Tuesday, May 17, 2022

A dark age looms/rev V

If Roe is overturned, states in blue will restrict or eliminate a woman's right to choose. 
Next up, prohibit contraception and eliminate the right to privacy. 
As stated before, a dark age looms ...

Identical in every way ...

Einstein's right yet again. Black holes scale in universal fashion thanks to Sagittarius A* black hole proving to be identical to M87*s monster.

One of the leading scientists behind the new breakthrough, Dimitrios Psaltis, professor of astronomy and physics at the University of Arizona, has revealed how the new image proved one of Einstein's predictions from his theory of gravity.

It's all down to the striking similarity between Sgr A* and MH7*, despite their massive difference in size — Sgr A*, which has a mass 4 million times greater than that of our Sun, is more than one thousand times smaller than M87*.

The new image of Sgr A* has proved one of the most fundamental predictions of Einstein's theory of gravity, Psaltis explained in a statement from the University of Arizona. Namely, the new data proves that the image of a black hole scales only with its mass. So, in other words, a black hole 1,000 times smaller in mass will look very similar; the only really discernible difference will be the size. 

Scale invarience rules.

A sense of wonder/rev II

 Milky Way Over Lake in Tibet

“Ice Age” by Alvin Wu. Location: Tibet

“This is a blue ice lake, Pumoungcuo, at an altitude of 5.070 meters (16,600 feet).

This lake, located in Tibet, freezes every winter. At night, under the low temperatures of minus 20 °C (-4 °F), you can listen to the sound of the ice cracking while capturing the most beautiful winter sky. The blue ice surface and dazzling Orion constellation create a fantasy landscape. I felt so happy to have the stars as my companion on this magical night.”

Words not needed.

Milky Way Arch setting over Lake Bonney in Australia

“Nookampa Reflections” by Will Godward. Location: Lake Bonney, South Australia

I’ve been wanting to capture the Milky Way Arch setting over Lake Bonney for a long time and have finally been able to cross off that bucket list shot. The perfect night and conditions made this possible. I did the wise thing and pre-scouted the location during the day. This made it so much easier to head back to the same spot after midnight. Lake Bonney is home to some of the darkest skies in the world. This image has amazing reflections of the stars in the still waters and I love how the Milky Way can be seen. The dead trees of the past create so much depth in the image.”

Check out all the art on this amazing page from My Moderon Met, Rachel Carson would be proud.

A sense of wonder

 A sea lion hunting sardines, seen from below in black-and-white

When looking at this photograph, one sees how nature works at grand scale, a reality we will never fully understand. At the same time, nature's inherently beautiful and without judgment. It simply is, a concept Rachel Carson instinctively understood at deep level.

When the marine biologist Rachel Carson was a young girl, she discovered a fossilized shell while hiking around her family’s hillside property in Springdale, Pennsylvania. Those who knew her then would later contend that this relic sparked such intense reverie in her that she instantly felt a tug toward the sea. What was this ancient creature, and what was the world it had known?

In her final months, Carson, age 56, sickened from cancer treatments and in constant pain, still had a couple of remaining projects in mind. One of these was what she called the “wonder book.” By that point, Carson had already written four best-selling books, most famously Silent Spring, which documented the dangers of pesticides, including DDT, and is now widely credited with catalyzing the modern environmental movement. Yet Carson felt she had one more thing to say. The “wonder book”—published posthumously as The Sense of Wonderwas based on a lyrical essay about the importance of cultivating wonder in children. Perhaps because of her early experience, Carson placed great faith in this emotional response that, once found, could serve as “an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial.” Wonder led to a sense of the beautiful, which led to the pursuit of knowledge about the object that triggered the feeling in the first place. Children possessed this “clear-eyed vision” innately, but it had to be kept alive. Adults could awaken this quality in themselves too. With enough attention, she argued, anyone could “feel the rain on [their] face and think of its long journey, its many transmutations, from sea to air to earth.”

white tip sharks feeding around a reef in black and white

Monday, May 16, 2022

National sovereignty ...

Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro, the poster child for ecological collapse by burning up the Amazonian rainforest, portends a dark future where the notion of sovereignty no longer applies when the environment collapses as it will if nothing is done to ameliorate the ever increasing impact GW is having as man moves further into the 21st century. As long as capitalism and its objective of placing profit over the environment continues unabated, collapse becomes a certainty.

As we collectively hurtle into the era of climate change, international relations as we’ve known them for almost four centuries will change beyond recognition. This shift is probably inevitable, and possibly even necessary. But it will also cause new conflicts, and therefore war and suffering.

Since the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, diplomats have — in peacetime and war alike — for the most part subscribed to the principle of national sovereignty. This is the idea, enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, that foreign countries have no right “to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state.”

A concept no longer viable ...

An early and tragicomic demonstration of this shift in international relations was the dust-up in 2019 between Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron. Bolsonaro, a populist firebrand, was at that time allowing fires to burn wide swathes of the Amazon rainforest. It happens to be the world’s primary “lung” or “carbon sink,” pulling greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere and storing them in trees. Except now the Amazon was belching carbon back into the air.

Speaking for many, the French president accused his Brazilian counterpart of abetting “ecocide.” Sounds like the new genocide, doesn’t it? Bolsonaro shot back that Macron was a neocolonialist and followed up with a sexist jibe aimed at Macron’s wife. 

The underlying issue was sovereignty: Is a rainforest located in Brazil the business of Brazil or of the world? Would, in a hypothetical future scenario, an alliance led by France be within its rights to declare war on Brazil to prevent ecocide, and thereby humanity’s suicide? (Fortunately, 100 countries including Brazil this week pledged instead to cooperate in phasing out deforestation).

Pledges are but words, meaning nothing. If gw is left unabated, Splinterlands, awaits.

Armageddon in various sizes ...

Armageddon, in various sizes, is the central theme of this
amazing graphic from Visual Capitalist.

The U.S.’ Trinity test in 1945, the first-ever nuclear detonation, released around 19 kilotons of explosive energy. The explosion instantly vaporized the tower it stood on and turned the surrounding sand into green glass, before sending a powerful heatwave across the desert.

As the Cold War escalated in the years after WWII, the U.S. and the Soviet Union tested bombs that were at least 500 times greater in explosive power. This infographic visually compares the 10 largest nuclear explosions in history.

Factoid ...

Excellent ...


 Matter Antimatter Concept

50% may be our half of a pair of interactive worlds if researcher theories prove to be correct. In this instance, investigating properties of graphene may explain how reality works.

Physicists sometimes come up with bizarre stories that sound like science fiction. Yet some turn out to be true, like how the curvature of space and time described by Einstein was eventually confirmed by astronomical measurements. Others linger on as mere possibilities or mathematical curiosities.

In a new paper in Physical Review Research, Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) Fellow Victor Galitski and JQI graduate student Alireza Parhizkar investigated the imaginative possibility that our reality is only one half of a pair of interacting worlds. Their mathematical model may offer a fresh perspective for looking at fundamental aspects of reality—including why our universe expands the way it does and how that relates to the most minuscule lengths allowed in quantum mechanics. These topics are critical to understanding our universe and are part of one of the great mysteries of modern physics.

A curved and stretched sheet of graphene laying over another curved sheet creates a new pattern that impacts how electricity moves through the sheets. A new model suggests that similar physics might emerge if two adjacent universes are able to interact. Credit: Alireza Parhizkar, JQI

The pair of scientists stumbled upon this new perspective when they were looking into something quite different, research on sheets of graphene—single atomic layers of carbon in a repeating hexagonal pattern. They realized that experiments on the electrical properties of stacked sheets of graphene produced results that resembled little universes and that the underlying phenomenon might generalize to other areas of physics. In stacks of graphene, new electrical behaviors arise from interactions between the individual sheets, so maybe unique physics could similarly emerge from interacting layers elsewhere—perhaps in cosmological theories about the entire universe.

It's all about the magic angle and the moire patterns it produces.

Research, like conversation, is fractal. :)

Sunday, May 15, 2022

The wild west equation ...

AI's everywhere but you already know that, right? Well, the EU is trying to reign in the nasty part of the tech in writing up laws designed to protect the public from an open ended technology already evolving at rates boggling the mind. The question to ask is, will this attempt to regulate AI actually work? From this perspective, it's questionable at best but worth a shot nevertheless.

It’s a Wild West out there for artificial intelligence. AI applications are increasingly used to make important decisions about humans’ lives with little to no oversight or accountability. This can have devastating consequences: wrongful arrests, incorrect grades for students, and even financial ruin. Women, marginalized groups, and people of color often bear the brunt of AI’s propensity for error and overreach. 

The European Union thinks it has a solution: the mother of all AI laws, called the AI Act. It is the first law that aims to curb these harms by regulating the whole sector. If the EU succeeds, it could set a new global standard for AI oversight around the world.

The AI Act is hugely ambitious. It would require extra checks for “high risk” uses of AI that have the most potential to harm people. This could include systems used for grading exams, recruiting employees, or helping judges make decisions about law and justice. The first draft of the bill also includes bans on uses of AI deemed “unacceptable,” such as scoring people on the basis of their perceived trustworthiness. 

The bill would also restrict law enforcement agencies’ use of facial recognition in public places. There is a loud group of power players, including members of the European Parliament and countries such as Germany, that want a full ban or moratorium on its use in public by both law enforcement and private companies, arguing that the technology enables mass surveillance. 

As someone somewhat well versed in tech and knowing how grossly inefficient government tends to be, a grain of salt applies as we haven't gotten rid of spam on our smart phones so how will this initiative fly regarding deep fakes and other such niceties residing on open ended code forever remaining opaque due to the fact real time programs require real time machine driven software able to modify said code to evolve as needs warrant, something this well intentioned law cannot address in any way, shape or fashion.

Saturday, May 14, 2022

The energy equation

Military spending in the world continues to increase as states and the elites who run them intend to keep things the way they are until nature decides the status quo no longer applies. Estimated expiration date for the status quo, 2040-50 if the climate change trajectory continues to rise as it has for the past 100+ years.

Immense amounts of attention have been paid over the past thirty years to the proven fact that the fossil fuel industry long fought tooth and nail to deny the reality of climate change.

Their denial has been a thorn in the side of anyone pursuing meaningful climate action, to be sure.

But far more decisive is the simple fact that the powerful people who dominate most of the world’s countries have never wanted substantial change either.

And despite all the hollow pledges at COP26, they still don’t.

The reason? Fossil fuels remain the lodestone of geopolitical power.

An energy-dense, liquid fuel source is a prerequisite for conducting modern military operations. Planet Earth has been carved up into territories run by armed gangs whose ability to maintain their power over the long run is inextricably tied to their capacity for violence.

By looking at the chart above, one sees the US as a prime driver in its ability to apply violence in ways defying the imagination.

End game ...

Understanding that it is the State that is most responsible for creating the climate crisis and blocking most of the systems shifts need to fight it is the first essential step to actually beating the climate crisis.

The main reason climate change is accelerating with little meaningful global action taking place to stop it is that the world’s States are all more concerned about what taking real climate action might do to their power than they are protecting people.

In essence, you gotta have a catastrophe before real change happens. For yours truly, a web bulb moment in Pakistan/India comes to mind as the temps there hit 121.1 degrees on May 4th. 

To be continued.