OK. Really is Saturn Day today. Week out. Senior delusions? 

Anyway, fair walk in park this morning. May be high ’50’s degF but too low temperature for my Alibam summer adapted system. Gonna have to up coat tomorrow morning. But I did remember ear coverings. So all my face BUT my ears was shivering. Horrible when you are senior and cheeks shiver. Slobbering accompanies. 

According to the Atlanta wonks over at the Jawgah Institut for Technowhow, Mars has running water. [Link]

This is indicated by the streaks. Pray don;t tell FD SCP. She can’t stand water streaks. Some sort of childish shock? Anyway, when we get water streaks in basins and such she goes on a cleaning binge. All I can do to keep her from scouring my wrinkles.

On a similar note, some corporation without credentials has released a study that indicates changing to driver-less motorcars will reduce traffic fatalities by an order-of-magnitude. This strikes me as one of those obvious things. If we take the steering wheel and accelerator pedal away from Der Schmucken then the number of wrecks and collisions will go WAY DOWN. There’s only one problem. Those folks will do anything to keep control of their motorcars. So you may have to discorporate them to get them to comply. In which case we obtain no benefit from driver-less motorcars since all the accidents (and a lot of the overcrowding) is relieved.

Makes you wonder who is paying for the study, doesn’t it?



Recessing Time

OK, survived the expedition to Nawth Alibam’s Shining City on the Hill. Actually, the traffic was quite clement and few Kamikaze commuters, and all of the latter had Madison County motorcar tags. So not a bad expedition. And the trip to gym this morning was fair. Only a couple of weight bouncers ad they the well behaved ones. And the podcast, an episode of “The Linux Action Show” was diverting if not informative or entertaining. Too many incompetent commercials taking time and thought away from actual useful information.

After the debacle of Two day morning trying to see the eclipse and only getting somewhat soaked I was somewhat ameliorated to see fair photography.[Link]

I don’t know what it is but somehow this photography just isn’t up to the usual excitement level.

Maybe now I can get back to doing stuff instead of playing Red Queen games. Ha! Bad pun!

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Happiness Everywhere

OK, it’s Sol day but so far there isn’t much indication of Sol. But then yesterday all the evidence was indirect, much cloudiness in the sky so that all the light was diffuse. But it is also the end of week out and time once more to hawg tabs.

First, from the Australian National U we have the offering (?) that life is a soliton. [Link] It is an intriguing proposal since it offers all sorts of fixes to why and how questions, and it is, I think, testable. And somehow reading it on sundae makes it seem all plausible. I have to admit to not knowing a great deal about solitons. They rose to prominence after I exited shule, and at the time were supposedly dissipationless, so outside my interest area.

I also ran across this cartoon [Link]

and it struck me on several azimuths. When I go to gym I usually get exposed to that rather painful pseudo-science commercial about Einstein and a coupon web site that I always think should end with the speaker being rushed off to hospital after he gets some noxious chemical all over his hand. In the ’50’s and ’60’s the bog view of scientists was shaped by the containment response monster movies from Hollywood and Nippon that were nuclear war wet dreams. Now the scientist facade has been absorbed by the corporate prevarication.

But the part that is most humorous about this is the famous modifier. That is largely a bog thing. Scientists don’t idolize other scientists. We respect and even admire, but we don’t make them celebrity shibboliths, at least until after they have discorporated for some time. So saying that one wants to be a famous scientists is largely a bog perversion and almost assuredly doomed to failure.

As it should be.

Next, a rather encouraging article [Link] about how Alibam is ranked number 45 among the states of the Yankee republic in “happiness.” Does that mean we are number 5 in “seriousness”, or just “misery”, as is implied? I hate to say this but I don’t think I want to live in a “happy” state. I want to live in a competent state, which is unlikely, perhaps impossible, for any state to be.

It turns out that the rating is based on some whacked psychology index and the difference between states is statistically irrelevant. The “happiest” state is Hawaii, which from what I have learned about I would not want to even visit there. FD SCP went there and it was a nightmare, especially the trip. But the whole life style there is stressful and irrational. Not that the life style in Alibam is at all rational, at least for all the bogs. So maybe this is just a bog thing? Can we induce all the bogs to move to the Sandwich Islands and leave the rest of the YR to the geeks and nerds? How can we do this? And how soon?

Next, and contributing to that happiness, is a lovely [Link] entitled “There is no such thing as emptiness. There is only quantum foam.” I have to object to the “only”. It is unnecessarily derogatory. And I prefer vacuum to emptiness. And it is nothing new to physics and physicists. And if it bothers the bogs, then they will move all the sooner to the sandwich islands. But the point is something that children know and see and adults can’t, that there is no emptiness, just stuff we can’t get a good grasp of. [Link]

Next, another happy article [Link] entitled “Would you hire someone with poor grammar skills?” The answer, both in the article and in the poll is a resounding NAY. Those who cannot have an acceptable competency in syntax (and spelling) cannot communicate and hence are almost useless in the workplace. Only as idiot savants segregated and kept in a greenhouse can such be. And thereby the exceptions are few and limited to the mentally exceptional. So bogs with bad grammar can collect rubbish.

And lastly, another lovely article [Link] entitled “NASA chief: Earth is DOOMED if we spot a big asteroid at short notice Action on REAL threat to the planet ‘put off for decades'”. You have to wonder at that “short notice” and “decades”. This is not news, incidentally. It has been known for a long time. What is news is that the Yankee government has finally admitted that if a big space rock comes along we get to join the same death society as the dinosaurs.

I particular liked a quote from the NASA Grand Exalted Pall Bearer:

“The president has a plan. But that plan is incremental. And if we want to save the planet, because I think that’s what we’re talking about, then we have to get together … and decide how we’re going to execute that plan.”

The plan incidentally, is to do nothing until his term runs out and then it is the next guy’s problem. Great confirmation here of how politicians operate. And I won’t make the usual kerfuffle about reading this in a furrin newsmedia.

Not that it isn’t understandable. First, the cost is way high because we’re really talking Space Patrol here. And second, it makes no difference from a politician difference. If the big sky rock doesn’t come in a politicians term, no harm done, and if it does, no more elections. So why worry? So why do anything?

Enjoy the ice cream.

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Not with a bang

Yesterday was one of those days where the mind just did not go to blogging. So perhaps we can do a bit of make-up today.

First, I noticed an article [Link] about an Atlanta law firm that only hires college graduates for its clericals. I think this is supposed to be a case study but given the state of Amerikan journalism that point is never made, so we are uncertain of the generality. The idea is a bit sticky, as in pointed stick, in several directions. It makes the fate of those who drop out of high shule doubly damning. It also tends to confirm the horrible things we have said about the deterioration of college education. Or its extinction. I am not quite sure which. But in an age when education is a diploma, knowledge is hen’s teeth.

I was taken by one comment, that the college degree is a good way to discriminate and discard a lot of resumes. With so many young (?) people unemployed, I suppose there are lots of resumes and human resource tyrants have to find ways to preserve their life styles. But it also smacks of the idea that most of these people get that diploma knowing what their parents learned in high shule. It was also obliquely and gradually evident that these are the kids who chose unwisely, not choosing to major in the employable disciplines. And since what they studied is unpayable, the party atmosphere of college is perhaps a bit explained. It may very well be the Masque of the Red Death.

But it is what this portends that is especially damning. High shule has become irrelevant, largely, I suspect, by the corruption of Every Child Left Behind. By teaching the test, what knowledge the graduates have is unmarketable. The promise of education is individuality, not commonality. And we seem unable to comprehend that in this modern age. We have sunk far below Lang’s Metropolis. Nor will this save the colleges. Instead, the vast population of marginals will become the cash cow of those who are central and education will become even more generic and grittish.

Not that it seems to matter. The rumblings about the meteors whizzing by (and into) Tellus continue with no sign of anything concrete to be done except increasing the depths of global warming. The article [Link] in Scientific American is indicative of how the editors are trying to revitalize the magazine but haven’t been successful yet. I was however, taken by two closing paragraphs:

“In the 15-meter size range, we think it happens about every 50 years. It’s been more than 100 years since we’ve seen something of this size, but statistically it happens approximately every 50 years.
When you consider all the areas of the Earth that are uninhabited—the oceans, the ice caps, the deserts and so on—it’s very surprising that this happened over such a populated area. Very unlucky.”

The first at least shows a bit of knowledge of statistics and probability, while the second is appallingly boggific. And contradictory. If the mean time between strikes of this size meteor is 50 year and it has been 100 – patently a number extracted from the air – then we have been lucky, or fortunate, or whatever bog term one wants to use to anthropomorphize a random process. But note not a byte about prevention.

A somewhat more useful approach [Link] is this map

of the density of meteor strikes over the last 2.3 KY. Note how it looks like a map of the land surfaces of Tellus times the cosine of angle above( below) the equator. Why this is left to the student to shew. But a hint: consider presented area. And population density. Until the last few years if peoples didn’t observe it, it wasn’t observed.

And lastly, a real worrier. Based on now knowing the mass (maybe) of the Higgs boson, it is possible to estimate the instability of the vacuum, in effect the shakiness of nothing, in boggish terms. A recent estimate indicates a significant probability that our universe may end by an alternate universe emerging from the vacuum within our own and in effect sucking it in. And ending us in the process. The estimate of when is a long time away, but we do have to recall that this too is a random process.

I personally hypothesize that the vacuum in the skulls of some of the bogs I meet here in Greater Metropolitan Arab has already generated alternate universes that has engulfed their brains. But that too is the error of anthropomorphizing.

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Fist Shake the Sky

Almost like winter this morning. The Weather Channel and the WunderWeather local agree that Greater Metropolitan Arab is about 20 degF this morning. The teethy ones claim we shall get almost to 60 degF today but I am reserving my trust for the sake of observation.

Much grrr brrrr on the national news last evening about meteorites and our economy/human laxity propensity to present our necks to the blade. They even had some neuroneg up there expounding nuclear devices. There was also some apologetics about the BIG guy who had all the attention earlier before Siberia got a wallop. Incidentally I see the injury count is now up to a kilo – probably folks injured in the clean up?

The Siberian meteorite, a few tons of matter was relatively benign.[Link] A shock wave, no EMP, no entact impact, not that an impact in Siberia would be as bad as in shallow ocean. The big guy was 130K tons and could have done a big damage, millions killed if it had hit and skewed the climate, mostly from starvation and chaos. And the assurances of authority were a bit empty given the growing inability of bogs to do maths. Note the gravity bend in this graph:

Note they say that the beast came within about 38 Mm (megameters) of Tellus and recall that Tellus itself is about 6 Mm. So that’s not a big miss!

I was especially impressed by the title of this article:

“The world is safe! Asteroid capable of destroying London skims past Earth in nearest flyby since records began”

which is pretty clearly meant by someone to reassure the bogs and make them quiet until there is a real extinction strike. Question s whether the nonsense mindbalm came from journalist or bureaucrat-politician?

Not that the concerned are exactly rational. [Link] There are too many out there pushing for rapid action with things that almost certainly won’t work. Not that any one thing will be highly effective so far as I can tell. But the task has two hard parts: observation and detection; and interception and removal. Both will be EXPENSIVE and PERSISTING. This is not a five year plan thing, it’s a change the way society works thing. And we don’t know how to do that. At least not better than abysmally incompetently. It also flies in the face of politicians and money people. Capitalism can’t handle this sort of thing, and religion will turn it into tyranny. I have scant hope that we are going to do any better with this than we did with the terrorism thing -a bunch of meaningless, painful restrictions of no purpose nor effect other than to comfort the bogs.

At least for those who get to see it the view will be spectacular.

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Ways to Die from the Sky

Once more into week out, and once more into weather. A cold front is nearing/encroaching on Castellum SCP and I am once more confronted with the frustration of weather beaverism. The Weather Channel add-in to this FireFox browser tells me the temperature in Arab is 31 degF. The WunderWeather map with local stations tells me that the temperature around Arab is 33-34 degF. Surely there is not that much uncertainty? And the BIG TEETH on the Huntsville television stations are even less helpful being unable to cover every village and town. Given the incompetence of their news readers and the painful boorishness of their sports babblers, I have to wonder what value these have in the modern world? Why do we have to lose newspapers and strengthen these schlemiels?

On a more pleasing azimuth, night gazers parasitic to the Chandra observatory satellite have found what they portray as a young gravitational singularity, only 1 KY of existence. The article is a bit sparse and, frankly, boggish for British journalism, but the Chandra site is a bit more helpful. I reproduce some of the visual just because it’s a nice picture.

According to the rather sad journalism, and sadly the Chandra site as well, the singularity is the result of a “p” supernova rather than the usual “s”. The letters refer to the explosion geometry. And the beast is only 26 KLY away. Now if the metal bashers at NASAl would just get to work we could have a drive to get there in a few thousand years.

On a related azimuth, the folks of the former Soviet Union, near Chelyabinsk in Siberia got whalloped by a thermally exploding meteorite yesterday. [Link]

Apparently the beast exploded at good altitude and did not strike entact. A rather amusing hole in the ice covering a lake was shown on Amerikan national news program expressing the whackedness of Amerikan journalism. Nonetheless, lots of windows – the glass kind – were shattered and some 500 humans damaged with a fair number admitted to hospital. Sadly, no report of any damage to the OS type of windows.

The national news readers also trotted out Neil DeGrasse Tyson and treated him rather like a dressed chicken, which is a pun we should have had yesterday. He got silenced immediately when he started talking about meteorite threat and danger and the need for a space patrol to remove that threat. No wonder these guys toady to the black Irishman. I am not a fan of Tyson, his presence is entire too red rubber nose and big shoes but in this instance I have to agree with him. We need to not follow the dinosaurs by being penny wise.

OK. Enough bad illusions and puns. Let’s get off the branch and find something other than road kill.

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Astronomical Bullet

One of the strangest bits of physics in the annals is the dinosaur extinction meteorite strike of 66 MYA. The physics turns, not on the astronomy, but on Iridium. But the effort also displays one of the problems with physical measurements which is ranges of error and uncertainty.

I got reminded of this this morning at gym listening to a podcast (NPR) episode about new measurements that put the extinction and the impact very close together. This is admittedly for one set of samples, but it tends to strengthen the application of Occam’s razor. I was further reminded by an article [Link] I tabbed yesterday that got me to think on other matters.

The climate change caused by this strike is postulated to be the reason we are here, that the dinosaurs and much of the other life on Tellus was extinguished. But what doesn’t get talked about so much is the size relationship of the meteorite. If we take it as having a size of (approximately) 15 km x 10 km x 5 km, then we can do some size comparisons.

The volume of Tellus is approximately 1E12 km^3 and its area is approximately 5E8 km^2.   Then the ratio of meteorite area to Tellus area is 3E-7, and the ratio of volumes is 7.5E-10.

Out in terms of a human body, that corresponds to a bullet massing a half gram! Proportionately that’s all it would take to end humanity as a species.

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