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The Electron at the Edge of the Universe

Suppose that they all jumped ten metres in the air (a huge overestimate, fifty centimetres is more likely and probably much less). Altogether that’s a mass of one billion tonnes of humanity jumping ten metres in the air. Neville Chamberlain, a lieutenant, wanted to modify certain things about the “black pool.” The game involves one black ball and 15 red ones. Now we want to predict where the balls go, and we’ll say that the prediction fails when a ball leaves a collision 90 degrees from where we predicted – it’s obvious that after that point we can’t usefully predict anything. To win the pool game, you will need to pocket the number 8 ball after you have pocketed all seven balls. We have mentioned that you will need nine to 15 pool balls, along with the white cue ball. In a call-pocket game or straight pool, you can choose which ball to pocket.

If you pocket the wrong ball, it’s called a foul, which gives your opponent a turn. The process involves using the cue ball to pocket the red and coloured balls. Another way to score is by hitting the red ball first and then one cue ball for two points. That’s why you should first know about the rules and the number of balls you’re going to play with. The first case is billiards, and we’ll consider a completely idealised billiard table: completely smooth, flat and rigid, completely round balls with completely known properties (so how elastic they are etc), and the same for the cushions. The one who wins the break shot will choose whether to play with coloured or striped balls. Now someone makes a shot, and we either know the direction and force exactly or are allowed to measure the cue ball’s position and velocity exactly shortly after the shot.

For home or personal use, pool tables typically measure 6′ x 3′. If you have limited space, you can have the table customised to fit your room, but most Australians prefer 7′ x 3.5′. As you may already know, pool tables measure differently depending on the location where you’re playing. If you’re playing pool, the game can be played in different ways because of the many pool variants out there. These three – billiards, pool, and snooker – all use cue sticks, tables, and balls. As you may have noticed already, the balls are the most considerable distinction in the three games. For a nine-ball pool, you will have nine balls, while a three-ball pool has three balls. The lieutenant thought that he should add other coloured balls. One day I was thinking about what kind of game I would make for Nintendo’s upcoming Revolution console, and I thought it might be neat to use the controller as a paintbrush to paint pictures on the screen. The box insulates everything but (Newtonian) gravity to make things simpler. There is Newtonian gravity. So I plugged in an old idea I had floating around, which is that there are different critics with contradictory aesthetics who judge your painting, and you try to construct things that please enough of them to get by.

We don’t know one thing: there are some people standing around the table, and we don’t know where they are, so we don’t know what their gravitational fields look like. You can download the full game (7 megabytes), or else just look at the Read Me. If you’re interested in pool (and billiards) ball, you can read the history behind them here. You can download the prototype (300k), or just read the Instructions and overall description of the game. You can find tables measuring 12 feet. Both of these are due to Michael Berry and are mentioned in a book called ‘A Passion for Science’ which is in fact a set of collected transcripts of BBC radio programmes from sometime in the mid 1980s: I heard them on the radio originally, and they have stayed with me – I didn’t find the paper versions until quite recently. And then, we have a snooker, which adds to the confusion. It’s easy to distinguish billiards because the table used does not have pockets. However, you have to announce it before shooting. However, the pockets of the snooker table, though, are smaller.

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