Friday, June 29, 2012

Beyond the human eye

PBS is such a treasure. This video shows why tech, when done right, not only shows how reality works but also how it benefits society when placed in the hands of researchers who know how to use it's power in imaginative ways. Exquisite, powerful, very cool, this is a must see. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Heads Up Display

Dailmation comes through with the mother of heads up display with clips from T1 through 3 showing how the T800 viewed the world.  The Verge has a good piece on Project Glass, Google's effort to build the first viable wearable computer, something also written about in BRT in a post titled, Minority Report, Circa 2012

7 Minutes of Terror

Not a horror flick but rather the incredibly precise moves Nasa's Curiosity must go through in order to safely land on Mars. Simply unbelievable. 

Gaming the System

This is a must see video. The title links you to the transcript of  Bill Moyers interviewing Matt Taibbi and Yves Smith. The only thing missing is the connect to the Fed, the engine enabling the banksters
to steal our money with impunity.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Flat Earth

The ability of some people to ignore reality continues to amaze, particularly when it comes to politicians whose ability to deny and pander to the ignorant knows no bounds. To whit.

Virginia senators answer the call as well.

As written in Common Dreams, the threat to modernity and common sense is gathering steam, something akin to what happened in the French Revolution when the Reign of Terror condemned thousands to death in order to insure that the revolution would "succeed" no matter the cost. 

It doesn't matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn't matter how smart you are. If it doesn't agree with experiment, it's wrong. - Richard Feyman

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Questions, Questions

Brian Greene's The Hidden Reality rocks. Elegantly written, Greenes uses deep physics to explain how reality may work at the ultimate level in a fashion accessible to non math guys like me. In the book, he describes gravity as "the ulitimate free lunch" as gravity can always go to a lower energy state,  (potential transformed into kinetic) which brings up an interesting question this non technical physics buff has had in the back of his mind for quite some time.

Question: If gravity is the ultimate free lunch, could it give rise to the quantum as gravity, by dropping to a lower energy state vis a vis wormhole evaporation (repulsive gravity?), could drive the multiverse through the mechanism of John Wheeler's Quantum Foam a theoretical construct of space-time consisting of minuscule black holes winking in and out of existence, forever powering a reality far vaster and more complex then anyone can imagine.

Gravity, according to M-Theory, is a closed string, able to move at will through all dimensions of the multiverse without a care in the world.

Another intriguing and far better researched conjecture then yours truly's is the notion posited by National Geographic in an excellent article titled Is Dark Energy really Repulsive Gravity?
It's worth considering don't you think?

Friday, June 22, 2012


Being a firm believer in the quantum and the interconnectedness of things, the Physorg post titled
Foundational Concept of Ecology Tested by Experiment peaked this writer's interest as it focuses on the role of invasives in a given environment, a subject delved into at great length for many years by a close friend.

When looking at this, it makes eminent sense as the quantum is connected, where everything is linked to everything else, where probabilities rule along with black swans and, most importantly, why biodiversity must be preserved at all costs if we are to remain a viable species in an increasingly polluted and over populated planet.

Addendum: Elementary school kids did the experiments while researchers tagged along, finding out nature always surprises, without question. :)

Dragonfly larva, a predator supreme

The Lego Turing Machine

Alan Turing lives and the Lego Machine construct of Turing's  seminal concept proves it. Enjoy

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Ignorance - In a Good Way

Ah, another book to read, this time one on Ignorance, How It Drives Science, a work who's title reminds me of Beginner's Mind, the Zen approach of maintaining openness when dealing with the attainment of knowledge, something society needs to do if it is to survive the next 50 - 100 years, a time frame, yours truly thinks, is the most perilous humanity will ever face.

The quantum rules, to ignore it is the expression of true ignorance, the province of intolerance, religion
nationalism and fear, characteristics all too common in today's fractured world.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Shared Intelligence

I've always liked crows. Noisy, inquisitive, sly and above all else, irreverant and smart, these brazen denizens of the woods and fields never fail to make their presence known when a mob of them settle on one or two trees and proceed to "talk" to one another ad nauseum. Seems they also have a wicked sense of humor to go along with all the other traits listed in this post.

But “Gifts of the Crow,” by John N. Marzluff and Tony Angell, includes a description of one behavior that even Aesop never imagined.

“On Kinkazan Island in northern Japan,” the authors write, “jungle crows pick up deer feces — dry pellets of dung — and deftly wedge them in the deer’s ears.”


I checked the notes at the back of the book, and this account comes from another book, written in Japanese. So I can’t give any more information on this astonishing claim, other than to say that Dr. Marzluff, of the University of Washington, and Mr. Angell, an artist and observer of birds, think that the crows do it in the spirit of fun.

Years ago, BRT did a blurb on Alex, a grey parrot brilliant beyond words, something echoed here and in another book titled. Bird Sense.

The notion of primates and cetaceans having a monopoly on true intelligence is  fallacious beyond words as seen by quotes such as these. A question yours truly asks from time to time is; What would have happened if the meteor that wiped out the dinosaurs had not hit earth given the inherent smarts of  theropods, the ancestors of birds.

Utah Raptor
Interesting question  don't you think?

Cuttlefish, Squid & Octopus also qualify as entities possessing extreme intelligence as well. :)


The reason for this post centers on David Brin's concept of Uplift or the idea of more advanced civilizations uplifting those more primitive, an idea Ridley Scott must have known about when making Prometheus, a subject yours truly will briefly touch upon at the end of this article.

Sounds like Prometheus doesn't it? Something creationists mistakenly try to bring into their fold with the notion of intelligent design while Scott was really talking about a radical version of uplift using nantotech, biotech and a sense of sacrifice on the part of a much older civilization in creating an offspring of itself on a far away world called earth. 

As for the movie, the initial grandeur of the film sadly slips away when the Prometheus lands on moon LV 223, a hostile place requiring the up-most in cautionary behavior and proper use of protocol when dealing with the unknown as powerful and forbidding as the likes of this, something this feckless crews totally ignores with the inevitable end result of everyone dying gruesome deaths (save for David & Elizabeth Shaw)  in order to make the film "move" along. In Alien, xenomorph protocol was being followed until Ash upsets the apple cart by letting the alien in, thus setting in motion the most terrifying film of all time.

In spite of this tech's rather harsh criticism on why the crew almost deserved to be sliced and diced by the aforementioned nanotech/biotech lifeforms, the film's really entertaining but the potential of having it become remarkable was sadly lost unlike that of Scott's prior SF work as seen by Blade Runner and Alien, flicks able to stand the test of time without question.

Needless to say, Prometheus II could be spellbinding as no prequel sensibility is involved but rather a push into origins and the unknown at a level rarely seen save for 2001, the  greatest SF movie of all time in this author's humble opinion.

Saturday, June 09, 2012

The Tipping Point

We all know indirectly about phase transitions when we see a pond freezing over. The day before, 50% of the surface of the water is ice free. The next day, ice covers the whole pond. Symmetry breaking of the same order is being predicted for the earth when the 50% tipping point of the earth being used by man becomes the point of no return regarding how life will cope in a world forever changed by us.

As man approaches this phase transition, warning signs continually pop up telling us we better change our ways or else. Consider another piece titled Arctic ice melt sets stage for cold wintersomething yours truly experienced first hand in 2010 in CT or the Winter From Hell fame.  To whit.

Negative Arctic Oscillation conditions are associated with higher pressure in the Arctic and a weakened polar vortex (yellow arrows). A weakened jet stream (black arrows) is characterized by larger-amplitude meanders in its trajectory and a reduction in the wave speed of those meanders.

A diminished latitudinal pressure gradient is linked to a weakening of the winds associated with the polar vortex and jet stream. Since the polar vortex normally retains the cold Arctic air masses up above the Arctic Circle, its weakening allows the cold air to invade lower latitudes.

With these wide swings in weather gradients happening more often and with greater intensity, CT lucked out in 2011 while Europe froze, something akin to runaway blowback or the law of unforeseen consequences writ large. The question to ask now is, when does the Northeast get hit again?

No one knows, do one. - Fats Waller

Friday, June 08, 2012

In Transit

While watching NASA's very cool take on the Venis Transit, one tends to forget the enormous sizes of the the two players in this very rare celestial event. Something to consider without question.

Scientists are peeping toms at the keyhole of eternity. - Arthur Koestler

Monday, June 04, 2012


Needless complexity, in any endeavor, leads to disaster. - Robert E.

A blog I follow closely is Charles Smith's Of Two Minds, a treasure trove of common sense regarding finance and how the system should be changed. In his last post, Income Tax Solution: Apply Social Security Taxes to the Super-Wealthy, complexification writ large is part of why we are in such desperate trouble regarding all things economic.

What we pay to DO our taxes goes beyond imagining...

Everything should be as simple as it is, but not simpler. - Einstein

Saturday, June 02, 2012

Whether Prometheus?

In the menagerie of Craig Venter’s imagination, tiny bugs will save the world. They will be custom bugs, designer bugs — bugs that only Venter can create. He will mix them up in his private laboratory from bits and pieces of DNA, and then he will release them into the air and the water, into smokestacks and oil spills, hospitals and factories and your house.

Each of the bugs will have a mission. Some will be designed to devour things, like pollution. Others will generate food and fuel. There will be bugs to fight global warming, bugs to clean up toxic waste, bugs to manufacture medicine and diagnose disease, and they will all be driven to complete these tasks by the very fibers of their synthetic DNA.

While reading Craig Venter’s Bugs Might Save the World piece in the NY Times Magazine, blowback or the law of unforeseen consequences kept repeating itself like a mantra, slowly ruminating in my mind, reminding me of the word assume, as this article assumes this biotech is a good thing while just mentioning, in passing, the possibilities of catastrophe but not really looking at just how problematic Ventner's endeavor truly is.

Consider the impact of invasive species like the Cane Toad, the Gypsy Moth, Kudzu, the Brown Tree Snake and the Burmese Python, (We won't mention GMO Corn and the problems it's beginning to cause.) plaques innocently unleashed, in part, to make the world a better place but with end results being anything but yet there's more. The more begins with the fact all of these invasives are macro organisms, able to be seen and touched without issue, with their physical connect to the environment able to be understood without too much of a problem. The bugs Ventner's creating are microbial, which means their connect to the environment will happen at a far more intimate and complex level, where the interaction at cellular level of a vast number of micro organisms, artificial and natural + radiation (sun/earth/space) + man-made chemicals, goes beyond calculation, thus opening a very wide door to...

Henry Wu: You're implying that a group composed entirely of female animals will... breed? 
Dr. Ian Malcolm: No, I'm, I'm simply saying that life, uh... finds a way. - Jurassic Park

In titling this post Whether Prometheus?, the naming seems apt as man is venturing into an area beyond his comprehension as the quantum is a seething sea of probabilities, where uncertainty dominates with no real cause and effect paradigm in play, something totally alien to the everyday macro/classical world where decoherence gives us a sense of stability while underneath it all, indetrmancy rules, for without it, nothing could exist in the multiverse of forever.

Seen below are some of the macro invasives raising hell with the environment. 

Addendum: Last but not least, fluorocarbons and their impact on the ozone layer was never predicted even though, in almost every instance, fluorocarbons are inert.