Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Like a pane of glass :)


To this beetle, water's like a pane of glass.

Remember ... its just the beginning ...


Well, first it was the Southwest, now, it's the Northwest as both regions have experienced heat waves beyond belief, courtesy ... Global Warming.

And this.

Cliff divers line up along the Clackamas River at High Rocks Park on Sunday in Gladstone, Ore., near Portland. Record breaking temperatures lingered over the Northwest during a historic heatwave.

Remember ... its just the beginning.

Addendum: Ground temps were even worse.

Venus, no, Jupiter, yes ... potentially

Seems Venus is way too dry to sustain life if research by planetary scientists proves out to be true while Jupiter is a different story indeed.

The clouds of Venus have captivated Earthlings for decades. They form a dazzling mirror that obscures the planet's surface and, in the 1950s, one Israeli scholar even speculated that the clouds may hide a world teeming with insect life capable of enduring the extreme heat. 

When Russia's Venera spacecraft took images of the surface in 1975, there were no insects to be found. Venus is a desolate hellscape, the victim of a runaway greenhouse effect that has sent temperatures on the ground soaring to well over 850 degrees Fahrenheit -- hot enough to melt lead. But in the clouds, more temperate climes await any would-be alien lifeforms. 

Up in the atmosphere, life might just find a way.

At least, that was one hypothesis. It can happen on Earth... so why not elsewhere? Last year, the idea that microbes might call the atmosphere of Venus home was bolstered by a study that claimed to have discovered elevated levels of phosphine -- an unstable gas associated with biological activity -- in the cloud deck of our sister planet. That spawned the theory that microbes in the clouds could be producing the gas.

As scientists untangled the phosphine signal, though, the possibility that it was a sign of life in Venus' clouds looked less and less likely. 

On Monday, the likelihood of a drifting community of microbes in the clouds took another blow.

In a study published in the journal Nature Astronomy, researchers rule out the possibility of life -- as we know it -- existing in the Venusian clouds. The clouds are uninhabitable.

Why? Because ...

Any potential microbe floating through the Venus clouds would find itself in an extremely hostile environment. About 30 to 44 miles above the surface, up in the clouds, it's more dry than the Earth's most expansive subtropical desert: the Sahara.

"The Venus clouds are a whole order of magnitude more dry than the Sahara," said Hallsworth, noting that the Sahara has around 0.25 water activity, while the clouds of Venus come in at just 0.004 water activity. That figure for Venus  is simply far too extreme to support any life we know of. 

"The most dry-tolerant microbe on Earth wouldn't stand a chance in Venus," Hallsworth said. 

But Jupiter's a different story.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Limits of knowledge rev XX

Blue indigo

Night for Day

Open window

Stone wall



All these pix show aspects of the great invisible whether it be Night for Day or the infrared driven images of Solitude and Blue Indigo as our eyes cannot see reality in a light spectrum outside of the tiny subset of what we see without the aid of tech. 

As for the stone wall, this image indirectly shows the passage of time with the oldest at the bottom and the latest at the top. As for Open Window & Emergence, darkness invokes mystery even in the bright of day.

To yours truly, the limits of knowledge resides everywhere, even in the commonplace as depicted in the pictures seen above. :)

Seeing from afar

The scientists identified 1,715 star systems where alien observers could have discovered Earth in the past 5,000 years by watching it ‘transit’ across the face of the sun. Photograph: c/o Cornell

Seeing from afar applies here when aliens are checking us out from their perspective and not ours.

To whit.

For centuries, Earthlings have gazed at the heavens and wondered about life among the stars. But as humans hunted for little green men, the extraterrestrials might have been watching us back.

In new research, astronomers have drawn up a shortlist of nearby star systems where any inquisitive inhabitants on orbiting planets would be well placed to spot life on Earth.

The scientists identified 1,715 star systems in our cosmic neighborhood where alien observers could have discovered Earth in the past 5,000 years by watching it “transit” across the face of the sun.

Contact applies here does it not?

Great book, terrific movie without question. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Thinking yellow & L'Étranger

A touch of yellow

Life finds a way ... always

Black Eyed Susan


When taking these pix, yours truly indirectly thinks of Camus & L'Étranger... 

As if that blind rage had washed me clean, rid me of hope; for the first time, in that night alive with signs and stars, I opened myself to the benign indifference of the world.

The Sentinel

Monitoring sea level rise goes prime time with the Copernicus Sentinel.

Following liftoff last November and more than six months spent carefully calibrating the most advanced mission dedicated to measuring sea-level rise, Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich is now operational – meaning that its data are available to climate researchers, ocean-weather forecasts and other data users.

Why it's important.

Sea-level rise is a key indicator of climate change so accurately monitoring the changing height of the sea surface over decades is essential for climate science, for policy-making and, ultimately, for protecting the lives of those in low-lying regions at risk.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Random Walk XX

A short clip ranging from water to flowers in yet another random walk taken by yours truly. :)

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Altogether now ...

Biodiversity and climate change are two sides of the same coin and both must be addressed simultaneously if we are to save ourselves from a dark future of our own making. Rewild the world as per David Attenborough is the first thing to do now as without the natural world and its inherent link to biodiversity, civilization, as we know it, will be gone in a flash. 


Saturday, June 12, 2021

The Alien ... Earth style :)

Morays are Earth's version of the Alien as seen by the clip above. Awesome without question. :)

All bony fishes — those with skeletons made mostly of bone, rather than cartilage — have pharyngeal jaws in addition to their main jaws. Pharyngeal jaws lie behind the pharynx, or throat. They are smaller than the jaws in fishes' mouths and are used for gripping and piercing or crushing food, according to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. 

But unlike most fishes' pharyngeal jaws, those in moray eels "are highly mobile" and can spring past the throat and into the morays' mouths, said Rita Mehta, an associate professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC).

Long muscles pull morays' pharyngeal jaws forward to grasp prey and then slide it down their throats. (Image credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation (after Rita Mehta, UC Davis))

Our homegrown alien indeed. :)

Draught 101

Anybody buying a house in AZ is nuts.

Friday, June 11, 2021


Global warming, the 900lb gorilla, is alive and well but we already know that, right?

Pine Island Glacier, one of the fastest-shrinking glaciers in Antarctica, hastened its slide into the sea between 2017 and 2020, when one-fifth of its associated ice shelf broke off as massive icebergs, a new study reveals.

The glacier sped up another time in recent history, between the 1990s and 2009, when warm ocean currents ate away at the underside of the ice shelf, destabilizing its structure and causing the glacier to accelerate toward open water, according to a 2010 report in the journal Geophysical Research Letters

GW acceleration enters primetime 24/7.

Makeup :)

So glad I'm a guy save for the shaving bit. :)



 Google Uses AI to Design Computer Chips in Just 6 Hours

The last step in AI ascendency is the ability for said tech to design chips in just 6 hours versus the 6 month  process done by us. Warms the cockles of one's heart does it not?

Google says it has developed a way of using deep reinforcement learning (RL) to create computer chip floorplanning in just six hours — a complicated feat that typically requires humans months to achieve. 

The chips Google's AI develops are on par or superior than those humans can create, the team explained in its paper published in the journal Nature on Wednesday, June 9. 

In a first for one of its commercial products, Google's research is being used for the company's upcoming tensor processing unit (TPU) chips, which are optimized for AI computation.

So Google's AI method to design chips can eventually be used to improve and quicken the future development of AI. 

Perhaps our final invention? "No one knows, do one ..."  - Fats Waller

Wednesday, June 09, 2021


This pix, taken by yours truly, represents an object with great invisibilities as we see nothing of how the building was made, the raw materials used or the tech involved to erect said sky scraper in the first place and ... we haven's even discussed basic research in learning about what base materials needed to be known beforehand prior to building the construct in the first place. What's interesting about this is the fact the great invisibility applies to virtually everything in reality from dust motes to the universe as everything's connected at levels we will never fully understand.

Beginning in 2013, yours truly became fascinated by the fact infinities reside in finite space as shown by geniuses Georg Cantor, Karl Menger and Benoit Mandelbrot, among significant others, which became a series of blurbs in BRT indirectly connecting to the great invisibilities of everything known to exist in a entangled reality we will never fully understand. 

The eyes have it

The eyes have it. The larger the pupil, the smarter the person as per Scientific American.

It has been said that “the eyes are the window to the soul,” but new research suggests that they may be a window to the brain as well.

Our pupils respond to more than just the light. They indicate arousal, interest or mental exhaustion. Pupil dilation is even used by the FBI to detect deception. Now work conducted in our laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology suggests that baseline pupil size is closely related to individual differences in intelligence. The larger the pupils, the higher the intelligence, as measured by tests of reasoning, attention and memory. In fact, across three studies, we found that the difference in baseline pupil size between people who scored the highest on the cognitive tests and those who scored the lowest was large enough to be detected by the unaided eye.

Factoid ...

To be clear, pupil size refers to the diameter of the black circular aperture in the center of the eye. It can range from around two to eight millimeters. The pupil is surrounded by the colorful area known as the iris, which is responsible for controlling the size of the pupil. Pupils constrict in response to bright light, among other things, so we kept the laboratory dim for all participants.

As per Col. Nathan Jessup, Are we clear? :)

Sunday, June 06, 2021

By a whisker :)

So many animals have whiskers. From cats to rats to seals, said mammals come equipped with a sensory aparatus us rubes don't have and ... researchers finally learned how whiskers actually work.

Rats, cats, and many other mammals have whiskers, which they typically use to sense their surrounding environment, akin to the sense of touch. But scientists have yet to precisely determine the means by which whiskers communicate that sense of touch to the brain. Now an interdisciplinary team at Northwestern University has come up with a new model to help predict how a rat's whiskers activate different sensory cells to do just that, according to a new paper published in the journal PLOS Computational Biology. Such work could one day enable scientists to build artificial whiskers as tactile sensors in robotics as well as shed further light on human touch.

Seems it's how they bend.

Hartmann et al. found that rat whiskers are most likely to bend in an "S" shape within the follicle when they touch an object. This bending then pushes or pulls on the sensor cells, triggering them to send touch signals to the brain. The same bending profile results regardless of whether the whisker brushes against an object or is externally touched. And both intrinsic muscle contraction and an increase in blood pressure can improve the tactile sensitivity of the system.

"Our model demonstrates consistency in the whisker deformation profile between passive touch and active whisking," said co-author Yifu Luo, a graduate student in Hartmann's lab. "In other words, the same group of sensory cells will respond when the whisker is deflected in the same direction under both conditions. This result suggests that some types of experiments to study active whisking can be done in an anesthetized animal."

How cool is that? :)

Friday, June 04, 2021

Since 1820 ...

This exquisite gif showing fluids moving at different speeds is both hypnotic and beguiling at the same time. Seems the very complex but reliable Naiver-Stokes equations are also as described in the Quanta article titled Mathematicians Find Wrinkle in Famed Fluid Equations

The Navier-Stokes equations capture in a few succinct terms one of the most ubiquitous features of the physical world: the flow of fluids. The equations, which date to the 1820s, are today used to model everything from ocean currents to turbulence in the wake of an airplane to the flow of blood in the heart.

While physicists consider the equations to be as reliable as a hammer, mathematicians eye them warily. To a mathematician, it means little that the equations appear to work. They want proof that the equations are unfailing: that no matter the fluid, and no matter how far into the future you forecast its flow, the mathematics of the equations will still hold. Such a guarantee has proved elusive. The first person (or team) to prove that the Navier-Stokes equations will always work — or to provide an example where they don’t — stands to win one of seven Millennium Prize Problems endowed by the Clay Mathematics Institute, along with the associated $1 million reward.

In lock step


In lock step happens if tipping points cascade to generate global changes in a given system, a scenario that may jump start a climate catastrophe for the ages if the Earth System Dynamics research rings true. 

Ice sheets and ocean currents at risk of climate tipping points can destabilise each other as the world heats up, leading to a domino effect with severe consequences for humanity, according to a risk analysis.

Tipping points occur when global heating pushes temperatures beyond a critical threshold, leading to accelerated and irreversible impacts. Some large ice sheets in Antarctica are thought to already have passed their tipping points, meaning large sea-level rises in coming centuries.

The new research examined the interactions between ice sheets in West Antarctica, Greenland, the warm Atlantic Gulf Stream and the Amazon rainforest. The scientists carried out 3m computer simulations and found domino effects in a third of them, even when temperature rises were below 2C, the upper limit of the Paris agreement.

The study showed that the interactions between these climate systems can lower the critical temperature thresholds at which each tipping point is passed. It found that ice sheets are potential starting points for tipping cascades, with the Atlantic currents acting as a transmitter and eventually affecting the Amazon.

We did this to ourselves.