I ride the train, flipping through my phone until my thumb knuckle starts hurting (is that normal?), then glide from the actual train onto to a figurative express train of thought, the most recent of which was wondering what would happen if all magnets in the galaxy just stopped doing their thing, being attractive or repulsive depending on polarity or whatever. What the hell would happen? You know, with technology (starting with the train I was on and the switch down the track), those fancy-boy maglev trains the Japanese and maybe the Koreans or Chinese ride, my headphones, the solar system, stuff like that.

So I guess all motors would stop which would be somewhat disruptive to the world around me, again, namely that literal train, particularly with all the kids who enjoy slot car racing as they’d be pretty bummed, but what else? Communication, power generation, navigation? Marine propulsion?

And forgetting physics and technology, how do you think humans might react philosophically? Minds blown? Freaking out about the end of the world right away or would the doomsday fanatic leadership wait a bit to see how it plays out? Not to get political, but just so I know whom to vote for, who do you reckon would be the most effective in keeping the country calm, not stampeding to Walmart to buy water, those wiki torches and guns: Obama, Newt or Romney? Let’s throw in Trump and Rob Blagojevich into that mix of options now that we’re already getting pretty hypothetical and it’s basically Sunday.

I’m actually going with Blagojevich. And no, Rudy Giuliani is not an option in this hypothetical, don’t say Giuliani. Though you’re right, he’d be the best and containing the situation.

Would a lot of war not break out because warfare relies on magnets too? And how long until we were able to recover, somewhat, to restoring society and logistics vaguely to an acceptable degree normality without the benefit of magnets so that we weren’t thinking about how great life used to be with magnets and fire up the Slip ‘n Slide in the back yard? Fifteen years or so? I’m thinking ten, optimistically, or fifty years if a whole lot of people would have to die first in order to sort of recalibrate to the new parameters of nature. So ten or fifty, it could go either way.

I was about to ask what would happen to the stock market, would the market crash, but I guess wouldn’t crash like it’s 1987 but the actual Linux servers (yes, the NASDAQ is fueled by open source, just like WMPU), of all things, would crash – and in doing so, prevent an actual crash from real human panic who couldn’t call their broker, which is mind blowing in itself — as magnets just sound like they’re involved with trade execution. But those car-lifting crane things that toss around cars at the dump, like the power supply and CPU fans in those NASDAQ servers, those use magnets, so Main Street would be affected directly by this too.

Though I agree exploring this is arguably pointless as it probably won’t happen during our lifetimes (but hey, no one seems to know how magnets work so, you never know, don’t take it for granted, right?) this isn’t that bad a question, curious where this thread will lead. So take it for a ride and let’s get creative and informative. Damnit, c’mon fellas let’s get to the bottom of this and maybe walk out with a deeper appreciation, albeit continued lack of understanding, of magnets.

Why this post? Well yes, in part because it’s dawned on me that the one thing we don’t understand we rely on for everything, but to be honest with you I guess this fascination started when I was a kid. I disassembled a blown speaker and put it up to my CRT monitor and woah, trippy vibes man, ludin’ out! I’m sure you tried that and know where I’m coming from. If not, maybe you’re too young for this post.

Not to get sidetracked from what matters here but maybe that could be a good litmus test on young children to assess the probability of their vulnerability to excessive LSD and mushroom fascination in college, you give them a magnet, an old Grateful Dead tape, a BlueRay 3D Ted Nugent concert and a CRT screen in a room with one of those one-way mirrors like on Law and Order SVU episodes involving kids, and observe. If he’s not that intrigued with the rainbow waviness, puts the magnet down, doesn’t get into a twelve minute Dark Star jam, but pops in Ted Nugent and just plays Duck Hunt 2011, go ahead and send him to the cheaper party school later down the road because he’ll be all right and you’d save a few bucks. But don’t buy him a gun.

Doug Simmons

2 COMMENTS

  1. Well, given that magnetic and electric fields are two sides of the same force (you know, the old right hand rule) it would mean all molecules would fall apart and all atoms would collapse gravitationally, and the whole universe would collapse into a massive black hole at close to the speed of light.

    I dont think anyone would have much time to worry about their blackberries ;)

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