Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Ferocity personified


In the South American tropics, where hummingbirds must compete for food, evolution has drastically reshaped their bills.CreditCredit...Kristiina Hurme

Hummers are fierce. How do I know? Well, we have had a group of 7 frequenting two feeders for years with usually one obnoxious male guarding the stash along with one dominant female as silent partner. As often stated, one never grows tired of watching incredible aerial acrobatics and threat posturing to the nth degree in the birds' endless pursuit to get access to the all important sugar water when insects and flower nectar become increasingly scarce.

If you want to know what makes hummingbirds tick, it’s best to avoid most poetry about them.

Bird-beam of the summer day,

— Whither on your sunny way?

Whither? Probably off to have a bloodcurdling fight, that’s whither.

John Vance Cheney wrote that verse, but let’s not point fingers. He has plenty of poetic company, all seduced by the color, beauty and teeny tininess of the hummingbird but failed to notice the ferocity burning in its rapidly beating heart.

The Aztecs weren’t fooled. Their god of war, Huitzilopochtli, was a hummingbird. The Aztecs loved war, and they loved the beauty of the birds as well. It seems they didn’t find any contradiction in the marriage of beauty and bloodthirsty aggression.

In the Aztec religion, Huitzilopochtli (Classical Nahuatl: Huītzilōpōchtli [wiːt͡siloːˈpoːt͡ʃt͡ɬi], About this soundmodern Nahuatl pronunciation (help·info)) is a deity of war, sun, human sacrifice, and the patron of the city of Tenochtitlan. 

Ferocity personified indeed. :)

Monday, August 23, 2021

Late Summer ...



Hosta bloom

Nasturtium in yellow

Sturgeon Moon/rev 1

Sturgeon Moon/rev 2



Thursday, August 19, 2021

War is a racket/rev XX

Eisenhower's farewell speech warning us about the Military Industrial Complex.

As per Smedley Butler, the two time Congressional Medal Winner so forcefully said, War is a Racket, this time, the racket applies to Afghanistan. 

As the hawks who have been lying about the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan for two decades continue to peddle fantasies in the midst of a Taliban takeover and American evacuation of Kabul, progressive critics on Tuesday reminded the world who has benefited from the "endless war."

Heads should roll but they won't. 

According to The Intercept:

This is a far greater return than was available in the overall stock market over the same period. $10,000 invested in an S&P 500 index fund on September 18, 2001, would now be worth $61,613.

That is, defense stocks outperformed the stock market overall by 58% during the Afghanistan War.

"These numbers suggest that it is incorrect to conclude that the Taliban's immediate takeover of Afghanistan upon the U.S.'s departure means that the Afghanistan War was a failure," Schwarz added. "On the contrary, from the perspective of some of the most powerful people in the U.S., it may have been an extraordinary success. Notably, the boards of directors of all five defense contractors include retired top-level military officers."

U.S. military presence around the world in 2007. As of 2018, the United States still had many bases and troops stationed globally.

Any questions?

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Taking the shot ...

The Webb, long delayed and way over budget will, if successfully deployed, change how man views the universe.

There's no safety net

The Webb

Infrared differs from visible, the Webb's prime differentiator from the Hubble.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Patterns one & all ...

Back in 1952, Alan Turing discovered chaos when he figured out how patterns in nature emerge using two variables, one to generate the pattern and another to inhibit it, thus giving rise to organic lines or stripes whether they reside on fish, tigers, bacteria or galaxies. Now it seems Turing's equations also work at nano scales as seen by new research dealing with crystals and how they grow on a given surface.

The stripes looked like a mistake.

Several years ago, a team of physicists at Stanford University led by Aharon Kapitulnik was trying to grow a thin layer of bismuth crystal on a metallic surface. But instead of forming a uniform sheet, the crystal became a patchwork of uneven growth. In some areas — those where the crystal layer was only one atom thick — a striking design emerged. Small stripes filled up irregular patches, and these regions butted against one another, their stripes oriented at different angles.

Kapitulnik couldn’t explain the stripes. Then on a working trip to Paris in 2017, he showed them to Yuki Fuseya, a theorist at the University of Electro-Communications in Chofu, Japan. “This is like a zebra,” Fuseya told Kapitulnik. And if the stripes were really like a zebra’s, he said, they could be a Turing pattern.

The possibility came as a surprise. Countless patterns in nature, from zebra stripes to psychedelic hallucinations and windswept ripples in sand, are thought to stem from a mechanism that Alan Turing proposed in 1952, between his famed code-breaking work during World War II and his tragic death in 1954. This kind of pattern has since been identified in the arrangement of bacteria, stripes on sea shells, and even the distribution of human settlements. This ever-growing list includes systems on vastly different scales, from embryos to galaxies.

The Turing pattern ...

The Turing pattern is a concept introduced by English mathematician Alan Turing in a 1952 paper titled "The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis" which describes how patterns in nature, such as stripes and spots, can arise naturally and autonomously from a homogeneous, uniform state.[1] In his classic paper, Turing examined the behaviour of a system in which two diffusible substances interact with each other, and found that such a system is able to generate a spatially periodic pattern even from a random or almost uniform initial condition.[2] Turing hypothesized that the resulting wavelike patterns are the chemical basis of morphogenesis.[2]

They're everywhere ...

Astounding says it all.

L 98-59b

 In It's just a matter of time, BRT discussed the likelihood of life in the universe. Seems this take may be true given that one exoplanet may have all the trappings of an environment capable of sustaining life. 

In the video immediately above, the ESO provides an artist’s impression of L 98-59b, which lies in its parent star’s habitable zone. Not only does this mean the exoplanet isn’t too hot or cold for life, but, in this instance, that the exoplanet may have an atmosphere. An atmosphere is a key ingredient for shielding life from the dangers of cosmic radiation.

It may be just a matter of time, right?

Monday, August 09, 2021

Counting by numbers 123 ...

Crows, parrots, bees and frogs, among significant others, know how to count as if their lives depend on it because it does, a finding not so surprising when you take in account just how important knowing how to count truly is to most of the fauna residing in the world.

An understanding of numbers is often viewed as a distinctly human faculty — a hallmark of our intelligence that, along with language, sets us apart from all other animals.

But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Honeybees count landmarks when navigating toward sources of nectar. Lionesses tally the number of roars they hear from an intruding pride before deciding whether to attack or retreat. Some ants keep track of their steps; some spiders keep track of how many prey are caught in their web. One species of frog bases its entire mating ritual on number: If a male calls out — a whining pew followed by a brief pulsing note called a chuck — his rival responds by placing two chucks at the end of his own call. The first frog then responds with three, the other with four, and so on up to around six, when they run out of breath.

But there's a significant difference as to how man does numbers vs animals ...

But impressive as the animals’ accomplishments are, he emphasized that there are critical differences between how animals have been shown to conceptualize numerosity and how humans do it. We don’t just understand quantities; we link them to arbitrary numeric symbols. A set of five objects is not the same as the number 5, Nieder said, and the empty set is not the same as 0.

By taking this step beyond numerosity and building a symbolic system of enumeration, humans have been able to develop a more precise and discrete concept of number, manipulate quantities according to specific rules, and establish an entire science around their abstract use — what we would call mathematics.

Counting by numbers indeed. 

Code Red

This pix, when taken, was just a nice setting sun, nothing ominous or portentous of anything grave save it was a beautiful summer day coming to a glorious end. Now, when looking at this image, another take comes to mind, that of a coming darkness thanks to us heating up the world. For years, BRT has discussed, in dire terms, the coming GW storm of our own making but you, my loyal readers, already know this. Nothing of consequence is being done and nothing of consequence will be done until a monumental catastrophe happens as change is hard and man doesn't make a move until something big happens, thus forcing change upon us. It's now Code Red. The question to ask is, what are we going to do about it?

Sunday, August 08, 2021

It's just a matter of time ...

 It's just a matter of time when man discovers extraterrestrial life given just how vast the universe truly is.

A solar system much like ours

Astronomers have found more than 4,000 exoplanets, worlds orbiting distant stars in our Milky Way galaxy. Many reside in planetary systems vastly different from ours. But, on August 5, 2021, astronomers said they’ve found a distant planetary system that has intriguing similarities to our sun’s inner solar system. One of the planets is about half the mass of Venus, the planet next-door to Earth. Another could have oceans. And there might be yet another rocky world in this system’s habitable zone.

It just a matter of time ...

Close encounters ...

Close encounters of a deadly kind is in play with the Delta variant of COVID-19. It gives one pause as to whether it might be a good idea to get the jab, right?

Some facts about Delta ...

End game

As followup ...

Endless arcs & whorls :)

20th century hieroglyphs comes to mind when looking at elegant particle physics bubble chamber output as per the graphic seen above. Quantum is reality and tech like this shows why this notion rings true.

Saturday, August 07, 2021

Pandering as art form

The Age of Reason; Being an Investigation of True and Fabulous Theology, penned by Tom Payne, challenged organized religion and the political "correctness" of the French Revolution in a crisp biting style totally different from the insane rantings of Trump & company in modern day America. Self-serving and dangerous, the rush to avoid reason and nuance in order to gain power goes beyond anything seen in US politics in this writer's opinion.

Monday, August 02, 2021

The denial of history ...

The 1st Amendment has costs. Whether it be letting neo Nazies march in Skokie, Ill or describing the ascent of Hitler in Germany, the inherent costs of allowing free speech can be summed up by the famous Salman Rushdie quote ... “Nobody has the right to not be offended." With this in mind, the censoring of data, such as Hitler's rise to power, is being increasingly controlled by algorithms and entities like Facebook and governments all over the world as speaking unpleasant truths is deemed no longer acceptable as seen by the US taking down confederate statures instead of posting on said statues why they were put up in the first place. To deny history evokes 1984 ... "Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past."

The denial of history ...