Tuesday, January 22, 2013

astro picture for the day/ Human space colonization starting to happen

Credit: ESA/Herschel/PACS/L. Decin et al

This is a latest picture from Herschel space telescope image of Betelgues - a star of the orions belt.  This is a supergiant star that has been around for awhile.  Astronomers think it's ready to go supernova.  It could go off tomorrow, or in a thousand years.

thought for the day;

Industrialism gives humanity the power to solve a lot of problems, even go out to space.  But, it comes with a ticking time bomb - that of the dependence on non-renewable resources.   The problem is compounded by the fact of how many people industrialism allows to live above the level of animals.  If the plug is pulled from out under industrialisms rug, billions of people have grown up conditioned to live in a concrete forest; they don't know how to forage much less farm.  The contribution of science to the human condition can come crashing down real fast.  There's two solutions; one space expansion, and two nanomanufacturing.  Seems that both possibilities are maturing together!

A few days ago, Planetary Resources decided to make an update on their progress to tap the material resources of outer space.

As it turns out, Planetary resources has competition!


Of course, SpaceX is solving the rocket problems, Bigalow is providing inflatable space stations, and nanotube guys are making space elevators possible! 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

astro picture for the day/ technology and mathematics

W50 supernova remnant in radio (green) against the infrared background of stars and dust (red). Credits: NRAO/AUI/NSF, K. Golap, M. Goss; NASA’s Wide Field Survey Explorer (WISE).

thought for the day,

I have for a few years recognized a little problem of my connection between James Burke's connections and Jacob Bronowski's theory of knowledge in his "Origin of Knowledge and Imagination."  The problem is that technology is material and mathematics is symbols.  Why do both worlds(material not symbolic) have this daming up of nature leading to concepts/technologies?  I'm surprised I didn't hit on this years ago.  Because, I remember almost a decade ago now that mathematics is as much a technology as material technologies.  Even natural language can be viewed as a technology. That is my thought last night. 

Homo Erectus as everyone knows used fire for hundreds of thousands of years; that act alone put mankind a cut above any lifeform on Earth ever before.  Homo Erectus essentialy already existed in a science fictiony time. Isaac Asimov in his "Chronology of Science and Technology" says there's evidence that the cave painters of tens of thousands of years ago used wax that would come from the application of fire to cooking animal meat.  Maybe the cave painters made bon fires and explored just how hot a fire they could make, but we don't know.  We only know that fire led to metallergy in Mesopotamia around 3700 B.C.(almost six thousand years ago).

The nature of fire had to wait a longer time to the modern day scientific era of mankind.  This story brings us back to my point about mathematics being a symbolic technology and my problem of how come there's this same pattern of James Burke connections/Jacob Bronowski infered units.  The solution is to define the vague word 'technology.' 

Fire was used but not understood all this time(almost six thousand years).  They at first argued a phlogiston theory for fire; the idea that fire was composed of another substance all together from normal matter.  This is kind of like the problem mankind had in understanding the heavens for a long time.  They thought things in the heavens stayed up there because they were made of another substance all together.  As Jacob Bronowski notes in the video above(episode four of his Ascent of Man), if you have this theory of fire, you have to give it all kinds of impossible properties(this relates to the problems scientists had with the aether theory which when disproved by the michelson-morley experiment of the 1800s led to Einstein's Special and General theory of relativity).  Phlogiston and fire really were vague words just like technology was for me in my problem about technology connections and mathematical connections. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

astro picture for the day/ thought for the day . . . Ardi and Lucy running around at the same time!

Image Credit: GeMS/GSAOI Team, Gemini Observatory, AURA
Processing: Rodrigo Carrasco (Gemini Obs.), Travis Rector (Univ. Alaska Anchorage)

thought for the day;

I just read an article in Scientific American about Ardi and Lucy(australopithacines). The article basicaly shows a Ardi decendent living at the same time as Australopithacines. The suggestion, or point, is that we can't just find our common ancestor by finding a bipedal ape. And, that there were two bipedals running around at the same time.
Lots of times, I hear physical anthropologists suggesting that by finding fossil bones of our ancient ancestors, we can learn something of how intelligence arose in today's Homo Sapiens. I've always been a bit skeptical at this notion. Maybe if someday we make a Jurrasic park of Australopithacines and now Ardipithacus, and Homo Erectus, then maybe we can somehow study the evolution of human thought. There's other things to say about intelligence though.
Seems to me that life is intelligence. All life reasons its' way around. One could even say that bacterial swapping of genes is like mixing and matching of ideas. But, what caused mankind to perform art, science/mathematics, and technology(a bit of a bungaboo also; spiders make webs, birds make nests, beavers make dams). Our intelligence seems a step above(how many people today know deductive logic?).
Let me point out an observation of mine; Renaissances appear to happen after a dark ages. Everyone knows of of the 1500's(with overlap into the 1400s; actually, there were two Renaissances; one occured around 1000 A.D. with the translations of Arab translations of Greek works in Arab Spain; it was pretty much shortshifted by the 'black plague') in Italy(also partly due to the migration of Greeks from Constantinople). But, what few people note is that the Greek enlightenment that everyone thinks of when the word "Greek" is mentioned, was after a Greek dark ages. This is the dark ages after the fall of the civilizations that led to the legends of the city of Troy(maybe real, but the story is legend). What's more, before the Greeks, there was the Babylonian mathematical spring. Then, they went into a dark ages, only they never really went into a Renaissance; they became a giant dictatorship in the Persian empire to combat the upstart Greeks because the Greeks were doing weird things like mathematics and democracy. But anyways, point is that intelligence in our species doesn't seem to occur without some stimulous. Like, how about competition?
All life much less bipedal primates grew up knowing how to forage/hunt for its survival. It doesn't need to do science or technology generaly. Most physical anthropologists I would imagine would raise their hands and say 'environmental forces.' Yet, this doesn't make total sense with the long timespans in technological innovation in the evolution of bipedal primates to Homo Sapiens. Reading this latest Ardi stuff may suggest a reason why some primates that obviously led to us somehow maybe thought to make some new technology at least!
Certainly, when this certain lifeform decided to make technology, it had a more generalisable skill set. Or, the topology of the bipedal primates lent itself to greater technological potential. And, the use of that technology took a while to affect the biology to change and require more brains and more technology. But, maybe it was competition that led somebody to decide to make technology in the first place!

-------------------------------------crazy science/technology for the day

Thursday, January 10, 2013

astro picture for the day/yet more nanomanufacturing breakthroughs

Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ of Toronto/M.Durant et al; Optical: DSS/Davide De Martin

The article below shows the latest video of this pulsar(they've done this before; this is the latest/greatest)

vela pulsar movie

-------------------------------crazy science/technology for the day

And just a few days later from me posting about the liquid crystal nanomanufacturing, the biotech guys equal if not exceed the possible pace of the immenent nanotechnology revolution.

nanoscale molecular assembly factory

As the article says, they've already had millions of these processing molecules at the same time; this is what should take your breath away.  The thought that comes to my mind is that whatever limitations this assembly line may have, they can augment from numerous other dna-nanotechnologies already pointed out in this blog alone.  This can be vastly generalised . . . almost certainly before this year is out.

Here's a link to the official paper,

nanoscale nanofactory produces milligrams of peptides

A paperclip is like a gram; so a thousanth of that is still seeable.

Monday, January 7, 2013

astro picture for the day/ Major Breaking News; Industrial Revolution will go down as lasting only 300 years.

Image Credit & Copyright: Martin Pugh

I generaly prefer to have some new thought for the day and then give some great new astronomy picture and some new great science/technology advance(there's never a shortage of something new happening in today's science/technology era); but, I thought the above picture was sufficiently exciting and some major technological breakthrough is sufficiently exciting to go ahead and post them

Liquid crystal nanomanufacturing established

I suppose in keeping with my recent space age/apollo program/saturn v themes . . . one could say the nanomanufacturing sputnik has gone up; and, it's a little bit of a surprise.  Most observers would have cheered on the recent protein engineering or the peptoids, or dna-nanomanufacturing, or Zyvex's Stm approach.  There's no doubt that more work needs to be done; but, make no mistake about it; this will snowball into a nanorevolution; the question is how soon can this nanoera sweep(or in the words of Eric Drexler, "recycle the industrial revolution") away the industrial world?

I don't know when the nanoera will have completely swept away the industrial era; but, I'd argue that liquid crystal technology above is a nanomanufacturing system and it will grow and eventualy do so.  What's more, the Newcomen engine that started the industrial revolution was made in 1712.  One could say the beginning of the end of the industrial era marks the industrial era not lasting much more than three hundred years.  The agricultural era before then lasted almost ten thousand years.  Before then, the hunter gatherors laster perhaps hundreds of thousands to a few million years(depending on your definitions of human intelligence; the first stone tools goes back four million years; fire goes back a few hundred thousand years).