Tuesday, December 10, 2013

quote for the day/ yet another Apollo program youtube; this time a bit more focused on the engineering of the Saturn V

Image Credit & Copyright: Rogelio Bernal Andreo (Deep Sky Colors)
“We can never return to the alleged innocence and beauty of the closed society. Our dream of heaven cannot be realized on earth. Once we begin to rely upon our reason, and to use our powers of criticism, once we feel the call of personal responsibilities, and with it, the responsibility of helping to advance knowledge, we cannot return to a state of implicit submission to tribal magic.
For those ...that have eaten of the tree of knowledge, paradise is lost. The more we try to return to the heroic age of tribalism, the more surely do we arrive at the Inquisition, at the Secret Police, and at a romanticized gangsterism. Beginning with the suppression of reason and truth, we must end with the most brutal and violent destruction of all that is human. There is no return to a harmonious state of nature. If we turn back, then we must go the whole way - we must return to the beasts. It is an issue which we must face squarely, hard though it may be for us to do so. If we dream of a return to our childhood, if we are tempted to rely on others and so be happy, if we shrink from the task of carrying our cross, the cross of humaneness, of reason, of responsibility, if we loose courage and flinch from the strain, then we must try to fortify ourselves with a clear understanding of the decision before us. We can return to the beasts. But if we wish to remain human, there is only one way, the way into the open society. We must go into the unknown, the uncertain and insecure, using what reason me may have to plan as well as we can for both security and freedom. ” - Karl Popper

This Apollo program video has some more stuff about the Saturn V rocket.  It doesn't have anything of my wright-up interestingly enough.  I'll have to find my article in this blog sometime!  I haven't watched any of the other videos of this video series.  I see there's some stuff about the navigation computer, the command module and the Lunar lander separately!  I can't imagine two forty minute videos on the command module and lunar lander separately!  There's also a video on the lunar rover!


Saturday, December 7, 2013

thought for the day/ another space technology video/Isaac Asimov commentary

This video is a bit U.S. space program biased, but it has the plus of having commentary from Isaac Asimov.  Isaac is generally arguing for James Burkian connections; that the space program wouldn't have happened without a lot of cultural build up before the Apollo and space programs in general were even possible.

Some, like Jacob Bronowski, have tried to see connections between all human intellectual activity.  I think there some connections; but, it's more of a formative kind.  I'm sure that poetry, drawing was important for the development of human intelligence; and it can still exercise the human mind.  And, as Jacob points out, mathematics and poetry/mythology share a common traint of analogy, no mathematical concept was ever derived logically out of mythology.

Another idea that Isaac hits on, but perhaps doesn't explicitly state is that humanity if the science/technologically dependent animal.  He's simply pointing out that the space program will have spin-off technology benefits. Seems that the idea of the human species is the science/technologicaly dependent species is either 1) not that easy of a concept to hit on, or 2) people can't emotionaly take it in.  If you google mankind the science/technologically dependent species, you don't get much.

Overall, the video is good fun.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Gospel of Truth/part 2

This is my review of Philip Jenkins "Jesus Wars."  So, there's things like how I accidently stumbled upon the idea of sungods and analogies to Jesus Christ at a Madden videogame messageboards!
Around ten years ago, I could care less about anyones religion.  But, then in a great bookstore no longer in existence(it was a bookstore inside of a railway station; the railway tracks still worked), I saw a book, The Bible Unearthed, in the archaeology section.  The Bible Unearthed only considers the Old Testament, and only the Torah mostly.  Soon, in another curious twist, I found out that something could be said about the New Testament.  I learned about sungods from someone at a free for all topic messageboard at a now defunct Madden video game messageboards website.  Anyways, I soon got into things like Robert Eisenman's "James Brother of Jesus"(nowadays, Robert Eisenman has those books rewritten in a new more comprehensive format). I also read "The Golden Bough."  Anyways, All that reading never could figure out who did what; who wrote the Gospels is still a question.  Yes, there's a passage in Iraneous "Against Heretics" that gives names ot three of the four gospels, for Mark, he simply says "the independents wrote it." Who are they?  Nobody knows!

Anyways, I saw this book in amazon suggestions a few years ago.  I certainly thought it was probably a pretty good book covering a period that I haven't explored yet; but, I was tired of religion and mythology.  I felt that I had more of less seen what modern day scientific view could say about religion, at most history periods(see E.T. Bell's "Magic of Numbers" for Pythagorean number mysticism).  About a month ago, I saw this book again, checked out some reviews, and noted something curious.  It was mentioned that Christianity had two main centers claiming traditions of 'origin of christianity' - Alexandria and Antioch. As I learned while finally getting around to reading it, Alexandria was intimately tied up with Rome.  Also, when Christians held councils, Roman emperors and whomever Priests were organizing the event would have to declare under whose authority gives this council the right to make any kind of decision; again, they'd have to announce Alexandria or Antioch as holding ancient Christian origins.  Well, that's about it as far as clues to who did what in making up Christianity.  The book focuses more on three hundred on, when the Roman empire was crumbling away due to various forces.  The book has a great quote from a Nestorius(a more or less main character of the story) that of barbarians, plagues, and Christian in house fighting of whom, Alexandria or Antioch, were to be the viewpoint of Christianity.

I'm into Jacob Bronowski's philosophy of mathematics and how this understanding gives a holistic view of all human intellectual endeavor(poetry mostly).  I don't want to get into it too much, but in his "Ascent of Man" book/video series(and I consider his Science and Human Values, and his 'Origin of Knowledge and Imagination' to be his best works, not Ascent of Man), he notes how the Phlogiston theory of flames is a vague concept. The vague concept has contradictions; the question becomes, is flame a form of matter; if you believe that, then you have to give it all sorts of contradictory properties.  That flames are lighter than nothing.  Flame wasn't understood till the discovery of oxygen.  Science defines concepts like that instead of holding on to old works like Phlogiston.  Mythology holds on to their vague concepts like god, and the topic of this book, Jesus Christ - was Jesus Christ a man or a god? Every which way you go leads to problems. The problem here is why is there a problem at all?

I don't want to get into all the early Christian apologists from Ignatius, Marcion and on.  Philip Jenkins does mention these figures.  Alexandria is focuses on Jesus as pure god, Antioch was focused on Jesus as a historical human figure.  Mr Jenkins mentions this, and that was the case of the time period he mostly focuses in on - 300 A.D. on to almost 700 really.  But, Antioch was not so focused on Jesus as a pure human at first; Philip more or less notes this when he at least notes that Marcion was an important early Christian there.  He was a Gnostic, and certainly didn't view Jesus Christ as a real human historical figure.  How Antioch changed so radically over the centuries after Marcion(who formed a proto-New Testament first before anyone else; he had a gospel of Luke, a primitive one, and a few Pauline epistles) he doesn't know, and I've never heard of anything about this.  But, I want to mention one of my favorite quotes; what I consider one of the best smoking guns that Jesus Christ was made up. It's a kind of mystical logic from a Barnabas in his Epistle,

-"then he clearly manifested himself to be the son of god. For had he not come in the flesh, how should men have been able looked upon him, that they might be saved?"

This is in the Epistle of Barnabas chapter 4:13-14."

Barnabas is mentioned in the New Testament book of Acts.  This quote of his shows that there is a logic to historicizing the sungods.  If you read the epistle around and after this quote, you'll see mention of the sun. 

So, we have sungods traditions, mostly centered in Alexandria where Philo did his midrashing of the old testament to combine with Platonic philosophy.  And, you have Antioch which evolved remarkably for Jesus as a real human being. And, you had churches who had the responsibility of feeding whoever decided to come their church for protections and food!  As Philip Jenkins shows throughout his book here, this proved too lethal a combination.  The Romans were willing to go to one council after another, even with Germanic and other 'barbarians'(basically hunter gatherers groups/remnants from that pre-agricultural period) baring down on them!

As James Burke notes in his Connections chapter/episode four, the Romans had aqueducts feeding/powering tremendous wheat hammers.  I mean we're talking about sport stadium sized industrial waterwheels!  They also had Heron of Alexandria who hit on steam power.  As Carl Sagan and Arthur C. Clarke had noted, if they had just hit on the idea of powering their hammers, and saws from steam power, and keeping these hugh aqueduct waterwheel powered hammers and saws going, they would have no problems dealing with the Germanic and Asian barbarians.  But no, due to a Germanic defeat of Roman legion around 260, Romans literally, and this is in the book, literally thought this meant the pagan gods and science/technology really was not the way!  Christianity had to be the way. 

Phlip Jenkins mostly shows some of how it was in late Roman empire and early dark ages. One major component of what it was like were the mob scenes at the church councils.  Meetings, like the Nicene meeting held by Emperor Constantine - the first Roman emperor to make Christianity the official religion of the roman empire.  After him, another Roman emperor tried to go back to Pagan ways, but because of a Roman legion defeat by Germanic barbarians, the general Roman citizen and apparently roman emperor feeling was that Christianity should be the way; the Roman empire never turned back after that.  I've already mentioned the date of the Roman legion defeat - 260. These Christian meetings to determine what Christianity was and was not reflects the multitude of Christianity before Christianity became the official religion of the roman empire. The meetings were certainly gangster like, but not nearly as bloody as Philip initially implies.  One guy, a Favius got beat to death. But, for the most part, everyone matched each other sword for sword.  That's was scarier than you might initially think.  I mean hundreds of Bishops from hundreds of churchs the roman empire wide would come, but to protect themselves, they'd bring all their armed guard with them as well.  Some had to appeal to the Roman emperor for Roman soldier protections. Most of the Bishops had to sign on with whomever was most powerfull to not get killed. 

Another major societal feature highlighted by Mr Jenkins was a kind of thinking started by what are called the Capadocian fathers - Basil of Caesaria, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Gregory of Nyssa.  They came up with ousia, physia, hypostasis, and prosopon; these are the Greek versions of words of features of the Christ. I found this interesting, because a book I found while a youth/high school time, was "The Ancient Engineers."  In the chapter about Byzantines, he mentions Gregory of Nyssa actually complaining,

"People swarm everywhere, talking of incomprehensible matters, in hovels, streets and squares, marketplaces and crossroads. When I ask how many oboloi to pay, they answer with hairsplitting arguments about the born and the unborn. If I inquire the price of bread, I am told that the father is greater than the son. I call a servant to tell me whether my bath is ready; he rejoins that the son was created out of nothing."

Well, I thought the quotes Mr Jenkins comes up were some more. Well, he does have another quote to the affect of such weird talk.  He also indicates that if you want more, look up the references in the notes.

Overall, the end of the Roman empire, and the first half of the Dark ages, at least(it's pretty well known that there's a first and second half of the Darks defined by the translations of ancient Greek knowledge in Arab spain around 1000 A.D.) was Christian in house fighting(to the point of calling whole councils to determine someone was heretic) to forcibly converting pagans to Christianity.  This happened up to around 700A.D. when the Vikings came.  The Vikings(not noted in Philip Jenkins book) were a pagan reaction to the Christians forcibly converting everyone.  They were eventually converted to christianity.  The Vikings also were not able to conquer the Byzantine walls, much less the Islam Arab southern spain.

One interesting character that I wonder if Philip Jenkins got the whole story right about was a Saint John Chrysostom.  He just states that he was banished as a heretic by the Christian Alexandrian Cyril and Aelia Eucoxia, wife of Theodosius the 2nd.   Curiously, Cyril was responsible for the death of Hypatia(Philip Jenkins shows her death may have come indirectly because of her association with some Roman official Cyril killed).  The burning of the books of Alexandria came shortly after the death of Hypatia, for which Saint John Chrysostom has been quoted,

"Every trace of the old philosophy and literature of the ancient world has vanished from the face of the earth."


Well, Saint Cyril did the dirty work, and then went and banished Saint John Chrysostom later; that christiantiy for you I guess!

Back to Aelia Eucoxia and Theodosius, they lest some daughters - Gala Placidia(daughter of Theodosius 1 actually - sorry about that), Licinia Eudoxia, and Pulcheria(sister of Theodosius the 2nd). Galla was taken in by a barbarian who first sacked Rome around 410 A.D. She didn't exactly do any escaping.  Those Germanic barbarians just got knocked off.  But, her other relatives apparently actually invited in Germanic barbarians to pummel the pagan Rome because they had converted to Christianity.  Pulcheria brought in Atilla the Hun for a period.  But then, they conveniently got rid of him as well.  So, here we have it, Rome was sacked not just by Germanic barbarians, but by Christianity.  It was too hard to convert all the pagans(who probably knew the truth of Christianity); so they innovated after while how to use the Germanic barbarians to destroy the old pagan world.

The above picture is of the Tomb of Galla Placidia who ruled the western Roman empire for three decades and moved the capital of the empire to Ravenna where here tomb is.  Check out John Romer's "Testament" I think it's the second to last episode where he starts out in Galla's tomb; the ceiling and everything in there is quite . . . beautiful.

- 28Jan2014 edit,

Found yet another Roman conspiracy to invent Christianity video; this one is focused a bit on Emperor Constantine.  They end with possible connections to the Flavians.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

thought for the day/ Secrets of the Stone Ages youtube

Secrets Of The Stone Age - The Wisdom Of The Stones

Someone uploaded this again.  I've wanted to link to this in some way for this blog for a long time.  Every time I comment about how the difference between the Egyptian architecture/technology and the Maltese is mathematics, the uploaders would take it down!  As you can see, when you see the great work of the Malta people, just because they didn't build based on mathematical knowledge, doesn't mean they didn't do something great.  But, the Egyptians accomplishments are still even greater, and the difference is the mathematics that allowed them to build it.

This video was made before the recent discoveries of great culture, including geometic designs on rocks in South Africa almost a hundred thousand years ago.  I agree with Richard Rudgley that people were influenced by previous people, and if they didn't have those influences, they wouldn't have built what they did.  I at one time hoped that numbers could some how be shown to evolve from the analogy/mythology of previous peoples.  But, I've never seen anyone do it.  The gulf between mythology and mathematics is a clean break.  There's still the analogous property of analogy between mathematics and mythology, but mathematics, or numbers and geometry can never evolve from mythology.  Well, I just thought about how language and mythology could mix.  Mathematics finds underlying structural relations. Language is structural.  Maybe some mixing of language skills and mythology exercise of analogy could have led to some kind of mathematics.  But, those connections are still hard to trace. I'd like to note one recent exciting piece of archaeology of primitive mathematics.

The Nebra Sky disk!  Yes, I have this picture starting out my "Gospel of Truth" There I trace the mythological connections.  But, it has mathematical connections.

The two strips seem to measure the angle of the seasons.  They don't measure with numbers(and this was around 1500 in Europe), but the act of measuring could have led to numbers for other cultures that would have looked at things and done something different with this act of measuring.  Point is mathematics was something different for whomever made this sky disk. Maybe the Malta people built their temples with this kind of mathematics(as likewise the Stonehenge builders also built it with this kind of numberless mathematics; this geometic measurement mathematics and not quite hitting on numbers).

But, the numbers could be abstracted, Jacob Bronowski "inferred units" like(as described in his "Origins of Knowledge and Imagination" and the third post of my blog here) from the geometry.  If fact, the Nebra Sky disk is kind of proof that this was one pathway that numbers were indeed abstracted.  Although, how the cave painters hit on numbers might have been abstracted more by astronomical observation; but, this is still abstracting from some other medium.

This first part of "The Secrets of the Stone Age", also gets into Ötzi, whom recently, genetics has shown has contemporary descendents.

Richard Rudgley says the Malta ruins are the oldest ruins known.  Maybe, and that's a maybe even when he made the video, he was right at the time, but today, we know of Göbekli Tepe, and just a few days ago,

Judean Shephelah, at Eshtaol, Israel, found a 8,000 year old ruins with a temple.  This would be before canaanites probably. Not that it matters.  Point is the Biblical theology/archaeology of the universe being created six thousand years ago by taking dates of thousand year old people all the way back according to biblical chronologies must be made up.  As the archaeology world awakens to this, the judeo-Christian mythology is disproved forever.

- on another note, someone else was trying to put up the mechanical universe videos on youtube; I was hoping to see him finish uploading, and then I could switch out the blank youtubes of the mechanical universe I currently have up(because the mechanical universe uploaded before was taken down . . . again); but, yet again, the uploader was forced to take them down again . . . sorry!

- 29Nov2013 Nanotech news extra,

Details seem to me kept to a minimum, but Synthetic kinesin analogues: A transition metal complex that can walk.  Some quotes,

"Molecular robots and machines could be around the corner." "The METALWALKER concept, leading to successful demonstration of an artificial molecular motor, opens the door to development of novel systems to control tasks with molecular-level motion and molecular mechanical machines. Applications include nanorobots and nanodevices for medical applications."

Thursday, November 14, 2013

quote for the day

Credit: ESO/G. Beccari

"Those who have been true philosophers, Syrus, seem to me to have very wisely  separated the theoretical part of philosophy  from the practical. For even if it happens the practical turns out to be theoretical prior to its being practical, nevertheless a great difference would be found in them; not only because some of the moral virtues can belong  to the everyday ignorant man and it is impossible to come by the theory of the whole sciences without learning, but also because in practical matters the greatest advantage is to had from a continued and repeated operation upon the things themselves, while in theoretical knowledge it is to be had by a progress onward. We accordingling thought it up to us so to train our actions even in the application of the imagination as not to forget in whatever things we happen upon the consideration of their beautiful and well-ordered disposition, and to indulge in meditation mostly for the exposition of many beautiful theorems and especially  of those specifically called mathematical." - Claudius Ptolemy

- science fun extra,

- Science/Technology extra - Nanotechnologists argued for decades now that nanomanufacturing will revolutionize everything.  Maybe it ultimately will. But, it looks to me that technological revolution will come before nanomanufacturing and make it possible and not the other way around.
Eric Drexler, in his "Engines of Creation" pointed out that after nanomanufacturing systems are built, the limits to what we can make are our computing ability and imagination. But, it seems more and more that nanomanufacturing cannot be built till we have the computing ability to design and build nanomanufacturing.  Eric Drexler had noted that nanomanufacturing systems will be dependent on nanocomputers with molecular chemistry computer programs.  These programs are needed in order for the nanomachines to know what a given atom is, what it's doing, and how to bind them together. Nanomanufacturing systems will be completely computerized from the get-go.  It seems that this ability to simulate chemistry and materials properties will revolutionize technologies the world over long before nanomanufacturing systems are made. 
Back in 1878, Thomas Edison set out to try out thousands of different materials to find the right ones with the right properties for his electric lightbulb.  Ever since, scientists/engineers have followed his lead. An article in December 2013 issue of Scientific American, points out that on average, materials science takes twenty years to hit the market from conception. They give one example - the lithium ion battery. Today, one would think that we could just use supercomputers to compute materials with the desired properties, but the progress of computers apparently just now got to the point of doing this.
Shortly after Thomas Edison, physicists started coming up with equations of the atom and its constituents.  But, even then, the equations were to hard to solve for practically calculating any given desired material property.  Walter Kohn and John Pople worked on making quantum mechanics equations suitable for supercomputers.  I can think of another not noted in the Scientific American article, William A. Goddard, III(not sure of any relations to William Goddard way back in the early 1900s, who made the first liquid fuel rockets.)  I'd like to point out some other computer programs that help engineers make technologies that otherwise wouldn't be possible.
F-1 racecars at that point used supercomputers and finite element analyses to precisely place the fibers of carbon fibers.  Now imagine using supercomputers to calculate materials to precise properties desired. They call it high throughput computational material design.  One example is touch screen of smartphones; those are not just arbitrary materials.
Once again, for whatever reason, the computing software and hardware just wasn't sophisticated enough - till around 2011. They mention five thousand engineers have projects their working on to make use of this just now matured computational tool. It's too bad the IBM "Blue Waters" photonics supercomputer was shelved due to the budget guys.  Right now, that might realize their missing out on opening new markets.  I mentioned this blue waters photonics supercomputer near the very beginning of this blog.
When nanosystems mature enough, the computational tools to design what we want will already be in place.
- In other high technology news, metamaterials might conquer any temperature superconductivity.  How Metamaterials Could Hold the Key to High Temperature Superconductivity.   They could also lead to superconducting memristers. Superconducting Memristors.
And in even more exciting technology news, 3d printing advances to making objects in minutes instead of hours. USC Viterbi engineers cut time to 3-D print heterogeneous objects from hours to minutes

- Dna-nanomanufacturing news related to the end of the Edison trial and error method has magically come at the right time.  This 'genetic algorithm' dna-self assembly method also combines with colloidal chemistry. Express yourself: Scientists use genetic algorithm to design self-assembling ssDNA-grafted particles

- the futuristic technology/nanotechnology news just keeps coming in today(and yesterday).  Related to the genetic algorithms to design self-assembly right above, Chad Mirkin's group shows off their dna self assembly of nanoparticles, DNA-mediated nanoparticle crystallization into Wulff polyhedral Chard Mirkin's group suggests they will have nothing better to do than parallel process a bunch of nanocrystals as nanoparts for a nanomachine that can pick and place individual atoms on its own.  But, maybe they'll be excited to see the 'genetic algorithms' paper above.

Credit: Evelyn Auyeung/Ting Li/Chad A. Mirkin/Monica Olvera de la Cruz

thought for the day/the role of rivers in the explorations of mankind

The definition of a river can be a bit of a debate and a write-up on its own.  I'm not going to argue that much; this exploration(pun intended!) will have a little of everything.  I hope to point out a few things that could be new to anybody's level of knowledge.

Rivers, lakes tend to be the place for most non-fish like life to get their water.  This goes for both Homo Sapiens and non-human species. It's an interesting thought to wonder how Human species might have gotten their survival skills from their evolution from non-human species millions of years ago.

Archaeologists/Historians of Human civilization have always noted that some of the earliest western civilizations generally grew up around great rivers - like the Nile and the Euphrates/Tigris.  I've shown an Egyptian boat which was found, I think, in one of the Giza pyramids.  Clearly, the Egyptians thought boat technology was of some significance.  Summarian and Babylonian boats seem to be hard to find, but there is artwork showing them.

There's not much more to say about rivers and boats in Egypt and Mesopotamia.  Sufficiently sophisticated boats however allowed some people to move somewhere else and settle down elsewhere.  Islands would be a bonus as well as finding other rivers.  We know the Minoans settled Crete a long time ago, and there's other places like Malta; there's Sicily where I actually lived during part of my own youth.  Civilizations came and went. Historians generally consider the Phoenician's to be a great sea-faring people.  They made it out of the Mediterranean sea(kind of a large river?  Or a large lake?).  I've found an interesting tidbit that only one Greek ever bothered to try exploring the world by boat - a Pytheas around 300 B.C. Pytheas even has an extant marble statue.  It's in France though; not sure if they made one of their own or brought it to France from Greece(as they and many others did over the centuries).

Pytheas apparently discovered the tides.  The tides are so slight in the Mediterranean, that nobody noted them. Pytheas voyages appear to be the last since the Phoenicians also made it out of the Med and into the Atlantic.  It was also the last till the end of the medieval European period.

The Azores around 1427 were of course the first to be found.  The major motivations of the Portuguese and Spanish for one wanted to go east by heading west was because of 1) the prices of goods from the East Asia market was through the expensive Byzantians and the 2) expensive Venitians.  The net affect of this age of great wooden ships to explore the entire Earth for the first time was to leave the Venitians in the dustbins of history.

The idea of finding Asia by going west across the ocean actually goes back to Roger Bacon in 1249.

In 1487, Portuguese Bartholomeu Diaz set sail to find the end of Africa.  He called it the "cape of storms." King Johnthe 2nd however didn't want future explorers from being dissuaded from trying again and again, so he called it the 'Cape of Good Hope'!

Christopher Columbus, in 1492, found of course the Americas.  Yes, he didn't originally set foot on the mainland.  But, that was just his first time finding land beyond the Atlantic ocean.  He later did set foot on the mainlands, of South America anyways.  He found, in 1498, a Orinoeo River, in what's now called Venezuela.

Vespucci and Martin Waldseemuller around 1507 recognized by descriptions of Asia and what Christopher Columbus was telling them, that it wasn't Asia he found but "the New world."

Vasca Da Gama found India in 1497. Francisco Corboda found Mexico in 1519.  In 1523, Magellan circumnavigated the Earth.  Magellan actually didn't make it.  A fellow crewmember Juan Sebastian finished; he was in India or thereabouts when Magellan was killed; so, why turn back?!  That's great rapid progress in such short time.  The Magellan circumnavigation took three years. It took the recent Casinni spacecraft seven years to get to Saturn.

The Mississippi river was discovered in 1541 by Hernando de Soto.  The Amazon was discovered in 1542 by Francisco de Orellana.  The tribes were led by women; this reminded them of the Amazon women in Homeric epics, so they called it the Amazon river . . . !

The Portuguese and Spanish had found Asia and explored America by the 'southeast' passage.  They practically owned it.  So, the French, the English wanted to find a Northwest and Northeast passage.   They of course ran into lots of ice.  This started the great explorations of the North and South poles. William Buffin found Buffin bay in 1616 and came within 800 miles of the North pole.  He first concluded there was no Northwest passage.

Here's an interesting tidbit.  I had heard of Mauritius just a few months ago.  I heard of it for the first time in my blogs stats; I got one hit a month or so ago from a Mauritius.  I looked it up and found it was some small island near Madagascar(and Island on the east coast of Africa).  Anyways, Mauritius was found in 1598.  Some recent more significant tidbits I found last night while researching this latest blog entry was about a flightless bird.  Apparently, because it knew no enemies, it would come straight up to the Dutch who first noted this island.  The Dutch subsequently hunted it to extinction.  Hence the birds name - the Dodo.  People talk about the mass extinctions of today's industrial age.  The mass extinction really happened back then at the great age of discovery!

The Columbus river was found in 1791; the Missouri river was discovered in 1804.  Lewis and Clark was use both rivers to get from one side of the North American continent to the other.

Speaking of using rivers to get around which is kind of one reason I thought this was an important enough topic to wright up about Human history, the Nile river was not thouroughly explored to remarkably recent times!

Despite the Egyptians living there for thousands of years even before the classical Greeks civilization, none bothered to go back down and see the whole river!  The Egyptians never made it much further than 1,500 miles of the rivers now known four thousand miles.

James Bruce around 1770 found two sources, the white and blue niles.  He only explored blue nile into today's Sudan.  If you look at a map of Africa, this doesn't seem far from Egypt, but then again, Africa is a big continent!  Fact are, that the Egyptians certainly never conquered the Nubians.  That might be one reason.

The white nile goes much further.  John Speke and another guy who bailed out after awhile, found the source of the white nile. It's a lake, the second largest to Lake Superior - Lake Victoria.  This was in 1862!

Here's a satellite image of Africa,

I know I've seen images of Africa many times; but, I never bothered to note the easily visible and hugh lake in middle eastern Africa!  That's lake Victoria.  A major point that I forgot to mention is that it took so long and so much more technological ability before Humanity discovered this.

Monday, November 11, 2013

astro picture for the day/first nanosystems built?

Image credit: ESO

dna transport system of protein cargo holders

Their basic idea is to transport reactive molecules in any desired location. I don't know if they've actually demonstrated controlled chemical reactions with this; but the fact that they've published this would suggest to me that they've actually gone beyond what's being reported here. One thought pointed out in the article is they can use this to speed up reactions(and designate which molecules are to combine in which ways) with this 'nanosystem.'  Lets make no bones about it, this is nanomanufacturing to some degree.

Getting back to the speeding up of reactions, I've recently shown another great nano-engineering breakthrough in terms of the use of dna as encoding chemical reaction networks.  The above transport system could be used to speed up the desired reactions of the dna chemical controllers.

As usual, we've got some pretty significant and fundamental nanomanufacturing ability here; the pace of engineering can only increase from here.  A year from now . . . no, a month from now, they can do all kinds of stuff!

Also, I link to the Physorg article because it has a video of the dna-protein nanosystem in action!  I can't seem to find a youtube of it unfortunately. I first heard of this through E-Science, an A.I controlled science news websight!

- In more nanosystem news!

I also showed some exciting colloidal chemistry of arbitrary nanoshapes awhile back.  I also used that to show James Burke's Connections episode 10 where he points out some early colloidal chemistry and all the possible applications just with that basic colloidal ability.  Other's find this nanosystem more exciting than the dna-nanomanufacturing indicated above.

Photo-Activated Colloidal Dockers for Cargo Transportation

- 12Nov2013 edit

I found this video of Ned Seeman, the founder of dna-nanomanufacturing.  There's nanomanufacturing, on a theoretical side, before Ned Seeman, in Eric Drexler and before him way back in 1957, I do believe, with Richard Feynman. Ned Seeman's idea has perhaps given more experimental hope to actually doing nanomanufacturing(for those who haven't been following my blog posts!). It's a little interesting to hear him explain his inspiration for dna-nanomanufacturing.

I remember reading an article by him before, where he explains how looking at a Escher drawing, and seeing feedback; the feedback inspired him to manipulate dna in artificial ways to do unconventional things with dna. Ned Seeman in the video linked(for some strange reason, I couldn't get the video selection of youtubes to find the youtube video; it just doesn't show up). So, Ned Seeman was influenced in a kind of James Burkian connections/influences(the not necessarily logical connections, but the vague indirect connections; for the more logical connections, see my "Nature and Origin of Mathematical concepts" article, third to first post of my blog here).

Ned Seeman shows some more interesting artistic insights to his thought and explorations in the video linked below. He also shows some history of his dna-nanotechnology development as well. I don't think he shows everything he's ever done or is currently doing.  Since the breakthroughs from last year which drastically reduced the timescales of dna-nanotechnology self assembly, I've been waiting for news from his group and Paul Rothemund.  So far, no news; but, as you can see, others have made news. 

Programming Nanoscale Structure Using DNA-Based Information

Thursday, November 7, 2013

funny post for the day/ Alien intelligences? Look no further . . . !

Everyone is always looking for Extraterrestrial Intelligences, E.T.'s for short.  They like to note that maybe intelligences are right under our noses; maybe flames, maybe the stars are gods, maybe various beasts are intelligences.  But, maybe E.T's are right under our noses!

It's been scientifically proven that Women's brains are different from male brains,

So, therefore, Women are E.T.'s, or at least alternative intelligences. What intelligent species do with their intelligence has always been a bit of a question mark; so, this video shouldn't be too surprising.
- While we're having fun with a semi-serious thought(extraterrestrial intelligences right under your nose), here's another thought about women and males.
The girls in the video are not really that hot. It's like they've been told their hot, so they go ahead and believe it. Meanwhile, they're not that hot.
Shouldn't all girls be one hundred percent hot?  If even 99% of the females of a species was not that hot, wouldn't that suggest at least the absence of a male god? But, the truth is, 1% of the women as far as I can tell are really hot.  Amazingling, 99% of the human species does not see this logic.  Then again, 99% of the species doesn't seem to hit on the observation/insight that the human species is the science and technologically dependent species. Hmm . . .
It's also a little worth noting that really hot men and women generally don't get into science much less mathematics. Apparently, this is an alien thought.


Friday, October 25, 2013

youtube for the day/ William Shatner narrated summary of the scientific view of the universe

I've shown there's differences between some of the connections found by James Burke in his 'Connections video series/book.  I've found that some of the connections seem remarkably analogous to some of Jacob Bronowski's ideas in his "Origins of Knowledge and Imagination."  His other connections seem more loose, but I've found some examples recently; for instance how the Earth environment movement was inspired by the 1960s programs(both USSR and USA).  Another such indirect connection would be the internet companies and space expansion.

Where the worlds governments couldn't seem to have the scientific vision to make space colonization happen, it appears lots of private space companies are going to make a space faring lifeform happen.  These private space companies appear to have gotten their funding from being successful internet companies.  SpaceX and BlueOrigins are two.  There's others.

Here's a pretty good article abotu Blue Origin's effort to make space happen .

Another connection/influence for space travel that seems to be heating up is the asteroid threat. Here's an article about the Russians effort to find and deflect somehow asteroids .  Russia for some reason keeps getting pelted by asteroids. Honestly, others have experienced asteroid midair explostions.  Most of them happen in remote places. I forget whether it was South Americans or Africa, but some place like that had a particular vivid video and photos of an asteroid dust stream and midair explosion.

- As is becoming to common on my blog, there's nanotech news to report. I should note in connection with one of the major founders of nanomanufacturing, Eric Drexler.  Eric seems to be the inventor of the Solar Sail concept which has been advancing.  The Solar Sail concept alone can be used to deflect over time, asteroids.  He did a certain amount of space colony work, but then hit on making things atom by atom like the way life does. As Eric Drexler soon realized, nanomanufacturing can bring much of the benefits of space colonization(free energy from solar cells out in space; out in space, they can be much more efficient, and the sun generally can be made to never set) can be made by nanomanufacturing.  If only one could build it.  So far, it has been 'unobtainium.' Further, nanomanufacturing can make space access almost too cheap to meter.  Space rockets built by nanomanufacturing would make the Saturn V look like some old Victorian era bicycle. Getting onto even more nanotech news.

In a similar James Burkian indirect connections, researchers doing nanotech in the medical field have found some ways of making dna-self assemblies more robust - to make nano scale molecular parts.  They've also made dna-self assembly even more reliable(I've reported that researchers had made dna-much faster, more reliable just a year ago; so, this is just furthering that). As usual, the interaction of these advances with all previous advances alone should be exciting.

DNA ‘cages’ may aid drug delivery , and Intercalators as Molecular Chaperones in DNA Self-Assembly

- There's been some recent reports of the American semi-conductor company that seeks to mass produce the Canadian D-Wave quantum computers.  They've said the manufacturing process has turned out to be better than expected!

-28Oct2013 edit,

William Shatner is most famous for being Captain James 'T' Kirk in a Sci-Fi t.v. series Star Trek.  The 'T' in James T Kirk is Tiberius. William Shatner is of Jewish descent, and he has this Star Trek Captain Kirk character with a Roman emperor title in it.  Why?  I don't know, but I recall a Star Trek: the Original Series episode of Roman times.  In it, there's characters, German barbarians who convert to a peaceful religion; they mention things about the 'sun' of god with references to the sun.  Does William Shatner notice or know about sungods  and Jesus Christ?  Not to mention things like Flavius Josephus and his possible role in christian origins.

It's pretty hard to e-mail the guy or contact him in any kind of way . . .

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

youtubes for the day/ more space colonies

I'm sure I've shown the above 70's space colonization video before; but, I recently found the 1960 video shown below.

The 1960 video has the point that if we can just establish a presense in space by means of space stations in orbit and/or on the surface of the moon, the rest of the solar system is a lot easier to get to than from the surface of the Earth.  The surface of the Earth has a larger gravity well, and the atmosphere presents friction problems just trying to get off the surface, much less trying to get back.  The only problem as Robert Zubrin and others have pointed out, the moon doesn't have many naturally occurring materials, like water.  My thought is bring materials from asteroids/comets.  SpaceX's recent reusable rocketry makes space more accessable.  SpaceX and Bigalow inflatable space stations can also make asteroid material tapping more practical. Both the moon and Mars will become accessable. We'll be officially established in space imo, when we build spacecraft in space; spacecraft that can only exist in space.  Today, we have to build spacecraft that can both survive the rocketry from the surface of the Earth and the vacuum of space.

- science/technology extra,

Grant funds development of improved nanoscale additive manufacturing (3D printing)

Between grapheme and 3d printing advances like above, nanomanufacturing will revolutionize everything, including space access.  3d printing seems to be developing and proving that it can also bootstrap to full fledged Feynman/Drexlerian nanomanufacturing.  Before then, the world will have been transformed as it is. In some ways, I like the 3d printing anyways; it doesn't have the self-replicating problems of Eric Drexler's vision.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

astro picture for the day and extras/bloopers and more

Comet Hale-Bopp. Credit: NASA

Well, I suppose I'm making this post more to update about Comet ISON.  Scientists have apparently excercised their modeling ability; current models predict that comet ISON will survive its close encounter with the sun.  Whether this comet is as bright or brighter than any comet seen by human cameras is still open to speculation.

Early on, Astronomers were saying this comet could be as bright as the full moon.  If so, this comet will stop the presses. I remember comet Hale Bopp, and I've seen some other comets over the last decade, and even those, I couldn't help noticing the magnetic field texture of the tail.  These are clearly plasmas and not your everyday material objects.  A comet as bright as the full moon should be spectacular.

- These are kind of well known, but I found the names of some people who said airplanes(heavier than air vehicles, as opposed to gas balloons which had been around for a few decades up to that time), and space travel. In October 1903 for instance, astronomer Simon Newcomb said, "May not our mechanicians," he asked, "be ultimately forced to admit that aerial flight is one of the great class of problems with which man can never cope, and give up all attempts to grapple with it?" Just a few months later, the Wright brothers confirmed sustained powered flight(this is a technical point; the original flight was not that fast; they had to use physics and observation to confirm that their glider was in fact being pushed through the air in a powered sense).

In the 1920s, Frank Whittle came up with the idea of a jet engine.  But, most people replied it would never work. A fellow engineer colleague, who actually did some work to help make it practical, in July 1926, A. A. Griffith said that it was impractical. Around 1928, Flight Lieutenant Harold W. Raeburn said furiously, "Why don't you take all my bloody aeroplanes, make a heap of them in the middle of the aerodrome and set fire to them – it's quicker!"  These guys were saying these things more in frustration.  They wanted it to work.

I know there were people who said space rockets could never work, but I've yet to find quotes and to put names to those claimants.

- Archaeological news,

Otzi left many descendents

The cave painters appear to have been the women!

- technology news,

thermal transistors , one problem any nanomanufacturing faces is thermodynamics; what if we could turn heat on and off; apply it when we need it, and control it where we need it?

Nanomanufacturing needs Artificial Intelligence? I've thought of this before.  I've since then heard many people talk about it and debate it; here we see A.I. being used in various nanotechnological developments.  The article also pretty much thinks A.I. is needed. Eric Drexler himself, from the very beginning, always pointed out that molecular chemistry software is needed to run the nanomachines.  The reason comes from the fact that they need to be automated; individual humans can't see and manipulate an individual atom. The point here though is do we need A.I. just to make primitive nanomanufacturing and then bootstrap to daimondoid(or better) nanomanufacturing?

- found a quote,

"Wherefore we cannot speak, we must pass over in silence." Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig felt that some concepts cannot be treated by words - like god, love.  I argue differently.  Natural language can deal with vagueness; that doesn't mean they treat them rigorously.  There's denotative and connotative meanings to natural language words.  Natural language simply denotes vague concepts.

Friday, October 4, 2013

quote for the day and some more

"Nothing is more fruitfull-all mathematicians know it-than those obscure analogies, those disturbings reflections of one theory on another; those furtive caresses, those inexplicable discords; nothing also gives more pleasure to the researcher.

The day comes when this illusion dissolves; the presentiment turns into certainty; the yoked theories reveal their common source before disappearing. As the Gita teaches, one achieves knowledge and indifference at the same time. Metaphysics has become mathematics, ready to form the material of some treatise whose cold beauty has lost the power to move us." - Andre Weil

Recently, Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX, announced that testing of rocket components has completed the program of making a fully reusable space rocket.  As I commented elsewhere, this establishes the ability of Humanity to explore space.  It establishes a minimum ability for humanity to survive science/technologically. If nothing else happens . . . nanomanufacturing/a.i./quantum computers(and associated quantum technologies) . . . space exploration can solve lots of human problems.

I just found this video of SpaceX's groundfloor where they've made space a reality.  As it turns out, this was before the U.S. space shuttles were decommishioned. It's still a fun science/engineering video . . . a tour through SpaceX's spaces by none other than Elon Musk!

10oct2013 update - Well, I've tried to wait at least two weeks to see if any nanotechnologists would comment about it, but, well, for one, none have(one guy who's not exactly a main science news website has at least posted the article) commented about the latest dna chemistry controllers. In other areas, the commentators have chosen to comment about other news. I think it's safe to say that this is such a breakthrough that they feel it best to go silent about the implications.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

thought for the day/ Rock of Gibralter: last stand of the Neanderthals?

Gorham's cave

Neanderthal bones were found in Gibraltar caves as early as 1848.

I saw an National Geographic magazine about Neanderthals yesterday while waiting to see some optometrists(to get my eyes checked out and get a new pair of glasses).  I had reading material with me, and I wasn't sure what reading the whole article could possibly say anything new about Neanderthals for me, I did skim it; and, I found some quick remarks that the Neanderthals they were talking about came from the Rock of Gibraltar area.  The Neanderthal caves are actually located south of the Rock of Gibraltar.

While I haven't set foot on the Rock of Gibraltar, I have seen it and the southern tip of Spain.  I was on an aircraft carrier at the time(this would be around 1996-7 - somewhere around that time. The deck was pretty cleared of aircraft.  There wasn't that many people out there on the flightdeck, but me and a good amount of my fellow AT's(avionic techs). We just walked up and down the deck a few times talking about whatever and looking at four directions of the sea - one was straight into the mouth of the Mediterraenean, the other direction was the southern tip of Spain, the other was the Rock of Gibraltar on the African continent.  It's kindof cool to be able to see two continents at the same time!  I did not know about Neanderthal caves at the Rock of Gibraltar at the time(apparently, nobody else did either), and then of course to the west was the Atlantic ocean. That's a nice little crossroads, dwarfing any manmade harbor! Getting on to the Neanderthals of Gibraltar.

Everyone has heard of Neanderthals by now and Homo Erectus.  Seems to me that whenever I hear the latest science about the Neanderthals, it's always about whether Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens mated.  Dna analyses of Neanderthals is certainly an exciting science of today.  Just like the Human Genome project, they've mapped the complete genome of Neanderthals.  If memory serves me right, they have found that there was indeed some mating between Neanderthals and Homo Sapiens.  But, what I always want to know is how Neanderthals evolved form Homo Erectus.  Homo Erectus was the first hominid species to move from Africa through EurAsia.  Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals both had to of evolved from Homo Erectus.  Well, I still haven't seen anything about that, so I move on.

I would think the Rock of Gibraltar alone would have made that land almost holy land for Neandrethals back then. As it turns out, the area around the Rock of Gibraltar was a very stable climate.  In fact, it was stable for the majority of Neanderthals continuous habitation of the Rock of Gibraltar lands for almost a hundred thousand years.  That's pretty good. It also appears to be a place free of cave bears and lots of other predators.  This place appears to have been Neanderthal heaven! An interesting anthropological observation is that the Rock of Gibraltar Neanderthals felt no pressure to make new technologies.  The technologies from a hundred thousand years ago to 25 to 24 thousand years ago never changed - unlike the changes of technologies for European Neanderthals.  This would also imply that few if no Neanderthals swam or boated from either the southern tip of Spain to Gibraltar or the other way around.

The climate of Gibraltar did eventually change around 25,000 years ago.  It appears that the Neanderthals were dependent on the climate like most animals.  We can't say that the Gibraltar Neanderthals were the last of the Neanderthals.  All we know is the Gibraltar Neanderthals are the last dated remains of Neanderthals.

There's also indications that Homo Sapiens did not due them in on Gibraltar.  Homo Sapiens came around 18,000 B.C. 

-------------------------------------------------science news extra

Massive Pakistani earthquake creates Island

from the stone age to quantum computers age! 

A D-Wave special purpose quantum computer chip.  As the article states, 120 quantum chips at a time . . . ahh hh.  They're mentioning the ability to solve protein folding problems.  At 120 chips per eight inches, they can solve lots of protein folding problems . . . now. Could they design and predict protein nanoparts for some nanomechanical device and make nanomanufacturing happen in the next year?

- 27September2013 additional news, looks like biological nanomanufacturing systems should be buildable within the next year even without quantum computing.

Protein folding advances experimentally confirmed

This group had reported advances in Protein design almost a year ago; but, I guess there were still problems of matching experiment with theory. Basically, proteins can be designed that bind atoms in prescribed ways.  The proteins can be arranged by dna self assembly in some assembly line arrangements. -  Something I forgot to mention is that the Proteins are needed to do atom by atom chemistry.  The dna doesn't really do atom to atom chemistry.  I'm not sure If I've described nanomanufacturing, so I'll give a little intro.

Some history - There's some indications that nanomanufacturing was thought of earlier than Richard Feynman's famous 1959 speech(just two years after Sputnik went up!). People generally consider Richard Feynman's 1959 speech as the first time anyone ever thought of this. Richard Feynman shortly after this decided not to talk about it or develop it.  In the 1970s, someone else thought of it and decided to talk and develop it - Eric Drexler.

Eric Drexler points out that any technology possible is just an arrangement of atoms.  So, if we have precise control of the placement of every atom, we can make anything scientifically possible. How he imagines this possible is by means of billions of trillions of nano-robots that can attach individual atoms to a particular atom. Some points he makes is that because of the small size of these nano-machines, their frequency of motion is very fast(less distance to move).  Also, if you have lots of them, you get massive parallel processing - more than one atom being placed per time interval.  The only thing is how to make them!

Drexler soon learned of STM's, or Scanning Tunneling Microscopes.  These are true quantum technologies(as are lasers and electron microscopes before the invention of the STM; also, the innovator of the STM recently passed away).  Electrons can move from one side of solid barrier to another just like radio waves can go through the glass and wood of a building for you to hear sounds on your radio set.  STM's use this electron property to be able to image individual atoms.  The amount of electrons who do this electron tunneling dictates the curvature of the surface the STM's needle is detecting as it scans across a surface.  It would be nice to think that one can just size down the STM's to make these Drexlerian nanomachines.  Only problem is that is a long road from our macroscale to the nanoscale.  To make successively smaller STM's is a long road. Eric Drexler thought of using protein's to self-assemble nanomachines.

The problem with using proteins, is that protein folding into arbitrary nanoparts is the quantum gravity problem of biology.  The prediction of proteins is an astronomically hard computation(hence why using quantum computers can come in handy here).  Eric Drexler thought of using artificial selection to make proteins more predictable instead of natural proteins.  Natural proteins are these naturally complex nanoparticles; their like nano snowflakes.  They are exquisitely tuned to fit whatever environment they are born in.  Well, this idea of artificial selection has taken awhile(since the early 1980s).  The group above actually comes up with an algorithm for computing the result of a protein folding. But, even their algorithm isn't the last word.  It's just the latest stage and algorithm to make protein folding prediction practical.  Hopefully, it's good enough to make a dna/protein nanomanufacturing system advanced enough to bootstrap to a more robust non-protein nanomanufacturing system.

As Eric Drexler saw almost as quickly as he suggested using proteins, it would be wise to go to a stiffer structural material.  He quickly suggested diamond.  Daimond is generally the best material to make nanomachines.  It's not the final word, but it is the best studied.  There's problems there.  They'r etalking about making strained diamond structures.  Bending diamond on a nanoscale to create bearings and other non-linear mechanical parts. Point is that even if/when they do make dna/protein nanomanufacturing systems, they'll look to quickly move to non-protein nanomanfacturing systems.  But, this may not be that easy.   Dna/Protein systems have a natural self-organizing ability.

Here's an article that says we've pretty much got dna/protein systems right now.  The above is indicating a greater potential.

survey of latest dna/protein nanotechnology

- 28Sep2013 edit. Table top accellerators and GUT level energy accellerators?

Particle accellerators along with astronomical telescopes have been some of the greatest scientific instruments of our times.  Particle accellerators for the most part used electromagnetic fields to accelerate particles. Electromagnetic particle accellerators have done great things so far; they've found electro-weak unification and now the Higgs(or at least a Higgs particle). But, even these tremendous machines cannot get anywhere near GUT level energies.  GUT energies are the unification energies of the three nuclear forces - electromagnetism(photons), weak and strong nuclear forces. For electromagnetic particle accellerators to probe the GUT energies would require accellerators of unheard of sizes - like the circumference of a planet. But, Particle Physicists may have found a way - laser accellerators. I know they've been working on this for awhile; now, they've been making them a technological reality.

Laser particle accellerators. g

Adding these laser particle accelerator chips in a row to the length of about a hundred feet would equal the energies of the SLAC two mile long accelerator.

-30Sep2013 edit,

Programmable chemical controllers made from DNA ,

And the amount of dna-nanomanufacturing systems keeps growing! This group seems to be most inspired from the work of Eric Winfree.  I think I've linked recently showing Eric Winfree's program will lead to ever more dna-nanomanufacturing.

"The development of synthetic systems with similar capabilities could lead to applications such as smart therapeutics or fabrication methods based on self-organization."

Saturday, September 21, 2013

thought for the day/ Barry Mazur's "Imagining Numbers: in particular the square root of -15/ Permisability

ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope image

I haven't read the entire book yet; I just got it.  I wasn't sure if i'd even like the book. But, I've found the more I read it the more interesting things are said.  I still don't think it will ultimately be correct.  I'm thinking Barry Mazur's use of the word 'imagination' is much like other vague words like beauty, good, 'having fun/party.'  I should explain that last part about 'having fun/party.'  I find that people, generaly non-intellectuals, often say they just want to have fun.  And, 'we like to party.'  Well, define these things.  And just when you're about to ask them to define what they mean, they're running off.  Life is just this fast paced social nothing fun.  What party really means is go to some meeting place and bullshit one another.  You drink to have fun because otherwise you're pissing each other off. "Having fun" means going to a party.  "Having fun" never means adventure of exploration - exploration of anything; whether art, sports, or some kind of science.  Working hard it not fun, but some kind of thrill ride is.  I like roller coasters to, but why bungy jumping?  Enough of that soapbox, how about another?  This should be called the soapbox post!

I should say that asking the question of what do you mean by having fun is not permissible.

Barry Mazur suggests that in mathematics, one overcomes permisability in old ways of thought. I completely agree. Most life evolves to adapt to a certain environement.  They're suppose to go through their lives in certain ways.  Homo Sapiens for some reason have reached a certain stage of consciousness, where we overcome what we're suppose to do.  Homo Erectus was the first animal to spread to so many different environments. No animal is suppose to look up at the heavens; but, Homo Sapiens eventually did.

Mr Mazur even decodes invention and discovery from this permisability concept.  One major philosophical debate amongst mathematicians is whether mathematics is invented or discovered.  Barry Mazur relates the two to permisability; he says that when mathematics seems unpermissable, we say mathematics is discovered.  When someone shows us how to do mathematics in a new way(such as Descartes coordinate geometry for instance), mathematics is pure invention!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

quote for the day/astro picture for the day

Credit: ESO. Acknowledgement: Martin Pugh

"What I cannot create, I do not understand." - Richard Feynman

This is apparently Richard Feynman's last thought written on a blackboard.

Where computation and fabrication meet: using computers to mimic biology. Zack Booth Simpson

Couple of recent thoughts about the above video which is about Eric Winfree's path to nanomanufacturing.  He's making a community of molecular programmers who will make layers of programs which can make molecular nanomanufacturing on larger and larger scales, easier and easier.  It's like in computers, you have machine level programming languages, and then you have programming languages that understand human language.  This seems hard and it seems like it can work.  It also seems like it will take a long time to get anything going.

Here I'm thinking the benefits of the bio pathway, Eric Winfree style, will be more interesting than the initial surface perception would indicate.  While the ability to make something as complex as a whale is certainly a far off dream(although, if sufficiently advanced A.I. comes around, well, that would be a big help), making macroscale simple objects might not be so hard.  I'd like to note that Eric Winfree's team has been given a lot of money recently to carry out his program.  He's also just one guy/team doing, well, dna-nanomanufacturing.  I'm saying that as Eric Winfree carries out his program, there will be 'many' spinoffs along the way - nanoengineered macroscale products.

-------------------------Science news extras 1.2!

Feynman diagram rules vastly generalised; Einstein's spacetime about to be put in its place

experimental brain tissue

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

quote for the day

ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope image

"What we know is not much. What we do not know is immense." - Pierre Simon Laplace

Ray Kurzweil and Eric Drexler discuss nanotechnology

The above link is a youtube video of Ray with Eric Drexler.  I couldn't seem to find the youtube by means of the blogger tools; so, I'm just giving the link. It's an alright interview for those who haven't heard of nanotechnology.

Eric Drexler comments that by keeping everyone on Earth(by implication), one can through advanced surveillance nanotechnologies, one will get rid of terrorism.  He does mention that the same institutions/technologies can suppress others.  But, overall, I feel that Eric Drexler's understanding of social  problems is not quite where it needs to be.  I don't think he understands anti-science groups.  He says terrorism is just a passing problem. I've tried to explain to him how people don't question assumptions, and make over-generalisations all over the place; and, they incrowd, and these phenomenon grow.  His reaction was to say the least irrational in perhaps my opinion.

I'm not totally against putting the Earth under one government roof; but, to confine all of humanity?  I think those who refuse to learn will take over and suppress new science. Seems to me that in the past, when someone finds entrenched irrational interests in a given group, some groups leave and go somewhere else.  I would say this is why Homo Sapiens at least spread throughout the world.  I would think that those in a nanotech world facing entrenched interst would simply go out to space further and further.  Going out to space would reduce human conflict.  They wouldn't come back; they'd leave forever. I hope lifeboat.org puts the whole Earth under one roof; but, I hope those who want to go out to space get to.  I think those who want to confine everyone on Earth is Nazy.

I should say the value of putting the whole Earth under one roof is the preservation of knowledge.  The disadvantage and the advantage to freeing people to go out to space is that of new knowledge and freeing people from Tyranny of one way for everything.

Dna-assembly of structures from micrometers to millimeters

"The programmable DNA glue could also be used with other materials to create a variety of small, self-assembling devices, including lenses and reconfigurable microchips as well as surgical glue that could knit together only the desired tissues, said Ali Khademhosseini, Ph.D., an Associate Faculty member at the Wyss Institute who is the other senior coauthor of the study."

I'd say the nano-era is on now.  Between dna-nanomanufacture at least(it's not quite Eric Drexler's single atom assembly; it self organizes atomically precise nanostructures and then combines those building blocks) and Memrister electronics, just the next year promises to be very exciting!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

thought for the day/Isaac Asimov's "Extraterrestrial Civilizations."

Image Credit & Copyright: Gerald Rhemann

I thought about rereading all of Isaac Asimov's "Extraterrestrial Civilizations", but maybe for my purposes only the first chapter is all I really need to address. I will mention quickly though that Isaac Asimov's "Extraterrestrial Civilizations" was the original "Rare Earth Hypothesis" book.  The Rare Earth hypothesis book doesn't even reference Isaac's book! Isaac Asimov's book predates the Rare Earth book by over ten years. 

I've also already pointed out parts of the first chapter in Isaac's book about fire.  I quote Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" chapter 7 about fire.  It's been awhile; i'll just note that fire acted in much the same way as clearing the lands does for coming up with concepts of irrigation, fertilization, and pest control. Fire keeps bugs and wild animals like bears away.  This allows the human mind to wander a good bit more than it otherwise would.  I've always liked to note while hiking that birds and lizards always have their heads on a swivel.  They never loose concentration on the very present moment.  Fire would have allowed people get away from some worries of life to think about other things. Getting on to some other issues brought up by Isaac Asimov in his "Extraterrestrial Civilizations."

Isaac starts his search for alien intelligences by looking for intelligence right here on Earth. He notes that generally there's a split between life and non-life.  What he really means is rocks and life. He doesn't quite note that some non-life displays some aspects of life - dynamical systems like various vortices; tornadoes, hurricanes, and even fire!  He goes on to point out that life displays some intelligence, and then Primates seem to be most human like.  The only difference between Primates in general and Homo Sapiens is the speech ability. Primates don't seem to have "Broca's brain." He mentions an interesting quote from a William Congrave around 1695, "I could never look upon a monkey, without very mortifying reflections."  It's curious that humans can ascribe all kinds of human characteristics to non-Human life like the talking snakes being cunning in Genesis book two of the Bible, but, these very same people don't like being evolved from that life. 

Likewise, these people want to be spirit, but they don't like the theory of evolution. I always joke that their spirituality is a static spirituality.

The idea of spirits is pointed out by Isaac Asimov as an early effort by mankind to find 'other intelligences' besides themselves. Of course, people back then considered anything they didn't know to be divine(I note a Greek quote early on in this blog about this). Eventualy, they'd generalize this idea to a one god(generalization is one property of the mathematical mind; see my third post of this blog about the origins of mathematical knowledge). 

The idea of gods as other intelligences is interesting from some primarily twentieth century phenomenon about the search for 'Extraterrestrial Intelligences.'  One could say that the early effort to believe in God(s) was like the UFO craze of the twentieth century(and still ongoing).

Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Carl Sagan often felt the need to get out to space and finding alien life and then E.T's would go a long way towards getting humanity past its barbaric beliefs.  I for one doubt that people will stop believing in their personal gods for anything.  They don't believe based on facts, but for the hope that their god will save them from their enemies(see the Old Testament and the New Testament for that matter; Jesus Christ is a messianic figure).

-------------------------------------------science/technology extra

UCSD electron microscope nano-writer

3d printing has been exciting and continues to be exciting. Could electron microscopes become advanced 3d printers that can achieve nanomanufacturing before 3d printers?  Well maybe, but the laser guys look to not be outdone yet. 

This other technique uses lasers in a different way from 3d printers; it uses them as to carve two dimensional structures, grapheme, and then as laser tweezers to pick up and place them in arbitrary patterns. The above electron nano writer is a lot more like what  3d printer does only using electrons.  I can only wonder if they can find a way to combine the two processes!

laser carving and tweezers of graphene(already nano-precise material)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

quote for the day

ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope image

"Success in the acquisition of new knowledge or novel conveniences, consequent on the successful challenging of some venerated axiom, is usually a passport to respectability, till the newly  constituted freedom itself becomes a tyranny, is challenged, and gives way to another. But the net residue is on the side of human freedom, not on that of inherited absolutes and vested traditions." E.T. Bell

Saturday, August 31, 2013

quote for the day

Image Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA - Processing: José Jiménez Priego

The above image is a close up of an interacting galaxy(I don't think there's any galaxy that doesn't have interacting irregular galaxies; but, maybe not always as big as what M51 has to deal with).  I give a picture of M51 below to give some perspective on what the above picture is referring to.

Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI), and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

"Nothing has been more injurious to philosophy than mathematics." - Immanuel Kant

Thursday, August 22, 2013

thought for the day/Ptolemaic epicycle theories

"philosophy is questions that may never be answered
religion is answers that may never be questioned"

- anonymous; some guy off a American football Buccaneers messageboard said this!

Many people recently have tried to call certainly string theory an epicycle theory.  Some go so far as to call out Quantum Mechanics and Einstein's theories of relativity 'epicycle.' Maybe they are in some ways.  Quantum Mechanics for one went through several stages of re-expression(equivalent expressions); pretty much, there was Bohr's combining of Planck's constant with Rutherford's experimental findings(and calculating the spectral formula experimentally determined decades earlier), then Heisenberg's Matrices, then Shroedinger's wave mechanics, and then more or less Paul Dirac's combining of special relativity with quantum mechanics(which predicted anti-matter). So, one could say that all the theories of quantum mechanics before Paul Dirac's were epicycle.  One major difference between the quantum mechanics theories and Ptolemaic epicycles is that those quantum mechanics stages were confirmed by experiment.  Ptolemy's epicycles were never really confirmed; they were always adding one device after another to fix this problem or that problem. It's a subtle difference.

I bring this up because Bertrand Russel points out that Einstein's General theory of Relativity essentially made Isaac Newton's F=ma a very terrestrial mathematical view.  It's almost the mathematical equivalent of someone going out, looking around and concluding the Earth is flat.  Someone that hasn't been on a boat long enough and travelled around enough to notice some odd occurences. So the thought came to me that F=ma is Ptolemaic like.  Once again, the difference between F-ma and Ptolemy's epicycles is one has been confirmed scientifically.  Another major difference is that Isaac Newton's F=ma wasn't necessarily disproven, it was put in its place and integrated in a more general theory - Einstein's General theory of Relativty.

I suppose I should finish there, but somewhat related is how John Stillwell in his "Mathematics and Its History" points out that Newton's mechanics is a very local theory.  The inverse law works to describe each next point locally.  As we know today starting from Henry Poincare, the three body problem leads to chaotic dynamics.  Topology was established as a field by Henry Poincare to deal with this. If Newton couldn't do his differential calculus, the mechanics he created and led to the industrial revolution never would have happened.  This reminds me of a point I made in the previous incarnation of this blog.

The problem Kepler had with his Platonic solids model of the solar system was Mars orbit was odd.  Later after he tried the ellipse conic section, he saw that Mars orbit is eight degrees from perfect circularity.  If Mars orbit had been imperceptively circular when Kepler came along, he never would have come up with his three laws.  Newton never would of thought to derive them from any inverse square law.  The industrial revolution never would have happened. Or it wouldn't have gotten far.  It's just like the agricultural cultures for thousands of years before . . . where, when the crops didn't come, they'd resort to their nomad, hunter-gatherer skills for awhile, then try it again(see Silverman and Finkelstein's "The Bible Unearthed").

Well, Newton might have thought to figure out the motions of the planets; but, it might have taken far longer without Kepler already having found the three laws of planetary motion.  Newton would need to do all the astronomical observations, struggle with what's the right model(ellipses). Still, Newton's inverse square law might not have been taken seriously.  Before Newton does all the astronomy needed, or someone else, the cultures would have been destroying each other over all kinds of problems that can only be solved by a more scientific technology.