Thursday, June 01, 2023

Musica universalis

 Music of the spheres lives whenever black holes merge, proving Einstein to be right yet again.

When two black holes slam together, they don’t make a sound. And yet, this is what we hear if we listen closely.

[CLIP: Black hole “chirp”]

Let’s listen again. 

[CLIP: Black hole “chirp”]

That “chirp” is what we heard from two black holes that slammed together about a billion light-years from Earth. The tone rises as they spiral closer together, and abruptly stops when they merge.

But sound can’t travel through the vacuum of space. So what exactly are we hearing?

Each of these black holes weighs as much as several stars; hefty enough that as they pass through space they make waves— gravitational waves, specifically.   

These waves are undulations in the fabric of spacetime that fan outwards at the speed of light, like ripples on a cosmic pond. 

Albert Einstein predicted this phenomenon in 1916, based on his theory of general relativity, but was skeptical that gravitational waves could ever be detected.

Even the strong ones from colliding black holes produce ripples roughly a thousandth the size of a proton.

It took almost a century for scientists to prove him wrong. 

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Pandora's Box ...

 Sam Altman, chief executive of OpenAI, surrounded by reporters in Washington, D.C.

Executives from three of the leading A.I. companies, including Sam Altman, chief executive of OpenAI, have signed the open letter.Credit...Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA, via Shutterstock

Pandora's Box applies as AI, the open-ended tech, is loose and the entities creating it have no idea how to control it as we will never know how AI works due to the fact software has to design software in order to interact, in real time, to the vagaries of the world. As often stated in BRT, we have four existential issues facing mankind, global warming, nuclear war, AI and environmental degradation as the current way man produces food and pollutes the environment is not sustainable in any way, shape or fashion. 

Pandora's Box indeed.

Saturday, May 27, 2023

"a continuous surface connection" ...

An aerial view of a large area of privately owned forest that mostly sits underwater, next to the Roanoke River.

The question for the justices was how to determine which wetlands qualify as such waters.
Credit...Erin Schaff/The New York Times.

The fascist court strikes yet again. It's all about the money according to the worst SC in history.

The Supreme Court on Thursday curtailed the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to police millions of acres of wetlands, delivering another setback to the agency’s ability to combat pollution.

Writing for five justices, Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. said that the Clean Water Act does not allow the agency to regulate discharges into wetlands near bodies of water unless they have “a continuous surface connection” to those waters.

The decision was a second major blow to the E.P.A.’s authority and to the power of administrative agencies generally. Last year, the court limited the E.P.A.’s power to address climate change under the Clean Air Act.

Experts in environmental law said the decision would leave many wetlands subject to pollution without penalty, sharply undercutting the E.P.A.’s authority to protect them under the Clean Water Act.

“This is a really disastrous outcome for wetlands, which have become absolutely vital for biodiversity preservation and flood control,” said Patrick Parenteau, a professor at Vermont Law School.

Question, what does "a continuous surface connection" to those waters mean as wetlands are 3 dimensional entities, not two but to Alito, scientific accuracy matters not, right?

Nixon must be rolling over in his grave.

For the public good :)

Yours truly cherishes Wikipedia, an invaluable resource able to keep this writer honest when discussing the vagaries of reality from the perspective of an ordinary American under the auspices of BRT, the "wonderful" blog started in the year of our lord 2007. :) Why you might ask? Because Wikipedia's self-correcting. If someone writes about something incorrectly, another fixes the mistake, a process akin to how science works as science is a discipline designed to be disproved, a quality held most dear by this rube without question. :)

Interesting enough, Wikopedia was founded the same year as BRT so perhaps fate played a hand in the creation of both enterprises. :)

Why Wikipedia matters.

Yet in an era when Silicon Valley's promises look less gilded than before, Wikipedia shines by comparison. It is the only not-for-profit site in the top 10, and one of only a handful in the top 100. It does not plaster itself with advertising, intrude on privacy, or provide a breeding ground for neo-Nazi trolling. Like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, it broadcasts user-generated content. Unlike them, it makes its product de-personified, collaborative, and for the general good. More than an encyclopedia, Wikipedia has become a community, a library, a constitution, an experiment, a political manifesto—the closest thing there is to an online public square. It is one of the few remaining places that retains the faintly utopian glow of the early World Wide Web. A free encyclopedia encompassing the whole of human knowledge, written almost entirely by unpaid volunteers: Can you believe that was the one that worked?

How cool is that? :)

Addendum: Click here to learn how Wikipedia came to be. :)

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Blood & Sex :)

The notion of vampire survival always involving blood and sex is apt because the vampire, as depicted by Bram Stroker's Dracula, must be physically alluring to enable the bloodsucker to get close enough to its intended victim in order to feed, something akin to what male milkweed butterflies do in drinking milkweed toxins in order to attract females, actions depicted in great detail in a Live Science article deliciously titled Milkweed butterflies tear open caterpillars and drink them alive.

Not all caterpillars grow up to be beautiful butterflies. Some become living milkshakes for their dads, who guzzle caterpillar body fluids to attract the ladies.

Recently, scientists reported the first evidence of butterflies sipping from the bodies of caterpillars — dead and alive. They observed adult milkweed butterflies in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, using tiny claws on their feet to scratch wounds in caterpillars' bodies so they could lap the liquid that oozed out. 

Male butterflies seek certain compounds produced by milkweed (flowering plants in the family Apocynaceae), which repel predators and help the butterflies produce pheromones that attract females. Since caterpillars are stuffed with juices from chewed-up plants, they make an easy target for butterflies looking to chemically boost their attractiveness to females. 

Blood and sex applies, does it not? :)

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Zeno's Paradox

Yours truly has written copiously about quality and how its intimately connected to morals even if the quality attained in the creation of something is intended for a purpose not aligned with morality. Think Bernays and Goebbels to see why this take rings true. With this being said, an excellent NYTimes article titled Tyranny of 'the Best' describes Skinner box tendencies many people exhibit when obsessing about finding the best of any given thing while totally missing out on what it means to be truly alive. As one fairly cognizant about how data is packaged and dissiminated, I can honestly say I'm not a chipmunk spinning in a wheel driven to find out what 'the best' actually means, something most comforting while others continue their endless pursuit of what's 'the Best' is in a fashion similar to Zeno's Paradox where Achilles never wins.

Without 0, the Tortoise always wins. :)

Zeno's Paradox rules as does the Skinner Box. :)

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Joe B's The Redding Express :)

 It's all about trains and the enthusiasm and care it takes to keep the trains running on time. Brings back a lot of memories yours truly had as a kid. Thanks to Bert and Joe in making this video a lot of fun to do. :)

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Let there be light/rev II

Let there be light/rev II

Using ESO’s Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy (VISTA), astronomers have created a vast infrared atlas of five nearby stellar nurseries by piecing together more than one million images. These large mosaics reveal young stars in the making, embedded in thick clouds of dust. Thanks to these observations, astronomers have a unique tool with which to decipher the complex puzzle of stellar birth.

“In these images we can detect even the faintest sources of light, like stars far less massive than the Sun, revealing objects that no one has ever seen before,” says Stefan Meingast, an astronomer at the University of Vienna in Austria and lead author of the new study published today in Astronomy & Astrophysics. “This will allow us to understand the processes that transform gas and dust into stars.”

Stars form when clouds of gas and dust collapse under their own gravity, but the details of how this happens are not fully understood. How many stars are born out of a cloud? How massive are they? How many stars will also have planets?

Questions, questions, never-ending in a reality we will never fully understand. 

Gotta do one more. :)

As stated before, we are but a dust mote in god's eye.

Friday, May 05, 2023

And so it goes - K. Vonnegut

And so it goes., the famous quote by the esteemed K. Vonnegut, applies when looking at this AI generated "Hopper," created by one connecting to Creative Fabrica and typing in the immortal sentence "a woman looking outside the window by Edward Hopper." to produce the work in seconds, a timeframe altogether different from when I painted Angle Line in the year of our lord 1977.

Angle Line - 1977 Acrylic 60" X 48"

As stated in a BRT piece titled The tool becoming the master, it's evident AI's becoming the irresistible low hanging fruit whereby the ceding of the ability to do anything of value is better left to a machine because it's just so easy to do unless the power goes off, right?