Monday, April 27, 2015

astro pciture for the day/ best image of Pluto/Charon so far! And some good comet images!

Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Comet surface at 1.7 meter/pixel resolution (Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0)

(Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0)

Back to Pluto Charon system!

Nasa/New Horizons spacecraft image credit

Some remarkable things that should prove very interesting as the resolution gets better is that Pluto can have nitrogen ice.  Uranus and Neptune have methane ices which makes them different.

 Some Pluto researchers are already excited about the possibility of a Pluto ice-cap.

Pluto can have some exotic ices, as above; but, Pluto's remarkably large moon, Charon, seems to be more regular water ice!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

thought for the day/ Blombos cave and the 21st century revolution in Archaeology

Lion man of the Hohlenstein Stadel

I grew up with the knowledge of the European(primarily French) cave paintings as the oldest human creative efforts. People often wondered if there was creative efforts like that further back in time because of how old our line of descent is(back to like 4 million years). Archaeology certainly has found much exciting things.  Today, archaeology is revolutionized.

The findings of Blombos cave, South Africa . . . of a red ocher block with abstract patterns,

Note, African's today like to paint themselves with red ochre,

The red ochre block above dates to ~ 75,000 B.C. . . . blowing away the archaeological paradigm of the twentieth century!

For much of the twentieth century, the controversy was, "did human brains magically flip some genetic switch?"  Or, "did ideas come and go?"  The last question means . . . did ideas enter human cultures for a period, then disappear in a kind of dark ages?  The twenty first century archaeology answers in the latter. During about a hundred thousand year period, cultures came and went.  They did not pass on their discoveries to the future.  Future people rediscovered ideas and fashioned them in new styles all their own. Seems that population size has something to do with sophistication of ideas.

Another problem I'd note is that for that hundred thousand years that more or less biological progress was made, there were ice-ages that would have brought cultures 'back to the stone ages' figuratively speaking! For instance in the European cave paintings, we don't see the abstract symbolism we've just found in Blombos cave of twice the age!

Twentieth century archaeology new well, that ancient people's kept hunter/gatherer skills even if farming.  They'd switch between the two depending on the weather. In the beginnings of mankinds march towards science/technology, until it was developed enough(say after the European renaissance), mankinds was still quite dependent on the course of nature. As mankind used technologies, they often found themselves in situations where they needed science/technology they were hopeless to develop in the time needed.  So, cultures would collapse back to a previous state of living.  This is what twenty first century archaeology is seeing.

- I should note the lion-man which graces the top of this post.  I liked to say that in cave painters time, the hands symbolize self-reflection.  But, creative combining of ideas(even if not logically correct), like the combining of animal with human forms we see in Egyptian art, didn't come till, well Egyptian times.  Well, this lion-man is dated to 40,000 years!

Also, with this lion-man creativity, almost certainly used as some kind of spiritual god(giving man the power of the lion; Native Americans for instance would wear big cat or bear skulls to take on the properties of these great beasts!), to take on the powers of these other animals that humans don't(possibly how the god concept evolved from such ancient times) . . . in a related biblical passage, there's a goat god mentioned in Leviticus 17-7.  Although, some translations are not literal/or hide it as 'demon'.  For instance King James Bible, which is quite imfamous for mistranslating to hide embarrassing passages(one could argue that the King James verison of the bible was written to hide all kinds of errors and embarrassing problems discovered since the Arab/Spain translations occurred/spurred learning in 1060 A.D.) does this. Here's the New International Version/translation, of Leviticus 17:7, "They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols[b] to whom they prostitute themselves."

- I feel like I should say something about the astonishing refusal to question things I'm seeing in today's elite intellectuals(in relation to ideas coming and going); but, for various reasons, I don't feel the need to.  They'll either run into problems, change back to critical thinking and defending rationality, or they'll go away.  So, I won't waste much more breath on scientific ethics here!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

astro picture for the day

Image Credit: Hubble Legacy Archive, NASA, ESA; Processing & Copyright: David Forteza

-Science news extra,

Oldest Stone Tools Unearthed in Kenya <-- link here.

- thought for the day extra - In an earlier article, probably Greek science, I pointed out that I found some Jacob Bronowski phenomenon in Homer's Iliad.  Well, I just found some in the Bible as well!

Judges 6:31 has Gideon tested as a god, "And Joash said unto all that stood against him, Will ye plead for Baal? will ye save him? he that will plead for him, let him be put to death whilst it is yet morning: if he be a god, let him plead for himself, because one hath cast down his altar." Or, more specifically, "if he be a god, let him plead for himself"

A little review of Jacob Bronowski is in order.  In his "Science and Human Values", he points out that mathematical science is analogy.  Then, he notes, that after the creative act, there must be the empirical test.  He liked to point out a shakespear example.  The above, shows a test to see if Gideon is a god.

There's some more good stuff about Gideon.  Judges 7 has Gideon amassing like twenty thousand troops.  But, God steps in and says, no, if you go in with that many, you'll crush them easily, and they won't think it's a miracle.  You're going in with three hundred soldiers! Judges 7:2, "lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me. "

And I can't help posting one more biblical goodie!  Judges 9:54 has a Abimelech telling his fellow soldiers to kill him, because otherwise, he will go down in history as being killed by a woman! From the King James version, "Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died."

Sunday, April 12, 2015

astro picture for the day/ Umbral moonshine conjecture and quantum gravity?

ESA/NASA Hubble Space Telescope image

Mathematicians Chase Moonshine’s Shadow <-- link here: once again, mathematics turns out to show the way to solving the universe! I've pretty much forgotten everything about the classification of the finite groups.  This was a logical proof; one so large, it takes up four thick volumes.  But, in the process of proving it(no, I didn't know those four volumes; I just read various articles including notices at the American mathematical society), they found these monster groups.  Abstract algebraic structures that, geometrically, define symmetry. One could say quickly, aRb, bRc, and aRc, can kind of constitute a group, where R means some relation like +, or some other binary relation. Mathematicians proved a classification of all possible finite simple groups.  Simple groups can be likened to prime groups.  There's subgroups, and hence factor groups, and so you can kind of see from there an algebra of abstact objects/groups. Monster groups are abundant element groups.  Like astronomically large finite groups. They found them through a kind of taking a slice of them process. So, finding each one(26  total) was a major accomplishment in itself!

I suppose I could mention something about how mathematicians were able to classify every possible finite simple group.  Mathematicians back around late 1800s found that a single lie group can stand for an infinity of finite groups!  They tried classifying lie groups as well.  Likewise, they found a finite list of groups.  They proved most through the 20th century, but one - E8.  The classification of finite groups was, more or less, proved in the 1980s.  E8 was proven a few years ago - by computer.  It took a computer program to make up the deductive structure.  So, here, with the classification of finite groups and the solving of E8, we have mathematical proofs beyond the general comprehension of a single human. Then, there's the monster groups, which if you read the article, may hold the clue to quantum gravity, not to mention number theory!

- Science/Archaeology goodie/extra,

Some English art(Roman times) depicting wolf being chased by a hair(a rabbit)!