Flat Theory (It’s A Thing!)

Quora is a website and app for overthinkers, like a candy store for questions and answers. I get a lot of views of my answers (mostly on the topic of addiction), making it my favorite place to play when I can’t sleep.

Today we didn’t talk about staged solar eclipses, one of my favorite fact-based topics, but we did discuss the fact the earth is probably flat. Of course! After seeing the new “flat earth propaganda pandas” on a TV news show yesterday, today we clashed on Quora. What fun!

The “flat is fun” science question I stumbled upon already had about 100 sometimes whimsical answers.

I couldn’t resist!

My @Quora profile

Continue reading “Flat Theory (It’s A Thing!)”

The Edge of the Universe Through the Eyes of a Dolphin (or, Endemic Life on Our Abyssal Plain!)

just words

I wrote recently about a documentary called “Edge of the Universe” (2002). The only compliment I paid I think was I liked the title. The actual show, though, should have been called something else, like “More Nonsense About the Universe!” The Universe might have edges, but they weren’t seen in that documentary!blue-planet

Enter Attenborough … and another, much different study, this time of the sea: “The Blue Planet, A Natural History of the Oceans” (2001); a truly eye-opening mini-series! Sans hyperbole, this fabulous 8-hour series shows us through the eyes of animals there is more than one universe; it just depends on your perspective! As one IMDB reviewer put it, the series “opened (his) eyes to another planet right here on Earth!” Another was inspired to become a marine biologist! Continue reading “The Edge of the Universe Through the Eyes of a Dolphin (or, Endemic Life on Our Abyssal Plain!)”

The Meaning of Life (The Galaxy Song!)

galaxy song image

Who’s in your refrigerator?

The Galaxy Song (Idle, Du Prez) (1983)

Whenever life gets you down, Mrs. Brown …
And things seem hard or tough
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft
And you feel that you’ve had quite enough!

Just remember that you’re standing on a planet that’s evolving
And revolving at 900 miles an hour Continue reading “The Meaning of Life (The Galaxy Song!)”

About Me … Why Not? (or, Nothing Pun Going On Here!)

just words

You might be better off not reading this.

It was written by an expert in reverse-psychology, and you, even the most staunch, ruthlessly-skeptical readers, will probably be easily swept in by his clever techniques. You’re probably not smart enough to keep up. Therefore, it is strongly recommended Continue reading “About Me … Why Not? (or, Nothing Pun Going On Here!)”

Measuring How Much We Care; The Legend of King Earl

Bigness diminishes accuracy and need for accuracy.
Details get lost in space.

PyramidsOur human concept of accuracy fades with size; in such a way that if someone told you cars were invented in the 1700’s, you’d tell them they were way off, by a hundred years … if they said the pyramids were built in 3000 BC, you could suggest they’re off by about 400 years, but it’s not too important; and if they said the Big Bang was 15 billion-years-ago, the adjustment might be oh, give or take, although it’s even less important, a billion.

Despite the uncertainty the third item actually happened, which is a pitfall of happening such a long time ago, even a strong supporter of its theory might not be terribly upset if everyone were off by a just, say, a few hundred thousand years; we’d still be “very close!” But when cars were invented? Don’t be an idiot!

paintbrushCorrelating to accuracy, need (for accuracy) also fades with large time spans. It’s like zooming in on your computer working on a piece of art, Continue reading “Measuring How Much We Care; The Legend of King Earl”

Motorcycles Quantized – Our Universe in Balance and Motion

How does balance relate to speed?

Does it at all?

Victory Motorcycle
Loaned to us for this mission

If so, do we measure this relationship and ask questions about it, the same way we do about the relationship between time, in astronomical terms, and space, in mathematical ones?

Do we care about it?

Let’s put balance on the scientific chopping block!

If we’re looking for concepts that are clearly important but for which we have truly unsatisfying answers, balance is perfect.

But does it belong in the quantifiable study of everything? Is it … anything? Can we get a grip on it?

skier - david emmetImagine someone moving very slowly on a pair of skis or a motorcycle – they’d tell you there’s definitely a relationship between motion (in time) and balance; that balance becomes easier or more difficult with movement, and things that are simply impossible going slowly are relatively easy at even just a slightly faster speed. Interestingly, for both skier and motorcyclist, success at balance is not related at all to if you’re Continue reading “Motorcycles Quantized – Our Universe in Balance and Motion”

The Intangible Surprise (or, The Virtue of Telling a Lie!)

Birthday CakeA surprise birthday party (then maybe a nap on the beach) is a great way to see what’s important to people, which might not be what’s most obvious, might get us thinking about why it’s important, and also shows how people inter-react (without conversing) with “no harm done.” We’ll see the Universe around us is not “container-able” in more ways than just size-wise.

Society, as a focus, balances based on invisible, unspoken agreements among all of us, which are based on those things historically not throwing us off balance; easy-to-agree-to things, mostly, but not always.

At the moment of “surprise!” the innocent birthday celebrant has to suddenly react, and in an appropriate way, no matter how he felt a moment before. So, appropriately, he smiles as if he is being treated like a king, all the time wondering how the stint was pulled off, and still standing beside the person who walked him into the rigged room, the person who deceived him the most.

smiley-thumbs-upBut it’s all in good fun, and everyone has a grand time. The concept of a universally-assumed opinion is the very core of society. It’s what we do when we don’t ask permission first; almost everything. And it’s bilateral; an unsaid conversation; but it’s based on history, our knowledge of what’s been done before; we all know it, understand it and agree to the degree we’ll wager a sizable prank, time, money and even the risk it might go wrong.

In the pre-party planning, someone might say Continue reading “The Intangible Surprise (or, The Virtue of Telling a Lie!)”

The Observability Of Nature (or, You’re Blinder Than a Bat!)

Penguins walk like people and swim like fish.

In Oregon red-eyed birds can walk, though it looks more like dancing, on water.

Penguin
Thought Bubble: “I wish I could fly!”

Mudskippers are fish that walk on land, dig holes in the mud and prefer to be on land; the fins have what look like elbows as it uses them like a dog does its front legs. It looks like a fish with front legs; it’s eerie.

A chameleon’s eyes move independently of each other. The Venus Fly Trap is a plant that lures, traps and consumes its prey, a fly, successfully with no brain at all.

While the bear is bumbling with salmon there are dolphins creating circles of mud in the water and catching fish in their mud circle traps; these most intelligent animals look like they’re having fun!

Monkeys use stone tools like hammers to crush nuts, after leaving the nuts out in the sun for a week to become easier to break.

God shows us evolution in naturesGreatEventsDolphinsthe moth and tadpole, crawling from the sea and flying into the sky and readapting to a completely new body during a single lifetime. In the lion, bear and dolphin, He shows us how to hunt, faultless killing similar to play. In the dolphins he shows us what an intelligent creature would do if it lived exclusively in the water. The go-to bounty is seemingly endless small, fast fish; the big, smart dolphin’s goal, given choices, is to have fun!

The farther we go from the sea and become more like intelligent mammals, the more time we spend in our families, like the Orangutan, raising our young. We are surrounded by the modern and the primitive – the underlings of the food chain and the unchallenged champions, dinosaurs, dragons and humans … even … toads that eat tarantulas.

Clarke's Grebes DancingIn Oregon, the Clark’s Grebe, Continue reading “The Observability Of Nature (or, You’re Blinder Than a Bat!)”

The Attenborough Syndrome (or, Documentarians Gone Wild!)

Netflix is crowded with documentaries, some very good ones. It’s a field day for Attenborough! Drones and underwater cameras, football field zoom lenses, fast frame rates and super slow motion are making the big living room screen feel like a new set of eyes!

Attenborough Photo
Not sure who is cooler in this picture

Sir David Frederick Attenborough is an English broadcaster and naturalist. Among his numerous awards: The coveted 1974 Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) (The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is the order of chivalry of British constitutional monarchy, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organizations, and public service outside the Civil Service, just in case you didn’t already know).

He’s a narrater, a voice for documentaries; in England some call him a national hero, and he has many other titles. He’s an adventurer and nature lover. He knows a lot more about nature than I do.

naturesGreatEventsEagleOne of Attenborough’s projects, “Nature’s Great Events” (2009), shows a bald eagle multiple times repeated, so you can see it, fishing from the sky. The bird, in the wink of an eye, focuses on a single fish, and swoops down and just plucks it right out of the water, in flight the whole time. Sea and sky merge with the unsuspecting fish suspended in the bird’s claws and flying through the air. The actual “pluck” is almost invisible in “regular” speed, but in slow motion, the eagle’s accuracy and grace Continue reading “The Attenborough Syndrome (or, Documentarians Gone Wild!)”

Raccoons In The Attic; Cosmos Science and Your Imagination

NASA recently released a picture of a billion black holes. They really did. It’s a picture of black holes. And there’s “about” a billion of them in the picture. It looks like a picture of stars in the night sky (a brilliant disguise for the black holes), and requires, as the universe does, a little imagination.

I’m tired of reminding everyone black holes exist only in the imagination, so I’ll make this the last time. This report, on the Harvard web server for the Chandra press collection, talks in some detail with a few statistics about these supermassive black figments of Einstein’s imagination, but, as usual, as if it’s all fact.

There’s not a lot of guts to the release; it’s more like a long caption to the photo, and the photo (below) isn’t anything you’d hang on the wall.

But the comments are interesting. “Decota” was concerned the black holes might be traveling toward us, to consume Earth. Hopefully not before she makes it to the grocery store to pick up some eggs, I thought. I wanted to call her up and tell her it’s going to be okay. Duane posted a question Continue reading “Raccoons In The Attic; Cosmos Science and Your Imagination”

The Press’s Version Of Some Things

bert einstein
What? Don’t ask me!

Billions of dollars and a hundred years spiked with fruitless theory may not sound like the human race is getting far in its study of its own world,

but the frustration around the science is one thing we do know for certain.

This is a quote from the website “Space.com”: “In 2014, scientists announced that they had detected gravitational waves left over from the Big Bang using the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization (BICEP2) telescope in Antarctica. It is thought that such waves are embedded in the cosmic microwave background. However, further research revealed that their data was contaminated by dust in the line of sight.”

I’m not making this up!
Could-a been Einstein was right …
Could-a been some dust!

Maybe they just need a “BICEP3,” and maybe it’d be designed to see what it’s looking for, invisible black holes, instead of just the invisible gravitational waves that support black holes theoretically! There’s something not only expensive but preposterous Continue reading “The Press’s Version Of Some Things”

My Version Of Everything

just words

My base position is skeptical, as it should be when looking at claims about the universe! Evidence is not made just because a theory satisfies reason and is not yet disproven or better-proven. I believe time does not exist separately from the movement of objects, and philosophy itself, if applied with gut-wrenching honesty, may be the piece missing from everything theory, but sometimes replaced based on insecurity with distortion, hyperbole and misrepresentation.

Earth-Full-Nasa
You Are Here

It seems obvious everything is always in motion, and there need be no fixed time of reference in the universe (mostly because we are always moving as observers), or, if there were, it would be something along the lines of “God’s time,” where God exists based on death-related speculation, which unavoidably begins to knit spiritual concepts into the realm of the not-understood, including “everything real,” and everything known; spirituality is a natural part of human perspective.

Saying there’s a master time reference point is like saying there’s something in the Universe that doesn’t move. Our experience of time is part of our ecology; we are a subset of the universe.

I also believe if time dilates (changes rate when the observer is moving), more when the speed approaches the speed of light, as a result the entire experience of the observer must change appropriately, including his experience of distance; things might change apparent size but he would still be able to see the smallest of them. He might, at near the speed of light, approach an unimaginable state of omnipresence. At the speed of light, light itself would no longer have “speed,” Continue reading “My Version Of Everything”

The Mathematic Truth About Titanic

Just the rivets used to construct the “Titanic” weighed over 1000 tons. The steel plates they held to her hull became brittle in the cold, 400 miles south of Newfoundland, where the unsinkable ship sank. She was roughly as far north as Maine. Her captain knew about the iceberg field ahead, yet continued on course, never seeing the future nor being able to imagine what the sea felt like far ahead.

TitanicThe boat eventually landed on the ocean bottom, two and a half miles underwater, where water pressure is over 6,500 pounds per square inch, in two pieces said to be 2000-feet apart, 1200 miles from her intended destination, New York. We know a lot of the math. Titanic’s maiden voyage was her only voyage. The huge boat’s steel hull was too weak, while she was thought by many to be overbuilt.

With engines reversed full astern, Titanic was tested capable of stopping in about three minutes.

On embarking, before entering the English Channel, Titanic narrowly avoided a collision with another ship, the “New York,” because Titanic displaced so much volume she caused Continue reading “The Mathematic Truth About Titanic”