Something I Periodically Write About

19 08 2020

Oldenburg

This is today’s Google Doodle on both Google Germany and the big Google.

Lothar Meyer, the co-developer of the periodic table of the elements.  Today would have been his 190th birthday.

Born in Oldenburg, died in 1895 in the city where he spent most of his academic career, that being Nicholas-Stix-Stadt, aka Tübingen.

More than two years ago now, when my quasi-uncle and I were mere tourists here, one of the things that struck me, especially in the latter parts, was that so many of the places we visited were somehow important in the development of some hard science, that it would have made more sense to point out the ones that weren’t.  Then I started to wonder how in the world Germany didn’t wind up being a global superpower.  So dominant was Germany in chemistry, physics and engineering that, as late as the 1920s, the Weimar years, if you were anyone in the world who wanted a serious career in these fields, you absolutely had to learn German.  My quasi-uncle, an early Boomer, and a mechanical engineer during his working years, still felt it necessary to do that, even though he already learned it in K-12, and, if you knew what his last name is, you wouldn’t be surprised.

There are lots of things which prevented Germany from popping off as a superpower, but there’s a hint to one in particular from Meyer’s own life.  He was on faculty at what is now the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology when the Franco-Prussian War of 1871 popped off.  That was the third and most serious of wars waged by what would become neighbors of a unified German state against the unifying territory to prevent unification from happening, the previous two were at the hands of Denmark and the AHE.  The obelisk inside the traffic circle about a mile west of the Brandenburg Gate commemorates the Germans beating back all three belligerencies.  An interesting side note is that France’s inability to win in 1871 weakened it domestically such that actual communists set up a commune in Paris at that time, which of course didn’t last long, but was the inspiration for CHAZ/CHOP in Seattle.

Anyway, back to Meyer, he had to put his academic career on hold to care for injured soldiers and civilians in and around Karlsruhe.  There’s one of the big reasons:  Constant warfare and threat of warfare can create superpowers, but it can also prevent them from developing.  Realizing that the lack of actual warfare on this continent post-WWII is an anomaly in is history.  Also proving why those 21 miles are the Longest Yard in the history of civilization.

 





Solving One Problem Begs Another

9 07 2019

Mexico City and Monterrey, Mexico

This is the solution to a problem that stumped even Isaac Newton.

A Mexican figured it out, at the behest of another Mexican.

If we’re ever to make it off this rock and to another star, we may well have another Mexican to thank for it, that being Miguel Alcubierre Moya.

Mexico has enough intellectual and natural resources to where it has no business being as poor as it is, even counting its demographics.

Now all we have to figure out is why.  I guess solving this one problem created another.

And I guess it’s going to take an Einstein to figure it out.





Ummm, Okay.

25 04 2018

Oxford, England

This is either serious outer Solar System science news, or the end of a middle school joke.





Joy to the Worlds

25 04 2018

Paris

First yuge Gaia data dump.

Gaia’s primary mission is astrometry, to the tune of more than a billion stars, in fact maybe as many as 1.3 billion.  But it’s so much more than that.  As you can read, the data will reveal a whole lot of things about a whole lot of things, and solve many of the open questions in astronomy.  This and future Gaia data dumps will fuel many a astronomy dissertation for decades to come.

In the short term, I can’t wait for HNSKY to integrate Gaia star data.

Because actual science.





Bad Science

22 03 2018

Madrid

“Early humans likely saw it”

Unless our 70kya ancestors had extremely far better visual acuity, then bonk.

Scholz’s Star currently has an absolute magnitude of 19.4.  It only got as close as 0.82 ly, according to the research.  Which means that, when you do the math, it means that its apparent magnitude at the closest approach was only 11.4, which is so dim that not only can human eyes not see it, but you need a decently big telescope just to see a faint dot.

Math methodology is:

(100^0.2)^X = ((32.62/0.82)^2) then 19.4 – X.

Wolfram Alpha gives me X = 7.99835, so really, 8. Meaning 11.4, still way below human naked eye visibility.  Certainly not the few times more brilliant than Venus object that the illustration in this piece suggests that great-great-great-………………-great-great-great-grandpa saw.

That’s why the Wikipedia on Scholz’s Star says that it only got as bright as 11.4 in the subsection about its 70kya flyby.





Astronomy News During My Involuntary Sojourn

14 11 2017

Your Blogmeister’s Secret Hideout

ECLIPSE

As Norm told you, and I can certainly confirm, I spent eclipse day as close to the point of greatest extent as practically possible.  And it was my best single day in the time period between the “accident” and now.  Just like I was able to remember my uncle’s address and land line phone number before my own address and sail foam number, because the longest most deeply ingrained memories are the ones that came back first, even my damaged addled hobbled brain was zeroed in on eclipse day, precisely because I’ve known it was coming since I was 11 years old, I waited 29 years to see it, and I damned well wasn’t going to let a major concussion get in my way.  And yes, I fully intend on being around to do it all again in about the same place on the map in six and a half years.

NEUTRON STAR COLLISION

The blockbuster news out of the astronomy world during my involuntary sojourn is that, for the first time, a collision between neutron stars was observed, and the consequences are being analyzed.  So rare is this kind of event and so anxious have been professional astronomers to see and analyze one that just about every research-grade telescope in the world was turned on it once it was figured out that one was happening.  One of the big discoveries was that we have now found a second energy and fusion source for heavy elements in the universe.  Before now, it was thought the only thing in the universe that could generate elements heavier than oxygen (atomic number 6) are the most massive of stars in their final stages of life and their explosion as supernovae.  Now we see that colliding neutron stars do the same thing, and in fact, they now think that almost all the naturally occurring gold (atomic number 79) in the universe comes from colliding neutron stars rather than exploding supernovae.  That means that you took yourself off the dating and sex market by putting a little bit of the trash from an ancient neutron star wreck around your finger.

INTERSTELLAR VAGABOND

Another big piece of news that’s a first in terms of human observation and confirmation is that for the first time, an interstellar object has been observed both in and passing through the Solar System, and in fact, pretty near Earth, coming as close as 60 times the distance to the Moon.  The object’s gangster name is A/2017 U1, and is either an extrasolar comet or asteroid, probably the latter, that got tossed out bag and baggage from the nest where it hatched, and dropped on by the Solar System, the Sun’s gravity forced it into a hyperbolic bend (e=1.19).  It seems to have come from the constellation Lyra, and thanks to Russian Solar interference, once it skedaddles out of our neck of the woods, it’ll be on its way to Pegasus.  Though because of proper motion and widely varying orbital periods and eccentricities that the various relatively nearby stars have around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, and for the fact that A/2017 U1 isn’t moving that fast, 58,000 mph, or 0.0087% of the speed of light, about 60% faster than the pace of New Horizons between Jupiter and Pluto, the stars of Lyra were probably not there when A/2017 U1 was coming here from that vantage points, instead, other stars were there, and one of them was A/2017 U1’s cradle, and likewise, by the time it gets to the stars that now comprise Pegasus by our current vantage point and sky culture, they won’t be there, either, and there will be different stars there.  As luck would have it, this time of year, mid-November, in mid-northern latitudes, the “square” of Pegasus reaches its highest point in the sky about three hours after sunset, so if you’re out, take a look up and wave goodbye to A/2017 U1 and wish him farewell, happy trails to you, even though we’ll never meet again.  Though since it peaked at magnitude 21 from Earth’s vantage point, and will do nothing but get fainter, you’d need a very YUGE BIGLY telescope if you want to see it.

URANUS

Yet another piece of news isn’t so profound, and more so is yet another example of the lazy way the mainstream media deal with astronomy news.  First off, Uranus has always been just above the naked eye visibility threshold, and was probably observed countless times by both ancient laymen and ancient astronomers, but they just mistook it for a faint star.  It wasn’t until the late eighteenth century that it was figured as a planet, and it was only because William Herschel looked at it with a telescope and discovered that its apparent size proportionally increased with higher magnifications, unlike stars, and then other contemporary astronomers figured its orbit as nearly circular and beyond Saturn, meaning (at the time) the seventh planet.  Second, even at its brightest, including during the current opposition, its magnitude peaks out at 5.7, which means you needed good eyes, good seeing, and dark skies just to have a chance to see a very faint dot. And we all know how rare truly dark skies are these days, in terms of the chances that a given random first world individual has to experience them. Another problem with the way this story was written is that it makes you think that October 19-20 was the only night possible to see Uranus with the naked eye. In reality, because Uranus is so far away from Earth, the ratio between as far away from Earth as it can possibly be to how close it could possibly be is only 1.213 (*), meaning it’s only close to half again brighter (**) at its closest than farthest, which in turn means that only 0.4 magnitude separates its brightest and dimmest possibilities (***). Since Uranus is hanging around the constellation Pisces (as viewed from Earth) around now (****), this means that Uranus is (barely) naked eye visible around now at any time when the constellation Pisces is visible after astronomical sunset but before astronomical sunrise. Which, at St. Louis’s latitude (38.6 N), is between late June and mid-February.  Of course, the stars of Pisces are pretty dim, which means that seeing Pisces itself will require the same thing as seeing the planet currently “in” Pisces, getting away from light pollution.

SIM E.T.

I have probably written in this space several times in the recent past that:  (1) By my 60th birthday, March 31, 2037, there will be legitimate scientific proof of at least some simple form of life on an extrasolar planet (a planet orbiting a star other than the sun), and (2) The crucially important minds in crucially important societies have pretty much forecasted the same thing and see the same thing coming, and therefore (3) TPTB are greasing our skids so that when the official announcement of what will be the biggest most profound news in the history of human civilization and science is made, it won’t come as such a shock.  Such skid-greasing includes a recent handful of curious dog whistle pronouncements from Popes Benedict XVI and Francis, as if to reconcile Christianity’s flagship institution and the idea of non-Earthly life as predication for the inevitable news.

This is more skid greasing.

EXOPLANET CENTENNIAL

Turns out the first evidence of exoplanets was gathered a hundred years ago, it’s just that the astronomers who gathered it didn’t know that it was evidence of one or more exoplanets.  They didn’t know what they had.  Which is the story of a lot of us, we don’t really know what we have.

A BROKEN CLOCK IS RIGHT TWICE A YEAR

Not an astronomy story, as such, but close enough for government work.

Note to those invested with political power in New England:

You can mess around with clocks all you want.  But there’s no cheating the Earth’s axial tilt, and there’s no cheating latitude, especially yours.  That’s the proximate causation of short days in December.  The daylight you “gain” in the afternoon by doing this is the daylight you would lose in the morning.  Which, in the hypothetical case of Boston, would mean sunrises as late as 8:14 AM.

By all mathematical rights, anything west of 67.5 degrees W should be in the Eastern Time Zone.  It’s just that the trend over time, including this proposal, is to nudge time zone boundaries westward, to sacrifice an hour of morning light for an hour of evening light.  Which as an aside is the whole purpose of daylight savings time to begin with.

Though I should say that if New England does wind up doing this, then problems like these out of Massachusetts won’t ever be a problem again.  (Hint:  Record births in UTC along with local time, so that this kind of thing isn’t a problem.)  This makes me think of one of those brain teasers/quasi-mysteries I was given in middle school and solved.  It involved someone stating that something happening at 2:30 AM on a specific date in early April of a what we were told was the same year we were in at the time.  On a hunch, looked the date up, and it was indeed the first Sunday in April, which was in those days the spring-forward day.  Which means that there was no 2:30 AM local time, (and the place where it happened observed DST, I looked that up just to make sure), which means the person’s account was impossible.

GENESIS 1:3

I had but then lost a URL about the formulation of the theory that was published during my involuntary sojourn, about the process in the extremely early post-Big Bang universe which meant that visible light first became “visible,” in the anthropomorphic sense, though the chances that there were any living beings that were able to see what is anthropomorphically considered “visible light” are extremely slim.  If any of you can find that story, put it in the comment box.

THEORETICAL ASTROPHYSICISTS, WTF?

One more thing:  We made it, and we’re here, in spite of what the theoretical physicists say shouldn’t have happened.  Mystery wrapped in an enigma.

FOOTNOTES

(*) – Uranus’s perihelion is 18.4 AU, and its aphelion is 20.1 AU, meaning that its closest possible approach to Earth is 18.4 minus 1, or 17.4 AU, presuming Earth-Uranus opposition happens at the same time as Uranus’s perihelion, whilst Uranus can be no further away than 21.1 AU, the 20.1 AU aphelion plus 1 AU, provided that happens at the same time as the Sun-Uranus conjunction as viewed from Earth.  21.1 divided by 17.4 is 1.213.

(**) – Law of inverse squares.  (21.1/17.4)^2 = 1.4705.

(***) – (100^0.2)^X=1.4705, X solves to 0.419.

(****) – Uranus has an 84-year solar orbit, which means it spends about seven years (84 divided by 12) in each Earth-apparent zodiacal constellation. That’s another thing I have to get out of the way – When we say that Uranus is “in” Pisces, or refer to the galaxy “in” Virgo, we don’t mean that Uranus itself is where the stars that constitute the Pisces constellation can be found, and we’re not saying that the galaxy is where the stars of the Virgo constellation are. Almost all naked eye visible stars are between four and 300 light years away, only an extremely tiny sliver of our own galaxy, and we look at objects that are both closer and farther through the lens of stars whose positions and asterisms in the Earthly sky seem to be in the relevant range of human lifetimes and civilizations’ lifetimes to be immutable and fixed, even though over an extremely long time, they too will change position. Uranus is far closer than the stars of Pisces, and a given galaxy “in” Virgo is way farther away than the stars of Virgo.





A Day We Knew Was Coming

22 05 2017

“Fifty-two genes tied to human intelligence”

NYT wastes no time, rushing to save the narrative and the conventional wisdom as early as the second paragraph.  As if to assure the narrativemongers that everything is going to be alright, that they won’t let all this science get out of hand, that it won’t result in people actually noticing things.





We’re Blinding Them With Science

22 04 2017

Downtown

The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

That’s how Oxford University defines “science” in terms of American English.

So, as I look at the P-D’s photo set for today’s “March for Science” downtown, why do I see:

* Equal rights
*  LGBTQIA
*  Planned Parenthood
*  Make It Legal (i.e. marijuana) (Ever read medical literature about marijuana?  It’s none too kind, and wouldn’t invoke the spirit of legalization. — Ed.)
*  Bill Nye 4 President
*  Trump is a Russian puppet (Unfortunately, recent events are popping that bubble — Ed.)

Methinks some people confound “politics” for “science.”

 





Hide This News From NARAL

26 04 2016

Chicago

Because it’s just a non-viable tissue mass.

Crickets from the “ZOMG WE MUST RESPECT SCIENCE 1000% OF THE TIME LOL~!!!!!1” crowd.





The Curse of a Good Memory

29 01 2016

Irvine, California

The mechanics of those with elite memories.

While I have a very good memory, not an elite one, this hits me right where I live:

Viewing the past in high definition can also make it very difficult to get over pain and regret. “It can be very hard to forget embarrassing moments,” says Donohue. “You feel same emotions – it is just as raw, just as fresh… You can’t turn off that stream of memories, no matter how hard you try.” Veiseh agrees: “It is like having these open wounds – they are just a part of you,” he says.

This means they often have to make a special effort to lay the past to rest; Bill, for instance, often gets painful “flashbacks”, in which unwanted memories intrude into his consciousness, but overall he has chosen to see it as the best way of avoiding repeating the same mistakes. “Some people are absorbed in the past but not open to new memories, but that’s not the case for me. I look forward to the each day and experiencing something new.”

Veiseh even thinks his condition has made him a kinder, more tolerant person. “Some say ‘forgive and forget’, but since forgetting is a luxury I don’t have, I need to learn to genuinely forgive,” he says. “Not just others, but myself as well.”

This is why I wish I wasn’t cursed with a good memory.  I still sulk and steam and fume and dwell over both slights against me and regret the slights I inflicted on others that the average person would have forgotten and never been able to remember.  I’m still angry over at a double standard way a school rule was enforced on me when I was a freshman in high school.





Is It Science, or Is It a Racist Conspiracy?

17 09 2015

South Africa

homo-naledi

Yes.

I mentioned this story in this past Sunday’s wrap-up. Then, the context was noting that ritual disposition of the remains of the deceased turns out to have started way way way earlier than we thought, because this newly discovered humanoid ancestor engaged in that practice 2.5 million years ago.

But, since these fossils were found in South Africa:

Fit hits shan.

Or, try this version.

Sounds to me like certain people have insecurity issues.  Nobody but nobody but nobody is explicitly linking Homo Naledi to black South Africans and exclusively black South Africans.  If they’re that offended, then it must be because that’s what they think about themselves.

So, to return to my initial question:  Science is a racist conspiracy.





This Elevator Doesn’t Quite Go All the Way to the Top

16 08 2015

Toronto

And that’s not such a bad thing, in this case.

Turns out that we have an interim solution before we can develop the technology necessary for a real space elevator of the Tsiolkovskyite mold.  The interim solution is an inflatable telescopic tower that rises to 12.4 miles above the ground, which would take the top just above the Armstrong Limit even if the ground was at sea level.  From there, vehicles can both launch into space and land from space.





Bad Science

11 08 2015

Perth, W.A., Australia

ZOMG GREAT HISPANIC VOTE…

Oops, sorry, wrong hysteria.

ZOMG THE UNIVERSE IS DYING~!!!!!1

At the end, this claims the universe has a few billion years left.  Actually, it’s more like a few trillion years left, if you only count the Stelliferous Era, i.e. the era where some sort of natural nuclear fusion is happening in gaseous spheres we know as “stars.”  And the best they can figure, right now, the universe is in a condition where more stars are dying, i.e. fusion is ending and the given star’s mode of death depends on its mass in its “main sequence” mainstream lifetime, than stars that are being formed.  Basically, our universe is a little bit past its prime.

So, both your blogmeister and the universe he inhabits are solidly into their middle ages.

 





I See a Dark Age A’Risin

14 06 2015

London

P-D:

Nobel Prize-winning scientist says he was forced to resign after Twitter outrage

A week ago, Tim Hunt was a well-known Nobel Prize winner who was promoting science education throughout Europe and the world.

Today he’s widely perceived as a sexist who has been stripped of most of his positions because of inappropriate comments about women in science.

Gone is his position with the European Research Council science committee, his role at the Royal Society, and his honorary post at University College London. He said Sunday he was fired from the latter, while the university has said only that his resignation was accepted.

Hunt’s fall followed a speech Tuesday at the World Conference of Science Journalists in South Korea in which he said that girls cause trouble in labs because “you fall in love with them, they fall in love with you, and when you criticize them, they cry.”

Lucky for him he wasn’t wearing an inappropriate shirt.

Who knew that the people who are on the vestibule of throwing the world into another dark age are soi disant uber-tolerant Twitter SJWs?  When we eventually recover from this oncoming dark age, our descendants who lead the recovery will have no choice but to conclude that the invention of Twitter was one of the most disastrous events in world history.





Give Me That Old Time Rahowa

14 07 2014

Sudan

The world’s first race war, circa 11,000 B.C.

You can tell that this happened in 11,000 B.C. and not 2,000 A.D., because the white or white-ish or proto-white people actually killed the black people, instead of trying to integrate them into their fledgling prehistorical culture and give them civil rights.





R-K At Work

26 06 2014

Sweden

This is all they give us before they give us the paywall:

Criminality is highly costly to victims and their relatives, but often also to offenders. From an evolutionary viewpoint, criminal behavior may persist despite adverse consequences by providing offenders with fitness benefits as part of a successful alternative mating strategy. Specifically, criminal behavior may have evolved as a reproductive strategy based on low parental investment reflected in low commitment in reproductive relationships. We linked data from nationwide total population registers in Sweden to test if criminality is associated with reproductive success. Further, we used several different measures related to monogamy to determine the relation between criminal behavior and alternative mating tactics. Convicted criminal offenders had more children than individuals never convicted of a criminal offense. Criminal offenders also had more reproductive partners, were less often married, more likely to get remarried if ever married, and had more often contracted a sexually transmitted disease than non-offenders. Importantly, the increased reproductive success of criminals was explained by a fertility increase from having children with several different partners. We conclude that criminality appears to be adaptive in a contemporary industrialized country, and that this association can be explained by antisocial behavior being part of an adaptive alternative reproductive strategy.

Seems to me that this is little more than first world versus third world, real Swedes versus black Africans.

I don’t think the criminality is an evolutionary offshoot of the “r” in r-K.  I think the criminality, the r strategy slash the consequences of an r strategy are two different effects of the same cause.





My What Big Ears We Have

26 04 2014

The Milky Way

More bad science.

Everybody has been wondering:  As we start to find more and more extrasolar planets in their star systems’ Goldilocks zones, when are we going to start finding actual evidence of intelligent life and sentient beings way way way out there?  Since we haven’t picked up any evidence, it must mean they must not exist.

This is one case where what may be the eternal absence of evidence can never possibly be evidence of absence.

From where I’m sitting right now, I could tune an FM radio to 96.7 and listen to KCMQ play “Wheel in the Sky” by Journey.  In fact, that’s what I did just before writing this post just to illustrate the point.  Let’s assume that KCMQ is the only FM station on Earth using 96.7 MHz, which of course isn’t the case, and let’s assume that the star what Kepler-186f orbits is above the horizon from the vantage point of KCMQ’s tower at the time the station played “Wheel in the Sky,” but according to HNSKY, the entirety of the Cygnus constellation was below the horizon.

The thought is that in the year 2506, or what we would call the year 2506, (incidentally, that would be one year after the year in which most of the movie Idiocracy was set), some intelligent being on Kepler-186f will have a big dish pointing toward the sky and coincidentally in the direction of some insignificant G2V star some 492 light (Earth) years away, and it’s attached to an FM radio receiver tuned to 96,700,000 Hertz.  Boom, the Keplerian fan of classic rock hears “Wheel in the Sky.”  Intelligent life out there.

First off, while it’s not beyond the pale that there is intelligent life out there trying to listen, why are we to assume that they’ll have FM radios?  They might use signal transmission and reception methods that are, well, completely alien to us.

Second, the big error in that mentality is that radio signals don’t go on forever.  A lot of people had just assumed that with each passing year, the “radio bubble” in a sphere around Earth expands precisely one light year per year, and therefore more and more star systems would be able to hear Earth broadcasts.  What they all forgot was the law of inverse squares for electromagnetic transmission and reception.  If you move twice your current distance from the light bulb, the light from it will be one-fourth as strong, three times from it, one-ninth as strong, and so on and so forth.  And it also applies to radio, which is just another form of electromagnetic TX/RX — SETI has figured that even the strongest regular Earth-bound transmissions will fade and and become indistinguishable from the background radio noise our galaxy makes at those frequencies from anywhere between one and two light years from Earth, which means “Wheel in the Sky” won’t even make it to Alpha Centauri in late August 2018.

Just because I can’t go outside and hear noise from Las Vegas doesn’t mean that someone isn’t having a party right now in Vegas.

It is thought that since we have the capability to aim directional ultra-powerful signals out in to space, that some intelligent civilization out there has inferred not only the existence of our planet around our star, but inferred its existence in our own star’s Goldilocks zone, and speculated that maybe someone’s alive and well on this rock, and sent a powerful directional signal our way.  Aside from all the other problems, not the least of which is the matter of the intermittent nature of such transmissions and the possibility that even when those signals get here, they might fall on deaf ears, (e.g. if ET on Kepler-186f sent us a signal 10,486 years ago that arrived here 10,000 years ago and lasted for an hour, our pre-written language pre-agricultural hunter-gatherer ancestors would have been oblivious to it all), there’s just so much distance between the hypothetical them and us that they might not be able to generate enough power to transmit such a signal that won’t die out in transit.

Incidentally, that’s going to be a problem for when we have the ability to do interstellar unmanned probes.  Sure, we may eventually develop the ability to send a big toilet bowl to Alpha Centauri, but how is it going to be able to phone home?

 





“Science”

19 03 2014

Atlanta

planesearch

Rush is right.  CNN is going all Malaysian 370 all the time.

Dumb:

CNN’s Don Lemon has been entertaining all sorts of theories about the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, including the chance something “supernatural” happened, but on Wednesday night, he actually asked panelists about the possibility a black hole was involved.

Dumber:

Mary Schiavo, a former Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Transportation, said, “A small black hole would suck in our entire universe, so we know it’s not that.”

One makes a total ass of himself, and the other, in refuting him, makes an even bigger ass of herself.

If there was a black hole in the atmosphere massive enough to have disintegrated Malaysian 370, it would have been big enough to have consumed the whole Earth by now.

However, the largest black holes don’t suck in the entire universe, much less small ones.  You see, Mary, the largest galaxies in our universe have as their central engines supermassive black holes (SMBH) that are estimated to have masses that are billions of times more than our own Sun.  And they don’t even consume their own galaxies, (in fact, they gravitationally hold them together and keep their constituent parts, stars and otherwise, from drifting apart), much less the whole universe.  Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, probably has a puny (by SMBH standards) four million Solar mass SMBH as its central engine.  And it hasn’t consumed the Milky Way much less the universe yet, because I’m still here to snark away on my own blog.

Any black hole, primordial, stellar or galactic, doesn’t “suck” anything in unless it gets dangerously close.  Otherwise, it’s just another object of mass that bends spacetime around it and causes other objects to orbit it.

And also…can’t say black hole…because racism.

I don’t ever want to see or hear another “Republicans are anti-science” rant from that network.





Can’t Deny Science

3 12 2013

Philadelphia

Many many many generations back, men often went out and about in groups to hunt for big game, women stayed around the dwelling to tend to the children and procure what edible things could be found in the immediate vicinity of home.

So of course that would create evolutionary pressure on human brains that still presents to this day.

I can’t remember who said it, but it’s true:  The modern analogue is men going out on golfing foursomes, women going shopping for shoes.





Erase Two Letters

2 12 2013

Canada

CBC:

Muzzling of federal scientists widespread, survey suggests

Hundreds of federal scientists said in a survey that they had been asked to exclude or alter technical information in government documents for non-scientific reasons, and thousands said they had been prevented from responding to the media or the public.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which commissioned the survey from Environics Research “to gauge the scale and impact of ‘muzzling’ and political interference among federal scientists,” released the results Monday at a news conference. PIPSC represents 60,000 public servants across the country, including 20,000 scientists, in federal departments and agencies, including scientists involved in food and consumer product safety and environmental monitoring.
In all, the union sent invitations to participate in the survey to 15,398 federal scientists in June. A total of 4,069 responded.

Twenty four per cent of respondents said they “sometimes” or “often” were asked to exclude or alter technical information in federal government documents for non-scientific reasons. Most often, the request came from their direct supervisors, followed by business or industry, other government departments, politically appointed staff and public interest advocates.

Translation:

Some scientists discovered that our diversity isn’t our strength, and someone came along later and erased the “n’t.”





A Lot I Knew

17 07 2013

The Universe

Now here’s a shift in thinking:  Gamma ray bursts created by colliding burnt out stars may be responsible for creating all the heavy elements in the universe.

Funny, I was under the impression that the only natural force that could be responsible for all the heavy elements in the universe was the extremely intense extremely hot and extremely short high atomic number nuclear fusion that takes place in exploding supernovae.  Way back in high school chemistry class, back when I had to walk 20 miles one way in a foot of snow just to get to school, I was taught that regular-aged (“main sequence”) stars, like our own Sun, fuse hydrogen (Atomic Number 1) into Helium (Atomic Number 2), but since Earth’s heaviest element naturally found is Uranium (92), neither the Sun nor any main sequence star could explain it.  Then I was told that elderly bloated stars fuse Helium (2) into Carbon (6), and that some really elderly really big stars wind up in chain reactions of nuclear fusion that end up with Iron (26) being produced.  Furthermore, the biggest of the biggest wind up exploding as supernovae, and during the explosion, fusion takes place that, at least in some observed supernovae, create elements as heavy as Californium (98).  Since Earth’s natural heavy elements tops out at Uranium (92), this means that Earth and the Solar System are the reconstituted leftovers of an ancient supernova.  Indeed, I learned later that since Mars has an isotope of Iron (26) not found on Earth, and you don’t find different isotopes of the same element in one exploding supernova, this means that the Solar System was formed from the remnants of at least two ancient supernovae.

Now this seems to indicate that gamma ray bursts and not supernovae are what created all the heavy elements on Earth and everywhere else in the universe for that matter.

 





Top Half Percent

29 04 2013

Washington, D.C.

CBS DC:

Clinton: Nazi ‘Sickness Is Very Alive Across The World Today’

Elderly survivors of the Holocaust and the veterans who helped liberate them gathered for what could be their last big reunion Monday at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

(snip)

Since the museum opened 20 years ago, the world has made huge scientific discoveries, including the sequencing of the human genome, which proved humans are 99.5 percent genetically the same, Clinton said.

“Every non age-related difference … is contained in one half of 1 percent of our genetic makeup, but every one of us spends too much time on that half a percent,” Clinton said. “That makes us vulnerable to the fever, the sickness that the Nazis gave to the Germans. That sickness is very alive across the world today.”

The exact figure escapes me, but if I remember right, all mammals are at least 90% alike in the genome.  Which means that the 0.5% in which people differ is a BFD, as Joke Biden would say.  But you say potaytoe, I say potahtoe, you say tomaytoe, I say tomahtoe, you say “Nazi sickness,” I say “science.”  Just a difference of opinion.  Some people like to smoke cigars, some people like to…well…you know…

But you can’t talk about science.  Because…gas chambers.

And also…referring to the near-victims of a serious attempt at genocide a “big reunion?”  What is this, a serious piece of history, or the Concentration Camp Class of ’45?  Yep, remembering when ole ‘Dolf and his henchmen damned near starved me to skin and bones…Good times.





Rush Covers Stapel Affair

29 04 2013

EIB Network

Rush talked it todaySteve Sailer talked about it three days ago.

I’m disappointed in Rush’s angle.  He talked about the Stapel Affair and his phony race research as an angle to talk about “the real fraud,” Glow-BULL (not) Warming.  I’m more interested in the phony race research because I’m more interested in the race issue.

Just because Dr. Stapel’s research is now a self-admitted fraud and he’ll probably spend time in prison for it?  Don’t expect the egalitarian media and “scientific” establishment to stop citing it to “prove” other points they want to make.  As you read in that link to Sailer, the media are STILL touting material from the Heber Affair as if it was factual, and Dr. Heber went to prison for fraud when the whole thing as proven as such.

Because…the mind that alters is the mind that alters all.  And also…much of what is called “science” is merely a front for politics, which in turn is often a front for “Who? Whom?”

Related:  Post-Modernist Essay Generator, Thomas Friedman Op-Ed Generator





Those Hormones

23 04 2013

Oxford, England

New Scientist:

Why teenagers really do need an extra hour in bed

(snip)

The biology of human sleep timing, like that of other mammals, changes as we age. This has been shown in many studies. As puberty begins, bedtimes and waking times get later. This trend continues until 19.5 years in women and 21 in men. Then it reverses. At 55 we wake at about the time we woke prior to puberty. On average this is two hours earlier than adolescents. This means that for a teenager, a 7 am alarm call is the equivalent of a 5 am start for a person in their 50s.

Precisely why this is so is unclear but the shifts correlate with hormonal changes at puberty and the decline in those hormones as we age.

It’s right there in front of you.  If it’s a factor which is exacerbated by the increase of sex hormones then reversed by the decline of sex hormones, then the wherefore of it all has something to do with human sexuality and reproduction.  In case you haven’t noticed, most human sexual intercourse takes place after sunset.  Another possibility is that maybe this got hard wired into our genome early in our evolution as a species because it served the well being of the communities and tribes of early man if their virile young men stayed awake longer than the young’ens and the old’ens, just in case any scary carnivorous nocturnal animal predators came around in the evening spying your parents or kids for a meal.





Equinox

22 09 2012

Earth

If you were at the equator today, and the skies were clear at your locale, you would have seen the sun rise directly in the east, and rise perpendicular to the horizon.  Then it would rise straight up, and it would be at its zenith directly above your head.  Then it would fall straight down, and set due west perpendicular to the horizon.  Because of that, the time it takes to get from one level of twilight to another and then to sunrise and then from sunset to each of the three levels of twilight is the shortest it can ever be at any point on Earth, 24 minutes per interval, because you’re at the equator and on the two equinox days, the sun seems to be traveling along your own implied line of latitude transverted to the sky.  In contrast, at points north or south of the equator, the sun rises or sets at an angle, the further away from the equator, the steeper the angle relative to the horizon at which the sun rises or sets.  Therefore, when the sun sets, it’s setting “under” the horizon at the same angle at which it did before it set, but not “going” directly down.  Therefore, it takes longer to get to civil then nautical then astronomical twilight.  At certain higher latitudes during your hemisphere’s summer season, the sun might not get below the horizon at a far enough angle for you to get a given level of twilight, and the further away from the equator you go, the longer it will be that your area never experiences astronomical then nautical then civil twilight, and above the latitudes of the Ant/Arctic circles, the sun won’t set at all during the longest days of the year, and as you progress toward the poles, the longer the sun will stay up during the summer.  At the poles themselves, the sun is up for six straight months then down for six straight months, but at “dawn,” at the vernal equinox, you’ll see the sun gradually peak above the horizon.  But then the sun will seem to curly-q around the sky and gradually spiral higher and higher until the summer solstice, then it will curl back down to “set” at the fall equinox.  It won’t get dark right away, because it will take time for the sun to curly-q down below the horizon to 6 degrees below it (civil twilight), then 12 degrees below it (nautical twilight), then 18 degrees below it (astronomical twilight, true darkness).  Today, at the north pole, the sun is setting, but it won’t reach civil twilight until October 8, nautical twilight until October 24, and astronomical twilight until November 13.  Then it will be truly dark there until January 29, when astronomical twilight breaks, then nautical twilight on February 16, then civil twilight on March 5, then dawn on March 21 or so.  Reverse the calendar for the south pole.

Confused yet?





Health and Sickness

27 08 2012

Your Blogmeister’s Desk

We drink this, and call it healthy.

We call these non-viable tissue masses, and if you don’t approve of the “right” of the subset of humanity charged with incubating these non-viable tissue masses to terminate these non-viable tissue masses any time they want for any reason they want, even at public expense, then you just flat out hate half of humanity.





We’re On the Right Track, Baby, We Were Born This Way

6 06 2012

Yes, you’re not seeing things.  There is a Lady Gag video in this post.

MSNBC:

White Americans’ heads are getting bigger — literally, study shows

If someone complains that a person has a big head, it’s normally considered a dig at the enormity of that person’s ego. But when it comes to white Americans, being labeled as big-headed shouldn’t be considered a criticism as much as an apt description: Over the past 150 years, the size of white Americans’ craniums have actually increased in size.

Researchers at the University of Tennessee’s Forensic Anthropology Center (what Mary Roach calls “the body farm” in her book “Stiff”) routinely examine skulls to try to determine sex and race of the craniums so if police officers discover just a skull, there are guidelines for gleaning info about it. The database of skulls and bodies has steadily increased to include people who were born and died in the 20th century, whereas prior the skulls were from people born in the 19th century.

Meanwhile, cultural anthropologists still insist that there’s no such thing as race.

As researchers Lee Jantz, coordinator of Forensic Anthropology Center, Richard Jantz, professor emeritus, and Joanne Devlin, adjunct assistant professor, catalogued 1,500 noggins they observed that white people who were born in the 20th century had bigger heads.

They looked at white skulls because they wanted to have a large sample and they don’t have as many black and Hispanic skulls. When people decide to donate their bodies to science, some of those bodies end up at the Forensic Anthropology Center. Historically, more white people have donated their bodies to science than black or Hispanic people, but Jantz suspects that as the makeup of America changes, the center will receive more donations from black and Hispanic people.

Good luck with that.

The height of white male skulls has increased by eight millimeters and the overall skull has grown by 200 cubic centimeters. For women, cranium height increased by seven millimeters and overall by 180 cubic centimeters.

Five, six, seven, eight…





Survival of the Smallest

15 02 2012

One of the world’s smallest reptiles.

Of course, it begs the obvious MUSICAL segue, to one of the most nonsensical music videos in the history of the genre.





The Ungrokkable

5 01 2012

I have said for a long time that anyone who truly figures out Jews, women or Arkansas politics deserves a Nobel prize.

Stephen Hawking has not yet won a Nobel prize.  Maybe this is why:

Greatest mystery known to man: Quantum physicist Stephen Hawking says he still can’t work out women

He is one of the world’s greatest living scientists, who uncovered the secrets of the universe in his book, A Brief History of Time.

But the great Stephen Hawking says he still struggles with one tricky subject.

When asked what occupied his thoughts for most of his waking hours, he answered: ‘Women. They are a complete mystery.’

In an interview with New Scientist to mark his 70th birthday this weekend, the quantum physicist revealed a softer side behind his brilliant brain.

He even hinted at regrets in his personal life after being asked about his biggest mistake.

He said that thinking information was destroyed black holes was his biggest blunder – ‘or at least my biggest blunder in science.’

That doesn’t give the rest of us guys hope, that the genius who calculated that black holes eventually evaporate can’t figure out women.





Our House

1 06 2011

Thirty million light years away.  Astronomers think that this galaxy looks the most like our own Milky Way when viewed from the same angle, though NGC 6744 is physically larger.

Because we’re in our own galaxy, we have no way of knowing for sure what it looks like from a distance.  It’s going to be an extremely long time before we can send an unmanned doodad that far away to be able to snap a picture of home, if we ever can.  Therefore, astronomers have to infer what the Milky Way looks like.  And they think the above is the closest they have found to a Milky Way twin.