More Crazy Talk – Wavicles

August 12, 2009

So, we often say that light behaves  as both a particle and a wave, it’s a “wavicle”.  I think it’s great that we can have multiple theories about the same phenomenum which accurately predict outcomes.  However, when we have two explanations, I feel like it means we lack the basic understanding of what is really happening.  So I was trying to decide which I preferred (rather than come up with a third)… like a particle (little photon balls zooming around) or like a wave.

So, imagine a star a zillion light years away.  It’s really bright so it is spitting out gazillions of photons in all directions.  Let’s say they keep their size (itsy bitsy) and zoom along in roughly a straight line (affected by gravity, etc, as appropriate to their virtual mass).  Now here is my unaided eyeball on planet earth… well.  in space, but not exploding, but no atmospheric effects.  The only photons I see are the ones that head straight for my eyeball, which is like the super teensiest subtended angle.  But there were a gazillion to start with.. so how many are reaching my eye right now.  Is it so few that I could (with equipment) measure gaps in time during which none arrived?  Or is the original source sooo large that even with this much dilution it would still appear to be a non-ending soup?

Anyway, this makes me want to sort of rule out ‘particle’ as the transport medium of light (sorry, photons!)

I think I like wave better since with a wave nothing actually moves.  Nothing physical exactly.  When you drop a pebble in water, you create a ‘dimple’ in the surface.  Gravity wants the surface to be flat, so (by pulling surrounding water areas down) it fills the dimple.  But it overcorrects a little and gives you a bump where the dimple was.  Then it pulls the bump back down, overcorrects again, and gives you a dimple again, but a slightly more shallow one than before.  This oscillation continues, eventually dying out and leaving you again with a flat pond.  But in the process of doing this, you see a series of rings as the previous dimple propagates out from the original impact point. 

The water is not moving per se (yes, molecules of water are moving ‘up and down’ and a little in and out, but no molecules are moving along with the wave front.)  The wave front is just a fluctuating potential energy difference.  And because it oscillates ‘around zero’ it is not violating any conservation of energy rules (at least not for very long), and depending on the medium, the wave front can travel a great distance before it is damped back down to zero.

I should point out that my description is my own and should not be confused with the more accurate description you had better use for any test questions you need to answer.

Anyway, so I want the propagation of light to be similar.. something like a fluctuating potential energy.. travelling through some medium.  And that, for this purpose, I am willing to entertain the long abused notion of an “ether” which permeates all of what we call space.  Even in a ‘vacuum.’  What *is* this ether? I dunno, I just embrace its existence in the same way that water is the medium that lets water waves ripple out as circles on the top of the pond, this ether is what allows energy fluctuations to propagate as spherical wave fronts out from the point of emission of ‘a photon’.  So rather than emitting a photon particle, the light-emitting event ‘drops a pebble in the ether’ at that point.  It ‘cracks space’ a little, and space wants to fill it back in.  And instead of the dimple/bump metaphor on water, space wants to return to ‘even density’ (but not density of matter, density of ether-stuff, which is probably some form of energy.  I dunno.)

Now, the pond is only flat on top because of gravity, and in my model that gravity is very important (and probably the gravity and the nature of water establish the actual wave propagation velocity, which I claim does not change based on the size of the pebble, as it were).

So does my ether analogy require a gravity equivalent?  My ether has to be 4 dimensional, I guess, since the ether waves are spherical instead of the 2D pond ‘circles’ (at right angles to the gravity field).  So my ether gravity is somehow ‘one dimension higher’ than real gravity.  And it operates ‘at right angles’ to the ether itself (with the usual head scratcher of imagining 4D)

Anyway, so, with lots of hand-waving: There is an invisible ether, permeating all (or most) of space, independent of the matter we see.  light-emitting-events ‘crack’ this ether at a particular 3D point (in the 4D ether).  The ether itself tries to return to an even distribution to recover from the crack. (possibly because of some 4D gravity-like tension applied to the ether). That propagates an energy fluctuation we can visualize as the surface of a 3D sphere.  It’s speed of propagation is determined by the nature of the medium and the nature of the tension.  But in a vacuum it is the speed of light as we know it.  (and I guess the speed of light through glass, for example, is actually the speed of light through ether which is ‘riddled with glass matter’)  The matter forming some sort of ‘doping’ of the pure ether (much as impurities added to silicon matrices alter the energy transfer in those regions).

Nothing ‘travels across the universe’ except for this fluctuation, and when the fluctuation arrives at a part of the ether contaminated with an impurity (like my eyeball) some of that fluctuation couples with the matter (seriously dampening the fluctuation from that point forward on its original path.. and/or causing reflections like the pond wave bouncing off the banks of the pond), but energy removed can cause my eye to act like it just saw ‘light’.

And perhaps the ether varies a little across the universe.

So, crazy enough for you?  Go Ether!  Go Energy Fluctuation! Death to the photon!

Particle Post Script:

I feel I should add that I am not *completely* anti-particle.  Two personal experiences leave me with no other explanation than particles for some effects.  The first is the simple ‘cloud chamber’ where a bit of dry ice in water creates an environment where low level (alpha ray?) radiation leaves little smoke trails as bits come flying off.  Definitely not a propagating (spherical) wave front in the sense I meant above.  The other is from my summer jobs in High Energy Physics (Go, Brookhaven!) where cosmic rays would hit the spark chambers.  Definitely looks like a particle zipping along a more or less straight line.  Plus the output of the accelerator itself, of course.  I do not contest the existence of particles.  My crackpot Aether theories should provisionally be limited to “propagation of ‘light’ and ‘gravity'” to avoid confusion.  I’m not sure where that leaves “x-rays” for me, so we’ll just ignore them for a bit… and consider them perhaps not true members of the electromagnetic spectrum.

XRay Post Script

OK, well, since I mentioned it. You are placed between an xray source and a bit of unexposed film. Can crackpot ether theory explain a photo of your bones?

 ‘xray emission’ in that context is a series of ‘cracks in space time’ leading to spherical wave fronts coming out from the emitter, traveling through the ether, towards the film.  by the time the wavefront reaches the film, it is pretty high radius, enough to expose (to a very teensy amount) pretty much the entire sheet (with some cosine roll-off presumably). 

But as it travels through the bit of the ether which is saturated by your mass, the energy fluctuation does not propagate as efficiently (coupling some of the energy into your denser bits).  Leaving a ‘shadow in the wavefront’.  Sure.. the sphere is only perfect at the moment of the ‘crack’. 

Moving to the water example, if I have an expanding wave ripple on my pond, and I have a stick in the water (representing my dense bones), the ripple is damaged at that point (with some reflection/absorption from the stick). I claim what I would see is either ‘quiet water’ past the stick (think ‘pacman mouth’ instead of ‘full circle’) Or maybe I would magically still see a full circle, but the height of the wave front (past the stick) would be lower.  Or maybe even just a lot of noise introduced as the wave front tries to heal itself. (or even the shadow created by the out-of-phase reflected components).  In any case.. 

LESS energy is fluctuating along, and (back to the xray example) less of the film is affected (the part in ‘the shadow’) when the wave front passes through it.

So long as my body is ‘relatively close to the film’ I think this works as well as thinking of it as a zillion discrete particles that either make it to the film, or not, based on collisions with my dense bits (bones).  With sensitive enough film, you could probably detect this by using extremely brief exposures.  Does the film have “just a few spots” on it (particle) or “just a weak exposure over the full film area” (ether wave).  In this experiment you don’t even need my dense bits. 

But you do need to be able to limit the xray source to less than a few dozen ‘cracks’ (and have ‘film’ capable of measuring that small amount of exposure)).  And this doesn’t include properties specific to the ‘film’.  I suspect this is not measurable with current technology (convenient for me!)

Too Many Laws For Our Own Good…

November 26, 2007

…and too little enforcement of our few good laws.

This is going to be a long windy one, but it was inspired by “Illegal Immigration” debate, so we’ll pretend that is what it is about. 

To start with, I love the fact that I can pack my family into our car, drive across ten states, and start a new life elsewhere without much hassle.  Sure, I have to pay off my income tax in my old state, and start paying in my new one (and probably pay in both for awhile), and I won’t have full residency for ‘awhile’ but for the most part I have the ‘freedom’ to do this, and it’s something about the U.S.A. which is a good thing, and we should be proud of it.

So, if it’s a good thing inside the country, maybe it would be a good thing internationally as well.

So, one factor in the ‘correct solution’ to Immigration Issues, is to clean up our immigration laws so that nice people have a chance to make honest, legal, and fair decisions for themselves, without stepping on the toes of other nice people.  Note: this probably does not mean completely open Immigration per se, though I would hope it could evolve to that sometime in the future when, say, all of north and south america were happy friendly places with stable economies and legitimate democratic governments.  Which is sadly not the case today, not even here.

But does this ‘excuse’ entering illegally?  I don’t think so.  I don’t even know what our immigration laws *are*, let alone whether or not they are fair, racist, or even sensible.  But breaking them is just not the right way to start your stay in the country.  And it can’t be good to live as an outsider, fearing your neighbors will turn you in, staying subject to possible blackmail, being forced to work only for unscrupulous employers who are willing to (criminally) take advantage of you, merely because you are.. a criminal (in this one context, you surely are, no matter how sweet you are in all other ways).

The argument that “immigrants do the jobs which citizens don’t want to do” is also specious.  It may be true, but the way to solve THAT is to allow the USA to have a shortage of dishwashers (insert low-paying job available at criminal establishment here) and to realize that no current citizens are willing to do it, and then change immigration laws to allow dishwasher candidates to enter the country legally, establish residence, pay taxes, have access to healthcare, etc. 

The thought that there are MILLLLLLLLIONs of illegal aliens today, of whom MILLLLLLIONS have actually stolen social security information, clogged emergency clinics because they have no access to preventive health care, and created a hidden subculture which allows children born in the USA to not even have the opportunity to learn english (and, I’m sorry, cultural diversity is great, but I think a ‘nation’ works best when you also assimilate to its existing culture, which can then be augmented by your own, but you shouldn’t just hide in an enclave which forms some sort of illegal embassy, shielding you from integration/assimilation with your neighbors.) It is to your distinct advantage to learn the local language, and kinda mean-spirited to try to change the local language. I would like to think that if I immigrated somewhere (admittedly unlikely since apparently with all its faults, the USA is still the immigration destination of choice) that I would try to learn the local language, not insist that my native language be officially supported, but certainly be grateful when it was.

To wander a little more, consider the situation we see played out around the world where porous borders (or politically re-assigned borders) lead to a large community (say, kurds) who feel an affinity to their peers across the border, to a degree that ultimately warfare might break out between the two hosting countries.  I claim without proof that this happens a lot.

The USA history with Mexico is, I suspect, about as honorable as the USA history with native americans, and recent reading of the book “Brothers” has opened my eyes a bit more to fairly recent antics of the CIA which are not consistent with my idealized self image of my country.  So I don’t mean to imply there is a solid basis for either side having a strong moral underpinning.

I just think that the country I am a citizen of should be taking proper actions to help its neighbors achieve local economic stability and democratic rule of law, rather than just accepting an infinite number of undocumented workers and winking at each other.

Which brings me to democratic rule of law.  Democracy is broken because of the 51/49 reality. Our own elections show that we have managed to perfectly gerrymander our precincts such that we never have a definitive agreement in any election, and that roughly half of the voters do not have their needs met.  That’s not democracy in my book.

My naive concept of democracy is that a law should not be accepted unless it achieves the support of some signficant population of voters.. say.. 75%, 80%, 90%

I think the ‘good laws’ would get passed (no killing of people, please) and the stupid laws would not.  Perhaps we also need global anti-votes to prevent local votes for pork.  That is to say, if state X wants to vote for federal funding of a $10 billion bridge to nowhere, that residents of state X get 1 vote each, but residents of the other 49 states can lodge an ‘antivote’ of, I dunno,  0.05 or something. (If they want to use local funding, that’s a different deal)

And, of course, I would love to end representative government as a rule, if the internet somehow made it feasible to have direct participation.  Of course the masses (myself included) will continue to vote for their deluded self-interests, formed by local propaganda, so that’s a fundamental democratic problem which needs to be addressed as well… Something that forces people to, in some small way, act on behalf of the interests of all, in addition to their own selfish interests.

But perhaps that could be by ‘dynamically delegated proxy’ where I could assign my voting rights to anyone I wanted (well, anyone who offered to play the role of delegate) (and I could rescind my delegation during some time window, say, every 90 days, or whatever time period made sense to get a little stability in the system).  Anyway, so then I would declare myself (on my web page) as a potential proxy, and post my views (and later my voting record) and you could rummage through the available proxies and say “this one seems a lot like me, I will try them for awhile”

But failing that, when the time comes to elect a senator (for example), I would rather have a rule like “if none of the challengers can get 70% of the vote, then the existing guy gets to stay, unless he got a 70% anti-vote”  (ballots would be strange-looking, but rather than just voting for one guy, I would basically tick off “I want any of these three, in this order of preference, but none of the following”).  I suspect there is some math there which people could understand and which would do a better job of handling cases like “the democratic vote was split by Nader, so the republican won even though he had a minority vote count”  (or vice versa, of course).

Plus I am not particularly impressed with political parties, which like unions and organized religions, seem to exist primarily to consolidate power and boost their demographics at the direct peril of their competitors.

But I accept that the common citizen (myself included) is easily duped and persuaded to accept the quick fix with the biggest personal payoff.  So any political system needs to have ‘checks and balances’ to force some thought for the common good.  And it is completely conceivable that portions of the American Democracy actually work in that regard, even they it is not 100% effective today.  I am not a revolutionary… I am an evolutionary🙂

Which brings up another digression into: why do we allow organized crime to write our prohibition laws anyway?  Have we learned nothing from the past? Are we corrupt, or just frightened? (I know I am frightened to even say ‘organized crime’ on the web).  Or are we just ‘pragmatic’?

Yeah, wandering text.. Anyway, we all want what WE want, and we want it NOW, and we think it should be legal because we WANT it.  We want guiltless abortions, and mp3 downloads. We want to not feel like criminals just because we invaded another country without permission.  We feel the privations we suffer in domain A justify our less than honorable activities in domain B.  Proponents point to a selfless criminal who is caught only because they stopped to help someone in need.  Antagonists claim that the one criminal who carried in tuberculosis justifies branding all others as disease-ridden.  I claim these are different domains, and actions within domains need to be evaluated within the context of that domain.

But the current immigation laws, like the current prohibition laws, do not address the root causes of social problems, and do enable vast criminal empires which result in much worse social chaos than the original issue they were meant to resolve.  In the case of prohibition, I cynically (and without proof) suspect that organized crime managed to manipulate the government as needed to ensure a highly profitable product, which then needs to be defended by some serious firepower and human suffering.  I’m not quite so sure who is behind immigration law snafus (businesses seeking low paid labor which can be easily taken advantage of?)

And I know this sounds stupid, but get the laws changed, don’t break them.  And don’t get them changed simply *by* breaking them and wearing down the resistance.  And don’t cave in with partial legalizations, like issuing drivers licenses to illegal aliens — how on earth does that make any sense at all?  Evaluate what you wish YOUR country were like, and establish a set of laws which truly make it that way. 

And that includes making sure your country isn’t a jerk overseas.

GlaxoSmithKline Sux

July 14, 2007

I swear, this is the evil drug company that Harrison Ford was trying to warn us about in the movie “The Fugitive”

For legal reasons, I don’t really think they are evil and I do not wish anyone to consider the above to be libelous.

However, since I am now partially blind because they brought a product to market (“Avandia”) even though clinical testing showed its propensity to cause blindness.. well.. if I were a suing sort of person, I now have someone worth suing.

I am also disappointed with my doctor, since these warnings were available on line (as are the class action suits regarding the product).

And I am disappointed in myself for trusting my doctor instead of researching the drug myself before blithely taking it.  My doctor also rapidly increased the dosage, since it didn’t appear to actually work for the job at hand, either.

Anyway, if YOU are taking “Avandia” or “AvandiMet”, check with your doctor if perhaps you should stop.  Especially if you are having inexplicable ‘blind spots’ and unusual foot swelling.  Avandia makes your body retain fluids in odd areas, leading to edemas all over the place, causing pain, blindness and, apparently, heart attacks.

I can only personally attest to pain and blindness (thank god).  After I stopped taking it, it took several months before new blind spots stopped appearing.  Luckily none of them were directly in the center of my vision, so I am not blind-blind.  But your eyes are something you want to work super well, so drugs that diminish it in any amount.. are bad.  Shame on you for releasing such a product and prescribing it to me.

The Sun God

July 14, 2007

If you read in a science fiction story about a planet where its sun was so destructive that if the animals or people on that planet looked at it, they would go blind.. well, you would probably think: “What a scary place to live… How frightening it must be to constantly avert your gaze to protect yourself!”

And yet that is where you live, and you probably don’t think like that very often, and neither does your cat, your dog, or probably even that mosquito zipping around.

That’s a pretty neat trick!

Our sun basically is THE force which allows us to live (we will give it credit for providing oxygen as well, indirectly, through photosynthesis, but more about plants later).  It is also the force which dooms us. 

Which I think means if you were of a mind to believe in a Nature God, then the Sun would be a pretty strong candidate.  You definitely would rather not piss the sun off, if that turned out to be possible.  We know it’s going to destroy the planet completely in five billion years or so, but like a sputtering candle that occasionally gutters (ice ages) and flares (global warming), you just know it’s going to zap us with a sterilizing blast of radiation much sooner than that.  With luck it will only sterilize the half of the planet facing the sun at that time, (the other side, we all hope.. bringing new meaning to “God is (not) on our side.”

Anyway, the reason animals on our planet do not go blind is because we have learned to feel pain when looking at the sun, and to take action to minimize the feeling of pain.  In the case of the eyeball, it shrinks the iris sphincter and closes the eyelids.

Now here is my crackpot theory that links humans and plants (I mean our evolutionary shared heritage with plants).  Imagine your body as a collection of ‘organs’ and each organ has roots (its sensory and motor nerves) which grow down into the fertile loam of your brain.  In fact, the brain is the intermingling of the ‘roots’ of all your organs.  And neurons are formed at the intersections.  Now some organs are like an ear of corn (did you know that the ‘tassle’ on an ear of corn is a set of filaments where each one connects to a single kernel of corn.  and only when an individual tassle is pollenated does its kernel.. um.. ‘pop’ (if you open a corn husk, you can see the unfertilzed kernels)).  Anyway, the eyeball is largely like that (with the individual photoreceptor rods and cones having their own ‘tassle’ filaments)  Other organs are simpler in their root system.

Anyway, it is this intermingling of the roots which allows something like the massive firing of all the eye ‘tassles’ (when looking directly at the bright sun) to cause an ‘out’ signal on the motor nerves to the eyelids (which are part of a completely separate organ, but whose roots mingle with the eye roots).

In this way, all your organs are constantly ‘voting’ on what you should do, with some wirings operating at a higher priority level than others.  This is why, even though you are a sentient creature and fully aware of the concept of balance between calorie intake and exercise burning those calories, you can still catch your hands in the act of shoving food in your face that you specifically cautioned yourself against only a minute ago.  But you were distracted and the roots won.

This is also how babies are made, more or less.

By which I mean this is how cell specialization works.  We start off as a single fertilized cell (let’s call it a stem cell) which subdivides a few zillion times until al of a sudden we are a bunch of different kinds of specialty cells.

Here is the non-magical explanation for how that works (warning, I am going to say ‘poop’ a lot below.  I hope it is not a word which your find automatically offensive.  I really just mean “inoffensive chemical collection of a specific nature”:

A cell is a little engine which eats things, and poops things.  The things it eats, come from the outside through a filtering membrane which is letting in certain kinds of things.  The things it poops go out.  Two cells which are physically adjacent (and let’s start with them being in the womb) are connected by a sticky ‘goo’ which transports materials from mom, as well as the poop from one cell into contact with nearby cells.

I claim each cell starts off with its dna strand and starts to read it left to right (ok, some magical hand waving there, bear with me) and the first instruction it sees is “be a X cell” and so it follows the rules for being an X cell, eating what an X cell eats, and pooping what an X cell poops.  However, if there is already too much X poop in the area, then that influences the reading of the dna to skip that bit and the cell tries to be a Y cell instead.

Hence it is the chemical surroundings a cell is ‘born into’ which control what sort of cell it will be.  The early cell types are very vague “be a human” while later we get more specific (‘liver’).  There is no central control panel issuing directives to the cells like a construction crew boss, there is just each little cell, thinking only in terms of maximizing its own fun, competing with other cells to be the first to poop the best poop.  The goo stickiness is important both in holding cells ‘in place’ and in conveying poop ‘just the right distance’ (if all poop were able to migrate with an even distribution throughout the cell mass, the system wouldn’t work.)

The stickiness of the goo is also what allows us to have twins (some cells split off early due to non-sticky goo, soon enough that the goo poop was still allowing highly general ‘be a person’ cells, so you get two whole creatures (though they have lost some number of maximum cell generations maybe… if that is strongly counted) instead of an upper half and a lower half creature.

Goo also can result in extra fingers, arms and other birth defects by getting a bubble in the goo which separates one arm bud from its natural neighbors, and you get ‘partial twins’

If one were clever, one could probably do this on purpose in a petry dish to make all sorts of interesting birth defects.  Which would be sick, and I mention it here only for scientific purposes (science being allowed to at least speak aloud the atrocities which religion cannot).

OK, I admit that was a sort of weak way of pulling it back to religion at the end. I blame my roots.

It’s not your fault, but it *is* your problem

May 25, 2007

Dealing with change is difficult.  I think it may be more difficult for the haves than the have-nots (even though really the haves are better prepared to deal with change in general), but that’s a different post.

This post is about global warming, basically, but not really.  It is really about my recent insight into the Volcano God.  We, as humans, seem to have a natural tendency to believe everything is our fault.  When mommy and daddy argue/get divorced, we feel it was our fault.  More primitive societies felt the various gods of the earth were angry with them when they experienced a volcanic eruption, an earthquake, a drought, etc.

The equally natural human response is to attempt to appease the power you have offended (or destroy it, if you feel it is within your means to do so).  You throw a virgin into the volcano, you sacrifice a goat, you dance a special dance.

Add to that our willingness to accept statistically unsupported correlations (hey, there have been no quakes since we sacrified that goat!) and a short attention span (oh, a new quake, time for a new sacrifice since that worked last time) — as opposed to accepting that the sacrifice didn’t work at all.

Oh, and don’t forget the times we actually get it right (eating the moldy bread really DID make the illness go away).

Anyway, blend the above and you get Homo Sapiens of the 21st century who are easily convinced it is their fault there is an ozone hole or global warming, and that it is their actions which are needed to solve it (let’s dump huge amounts of iron into the sea to cause algae blooms to sop up some CO2… no way can THAT have any adverse reactions.)

By the way, have you READ the warnings on the Celebrex package?  Basically it’s “Given the high probability this drug will kill you, SOME doctors feel that for CERTAIN patients, the rewards may actually outweigh the risks!” (on TV, this is read aloud breathlessly as if it is exciting good news, while beautiful calming images play in the background).  I dunno.. if that’s the most positive marketing message I am legally allowed to make for my product… would I continue to sell the product?

Anyway, I just wanted to say we’re all too easily convinced large problems are entirely our fault and that there is something weird we should do about them (it’s your hairspray!  The Ozone gods are offended!).  When it seems quite possible that large changes happen completely outside our control and we really need to be thinking more about dealing with it.  Doing some of that adapting that we’re famous for.  This would, for example, be a terrific time to secure a water supply for our future… which, in addition to hoarding our rain, probably means looking at that big ol’ ocean and figuring out how we might drink it.

 Now, again, I don’t want to be interpreted as saying we have no responsibility for the CO2 we emit as a species, nor whether it is on net a good thing or a bad thing (at what point are we staving off an ice age? What’s worse anyway, inundated coastlines or a mile of ice on Chicago?), though I suspect it is a bad thing.  I am just impressed by our willingness to accept blame and pray at the temple of priests willing to lay that blame upon us, and take our tithes in response.

Now, speaking of that terrific graph in “An Inconvenient Truth” — of inferred atmospheric CO2 over the ages and the sudden exponential rise during recent times.  I have to comment on the (mentioned, but dismissed) fact the graph mixed CO2 samples from multiple sources.  For most of the graph it was ice core data, and showed a ‘natural cycle’ over the last 600K years (I don’t think the movie made an attempt to explain those cycles), then at the end they added actual atmosphere samples. 

I think there might have been some apples and oranges in that mix.  For example, we don’t exactly know what the relationship is between actual CO2 in air, and what gets trapped (and held) in an ice core for zillions of years.  Perhaps the Atmospheric measurement is always much higher than what gets trapped in the ice.  Perhaps the top layers of ice can’t hold the signal effectively since they are still weakly coupled with the atmosphere.  What caused the prior sudden onsets? I dunno.  Anyway, it seemed suspicious to mix the data, as if the ice data alone didn’t support the thesis.  But it does making a chillingly powerful chart.

If you look at the shape of the ancient CO2 pulses, do they look sinusoidal, implying a pattern we have no control over (such as long term energy fluctuations in the sun, or the passage of our solar system around the galaxy) or do they look organic (which I would think would be exponential growth followed by malthusian collapse).  I think they looked more sinusoidal, but I haven’t seen the chart since thinking that, so I don’t really remember.

OK, just looked at it again and… dunno.  Actually looks more like sudden onset followed by decay.  That and we were already on a steep rising slope before the human-generated CO2 hits the scene, so change looks like it is well on the way. 

Anyway, it’s our problem to deal with/react to, no matter what triggered it.

Cigar-Shaped UFOs

October 25, 2006

Pardon me if I already documented this elsewhere.  And before I begin let me state my own personal UFO religious affiliations.  I believe the universe is big enough to have other life out there than can use radio, lasers, and space ships.  Whether they have visited us in the last hundred years is, sadly, doubtful.  I can’t imagine it would be inexpensive for them to do so, so if they did, they would likely have a purpose in mind.  And I doubt they have a Prime Directive of non-interference (in the Star Trek sense), so I am pretty sure their presence would be obvious, and whether they meant to or not, their arrival would probably be disastrous for us (in the way that Europeans visiting Polynesia brought a de-stabilizing force, Or to America to displace the Native Americans, who presumably displaced the Neanderthals before them, etc.)

But hey, maybe.  But as to their being wildly smarter than us.. My feeling about an Alien Race that was so smart it could cure cancer, and yet refused to do so, is similar to my feelings about a God who would threaten you with eternal damnation for believing in some other god.  My vision of God is of a friendly force who just wants us to play nice with each other, and is not particularly concerned about how many friends he has on his MySpace page.  I expect that of my aliens, as well.  Unless they are just here to eat us, in which case I just remind them that we taste like chicken, and that chickens don’t know how to use radio, lasers, or SpaceShips, so they are a better choice for attack.  Hmm, wait a minute, cow mutilations… Are they just taking the Porterhouses?

OK, back to my story.  If I were a self-respecting alien, why oh why would I make my flying saucer “cigar-shaped”?  Giving them the benefit of the doubt and assuming their different biology would excuse the phallic references, it is just a silly unromantic shape for a flying saucer and I refuse to believe any UFO reports that include that reference.

Except that I saw some.

It was a long time ago now (which is why I am sure I told this story on line very recently and I apologize for bringing it up again).  I was in the back yard trying to appreciate what was supposed to be a really good meteor storm.  But I live in a light-polluted area and there was a bit of a foggy mist, so I could only see the very very brightest of them (one of which was actually pretty cool.  Actually had a greenish tint and I felt I could see some tumbling/spinning and maybe even heard a bit of a sound from it.  Not so cool if it had subsequently smashed into my house, of course, but enough to make me happy to have stood out in the cold for hours.

Anyway, sometime during this experience, I suddenly saw a fleet of metallic, cigar-shaped, glowing, UFOs flying in formation high above my house. It was just like in all the UFO reports and it left me dumbfounded.  Here was something I could not logically believe was happening, and yet it was.  It lasted less than a minute as some number of them zoomed overhead and then they were gone. It was amazing, and I hope everyone gets a chance to experience the sense of awe and amazement (did I mention it was amazing?) I did that night.

But in my heart I knew it couldn’t have really been UFOs and eventually I realized what it really was — Birds.

It was just a flock (formation) of birds doing their normal birdy acrobatic stuff as they moved towards their birdy destination.  I claim they were birds with whitish underbellies but dark wings, flying not as high up as it looked (hence they looked like much larger objects), illuminated from below (neighbor’s yard lights) and seen through a light mist (further obscuring any sense of their wings and making their illuminated bodies appear to ‘glow’ as opposed to just reflect light.

I’m pretty sure that’s what it really was, and not that I am just seeking an explanation. But my point is that even though I am fairly good at telling what a bird is normally, that at the time of the event they did NOT appear to be birds.  The illusion of their altitude and size made them non-birds, as did the glow and the lack of visible flapping wings.  But their actual behaviour was very bird-like and I appreciated that at the time.  Anyway, at the time of the event the whole thing just felt completely inexplicable.  It was… awesome.

Anyway, I generalize from that to claim that ALL cigar-shaped UFO sightings are actually birds.  (mixed with people’s odd ideas as to what shape a cigar is.  I think of a cigar as being cylindrical, but I accept lots of people consider them ovals.  Which I guess is more accurate than a cylinder, but it would be a very FAT cigar in this case.  But definitely not saucer-shaped.)

Cathode Ray Tubes – Asbestos of My Generation

June 27, 2006

So, asbestos started out as a good thing, made buildings less likely to explode into flames.  It was only later that we realized it was killing the people who were breathing it.

I declare that sitting in front of a CRT for 35+ years has exposed my face to countless attacks by high energy particles. And probably a million people just like me, and we’ll probably all end up with cataracts to boot.

But our economy until fairly recently has been completely dependent on CRTs, so it was not in our interest to be told they actually could hurt us.  Sure, on occasion they tell us that the low frequency (60 hertz) radiation can be damaging, but that’s just a plausible deniability coverup. “Well, we had SOME idea something was wrong” when they only warned us about something none of us felt particularly afraid of.

But if they had said “Oh, you’re staring into an xray machine with a little bit of glass that filters out almost all of it!” I think we would have shown more alarm.

Anyway, now that we are all converting to Liquid Crystal (just got my first official 20″” CRT replacement from DELL and it’s totally fab!) it is almost time for the truth to get out, and the lawsuits to begin.

OK, this conspiracy theory is not one of my favorites, because I suspect it might actually be true, and I am not looking forward to going blind.

The Truth Behind Fluoridation

June 27, 2006

Might as well toss out one of my many conspiracy theories.  This one is about state-sponsored fluoridation of the public water supply that was all the rage in the 50s and 60s.

First my base justification of the conspiracy factor.  Think of how natural this sounds: A republican semi-wartime government that adds fluoride to the water so as to improve the dental health of the citizens.

That just doesn’t sound plausible to me.  If our government were all that worried for us, why not universal health care or at least some inducement to have us eat more vegetables.

So, then, after 9/11 when they started getting us to worry about a ‘dirty bomb’ attack, they mentioned that they had stationed large supplies of special pills all over the country.  I choose to believe these pills contained fluoride because it has some magical property that causes radioactive things in the body to get ‘leeched out’ by sufficient amounts of fluoride in the blood.

So, the REAL reason for the fluoridated water back then was because of all the above ground bomb testing and groundwater contaminated from enrichment activities!

Well, so at this point, some of you might want to point out that the pills in question are actually iodine, not fluorine, and thus my whole conspiracy theory is undercut by being based on one colossally incorrect fact.

Well, that’s the whole CHARM of a conspiracy theory! It has to have one or more blatant points of ignorance within it.

Another factoid is that some government construction project in the area was quoting an extra billion dollars (I exaggerate) as part of a water distribution pipeline, in order to pay for filters to remove *naturally occurring* fluoride.  So maybe THAT’s the conspiracy theory.. Someone wanted to get paid to add fluoride that was already there!

Well, one way or another, you KNOW there was a conspiracy!

Is this thing on?

April 20, 2006

testing… testing… 1..2…3… 


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