Before the first atomic bomb test, scientists took the time to calculate whether the blast would ignite the nitrogen in Earth's atmosphere and incinerate us all. The risk was low and the test went off, but Rees wonders what the odds would have had to be to discourage the bomb makers.
Regarding the Laws of Thermodynamics: "(1) You can't win, (2) you can't break even, and (3) you can't get out of the game.
Few sights in science are sadder than astronomers standing in the rain.
Anything but the void. And so we keep hoping to luck into a winning combination, to tap into a subtle harmony, trying like lock pickers to negotiate a compromise with the 'mystery tramp,' as Bob Dylan put it.
Cosmology is serious business and in our hearts we are nothing if not cosmologists, hanging in a cold cage sifting the ruthless jewels of existence.
There's always a faster gun.
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