You are made up of bits and pieces. The bits and pieces are made up of smaller bits and pieces. Those bits and pieces are made up of bits and pieces that are made up of bits and pieces that are made up of bits and pieces that are made up of bits and pieces that are made up of bits called atoms.
The atoms are the bits that are so small you’re not supposed to break them into any more pieces.
Whoops! The atoms broke! The pieces of atom are neutrons and protons and electrons. Since atoms are already as small as anything can get, those neutrons and protons and electrons are really tiny. Anything smaller than them would be really, really tiny.
Whoops! The pieces of atoms broke! See the quarks, leptons and bosons bouncing all around.
Dr. Higgs dropped one of those once, and everyone is still looking for it.
Botticelli was a painter.
“Paint me a picture of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty,” said his friend Lorenzo.
“Okay,” said Botticelli.
“You can paint her just as you imagine her,” said Lorenzo, and winked. “You’re an artist. Artists are good at imagining. Don’t disappoint me, Botti. And, uh, she’s a goddess of love so perhaps she won’t need any clothes on, okay?”
“Okay,” said Botticelli.
Botticelli imagined Venus. He imagined that she stood funny, on a shell.
“I see you imagined she had longer hair than I did,” said Lorenzo glumly.
See the ball.
See Newton throw the ball for Mass. He throws the ball straight. See how far Mass runs after the ball! Velocity is the rate of change of distance. That’s too easy for Newton.
So he throws the ball with some spin on it, and watches Mass get up to speed just as the ball gets its second bounce in. Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity.
“That’s better,” says Newton.
DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid.
It’s one of the acids inside you.
It contains your genetic information.
Because it’s an acid, it probably tastes like lemon juice, or vinegar.
Some geniuses are evil geniuses, and when they grow up they build underground bunkers and run criminal enterprises. But they always remember about DNA. They are careful never leave any of their acid at the scene of any of their crimes.
Zebras are stripey horses. The stripes confuse lions and so are a defence against predators.
Are zebras white horses with black stripes? Or black horses with white stripes?
This sort of conundrum quite spoils the appetite of a lion.
Little Sigmund liked to play with his toy rocket. It was a short stubby rocket.
The other children laughed at him.
Newton sits under a tree with his dog, Mass.
“Don’t listen to what Dr. Hooke says about your name, Mass," Newton says. “He’s just jealous because I have better ideas than he does.”
Dr. Hooke is hiding in the tree above them. He throws an apple at Newton. It hits him on the head.
Newton has an idea. It’s a good one.
“Damn,” says Dr. Hooke.
This is Ug. He’s 100,000 years old. He likes winter sports and enjoys running before eating his dinner. He’s got a brain at least as big as you’ve got.
Ug turned up just about the same time that Charlie Darwin wrote a book saying how someone like Ug really ought to turn up.
“The bishops aren’t going to like either of us for this, Charlie,” said Ug.
Georges-Pierre Seurat took his paintbrushes and went to paint a colourful picture.
“When you get to the colouring-in, don’t go over the lines!” his teacher called out after him.
“Okay,” said Georges-Pierre.
Later, his teacher saw his painting.
“It looks like you went over the lines!” said his teacher. She looked closer. “Actually I don’t think I can see any lines. It’s all a bit hit-and-miss.”
“It’s impressionism,” explained Georges-Pierre.
Do you like coffee? It’s a nice drink and it can keep you awake.
Sometimes it’s good to stay awake, especially when you are writing a computer program that has to be finished before tomorrow morning using an imperative class-based, object-oriented high level language with static type checking and automatic garbage collection.
Another cup of that strong coffee, please!
A mathematician named Klein
Thought the Möbius band was divine.
Said he: “If you glue
The edges of two,
You’ll get a weird bottle like mine.”
Ice cream melts because it is obedient and obeys the laws of thermodynamics.
The laws say that ice cream must melt and that hot chocolate must go cold.
If we all obeyed the laws of thermodynamics we’d all be cool, and dead. Let’s not do that.
Do you ever worry that variations in the supply of pocket money have major influences on the amount of playtime you get in the short run and the cost of sweets over longer periods?
Well maybe you should.
As you read this, electric blips are jiggling around to make words inside your brain.
It’s all wrinkly on the outside, like a cauliflower made out of a rubber sheet, so there can be lots of it in a space as small as the inside of your head.
If you had a knife, or a sharp spoon, and you were paid to scoop out the bits of other peoples’ brains where bad ideas come from, you’d be a neurosurgeon.
If the world had more neurosurgeons with their sharp spoons, there would be fewer bad ideas.
Can you imagine how annoying it would be if every time you tried to say something, all that came out was the word “human”?
“Human! Human. Human,” you’d say. “Human!”
“Yes, we know,” all your friends would say, wearily. “You told us before.” And they would get on with their own stuff and leave you alone.
Well, that’s how cuckoos feel. All the time.
Once upon a time there was a wealthy king.
He lived happily ever after.
Don had a friend called Pedro. Don did some silly things but Pedro tried to help when he could. Pedro even bought some special hay made of oats for Don’s skinny donkey, because out-hay is the best kind of hay for beasts of burden.
Don tried to prod the windmills with his lance.
Hey, Don! Don’t forgot to feed your donkey oat-hay.
Little Albert liked to think about time. He thought that if he put a clock in a train and then flew twice round the sun very quickly and then came back, the clock would be slow.
When Albert grew up, there were two alternate realities.
In one, he became a brilliant scientist. “Energy is equal to mass multiplied by the speed of light squared,” he said, instead of getting a haircut.
In the other, he became a train driver.
“Please don’t drive your train so fast, Albert,” said the station manager. “It’s confusing the passengers, especially when you arrive two hours before you’ve left.”
“Sorry,” said Albert.
“And another thing,” said the station manager, “please stop flashing the headlights when you’re going really fast. I don’t know why you keep doing that, but it’s not helping.”
Antonio liked to make violins. He’s dead now, because that was about 300 years ago, but his violins are still around. They are very expensive. Some people like them so much that they spend all the pocket money they have ever had in their lives just to own one.
The expensive violins make a beautiful sound when played by someone who knows how to make a beautiful sound come out of a violin. It’s exactly the same sound as someone who knows how to make a beautiful sound come out of a violin can make come out of a different, cheaper violin.
Do you like pies? Do you like meat pies? Pies with people in them, all chopped up and made into mushy mince? That’s the great thing about pies: you can never really, truly know what’s inside them, can you?
Ooh! What’s that chewy, gristly bit?
Ulysses went out one day and took ten years to come home. His wife Penny got so bored waiting for him she read a book about a man not making much sense in Dublin.
No wonder Ulysses took so long to get home if that’s the sort of thing Penny reads to him before he falls asleep at night.
Sometimes you have different bottles of lemonade in the fridge. They’ve been in there a long time.
One tastes a bit flat.
One tastes a bit funny.
One has bubbles that entertain the tongue and a cheeky nose with real depth.
That one’s vintage.
Listen to the beautiful music. It tells an exciting tale about a magic ring stolen by dwarves from the Rhinemaidens. The story goes on and on. There are giants. The story goes on a bit more. Wotan turns up. Then the story goes on a bit. There are valkyrie. The story continues. It goes on. Listen to the music that seemed so beautiful when it started. Yes, it’s still going on.
Here’s a fat lady.
Oh look! She’s about to sing.
Spacecommando Double-X shoots aliens with his zap gun. Horrible, ugly-bugly aliens who are different from us. They look different, they speak a different language, and they have an entirely different viewpoint.
Thank you, spacecommando Double-X!
See the ball bounce. Catch the ball.
Unless you haven’t pumped it up enough to overcome the external forces causing structural collapse or deformation such as air pressure and gravity, of course.
See the solid oblate spheroid bounce. Catch the solid oblate spheroid.
Look very hard at the picture. That’s a finger pointing directly at reality, that is.