Thursday, November 29, 2012

String Theory Features

String Theory by J P Talma
Uh-oh, here we go again. I did a Google search on String Theory and found so many articles and pictures that it was overwhelming. I found the following string theory "cheat sheet" on the site and wanted to add it to the collection of articles here in an attempt to shed more light on a difficult subject.

Hope you enjoy and learn something or at least it made you stop and ponder for a moment (probably about what a grown man is doing wasting his time on such pursuits!).

String Theory Features

String theory is a work in progress, so trying to pin down exactly what the science is, or what its fundamental elements are, can be kind of tricky. The key string theory features include:

  • All objects in our universe are composed of vibrating filaments (strings) and membranes (branes) of energy.
  • String theory attempts to reconcile general relativity (gravity) with quantum physics. [ed. This means somebody else has done the math for us. Thank you.]
  • A new connection (called supersymmetry) exists between two fundamentally different types of particles, bosons and fermions. [ed. Deeper still into the rabbit hole.]
  • Several extra (usually unobservable) dimensions to the universe must exist. [ed. If that is indeed what the math suggests, then someday we will work it even further and it will tell us what those dimensions are like and perhaps how we may access them in order to store information.]
There are also other possible string theory features, depending on what theories prove to have merit in the future. Possibilities include:

  • A landscape of string theory solutions, allowing for possible parallel universes.
  • The holographic principle, which states how information in a space can relate to information on the surface of that space. [ed. This is the dream within a dream scenario. Very interesting.]
  • The anthropic principle, which states that scientists can use the fact that humanity exists as an explanation for certain physical properties of our universe. [ed. I extend this by suggesting consciousness works to create the universe, or at least, an aspect of it.]
  • Our universe could be “stuck” on a brane, allowing for new interpretations of string theory.
  • Other principles or features are waiting to be discovered.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Another useless, time-consuming diversion.
I share it with you so that we may become closer.

Carbon Tax

Whether you like it or not, it sure looks like a carbon tax is in our future. You've probably heard of it and you may even know what it is. On the surface, so its proponents say, it is a justifiable tax that is designed to reduce man-made carbon emissions by taxing the number of "carbon units" required to do/build/make/process just about anything you can imagine.

Here's the argument: Presently, when a purchased product relies on carbon-based materials or manufacturing processes, the price does not represent the cost incurred by the environment. For example, iron ore used to make steel could be sourced from the highest polluting mine in the world. Electricity used to power a manufacturing plant could be provided by the dirtiest coal mine in the world, and trucks used to transport the product to its final destination could run on the dirtiest fuels in the world, and it would make no difference to the price. With a price tag attached to measured carbon emissions, the equation would change. The amount of carbon pollution involved in producing a product would be factored into the final price. Products produced through dirty processes will then become more expensive, making it possible for other products produced through cleaner processes to compete on price.

President Obama has voiced support of the carbon tax here in the US and has added that it could go to paying the national debt. Could do this or could do that from the mouth of a politician amounts to big money in the coffers of big government. Anyway, the tax could also morph into a suggested UN global tax or it could even be extended to individuals via sales tax. Actually, it already has. Do you know what your "carbon footprint" is?

Sunday, November 25, 2012

How long can you comfortably hold your breath? Go here to find out. I made it 60+ seconds without squirming. Do it twice and you'll get dizzy.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Are You Sure About That?

Before you judge others or claim any absolute truth, consider that you can see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum. As you read this, you are traveling at 220 kilometers per second across the galaxy. 90% of the cells in your body carry their own microbial DNA and are not "you". The atoms in your body are 99.9999999999999999% empty space and none of them are the ones you were born with, but they all originated in the belly of a star. Human beings have 46 chromosomes, 2 less than the common potato. The existence of the rainbow depends on the conical photo-receptors in your eyes; to animals without cones, the rainbow does not exist. So you don't just look at a rainbow, you create it. This is pretty amazing, especially considering that all the beautiful colors you see represent less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Care to discuss anything above? Please see flowchart below for discussion guidelines (click to enlarge):

An Infinite Universe?

Andromeda Galaxy
Does the Universe have an edge, beyond which there is nothing?

Galaxies extend as far as we can detect... with no sign of diminishing. There is no evidence that the universe has an edge. The part of the universe we can observe from Earth is filled more or less uniformly with galaxies extending in every direction as far as we can see - more than 10 billion light-years, or about 6 billion trillion miles. We know that the galaxies must extend much further than we can see, but we do not know whether the universe is infinite or not. When astronomers sometimes refer (carelessly!) to galaxies "near the edge of the universe," they are referring only to the edge of the OBSERVABLE universe - i.e., the part we can see.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


The self-absorbed, self-referential me-addict, one of those placid, unconscious egotists so involved in their own concerns that they're blind to any other points of view. In philosophy, solipsism is a theory that the self is the only existent thing or the only knowable thing. But more loosely, solipsists are the not uncommon individuals who place themselves at dead center of the universe, who do not necessarily feel superior but are always self-centered or impenetrably oblivious. For the egotist, the admiration of others is important. For the solipsist, the world is just an extension of the self. Just think of Inspector Clouseau.

fm Dimboxes, Epopts, and Other Quidams, Words to Describe Life's Indescribable People, by David Grambs

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The CSS Alabama and Captain Semmes

CSS Alabama depicted off the coast of South Africa.

The CSS Alabama was a Confederate Civil War steam frigate commanded by Rafael Semmes, an extraordinary man of high courage, ability, and virtue.

Captain Semmes foreground, XO John Kell background.
Over a 22 month period, from 1862 to 1864, the Alabama cruised the whaling grounds around the Azores, the shipping lanes along the eastern seaboard of the U.S., the Caribbean, the Brazilian coast, South Africa, the Indian Ocean, South China Sea, and the Bay of Bengal. Along the way, The Alabama captured 447 vessels, 65 Union merchant vessels, and was credited for sinking the USS Hatteras, a formidable Union warship. The CSS Alabama was at sea for 534 of the 657 days of her life. During that time, Semmes and his crew took 2,000 prisoners with no loss of life. Until the final battle with the USS Kearsage, Semmes lost not one man to accident or disease aboard the ship.

Admiral Raphael Semmes
Furthermore, the actions of the CSS Alabama were severely crippling to the Union economy. So much, in fact, that the Kearsage was specifically dispatched to seek out and engage the Alabama.

After the war, Semmes was briefly held as a prisoner on charges of treason (against the Union), but was released on April 7, 1866. Semmes worked as a professor of philosophy and literature at Louisiana State Seminary (now Louisiana State University). He also worked as a judge and a newspaper editor. In later years, Semmes returned to Mobile and resumed his legal career.

Semmes defended himself as well as the political actions of the Southern side of the American Civil War in his 1869 Memoirs of Service Afloat During The War Between the States. The book was/is viewed as one of the most cogent defenses of the actions of southerners and the formation of the Confederate States of America. Semmes' ideas are as relevant today as they were in the nineteenth century. The only American soldier to hold the rank of Admiral and General simultaneously, Raphael Semmes died in 1877 and was interred in Mobile's Old Catholic Cemetery.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

It can't happen here! A hundred years in the future, American society is split by gender and controlled by women who have enslaved their male counterparts except for those few who have fled to the wilderness. Men are losing ground in the ensuing guerrilla war but who's to say what can happen when soldiers from opposite sides meet and fall in love.

The Gender Wars takes you into an alternate future where progressiveness and political correctness have run amok.

Purchase at Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Sony, Apple, or your favorite online retailer.

We are on watch so that you may rest easy.
United States Navy -- United States Armed Forces

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Great American Psychopath Survey

Are you a psychopath? Are you sure? Go here for a pre-screening exam. According to their analysis and despite what others might say, I was found to be lacking in psychopathy. If you volunteer, it requires a commitment to fill out the questionaire. More info before jumping in? Go here.

Transparent Alumina

Transparent alumina is three times stronger than steel and transparent. The number of applications for this are huge. Imagine an entire skyscraper or arcology made largely of transparent steel. The skylines of the future could look more like a series of floating black dots (opaque private rooms) rather than the monoliths of today. A huge space station made of transparent alumina could cruise in low Earth orbit without being a creepy black dot when it passes overhead. And hey… transparent swords!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

String Theory

I caught a recording of Brian Greene on David Letterman and was reminded of his belief in String Theory, the physics theory thought to unify all other physics theories, giving us what is sometimes called “the theory of everything.” String theory unifies Einstein’s Theory of Relativity with quantum physics and gives an explanation for the Big Bang.

String theory says that at the tiniest, subatomic level, elements that comprise atoms behave like vibrating strings. It is further theorized that all strings are basically the same – the thing that makes them different is the frequency of their vibrations. With that said, there are theorized to be two types, but more on that below.

String theory accounts for all four known (energy) forces in one theory. For those in the back of the class, the four fundamental forces are gravity, the strong and weak nuclear forces, and electromagnetism.

For string theory to work mathematically, it requires a number of extra dimensions. Scientists found that adding an eleventh dimension suited the mathematical model. The eleventh dimension of string theory predicts a different kind of string, stretched infinitely long to create what is termed a floating membrane, or brane, for short. According to the theory, infinite branes exist and each supports a separate but parallel universe.

The Standard Model of physics had united three of the known forces (strong and weak nuclear forces, and the electromagnetic world), but at that time, no theory successfully incorporated gravity into the picture. Interestingly enough, string theory predicts that gravity may be a weak force because it is leaking here from a parallel universe. Impossible, say what??? Indeed.

A closed string.
Strings may be open or closed. Open-ended strings have one endpoint attached to the brane on which it resides, which works to keep matter contained within that brane. Matter as we know it is believed to be made from open-ended strings. So, we can’t interact with other dimensions. However, close-ended strings can. They are like tiny rings, unattached to their brane, and able to “leak” away.

Gravity works via massless, hypothetical particles we call gravitons. If gravitons were made from close-ended strings, gravity might be leaking off our brane. Unfortunately, the math didn’t work out, but, oddly, the opposite hypothetical did work. According to string theory, gravity appears to be leaking into our brane from a parallel universe. The theory is mathematically sound.

String theory also gives an explanation for the Big Bang, saying that a collision of sorts, or an unknown interaction between two branes could have caused the creation event.

So far, string theory is not proveable. We can’t test other dimensions, we can’t study leaking gravitons, or peek between the curtains of floating branes to witness a Big Bang event (except perhaps, through mathematical modeling). Still, it fits the pieces together so well, it is tempting to accept the notion as the missing piece in a grand unified field theory of physics, or, as we like to call it, the theory of everything.

No Wonder Obama Won!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day in the U.S.

2008 Election Results
For those of you who didn't get to the early polls, it's voting day in the U.S. and the pundits are red-faced and hoarse. I'm sure many people are saying they'll be glad when it's over, no matter who wins. It is a crazy time. The public is polarized, Democrats hate Republicans and vice versa and we've been hearing for weeks how minorities are planning on rioting if their man loses. We, the public, have also been desensitized to the notion that there will be massive voter fraud this time around. I fully expect to see all kinds of calculated voter crime, even perhaps, a long stall on the winner announcement. Let's hope that's as bad as it gets.

I listened to both sides and, of course, I have my bias towards a vote for freedom -- not civil rights (that's a different thing altogether). Additionally, I belong to a marginalized group here in the U.S. and so I vote with my identified peers.

From what I can gather, there is no deficit of stupidity in our land. We have finally achieved the dumbing-down strategy of American education. Everybody (except the marginalized, of course) is equal under the law. But wait! Democrats say we haven't reached equality yet. There is still a need to continue the distribution of wealth so  the haves will know what it feels like to have not.

I know if I don't finish off this article in a positive light, I'll be chastised by my readers. So, with that in mind, I'd like to give the following advice to anyone concerned about the election results. If you can swing it, move. Move out of the states, maybe find an island somewhere. Okay readers, chastise away.