Wednesday, October 31, 2012

To The Stars Available in Hard Copy!

Cooper's Press is pleased to announce that To The Stars, the first book in the Harry Irons Trilogy, is now available in hard copy. Go here to order for Christmas! 506 pages of action and adventure!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

Happy Halloween, everybody! My plan is to wait here and think about the future until kids start knocking on the door. Then I'll get up and hand out candy. I may need to take a nap first.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Menger Hotel

The Menger Hotel in San Antonio, Texas, is featured in multiple places as a haunted site. The Menger is a five star hotel located in the historical heart of downtown San Antonio, 100 yards from the Alamo and close to the Rivercenter Mall.
The Menger Hotel, San Antonio, Texas.

With five stories and 316 rooms, The Menger Hotel has existed for more than 130 years and is a masterpiece of traditional elegance. It's a beautiful place, albeit an expensive one, to spend a few days.

The hotel was built in 1859, by William A. Menger and architect John Fries, only 23 years after the historic battle at the Alamo. It was a first class hotel from the very beginning. Famous, well-known people enjoyed the hospitality of the Menger Hotel, including Theodore Roosevelt, Sidney Lanier, Babe Ruth, Mae West, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Sarah Bernhardt, and Gutzon Borglum.

The Menger Hotel is not only a very appealing place for the enjoyment of the living, but has long been a favorite place for spirits and ghosts.

The Menger Hotel claims at least 32 different entities who share the hotel with the living. Some of these are co-opted from the Alamo site, common in buildings situated on or near a battleground. The ghosts occasionally startle guests and employees, but always remember their Southern manners, and hotel management assures visitors that the ghosts never intentionally scare the living. Hmm. I guess the hotel management never watched the Paranormal Activity movies.

Sallie White was a maid at the Menger Hotel who was murdered by her jealous husband and is said to walk along the hotel hallways, going about her business, carrying a load of clean towels for the guests. She has been seen primarily at night for many years. She wears an old, long gray skirt with a bandana around her forehead.

Captain Richard King, one time owner of the King Ranch, also haunts the Menger and isn't shy about appearing to guests and employees. He still enters his old room, the King Suite, usually going right through the wall, not through the door, but where the door was located before the room was remodeled.

Additionally, unseen entities have "helped" in the kitchen area, launching kitchen utensils through the air.

If you're thinking The Menger Hotel sounds like a cool weekend retreat, rooms start at $129 a night, with or without spirits.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Wild Ride, Hang On

I'm a Space Cowboy

Being born and bred in Texas and with a Texas family history that stretches back a century or so, I was raised with a set of values I didn’t even know I was receiving -- I just thought that the rules I was being instructed under were common to everyone. As it turns out, the rules were mainly for social interaction designed to keep one out of trouble in a time where the limits of freedom were often defined by blunt force.

Later, I came to understand that the rules I had picked up as a boy were a watered-down version of what is called “Cowboy Codes of the West.” If you Google the phrase, you’ll come up with a number of lists that essentially say the same thing, but all these cowboy codes were common sense approaches to western etiquette. Some deal with horses, some with firearms handling, and some concern how to act around women.

Now, I’m not a cowboy. Put me on a horse and I fall off. I traded my boots for tennis shoes long ago and I can’t afford the expensive hats. All the same, a fellow once told me I had the attitude of a Texas cowboy -- which he claimed went beyond the apparel. I was informed I was hard-working, friendly, and honest, but above all, stubbornly independent. I didn’t know how he had arrived at his evaluation of my character, but when somebody says nice things, it’s proper to maintain one’s modesty (one of the cowboy codes).

Save the girl, preserve freedom, get paid.
This week, I hunted for the various versions of the Cowboy Code and found quite a number. Most claimed to reveal the “unwritten”set of rules. My favorite is the following:

1. Never pass anyone on the trail without saying "Howdy."
2. When approaching someone from behind, give a loud greeting before you get within pistol shot.
3. Don't wave at a man on a horse. It might spook the horse and the man will think you're an idiot. (A nod is the proper greeting.)
4. After you pass someone on the trail, don't look back at him. It implies you don't trust him.
5. Riding another man's horse without his permission is nearly as bad as making love to his wife. Never even bother another man's horse.
6. Never shoot an unarmed man. Never shoot a woman at all.
7. A cowboy is pleasant even when out of sorts. Complaining is what quitters do, and cowboys hate quitters.
8. Always be courageous. Cowards aren't tolerated in any outfit worth its salt.
9. A cowboy always helps someone in need, even a stranger or an enemy.
10. When you leave town after a weekend of carousing, it's perfectly all right to shoot your six-guns into the air, whoop like crazy and ride your horse as fast as you can. This is called "hurrahing" a town.
11. A horse thief may be hung peremptorily.
12. Never try on another man's hat.
13. Never wake another man by shaking or touching him. He might wake up suddenly and shoot you.
14. Real cowboys are modest. A braggart who is "all gurgle and no guts" is not tolerated.
15. A cowboy doesn't talk much; he saves his breath for breathing.
16. No matter how weary and hungry you are after a long day in the saddle, always tend to your horse's needs before your own, and get your horse some feed before you eat.
17. Cuss all you want, but only around men, horses and cows.

Does a code of the old West remain today? In some respects, yes. Individualism is still considered to be a Western trait.

Nah, we ain't going anywhere just yet.
Proof of the code is revealed in the notion that for the first time since the Civil War, the federal bureaucracy is being seriously challenged. Many in Texas and other Western states are asking Washington to prove why it is a more effective trustee of Western lands and resources than the locals who live, work, and play on those lands. Even in these economically-challenging times, the idea of welfare especially rankles Westerners because of its implied insult -- that men and women are incapable of earning a living on their own, or are unwilling to help those temporarily down on their luck to get back on their feet. It appears there remains a willingness to trust a person rather than trust fine print. Unquestionably, the Westerner's symbiotic relationship with the land has never been lost. The value placed on our region's traditional industries, like ranching, has never diminished, even among many urban Westerners.

The West was as much a state of mind as it was a historical phenomenon. And the Code? Well, if it's unwritten, how can anyone prove it still exists, except perhaps, by one’s actions?

Being a cowboy ain’t all that bad, even if you can’t stay on your horse.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Anthropic Principle

The anthropic principle is the belief that the properties of the universe are consistent with the creation of human life.

The phrase "anthropic principle" was coined in 1973 by Australian physicist Brandon Carter on the 500th anniversary of the birth of Nicolas Copernicus. The intent of Carter’s declaration was to present a contrast to the Copernican principle that demoted humanity from any sort of privileged position within the universe.

Not that Carter believed humans had a central position in the universe. The Copernican principle was still basically intact. What Carter had in mind was that the fact of human life is one piece of evidence (concerning the formation and function of the universe.) which cannot be completely discounted. Carter stated, "Although our situation [humanity] is not necessarily central, it is inevitably privileged to some extent."

Prior to Copernicus, the standard viewpoint was that the Earth was a unique place that obeyed fundamentally different physical laws than the rest of the universe. However, with the decision that the Earth was not fundamentally different, it was natural to assume the opposite, that all regions of the universe are identical. (See prior NTD post, Fascinating, Jim, for an alternative view.)

We can imagine universes with physical properties that don't allow for human existence. For instance, what if the universe formed so that electromagnetic repulsion was stronger than the attraction of the strong nuclear interaction? Protons would push each other apart instead of bonding. Atoms would never form.

The fact that we can ask these questions means that we obviously cannot be in any other universe that makes it impossible for us to exist. Those other universes could have formed, but we wouldn't be there to ask the question.

From that line of thought, some have come to believe that the observer (in this case, humanity) is a fundamental requirement for any universe to exist. It is a controversial argument based largely on quantum physics and the Participatory Anthropic Principle (PAP) proposed by physicist John Archibald Wheeler.

Since we know we exist, we can make certain specific claims about the universe (or at least our region of the universe) based upon that knowledge. Our very existence imposes rules determining from where and at what time it is possible for us to observe the universe. That is, the fact of our being restricts the characteristics of the kind of environment in which we find ourselves.

The role of the anthropic principle in cosmology is to help provide an explanation for why our universe works the way it does. Cosmologists used to believe they would discover some sort of fundamental property that sets the unique values we observe in our universe, but it hasn’t happened. As it turns out, there are many values in the universe that require a very narrow, specific range for things to work. This is called “the fine-tuning problem”. The problem is how to explain why/how these values are so finely-tuned for human life.

Carter's anthropic principle allows for a wide range of theoretically possible universes, each containing different physical properties, and ours belongs to the (relatively) small set that would allow for human life. This is the fundamental reason many modern physicists speculate about the existence of multiple universes.

So, this line of thought is popular with not only cosmologists, but also the physicists involved in string theory. Physicists have found that there are so many possible variants of string theory that many scientists believe in a vast string theory landscape, which includes multiple universes and a consideration of the value of anthropic reasoning in evaluating scientific theories.

Stephen Weinberg used anthropic reasoning to predict the expected value of the cosmological constant and got a result that predicted a small but positive value, which didn't fit with current expectations. A decade later, when physicists discovered the expansion of the universe was accelerating, Weinberg realized his earlier anthropic reasoning was correct.

It's enough to make a fella wonder about things.
Critics of the anthropic principle claim that its reasoning simply reframes the question science normally asks. Rather than looking for specific values and an explanation for why those values are what they are, anthropic reasoning allows for an entire range of values as long as they're consistent with an already-known end result.

I believe the perspective of anthropic reasoning may not only be valid, but is also an indication of the changing perspective of humanity as it slowly accepts a quantum view of the universe that is based on consciousness and intelligent observation.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

Where's Tombo?

Fascinating, Jim

The following is an alternative to the generally accepted big bang model of the universe and goes to show that many “truths” we take for granted are simply theories we use for explaining what we really don’t know.

Wun-Yi Shu, an associate professor at National Tsing Hua University in Taiwan, has suggested a new explanation of cosmological models that may fit observations of the universe better than the current “big bang” model. The new models might explain the increasing acceleration of the universe without relying on a cosmological constant such as dark energy, as well as solving or eliminating other cosmological dilemmas, such as the flatness problem and the horizon problem.

Professor Wun-Yi Shu
Shu explains that the models emerge from a new perspective of time, space, mass, and length. In the proposal, time and space can be converted into one another, with a varying speed of light as the conversion factor. Mass and length are also interchangeable, with the conversion factor depending on both a varying gravitational “constant” and a varying speed of light (G/c2). 

Fundamentally, as the universe expands, time is converted into space, and mass is converted into length. As the universe contracts, the opposite occurs. “We view the speed of light as simply a conversion factor between time and space in spacetime,” Shu writes. “It is simply one of the properties of the spacetime geometry. Since the universe is expanding, we speculate that the conversion factor somehow varies in accordance with the evolution of the universe, hence the speed of light varies with cosmic time. "

As Shu writes in his paper, the newly proposed models have four distinguishing features:
  1. The speed of light and the gravitational “constant” are not constant, but vary with the evolution of the universe.
  2. Time has no beginning and no end; i.e., there is neither a big bang nor a big crunch singularity.
  3. The spatial section of the universe is a 3-sphere [a higher-dimensional analogue of a sphere], ruling out the possibility of a flat or hyperboloid geometry.
  4. The universe experiences phases of both acceleration and deceleration.
Shu tested one of the models against current cosmological observations of Type Ia supernovae that have revealed that the universe appears to be expanding at an accelerating rate. He discovered that, because acceleration is an inherent part of his model, it fits the redshift data of the observed supernovae.

This is significant because the currently accepted big bang model does not fit the data, which has caused scientists to search for other explanations, like dark energy that theoretically makes up 75% of the mass-energy of the universe. Shu’s models may also account for other problems faced by the standard big bang model. For instance, the flatness problem arises in the big bang model from the observation that a seemingly flat universe such as ours requires finely tuned initial conditions. But because the universe is a 3-sphere in Shu’s models, the flatness problem “disappears automatically.” Similarly, the horizon problem occurs in standard cosmology because it should not be possible for distant places in the universe to share the same physical properties (as they do), since it should require communication faster than the speed of light due to their great distances. However, Shu’s models solve this problem due to their lack of big bang origin and intrinsic acceleration. 

“Essentially, this work is a novel theory about how the magnitudes of the three basic physical dimensions, mass, time, and length, are converted into each other, or equivalently, a novel theory about how the geometry of spacetime and the distribution of mass-energy interact,” Shu writes. “The theory resolves problems in cosmology, such as those of the big bang, dark energy, and flatness, in one fell stroke.”

Here is an interesting counter to Shu’s theory.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Some Like It Hot

Solar Flare
This is a solar flare. A solar flare is a large energy release observed on the surface of the Sun which may contain up to 6 × 1025 joules of energy (about a sixth of the total energy output of the Sun each second or 160 billion megatons of TNT equivalent, over 25,000 times more energy than released from the impact of Comet Shoemaker–Levy 9 with Jupiter). Solar flares are mainly followed by a colossal coronal mass ejection (CME). The flare ejects clouds of electrons, ions, and atoms through the corona of the sun into space. These clouds typically reach Earth a day or two after the event. The term also refers to similar phenomena in other stars (stellar flares).

X-rays and UV radiation emitted by solar flares can affect Earth's ionosphere and disrupt long-range radio communications. Direct radio emission at decimetric wavelengths may disturb operation of radars and other devices operating at these frequencies.

Also, if you happen to be close when it happens, you'd most likely be incinerated. Fat chance of that happening, you say? Not so fast. If you'd read the sequel to the Harry Irons Trilogy, Among The Stars, by yours truly, then you'd know there are some circumstances where astronauts might like to get as close to a star as possible. Anything can happen and it usually does with Harry Irons and his friends.

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Werner Heisenberg (1901 - 1976)

Werner Heisenberg was one of the greatest physicists of the twentieth century. He is best known as a founder of quantum mechanics, the new physics of the atomic world, and especially for the uncertainty principle in quantum theory. He is also known for his controversial role as a leader of Germany's nuclear fission research during World War II. After the war he was active in elementary particle physics and West German science policy.

"The more precisely
POSITION is determined,
less precisely
the MOMENTUM is known"

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Global Warming or Global Lying?

 The official position of the World Natural Health Organization in regards to global warming is that there is NO GLOBAL WARMING! Global warming is nothing more than just another hoax, just like Y2K and the global freezing claims in the 1960's and 70's were. Global warming is being used to generate fear and panic. Those behind this movement are using it to control people's lives and for financial gain.

There are not many individuals, groups, or organizations willing to stand up against this fraud that is being perpetuated for fear of being persecuted, harassed, and ostracized by those who support global warming within the scientific and other communities. But fortunately, a few have decided to do the right thing and take a stand against this evil, proving just how unscientifically founded global warming is and exposing those who are behind it. Below, you will find links to information and articles showing the proof that global warming is nothing more than just a bunch of hot air (pun intended).

The date you see by each headline is the date it was posted.

08 Oct 2012 - Record Antarctica Ice Contradicts Global Warming Hoax [Seems like about everything contradicts it and shows it is a hoax yet they keep going on with it and downplay and try to discredit the proof that shows it is a lie!]
28 Sep 2012 - Fake Penguin Crisis And The Global Warming Scam
25 Sep 2012 - Antarctic Sea Ice Sets Another Record
25 Sep 2012 - Polar Ice Rapture Misses Its Deadline
25 Sep 2012 - Global Warming Alarmists Flip-Flop On Snowfall
25 Sep 2012 - Climategate 2.0: New E-Mails Rock The Global Warming Debate
25 Sep 2012 - New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism
12 Sep 2012 - EPA Threatens Foundation Of U.S. Economy
11 Sep 2012 - Study Tries To Link Climate 'Denial' To Conspiracy Theories, Free Market Beliefs [They are so desperate to discredit those who stand up against their lies and proclaim their hoax for what it is, nothing but lies and a means to scare and control people!]
27 Aug 2012 - 'Global Warming' Fear Is About Money Not Science
08 Aug 2012 - The Utter Desperation Of Global Warming Liars
09 July 2012 - Global Warming Fruitcakes Cancel Planned Ice Sculpture Protest After Realizing It Would Not Have Melted Fast Enough
11 June 2012 - Readers Debate Humans' Influence On Global Warming
17 May 2012 - Climate Nazis And Their Lies
08 May 2012 - Meteorologist: Gore Going Insane With 'Bullsh--' [Has an embedded audio file on the web page]
27 Apr 2012 - Environmentalist Scientist Admits He Was 'Alarmist' On Global Warming
14 Feb 2012 - Physicist Exposes Global Warming Hoax
13 Feb 2012 - Shock Study Shows Himalayas And Nearby Peaks Have Lost No Ice Over The Last Decade
08 Feb 2012 - Another Green Prophet Defects
23 Jan 2012 - An Educational Scare Tactic

Not to mislead, but it's the World Health Organization (WHO) that generally believes, yes indeed, global warming, or climate change, is going to get us all. The WHO is an agency of the United Nations concerned with international health matters. However, the World Natural Health Organization does exist. It is not fictitious and they do believe global warming is a hoax. It's where I stumbled across the links.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Like A Good Mystery?

Manchester Murder, by author Pat Whitaker, is a collection of four murder mystery novels, all set in the City of Manchester. These books, although sharing a common backdrop and even some supporting characters, are all independent stories and not a series. They also share in having, to a greater or lesser extent, a science fiction element to them although the murder mystery is predominant.

The collection includes:

Bad Blood:
A serial killer is loose in Manchester masquerading as a vampire, and a forensic psychologist is tasked with creating a profile to help catch them, with unexpected results.The story takes popular myth and, reduced to its essentials, and asks what’s the most rational, scientifically plausible explanation for the phenomenon. Both the underlying myth and the science are very carefully researched.

Time Out:
Reporting on so-called alien abductions, a newspaperman is caught up a mixture of drugs, murder and a truly extraordinary set of events. It intermingles crime with romance and Science Fiction, confronts what we may perceive to be true with logic, and asks us to reconsider.
Author Pat Whitaker

Raw Spirit:
A physicist, suspected of a murder, tries to answer two questions, who killed the woman in the next room, and how did he see a ghost? There is a rather strong romantic element to this story, but in essence it is a crime mystery. The principal characters, constrained by their connection to a murder investigation, become involved in another, more esoteric investigation of their own.

Humanity is under attack from an enemy within. An enemy unable to be seen or confronted. Nemesis tells how in a battle with no rules, each individual must find their own answers, their own way in which to protect themselves and those they love. The book also invites the reader to reconsider the nature of life itself and whether our current definitions are really adequate.

Manchester Murder is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Sony, Apple, Smashwords, and other fine ebook retailers.