I presume everyone has occasional nightmares. Last night before I went to bed I read another chapter or two in a truly annoying book. I bought the book (used, of course) because it is by a Nobel laureate, has the word “Universe” in the title, is not too old (2005), and promises to deal with emergent phenomena on large and intermediate scales, in other words, some of the least perfectly understood matters in physics today. Being an award-winning physicist of a certain age, the author, not surprisingly, worked at Los Alamos on various “nuclear-weapon-related program activities” (as I believe someone in the GeeDubya Bush administration phrased it). Being who he apparently is, the author seems a bloody annoying human being; that’s why I will not reward his vanity googling with a citation. Besides, trust me: you don’t want to read this book, even though its advertised content has some value.
In any case, last night’s nightmare hearkened back to my childhood, sort of: it was a dream, not about being under a nuclear attack (as I used to dream occasionally as a child), but about being forced very much against my will to participate in the creation of new nuclear weapons. This strange dream was probably triggered by a combination of reading that book at bedtime and my unfortunate birthdate on the third anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima at the end of WWII. In any case, if I am insufferably cranky today, you can chalk it up to the dream. (Or not… I can be cranky just about any day!)