Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Extraneous to a fault

The last time I checked, Indiana's law is somewhat extraneous, misleading and dangerous.

Maybe Pence should get a life or read a little bit. Either way, it wouldn't hurt.


In other words, a quick and easy way to modify life forms by editing the gene in near real time, a notion giving researchers righteous pause along the lines of researchers and AI in terms of what this incredibly powerful technology can mean to mankind. 

Custom tailoring - closer than you think when you think about it.

Khan anyone?

The best of all the ST movies though Into Darkness is pretty damn good as well. :)

Of Beauty & Peril

Of beauty and peril, this is what Globaia presents to the world regarding the Anthropocene, epoch, an unofficial but accurate term describing the impact of man on planet earth. The data driven graphics of this extraordinarily beautiful site will astound you without question. Seen below is an animation of just one of the datagraphic environments contained in this truly important resource on the web.

BRT did a blurb on the Anthropocene, about a week ago, listing how lacking we have been as stewards of this precious place we call home, not an intelligent career move if we want to remain a viable species in the cosmic scheme of things as we move further into the future. Seen below is man's ability to generate CO2 24/7.


It's easy to pollute a stream in minutes with an oil spill or heat up the ocean in decades but how long does it take to recover from such actions? The answer, at least on the gw side, is alarming to say the least.

Any questions?

Addendum: The Exxon Valdez oil spill continues on ... 25+ years later.


BRT, as my loyal readers know, has written copiously about AI and the implications this profoundly powerful tech will have on mankind. Now, there is a new way to radically accelerate the ability for machines to learn, a most interesting prospect as we move further into the 21st century.

Makes one think, doesn't it?

Monday, March 30, 2015

What Happens If ...

Something to consider as we continue to produce GMOs, herbicides & insecticides of ever increasing virulence.

On looking down :)

Does one every look down, down to see the sidewalk or road or whatever when walking through whatever, something yours truly does quite often, as seen by this pix taken in Alexandria Old Town, a haunt my wife and I take about every year or so. This blurb is not about the town but rather about quality and pride of craftsmanship, a notion all too rare in this age of ugly shopping malls, movies of little or no consequence and writing posted all over the web that's egregious at best, not to mention the unmentionable known as congress, where ignorance and slovenliness of thought reigns supreme.  In towns like Alexandria, pride of things well made, permeate the place, particularly in its sidewalks well over 150 - 250 years old, still looking right, still functioning, still interesting to look at in 2015. 

Climate and access to quality resources of appropriate material obviously plays a very large part on what can be built but still, seeing this kind of work underfoot is pretty cool, one must admit. So, as a reminder, look down once in a while. It won't hurt. :)

The hose reel knocks me out. :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Brave New World/84

Huxley was prescient about what is happening today in America, circa 2015, when he wrote this bit of incendiary and accurate prose in Brave New World Revisited circa 1958. Food for thought, don't you think?

The original, written in 1931.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

An Existential Question

The modern version of Sisyphus is the filling out of endless forms, where bureaucracy reigns supreme, where stupidity and inefficiency is compounded by the inept application of tech as seen in areas such as health care, taxes and the military, topics covered with biting humor and insight by David Graeber in his new book titled The Utopia of Rules. Click here to read an excerpt.

As proof , check out the metastasizing US Tax Code, a document set that doubles every 24 years.

I rest my case.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Reality check :)

In spite of a functionally illiterate congress constantly downgrading the importance of science, science has had a very good week, with possible new takes on reality akin to science fiction of the 3rd kind.

Better yet, here's the backgrounder on how to build a black hole. :)

Stone Soup

How did life begin on earth 4+ billion years ago, a mystery that has plagued scientists and philosophers for thousands of years, a mystery that may finally be solved if recent research findings prove to be true.

Stone soup rules. :)

Sunday, March 22, 2015


I'll bet almost everyone reading this post has dealt with packing peanuts, you know, the white, seemingly lighter then air chaff that flies all over the place when 1. you unpack the thing you ordered and 2, said peanuts fly all over the place when you try to put them in the trash because they cannot be recycled, until now.

Sounds like a plan to me. Now all we need are recycling centers that will bag up the peanuts and ship them off to become part of better and cheaper batteries while helping to protect the environment. :)

Saturday, March 21, 2015


30% +of all arable land is used to feed or house these guys, along with pigs, chickens and  turkeys, an astounding percentage of earth's resources to say the least, but that's not all.

When emissions from land use and land use change are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure. 

And it accounts for respectively 37 percent of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO2), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants, and 64 percent of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain.

Livestock now use 30 percent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 percent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 percent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing. 

But there is another way.

Entomophagy, a viable alternative for the following reasons.

Two billion people live on insects without issue, something to consider don't you think?

The Anthropocene

BRT's Something to Consider, a riff on man's 21st century version of The Great Dying, has now been codified by Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen as The Anthropocene Epoch: How We Became Nature, a frightening scenario whose impact is becoming ever more apparent as we move further into the future.

As per WTFU, the message is becoming ever more clear, we must change or go the way of the dodo when earth recovers from our transgressions to once again, become a viable place for a new civilization to rise, wise enough to work in concert with nature and not destroy it, something radically different from the approach man has taken for the past 5000 years.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Circadian rhythms & then some

Man's a diurnal creature, a being who, way back when, worked by day and slept by night, something not being done now as we move further into the age of never ending light, where the notion of adhering to circadian rhythms has gone the way of the dodo with potentially catastrophic results if the findings of one researcher proves to be true.

Where it gets interesting

Maybe this is why the world seems to be so chaotic, so crazed, so over stressed and so amped. Makes sense to me as yours truly now goes to bed earlier, with no light, no sound, just darkness, similar to how man did it back in the day.

Darkness, Darkness
Be my pillow
Take my hand
And let me sleep
In the coolness of your shadow
In the silence of your deep

Darkness, Darkness
Hide my yearning
For the things I cannot be
Keep my mind from constant turning
Toward the things I cannot see now
Things I cannot see now
Things I cannot see

Darkness, darkness,
Long and lonesome,
Ease the day that brings me pain.
I have felt the edge of sadness,
I have known the depth of fear.
Darkness, darkness, be my blanket,
Cover me with the endless night,
Take away, take away the pain of knowing,
Fill the emptiness of right now,
Emptiness of right now, now, now
Emptiness of ri-ight now.

Darkness, darkness, be my pillow,
Take my hand, and let me sleep.
In the coolness of your shadow,
In the silence, the silence of your deep.
Darkness, darkness, be my blanket,
Cover me with the endless night,
Take away, take away the pain of knowing
Fill the emptiness of right now,
Emptiness of right now now now
Emptiness of right....
Oh yeah Oh yeah
Emptiness, emptiness
Oh yeah  - Jesse Colin Young, The Youngbloods

A really big deal

BRT has waxed enthusiastic about Graphene since 2008 as this material has the potential to change how man conducts business on planet earth due to the unique characteristics of a one atom thick sheet of carbon, the same exact thing as pencil lead save for the form factor just described. Because of this, the difficulty of getting enough graphene to do something serious has been problematic until now.

It gets better.

Tech, like money, never sleeps. :)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Highs & Lows of Planet Earth

Orders of magnitude?

Carbon 3D's approach to 3D printing could be a game changer without question.

A tiny wonder

On a walk on the beach, yours truly chanced upon this little bit of wonder, an impossibly thin strand of ice extending into space, unencumbered by gravity or the wind, unnoticed by all as the day was the first true harbinger of spring in NE, something us rubes have been pining for from way back when.


Why are barns red?

Yours truly loves factoids, you know, the kind that illuminate just how wonderful and rich the reality in which we all live truly is. In this light, here is a enlightening explanation of why barns are always red. :)

Any questions? :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Haven't seen Ex Machina yet but I will as it's gotten excellent reviews while posing questions similar to the Start point for the Terminator piece posted in BRT regarding AI and the potential dangers it presents to humanity. 

Adding to this is a truly excellent paper from AI researchers, like Horvitz, who put together a survey of research questions for robust and beneficial AI in hopes of keeping the bad genie in the bottle when AI becomes sentient, as it surely will, as we move further into the 21st century.

Something to consider, don't you think? Click the Futre of Life Institute link who posted the survey. Worthwhile without a doubt. PS. Go to To Be or Not to Be to see where AI can get it's literary chops.

Monday, March 09, 2015


Exquisite technology never grows old. For example, this shot was taken with a 60+ year old 135mm f 2.8 Steinheil lens given to yours truly by his grandfather. The shapness of the image is as good as it gets, something truly remarkable in this day and age of advanced technology. As an added bonus, the beast is incased in solid aircraft grade alumenum weighing almost 3 lbs, a weapon of mass destruction if there ever was one. Without question, Gramps knew what quality mean't, something Robert Persig waxed poetic about in his two masterworks, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and Lila

House Swap :)

A charming video showing how Hermit Crabs house swap. Nature never dissapoints. :)

To Be or Not to Be ...

Writing is hard, something yours truly knows first hand as, prior to the wonderful Elements of Style, said blogger wrote egregiously bad prose even though I was an BA english major back in the day. With this notwithstanding, pardon the pun, the NY Times post If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You Even Know? poses some interesting questions regarding the ascent of the digital writer in the connected world of 2015.


It’s mainly robo-journalism now, but it doesn’t stop there. As software stealthily replaces us as communicators, algorithmic content is rapidly permeating the nooks and crannies of our culture, from government affairs to fantasy football to reviews of your next pair of shoes.

Something to think about if you ask me but fear not ... this is a humble human writing this "wonderful" prose to you, my faithful readers. :)