Nothing to do

By Phil Plait | December 28, 2011 11:30 am

Sometimes, over the holidays, it’s easy to think there’s nothing to do. If you feel that way, Sci-ence! wants to have a word with you.

[Click to exnihiloenate.]

And why, yes, that comic does describe me as a child.

… and maybe as an adult, too.

Related posts:

In which I disagree with cartoon Neil Tyson

MORE ABOUT: Maki Naro, Sci-ence

Comments (19)

  1. John Paradox

    Where Did All The Nothing Go? Heh…. sounds like the RIFFTRAX short I saw at the RiffTrax Live a couple months ago…. What Is Nothing?


  2. jcm

    There goes the universe…

  3. Dragonchild

    Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
    And revolving at nine hundred miles an hour,
    That’s orbiting at nineteen miles a second, so it’s reckoned,
    A sun that is the source of all our power.
    The sun and you and me and all the stars that we can see
    Are moving at a million miles a day
    In an outer spiral arm, at forty thousand miles an hour,
    Of the galaxy we call the ‘Milky Way’.

  4. Theramansi

    …of course with us 3D beings, it would be cubic centimeters :p

  5. ND

    the head to body proportion of the kid is freaking me out!

    oh and btw

  6. db26

    I think the fountain of youth may have something to do with blocking these damn neutrinos.

  7. Navneeth

    It’s a bit OTT comic science evangelism (not a typo, I meant comic). After all, the mother (I presume) just wanted him (her?) to stay at rest in her frame of reference — she said nothing of the universe. A given it’s just for 5 minutes, the Earth could be considered a flat, stationary object without much loss in accuracy for whatever task the mother had in mind. As I said, it’s OTT and unnecessary.

    *Moves tongue off cheek*

  8. “KING LEAR: ..what can you say to draw
    A third more opulent than your sisters? Speak.
    CORDELIA: Nothing, my lord.
    KING LEAR: Nothing?!
    CORDELIA: Nothing.
    KING LEAR: Nothing will come of nothing, speak again.
    – Act 1.1 King Lear by William Shakespeare

    (Click on my name for source.)

    Nothing but more quantum vaccuum filled with neutrinos and maybe dark matter and energy unknown to us still.

    Now, contrary to King Lear’s speech there somebody I once recall vaguely once said that everything came from nothing – that the universe is the ultimate free lunch! Or something like that.

    Anyone know who that was and care to enlighten us please?

  9. Just a few days ago I was watching tv and saw a piece from an old Finnish comedy show from the seventies where the wife shouts to his lazy, unemployed (and non-employable) husband: ”How can you just lie there and do nothing!!??”

    … with a similar answer.

  10. Dragonchild

    Actually I heard that back in Shakespeare’s day, “nothing” was slang for. . . well, women have one and men have none at all.

    That puts many of Shakespear’s quotes such as “nothing will come of nothing” and “much ado about nothing” in a totally different context. Sounds like a troll’s theory until you realize that the character’s reactions to the double entendres are consistent.

    P.S. I expected comment #3 to be rejected. The first few minutes looked safe; I didn’t realize the uploader put inappropriate content in the clip.

  11. DennyMo

    If my kids ever pull those lines on me, I’ll congratulate them on their insights and understanding of QM as I reach for the vinegar and spoon for back talking. :)

  12. Mog

    ~grammar police~

    Should be “pass through” and not “pass though”

  13. Joseph G

    This sounds a lot like me as a kid as well.

    This also probably explains why my folks took me to several counselors, none of whom actually came up with a diagnosis 😛

  14. Jess Tauber

    You realize, of course, that the solar neutrino flux passing through your body is seasonally altering your radioactive decay rates, don’tcha Phil? Nothing in particular to worry about- no, wait- IS particular, or is that particulate..?

  15. Hedin

    I read this yesterday night just before going to bed and the sheer thought of it kept me awake for an hour (just trying to feel them) but seriously i wish everyone a happy new year and hope to make the people i meet new year just that bit smarter :)

  16. MaDeR

    Oooh. Yet another comic to track…

  17. Why does her mom have a problem with centimeters?

    Is she one of those my-way-or-the-highway Americans who insist that U.S. Customary Units like inches and feet are the Only Way?

    Or is she merely expressing her preference of the MKS system of units, above that of the CGS system?

  18. Matt B.

    @5. Theramansi: “…of course with us 3D beings, it would be cubic centimeters”

    It’s square centimeters, because she’s talking about a cross-section. Every neutrino’s path covers the entire third dimension, so you can’t say that a neutrino hits just one of the many cubic centimeters of your body’s volume.


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