Three Body Problem Body 1
Since we live in the age of metamodernism, I’ve been wanting to go all meta on you all for at least one column. Keep up with the times, right? I want to write a little about my own writing on this blog. I want to talk a little bit about the talk I do here on the Side. I want to explain myself a bit, let you know what I’m up to with all this silliness. Because, you see, I’ve run into a bit of a problem as this daily web journal of what may well become the American Apocalypse races into its fourth month. I’ve snagged myself on a bit of a “three-body problem”, actually. But before I can dig into this problem with you, I want to take a moment to introduce you to the Three Body Problem.
Have you ever heard of the “Three Body Problem” before? It’s this deal in physics and astronomy where it’s pretty easy to figure out how two planetary bodies orbit around each other by doing the math on gravity and momentum. But as soon as you bring a third body into the picture, well, you just can’t figure it out exactly. There is, in more formal terms, no analytical solution to the three body problem. It’s a little weird to think about– that there is no way to compute even a three body problem, much less a four or five or more body problem. You can get close, by calculation and measurement and approximation. That’s called the “numerical method”. But there is no general solution, no formula that will work. There’s no analytic solution to the three body problem.
That’s pretty fooked up, if you think about it more than you should. Especially when you realize that, in actual real reality, almost all situations are three or more body problems. Dang! That does leave us sort of SOL for planning and knowing the results of our actions and that type of thing.
As you know, what I like to do here on the Side is make metaphors, especially if they are weird, mixed, comical metaphors, extended beyond all possibility and good sense. It looks to me like that idea of the three-body problem might apply to a lot of things besides just calculating the orbit of planetary bodies, like asteroids and comets, which are obviously being influenced by many forces as they make their way around the solar system. (Worth remembering the three body problem when you remember— just as a random example— that the asteroid Apophis is calculated to pass within 19,000 miles of the Earth in 2029. Because of the three-body problem, there is a tiny question mark after that calculation. Don’t worry about it, though.)
Sorry, I digress….
So, the three body problem in physics could be a cool metaphor, right? Looking around, it seems like three body problems (or their metaphorical equivalents) occur all the time, in areas of life that are much closer to earth than Apophis is. Yet.
We have the cliche of the love triangle for a reason. Three’s a crowd, right? And menage a trois, now that’s a three-body problem, baby!
But I digress again. Here’s a better example, with a bit more significance. An earthly example of a three body problem might be something like a Three Front War.
We usually think of war as one side against another, like a boxing match, except one where women and children get blown to bloody bits and whole populations get eradicated, cities leveled, entire ecosystems destroyed, you know, that kind of boxing match. Two opponents, faced off and getting down to it. Are you ready to rumble? Two sides, one front, Have at it.
But with a third party involved, you might have two fronts. This is a well-known difficult military situation— picture WW2. A trap. “Don’t try to fight on two fronts!” my father would often yell at me. Didn’t yours?
And a war, like some melee professional wrestling match– except it’s a wrestling match where little kittens get cut in two and puppies are shot for fun and, oh yeah, people too, type of wrestling match– can sometimes have even more than three combatants, more than two fronts. A three-front war could be as unsolvable as a three-body problem. Not just a dangerous military situation, but one that was impossible to win.
Well, it turns out our very own military has been quietly planning to engage in a three-front war for a while now. I guess these planners are too young to have been yelled at by my dad. And my dad must be turning over in his box, because as I’ve already blabbed on about, you can’t actually solve a three body problem. You can approximate, but you can’t actually know for sure what will happen. Planning for defeat, you might say.
Check out this article from 2018
And then this article from last month.
So, is this new build-up with Iran the next phase of the “Three-Front War”? Is the attack on the tanker fake news to promote this long planned war? Looks like it to me, from the side.
And the Young Turks think it was a fake attack, too. Real attack. Fake interpretation. What do you think?
Please don’t buy into this war, folks. This war is a fake, and if we’re not lucky, our country will end up trapped in a three body problem that no one can solve, a three-front war we can’t win, led by a Clown-in-Chief who will only lead us into defeat.
Now that you’ve got a good grip on the Three-Body Problem with your imaginary fingers, don’t let go! I’ll be back tomorrow with some more three-body meta for you, from the Side.
A few more links to keep you thinking.
The fookin’ tent is burning down.
Interested in what the Cult of the Doomsday Scientists talk about when they talk about it? Here Ira Leifer, whom you haven’t yet met, talks with Stuart Scott.
Why are these doomsday scientists so pessimistic?
And finally, from the First Crime Family(tm) files:
Interesting info about Brett Kavanaugh as a circuit judge interpreting the foreign nationals interference in elections law in a way that allows foreign interference in US elections. (from Thom Hartmann)
And this one, from Salon, gives it a name.