Monday, January 21, 2008

The shower poof as model of expanding universe

(Fig.1) Negative illustrates
energy at the core.
Now I'm no doctor of physics, and in fact, I wouldn't even consider myself an armchair cosmologist, but there's something about a shower poof that seems ideally suited to modeling the expanding universe. Follow me here, because this blog post will be plagiarized by doctoral candidates, so I need you to bear witness to the genius. It all started here. Or actually, in my shower.

When you buy a shower poof, something amazing happens — people brand you a metrosexual. Your sexuality will be questioned around a theme of health and beauty products. This can be avoided by not telling your male friends that you use a poof instead of a washcloth. But when one experiences the sheer volume of suds that a poof has to offer, no rational being — hetero, homo or asexual — would pass up a shower poof.

That hurdle overcome, you can observe the slow transformation that occurs after you buy a shower poof. Typically they come tightly bound around a central core, where the fabric is gathered in ruffles. After months of use, the fabric pulls away from the core, expanding in folded planes away from the core. 

(Fig.2) The shower poof.
I can only imagine this parallels a model of the universe as it expands. The photos I've attached here resemble something like a big bang, expanding in mathematical planes away from an origin in three dimensions. And imagining the relationships at the atomic level, I can't help but think it would make a perfect fractal of the universe.

I've color corrected these photos so that one can better envision what I'm talking about. Fig.1 is a negative image of my poof as it hangs in the shower. Fig.2 is the same poof against a black backdrop. As in these images, an explosion the size of the big bang wouldn't send matter and energy hurdling away at an equal rate in all directions; rather, waves would form and confront space at different intervals, creating an expanding cloud something like a shower poof. 

Moreover, some of the color intensity seems to illustrate how energy or gases could gather in the folds and toward the core. Perhaps it doesn't relate, but it reminds me that light bends around planets and that some physicists propose that even the laws of physics evolve over time. 

Fig.3 The unbound poof.
What's interesting to me is that a shower poof is actually one long plane, bunched again and again (Fig.3), and as it collapses on itself, it becomes spherical. A priori reasoning leads me to deduce that the universe grows closer to planar as it expands, much as planets share a plane of orbit. (Don't they? Is that typical of solar systems of every kind?)

This post is open to all sorts of criticism, as I have nothing but imagination for credentials. I'd like to say I've read some pop cosmology like A Brief History of Time, but really I'm just riffing. So if you're an expert, feel free to enlighten us with the latest theories. It is my hope that breaking this discussion on the blogosphere will out enough closeted poof users to dissolve the stigma associated with using a shower poof. I don't think Stephen Hawking has to put up it.

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