We'd gone out to the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery to hear physicist Sean M. Carroll give a talk about the universe. The universe might give birth to baby universes. Who are you to say it doesn't? And time — time is a very obvious concept, he said, before portraying time in a way that was quite weird. These cosmologists, such comedians. You can read this: "From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time." Here he is on "The Colbert Report" trying to get a word in while Stephen Colbert anxiously strives to make sure it comes out funny. I thought Carroll's solo explanation of everything was highly amusing. It's all about entropy. From the Big Bang on, it's movement toward entropy, and even when things become more complex — producing all the detail of the world we live in now — it happened along a path from less entropy to more.
We walked home, talking about and reframing the discussion. The moderator — a Madison media character — fielded questions from the brainy audience and inserted a question of her own: What do you have to say to these people who won't believe in global warming? Politics. Always politics in Madison. It's our own special brand of entropy. Meade and I blabbed about such things. Did Carroll say that we only "remember" the past because, since it had less entropy, we have the sense of knowing what it was, like when we see a broken egg — Carroll had a lot of PowerPoint slides of eggs — we know the egg of the lower entropy time — a whole egg — but there are many diverse possibilities for the egg's higher entropy time — scrambled, quiche, rotten — and so we can't "remember" it?
Home, I said, "You must want to watch the baseball game" and Meade said "I want to watch the Tammy and Tommy debate!" Both of these things, along with President Obama on "The Daily Show," were preserved on the DVR. So we watched Tammy and Tommy, and that was pretty funny too. The moderation was hilarious. They'd ask a question and Tammy and Tommy each had a couple minutes to answer. Then they'd declare a 6-minute period in which Tammy and Tommy could talk about anything, interact in any way, hog the time, interrupt, be as polite or impolite as they saw fit with absolutely no intervention from the moderators.
Tommy got all impassioned and began many sentences with "Ladies and gentlemen." He assiduously refrained from calling Tammy Tammy. She was "my opponent." And the message was: Ladies and gentlemen, my opponent is incredibly, unbelievably liberal. Tammy seemed nervous but never broke from her prim, schoolmarmish demeanor, as she repeated the message about Tommy: After he was governor, he became a lobbyist and made a lot of money.
So, ladies and gentlemen, it's a simple decision. What irks you worse: liberals or rich guys?
Now, back to your regularly scheduled entropy.