Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wormhole Pickup

I'm sorry Neil deGrasse Tyson.  In your science accounting of the film Interstellar - embracing a wormhole as good science, while bemoaning driving a pickup truck with a flat tire in a corn field is daft.  That said, bravo for making time dilation more palatable to the public. 

I still hold great respect for the original Planet of the Apes movie based on La Planète des singes.  While that film franchise clearly leveraged time dilation as back story, albeit with a rather incoherent timeline, it didn't stoop to junk science time travel tricks to propel the plot.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Dry air, make water, slowly.

The Earth's atmosphere is about 20% oxygen, with only trace amounts of elemental hydrogen.  However, hydrogen is a plentiful byproduct of many terrestrial chemical reactions.  Interesting would be devising more active ways to capture hydrogen and combine it with oxygen to make water (H2O) out of thin air near points of generation before its lightness carries it into the upper atmosphere.

Green house gas methane (CH4) is a bit more abundant than hydrogen in the Earth's atmosphere.  Similar mechanisms to oxidize it near generation points would similarly allow water generation out of thin air.


Sunday, December 08, 2013

Digital Currency

Fascinating read on how Bitcoin works.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Self Organizing Behavior

I've been reading The Genial Gene and how it posits radical new thinking on how organisms self organize to create cooperative communities. I picked this book up while at the San Gregorio General Store near the Pacific Ocean and Santa Cruz Mountains several miles south of Half Moon Bay.

Think Game Theory and Skinner Box mixed in with enlightened self interest, plus really nice analogies to illustrate the somewhat subtle/complex aspects of this. Its a fascinating, though somewhat dense at times read.

This got me to thinking about insects and bird behavior, and the logical extension behavior incentives could play in radically leveraging their behavior to fly things around for us humans. The chapters on origins of gender, and the efficiencies they present allowing gendered organisms to flourish got me to think of quirky ways to role reverse men and women behavior as a party game.

Eternally yours, Astral Musing

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Big Bang Hogwash

Indeed, it's a very biblical notion that there was a 'beginning', and there will be an end. Perhaps big science funding needs this biblical underpinning to make donors and politicians comfortable. As long at it doesn't jeopardize real science its not really a problem.

However grand cosmological observations and the Big Bang have been diverging for quiet some time now. To keep the Big Bang theory alive theoretical physicists have had to patch together more and more elaborate fudge factor theories to bridge the growing divide between observations and theory. String theory, which has been recently heralded as the final answer to unifying magnetism, strong, weak force, and somehow gravity is a dubious concoction which suggest alternate universes and all sorts of other immeasurable phenomenon - indeed some have called it more philosophy and moving beyond theoretical physics.

But as some leading scientists are starting to question if string theory is really a science, it seems we are approaching the limits of what we can research and theorize while still maintaining consistency with big bang theory. Modified gravity and other related theories I think are starting to shed skepticism on our notions of grand cosmological forces, and I hope soon help rid big science of the quaint notion that everything is related to a big bang.

The Big Bang notion is handy to explain well established grand cosmological theory, and does provide a sort of 'periodical table of elements' story board for teaching the different types of energy and particles of matter. The common periodic table of elements doesn't include theoretical heavy radioactive elements and non-atomic matter, but for common chemistry its a wonderful model. The Big Bang should be just that, a nice way of organizing various aspect of energy and matter in a handy hierarchy, but it should not be used as a straight jacket to prevent out of the box thinking when we see real inconsistent data that universe is far older (and I like to think timeless) than our theories can explain.

Progressive Herding vs Conservative Guilting

The recent Democratic victory in the House and Senate underscores the reality of progessive politics. It is inherently weaker than conservative politics when there isn't a well established avoidable crisis easliy linked to conservsative leadership. The dramatic loss of relevance labor has had over the last few decades has excererbated this for the Democrats, but over time all political parties must evolve their base and change their rhetoric to stay current. The Republicans I think will have to do this now that "War of Terror" rhetoric seems to be loosing them votes as other more topical issues have more currency (inflation, job stability, retirement, ...).

This means progessive politics must tactically involve active participants from more that the Democratic Party. Two indepedent senators are being used to bump up the the Dems caucus from 49 to 51 to effect leadership change in the Senate. The nature of progressive politics is such that it must never consider itself as the mandate of any particular party, but the manifestation of the best behavior in any given party. This means painting politicians, not as progressives, but as shrewd and good Democrats, and shrewd and good Republicans when proggressive gains are attributed to them.

Conservative politics is much simplier. Those who are afraid to really speak up due to 'good manners', being shy, or not wanting to seem like they are not part of the majority can be guilted into voting for the GOP. As long as conservative leadership doesn't create stinking festing problems like the Iraq War they will probably always have an electorical advantage. In a sense it is hubris that is their downfall and that only comes from within their ranks. It can't be tactically deployed from outside their base.

Dems and progressives must be eternally vigilant for hubris themselves, but be especially vigilient for hubris and corruption in conservative leaders. In the end conservative values (no matter how silly) will trump progressive values if there isn't something conservative that smells bad nearby.