I have no idea what’s happening with Brexit. I have no idea what’s happening with the French Gilets Jaunes protests. And I have no idea what’s happening with the longest ever US government shutdown. I have a sense of living in a time of madness. Or of living in a time of greater madness than usual.

I’m inclined to wish that I just had a few really good books that I could become totally immersed in until the storm blows over. Instead I get immersed in ideas like my Theory of Ice Ages. I get immersed in writing a computer heat flow simulation model. That’s my style of escapism, I suppose. Other people take long holidays, or watch movies, or listen to music, or smoke pot: I write computer code.

I was wondering this morning whether monasticism was another kind of escapism. When the world becomes too terrifyingly turbulent or worrying, what better way out might there be than to go live in a cave somewhere out in a desert where nothing ever happens. Many of the monastic orders seem to have started up around about the time of the fall of the western Roman empire, and perhaps that was one reason why they did.

This morning I started piecing together an idea for a new bit of computer code that I might embark on when I’ve finished writing my current simulation model. In my current model, the surface of the Earth heats up and cools down cyclically, and when that happens the surface of the Earth must expand and contract, and it’s very likely to swell up and sink down and buckle and fold as well (as I’ve considered before). So my proposed new model would be one in which I look at the differential expansion and contraction of sheets of rock. To simulate this, I’d use a spaceframe or polyhedron made up of ties (a bit like the one at right, which is from some former project of mine). The ties would all have temperatures, and would expand and contract as they heated and cooled, and the surface of the Earth would hopefully buckle and pucker and swell. And maybe on the surface of a cooling Earth, the contracting rocks would fracture in places, and there’d appear plates on the surface of it. And if the Earth was also spinning around the Sun, and subject to tidal forces, that would have an effect too.

But this morning I was just wondering why hills form. Much of England is covered with gently rolling hills. And because these hills often look just like the waves found in oceans, I’ve often wondered whether there are land waves just like sea waves, but which move much more slowly. And so places like the US midwest or the Russian steppes would be places where there’s dead calm, and places like the Alps or the Himalayas are places where there are great slow-motion storms in progress. And in England the land is just a bit choppy. If so, then these waves all ought to be moving across the surface of the Earth, just like waves out at sea. But it’s probably impossible to measure speeds as low as one millimetre per century, which might be the order of magnitude of land wave motion.

And I might be able to consider such land waves using my proposed new model. It would certainly be possible to propagate waves across the surface of the Earth. We already have such waves in the form of tides (which I’ve also built models of).

All sorts of processes must act to form hills. They are maybe formed simply by the slow erosion of land by water and wind, as soil is gradually removed by streams and rivers. Or they could also be the product of wave motions in the lithosphere beneath. Or differential heat and cooling.

Anyway, that’s another future project. And one that will likely grow out of my current project. For I always have one idea or other that I’m interested in. And the more turbulent and tumultuous the world becomes, I’ll maybe spend more and more time with these ideas.

Speaking of movies, I recently discovered Japanese Zatoichi movies. Zatoichi is a blind masseur who spends his life wandering on foot around Japan. He also happens to be an expert swordsman who keeps a sword in his walking stick. If you liked movies like Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai, you might like these too. And there seem to have been 20+ Zatoichi movies made between 1962 and 1989, all featuring the same actor, Shintaro Katsu. And there was a TV series as well. Here’s the very first subtitled movie:


About Frank Davis

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6 Responses to Hills

  1. waltc says:

    As Pangloss advised, under these circumstances “cultivate your garden.”

  2. Rose says:

    I have no idea what’s going on with Brexit, either.
    But taking the overview, over time, parliament seems to have become infested with people whose loyalty is to a foreign power whether they realise it or not, and we have found out not a moment too soon.
    After 40 years they may have forgotten how to rule a sovereign country and may feel more confident and secure in their previous role of rubber-stamping dictates from abroad after passing them off as their own ideas.

    For example
    Article 13

    16. Plain packaging.

    The effect of advertising or promotion on packaging can be eliminated by requiring plain packaging: black and white or two contrasting colours, as prescribed by national authorities: nothing other than a brand name and/or manufacturer’s name, contact details and the quantity of the product in the packaging, without any logos or other features apart from health warnings, tax stamps and other government mandated information or markings: prescribed font style and size: and standardized shape, size and materials.

    There should be no advertising or promotion inside or attached to the package or on individual cigarettes or other tobacco products”

    Click to access article_13.pdf

    Brussels, 16 June 2003
    EU among first to sign Convention on Tobacco Control

    “Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne and the Greek Council Presidency are among the first to sign in Geneva today the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) on behalf of the European Union

    “Byrne was nominated to the European Commission by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in September 1999, serving as Ireland’s EU Commissioner. During his time in office, Byrne was a major driving force behind European tobacco control legislation, ”
    https: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Byrne_(Irish_politician)

  3. Philip Neal says:

    You cannot understand the hills of England without taking the ice age into account. Before the last glaciation, the sea was much further away, and what are now lowlands were uplands far from the coast. This meant that the base level of the rivers was higher than now. When the seas advanced, the effect was the same as if the land had risen, and the rivers carved new valleys down to the new base level. The hilltops of today are the remnants of the plains of 20,000 years ago, which is why the Downs, the Chilterns, the Cotswolds, the Mendips and the other escarpments are all roughly the same height above sea level.

  4. slugbop007 says:

    I lived in the Cotswolds in 1976. Some of those hills were villages and towns from long ago, covered over by the passing of time. slugbop007

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