I signed up the other day with audible.com, which is like the amazon.com of audiobooks. Don’t know if I’ll continue the subscription, but just for signing up, I got a free audiobook. The one I chose was “A Brief History of Time” by Stephen Hawking, which is a book I’ve been meaning to get for a long time. I listened to the first 20 minutes or so of it on the drive home yesterday (it’s over 5 hours long), and was instantly hooked. It’s fascinating stuff. Right now he’s talking about the history of people’s beliefs and discoveries about the solar system, like how people assumed that the Sun, moon, and planets all revolved around the Earth, and that the Earth was a cylindrical disk. Then he not only explains that people changed their beliefs as new information became available, but he describes what that new information was and how it conflicted with the existing “body of knowledege”. He does all this in a writing style that is not only interesting, but done in a way that the average layperson can understand it without feeling talked down to.
Hawking, obviously, does not read the book himself. It’s read by a guy named Michael Jackson (no, not that one), who has an English accent. This kind of threw me off; I always assumed that Hawking was American because of his speaking computer, which speaks with an American accent. Hawking is indeed British, so it makes sense to get someone British to read the book.
The book so enthralled me during the drive home that I completely forgot about an imminent milestone, which must have passed on the 401 somewhere between Hwy 8 and the service station between Cambridge and Guelph. The milestone was the rolling over of the odometer (100,000 km) on my car. The car is a 2004 Sunfire, which I picked up in early July of 2004. 100,000 km in 3 years 3 months comes out to about 2564 km / month, 592 km / week. Assuming 8 trips to work per week (I work at home on Fridays), this comes out to about 74 km / trip. Of course, this doesn’t take non-work trips or vacations into account, but it’s still eerily accurate, since the trip is about 65 km each way.