I have questions…

Specifically, questions about the universe.

Right, so the universe is expanding. Current theory and available data suggests this.

My question, a question I’ve had for about 20 years, is, what is the universe expanding in to?

This is another of my ‘brain won’t shut off’ thoughts.

I was trying to visualise it all last night but I struggled with something. When people refer to ‘the universe’ do they mean the mass and energy created in the Big Bang, that now forms the galaxies of the universe? Or are they referring to everything, all that is?

I tried to come up with a way to visualise what I mean and I’m struggling. The best I’ve got so far is a balloon. At Big Bang, the singularity of energy that ‘exploded’ to produce all the energy and matter in the universe, is represented by a flaccid balloon. It starts to inflate and expands as air is forced into it, representing the expansion of the universe. There’s lots of energy produced, formation of stars, dark energy etc.

Now, what is that balloon expanding into?

Is there a reality outside of the universe, a box the balloon is expanding into? If there is, does the ‘box’ grow to fit the ever expanding balloon, or is there a limit that the balloon will reach? And what is the nature of that box? And, if we continue the analogy, will the balloon burst at some point in time, stretched to breaking point by the mass and energy that makes it?

Say there isn’t a ‘box’, what is there? Does something come into being with the expansion of the universe into that space? What is the nature of that space?

It’s all so confusing!

My confusion was added to when I read an article in New Scientist a few years ago about bubble universes. What’s in the space between?

See, this is why I never got anywhere as a scientist, my brain gets distracted by probably pointless questions that others have probably already answered. In the other hand, it does provide me with inspiration for writing. Got something bubbling away.

Vandals on the trains

On Sunday night someone damaged the signals between Doncaster and Meadowhall, meaning that stretch of line was out of use all day. It was being treat as a major crime scene. The staff working for Northern and TransPennine Express on trains and at the stations did their best but there was a lot of confusion, especially at Doncaster in the morning.
I don’t much care about train companies losing money because they make enough profit and don’t put much back into the train network, but I do care about the people, me included, who were inconvenienced and distressed by it all. As you know, one of the traits of my Aspergers is that I get seriously distressed by changes to plans. It right put me out and took at least an hour of mini golf to put me back in a fun mood. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one; people were desperate to get to work, or home, catch other trains or flights, or spend a day with their kids or friends doing something fun.
Punishment for a bit of property damage, where no one is harmed (harm being loss of a home, a means to earn a living, life etc.) seems a bit over the top to me, even though yesterday I wanted to kill the vandals, but at what point does it become a case of that property damage has caused more harm to individuals and/or a community, the commons, and serious punishment is just?
If a train company decides it’s cutting too much into their profits to put on replacement coaches or do the repairs so ‘sorry, we’re not running a service on that line anymore’ and leaves people dependant on the trains stranded; if someone misses an important medical appointment and suffers for longer because of the delays; a person loses their job because they got to work late or couldn’t get to work at all? How much harm has to be caused to the community, not the profits of rail companies and their shareholders, by vandalism, and how should it be punished?
I spend far to much time thinking about this stuff.