Thursday, July 09, 2020

A train wreck of biblical proportions

Words cannot describe how President Bone Spurs screwed the pooch regarding COVID-19, something any competent person could have handled given the resources a president has at his or her disposal. Unreal as the chief executive can get the best of the best in terms of filling cabinet posts with people who actually know what the hell they are doing and, like FDR, listen to the advice of said persons residing in the cabinet. A CF comes to mind here and people far more versed in pandemics than yours truly agree.

A train wreck of biblical proportions indeed.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Social Distancing ... Lobster style

Seems insects, lobsters, fish, birds and primates socially distance themselves whenever any of their brethren catch a disease threatening their well being, something not being done by a significant portion of the population risking possible death while bitching about losing their inherent freedom to be stupid by not social distancing or wearing a mask while spreading said disease to others as seen in the COVID-19 debacle in the good ole USA.

On a shallow reef in the Florida Keys, a young Caribbean spiny lobster returns from a night of foraging for tasty mollusks and enters its narrow den. Lobsters usually share these rocky crevices, and tonight a new one has wandered in. Something about the newcomer is not right, though. Chemicals in its urine smell different. These substances are produced when a lobster is infected with a contagious virus called Panulirus argus virus 1, and the healthy returning lobster seems alarmed. As hard as it is to find a den like this one, protected from predators, the young animal backs out, into open waters and away from the deadly virus.

The lobster’s response to disease—seen in both field and laboratory experiments—is one we have become all too familiar with this year: social distancing. People’s close interactions with family and friends have been cut off to reduce the spread of COVID-19. It has been extremely hard. And many have questioned the necessity. Yet despite how unnatural it may feel to us, social distancing is very much a part of the natural world. In addition to lobsters, animals as diverse as monkeys, fishes, insects and birds detect and distance themselves from sick members of their species.

Any questions?

Tuesday, July 07, 2020

29 Days ...

From the Strawberry Moon to the Buck, 29 days have passed as we move further into summer. 

C ...

We are made of stars, or more accurately, the remnants of stars as nature recycles everything but we already knew that. right? Now, scientists know the prime source of Carbon, the most versatile element in the universe and ... when our sun dies, it may become part of the carbon-producing entity known as white dwarfs ... 5 billion years from now.

The study, published Monday in the journal Nature Astronomy, suggests that WHITE DWARF STARS are the main source of carbon atoms in the Milky Way, a chemical element known to be crucial to all life.

White dwarfs are hot, dense stellar remains with temperatures that reach 100,000 Kelvin. Over time, billions of years, these stars cool and eventually dim as they shed their outer material. However, right before they collapse, their remains are transported through space by winds that originate from their bodies.

These stellar ashes contain chemical elements such as carbon.

Carbon is the fourth most abundant chemical in the universe and is a key element in the formation of life as it is the basic building block to most cells.

Addendum ...

The analysis of white dwarfs observed by the team gave a surprising result: the masses of these stars were notably larger than expected, putting a ‘kink’ in the initial-final mass relation for stars with initial masses in a certain range.

“Our study interprets this kink in the initial-final mass relationship as the signature of the synthesis of carbon made by low-mass stars in the Milky Way,” Dr. Marigo said.

In the last phases of their lives, stars twice as massive as our Sun produced new carbon atoms in their hot interiors, transported them to the surface, and finally spread them into the interstellar medium through gentle stellar winds.

The team’s detailed stellar models indicate that the stripping of the carbon-rich outer mantle occurred slowly enough to allow the central cores of these stars, the future white dwarfs, to grow appreciably in mass.

Analyzing the initial-final mass relation around the kink, the researchers concluded that stars bigger than 2 solar masses also contributed to the Galactic enrichment of carbon, while stars of less than 1.5 solar masses did not.

In other words, the mass of 1.5 solar masses is the minimum mass for a star to spread carbon-enriched material.

Sol might not make after all. 

Dave lives ...

Monday, July 06, 2020

Center of Mass ...

Center of mass on physical things interests me. From sitting on teeter-totters to level them out to building tall towers liable to fall at any minute with my granddaughter, it's fun to see how to balance things like these, especially with a laughing four-year-old. 

It's fair to say planets orbit the Sun, but that's not 100% true. The Sun holds 99.8% of the Solar System's mass, Jupiter contains most of what's left (Saturn a distant 2nd), and in this vid you'll see how Jupiter plays tug of war with the Sun. Everything orbits a center of mass!


Sunday, July 05, 2020

Evolution 101 :)

Frogs, cannibals to the max, also have another amazing trait, skull variability based on the type of prey they hunt and the kind of defense they use against predators who eat them.

Evolution 101 without question. :)

Saturday, July 04, 2020

In just 3.5 years ...

In just 3.5 years, The Donald has turned America into a shithole. From raging nationalism, juiced by jesus & racism, to his disastrous handling of COVID-19, this empty man did the impossible, turning this once great nation into the laughing stock of the world.  We are in such trouble, the likes of which this country has not seen since the Civil War. He must go ... NOW.

Any questions?

Friday, July 03, 2020

In the garden ...

Hanging Out

< Inch Worm :)

Tiny Grasshopper 

< 1/2" 

Industrious ... to a fault :)

A "flower" writ large ...

The spiral pattern shown by the galaxy in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is striking because of its delicate, feathery nature. These “flocculent” spiral arms indicate that the recent history of star formation of the galaxy, known as NGC 2775, has been relatively quiet. There is virtually no star formation in the central part of the galaxy, which is dominated by an unusually large and relatively empty galactic bulge, where all the gas was converted into stars long ago.

NGC 2275 is classified as a flocculent spiral galaxy, located 67 million light-years away in the constellation of Cancer.

A "flower" writ large indeed.

It's the Pits :)

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Appearance is reality/rev II

Deep Fakes, so real you can't tell the difference from the real is now going high res, thanks to research course Disney Research Studios.

It may sound contradictory, but deepfakes are becoming more real.

Deepfakes, which refer to the swapping of video or still images of an individual with the likeness of another person, have become wildly popular on the Internet over the past three years. They hold great potential for entertainment and humor, but they also carry foreboding capacity for scandal, fraud and even geopolitical upheaval.

Disney Research Studios announced this week that it has developed a process that automates deepfake production with a fidelity greater than previously achieved.

"To the best of our knowledge, this is the first method capable of rendering photo-realistic and temporally coherent results at megapixel resolution," Disney stated on its website Monday.

Endgame ...

By the end of last year, 96 percent of online deepfake videos were porn, according to a report by cybersecurity firm Deeptrace. In almost all instances, the images were used without the subjects' permission.

So popular was this new genre of fake porn that a $50 Windows app using artificial intelligence to scan pictures of women and "undress" them was uploaded and withdrawn within a single day last summer following an immediate backlash.

Appearance is reality, is it not?

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Juice ...

D Flies + 1 :)

Damsel Blue

The Perfect Predator

An Onyx Visitor

Patience is a virtue

Blue Darter/Portrait X

There's gold in them thar hills. :)

Planet Earth Report/The Daily Galaxy

The Daily Galaxy is a favorite destination of yours truly as the articles they post are informative, provocative and vetted. This blurb's a point to their Planet Earth Report, an interesting read without question. Love their pix, awesome to the max.


Saturday, June 27, 2020

Ineptness as art form

Outside of the disaster of Vietnam and the fallout from Shock & Awe, the worst strategic initiative the US has ever done, the US was still considered competent due to the strength of the dollar, the world's reserve currency, and the military might it projected to the world. With the ascent of The Donald and his disastrous handling of COVID-19, combined with the inability of the nation to build anything of consequence, thanks to the offshoring of virtually all manufacturing to China and significant others, all bets are now off, an emerging stark reality most distressing to a once-great nation known as America.

It's different now ...

Any questions?

A How To ...

It's a horserace in terms who knows more about us, Google or Facebook. I'll take Google as search, Gmail and quality of code + AI dwarfs FB in terms of capability to do the deed of data scarfing on us rubes.

Read the CNET piece to learn how to claw back some of your data. I know I will. :)

The death of retail/rev II

BRT has waxed poetic about the slow-motion death of retail due to cost savings and efficiencies of doing business online. Now, with the advent of COVID-19, the acceleration of the death of retail goes prime time.

Microsoft announced today that it is closing all of its 83 Microsoft Store retail locations. The company says that will result in a charge of $450 million against its earnings for the second quarter of 2020. In an important way, what Microsoft is doing is a sign of what we will see in the future from a lot of retailers.

The shutdown has necessitated rapid learning by retailers about these trends and it looks like Microsoft, and many others, are listening. Consumers have figured out how to do all or nearly all their shopping online and retailers are figuring out how to do all or nearly all their selling online, too. Shopping by livestream, video appointments, chat and and other technologies have put convenience into consumers’ hands and facilitated sales while stores are closed. No one knows how much of these new habits will stick when the pandemic is over but it won’t be zero and stores have to adapt.

Yes indeed.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Eye-candy of a different kind

Eye candy of a different kind ...

The Domino Theory 2020

Nam, a war based on a lie, was sold by the government to America and the world using the domino theory because ... if South Vietnam fell to the Communists, the rest of Southeast Asia was sure to follow. In 2020, the domino theory regarding depression, financial chaos and civil unrest computes at levels Nam never did.

The pandemic lockdown will be blamed for the Greater Depression, but the lockdown only toppled all the dominoes that were already lined up. The lockdown would have been survivable if the economy hadn't been over-indebted, over-leveraged, burdened by insanely high costs, stripmined by greedy monopolies, dependent on stock market fraud, destabilized by extreme inequality, corrupted by political pay-to-play and addicted to speculation.

The apologists always blame depressions on central banks not printing money fast enough, while overlooking the real drivers: debt, high costs and dependence on speculative bubbles. As noted here many times, revenues and income can quickly slide lower, but debt must be serviced regardless of revenues and income.

Once debt payments dominate expenses, any wobble in revenues / income / cash flow triggers default.

Everyone who was barely keeping their head above water in making their debt payments is already in default or will soon be in default. Since the banks and shadow-banking lenders have gorged on the profits skimmed by loaning huge sums to marginal borrowers, now that these marginal borrowers are defaulting en masse the banks and lenders are about to be crushed by one wave of catastrophic losses after another.

Student loans--already in mass default. Credit cards--the wave is rolling in as we speak. Auto loans--looking like Waimea Bay on a big day. Mortgages--better not to look.

Corporate debt has exploded to unprecedented levels, and this is what will break the financial system. Zombie corporations are rushing to borrow billions of dollars (thanks to the Federal Reserve) but increasing their debt is only doing more of what created their fragility in the first place.

Forgot to add the "healthcare" bomb of 3.4 trillion and rising. That plus the MIC will finish the job of bankrupting America without question.

 Fragility rules ...

10 years ... and counting :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

They're everywhere ... :)

Black as Nite

Bringing home dinner

Blue is the color

Green Darter

Persistence is a virtue :)

50 years ago ...

A 50-year-old theory that began as speculation about how an alien civilization could use a black hole to generate energy has been experimentally verified for the first time in a Glasgow research lab.

In 1969, British physicist Roger Penrose suggested that energy could be generated by lowering an object into the black hole's ergosphere—the outer layer of the black hole's event horizon, where an object would have to move faster than the speed of light in order to remain still.

Two years later, another physicist named Yakov Zel'dovich suggested the theory could be tested with a more practical, earthbound experiment. He proposed that "twisted" light waves, hitting the surface of a rotating metal cylinder turning at just the right speed, would end up being reflected with additional energy extracted from the cylinder's rotation thanks to a quirk of the rotational doppler effect.

Now, researchers from the University of Glasgow's School of Physics and Astronomy have finally found a way to experimentally demonstrate the effect that Penrose and Zel'dovich proposed by twisting sound instead of light—a much lower frequency source, and thus much more practical to demonstrate in the lab.

All parties were and are right without exception. :)

A possible game-changer in terms of renewable energy may be at hand. :) 

ARM rules ...

This blurb's a bit wonky but worth a read as Apple's taking the ARM plunge and tech will never be the same. In one way, yours truly is channeling David's Brin's Earth, a brilliant SF novel written back in 1990 predicting what the world would be like in 2040. Yours truly recommends anyone trying to get a handle on what tech is doing to society, along with global warming waxing poetic, should read Earth as it's that good but ... 2040 is now 2020 as the envisioned tech is already here. :)

RISC ...  reduced instruction set computing (RISC) architectures for computer processors goes primetime and Apple's taking the lead by designing really fast 5nm chips using the original ARM concept as start point.

Engame ...

Any questions?

Endgame ...

Friday, June 19, 2020

Seeing for the first time ... with XRAY eyes

Seeing for the first time ... with XRAY eyes depicts the universe in an all-new light without question.

A million X-ray sources revealing the nature of the hot universe – this is the impressive harvest of the first scan of the entire sky with the eROSITA telescope onboard SRG. “This all-sky image completely changes the way we look at the energetic universe,” says Peter Predehl, the Principal Investigator of eROSITA at the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (MPE). “We see such a wealth of detail - the beauty of the images is really stunning.”

The annotated version.

Had to show another. :)

XRAY eyes indeed.

The odds are ...

As tech gets better, more planets like earth will be found without issue ...

To be considered Earth-like, a planet must be similar in size to our planet, orbit a sun-like star called a G-type star and be a rocky or terrestrial planet. And, naturally, it needs to orbit in the habitable zone of its star. This is the distance where the planet is just the right temperature, not too hot or too cold, to host liquid water, and potentially life, on its surface.

But some of these unique characteristics also make them harder to find in the search for exoplanets because they're small and distant from their stars.

However, astronomers at the University of British Columbia have discovered that there may be as many as 6 billion Earth-like planets across our galaxy. That means that there could be one Earth-like planet for every five sun-like stars in the galaxy.

Seems scientists have one candidate in hand ...

Some 3,000 light years away from Earth, researchers believe they have found an Earth-size exoplanet orbiting a sun-like star.

The star is known as Kepler-160, and it was observed during NASA's exoplanet-hunting Kepler mission between 2009 and 2013. It's similar in size and temperature to our sun.

The planet candidate has been dubbed KOI-456.04. It is less than twice the size of Earth and receives a similar amount and type of light from its sun-like star.

The planet candidate is also orbiting at a distance that places it within the habitable zone of the star, where the surface temperature of the planet could support liquid water — and the potential for life. That's similar to where Earth sits in relation to the sun.

And it has an orbital period around the star of 378 days, similar to the Earth year it takes to complete an orbit around the sun.

The odds are ... looking pretty good are they not? :)