Came across this article over the weekend, on the study of dark matter by Physicists at the U. It was hard to resist the headline “Key to the Universe found on the Iron Range”. It seems one of the enduring mysteries of physics is what holds the universe together. A calculation of the mass of planets and stars in the galaxies reveals that there is not enough mass to create the gravity necessary to hold galaxies together, and prevent stars from spinning off into space. That is where the theory of “dark matter” comes from. Dark matter is theorized to be a substance invisible to the eye that contains enough mass to generate the gravity necessary to hold the universe together.
The article doesn’t do a very good job ‘splaining to non-physicists what exactly they found at the bottom of an old iron mine up on “da range”. I’m speculating on a loaf of Potica, or perhaps a Cornish Pasty left behind by a miner.
It also brings to mind this poem by William Butler Yeats. I was never a big fan of Yeats, but this one has always given me chills.
The Second Coming – W.B. Yeats
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
If you had to pick one poem to be the theme for the 20th Century, this one would get my vote. A century when the hand of man, in an effort to achieve heaven on earth, unleashed forces upon the world that created living hells. You could make a strong case that modernity is the rough beast slouching towards Bethlehem.