Tuesday, August 09, 2022

Much ado about nothing

 A black-and-white illustration in which two teams of eight horses pull in opposite directions as spectators look on

A 1672 book about the vacuum by the German scientist Otto von Guericke depicts a demonstration he gave for Emperor Ferdinand III, in which teams of horses tried unsuccessfully to pull apart the halves of a vacuum-filled copper sphere. Royal Astronomical Society/Science Source

Much ado about nothing not only applies to Shakespeare's comedy but also about reality as learning about the varieties of nothing is a big deal without question.

Since then, the vacuum has become a bedrock concept in physics, the foundation of any theory of something. Von Guericke’s vacuum was an absence of air. The electromagnetic vacuum is the absence of a medium that can slow down light. And a gravitational vacuum lacks any matter or energy capable of bending space. In each case the specific variety of nothing depends on what sort of something physicists intend to describe. “Sometimes, it’s the way we define a theory,” said Patrick Draper, a theoretical physicist at the University of Illinois.

As modern physicists have grappled with more sophisticated candidates for the ultimate theory of nature, they have encountered a growing multitude of types of nothing. Each has its own behavior as if it’s a different phase of a substance. Increasingly, it seems that the key to understanding the origin and fate of the universe may be a careful accounting of these proliferating varieties of absence.


Past as prologue ...


Nothing is ever permanent on the web. Revolver Maps is very cool tech but it vapor locks on occasion. For yours truly, it's the 3rd time it did the deed by erasing all the contact points of you, my loyal readers. It will build up yet again but it takes time as BRT is not a huge environment as you all know but the content within has value based on the comments I get from time to time.

Best

Robert E. 

It takes time ...


This wonderful image, shows, in part, why chip design and fabrication takes time to develop as said tech is the most complex entity man has ever created on planet earth. From this perspective, at this point in time, Taiwan's TMSC is the mother load of chip manufacturing, a company China desperately wants as China cannot design chips at this level of sophistication thanks to ASML, the one essential needed to create state of the art technology used by virtually every major computer manufacturer in the world. 

Despite years of effort, China hasn’t made much progress in narrowing -- let alone closing -- the gap with the West. Chip-making machinery is still dominated by Dutch firm ASML, despite the efforts of state science institutions and firms like Naura Technology Group Co. to design rival lithography machines. Japanese firms still control the supply of photoresists, a key chemical. Though tech giants such as Huawei drove intense research of local alternatives to US hardware, the country still relies on imports to meet the majority of its $155 billion in annual chip needs.


Monday, August 08, 2022

Commander-in-chief ...


As George Orwell so famously said, It is the same in all wars; the soldiers do the fighting, the journalists do the shouting, and no true patriot ever gets near a front-line trench, except on the briefest of propaganda tours.

Sounds like 45, you know, the self proclaimed genius who knew everything, the one who talked tough about war with blithe confidence as he never fought in one, let alone serve in any way, shape or fashion.

But the gulf between Trump and the generals was not really about money or practicalities, just as their endless policy battles were not only about clashing views on whether to withdraw from Afghanistan or how to combat the nuclear threat posed by North Korea and Iran. The divide was also a matter of values, of how they viewed the United States itself. That was never clearer than when Trump told his new chief of staff, John Kelly—like Mattis, a retired Marine Corps general—about his vision for Independence Day. “Look, I don’t want any wounded guys in the parade,” Trump said. “This doesn’t look good for me.” He explained with distaste that at the Bastille Day parade there had been several formations of injured veterans, including wheelchair-bound soldiers who had lost limbs in battle.

Kelly could not believe what he was hearing. “Those are the heroes,” he told Trump. “In our society, there’s only one group of people who are more heroic than they are—and they are buried over in Arlington.” Kelly did not mention that his own son Robert, a lieutenant killed in action in Afghanistan, was among the dead interred there.

“I don’t want them,” Trump repeated. “It doesn’t look good for me.”

President Bone Spurs 

Thursday, July 28, 2022

Emma

Gratitude & love 101. :)

It is also worth devoting three minutes to a video by another author, also available on YouTube, and treating the story of a more than 20-year “friendship” between a certain diver and a shark (a female Emma, to be precise). During subsequent encounters, the fish recognized “its” man and probably felt “gratitude” towards him, in its own way, for, among other things, removing the fishermen’s hooks from its mouth.

Time we change not only our view of sharks but also about life in general as man has to change how business is done on planet earth before it's too late.

Undoing Reagan


Undoing Reagan applies as the offshoring of manufacturing in order to gin profits for stockholders thanks to Reagan's push to deregulate is now being reversed thanks to a policy bill to counter China, the prime recipient of our manufacturing largess back when Ronnie was president.

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday passed an expansive $280 billion bill aimed at building up America’s manufacturing and technological edge to counter China, embracing in an overwhelming bipartisan vote the most significant government intervention in industrial policy in decades.

The legislation reflected a remarkable and rare consensus in a polarized Congress in favor of forging a long-term strategy to address the nation’s intensifying geopolitical rivalry with Beijing. The plan is centered around investing federal money into cutting-edge technologies and innovations to bolster the nation’s industrial, technological and military strength.

The measure passed 64 to 33, with 17 Republicans voting in favor. The bipartisan support illustrated how commercial and military competition with Beijing — as well as the promise of thousands of new American jobs — has dramatically shifted longstanding party orthodoxies, generating agreement among Republicans who once had eschewed government intervention in the markets and Democrats who had resisted showering big companies with federal largess.

Albeit not perfect but it's about time without question.

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Mudder



Baseball is filled with traditions and heroes like Satchel Page and the Babe, where defense has the ball and no time limit applies as baseball resembles life with intermittent moments of intense activity interspersed with longer periods of stillness. With this in mind, the notion of only one place on earth, located in NJ in a small river known as the Deleware, is the one essential ingredient able to transform baseballs of shiny entities unable to be grasped into objects ready to be put into play without exception.

Jim Bintliff and his family have been selling Delaware River mud to Major League Baseball for decades. Here, he fills a bucket in New Jersey.


Read the entire NYTime piece to learn more about an arcane craft unknown to this writer until today. :)

Influencers "R" us


This illustration resembles the bubble gum art of the early 60s, flat, superficial and almost always smiling, characteristics one and all of 21st century emojis, cartoon images enabling one to communicate without using words, not necessitating the need to write with any degree of skill but ... in today's world, that's all you need, in part, to become an influencer, a person to be followed as this provides a possible gateway to become a lobbyist internet style. 

The "Grinning Face" emoji, from the Twemoji set

AT FIRST GLANCE, the posts appeared to have nothing in common. A Philadelphia-area attorney who proffers financial advice urged her 1,700 Twitter followers to sign up for a credit union. A 23-year-old climate activist in Texas rallied her 49,000 fans on TikTok and Instagram to join a mailing list promoting Democrats in statewide offices. A physical therapist for the elderly in Florida prodded her 3,900 Instagram followers to sign a petition demanding that Congress pass paid medical leave, sharing the story of her grandmother’s battle with dementia. Each of these posts was funded by a well-heeled advocacy organization: the Credit Union National Association, the Democratic Association of Secretaries of State, and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Action.

Even though none of the people reading these posts knew it, however, they were all made possible by the same company: Urban Legend, a small ad-tech startup operating out of a loft in Alexandria, 

Staffed by a plucky 14-person team, Urban Legend keeps its largest asset carefully hidden away inside its servers: an army of 700 social media influencers who command varying degrees of allegiance from audiences that collectively number in the tens of millions. The company has painstakingly cultivated this roster to reflect every conceivable niche of society reflected on the internet: makeup artists, Nascar drivers, home improvement gurus, teachers, doulas, Real Housewives stars, mommy bloggers, NFL quarterbacks, Olympians, and the occasional Fox News pundit.

These influencers are paired with clients on Urban Legend’s private platform, the Exchange, where buyers spell out the parameters of the message they want to push to the public and set a budget. Influencers snatch the best available offers from a menu and are then free to craft the campaign’s message, molding it to the rhythms and vernacular of their followers. Clients only pay for each “conversion” an influencer nets—$1.25, say, for every follower who joins a newsletter. In two years, Urban Legend’s influencers have run more than 400 campaigns, connecting people to its clients millions of times. Henri Makembe, a veteran Democratic campaign strategist in Washington who has worked with Urban Legend several times, compared the concept to “unboxing” videos—when an influencer unwraps and showcases a product sent to them by a brand. Such product influencers are a $15 billion marketing industry. “Now we’re realizing, ‘Oh: We can do that with an idea,’” Makembe says.

Image may contain Text Label Graphics and Art

 Illustration: Maria Frade

Remember ... Like baseball, selling influence is a pastime that rarely gets reinvented.

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Possum :)


I've always liked these guys, especially after gently consigning a big one to the great outdoors after discovering his quiet invasion of the dog's food bag, happily scarfing down the chow with nary a care in the world. :) Gnarly, as per the Atlantic article, is apt but also is the benign impact possums have on the environment as they are intense insectivores with a predilection for ticks, vicious little vampires carrying Lyme and other such diseases, ready to be injected into your blood stream after finishing up it's meal.

When she makes her nighttime appearance—in a leafy corner of the yard, maybe, or along a power line slung across an alley—you’ll see her eyes first, two bright-greenish orbs, floating side by side in the gloom. Your own eyes will adjust to size up her lurking silhouette: two ratty ears, candy-corn teeth, a loaf of a body, and a spindly tail behind her. She might gape or hiss like she craves human flesh, sending shivers up your spine. At first glance, this lumbering night creature might seem more foe than friend. But look closer and take her in: a harmless opossum, in all her scruffy glory.

Today, the Virginia opossum can be found basically all over North America: in cities and suburbs, fields and forests. One interloping opossum was recently tossed out of a Brooklyn bar. She thrives alongside humans, and she thrives without them, too. In his 2016 essay titled “Everything What’s Wrong of Possums,” the writer Daniel M. Lavery wondered what, exactly, an opossum eats: “IS IT FRUIT? IS IT … NIGHT DIRT? IS IT OTHER RATS?” The answer is yes. The opossum shovels up all of those things like the Dyson of the natural world. She savors carrion, cockroaches, earthworms, and insect exoskeletons. She feasts on small mice, and ticks that attach themselves to her hide. In cities she gobbles down rotten vegetables, bones, and greasy paper from your garbage. She scavenges—she cleans the streets! Opossums “have their own job,” Donna Holmes Parks, a biology professor at the University of Idaho, told me. And for all that hard work, she added, “they deserve to be admired.”

Exactly. :)