"Balls, pendulums, apples and magnets all played their part in the story of modern physics, but then things got weird. And when Albert Einstein combined time and space, things got even weirder - step forward quantum uncertainty, black holes and the Big Bang."
(BBC Two, UK)
Fig.1 this animation is from Episode 2 of 6 of Dara Ó Briain's Science Club, Tuesday 13 November at 9pm on BBC Two, voiced by Dara Ó Briain, animated by 12Foot6, Published on YouTube on 13 Nov 2012 by BBC.
"A falling apple is supposed to have inspired Newton's theory of universal gravitation, a simple chance observation in his back garden that helped, even in a small way, to shape the way we understand our place in the cosmos. The story was perhaps invented by Newton himself so that he could claim his very own eureka moment, but whether or not it truly is the origin of his theory, the falling apple has come to be a simple yet powerful illustration of his thinking. So potent is the story that now, over 300 years later, a number of gardens claim to have the actual tree that dropped Newton's apple, while the Brogdale National Fruit Collection in the United Kingdom holding the license to sell grafts of one of these Newton trees-which it curiously describes as 'a very shy cropper.' Does it make any difference to our understanding of the world to see the original tree or watch one of its apples fall for ourselves? Not really, but an artefact like this develops an important gravitational pull of its own-a sense that we are being pulled closer to the essence of things. Perhaps though, the apple tree also serves as a gentle reminder that we can never really know what happened for Newton that day in the garden, no matter how close we stand to it. So much of a research process tends to go unseen, and even then there are parts of that process that are impossible to document, or are best kept unsaid. In ways that might not be possible for a thesis or a paper, an object that symbolises as much as Newton's apple tree might also imbue a sense of mystery-stories might be grafted on to it, but the simple silence of the tree itself can be a reflection of the quieter moments that helped contribute to this new knowledge."
"There have been several attempts by feminists to characterize cyberspace. In their article 'The Place of the Letter: An Epistolary Exchange,' Angelika Bammer, Minrose Gwin, Cindi Katz, and Elizabeth Meese compare cyberspace to literary space: 'The page of a book, like the computer screen, is a frontier through which we enter a nonspace space, the space that isn't 'really' there. It is a safe space, which the actual, material spaces in which many people live is not.'  The literary metaphor is inadequate here because it does not account for real-world consequences realized in cyberspace. In the one-dimensional space of a book's text, for example, the reader cannot physically interact with the text or 'enact' through the text. In cyberspace and in real space, however, actions taking place in networks have very real impacts on human beings through multi-user interaction and even, say, e-commerce. Many people can lurk and/or interact online, and harassment frequently occurs when users identify themselves as fem ale. A host of other violent acts are discussed or threatened.  Thus, the idea of cyberspace as a safe haven for women equal to that of the book has not been realized.  In online worlds, sites can be navigated in many directions and orders, breaking the prescripted order and scalable world of the book. These essential differences help define cyberspace apart from literature as a 'nonspace space,' and also go beyond early forms of electronic hypertext in the multidirectional and multi-user aspects. Elizabeth Grosz has also explored the philosophical and ethical attributes of the space of cyberspace. In her assessment of concepts of space in discourse and their possible relationship to architecture and other 'texts,' she notes that texts could 'be read, used, as modes of effectivity and action which, at their best, scatter thoughts and images into different linkages or new alignments without necessarily destroying their materiality.'  To apply this line of thinking to cyberspace, one must think of digi tally rendered space as distinct from Western conceptions of space as geographic, as gravity-bound.
One cannot seem to avoid using metaphors of space to describe computer activities. Even the term cyberspace renders an absolute connection, associating digital experiences with spatial descriptors. And more broadly, in daily life as well as in feminist discourse, there has been an adoption of such spatial metaphors in language.  Examples include 'working at the margins' at the 'site' of one, singular point, and suggesting that 'recentering' is a way to critique status quo tropes; these refer to space as a place for strategic and political action, Furthermore, even programming languages suggest spatialization as an operating mode within code. For example, we ask in the Basic language for the computer to 'run' (not process); other commands include 'goto' and 'get' or, in Lingo, 'put' or 'place' (rather than compute, display, or calculate input). Such descriptions using the language of geography must be carefully considered given linguistic ties to a historic use of geography as a site of male power. Women i n the sciences and in the arts investigate space in different ways using categories that may vary from the traditions in their fields. This is problematic in the examination of VR in several ways: first, women haven't historically been privileged to define fields such as geography or architecture; and second, women have not been the primary designers of the computational architecture of virtual spaces."