Sunday, December 30, 2018

4 Simple Steps :)


Richard Feynman is one of my heroes. Irreverent, funny, brilliant and profound, he saw reality in ways most people can never conceive of in any way, shape or fashion. To that end, his take on understanding and deep learning is equally creative and common sensical to a fault as per this excellent post from Farnam Street titled, The Feynman Technique: The Best Way to Learn Anything.

There are four simple steps to the Feynman Technique, which I’ll explain below:

  1. Choose a Concept
  2. Teach it to a Toddler
  3. Identify Gaps and Go Back to The Source Material
  4. Review and Simplify (optional)

In other words ...

If one can't do this, then one cannot learn anything of consequence.

“The person who says he knows what he thinks but cannot express it usually does not know what he thinks.”— Mortimer Adler

Read the piece in its entirety, it's the smart thing to do. :)


Richard Feynman

Friday, December 28, 2018

Thou Shall Not Grow Old



Yours truly knows how this was done, which is amazing without question. Can't wait to see Peter Jackson's masterpiece when it's released to the world. 



This clip shows the transformation from original footage to something else altogether. 

Bethlehem Steel 1857 - 2003 | Days of Future Past


Bethlehem Steel's foundry, located next to the Lehigh River, occupied 1000 acres or approximately 1.4 square miles. With this being said, the main plant closed down in 1995, never to open again. This clip shows just how vast this facility truly was as all shots taken were with a 16 - 35mm wide angle lens on a Sony A7SII. Check it out as this was a time, as flawed as it was, when America made things of consequence without question.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Phase Transitions



The changing of seasons, in this case, from fall to winter, is often subtle, especially when it comes to water transitioning to ice and day sliding into night.  Check it out as nature never disappoints.

Moon Phases 2019



Being a lover of full moons, this gem from NASA/Goddard is apt without question. :)

Irony indeed :)


George Carlin would appreciate this without question. :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

NYC XMAS 2018



From Grand Central to Rockefeller Center, XMAS lives in NYC. Enjoy and Merry Christmas to all and to all, a Good Night. :)

Monday, December 17, 2018

2700 & Counting ...


Steel Clad


B&W/Never dies ...


Flotation 5 


Westport @ Night


Channeling Turner


In Transit

2700 & Counting ...

Saturday, December 15, 2018

The World of Pretend



The World of Pretend, an elegant paean to Veronica Lake, tells the story of the leading yet forgotten Film Noire star of the 40s who quietly walked away from Hollywood on her terms. Sung by Emma Kiara and penned by Christopher Teal Davis and significant others, this work will stay with you long after the video fades into darkness. Check it out, worthwhile without question.

Credits:

Emma Kiara: Songstress
Music: Chris Davis
Lyrics: Chris Davis, Chan Davis & Jim Beloff
Ukulele: Chris Davis
Finger Snaps: Chan Davis
The World of Pretend recorded @ Studio Unicorn
Engineer: Paul Avgerinos
Video: Robert E. Moran
Movie Countdown: Movie Vigilante

Download, view etc, etc as there is no restriction on this innovative use of fair use describing a mysterious star who had talent, smarts and above all else, style.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Endgame


This Deep Water Horizon disaster image is more then just apt when it comes to what's happening with Trump, Mueller, the Deep State and the 2016 election as all the entities listed here have secrets to tell, secrets that could lead to a civil war of a most pernicious kind. To whit.



To yours truly, money laundering, combined with greed and connects to the Russians in hopes of building a Trump tower in Moscow, combined with illegal payments made to relevant parties (Stormy et al) is the crux of Trump's problems, not treason and collusion with the Russians on trying to game the election as the resources needed to hack the system at the levels needed to do the job have not been found by the Mueller team at this point in time. With this in mind, read Kunstler's Capture the Flag piece in its entirety. Makes a lot of sense whether one likes Trump or not as the questions raised regarding these matters are worth considering without question.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Some damn good suggestions ...


Every once in a great while, a politician actually has some damn good ideas relating to governance and how this arcane art form can be fixed for the better, something John Dingell delivers in spades in The Atlantic article titled. ...


Here, then, are some specific suggestions—and they are only just that, suggestions—for a framework that might help restore confidence and trust in our precious system of government:

An electoral system based on full participation. At age 18, you are automatically registered to vote. No photo ID, no residency tests, no impediments of any kind. Advances in technology can make this happen effortlessly. Yes, voting should be restricted only to American citizens. Strict protections against foreign meddling are also necessary.

The elimination of money in campaigns. Period. Elections, like military service—each is an example of duty, honor, and service to country—should be publicly funded. Can you imagine if we needed to rely on wealthy donors to fund the military? I know there are those who genuinely believe in privatizing everything. They are called profiteers.

The end of minority rule in our legislative and executive branches. The Great Compromise, as it was called when it was adopted by the Constitution’s Framers, required that all states, big and small, have two senators. The idea that Rhode Island needed two U.S. senators to protect itself from being bullied by Massachusetts emerged under a system that governed only 4 million Americans.

Today, in a nation of more than 325 million and 37 additional states, not only is that structure antiquated, it’s downright dangerous. California has almost 40 million people, while the 20 smallest states have a combined population totaling less than that. Yet because of an 18th-century political deal, those 20 states have 40 senators, while California has just two. These sparsely populated, usually conservative states can block legislation supported by a majority of the American people. That’s just plain crazy.

All that needed to complete Dingell's suggestions include ...
  1. Term limits for all 3 branches of government.
  2. End to gerrymandering.
  3. Add referendums on issues like declaring war as Congress should not have total control to commit this country to illegal fubars like Vietnam and W's excellent adventure in Iraq, not to mention never ending lost causes like Afghanistan.
  4. Two years service to the country for kids before college. Military or civilian, it makes no difference as JFK was right. And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you–ask what you can do for your country.


Wednesday, December 05, 2018

50 50 @ best ...


The Taj Mahal is dying thanks to man's never ending ability to soil the planet and it's treasures no matter what the cost may be.


Greenland's ice is melting at ever increasing rates due, in part, to the loss of albedo in the Arctic, a prime driver in accelerating global warming on planet earth.





Like Greenland's ice sheet ... 


The world’s greenhouse gas emissions are rising at a faster pace in 2018 than they did last year, researchers said Wednesday, the latest evidence that planet-warming pollution is proliferating again after a three-year lull in the middle of the decade. That trend is accelerating the earth’s collision course with some of the most severe consequences of climate change, scientists warned.

Worldwide, carbon emissions are expected to increase by 2.7 percent in 2018, according to studies published in three respected scientific journals by the Global Carbon Project. Emissions rose 1.6 percent last year, the researchers said.

James Lovelock was right. We're screwed. Earth will survive but us? 50 50 @ best if we stay the present course as we move further into the 21st century.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

Killing me slowly ...


For the past couple of months, yours truly has tried to focus on the essential terrestrial organisms that, if eliminated from the environment, would cause environmental collapse. With this in mind, insects are prime candidates as they inhabit every continent (including Antarctica's Belgica antarctica, the Antarctic midge) and are intimately involved with all aspects of life on this planet as we know it. Note: We haven't even talked about the sea and land-based microfauna and flora, the baseline lifeforms on which all life on this planet depends. Note II: The oceans are not part of this blurb although it too is under the same amount of manmade stress as well.


Because insects are legion, inconspicuous and hard to meaningfully track, the fear that there might be far fewer than before was more felt than documented. People noticed it by canals or in backyards or under streetlights at night — familiar places that had become unfamiliarly empty. The feeling was so common that entomologists developed a shorthand for it, named for the way many people first began to notice that they weren’t seeing as many bugs. They called it the windshield phenomenon.

When the investigators began planning the study in 2016, they weren’t sure if anyone would sign up. But by the time the nets were ready, a paper by an obscure German entomological society had brought the problem of insect decline into sharp focus. The German study found that, measured simply by weight, the overall abundance of flying insects in German nature reserves had decreased by 75 percent over just 27 years. If you looked at midsummer population peaks, the drop was 82 percent.


Let's think about this while reading Bill McKibben's  in-depth New Yorker article stating the fact earth, in terms of arable use, is shrinking every day due to GW, environmental degradation and resource depletion.

The poorest and most vulnerable will pay the highest price. But already, even in the most affluent areas, many of us hesitate to walk across a grassy meadow because of the proliferation of ticks bearing Lyme disease which have come with the hot weather; we have found ourselves unable to swim off beaches, because jellyfish, which thrive as warming seas kill off other marine life, have taken over the water. The planet’s diameter will remain eight thousand miles, and its surface will still cover two hundred million square miles. But the earth, for humans, has begun to shrink, under our feet and in our minds.

The Anthropocene is gathering speed as we speak.

Killing me slowly indeed.

Late Fall | 2018


A short clip showing the end of fall starting from strong winds on a crisp fall day to quietude to the max on a full moon night in the environs of Fairfield, CT. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The Road to Hell ...


BRT has waxed poetic about Global Warming and the ramifications of same beginning with James Lovelock's dire warning regarding GW in 2007 to 2018 with this latest piece from Aeon describing the anthropogenic version of a new Cretaceous with horrifying consequences that will end civilization as we know it by 2100 if nothing is done.

Last November, the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn reported that warming by 3°C by 2100 is now the realistic expectation. With no check on emissions, we are on course to see preindustrial levels of CO2 double (from 280 to 560 ppm, or parts per million) by 2050 – and then double again by 2100. In short, we’ll be generating climate conditions last experienced during the Cretaceous period (145-65.95 million years ago) when CO2 levels reached over 1,000 ppm. What might that mean, given that we already achieve such levels of CO2 in bedrooms at night and in poorly ventilated crowded places, and when we know that, under sustained conditions of such high carbon-dioxide concentration, people suffer severe cognitive problems?

It gets "better".

We have recently become aware of a red line that humans are going to hit long before we approach Cretaceous conditions. In 2010, researchers showed that our species cannot survive for more than six hours at what’s called a ‘wet bulb’ temperature of 35°C (95°F). Wet bulb here means 100 per cent humidity, so it’s not 35°C as we know it. But in the great Indian agricultural belts of the Indus and Ganges, high-40s temperatures combined with 50 per cent humidity (which equates to that wet-bulb temperature of 35°C ) are going to prevail within decades.

While this is happening in hot agricultural regions, the urban world will face a perhaps even greater catastrophe. The UN’s most-likely temperature-rise prediction of 3°C would see forests growing in the Arctic, and entail the loss of most coastal cities through irreversible sea-level rise by the end of the century.

30 years ago we could have stopped this slow motion disaster but did not. To whit ...

Is it a comfort or a curse, the knowledge that we could have avoided all this?

Because in the decade that ran from 1979 to 1989, we had an excellent opportunity to solve the climate crisis. The world’s major powers came within several signatures of endorsing a binding, global framework to reduce carbon emissions — far closer than we’ve come since. During those years, the conditions for success could not have been more favorable. The obstacles we blame for our current inaction had yet to emerge. Almost nothing stood in our way — nothing except ourselves.



The Road to Hell ... indeed.

Thanks John for turning me onto this.

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Russians did it :)

Blowback ...


Blowback, the law of unforeseen consequences, a term coined by the CIA regarding all things regarding our ill advised military adventures, is more than just apt when talking about palm oil and the impact it's having on the environment and global warming, the two 900 lb gorillas residing in places near and dear to us rubes as we move further into the 21st century.

Most of the plantations around us were new, their rise a direct consequence of policy decisions made half a world away. In the mid-2000s, Western nations, led by the United States, began drafting environmental laws that encouraged the use of vegetable oil in fuels — an ambitious move to reduce carbon dioxide and curb global warming. But these laws were drawn up based on an incomplete accounting of the true environmental costs. Despite warnings that the policies could have the opposite of their intended effect, they were implemented anyway, producing what now appears to be a calamity with global consequences.



Blowback indeed ...

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Earth, up close & personal :)

Rain of a different kind ...


An artist's depiction of the Cassini spacecraft's view as it completed the "Grand Finale" of its mission in 2017. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Cassini never disappoints, this time regarding the intricate connect of Saturn with its rings.

They had expected those results to be measurements of the masses of "ring rain," which scientists knew as a trickle of tiny particles falling from Saturn's innermost ring down toward the planet's upper atmosphere — some hydrogen and helium mostly — nothing fancy.

But what they seem to have found was far more material than they had expected, coming from far more exotic compounds. The instrument spotted not just hydrogen and helium but also carbon monoxide, methane, nitrogen and the unidentifiable remains of organic molecules.

Other instruments suggested that this downpour also included water ice and silicate particles and showed that the downpour is triggered by the interaction of these particles with the highest levels of Saturn's atmosphere. Around the whole ring structure, it all adds up to somewhere around 10 tons (9,000 kilograms) per second.

Science never disappoints, ever. :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Sunday, November 18, 2018

NYC/LWS II



Trip 2 starts from Grand Central and goes to NAB East @ the Jacob Javits Center before walking on the High Line - Elevated NYC Park-Rail Trail, an architectural feast of buildings illuminated to the max as day turns into night in the city that never sleeps. Enjoy.

NYC/LWS I


Starting from Grand Central, this walk goes to the Jacob Javits Center and down toward the West Village before returning to GC. Needless to say, NYC's architecture, noise and all things related to the comings and goings of the city that never sleeps, is most interesting to see without question. Enjoy.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Pangea finally realized



Pangea, the long lost supercontinent, is now nearly complete, thanks to GOCE's innovative research showing this to be true.

These features include dense rocky zones called cratons – remnants of ancient continents found at the heart of modern continental plates – highly folded ‘orogen’ regions associated with mountain ranges and the thinner crust of ocean beds.

The new window into the deep subsurface offered by this data offers novel insights into the structure of all Earth’s continents, but especially Antarctica. With more than 98% of its surface covered by ice with an average thickness of 2 km, the southern continent largely remains a blank spot on current geological maps.

It gets better

“These gravity images are revolutionising our ability to study the least understood continent on Earth, Antarctica,” says co-author Fausto Ferraccioli, Science Leader of Geology and Geophysics at BAS.

“In East Antarctica we see an exciting mosaic of geological features that reveal fundamental similarities and differences between the crust beneath Antarctica and other continents it was joined to until 160 million years ago.”

The gravity gradient findings show West Antarctica has a thinner crust and lithosphere compared to that of East Antarctica, which is made up of a mosaic of old cratons separated by younger orogens, revealing a family likeness to Australia and India.

These findings are of more than purely historic geological interest. They give clues to how Antarctica’s continental structure is influencing the behavior of ice sheets and how rapidly Antarctica regions will rebound in response to melting ice.




Pangea breaking apart

"Ain't science grand? :)

Friday, November 09, 2018

Insanity is ...



For What's it's Worth comes to mind here in a powerful film with Chris Hedges as commentator and critic of unbridled capitalism and what it means to America and to the world. Take the time to watch this to become aware and learn why George Carlin was right. The real owners of the country don't want people capable of critical thinking because if we were, this kind of inequality and slow motion move toward totalitarianism would not happen.






Zackem: Chris’s closing line, “You can’t talk about hope until you can see reality and reality is pretty bleak, but that’s the starting point.”  That line has really stayed with me. We need to bring truth, honesty and compassion back into our national dialogue, and move past the attacks and distortion of the truth, to reach a place where hard concepts and real truth exists so we can actually accomplish positive change.


The Thinker - August Rodin

8K ... in space :)



Pretty cool without question. Seeing the goings on in the ISS depicts routines both complex and simple, something all together different from the sci fi movie of yesterday and today. :)

Astronauts aboard the ISS have had access to all manner of cameras as technology has advanced over the years. They’ve gone from 1080p HD, to 360-degree cameras, to 4K. Now, NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) have shipped a new Helium 8K camera by RED to the ISS. 8K video has about eight times as many pixels as full HD with a resolution of 8,192 x 4,320. The camera actually arrived in April aboard a SpaceX Dragon capsule, but the agency only now got around to producing a video with it.

The video follows astronauts going about their daily grind, floating around and doing science. There are also some awesome shots of Earth from the station, as well as the station’s exterior. NASA was so kind as to provide a description on YouTube of what we’re seeing in the footage, too. Early on, we see the Minus Eighty-Degree Laboratory Freezer for ISS (MELFI), which maintains extremely low temperatures for experiments. The frosty air rolling off the surface looks almost surreal in 8K. There’s also some footage (around 21 and 57 seconds) of the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) and Plant Habitat-1, which help scientists understand how plants grow in space.

Not bad, not bad at all. :)

Monday, November 05, 2018

Fragility


When looking at  the M1 Abrams Tank, one thinks all is well with the US Military but in looking at the real picture, a disquieting picture emerges, thanks to disastrous economic policies that has compromised to the max, the manufacturing base of a once great nation called America.





As per the report, fragility is part of the problem, caused by the economic policy that encouraged companies to offshore manufacturing in order to maximize profit has gutted GE and significant others in ways that stagger the imagination. 




Click here for the report. Disquieting indeed.


Thursday, November 01, 2018

Sol, the heat engine


Sol, the heat engine that powers life, has been an obsession of man since the beginning of time as seen by an exhibit in London titled, Living with our star.

To whit.

As winter approaches here in the UK, the dark and dreary days are a reminder of how important the Sun is to our daily lives. Fortunately, there is a bright spot at the Science Museum in London, which has just launched an exhibition called The Sun: Living With Our Star. The exhibition runs until 6 May 2019 and is a treasure trove of objects that document humanity’s fascination with the Sun through the ages.

The oldest object I spotted in the exhibition was a Babylonian cuneiform from about 750 BC that refers to sunspots – possibly observed by looking at the Sun through fog or clouds. Sunspots were not a good omen to Babylonian astronomers, who interpreted them as a sign of famine. What is clear from the exhibition is that people have obsessed over sunspots for millennia. 


Physical history: The history of solar science includes a 750 BC Babylonian record of sunspots (above) (Courtesy: Jody Kingzett, courtesy of the Science Museum Group), as well as Norman Lockyer’s helium-discovering set of prisms (below). (Courtesy: Science Museum Group Collection)

Hommage to Kepler



Kepler changed how we view the universe as there are exoplanets, lots and lots of them thanks to Kepler, the space telescope that made it happen.

After nine years in deep space collecting data that indicate our sky to be filled with billions of hidden planets – more planets even than stars – NASA’s Kepler space telescope has run out of fuel needed for further science operations. NASA has decided to retire the spacecraft within its current, safe orbit, away from Earth. Kepler leaves a legacy of more than 2,600 planet discoveries from outside our solar system, many of which could be promising places for life.

"As NASA's first planet-hunting mission, Kepler has wildly exceeded all our expectations and paved the way for our exploration and search for life in the solar system and beyond," said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "Not only did it show us how many planets could be out there, it sparked an entirely new and robust field of research that has taken the science community by storm. Its discoveries have shed a new light on our place in the universe, and illuminated the tantalizing mysteries and possibilities among the stars.” 


Like Cassini, Kepler will be missed big time. RIP.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Where the buffalo roam


Prior to the white man, the great prairies of North America supported 30+ million bison along with a  myriad of plant and animal species that truly boggled the mind. After the white man arrived, with cattle, corn fields and systematic slaughter of the bison in hand, the grasslands of America were reduced to just a faded memory, something thought to be lost forever, until now.

When white settlers first arrived, a large swath of the U.S. was blanketed in tallgrass prairie. But turmoil came to the landscape shortly thereafter, as those settlers mowed down the bountiful biodiversity to get at the fertile soil beneath. Of the 170 million acres of tallgrass prairie that existed, only four percent of it remains today, ghosts among the cornfields.

It wasn’t just delicate grasses and wildflowers that were wiped out. An estimated 30 million bison roamed the Lower 48 before an extermination campaign brought that number down to around 300 by 1884. The animals have since rebounded somewhat in the the forests of the West and plains of the South, but the remaining tallgrass prairies in more northerly latitudes like Illinois, Minnesota, and Indiana are largely devoid of the grass-munching, mud-wallowing ungulates.

Enter the bison ...

The reason it isn’t a forest, though, is because disturbances beat back the trees. Those disturbances include fire, which Nachusa managers have used for years to slow woodland growth and provide crucial soil nutrients. Now, they have a partner in disturbance crime in the bison, who chow down on grass and spread fertilizing poop and pee all over the prairie.

Not surprisingly, plant communities with bison are becoming more diverse because the animals act as natural lawn mowers, opening up space for non-grass plants and flowers to grow. On the weird side of the ledger, Jones has found small animals in areas that bison frequent are heavier. It’s not wholly clear why, though she hypothesized that “maybe it’s because bison are lumbering nutrient providers and urine might increase invertebrates for mice to chow down on.” After all, we know animals love pee.


Hopefully this is just a start point to restoring the prairie to it's rightful place in North America because it's the right thing to do, right?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Hey America - WTF


Hey America - WTF, pot is legal in CA, a really smart move by a sensible country, unlike the good ole USA mired in jesus, guns and tax cuts.







Stop making sense - Talking Heads

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Checking out Luna yet again :)



The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter shoots the moon, this time, in 4K. Awesome without a doubt.

In the fall of 2011, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) mission released its original Tour of the Moon, a five-minute animation that takes the viewer on a virtual tour of our nearest neighbor in space. Six years later, the tour has been recreated in eye-popping 4K resolution, using the same camera path and drawing from the vastly expanded data trove collected by LRO in the intervening years.

The tour visits a number of interesting sites chosen to illustrate a variety of lunar terrain features. Some are on the near side and are familiar to both professional and amateur observers on Earth, while others can only be seen clearly from space. Some are large and old (Orientale, South Pole-Aitken), others are smaller and younger (Tycho, Aristarchus). Constantly shadowed areas near the poles are hard to photograph but easier to measure with altimetry, while several of the Apollo landing sites, all relatively near the equator, have been imaged at resolutions as high as 25 centimeters (10 inches) per pixel.

The new tour highlights the mineral composition of the Aristarchus plateau, evidence for surface water ice in certain spots near the south pole, and the mapping of gravity in and around the Orientale basin.


Have to show another. :)




Just like the near side, the far side goes through a complete cycle of phases. But the terrain of the far side is quite different. It lacks the large dark spots, called maria, that make up the familiar Man in the Moon on the near side. Instead, craters of all sizes crowd together over the entire far side. The far side is also home to one of the largest and oldest impact features in the solar system, the South Pole-Aitken basin, visible here as a slightly darker bruise covering the bottom third of the disk.

Science never disappoints. :)