“Kind of looks like using‘The Force.’ I’m not sure if they actually attempt this or if this is just a demonstration of something they believe is theoretically possible, but I can tell you one thing, if guys with knives are coming at me, I’m not trusting my inner power.” This made me laugh so much as I watched the Indonesia episode of No Reservations. Anthony Bourdain watched an exhibition of Silat, the indigenous Malay martial art. The practitioners were either breaking iron plates with bare fists or lying down on a bed of protruding nails while having a stack of bricks broken on their belly. The demonstration of inner power however was the fun part. It was really like Star Wars where a Jedi would use the Force to push objects.
There was another fun part further along the show. It was when Anthony enjoyed his fried rice and his ring side stump to the ram jousting. Nature actually would have the rams compete for dominance by, guess how, ramming. Two rams would faceoff by ramming each other head on until one would end up in a submissive pose such as being on its back.
These are actually two concepts which help us see something unusual about the atom. We often think of an atom as a physical particle but history has it that the theory was developed having the atom as a philosophical construct. Democritus proposed that if an object is continually cut there would come a point where you could no long cut it and you would have the atomos or “uncuttable.” Now we know that even an atom is made up of smaller subatomic particles. Nevertheless, the atom is of importance because it is the smallest particle that retains the chemical characteristics of an element.
The view of the atom has changed much from being similar to the solar system with electrons going on orbit around the nucleus (proton + neutron) to having an electron cloud with orbitals (regions in space where an electron may be found) around the nucleus. So when you see a drop of pure mercury you’d have trillions of mercury atoms bumping into each other but considering the size of the nucleus and the electrons going around it (the size of the nucleus and the electrons are way smaller than the size of the radius of its orbital), there’s actually more space than matter. This means that physical objects are actually spacious.
This brings me to the fun find that a drop of mercury has a bunch of atoms that are colliding with each other like the rams but in reality are like the Silat inner force users. They keep each other apart by an unseen force thus resulting in so much space. Having this train of thought, all the objects around us are mainly space rather than actual matter. Now isn’t that awkwardly interesting.