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关于红鼻子的科学研究

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红鼻子是怎样在短短的几个小时内飞遍全世界,为上百万的好孩子们发放礼物的呢?

有几件了不起的小玩意儿能帮助他做到这些:微型飞行机器人、先进的卫星系统、高度灵敏的监控设备、记忆消逝乳膏、可自行装配的玩具,和穿越时空的永动力雪橇,这个雪橇有帮助红鼻子和他的驯鹿们悄无声息地穿行于这个世界的功能。

他从哪儿弄到这些东西的呢?

他可不是一个万能的发明家。他也许比爱因斯坦早几十年想出了质量守恒定律,然后穿越了一个世纪的科学发展,把他对宇宙作用于科技层次上的理解推到了人们的面前,说,现在是23世纪了。如果红鼻子有这么聪明的话,没有任何理由可以让他这么执着地隐瞒自己的功勋。

毫无疑问,有人为红鼻子提供了科技上的支持和帮助。问题是,是谁呢?未来世界的人是最强劲的候选者了。也许是某个生活在地球上的23世纪的发明家,或者,如果我们毁灭了我们现在赖以生存的家园,而在火星的地层下建立了新的家园,一个我们边坐在浴缸旁边驾驶着时间机器呼喊着“找到了”的家园。在水稀缺的未来,浴缸也许有自动循环、处理、净化尿的功能;这个推测不大可能造成太大的困扰,因为技术上已经完全成熟了。

那现在,这个有着伟大的尿液自动处理净化想法的人是如何回到北极的呢?时间旅行?

1949,库尔特·哥德尔在第一数学中发表的其中一篇文章就详细地描述了它是如何工作的。他的版本是这样描述的:宇宙有一条叫近时性的路呈弧形延伸着,允许跳入其中的一条船,穿梭时空,然后回到你原先的时空中。

这趟旋转状的顺风车,哥德尔口中所说的科兹莫,经天文学家证实,完全是无稽之谈,因为宇宙是延展状的,而非旋转状的。

然而我们仍旧有另一个选择。来自以色列科技大学的物理学家阿莫斯·欧里,一直致力于研究时间旅行,你所需要就是利用重力来建造一条时间旅行的小径从而穿越时间与空间。宇宙自行完成这些,也是被考虑其中的。因此,我们23世纪的旅行者是可以飞越时空中弯曲的地区,最后落在过去的某个点上的。

尽管,重点是,旅行者们没法控制他们要去哪儿和何时去。但是,对于这位来自未来的红鼻子的朋友却是可以降落在地球上的这一观点,却是让人深度怀疑的。

所有的这一切都把我们引向了一个极富逻辑的结论:红鼻子的科技来自于外星人。

地球上的科学家现在还无法与地外文明的那些智慧的、重视圣诞的生物取得联系,但是仍然有一些令人鼓舞的信号存在。2007,天文学家运用欧洲航天局的XMM-牛顿X光明确地在猎物星座上辨别出一团高温气体,这团气体隐约地显示出红鼻子的轮廓。讽刺者也许会把这理解成媒体吸引目光的奏效之举,但是谁知道呢?也许这真的是一些物种发出的信号呢 – 一条来自贝多芬的讯息、一种充满圣诞爱意的物种说:“你好,我们在这儿!”

为什么这种高度文明的外星生物挑这个配备着全套高科技的白胡子、大肚子的老头呢?也许他们合理地认为派个人给世界分发礼物,会增加大家的人道主义精神和道德感。战争会消失、就餐者会更慷慨的付小费、司机们会为了同一个停车位,互相致意,说:“不,我不需要,你停进去吧。”

但是我们都知道这些外星人都是高度智慧的,我们的这些想法是不可能对的。可悲的是,我们仍旧在逃避答案。我们仍旧对这位外星人选出的人知之甚少,也不清楚谁会成为红鼻子。可是有一点我们深信不疑,那便是他是位船匠,他叫杰本达·门森荣勒,搬到北极前,他住在美国纽约市的布鲁克林绿点区。

译文:The science of Santa

How does Santa Claus manage to traverse theentire globe in just a few hours, delivering presents to millions ofwell-behaved children?


He relies on some impressive gadgets: miniature flying robots, advancedsatellites, highly sensitive surveillance devices, memory-erasing milk,self-assembling toys, and a warp-drive-powered sleigh that's capable ofbending and twisting space-time to such an extent that it slips Santaand his reindeer out of the observable universe.


Where did he get all this stuff?


He could not have invented everything himself. He would have had to devise E=mc2decades before Einstein, then sprinted through a century of scientificadvances, pushing his understanding of how the universe works to thelevel of scientists working in, say, the 23rd century. If Santa werethat smart, there is no way he would have been able to resistpublishing his results.


It's clear that someone provided Santa with the technology he needs. But who? Avisitor from the future would be a strong candidate. Perhaps some23rd-century inventor living on Earth - or, if we burn out our currenthome, in an underground base on Mars - had a warp-drive-related"Eureka!" moment while sitting in the bathtub. Given the likelihood ofwater scarcity in a future habitat of that sort, that bathtub mightvery well have been full of their own recycled, treated and purifiedurine; that presumably wouldn't bother them much, since it was probablyfairly standard.


Now, how would that urine-washed thinker's greatest work find its way back to the North Pole? Time travel?


In1949, Kurt G?del published one of the first mathematical descriptionsof how it could work. In his version, the universe has paths calledclosed time-like curves that might allow you to jump in a ship, fly fora while, and end up right back where you started in space and time.


The hitch is that G?del's model calls for a cosmos that rotates, andastronomers have since discovered that the universe is expanding, notspinning. What an idiot.


Still, there are other options. Amos Ori, a physicist at the Technionin Israel, has been working on a time-travel scheme in which all youneed is to harness the power of gravity to build a time-travelling paththrough space-time. It's also conceivable that the universe has donethis on its own, so that our 23rd-century travellers could fly througha warped region of space-time and eventually pop out far in the past.


The catch, though, is that they wouldn't be able to control where andwhen they'd be going. The idea that Santa's friends from the futurewould be able to even land on Earth is seriously suspect.


All of which leads to the only logical conclusion: Santa's technology is of alien origin.


Earth's scientists have not yet had contact with intelligent,Christmas-focused life from another world, but there have been someencouraging signs. In 2007, astronomers using the European SpaceAgency's XMM-Newton X-ray observatory identified a cloud ofhigh-temperature gas in the Orion galaxy and pointed out that itvaguely resembled Santa Claus. Cynics might interpret this as an effortto attract media attention, but who knows? Perhaps it really was asignal of some sort - a message from a benevolent, Christmas-lovingspecies saying, "Hey, we're over here!"


Why would such an advanced alien civilisation single out awhite-bearded, big-bellied man and outfit him with all that technology?Perhaps they reasoned that by giving someone the tools to deliver giftsacross the world, they would accelerate the moral evolution ofhumanity. Wars would end; diners would leave more generous tips;drivers aiming for the same parking spot would stop and wave each otherahead, saying, "No, take it, it's yours."


But we know that these aliens are highly intelligent, so this line ofthinking can't be right either. Sadly, the answer remains elusive.Still, we do know something about the man these aliens chose, the manwho would become Santa Claus. There is strong evidence that he was ashipbuilder named Jebediah Meserole, and that before moving to theNorth Pole, he lived in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

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