Science


TED.com has the most illuminating presentation showing scientifically accurate animations of biological molecular engines.  You can watch now!

Remnant of SR 1572 "Tycho Brahe's Supernova"

Remnant of SR 1572

Is time immutable, or is it subjective?  Philosophers have debated the nature of time, and whether it is intrinsically ordered and has tense.  I have devised a mind experiment to show that time depends not only on the observer, but the observer’s position, that before, after and simultaneous are subjective.

Visualize two observers on opposite sides of a town, one north, one south.   Both have clocks that were synchronized, and the observers moved slowly apart, so that relativistic effects on their clocks is insignificant, and flash detectors connected to the clocks to properly record the time of lightning flashes.

A storm comes up, and a lightning stroke hits in the middle of the town.  The two observer’s flash detectors record the time of the flash, and agree on the time.  The light from the flash travels to the flash detectors at the speed of light, producing a time delay of approximately 3.33 microseconds per kilometer.  Lets say the the observers are 6 km apart so the delay from the stroke until the observers detect it is 10 microseconds, and both of them agree on the time of the lightning stroke.

Lets now assume that there are two lightning strokes, one near the north observer and the other near the south observer, and from the “god’s eye view” (lets say, from the point of view of an astronaut on the moon) the north stroke took place at Time = T and the south stroke took place at Time = T + 5 us.  “God” would say that the north stroke took place first.  The north observer would agree, but would claim that the south stroke took place 25 microseconds before the south stroke.

The south observer would disagree, the south stroke took place 15 microseconds BEFORE the north stroke!

The speed of light is the limit of the rate of information flow in the universe, and is the basis for the visualization of the “time cone” where occurances at a distance from an observer are experienced at a later time than it would have been experienced by a proximate observer (more…)

Numbers are tough to learn as a child.  One, two – many.  That is how you first see the world, and as how lots of other mammals and birds see the world.  Then you learn the numbers and the idea of counting, then connecting the idea that you can count a large number of individual things which makes the number of things.  It might seem that we understand numbers as adults, but unfortunately we cannot easily deal with large numbers. Remember poor Carl Sagan with his “Billions and Billions” of stars, atoms, lightyears or whatever else he was talking about. – We had no clue how many suns, galaxies, base pairs, cells or light years he meant, just that it was a lot.

The goal of this site it to open minds. These are days of change, and the changes should be guided by fact and thoughtful consideration.

Please join in to illuminate the information found here. This is my site, and I want to hear opposing views. Two rules: All posts must be respectful of others and their opinions. No false witness – facts stated here must be true to the best of knowledge of the writer.

The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence

Reading Carl Sagan’s “The Dreams of Dragons” is like reading an ancient polymath’s writing – Bacon or Voltaire proposing their best insights from renaissance knowledge. Sagan draws on 1970’s knowledge of the human brain and consciousness to propose a broad vision for what was known from “recent” researches from the likes of Bronowski, Dement, Eccles, Gazzaniga, Gould, Leakey, Minsky, Sperry and Von Neumann. Many of their researches were cutting edge at the time, but have been overshadowed, modified or overturned by new work by themselves and others.

Flatland (Illustrated Edition)

This is a seminal little book. Edwin A. Abbott‘s Flatlands, A Romance in Many Dimensions is what allows thousands of us to be able to visualize higher dimensions.
Flatlands is the story of a two dimensional person who has become aware of the existence of three dimensions.  He tells us, from a two dimensional perspective all about his world – its features, science, society, social classes, intriques.

What the story achieves within the first few chapters is to expose us three dimensional beings to what it means to live in a world constrained by the dimensions we inhabit. He lives in two and has learned about three.  We live in three dimensions universe and can be be aware of four or more additional dimensions by extrapolation.

For many, this is a difficult task – even with my hands free I cannot describe a four dimensional square, or tessaract.  Abbott has done this in an easy reading romp through our two dimensional friend’s world.

The world he describes is bizarre but understandable.  The first several chapters set up a framework to visualize higher dimensions, and these chapters should be required reading for every student planning to study solid geometry.

Abbott explores, in a matter of fact way, the social structure of his flat world.  Our flatlander friend’s description and opinions about his society also provide a framework for thinking about the society of our world – by extrapolation.  To understand this concept it is necessary to read the entire short book.  I am sure that his intention was to show that his flatlander’s class structure was just as arbitrary as Victorian society.

I read in Science Times in the New York Times today of some new discoveries about the “sexually deceptive” tongue orchids of Australia.

humorous pictures It is cool to find an inside joke about uncertainty, and everyone gets it! Check out this from icanhascheezburger.com!

God
I was discussing the basis of religion with a friend at a party. He is a serious theologian and a born again Christian. When the subject of existence of God came up, my friend said that the best argument was made by Saint Thomas Aquinas in his “The Five Ways”. I decided that it is best to go to the source and evaluate it.

St. Thomas was a pretty good logician, but the unscientific and erroneous beliefs held in his time makes many of his conclusions irrelevant now that we know the universe better. St. Thomas used the knowledge of the ancients, mainly that of of Aristotle to form his worldview. He did not have the benefit of modern science. The discoveries of DesCartes, Bacon, Newton, Einstein and other modern thinkers and experimenters had not been made.

One of St. Thomas’ most important theses in Summa Theologica is The Five Ways – considered by some as a conclusive proof of the existence of God. (more…)

Science and the Akashic Field: An Integral Theory of Everything

Ervin Laszlo has spun an interesting fable – a way of looking at reality that utilizes an information field to tie together the universe. It is a theory that weaves the fabric of existence from “in-formation”, essentially the instructions to build atoms, suns, dna, life and consciousness. His theory could explain everything.

The problem is that Laszlo has not connected his theory to actual experimental results. He refers to the scientific works of others that peripherally touch on the points he is trying to make, and then makes sweeping generalizations that are not supported by those experimental results. A scientist takes experimental knowledge and builds a theory that fits the facts, he then tests the theory against new experiments to test the validity of the theory.

It is clear that what has happened here is that Ervin Laszlo has built a theory from his knowledge of a number of scientific principles and then sought out related studies and drawn his own conclusions from them. This builds a large body of citations that appear to support the theory, but actually neither support nor disprove it.
(more…)

Next Page »