#BEDM14: Mind = Blown.

At the moment, I’m reading A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson. For those of you that haven’t read it, it’s a bit like a long episode of QI, just without the jokes.

I’m twelve per cent through and so far the universe has been created and we’ve identified the location, mass and density of the Earth. We’re now looking into exactly how it’s made up.

It really is fascinating, but there is a lot of stuff I just can’t get my head round. For instance, the ‘Big Bang’. All the molecules that have ever existed – which is basically, everything around us all… never used to exist.

There was one tiny, tiny point which became the creation of the universe and then expanded out and out to become what we inhabit today (We haven’t got to the concept of time yet, I’m sure if and when we do, I’ll discover there is no such thing as ‘today’).

That’s mental.

But whether you subscribe to the Big Bang theory or not, what’s even more amazing is that all this stuff around us, the laptop that I’m writing on, the chair that I’m sitting on, the clock on the wall – it all came from somewhere.

The universe is amazing, but the stuff that we’ve filled it with is incredible.

Today’s prompt was: The first thing about the internet that blew your mind – for me, the internet’s very existence blows my mind. What an incredible achievement, all that data out there just ready to be explored, speeding around the world at infinitesimal speeds (or below average broadband speeds if you happen to be on BT and living in Swindon).

The fact that we as a species can create something like this is amazing. The other day, I wrote a blog post, and a short while later, somebody in Norway read it. I’ve had readers from all over the world.

I can log on to the internet and connect with somebody, with anybody, from a completely different part of the world. This didn’t already exist, there was no blueprint for it. The internet is a human invention, the result of centuries of discovery and investigation and asking why.

It is one of our greatest achievements, a testament to what the human race has become.

I’d like to talk about the wonders of the internet even more, but I’ve found a Tumblr of cats that look like celebrities.

Prompt: The first thing about the internet that blew your mind

No Copyright Infringement Intended

While I was writing my last blog post I was trying to remember the very first thing that I wrote.

I will apologise once again for bringing up JK Rowling, but my first piece of fiction (that I can remember) was very similar to Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

I was in Year 4 of school and our teacher Mrs McAteer was arranging a class assembly. I can’t recall if there was a theme, or if it was just a loosely-connected series of skits, but I seem to remember that we were all asked to get into groups and write something that we could then act out.

We had a small green triangle, some sort of stone – green onyx or something, the type of ‘gemstone’ that one might acquire for twenty pence in a museum gift shop – as our inspiration. I can’t remember now if we were given it, selected it, or indeed if we got it from a tacky museum gift shop.

I was grouped with three friends of mine, Gary, Christian and Simon, and we came up with a story about four student wizards. We were to play a character each and we wrote the piece together, writing our own dialogue, while I naturally wrote the connecting prose – although a play, it wasn’t written in script form.

I was ‘Stupid Smee’ a dim-witted, simple fellow, Christian was ‘Jungle Jack’ a fairly average student who was actually a bad guy, Gary was ‘Scorpina Scorpion’ a foreign exchange student  and Simon was… ‘Magic Martin’

The stone – acting almost like a portkey – magically transported us across to a jungle, similar to the Forbidden Forest, where we had to fight a Voldemort-like dark wizard who wanted the stone to help him live forever, much like the Philosopher’s Stone.

In Smee we had Neville Longbottom, Scorpina was our Ron Weasley, Martin was our version of Hermione and Jack would have been the equivalent of Malfoy.

We were Harry Potter without Harry Potter.

Thinking back, I found myself amused by just how much like Harry Potter my untitled first project was…. And then I remembered, I was in Year 4 in 1995 – two years before Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was published.

I now can’t help wondering if JK Rowling ever visited a small primary school in Swindon, and watched a group of eight year olds pissing about in a school assembly.

I’ll let her off – I’m sure no copyright infringement was intended.