Passage #359: 6 July 2016
The universe contains textures over a vast range of scales, from ripples in the fabric of space-time down to aggregations of subatomic particles. It is a bit of a pity that, by our nature as physical beings of a particular size, we are all only able to experience the textures of the world within the rather narrow range of our senses. There are variations over large scales that barely register as texture: the curving wall; the long, rolling hill. And then, at the finest scales, there are those variations so small that we find ourselves once again scarcely able to detect them: the surface of the paper between our fingers; the fresh asphalt beneath our tires.
Sure, we can employ statistical abstractions to condense those variations down to a chart or a set of numbers, so that we might better comprehend the variations that the world presents to us. But in trying to reduce (or expand) these textures to human scale, we no longer relate to them in the same way. Is it possible, with greater effort, to expand the realm of textures we are able to sense? We think it is. So tonight (you probably saw this part coming), we will be riding bicycles, trying to sample a range of textures that may be slightly outside our day-to-day experience. Though we may never feel a gravity wave, perhaps we will feel waves on scales to which we were not previously attuned.
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