Wednesday, April 28, 2021



Guesstimates, you know, predictions about the future or even the present is chancy at best as change is the only constant and because of that, one can only throw darts and hope one doesn't miss. In Crossing the Rubicon ..., BRT talked about a perilous future, here, within that time frame, will be a tiny partial guess as to how science and tech will hold on as best as it can as in the face of a most pernicious storm of our own making.

For starters, SI FI in books and film is at it's acme with China going full tilt in examining it's relationship to same as it becomes the other super power on planet earth.

Cancer becomes solvable due to AI and intense compute power able to discern how proteins fold and how that impacts the communicative problem of cancer cells as to why they go rogue.

Fusion will happen as there is simply too much money and need for it to not happen. Think MIT and private enterprise on this front as research is beginning to bear real fruit. Timeframe - 20 years. This will be the true start point to hopefully ameliorating GW as solar, wind and wave lack the energy density to transition energy grids from coal, oil and gas with any degree of success.This is key if civilization is to survive as nature does reset if given a chance as carbon and methane injection into the atmosphere will begin to fall if fossil fuels are finally done away in their entirety. If this doesn't happen, we're toast.

Happy motoring begins to collapse as there is no more cheap energy to be found. Shale and natural gas have had their day in the sun. Scarcity becomes the new watchword for now though cheap and powerful batteries to power the inevitable changeover to electric goes prime time. 

Graphene becomes real in more ways than one can imagine. Ditto quantum computing.

Really big telescopes get built and discoveries of all kinds take off.

Space travel ...

As obnoxious as Elon Musk is, the man knows rockets and how to build them to be useful and practical at the same time. This reusability factor will expand to other vendors, as it always does, as the resources in space are too valuable to ignore. Starting with good enough and improving upon same to make the space tech reliable and relatively cheap will make space travel viable but Mars "ain't" the answer to how man will survive the coming storm of GW.

Astronomy goes lunar with radio and optical scopes being built on the far side of the moon.

Moon and Mars get bases, 10-20 years out.

The James Webb telescope becomes operational, finally.

Extraterrestrial life is discovered. Mars, Europa, Enceladus or Titan look to be the best candidates or perhaps aliens make the scene. It's about time don't you think? 

Quantum Mechanics and Relativity finally gets unified under a new theory.

Quantum chemistry goes primetime

Gravitons indirectly become recognized as the carrier force for gravity.


In situ stem cell treatment of maladies like cancer, diabetes and hear problems gain traction due to the aforementioned computational and AI prowess of systems coming online as we speak. This also applies to increasing the lifespan of man though, in light of what's coming, one has to ask the existential question, Is it a good idea?

AI becomes sentient. Question, What's next?  

Guaranteed income is coming as bots are going to take over most jobs because it's cheaper and more efficient. Sustainability will become the mantra as conditions on planet earth get worse. 

Smart weapons, autonomous bots and digital swarms of cheap but deadly drones, controlled by AI, replace the large and overly complex systems of today. Think Avatar.

Lab on a chip gets real. 

Nanotech gets real, finally.

Local farming gets real.

Geoengineering, a tech most disquieting, gets all too real. 

Media, untrusted to the max, becomes immersive. Think Blade Runner 2049.

Video goes virtual but we already know that. Think The Mandelorian.

Hardware craps out. Solar, 20 years, ditto wind. Will we have the resources to replace said tech? 

Bots as sexual companions go prime time.

Deep Fakes reside everywhere, not only in images and video but also in audio and writing.

Guns become more cherished than ever in the home of the brave & land of the free.

China and the US avoid a hot war.

Rewild the world - David Atenborough

We totally depend on tech, a most fragile entity without question.

All of this can happen if we have enough time ...

Resource depletion et al ... 

30 years from now, it's June 30 therabouts. Think 2050.

The descent.

Countries splinter in the face of GW, resource depletion and environmental degradation. 

Hundreds of millions die as forced migration is hazardous to one's health. India's problem with Covid is just a taste of what's coming as glaciers dry up and variable land disappears under the onslaught of GW.

India, without the monsoon, is terrifying to the max.

Science get attacked by the ignorant. Politics becomes ever more fractious. The US anyone?

Man goes tribal.

Enclaves of modernity will spring up to hold off the hordes of impoverished millions along with bands of foraging bandits, bringing forth a new dark age with islands of civilization residing, either behind fortified walls or hidden away to avoid detection. Dangerville awaits.

VR will be big as travel becomes too perilous. Cybersecurity will be job one to keep intruders digitally away.

2050 looms.

Roadway 101


Going, going, gone

This glacier pix, taken a few years ago on an Alaskan cruise by yours truly, may be but a memory by 2100 as glaciers are disappearing at an alarming rate based on an extensive study conducted over a 20 year period of scientists examining NASA satellite images with extreme precision. To whit.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

What do I know?

 What do I know?, a marvelous quote by Montaigne, is one of my mantras along with Question everything, as per Einstein, as both statements encourage exploration without assuming anything, a concept first presented to the world by The Tao as change is the only constant in a reality we will never fully know.

In rediscovering Montaigne, one sees just how modern this person truly was. Influencer supreme, he was, in many ways, along with Thomas More, the first modern man as he looked at himself and the world with unvarnished eyes.

During his lifetime, Montaigne was admired more as a statesman than as an author. The tendency in his essays to digress into anecdotes and personal ruminations was seen as detrimental to proper style rather than as an innovation, and his declaration that, "I am myself the matter of my book", was viewed by his contemporaries as self-indulgent. In time, however, Montaigne came to be recognized as embodying, perhaps better than any other author of his time, the spirit of freely entertaining doubt that began to emerge at that time. He is most famously known for his skeptical remark, "Que sçay-je?" ("What do I know?", in Middle French; now rendered as Que sais-je? in modern French).

It gets better ...

His humanism finds expression in his Essais, a collection of a large number of short subjective essays on various topics published in 1580 that were inspired by his studies in the classics, especially by the works of Plutarch and Lucretius.[38] Montaigne's stated goal was to describe humans, and especially himself, with utter frankness. Montaigne's writings are studied as literature and philosophy around the world.

Inspired by his consideration of the lives and ideals of the leading figures of his age, he finds the great variety and volatility of human nature to be its most basic features. He describes his own poor memory, his ability to solve problems and mediate conflicts without truly getting emotionally involved, his disdain for the human pursuit of lasting fame, and his attempts to detach himself from worldly things to prepare for his timely death. He writes about his disgust with the religious conflicts of his time. He believed that humans are not able to attain true certainty. The longest of his essays, Apology for Raymond Sebond, marking his adoption of Pyrrhonism,[39] contains his famous motto, "What do I know?"

Friday, April 23, 2021

Crossing the Rubicon ...


This pix, taken a few years ago, sums up a possible future for man as civilization moves further into the Anthropocene and it's tangental relationship to all things related to tech, the environment and to earth as everything's connected and ... everything's quantum where certitude is but an illusion,

3500 articles, musings on thousands of postings and guesstimates, both accurate and inaccurate, populate this blog to the nth degree but you, my loyal readers, already know that so here's to crossing the Rubicon, a most perilous journey we will all be taking whether we like it or not.

No connects or numbering schemes but rather a random walk through a partial list of issues most dire with climate change being No. 1.

Covid-19 is but a weak introduction to what's coming, a pandemic to be sure, but nothing compared to GW and the impact it will have on the world.

For starters, the equator will soon become uninhabitable. Animals and plants are migrating away as we speak but little is said as to what species will survive as they make their desperate move. This also involves us and the impact on the food supply as growing food will move north and south with large swaths of land unable to sustain civilization due to not only excess heat but also loss of water as seen by the move on Lake Mead to restrict waster supply when the water level goes below 1047'.

2020-30 will be remembrance of species lost. Researchers discovered ocean life died much quicker than land in the Great Dying of 250 million years ago. Does this mean the same for us as the acceleration of GW is happening thousands of times faster than the 30,000 year timeframe of the Permian eruption of the Siberian Traps in northern Russia.

2040-50, the real bite of GW begins, where temps of 3+ take hold and Russia and Canada become the bread baskets of the world while Cat 6 hurricanes ply the Atlantic with devastating power. This scenario is already baked including the melting of the Arctic, Antarctic and Greenland as the loss of albedo is a prime GW accelerant and we haven't even discussed the release of ever more methane from the rapidly melting permafrost and ocean located in and around the arctic. Water rise - 2-3 meters?

Forget Florida and cities on the coast, right?

Too many people add to the mix. 8 billion and counting. Not good, not sustainable but Gaia's thinking about a drastic solution to this issue, something Lovelock talked about over 15 years ago.

Mass migrations loom.

AI - the open ended tech where we have lost contro but don't know it yet but we will, soon.

Question: When does AI become sentient? 5 years, next year, 10? One never knows but whenever anyone says AI cannot be this or that, remember the Rand Corporation's take on the net and the fact only 20 systems will be ever be needed to run civilization. 

The military goes full tilt into autonomous bots armed to the teeth. Who's the enemy? How can they be identified? Is man the enemy? Skynet's happening as digital swarms are already being ramped up, connected as one entity driven by, you guessed it, AI. 

The needs of AI differ from us. What does that mean?

Cybersecurity - no system is invulnerable. Everything can be hacked. The biggie is shutting down infrastructure, you know, access to electricity, heat, medical and water supply among significant others. Countries all over the world are capping on this as tech is cheap. All it takes is brainpower, desire to hack and access to the web to make it happen. Is this the end of the world?

Biotech - CRISPR and manipulation of DNA, combined with AI as enhancer, what could possibly go wrong? Pandemics are us, not only with upcoming labs on a chip used by twisted individuals to create bugs but also of the natural kind as GW disrupts all things related to life. Think mosquitoes ...

Continued abuses ...

30% of all arable land is used to feed Bessie, Loghorn T. Fog Horn and Porky, an unsustainable way to feed man, not to mention the accompanying manure, urine and fertilizers used to leverage the land in addition to rampant injections of steroids and antibiotics, along with genetic engineering, to said fauna, to create fast growing franken foods, packaged for us rubes in all shapes and sizes, to consume to our heart's content.

Plastics and chemicals of all kinds, including micro plastics in our air, soil and of course, food, invade everything, something most disturbing as researchers are now finding out this deadly combination adversely impacts fertility. Children of Men anyone? ... by possibly 2045.

The car, ubiquitous in the US because there is no high speed or medium speed rail of any consequence in the US, pollutes the planet to no end as most are gas powered. Maybe we should ask China how they build high speed rail as they are really good at it while the US does nothing. Going electric is not all that great either as the grid, powered by natural gas and oil, power these things. Question, where will the batteries go? Can they be recycled? Good question to ask is it not?

Suburbs ... journey to nowhere, ditto strip malls. Both ecologically disastrous. 

Planes, another prime driver of fossil fuels continues unabated. The production and distribution of ever more stuff never ceases to amaze, particularly in terms of landfill when said stuff become a throwaway for the ages. Think China on this one. 

Subsidies to fossil fuel polluters instead of developing sustainables has been the US mantra for years. It looks like this is slowly changing but it will take time, something we no longer have.

Nuclear war becomes a possible given just how many countries hate each other.

Resource depreciation, environmental degradation and poverty, combined with starvation and over population, become prime drivers for revolution and violence all over the world.

Right now, it's lip service. Nothing of real consequence is being done because that means enormous change for all of us, an issue not be be addressed until the real shit hits the fan. Time frame - 2050.

One point perspective

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Like spokes on a bicycle wheel ...

Like spokes on a bicycle wheel, the necks of pterosaurs are unlike anything else seen in science.

The results, published on Wednesday in the journal iScience, stunned Ms. Williams and her colleagues. The animal’s neck was revealed to be scaffolded by a unique and complex network of helical struts connecting a central neural tube to the vertebra wall like the spokes of a bicycle. It was a structure that has no parallel elsewhere in the animal kingdom.

Which means ...

A biomechanical analysis of the intricate structure of the neck revealed that the spokelike filaments bolstered the vertebrae against the pressures of catching and carrying heavy prey. According to the team’s calculations, the addition of only 50 struts increased by 90 percent the weight that they could bear without buckling, enabling this particular specimen to carry loads of up to 24 pounds, which Ms. Williams called “really impressive.”

The Pterosaur, amazing flyer without question. 

How many T-Rexes roamed planet earth?

T-Rex, poster child of dinos, roamed North America in pretty sizable numbers though the exact number remains elusive to say the least.

Before they were killed off by a meteor that hit Earth 66 million years ago, some 20,000 adults of the iconic ferocious dinosaur predator — Tyrannosaur rex — roamed North America at any given time, researchers have calculated.

Why it's hard.

Skeletal features can tell a lot about an animal. For example, someone looking at a human tooth could infer that it is suited for chewing both plants and meat, and the shape of the skeleton could yield an estimate of how fast a person can run. But the physical attributes cannot tell you how many people live in New York City.

For living species, John Damuth, a biologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, came up with a mathematical relationship, now known as Damuth’s law, between the average body mass of an animal and its expected population density.

The relationship is not universal but generally holds for large classes of animals like lizards or meat-eating mammals. So, for Tyrannosaurus rex, they had to not only plug in the weight of the dinosaur — about six tons, give or take a few — but also derive other numbers in the law.

Best guess ...

If the 20,000 number is correct, over the 2.4 million years that T. rex walked the Earth, there would have been a total of some 2.5 billion adults that ever lived.

But even Dr. Marshall thinks the 20,000 number is likely low. “It just seems inconceivable you can last a couple of million years with those few individuals,” he said. “You just need some horrible plague or something and you’re gone.”

He said he thought the population could have been tens of thousands or maybe 100,000 or 200,000. A large part of the uncertainty is that Damuth’s law is not absolute. Jaguars and spotted hyenas are both meat-eating mammals of similar size, but the population density of hyenas is some 50 times higher.

It least it's a smart guess, right? :) Awesome illustration of T -Rex without a doubt.

As a walker, T-Rex took all the time in the world. :) About 2.9 miles/hr.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Thanatos & Eros ...

Freud conjured up Eros for life, Thanatos for death as these were the prime drivers of man's existence. 

Sigmund Freud’s theory of drives evolved throughout the course of his life and work. He initially described a class of drives known as the life instincts and believed that these drives were responsible for much of our behavior.

Eventually, he came to believe that life instincts alone could not explain all human behavior. With the publication of his book Beyond the Pleasure Principal in 1920, Freud concluded that all instincts fall into one of two major classes: life instincts or death instincts.

But this isn't about Freud but rather about earth and what man is doing to her. 

The way that I’ve begun to think about the economics of civilisations now hinges on two concepts I call Thanatos and Eros. I’ve taken these from Freud, because economics needed something like them, but doesn’t have one. Freud meant them to represent a person’s death drive and “libido,” or life force. I mean them in this way: what is a civilisation’s life-giving — or life destroying — potential and level?

We need to begin thinking in such a way for a very simple reason. Three to five decades of mounting catastrophe are now coming our way. The 2030s will be the decade of climate catastrophe, as global warming heats the planet to temperatures unseen for millions of years. The 2040s will be the decade of the Long Goodbye, as mass extinction reaches levels not seen for millions of years. And the 2050s will be the decade of the Great Collapse, when the planet’s ecologies finally implode — for good. And along the way, our civilisation is going to break down in catastrophic ways, as it already is. You can see how unprepared we are — look at what just one year of a minor league calamity, Covid, has done. Now imagine what happens as all that, fire, flood, plague, intensifies.

Orthodox economics tells us that the most productive things on planet earth are…us. We make computers and cars and rockets and so forth. Productivity is the lodestar of an economy. By it, we mean: are we making things that are useful to others, and if so, how much? A computer is more productive than an abacus precisely because it is more useful — you can do more with it. Our economies are more productive not just because they make more stuff, but because that stuff is more useful.

But all that elides — avoids — a very simple question. Useful to whom? The insects and bees and forests and rivers don’t care about our computers and cars and batteries and so forth.

Our civilization is only productive for us.

Read the rest of umair haque's piece as he's right without question.

And the beat goes on ...

Raindrops keep falling on my head :)

Love the graphic depicting different raindrop sizes from different worlds, awesome.

Read the rest of the Universe Today's interesting piece to see why this is so. :)

It might already be too late ...


Google Earth, in real time, shows the slow motion warming of earth via 24 million+ sattellite pictures taken since 1984, an astounding technological feat pointing out it's already too late save for possibly ameliorating gw in the long term as the effort to stop the onslaught of heat to planet earth will take many years to slowly remove CO2 and Methane from the atmosphere, which will take trillions of dollars and a unified effort of all nations to make it happen but yours truly just doesn't think this will occur due to the fact too many humans reside on the planet and ...  the current inability of countries to actually get their act together to actually do something about it remains in play. Maybe deteriorating conditions will force nations to finally come together to prevent ecological collapse from happening but this rube will not be around to see it. This is why I think of my grandchildren, everyday, facing this ever increasing and frightening scenario of our own doing. 

The Gulf Stream current (red) speeds warm water up the eastern coast of the United States, where it clashes with cold water in the North Atlantic.

The Gulf Stream — one of Earth's major climate-regulating ocean currents — is moving slower than it has in thousands of years, a new study suggests. Human-induced climate change is largely to blame.

This "unprecedented" slowdown could impact weather patterns and sea levels on both sides of the Atlantic, the researchers found. And it only looks poised to worsen over the coming decades if climate change continues unabated. Indeed, if global warming persists at its current pace, the Gulf Stream could pass a critical "tipping point" by the year 2100, lead study author Levke Caesar, a climatologist at Maynooth University in Ireland, said, potentially causing the current to grind to a halt, regardless of the climate. 

"If the Gulf Stream crosses its tipping point, it will continue to weaken even if we have managed to stop global warming," Caesar told Live Science. "Afterwards, it will slow down by a lot, coming close to a complete shutdown of the circulation."

We are already baked in for at least a 2 - 2.5f degree temperature rise. Can nations get their act together to prevent a possible ecological collapse capable of ending complex life on earth with an increase to 3 or god knows what temperature rise? One never knows, do one?

The great conveyer belt

The Gulf Stream (red line in the center) impacts weather on both sides of the Atlantic. (Image credit: RedAndr/ NOAA/ CC 4.0

One last shot however ...

earth last chance

One last shot is the fact people are finally realizing it's almost game over. Seems Biden understands this but do others?

Let's hope this happen before all is lost as our lives depend on it, right?

But remember, the melting of ice will continue as that's already baked in. It's amelioration that's in play here, not reversal save for thousands of years in the future as nature eventually recycles, always.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Music of the 8 legged kind :)

Yours truly likes spiders, the 8 legged assassins possessing infinite ways to catch prey along with the ability to spin webs with astounding variation. Seems MIT researchers have now linked sound to the strands of webs via 3D scans that Stockhausen would approve of without question.

Raison d'été for said exercise ...

Music of the 8 legged kind indeed. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Less is more

This book indirectly reminds yours truly of Dizzie Gillispie, a giant of jazz, funny, brilliant and above all else, perceptive to the max as his immortal quote, Less is more, should be the mantra for designers in all disciplines as editing to the correct minimum in creating something significant is hard as one has to add before subtracting, something yours truly has strived to do over many years as designer and fine artist.

The extra thinking was not in vain. When it came time to fund the construction of Orff’s winning design, her plan to subtract paid off. The plan quickly attracted more than $20 million in federal grants, $7 million from the state of Kentucky, and $12 million from local sources. With funding secured, Lexington’s physical transformation commenced in early 2020.

Less is more indeed.

Problem solving ...

XI's never satisfied. Hong Kong is but a servant state and Taiwan's next as it's a problem needing to be solved as quickly as possible in China's push to dominate the world. WWIII looms if China makes the move as Taiwan is vital to US interests due to her tech prowess and the dependence the US has on said tech. Disquieting without question.

Problem solving indeed.