Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Astro picture for the day/ James Burke's KWeb2k

Image Credit & Licence: ESA, Rosetta, NAVCAM

Here's a close up picture of a double body comet.  Somehow, these two bodies combined gently enough not to completely annihilate one another. A thought I have about that is that the further out of the solar system, the slower the speeds bodies have to orbit around the sun. There, colliding can be a lot more gentle. Could this double bodies comet indicate it originated in the outer solar system?

- James Burke's KWeb2k

All I want to say about this for now is that I've never owned a smart phone, or a cell phone, or these tablets. Maybe if James Burke and his team make some application(as they indicate in this video), I might finally get onto these new technologies!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

astro picture for the day/ The Year of Pluto documentary

ESA/Hubble & NASA
Acknowledgement: Matej Novak

The latest image as of posting this,

NASA / JHUAPL / SwRI / Björn Jónsson

Björn Jónsson says about this image: "The dark feature very near or at Pluto's pole continues to be visible and I continue to suspect it to be a small, dark polar cap. The bright terrain continues to look mottled (which it didn't a few days ago in lower-res images) and these features are probably at least partially real. The dark spot near the right limb at ~(203,354) is definitely a real feature and the brighter spot next to it is probably real as well. Charon is now showing lots of interesting details. In particular the small, 'bright' spot near the center of Charon's disc is a real feature but its brightness relative to the darker terrain is exaggerated here."

- 9 July 2015 picture of Pluto(days before New Horizons gets really close/blasts past the Pluto system),


Charon still not showing how interesting it can be!  Ope, we finally have Charon,

Image Credit: NASA/ New Horizons space probe

- and Pluto black and white again . . . just a day away(and a few hours),

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

Image Credit & Copyright: NASA, Johns Hopkins Univ./APL, Southwest Research Inst.

Pre-flyby best picture of Pluto . . . as everyone knows by now. 

Image Credit: NASA/New Horizons spacecraft

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Astro picture for the day/ Review of James Burke's Connections

Image Credit & Copyright: Marco Lorenzi (Glittering Lights)

I posted this at amazon; for some strange reason, it's hidden on there.  This review kind of reexpresses my "Origins of Mathematical knowledge post" in terms context as described by Susanne K Langer.

"Connections and "The Day the Universe Changed"(there's also "After the Warming" which tries to connect everything in terms of global warming; for instance, that maybe the Minoans and Myceneans civilizations collapsed because of shift of climate, and that maybe science and technology started when things got cold . . . that early Homo Sapiens and even Neanderthals that drew pictures in caves used fire to survive for instance) are fun things to think about. They are worth thinking about in terms of thinking about a mystery. What causes change in human society?

One of my favorite examples of what I'm seeing in James Burke's ideas here is David Goodstein, in his mechanical universe, points out how the British made their lightning rods with a spherical top because the King(I think it's the same King George found in the 'Declaration of Independence"), and not just pointed tip. There's scientific connections and there's these cultural connections like the lightning rod example above. James Burke seems to want to show all these cultural affects to, mostly technological developments. Every now and then, he requires some science connections.

The cultural connecitons, as I'm calling them, is all fine and good. To me, the model for scientific discovery is the discovery of the solar system. That we couldn't just send off some spacecraft to a polar orbit, look straight down, and say, "Hey, look at that! The planets go around the sun, and not the other way around." We had notice oddities, like the retrograde motion of the planets, the changing phases of the moon, to decode from our current perspective(our cultural biased conceptions/cultural connections), the facts/logic of the solar system.

Aristotle had all kinds of these vague notions of physics that didn't help much - bodies tend to stay put because that's their natural place to be. And, things need a force to keep them moving. It took Galileo to see the underlying structural relations of friction to tease out the amazing fact that different masses fall at the same rate in a vacuum. He also had some logic that drove him; if two masses are connected, then two contradictory things must happen - 1) they must fall slower, because the lighter mass is pulling up from the heavier mass, and 2) they must go faster because they are a combined heavier mass now.

Susanne K Langer in her "an introduction of Symbolic Logic" points out, chapter 3 - Essentials of logical structure, there's personal conceptions with different contexts of the same concept. If you say one word, you have all kinds of personal contextual ideas of what relates to that idea. In a sentence, the word run generally makes sense only with me telling you to run. You don't generally say, houses run the race. You might say house runs the world, depending on the meaning of 'house.' An example in the book is "these should be rubbed together in a smooth paste." Here, you know this refers to flour, sugar, and so on. But, this could also refer to a mechanic putting together some sealant. The conception can take on multiple contexts. There's often a cultural flavor to most people's conceptions. James Burke, in his Connections seems to want to find the technological origins in these cultural flavors.

To see people who have to overcome their cultural biases, for whatever reasons. A people goes to war with another, the climate changes, and those gods must not have been the real gods. That style of dress doesn't work out in the woods like it does in the ballroom, or something like that! As my David Goldstein example of the lightning rod shows, there are these types of connections, but the real connections, as I like to call them, are these underlying structural relations, that we end up calling mathematics and logic. These things come about in much the same way we discovered the solar system.

James Burke's Connections here, and his other works really, kind of mix these cultural connections and real connections in a fun way. But, some of these connections are not always quite correct. For instance, he says the longbow led to the cannon - not quite in my opinion perhaps. But, in showing the history of the longbow, we see some great cultural connections of the medieval society of the Knight on horseback.

When I looked at some of the real connections, I noticed some remarkable connections between them and what Jacob Bronowski points out about the nature and origin of mathematical knowledge, in his "Origins of Knowledge and Imagination." I'll leave a link to my right up about that in the comments section."

Friday, June 12, 2015

astro picture for the day / Richard Feynman video

Image Credit & Copyright: European Southern Observatory, VLT

Found this Richard Feynman video,

I can't help noting that I've never heard or/seen a great mathematician/scientists who was born from a previous great mathematician/scientist. In the case of Richard, his father wished to be great, but wasn't able to get into science; but, he was able to inspire his son, here, Richard Feynman.
I note for instance Albert Einstein and David Hilbert's sons.  They went crazy.  Albert's went into a psych ward.  Hilbert's thought god was talking to him and so on.  Carl Feynman grew up fine; but, never became great in any way. Leonard Euler had a bunch of kids; none of them did anything of note.
Seems that the environment a person grows up in, affects them differently than most others, and these influences don't seem to be the same for their children.
- Who's Richard Feynman?  Richard Feynman is considered one of the greatest scientists ever and of the 20th century. I've often felt that his personality is what makes him so famous, more than his accomplishments.  What did he solve? 
He solved, compared to what was there before, the renormalization problem. There was quantum mechanics before Richard.  Quantum Mechanics had in fact gone through several evolutions already by the time Richard Feynman could make any contribution. Bohr had combined Planck's quantum to solve the atom for the first time.  He had essentially derived the spectroscopic evidence of the atom. The quantum mechanics was then generalized by Heisenburg's "Uncertainty principle", and then Schroedinger combined De Broglie's ideas wavelengths and really Einstein's famous E=MC^2 equation. 
Then came Paul Dirac.  Paul combined special relativity with quantum mechanics.  He predicted anti-matter.  But, the theory predicted infinities.  This is where Richard Feynman came in.  There was also Schwinger, but physicists took to Richard's diagrammatic methods.
After Richard Feynman's diagrams, he didn't do much new science. Richard's claim to fame seems more to me about thinking of quantum computers and nanotechnology. Around 1959, just two years after Sputnik went up, he gave a speech, more for fun than anything else, about being able to manufacture anything atom by atom.
I've found almost all these geniuses are smart in some ways, but have bad attitudes in other ways.  In Richard Feynman's case, he had a bad attitude about history.  I've seen for instance John Stillwell, who has tried to right technical history of mathematics has bad attitudes about talking about the nature/philosophy of mathematics. I'm finding nanotechnologists have bad attitudes about, none other than rational philosophy!  God-Religious of course, usually, have bad attitudes about scientific knowledge, or not knowing - therefore, god must exist for them!

Monday, June 8, 2015

astro picture for the day/ Sophie and Silas from the Da Vinci Code

Image Credit & Copyright: Optical (RGB+Ha): Aldo Mottino & Ezequiel Bellocchio (Argentina); Infrared: ESO/J. Emerson/VISTA.

And what's the connection between mathematics and technology?  Science - experiment and real world data! Dah!

- Sophie confronts Silas. She asks Silas if he murdered who she thinks is her Grandfather. Silas responds with "I am a messenger from god." I find people think in these kinds of ways all the time. It's like they don't want to get close to the truth; they don't want some inner them being exposed.

Even a 400 A.D. Bishop of Constantinople Gregorius of Nyssa noticed this type of thinking and complained,

"People swarm everywhere, talking of incomprehensible matters, in hovels, streets and square, marketplaces, and crossroads. When I ask how many oboloi I have 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."

There an earlier scene of character Sophie with Robert Langdon. They're in a truck and talking about little things. She asks Mr Langdon, "are you a god-fearing man professor." Langdon replies, "I was raised a catholic." For which she correctly replies, "that's not really an answer."

- Some extra about Silas. Silas is a Herodian who had at least one successful fight against the Romans.  This victory led the Jews to think they could fight againgst the Romans.  The Romans wiped out the Essenes on Masada,

Josephus was with the Romans trying to convince the Essenes to just surrender.  They commited mass suicide instead.

- I made a post about what I like to call "the dark side of the force" before.  Well, I've made several.  I posted movie scene from "The Day the Earth Stood Still", and I've wrote some stuff(that very well written) linking these irrationalists techniques to gangs and violence, and then gangs to cults, and cults to religion.   I almost certainly should try a new writeup combining all these thought . . . someday! inventor of the maser/laser dies at 99 years old.  There's some interesting connections in the discovery of the laser. Well, Einstein also, perhaps independently, thought of the laser as well.

- Queensryche's innuendo,

innuendo definition - an allusive or oblique remark or hint, typically a suggestive or disparaging one.