Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The History And Mystery Of Night...

During my life there have been so many little questions about this complicated and mysterious world we live in that have come up and that I've puzzled over; as time goes by, these questions have tended to accumulate, to the point where I go about with a wrinkled brow and a permanently perplexed expression on my face. Therefore it is no small relief to have one of these questions, minor though it may be, answered. Specifically, I've wondered for a long time, why, as the sun goes down, we speak of darkness "falling" over the land, or we speak of "nightfall".
It turns out that in times long past, they thought that darkness at night was caused, not just by the sun going down, but by mists and vapors coalescing out of the sky and falling to the ground... that is, night "fell" to earth. This belief was bolstered by the obvious fogs that can occur in wet places when the air cools after dark, and by observation of the darkening that can occur even during the day by smoke and fog.
So, one more little mystery is solved for me... now if I can just figure out this: if you drilled a hole all the way through the earth, and pumped all the air out of the tunnel to get rid of air resistance... if you then jumped in, would you fall all the way to the other side of the earth, so in the last half of your journey, you'd be "falling" upwards?
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Ha! And, I used to wonder if you traveled to the equator to drill straight through... could you, then, crawl through (instead of having to experience that perilous fall?) ;-)
Oof! Now I've got something else to wonder about :)
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