Rich Galen

Along came a guy named Anders Celsius and devised a new scale in which water freezes at zero and boils at 100. Hasn't caught on here, yet.

There are other scales of temperature, too. The most interesting is the Kelvin scale (named for William Thompson who, as luck would have it, was the 1st Baron Kelvin) in which zero is the point at which molecules have so little energy they can't transfer any - absolute zero. In thermodynamics this is called the point of zero entropy, but I only know that because I looked it up.

Absolute zero Kelvin is about -273 degrees Celsius.

Here's an extra credit question: What is the only temperature at which Fahrenheit and Celsius are equal?

You have to go to the Secret Decoder Ring page for the answer which I actually already knew as one of those "little known facts" which both Cliff Claven and I are eager to share with people who are largely not all that eager to learn about them.

Now to the metaphysical scale. The other day, NASA released another one of those Hubble photos which it claims sees farther back in time - in any scale - than anyone has seen before. The current photo is presumed to see back to 600 million years after the birth of the universe; after the "big bang" which occurred about 13.7 billion years ago.

The problem with the "big bang" is that it doesn't answer the question: What came before? The problem with our understanding of the universe is: What's beyond the farthest star, or planet, molecule, atom, or quark?

That's the ultimate problem of scale.

Here's a try: Everything we know in our existence is nothing more than a patch of fur on the cutest puppy you've ever imagined. That puppy exists in a universe which is a blade of grass on a perfectly manicured lawn. The lawn is in a universe which is … well, you understand where I'm going.

Maybe the "big bang" was nothing more than the puppy scratching an itch.

In my mind, God oversees the entire upward and downward scale of all existence.

I pray that you have a good year. Whatever good means to you, in whatever year it might be.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at