From: "Professor Eric Hopper"
To: "Simeon"
Subject: Your moment?
Received: 11-05-00 08:03:06
MIME-Version: 1.0
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Hi Ho Eric!

My geek moment of the month? Holes in light! I flipped through my Eric Drexler book until I found some pictures, one of which showed this curved line - light! Looking more closely, I found out something odd. In order to justify differing findings, scientists describe light differently in different contexts. Sometimes it is best described in terms of single units like electrons, with properties like density, speed etc. But in other contexts this just doesn't hold, so light is better described like continuing sine-type curved lines. When described like this, the curved lines smoothly, evenly, score themelves up...down...up...down. The length of one 'hump' in this curve is ten times the size of one unit of even the biggest element's electron cloud. So even if, in theory, our eyes could resolve items so tiny, we would still not see single units of, eg. benzine, by virtue of the visible light (which our eyes use) curving over or under them. Holes in visible light!

Of itself this might seem too much to get excited over, but think: our species uses light, or notions connected to light, in the full spectrum of discourses, not just science. Visibility tropes turn out to be our most common figures for describing everything. Light spins huge interconnected webs of concepts covering simple things like person or object description through to knowledge or power. "I see!" one shouts when the penny drops. But how much might we be seeing?! We're not equipped for omniscience! I wonder, then, if this kind of scientific knowledge, bound up in scientifistic discourse though it is, might end up pointing out problems with our other most common figures of speech? Should we consider it in terms of 'problem'? If so, so? I don't feel different now, should others? No other linguistic knowledge seems to disrupt society, why should this? I'm not green enough to believe myself the first to stumble over this link either (but I should check the books) - it seems like the kind of thing the postmodernists would drool over!

Bugger, better return to thesisville... *sigh*.




Your character is a student.

He lives at No 6, Gateway Lane. The lane goes north from this point past a few houses and out of the estate. The lane goes south and then turns to the west past the next house on the street. No. 6 is on the West side of the street.

In all, our student's house is surrounded by eight other dwellings, though his garden only borders onto five of them. The others are all on the other side of the Lane. Try drawing this portion of the estate.

The student is, as they say, studious. As such he is larely unaware of his neighbours.

This house is in one of eight Critical spots in the estate. There is something mystic about this location.