Cement Elephants, a Riding on the Bus Story, and a book review

So what’s up, Hubert? What’cha been doing?

Nuthin’ much. Just waiting here for the #20 bus.IMG_0519 Gee whiz, Hubert. How long have you been waiting?
Oh, let’s see. I figure like maybe 20 to 22,000 years
That’s quite a long stretch for such a short joke – even for a cement elephant!

The old #20 bus arrived as I was walking out of the park, so perhaps the cement elephants were being a bit rough on the #20. Please excuse them.

The #20 bus is a friendly enough bus – as buses go. Its cousin, the jumbo #720 Wilshire Express isn’t always so pleasant. It’s a lot busier. The local, the #20 is quieter. You generally get a seat, and people are usually laid back. At least they were today – as I sat on the bus.


George Packard, a noted contributor to the Bumbastories blog, who apparently was also riding the #20 bus, now headed on foot to the Beverly Hills Public Library. As he approached, the Beverly Hills City Hall remained a fine and noble sight. But the large police complex they had build around City Hall in the 90’s held little charm. The civic center complex held the police station with its large courtyard/holding area, an adjoining fire station, a parking structure of course. And the Library. IMG_0530 IMG_0531



The Beverly Hills Library

IMG_0535 IMG_0534 IMG_0532

George Packard was finally returning the fine book by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinov ( call #523.1) titled The Grand Design.

George had checked out the book several times already. It was slow reading but worth the effort. Indeed, all the books by Hawking which George had read were great books.


Here’s to Stephen Hawking,

a book review


George Packard

George Packard had never written a book review before. And surely this book had already been reviewed – and lauded – numerous times since its release in 2010. But George wanted to recommend this book – and the other Hawking’s books – to anyone interested in modern physics and cosmology. In The Grand Design Hawking and Mlodinov do their level-headed best to explain the basics of quantum theory and the current status of the quest for the Grand Design: the handful of simple equations – indeed one equation would be even better! – that explains the whole kit and kiboodle.images-2

In the rapid advance of modern physics from a Newtonian model to the Einsteinian, then to Quantum Mechanics and the current Quantum Field Theories, M theories, String theories and Super-symmetry models, the quest for The Grand Unified Theory (the GUT) or Theory of Everything (TOE) goes on. There are huge conceptual roadblocks on the way, but Hawking, Mlodinov et. al. march on.

And, ah, but that fine and noble path to a more complete understanding! Ah, the serendipitous gifts along the way!

Hawking explains current scientific theory as well as anyone. His accomplishments as a physicist and as an author are truly remarkable.

One interesting concept he presents in the book is that of  ‘model-dependent realism’.

“According to model-dependent realism, it is pointless to ask whether a model is real, only whether it agrees with observation.”

Recent findings and advances in the scope of our measuring instruments have now led us to models of the universe that we cannot see and which at first seem outlandish. But if the model explains the data….well, that’s the model we’ll go with for now, says Hawking. Many conceptual obstacles are removed when one adopts such an approach. And here the efficacy of such an approach is exemplified by the elegance of thought Hawking and his buddy Mlodinov bring to this ever-fascinating field (did someone say Quantum Field?) of study.

8 thoughts on “Cement Elephants, a Riding on the Bus Story, and a book review

  1. AnElephantCant help love love loving these Elephants
    But he doesn’t have a good rhyme for Mastodon
    If today is the Sabbath
    He can rhyme it with mammoth
    Now he is happy cos he thinks he must have done

  2. there I was, enjoying riding the #20 bus, viewing the concrete elephants, and suddenly a GUT and TOE intervened. Musta been the passenger in front. anywho, I never said nuffink about a Quantom field, is it green or grey?. I shall peruse the book online, sometime soon. 🙂 xPenx

    1. I had this feeling in my GUT. Or maybe it was my TOE. Probably it was just the CMG, the cosmic background wave radiation. Or maybe it was just something I had for lunch.

    1. If I turned you on to Stephen Hawking and his books, I’m delighted. as for insights, the cement elephants posses wisdom beyond their ears … I mean years.

      1. I was once gifted by a friend ‘The Grand Design’ by Hawking, will take it out today for a read. 🙂

        And ‘ears’, yeah… hahah! I have always admired elephants, for their calm yet powerful (strength and wisdom) demeanour. 🙂

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