Thursday, June 30, 2016

A Matter of Size

A wonderful article in Nautilus titled Can a Living Creature Be as Big as a Galaxy? is informative to the max, complete with a terrific set of illustrations, courtesy John Hendrix.

Addendum: What about on the supersize end of the spectrum? William S. Burroughs, in his novel The Ticket That Exploded, imagined that beneath a planetary surface, lies “a vast mineral consciousness near absolute zero thinking in slow formations of crystal.” The astronomer Fred Hoyle wrote dramatically and convincingly of a sentient hyper-intelligent “Black Cloud,” comparable to Earth-sun distance. His idea presaged the concept of Dyson spheres, massive structures that completely surround a star and capture most of its energy. It is also supported by calculations that my colleague Fred Adams and I are performing, that indicate that the most effective information-processing structures in the current-day galaxy might be catalyzed within the sooty winds ejected by dying red giant stars. For a few tens of thousands of years, dust-shrouded red giants provide enough energy, a large enough entropy gradient, and enough raw material to potentially out-compute the biospheres of a billion Earth-like planets.

Food for thought, eh? :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Insanity Is ...

Apart from Einstein's wonderful definition of insanity "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.", there are different kinds of insanity like that of the US and it's decent into this wonderful realm regarding politics or the lack thereof.

Indicators of this dire future becoming true are everywhere from dysfunctional governance, healthcare and infrastructure decay to gross financial inequality ginned by WS and the Military/Industrial/Congressional Complex. Factor in the 2016 election as catalyst with two corrupt entities doing the drill and add in the dark troika of environmental degradation, resource depletion and global warming and you have a CF in the making. 

  • Term Limits: 2 for senate, 4 for house.
  • No Gerrymandering.
  • 10 year term for SC justices.
  • Binding Referendums for issues affecting all Americans. Vietnam, Iraq & Libya anyone?
  • No revolving door: When you're out of politics, you don't lobby.
  • Public financing of campaigns.
  • Part time Congress with pay parsed out accordingly.
  • Perks end when politicians leave office.
  • HC for politicians, the same as the rest of us.
  • Congress shall obey the laws they pass.
  • No self imposed raises.
  • Transparency in terms of how budgets are created.
  • Daily minutes of senate and house posted online.
  • Single payer HC. Everybody in, nobody out.
  • Restore our civil rights.
  • Balance the budget with emphasis given to rebuilding infrastructure and not to endless wars.
Any questions?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

This is the end

A great writer just died, Michael Herr, a former Esquire reporter who covered Nam big time, brought home the futility of an absurd war in ways never to be forgotten in Dispatches, the script for Full Metal Jacket and the hypnotic and memorizing intro to Apocalypse Now.

Everyone is terribly sorry about what the war is doing to Vietnam and the Vietnamese, especially since the cities have been brought into it, although somehow most of the official expressions of grief have about them that taint of Presidential sorrow, turning a little grinny around the edges. The Tet Offensive changed everything here, made this an entirely different war, made it Something Else. ("Nonsense," a colonel told me. "We're just doing the same things in the cities that we've done in the boonies, why … for years!" He was not the same man who said, "We had to destroy Bentre in order to save it," but he might have been. He'd be hip to that.) Before Tet, there was some clean touch to jungle encounters, some virtue to their brevity, always the promise of quick release from whatever horror there was. The war went on in bursts, meeting engagements; and covering it—particularly in the Highlands and the Delta, II Corps and IV Corps—you were always a tourist, a tripper who could summon up helicopters like taxis. You would taxi in, the war would break over you suddenly and then go away, and you would taxi out. Enough chances were taken to leave you exhilarated, and, except for the hangovers that any cheap thrill will give you, it was pleasant enough. Now, it is awful, just plain awful, awful without relief. (A friend on The New York Times told me that he didn't mind his nightmares so much as his waking impulse to file on them.) It has finally become that kind of conventional war that the Command so longed for, and it is not going well. And for every month that it continues not going well, the scope of its destruction is enlarged. We are not really a particularly brutal people, certainly no more brutal now than we've been in other wars, acquiring it as the war goes on. But our machine is devastating. And versatile. It can do almost everything but stop.

Michael Herr

Yours truly is waiting for the Michael Herr of 2016 to do a number on America's absurd wars in the Middle East as people need to get a sense of just much was lost for the sake of oil, money and the military/industrial/congressional complex.


ESPER - Revisited

The ESPER Machine, in Blade Runner, revisited. To yours truly, this was the coolest part of the film.  Seen below is the original, which is as memorizing today as it was back in 1982 when BR was released.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A significant sacrifice

Cassini has been a wonder. Not only in creating photographs of incredible beauty but also in finding out that life could reside on Enceladus, a small Saturnian moon that  most likely has a subsurface ocean thanks to the immense tidal pulls of it's massive master along with Titan, the largest moon in the solar system awash in organics, complete with a weather system early similar to earth driven by methane, not water.  To prevent any contamination or harm to said possible life, this noble probe will end it's existence by merging with Saturn in 2017.

Science, when done right, never disappoints.

Reflecting on Reality

From day into night is the basis of this short clip. Enjoy

Background Checks :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Eat Sh**T & Die

National politicians are covered by generous HC packages as we all know. Full boat stuff that these geniuses will get for the REST OF THEIR LIVES after serving one term, thanks to our stupid largess, gives them a huge leg up on living large but if your a poor rube living in, for the most part, a repubican-governed southern state that refused Medicare Expansion, the chances of getting medicare, unless said rube is truly poor, is chancy at best.

This is where education comes in because if people truly understood how the ultra rich game the system by doing the us against them bit, they would revolt and vote the bastards out of office who have systemically screwed the citizens they are suppose to represent. 

Scott Walker anyone?

Addendum: Click here to access the NY Times post. Click the graphic to access the superb interactive NY Times map to see how Americans are getting shafted by our wonderful politicians.

Betting on a 1000

When talking about compute power, the inevitable question is, how many cores can you implement to enable massive parallism to happen. In SOTA cell phones, it's either 4 or 8. In a Mac Pro or amped Linux/Win system, 12 but how about a 1000 powered by AAs?

It gets better.

Beyond Real Time has arrived. :)

Click here to get the full skinny on this bad boy.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer Solstice Yet Again

Every time yours truly experiences another summer solstice, sadness ensues as the days will now get shorter by about two minutes a day as we move toward the Winter Solstice on Dec 20th whereby the annual move toward the light begins yet again. Summer's this writer's favorite as light and warmth are the operative terms of the season though August gets rather sticky in this part of CT. The history of determining the solstice goes way back when a very intelligent guy named Eratosthenes discovered not only when the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere of earth occurs but also calculated how big our plant truly is. Awesome says it all. :)

Can you feel the heat? If you find yourself north of the equator, astronomical summer kicks off today with the arrival of the summer solstice. In the southern hemisphere, the reverse is true, as today’s solstice marks the start of winter.

Thank our wacky seasons, and the 23.4 degree tilt of the Earth’s axis for the variation in insolation. Today, all along the Tropic of Cancer at latitude 23.4 degrees north, folks will experience what’s known as Lahiana Noon, as the Sun passes through the zenith directly overhead. Eratosthenes first noted this phenomena in 3rd century BC from an account in the town of Syene (modern day Aswan), 925 kilometers to the south of Alexandria, Egypt. The account mentioned how, at noon on the day of the solstice, the Sun shined straight down a local well, and cast no shadows. He went on to correctly deduce that the differing shadow angles between the two locales is due to the curvature of the Earth, and went on to calculate the curvature of the planet for good measure. Not a bad bit of reasoning, for an experiment that you can do today.

Yet another graphic showing our relation to Sol and the Summer Solstice. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Biodiversity 101

Looking at this guy tells one why biodiversity is NOT AN OPTION. Any questions?

The Jurists

Arcimboldo is a big favorite of yours truly. His astounding portraits, comprised of fish, fruit, trees, earth, paper, you name it, are artistically brilliant and endlessly fascinating but this post isn't about the genius of Arcimboldo but rather the undue and often ugly influence of lawyers in government, something his portrait, titled, The Jurist, indirectly depicts in rather accurate fashion.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Everything is connected

Everything is connected as shown by this very interesting analysis of how different the duality of light truly is when viewed as a particle (photon) or as a wave depending on how the experiment is configured. Interesting to say the least.

The process is most often described in terms of the particle nature of light. An atom or molecule in a fluorescent tube enters an excited state when it’s heated, and spontaneously decays to a lower energy state, releasing a photon — the fundamental particle of light. When the photon enters your eye, something similar happens, but in reverse. The photon is absorbed by a molecule in the retina, and its energy boosts the molecule into an excited state.

But light is both a particle and a wave, and this duality is fundamental to the physics that rules the world of atoms and molecules. Despite this significance, the wave nature of light was often ignored, until recently.

It gets better.

According to Murch, all that a photon detector can tell you about spontaneous emission is whether an atom is in its excited state or its ground state. On the other hand, interferometers can catch the atom diffusing through a quantum “state space” made up of all the possible combinations of its two energy states.

What they discovered was really strange. When viewing light in its wave nature, the researchers observed that the artificial atom could move from a lower energy state to a higher one even as it decayed.


By one of the weirdest of all quantum effects — entanglement. According to quantum physics, when an atom emits light, the light and the atoms must become connected, or entangled, so that measuring a property of one instantly reveals the value of that property for the other, no matter how far away it is.

The Way of Tao rules, everything is connected, something known for over 3000 years.

A Moment of Silence

Every time I hear the words A Moment of Silence in reference to yet another shooting by some deranged bastard looking for either justification for his miserable existence or belief in some twisted version of religion X, makes me want to scream. 90% of us want GUN CONTROL! You know, something akin to the ATF version whereby citizen X is going to be fingerprinted, licensed and gun in hand, registered, or you go to jail. The ATF law, The National Fire Arms Act, has been in existence for over 80 years yet is NOT the law we need implemented. Now is the time to do this so when Ryan asked for, yet again, a moment of silence, some pols actually said F' you and rightfully stated the fact the moment of silence was a disgrace to the innocents killed. This is why we need referendums, this is why we need term limits, this is why we need to take back our country from the fools in congress because this crap cannot be allowed to continue. 

But something actually good happened ...

Where's the bill? We the people demand action, NOW!!!


Omar Mateen bought the assault rifle he used to kill 49 people at Pulse nightclub eight days before Sunday's shooting. The owner of the store that sold him the gun, St. Lucie Shooting Center, said on Tuesday that Mateen passed a background check. (In Florida, a background check is essentially just a query of several databases to determine whether the buyer has any felony convictions, active warrants or domestic-violence injunctions.)

But that was it! There was no waiting period. Under Florida law, he did not need a permit to purchase or carry the rifle, nor a license to own it. 

Here are five things that are harder to get in the state of Florida than an assault rifle.
  1. Abortion
  2. Drivers's License
  3. Solar Panels
  4. Voter-registration cards
  5. An exotic animal
Am I missing something here?

The NET is NOW a UTILITY! :)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Montreal Yet Again :)

3 days, nice on Saturday, 5" of rain on Sunday and sunny on Monday but the city still rocks with a trip to the Botanical Gardens with emphasis given to bugs & Japan plus a night stroll in the environs of a charming city . Enjoy.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hilbert's Curve explained. :)

Yours truly loves fractals, a way to see infinity without having to be a mathematician using recursion to make it happen. Check out this video, which is somewhat long, but really explains how math is the star point to seeing infinity in an infinite number of ways. Enjoy. :)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Satan Lives... in a Swiss Tunnel

Gotthard Base Tunnel Ceremony, totally rad without question.

The Notion of Sleaze

The Notion of Sleaze, you know, kickbacks, coverups, use of position to make money, arrogance, hubris and telling people to F... Off if it doesn't correspond to undeserved entitlement kind of says it all regarding Hillary.

Well, how’s that for timing?

This week, Hillary Clinton clinched the Democratic nomination and snagged President Obama’s endorsement, defeating a challenge from Senator Bernie Sanders, who argued that she was too cozy with wealthy interests who had an undue voice in government.

The same week, ABC News has reported that a man named Rajiv Fernando, a top donor to the Clinton Foundation, was added to the State Department’s International Security Advisory Board at the behest of the secretary of state’s office. Fernando appeared not to have the same qualifications as many other ISAB members, other than prolific giving to Democratic interests. When ABC started asking the department about Fernando, newly revealed emails show, staffers scrambled to find a way to defend the appointment. Eventually, Fernando stepped down two days after ABC’s initial questions.

As for Trump, the question of bait & switch and using other people's money comes to mind regarding a "university" that never was by any stretch of the imagination.

So the two questions to ask are: 

1. Who are you going to vote for? & ...
2, Out of a nation of 350 million, is this the best we can do?


1. None of the above & ...
2. Given the sad state of politics in this once great nation, the answer is unfortunately yes.

And so it goes. - K. Vonnegut

Thursday, June 09, 2016

A form factor like no other

Yours truly loves to do video and stills, but you, my loyal readers, already know that. With that passion comes a cost, something you folks already know as well due to the fact BRT always talks about costs relating to any endeavor, in this case, the bulkiness of glass lenses used to create so-called "masterpieces", a form factor for capturing imagery that has not changed for almost 200 years until now.

The only lenses that don't have chromatic aberrations are reflex mirror lenses like the Nikkor 500mm and the Hubble telescope, both beautifully crafted instruments using tech designed by Dmitry Dmitrievich Maksutov, a visionary Russian Astronomer of the first order.

The image below shows just how different this metamaterial derived tech is from the type of lenses used by us rubes. 

The micro pillars of the metamaterial lens, star point for a new way of seeing. :)

Humboldt was right

In 1800, Alexander Von Humboldt conducted a cruel experiment regarding Electric Eels and horses whereby horses were herded into a remaining small pool, caused by the dry season, where said trapped eels were residing. Needless to say, the eels defended themselves forecefully by leaping out of the water and discharging lethal jolts of electricity to the trapped horses, with one of the them dying as a result. These findings were scorned, until now. 

Click here to get the full report on this amazing research.

Intense says it all.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Free Fall to the Nth Degree

LIGO did the deed in finally proving gravitational waves exist. Now, LISA, when it becomes operational, will be able to sense gravitational waves from various sources throughout the known universe. Pretty cool without question.

Ain't science grand? :)