Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Betwixt & Between ...

 An illustration of a bicycle superimposed over two electrical sockets

The Atlantic

I cycle. My son turned me onto the sport back in 1992 and I've been on the road ever since as cycling is like Zen: Head moving through space being in the world but not of it while pedaling with intense effort traversing hills and dealing with headwinds. (The Zen archer comes to mind here.) Waxing poetic about cycling is cool but this piece isn't about riding but rather about the first law of thermodynamics, you know, the one stating energy can never be created or destroyed, only transformed.

In cycling, you feel this transformation process happening all the time; go up a hill, potential energy increases, going down the hill, potential coverts to kinetic, thus showing the rider first hand how energy works in the real world. When coupled with quantum, chaos and relativity, the power of the first law and how it drives reality becomes really interesting... Monday, June 21, 2010/BRT

Now, contrast this with the E-Bike ...

In my experience, e-bikes are also strange to ride, and that strangeness contributes to their oddity. Having a motor changes a lot of things about a bike. Anytime you pedal with the motor engaged, it will push you forward more than you’ve pedaled. I thought I’d acclimate to it, but I still haven’t; especially when pedaling from a coast out of a turn, I forget the motor is in gear, and when it engages it sends me off course, flying into the curb (or worse, into traffic). The e-bike rolls into an uncanny valley, the chasm between a bicycle under my human power and a motorbike piloted directly by a throttle.

E-bikes’ identity crisis might seem like the symptom of a transition: As soon as adoption really takes off, all of these issues could work themselves out. But I’m not so sure. Something is ontologically off with e-bikes, which time and adoption alone can’t resolve. Whether as bicycles haunted by motorbikes or as mopeds reined in by bikes, e-bikes represent not the fusion of two modes of transit, but a conflict between them.

Just gonna leave this here....

Just gonna leave this here.... Steadman's Trump

The inner essence of The Donald without question ...

If only ...

Dr. Gonzo, AKA Hunter S.  Thomson, the guy who wrote Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail '72, understood Tricky Dick at deep level as seen by the obit done on Milhouse in 1994.

DATE: MAY 1, 1994



I have had my own bloody relationship with Nixon for many years, but I am not worried about it landing me in hell with him. I have already been there with that bastard, and I am a better person for it. Nixon had the unique ability to make his enemies seem honorable, and we developed a keen sense of fraternity. Some of my best friends have hated Nixon all their lives. My mother hates Nixon, my son hates Nixon, I hate Nixon, and this hatred has brought us together.

Nixon laughed when I told him this. “Don’t worry,” he said, “I, too, am a family man, and we feel the same way about you.”

RIP Dr. :)

Monday, August 29, 2022

From "on" to "off"

Ah, phase transitions are never linear as seen by what's happening relating to the insane acceleration of global warming and the impact it's having on earth in ways both astonishing and terrifying at the same time. For China, it's the Yangtze River, the largest in Asia, an essential resource for millions of people, now drying up thanks to a drought for the ages.

We did this to ourselves ...

A wicked problem ...

Years ago, the Yangtze looked like this.

Remember, it's just the beginning ...

We've passed the critical point IMHO.

Sunday, August 28, 2022

The inquisitor ...

Illustration by Gérard DuBois

Heresy, you know, the notion of expressing an idea contrary to church doctrine, especially in the 1600s, was a most dangerous undertaking, especially when the inquisition was in charge of questioning the validity of said idea, the most famous of which being Galileo's support of heliocentrism, the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun at the centre of the universe, a stunning rebuke to the 1500 year old church support of the Ptolemaic theory of earth being the center of the universe and not the sun. Needless to say, this affront would not stand so the inquisition tried and condemed Galileo for heresy, thus forcing the scientist to recant his findings before being placed under house arrest for the rest of his life. With this in mind, it seems appropriate Sam Alito would fit right in as an inquisitor based on the zealotry expressed by this jurist on all things concerning a woman's right to choose. 

Figure of the heavenly bodies — An illustration of the Ptolemaic geocentric system by Portuguese cosmographer and cartographer Bartolomeu Velho, 1568 (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris)

Now, though, Alito is the embodiment of a conservative majority that is ambitious and extreme. (He declined to be interviewed for this article.) With the recent additions of Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett to the Court, the conservative bloc no longer needs Roberts to get results. And Alito has taken a zealous lead in reversing the progressive gains of the sixties and early seventies—from overturning Roe v. Wade to stripping away voting rights. At a Yale Law School forum in 2014, he was asked to name a personality trait that had impeded his career. Alito responded that he’d held his tongue too often—that it “probably would have been better if I said a bit more, at various times.” He’s holding his tongue no longer. Indeed, Alito now seems to be saying whatever he wants in public, often with a snide pugnaciousness that suggests his past decorum was suppressing considerable resentment.

In July, Alito, who is seventy-two, delivered a speech at the Palazzo Colonna, in Rome, for a gathering hosted by the University of Notre Dame Law School’s Religious Liberty Initiative—a conservative group that has filed amicus briefs before the Court. (Faculty affiliated with the group also filed briefs in Dobbs. Legal analysts at Slate noted that the spectacle of a Justice “chumming it up with the same conservative lawyers who are involved in cases before the court creates the unseemly impression of judicial indifference toward basic judicial ethics rules.”) Alito had donned stylish horn-rimmed glasses that he doesn’t usually wear in public, and he had a new, graying beard. Though the speech focussed on one of his favorite topics—the supposed vulnerability of religious freedom in increasingly secular societies—he couldn’t resist crowing about Dobbs. “I had the honor this term of writing, I think, the only Supreme Court decision in the history of that institution that has been lambasted by a whole string of foreign leaders,” Alito said. “One of these was former Prime Minister Boris Johnson—but he paid the price.” (Johnson resigned earlier this summer.)

Galileo before the Holy Office, a 19th-century painting by Joseph-Nicolas Robert-Fleur

Saturday, August 27, 2022

It's all about flow ...


Hubble image of NGC 1566, taken 2nd June 2014 by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Parker and Jeynes demonstrate that the stability of spiral galaxies is a consequence of their stable (Maximum Entropy) geometry. Parker & Jeynes (; 2019, see Fig. 2).

Being a designer and artist, the fascination with geometry, especially when connected to physics, never disappoints as nature repeats itself endlessly with emphasis on avoiding gradients and following the path of least resistance, something able to be seen when combining geometry with math to explain how a given process functions, in this case, entropy, the 2nd law of Thermodynamics.

To whit ... The second law may be formulated by the observation that the entropy of isolated systems left to spontaneous evolution cannot decrease, as they always arrive at a state of thermodynamic equilibrium where the entropy is highest at the given internal energy.[4] An increase in the combined entropy of system and surroundings accounts for the irreversibility of natural processes, often referred to in the concept of the arrow of time.[5]

Thermodynamics seems to have been difficult to reconcile with an increase in entropy.

Artist: C.Evans-Pughe/

 Quantum Mechanics yields a pure measurement, but it’s the thermodynamics that explains it. 

Physicists have long struggled to explain how the inevitable increase in the universe’s entropy can be reconciled with the reversible laws of quantum mechanics. Now, Professor Chris Jeynes at the University of Surrey Ion Beam Centre, UK, believes he has found a solution in geometry. This new geometrical thermodynamics shows how the stability in time of structures as diverse as atomic nuclei, the DNA helix, and spiral galaxies can be explained as a natural result of systems adopting their maximum possible entropy configuration, even as the universe evolves over time.

In essence, degrees of freedom expressed by virtually everything in existence are limited.

de·gree of free·dom
/dəˈɡrē,dēˈɡrē əv,ə ˈfrēdəm/
plural noundegrees of freedom
  1. each of a number of independently variable factors affecting the range of states in which a system may exist, in particular any of the directions in which independent motion can occur.
      each of a number of independent factors required to specify a system at equilibrium.
      the number of independent values or quantities which can be assigned to a statistical distribution.

Organization needs a flow of entropy

The second law is strongly related to order – and disorder. Living beings are low-entropy systems and depend on a flow of entropy simply to stay alive. As Jeynes explains, ‘in the context of life on Earth, the Sun is a source of entropy, and the dark night sky is a sink of entropy’. Parker and Jeynes have shown that entropy production is a conserved physical quantity, just as energy is also a conserved physical quantity. Notably, although entropy production necessarily involves dissipation processes, it is still subject to its own conservation law. This is rather shocking for physicists.

According to Professor Chris Jeynes, entropy and energy act as two sides of the same coin operating in concert with quantum, chaos and relativity whereby entropy's time's arrow still holds without violating the tenets of quantum, chaos and relativity. How cool is that? :)

1 - 1.6.18 0r 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21.34 etc, etc ... AKA The Golden Mean or the Fibonacci Number 

Locomotion 2Step

From trains to foot to sail and beyond, man is always on the move. Enjoy.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Eureka ...

Eureka comes to mind when reading a New Yorker article discussing an innovative way to deal with coal waste as said entity, loaded with rare earth materials at grand scale, can, with luck, be converted into a valuable new resource able to help rebuild America in a good way. 

To whit.

Acid mine drainage has long been a scourge in Appalachia. Recent research suggests that we may be able to simultaneously clean up the pollution and extract the minerals and elements needed to power green technologies.

West Virginia is the second-largest coal producer in the United States, and coal-patch communities have often been left paying the bill for cleaning up the contamination that companies leave behind. But recent research has indicated that coal waste also contains critical minerals and materials, including cobalt, manganese, and lithium, and rare-earth elements, such as neodymium. These are essential to a wide range of high-tech products, including the magnets used in wind turbines and the ultra-lightweight batteries used in computers, smartphones, and a variety of modern weaponry. Ziemkiewicz said, “These alloys make things lighter, faster, and allow for increased temperature.” Decarbonizing the economy, to mitigate the ravages of climate change, will also require producing many more highly efficient batteries, and this process will require supplying these materials in larger quantities.

In the past several years, however, American scientists have succeeded in extracting critical minerals and materials from coal waste. If this effort proves efficient and effective, we may be able to simultaneously clean up polluted places and secure access to rare resources. These resources could then be used to bring sensitive manufacturing back to the U.S., provide supplies used for military technologies, and help create more sustainable energy sources. “Fossil communities are solving something Silicon Valley can’t,” Jennifer Wilcox, the principal deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management at the Department of Energy, told me. “This does more than restore the environment. It also restores these communities that have paid so much for America’s energy.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Redding Rock'n Roots 2022

Redding Rock'n & Roots 2022 was a rousing success. Enjoy. :)

Wired ...

Wired, a Jeff Beck masterpiece, forever resonates in my mind as Good Bye Porkpie Hat, a Charles Mingus tune in homage to the great Lester Young, is powerful, elegant and above all else, passionate to the nth degree. Thanks CD for reminding me of this truly great album by a truly great musician. :)

The metaverse ...

Besides being tone deaf, lucky beyond belief and untrustworthy, Zuck's declaration of the metaverse to be just around the corner isn't, due to the intense computational and code logistics needed to pull it off as the envisioned tech is not there yet by any stretch of the imagination and ... do you trust Zuck in sharing your inner most feelings and financial wherewithals in living in said metaverse? I thought so ...

So Hiro's not actually here at all. He's in a computer-generated universe that his computer is drawing onto his goggles and pumping into his earphones. In the lingo, this imaginary place is known as the Metaverse. Hiro spends a lot of time in the Metaverse. It beats the shit out of the U-Stor-It.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (1992).[1

Last week, Meta showed yet another cringeworthy product of its $10.2 billion investment in the metaverse: a demonic VR porcelain doll of Mark Zuckerberg that looked worse than a Second Life avatar from 2003. Hastily released in response to yet another round of universal mockery from all over the internet, it was still only marginally more expressive, and slightly more alive, than a Ken doll.

The worst part is not how bad it looks, but the fact that it is a symbol of how badly Meta is managing expectations for the metaverse. Anybody expecting that this metaverse thing will end up being a real-life version of the book and film Ready Player One is in for a huge disappointment. And so is Zuckerberg, when he finally realizes that only an insignificant fraction of enthusiasts are going to buy into this awkward dimension.

It gets better.

Meta overestimates the power of VR in its current form, as does anyone criticizing Meta for not being immersive enough. Right now, a chat on Tinder using a smartphone can feel a lot more engaging than using VR goggles to communicate, simply because our brains fill in so many of the blanks in that conversation. We imagine the face of the other person, rather than seeing a representation that can’t possibly convey the full spectrum of human emotion.

This same phenomenon happens when you play a good game with an immersive story and gameplay: Even if the graphics are 8-bit sprites, game designers know that our imaginations compensate, providing a more powerful experience.

Last but not least, current VR hardware is isolating, awkward and ugly, something needing to be replaced with cool glasses or contacts, gear not ready for prime time until Apple and significant others decide to make it happen. Guesstimate ... 2035-40.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Well, that's interesting ...

Well, that's interesting. Seems the possibility of some UFOs to be beyond the kin of man is now finally being addressed by DOD and congress according to intel resources deep in the black area of government. 

To whit.

After years of revelations about strange lights in the sky, first hand reports from Navy pilots about UFOs, and governmental investigations, Congress seems to have admitted something startling in print: it doesn’t believe all UFOs are “man-made.”

Buried deep in a report that’s an addendum to the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023, a budget that governs America’s clandestine services, Congress made two startling claims. The first is that “cross-domain transmedium threats to the United States national security are expanding exponentially.” The second is that it wants to distinguish between UFOs that are  human in origin and those that are not: “Temporary nonattributed objects, or those that are positively identified as man-made after analysis, will be passed to appropriate offices and should not be considered under the definition as unidentified aerospace-undersea phenomena,” the document states.

Something's afoot. - Sherlock Holmes

The Gallows Hill Three

Esoteric rock without question. GHT +1 :)

Amber Anchor

Bluegrass rules

The Lonetown Boys acoustic style ...

Tacos rule. :)

Sunday, August 21, 2022

The A team ...

Looking at the Turtle reminds one of two things, one, the need for term limits and two, the dire state of politics in America as the quality of repugs running for office even has this craven individual concerned as the lack of a viable skill set in terms of the ability to govern, much less win, is becoming all too obvious for all to see save for the sorry individuals running for office in 2022.

Speaking at an event in Kentucky on Thursday, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell cast doubt on the prospect of Republicans retaking the upper chamber, suggesting that many of his party’s nominees may be too weak to win. “I think there’s probably a greater likelihood the House flips than the Senate. Senate races are just different,” he told attendees at a Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce luncheon. “Candidate quality has a lot to do with the outcome.” 

He didn’t mention any of those candidates directly, but he almost certainly could have been talking about any of Donald Trump’s handpicked contenders, who earned the former president’s support seemingly for one of two reasons: He knows them from television, or they’re loyalists who have organized their campaigns almost entirely around his 2020 election lies. There’s a lot of crossover there, obviously, but the first camp includes Mehmet Oz, a former TV doctor who apparently believes raw asparagus belongs in a crudité, and Herschel Walker, the former football great whose own campaign staff reportedly regards him as a “pathological liar.” Dr. Oz, who may or may not even live full-time in the state he wants to represent in the Senate, is losing ground in Pennsylvania to John Fetterman, thanks in large part to the Democrat’s savvy media strategy and the clumsiness of Oz's campaign. Walker isn’t far behind incumbent Raphael Warnock in the polls. Still, the former athlete's campaign has been held back by scrutiny over his past, which includes disturbing allegations of domestic violence as well as incessant lying about his business career and the number of children he has. (Walker, for his part, has claimed he never denied having four kids and has rejected allegations of domestic violence.) Walker's campaign is also plagued by his seeming inability to say anything coherent on the issues (e.g., his remarks about “China’s bad air” and his comments on how there should be a “department that can look at young men, that’s looking at women, that’s looking at their social media” to prevent mass shootings). 

Then there’s the second camp of MAGA candidates, which includes the likes of Blake Masters, the Peter Thiel protégé who literally has the backing of some of the Internet's most well-known white nationalists. (Masters has attempted to distance himself from this community.) One of several extremists on the ballot in Arizona, where election deniers Kari Lake and Mark Finchem are respectively running for governor and secretary of state, Masters is trailing Democrat Mark Kelly by eight points, according to a Fox News poll released this week.

But one never knows, do one? 

None of this to say to say that these bumbling extremists can’t win; if a country is capable of electing Trump president, Georgia is certainly capable of electing a guy like Walker. But McConnell’s apparent sense that this batch of bozos might dash GOP dreams of a Senate majority may be well-founded, even if midterms tend to favor the party that doesn’t control the White House. “The way I look at it, if we held the election today, there’s a damn good chance we’d pick up a few seats,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said recently.

Ah, the land of the free and home of the brave never disappoints ...

Inky ...

Intelligence is everywhere. Spiders dream, crows tease and plants communicate via fungi, facts one and all showing man not to be the sole entity possessing smarts, a concept shown to be eminently true as seen by the antics of cephalopods of all stripes.

 A jumping spider (E arcuata) exhibits leg curling during an REM sleep-like state.


In BRT, yours truly rants copiously about how the world needs a reset if we are to avoid environmental collapse. The reset not only deals with energy but also with the body politic as still conceptualizing the notion of nation states driven by capitalism as a viable way to run this planet no longer applies. For years, the question of how many other civilizations survive the trashing of their planets at the level we do comes to mind as all societies, IMHO, living on rocky planets, must use resources in order to survive, much less advance, as humans have on planet earth. The question to ask is now is ... what's the percentage of said civilizations surviving before it's too late and, can we change how we do business on earth before it's too late?

Image shows atmospheric pollution caused by uncontrolled industrial emissions

Click Tragedy of the Commons to get Hardin's  essay.