Thursday, April 21, 2016

Astro picture for the day/ Leonardo Da Vinci quote

Image credit: NASA, ESA, Hubble Heritage Team

"tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscious approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death." - Leonardo Da Vinci

- note for the day - my latest "Gospel of Truth" has been updated - the 1-21-2016 post


Saturday, April 16, 2016

astro picture for the day/ Quote for the day

Image Credit & Copyright: David Lindemann

"The investigation of these theorems is of great service both for the synthesis of problems and the determinations of limits of possibility. On the other hand Nicoteles, on account of his controversy with Conon, will not have it that any use can be made of the discoveries of Conon for determinations of limits: in which opinion he is mistaken, for, even if it is possible, without using them at all, to arrive at results relating to such determinations, yet they at all events afford a more ready means of observing some things, e.g. that several solutions are possible or that they are so many in number, and again that no solution is possible; and such previous knowledge secures a satisfactory basis for investigations, while the theorems in question are further useful for the analyses of determinations of limits. Moreover, apart from such usefulness, they are worthy of acceptance for the sake of the demonstrations themselves, in the same way as we accept many other things in mathematics for this and for no other reason." - Apollonius of Perga

Friday, April 8, 2016

Astro picture for the day/ Spacex lands on a Barge(08April2016)

Image credit: NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)
Acknowledgment: NASA, ESA, T. Do and A. Ghez (UCLA), and V. Bajaj (STScI)

Lot's of exciting science and technology news,

This is a successful solar sail from the Japanese.  Launched in 2010, Ikaros sailed to Venus.  It's been at Venus recently sending images.   Some other nice scientific accomplishments is Ikaros measuring gamma ray polarization and setting stricter limits on CPT violation - a symmetry of the standard model of physics. 

I'm a little surprised we haven't seen more solar sails deployed; but, rest assured, we will in the future. Solar Sails can dramatically reduce the cost of sending space probes all over the solar system.  With lasers, they can go outside of the solar system, and perhaps visit more pluto objects like Eros and Sedna, which are pointing the way to another planet lost way outside of the Solar system . . .

A little while ago, Mike Brown did some statistical analyses to show that the distribution of trans-Neptune objects like Sedna, and there orbits are like less than .01 or something like that.  Well, he's found another object out there, and redid the analyses, the statistics are now --> the article, More evidence for Planet Nine as odd celestial alignment emerges says .007 was the previous calculation, now it's even better to like .0001.  I remember seeing elsewhere.

So, solar system science is still exciting, Human space colonization is getting just as exciting!

Here, SpaceX lands there first stage rocket on a barge.  One of the hardest landings they wanted to accomplish.  This will allow them to make more missions possible. 

This wasn't the first, but it's one of the hardest, and on this mission, they sent a Bigalow inflatable space habitat to the International Space Station.  Bigalow inflatable space habitats can make human space stations far less expensive - in orbit around worlds, on worlds like the Moon, Mars, Ceres . . . Speaking of Ceres, not sure If I've shown this before,

Ceres bright spots pretty much, finally resolved,

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI/LP

- Back here on Earth, and probably used in space colonies of the future as well, is Synthetic biology making a computer program that compiles what you want into a dna code, entered into a cell, and the cell does what you want it to.  Meaning, you speack your human language into a typewriter, it compiles it into dna code, and you make the cell's do what you want. -- > article here, A programming language for living cells They've been pretty close to this for a year now. They've made great progress.  And now, progress can only accelerate. Imagine using A.I to make even better high level computer languages for synthetic biology!

- I should show Jeff Bezos "Blue Origins" reusable space rocketry efforts as well!  This is just as exciting as SpaceX imo!

- Some Anthropology ideas, How Human Sacrifice Propped Up the Social Order  <-- article here, This article is arguing human sacrifice creates social class structure.  I'd argue the other way around, agriculturalism created social class structure like never before(there probably was some division of labor in hunter gatherers before, but in a pinch, I'm sure a woman can pick up a spear and stick it in an animal), between those who farmed, those, who did military duty, those who were the ruling class, and those who wrote the official records and so on.  But, soon the ruling class found it convenient to make up religions, like human sacrifice to keep the lower/ruled classes believing in what they do - in this case by scaring them.

Human sacrifice is one affect of the ruling elite.  But, Sir James Frazer shows in his "Golden Bough", in the 1800s that some societies made a 'king for a day' culture, where a person becomes king; the King promises them food and crops for the next year; but, if it doesn't happen, the society kills the King and puts some other puppet King till the crops do come!

- The CERN/LHC has of course made the most exciting particle physics discovery since the early 1980s electro-weak w/z exchange particles - the Higgs particle that has something to do with mass(I don't think they totally know how that works). But, here --> Physicists build ultra-powerful accelerator magnet , physicists show they can upgrade their LHC machine to even higher heights.  Already this year, they've made upgrades which seems likely they'll make new discoveries. Some physicists are pretty excited with what they might be discovering already this year - dark matter?  Some particle that the Standard model can't predict?  Anyways . . .

The current superconducting magnets were an accomplishment from what came before, they were made of niobium titanium. They reached 10 teslas(the Earth's magnetic field has a strength of .4 teslas).  This new superconducting magnet reached 20 Teslas. It's made out of another substance - niobium-three.  They had to bake and shape this new material at over 600 degrees celcius; which would translate into a very high Fahrenheit temperature.  They have to make something very large out of something very brittle, and then somehow they're going to operate this in a superconductor with 20 teslas without breaking it.  As I recall, the LHC can already melt tons of copper a second if they wanted to; that's how much current flows through the LHC a second when it's turned on. I guess we'll see!

-  Another great technology is the James Webb space telescope.  They're beginning assembly/testing and launch in like 2017. They'll put it much further out in in Earth's orbit than the Hubble space telescope - the Lagrange points; gravitational stable points between the Earth and Moon.  Here, -->  Lockheed Martin Readies One of the Most Sensitive IR Instruments Ever Made for NASA Telescope , they talk about an I.R. detector that works in concert with the segmented main mirror. They tested the I.R. detector that it works to nanometer precision of infrared wavelength, as the segmented mirrors move according to what's desired to focus on(that's almost as remarkable as the gravitational wave detectors and their squeezed quantum states!).

The Science/Technology is exciting, and with the SpaceX/Bigalow space launch, assuming no world war 3, mankind is almost secured in the universe. With Humans in more than one world, a single asteroid blast can't blast us back to the stone age.  A nuclear war on one planet can't take out the other(you'd like to think such political situations wouldn't occur on two or more worlds at the same time!) Out in space, mankind will be so concentrated on getting the science/technology right, they won't have time for superstitions/fears that mankind grew up with.  We can detach ourselves from that.  It will take the Earth's inhabitants millions, if not billions of years to finally admit to the wrong thinking the priest/kings of the past used to control the lower classes.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

astro picture for the day/ Quote for the day - Galileo and Venice

ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope image

"Now, the cowardice(if we may be permitted to use this term) of ordinary minds has gone to such lengths that not only do they blindly make a gift-nay, a tribute-of their own assent to everything they find written by those authors who were lauded by their teachers in the first infancy of their studies, but they refuse even to listen to, let alone examine, any new proposition or problem, even when it not only has been refuted by their authorities, but not so much as examined or considered." - Galileo Galilei

The above is a video documentary about Venice. As the video itself explains, Venice evolved out of the dark ages, to escape the Germanic barbarians. It was called the crown jewel of the middle ages. People will often deny that the European dark ages ever happened.  Venice is one place they'd point out.  Other places would be the Byzantine empire, and maybe even the Arab Spain of Andalucia. One thing to note quickly, is that Venice was partly protected/paid for by the Byzantines.

  Also, much of the wealthy architecture came after the European crucades from the 1000 to 1400s.  Those are interesting dates, because the dark ages are really divided into early and later dark ages.  These are defined by the Europeans discovery of the Arab mathematics/science texts in Arab Spain/Andalucia.  These turned out to be Arab translations of Greek mathematics. Then, the end of the 1400s was the end of the dark ages and the beginning of the Italian Renaissance. The Venice was partly built on blood money. This is some of what's not mentioned in the Venice documentary above.

I've mentioned some of Venice before when mentioning some remarkable things found by explorers of the Americas.  Previous explorers had traded Venice products with the Native Americans. Venice was put in it's place by the explorers of the Americas(English/French/Spanish/Portuguese). Venice had conquered the late middle ages, but after the Explorations/Exploitation of Native American wealth, Venice became a relic of a glorious past, and a pleasure capital of the world(something Europe kind of it today; it's the vacation capital of the wold right now). One major last thing not mentioned in the video documentary above is that much of the drama of Galileo took place in Venice!

--> Galileo wiki link . I read Galileo's "Two New Sciences" many years ago.  The book is amazing for all the mathematical proofs and mathematical ideas like the equivalent infinities of the even numbers to the natural numbers.  I don't remember it all, when writing this. But, I did just finish reading Galileo's "Dialogue concerning the Two Chief World Systems".  I also recall through just seeing Jacob Bronowski's "Ascent of Man" videos that Galileo had created scientific instruments other than a telescope. The wiki link above mentions those.

I mean most people here that Galileo rolled balls down inclined plains, and so what?  Maybe they see the connection between that and different mass bodies falling at the same rate in a vacuum.  This is remarkable enough; but few realize the amount of other science and mathematics he did.  Not to mention that Galileo represents the end of the Greek Aristotelian and Ptolemaic physics. Isaac Newton physics, which came just after Galileo's death goes way beyond Galilean physics, but 1) Newtonian physics is built on the foundation of Galileo's work, and 2) Galileo as indicated above did so much already.

I find it often stated that Galileo didn't know the calculus.  This is for the most part true; but, he did know average speed in his "Two New Sciences" book, and he knew one half of the fundamental theorem of the Calculus. The fundamental theorem of the Calculus relates, indeed equates the differential calculus of instant velocity on one side, with the integral/sums calculation of smooth surfaces on the other side. He knew that distance is the area of velocity, with respect to time.  Fermat, in France around the same time as Galileo came up with the tangent method to find instantaeneous velocity; this would be the other half, and both insights found there way to England just a generation later for Isaac Newton to put them together.

Some of what's noted in Galileo's "Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems" is the Americas . . . he argues for the sphericity of the moon based on its brightness! He considered brightness reflectivity on smooth and rough surfaces to deduce that the moon is spherical . . . when he talks about how in a pendulum, the time of the swings are the same whether the swing is long or short in terms of a ball moving in a vacuum hole through the Earth . . . Galileo constantly finds wonder and the excitement of discovery in logic and scientific facts throughout his books. . . . he points out that an infinit circle has equivalence to a straight line . . .

He makes simple geometric proofs of some physics that the Greeks could have done, but just didn't(not even Archimedes). He shows how smaller motions would take greater energy to keep an equivalent mass attached than the bigger circular motion(one can think of smaller and larger wheels, or even planets in motion around the sun here); this he does by showing the secants pointing towards the central point shared by the two larger wheels are of different lengths; for the smaller wheel, the secant is greater than for the larger wheel.  Let me put it this way, if you have tangent lines to a curve, one can see the curve moving away from the tangent line; in the smaller curve, this moving away from the tangent line is greater than for the larguer circle.

. . . he gives the mathematics of parallax, and argues that the two new stars(we would call them supernova today) as seen by Kepler and Tycho Brahe in their lifetimes(he mentions Tycho Brahe's great experimental work) must be very far away . . .

  He also shows frustration in a couple of pages towards the end that would land him in trouble.

His arguing for Copernicus puts him in a bad standing as it is.  But with the need for cannons, the church had to relent enough as it was.  Galileo didn't need to spout off like he does in a few places in his Dialogue book. . . . on page 380(of my copy anyways), he uses the word "imbeciles; he says people are too stupid to even acknowledge that they are stupid . . . on page 380 he uses the word simpletons, and a main character of his dialogue is "simplicio"; "Indeed, the simpler they are, the more nearly impossible it will be to convince them of their own shortcomings."  He argues that the problem is philosphers(which he's suggesting or linking with pseudoscientists here) is they don't know enough mathematics.

But, Galileo was not perfect.  He tries to solve the tides in the last day of his Dialogue book, and as the wiki article points out, he argued in an earlier book, the Assayer, that comets are just figments of your imagination!  Well, he corrects this in his Dialogue book.

It's been suggested, in Koestler's Sleepwalkers, that Galileo's biggest mistake was leaving the safe confines of Venice for Flourence, from where the catholic church caught him, and turned him in to the inquisition.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Astro picture for the day/ Quote for the day

NASA, ESA, CXC, NRAO/AUI/NSF, STScI, and R. van Weeren (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics)
Acknowledgment: NASA, ESA, and J. Lotz (STScI), and the HFF team

"Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned." - Daniel Dennet

Thursday, March 3, 2016

astro picture for the day/ "In Search of . . ." as a window onto the mythmaking mind

ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt

astro picture for the day/ "In Search of . . ." as a window onto the mythmaking mind

Mankind is defined and distinguished by the other life on Earth by it's dependence on science and technology. I've tried to show the growth of knowledge and mankind's exploration of knowledge.

There was mathematical knowledge early on, but progress towards more mathematics was slow.  After one learns of a few numbers, maybe some arithmetic, there doesn't seem to be much left to do . . . but make mythology. I'm suggesting here that mythologizing religions partly comes out boredom.  There was simply no other way to excersize the imagination back then. Some didn't know any mathematics at all.

It seems that mythologizing stopped far back in the past, after Christianity was created.  But, there's the case of Islam which was created six hundred years later. But, also, in the twentieth century and really back to Kepler. 

As soon as Copernicus was confirmed by Kepler and Galileo, some, in this case Kepler himself, started mythologizing.  Kepler wrote of going to the moon in a dream.

A famous example is War of the Worlds, published in 1897. Almost exactly after that, UFO mania started. Well, the U.F.O. wiki, finds the first use of unidentified flying objects to 1878.  The person says a remarkably fast flying balloon.  Well, as I was going to say, U.F.O's started when space rockets were starting to be known.  Here, we have a case of people reporting U.F.O.'s around the time when flying balloons were common. Either way, we have people being fantastical and mythologizing.  This mythologizing would push very far.

Rod Sterling, famous for the twighlight zone, and Star Trek stars William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy helped narrate a great window on the religious and mythmaking minds - the "In Search of . . ." series and William Shatner later with MYSTERIES OF THE GODS (1977).

The first video that documented these ideas(I've yet to address them), Rod Sterling's "In Search of Ancient Astronauts"

The first interesting part of these videos is the blending of science and mythology(in this case - U.F.O.s). They go to astronomical telescope observatories, including radio telescopes. Rod Sterling's "In Search of Ancient Astronauts" interviews Werner Von Brawn, who explains to them "Fermi's paradox."  "Fermi's Paradox" involves the Big Bang cosmology.  Fermi actually comes up with this in the 1950s, before the cosmic background radiation discovery/confirmation of the Big Bang cosmology over the steady state cosmology in the 1960s. So, Fermi's paradox is doubly remarkable.  Fermi notes that the Big Bang cosmology suggests the universe is between ten to twenty billion years old(Hubble Space telescope has narrowed this down to like 13.82 Billion years old.  It's now measured down to some decimal points . . .), and Fermi notes that the recent radioactive dating of the geologic history of the Earth makes the Earth 4.5 billion years old. Taking just the Earth's life history, and the Big Bang cosmology, and the abundance of stars in our galaxy alone, suggest, that Extraterrestrial Civilizations should be billions of years older, and should have gone spacefaring all over the galaxy for billions of years. They should have visted the Earth . . . a long time ago.  Well, the U.F.O's mythology in the videos above go far beyond that.

They go to all the great ruins of the past - the Egyptian Pyramids, the Mayan Pyramids, and Easter Island.  And they say, humans couldn't possibly have made these, ancient Aliens must have come down and made them and/or taught humans how to make them. Just making a quick disproof; why didn't they build them out of daimondoid materials(diamond, the hardest material in the universe, by physics), or some more exotic material?

One big point I'd like to make of what these U.F.O believers are doing is saying, "we don't know"; therefore, U.F.O's exist and must have visited the Earth a long time ago.  Similarly, god believers often say, "we don't know how the universe works, how the brain works", or "our theories are imperfect"; therefore, God exists - submit your souls and believe in "my church and god."

In rewatching Rod Sterling's "In Search of Ancient Astronauts", they show video of a hunter/gatheror tribe who made a straw airplane as a god, because they saw one come over them.  It was the first airplane they had ever seen; they never thought that such a thing could ever exist, so they idolized it, made it a statue god. So, this is valuable video of the mythologizing/religious mind in more than one way!

These videos make for great viewing of the great accomplishment of mankinds past - both Egyptian and Mayan temples.

astro picture for the day/ Grothendieck quote

Image credit: APEX, the Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment telescope

Quote for the day,

"I prefer to accent “unity” rather than “generality.” But for me these are two aspects of one quest. Unity represents the profound aspect , and generality the superÔ¨Ācial." - Alexander Grothendieck

link --> How Grothendieck simplified Algebraic Geometry

As Velleman points out in his "How to do Proofs", proofs starting from conclusion are by means of reexpression(I'm not sure who first came upon this proof technique/insight actually) . . . here, we see Algebraic Geometry being reformulated many times; this cuts through and unifies much mathematical history from the 1800s up to . . . Alexander Grothendieck.