of course, it is because the latter belong to the "ana" group. And who would want that? I can tell you that if you get a hold of two handfuls of these longana euphoria and eat them, you may feel the same way I usually do: falling asleep. So this fruit may belong to the "ana" group, but it is sought after because it is believed otherwise. You pick!

Now that is the long story. The short story is that my annual job is to get these fruits off the trees, box some of them and ship them to the best friends of my wife and their families. I also can tell you that is a chore I abhor. So, in this year as in many previous ones, I procrastinate to the last minutes of the last days to harvest them. Then Katrina came our way. Out of the blue. By now, all of you must have heard of Katrina, the killer hurricane that devastated my favorite Jazzland, the city of New Orleans in the US of A. However, by this time, at this latitude and longitude where we live, she was only a budding baby storm and was ignored by most of us hard like nail habitant of tropical paradise. Eventually it became painfully clear to me that I must take action NOW before these valuable fruits are blown to be lost forever by potential hurricane force wind of Katrina. As a trained person with learned skills to predict hurricane behavior during my graduate school days (I am kidding, of course. It is more accurate to say that as graduate students at our world renowned oceanographic institute, we used to attend brown bag seminars to discuss modeled tracks of threatening hurricanes and if memory serves me well, I remember that none of any of the digital tracks would agree with any of the others,) I was certain Katrina will go North of us and would not arrive until tomorrow in the afternoon. So I gave myself until tomorrow morning to carry out the forced labor. Unfortunately, by the time the ladder was deployed at 9am of the fateful day, Katrina's rain bands were already HERE! So soon? Hey, this is a good omen, because after revising my calculations, there may be no need to climb up the trees after all. Not with all this wind around. There will be carpets of longana euphoria to collect leisurely, at fingertips' reach. Piece of cake. Thank you Katrina!

After a furious night of hurricane force wind in my yards, front and back and all around, I learned days later when the power returned that Katrina went right through US, and not North of us. So much for acquired skills in forecasting cane's routes. Sure enough, there were carpets of longana euphoria all right, huge carpets. These aphrodisiac eye balls were everywhere. The net result was that I still have lower back pain from picking them up one by one. But I did finish the chore asked of me and sent out a few of these boxes.

Fractal downed tree

The subsequent obligatory clean up job was no fun either. Fractal branches were everywhere, and they really were fractal so the number of snips to cut them down to manageable sizes increased not quite exponentially, but enough to give me nightmares for a few nights. Also, I can tell you that every night, the humid air temperature peaked to its highest marks between 1:30 and 2:00 am. If you ever sleep in a house without any electricity in the midst of summer nights after a hurricane passes through your area, I can guarantee you will wake up starting precisely at 1:30 am. It was HOT. So, as a corollary to my yet to do future blog: hell can never freeze over between 1:30 and 2:00 am. That's good information to have.

Fractal Branches

Was there any silver lining from such an odyssey? Look what I found blooming in my yard the day after: my precious ten thousand mile vine. And she was blooming! Actually, this sentimental vine is not that long, but that is its name: ten thousand mile flowering vine. I will leave you the task of finding out what this vine is. It is fragrant and its leaves are perfectly heart shaped.


Nobody knows the trouble I've seen! Nobody knows but Jesus!
Nobody knows the trouble I've seen! Glory, Hallelujah!