Recent readings concerning physics and chemistry and other scientific things that make me look dorky have made me realize a bit about the natural tendency of the universe to be cold. With recent ass-cold temperatures and my legs freezing solid while waiting a half hour for the already late bus, I've realized something about people fighting the cold, and how it kind of serves as a model for the entire universe.
Considering the big band theory true, I think that the natural state of the universe is completely empty, and completely devoid of all particles: a true vacuum. According to various ideas the universe could have actually been this way for an equivalent to a human forever, and no one would know. Either way, the fact that the default universe is absolutely empty really says something about the cold.
Winter is hard for people. It always has been. Sure, there's all kinds of things that exist today to make it much less harsh than in the past, but no matter how you look at it, winter is hard. I am realizing it more and more now that I don't live two blocks from work or school. I have to walk to work most days, and then to school. Actually, what I do is walk to the bus stop, where I stand in the doorway of a closed sub shop, hide from the wind, and postulate this crap. I stand there, freezing, waiting for the erratically scheduled bus to arrive and make me be late to work. Sometimes I catch snowflakes on my (now lost somewhere in some computer lab) gloves. I'll stare at the snowflakes. They'll sit there, solid, until I accidentally (or purposefully on bad days) breathe them to death. It reminds me of the example in a book I just finished (Science Matters by Robert Hazen and James Trefil) explaining how heat transfers from hot to cold. The direction of flow has always kind of mesmerized me. The example in the book explained that your drink gets cold because the ice cubes are actually eating the heat from the liquid. Their temperatures rise though, and that's why they melt.
So with all heat in the universe flowing to eradicate itself "inside" cold, the universe is an eternal struggle for the cold to basically eat all heat. Hence, the universe is a model for an eternal struggle for heat to sustain itself. I love this.
When you're standing at the bus stop, freezing your goddamn balls off, you're not necessarily keeping warm. You are the heat cube (if you can imagine a world of like "heat cubes," where they warm the surroundings instead of cool them), and your body really wants to warm the entire world and more using simply your body heat. Piles and piles of clothes (preferably at least two insulated quilted flannel shirts) are just as much preventing the cold from breaking into you to steal your heat as they are holding that heat in.
The universe is a huge refrigerator. I find beauty in the fact that everything that exists and has a temperature above its own freezing point is a literal warrior against the cold. Your body produces enough heat to maintain a balance. That lizard maintains his balance. The dog maintains its balance. The fight between heat and cold is everlasting, and it truly brings everything together. Hence Universe.
Come on. Give me a hug.
Even more ironic is that we use heat to make actual refrigerators cold...