Showing posts with label science. Show all posts
Showing posts with label science. Show all posts

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Science is Cool


Science is cool, as demonstrated in this recent article about diamonds raining down from the sky. I think that in the U.S., more needs to be spoken about science, and scientists should be on T.V. giving their educated opinions. We need to hear a lot less from the politicians and their hangers-on, because those types don't know anything, whether it be the economy, the climate, or even military endeavors. To know nothing, and to think one is wise, is dangerous. What we don't need is FOX TV. Instead, we need FACT TV. What is really going on in the world, and why? What are the reasons for it? A really good scientist is a cautious one, reluctant to draw conclusions based upon limited data, and always considering myriad possibilities, so long as they remain possible and supported by evidence.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Skull Sweat


If something is not thought through ten times ten times, then it is not right.

Not just sometimes, but all the time.

This is the law of Creation and cannot be repealed.

The only reason we have electricity is men burning the midnight oil with sweat pouring down their forehead worrying the details through to completion.

Genius is ninety-nine per cent perspiration and only one per cent inspiration.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Russia Not Cooperating with SETI


Russia isn't cooperating with SETI. Instead of informing the world community about findings, the scientists over in Russia inform the dictator first, then after a year or so, if the information is not deemed useful or conclusive by the Kremlin, they inform the rest of the world. Typical.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

New Horizons Mission

I read this article today about NASA's mission to Pluto. !*&^$%#!&#^$, that is the sort of thing I should be reading instead of the stupid newsless "news". I think I'll add this to my lineup.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Quantum Physics

I wonder how many people can follow quantum mechanics. It's traditional, old-school science I like and understand, that is, the science prior to 1920. After Einstein, everything got weird. In school, I was taught primarily Newtonian physics, which handicapped my understanding of the Universe, but that remains at heart my understanding of things. When I read, for instance in the biography of Richard Feynman, that electrons can travel backward and forward in time, just as they travel backward and forward through space, it does not compute, and I do not understand the math either, nor even the high-level explanations or the "easy" analogies offered. I don't understand what is meant by the idea that time has no meaning or does not exist or is strange in a way that I cannot directly observe. To me, time is real. I observe things change, and they do not revert to what they were, either. Perhaps my limitations are biological in nature, and I'm not meant to divine such mysteries. To me, quantum physics reads like magic, and the physicists, like Feynman, are sorcerors that can tap into dangerous, double-edged supernatural forces.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Milk Does a Body No Good

Turns out milk is bilk. The government recommended milk for generations just to bilk consumers out of their money. The government provides a lot of things, but objective truth isn't one of them. Look no further than the government's policy on marijuana to confirm that our laws are based upon lies. One goes to jail for longer for marijuana than for murdering someone. People get off scot-free if they kill, like O.J. Simpson did, but if they get caught with enough weed, they can go to the slammer for life. Really many of our laws were crafted with a narrow agenda, simply to boost one product or another and eliminate or reduce competition from another product. This is because politicians sell their hearts and minds to the highest bidder with no regard to what might be good for the country.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Neanderthal Art

The BBC has a good article on Neanderthal art. "Naughts and crosses" is British for "tic-tac-toe." I think the Neanderthals were merely marking the cave or creating a map of some kind. Calling a little grid-like symbol art may be a stretch.

Incidentally, the BBC really has good articles from time to time. Too many American newspaper and TV web sites are just an intellectual wasteland with only the bare minimum in detail, readable in two minutes or less. For really good reporting, I turn to government-operated media, such as PBS and the BBC. Capitalism doesn't work where journalism is concerned. Sooner or later an editor takes charge with the bright idea to promote sex & crime & celebrity gossip rather than do any real journalism. Sales go up, costs go down. That's where capitalism takes journalism.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Marijuana Brain Abnormalities

The only "brain abnormalities" are found in the marijuana-less minds of the media. The U.S. media does not understand basic science reporting. The newspapers and television stations have sold their souls to the alcohol companies, and the alcohol companies are scared to death that Americans will wake up to the fact that weed is better for you than booze. They stand to lose billion$ and will lose billion$ when the country wakes up from its infatuation with fungi feces.

Articles that portray cannabis in an objective and scientific light may be found at NORML.

Weed costs next to nothing to produce, is non-toxic and non-addictive, is self-renewable, removes carbon from the air, produces many useful products besides marijuana, and has a pharmaceutical history spanning thousands of years, which is why we know for a fact that weed is safer than aspirin.

Alcohol is the toxic waste product of microorganisms feeding upon death and decay, the bringer of madness and ill health. Weed is better than alcohol by any measure one could imagine. The living plant harnesses energy from the Sun to produce a substance that makes humans feel high. What weed does not do includes the whole list of negative attributes that belong to alcohol. It does not cause addiction, it does not cause insanity, it does not make the non-violent violent, and it does not harm its user.

There was never, at any time, a rational motive for making marijuana illegal. A return to sanity would be marked first of all by the legalization of marijuana for all purposes. However, human society is known for many irrational acts, such as war, crime, self-harm and collective self-harm, including pollution of the environment. The laws against marijuana seem almost insignificant by comparison to the many other signs of craziness. What is needed is a saner and more rational world that learns to love understanding and wisdom and reject lies and corruption.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Neanderthals

My father and I are both interested in Neanderthals. Unlike me, my father takes a negative attitude against them. He believes primitive behavior in human beings derives from our shared Neanderthal ancestry. I don't think his attitudes ever evolved from the "caveman" stereotype common on television from the 1950s and on. I think we should keep an open mind about Neanderthals and not be guilty of retrospective racism. After all, none of us has ever met a Neanderthal in person nor spoken with him.

I wonder whether it is true that Neanderthal ancestry is mostly present in non-African people. Apparently, those with red hair and pale skin are more Neanderthal than others. I read an interesting article about Neanderthal research today.

Besides invisibility, one my great wishes would be to travel backward in time and just be a spirit hovering about, at different times, in the homes of every one of my ancestors. I would like to observe their lives even from a distance, even if I were not permitted to intervene in any way. I think that would be a fun and revelatory way to spend the afterlife. Yet surely, for any observer of real events, there would be at some point a temptation to intervene in some way, wouldn't there? One would desire most of all the power to communicate. Modern science allows us a dim, out-of-focus window into the lives of our distant ancestors, but much remains obscure, and there will never be a way to communicate with our ancestors unless the final great mystery, time travel, is unravelled.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Is the Supernatural Natural?

I am most tempted to speculate upon the supernatural, that is, magic and ESP and telepathy and gods, when I listen to astrophysicists talk about string theory, time, the multiverse, what happened before the Big Bang, and wormholes. Then I wonder whether all of the tales we have heard are false, or if some of them have a basis in something that is just now only dimly understood.

Lately, when I close my eyes at night, I think back to the prophesy I heard a long time ago that seems to have come true in many respects. It was not a good prophesy on the whole. I wish I had not heard it. I remember asking whether it were possible to defy fate, and the answer I received was in the negative. There is something irresponsible, I think, in a seer telling a person of a future that is inevitable. With great power comes great responsibility. I wonder whether she really saw what she said she saw or if she were merely speculating based upon intuition and intelligent perception. If she did see truly, then how and by what means? I asked this exact question at the time of the reading and received nothing but mumbo-jumbo for an answer.

The NOVA documentaries I watched over the last several nights explained several theories and hypotheses circulating in the world of astrophysics. One of the biggest discoveries that has been made, albeit one that is "old," dating back to Einstein, is that time is relative. Space and time are related, forming the concept known by Einstein as spacetime. I get dizzy thinking about these things. They are so far beyond my comprehension. I can only just grasp the surface of the basic ideas. There are many implications deriving from the relativity of space and time. Thus, my entire lifespan can elapse in a single moment--say, sixty seconds--of an extraterrestrial being living at a vast distance away from me. Therefore, if there were any means whatsoever for communication, images, or knowledge to be transmitted to and from that consciousness to, say, a human being living in my time and sitting beside me holding my hand, then that might be the scientific way for the seer to see. Mumbo-jumbo, or magic, in the common sense of the word, need play no role. Science suffices for an explanation that passes muster with the modern mind. Much of advanced science is as good as magic for most of us, anyway. How many of us could build a computer from scratch or, for that matter, an automobile? Observe that quantum mechanics speculates that teleporting between vast distances is possible. If this is so, why cannot a thought, word or image be transmitted from one brain to another? Would that not be easier?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Close-Up of a Tick

I enjoyed this article in the New York Times for the close-up of a tick, which shows that the tick's mouth looks like a ratchet.

I first encountered ticks on my pet cat when I was a boy. Back then, I used to pry them off with pliers, which seemed like the only way to get them off. They were already engorged with blood at that point, and some were half the size of a dime. The cat seemed cooperative and did not appear to mind the procedure, which led me to suspect that the tick emitted some kind of localized anaesthetic.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Quantum Computing

I was impressed by Mr. Ross, the founder of D-Wave, who gave an excellent interview about his company's development of the world's first quantum computer. He seems like a smart guy that knows what he's doing, and he explained complicated subjects in an elementary manner suitable for grandma or junior. I hope the Chinese haven't stolen all his company's secrets, but I wouldn't place any bets on that, because while the cat's been away fooling around with Afghanistan and Iraq, China has been stealing cheese left and right. I wish he had explained the reasons why the quantum computer apparently requires near-absolute zero temperature and complete shielding even from the Earth's magnetic fields. I'm not sure how practical that will be for home users, because keeping something that cold would require kilowatts of electricity, and the kind of shielding needed to protect against magnetic fields probably will be expensive as well.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ecstasy Therapy

There appears to be a clinical research study going on in South Carolina that administers the drug MDMA to subjects. Perhaps Ecstasy may prove to have certain medicinal benefits.

I've never done Ecstasy. I don't understand how it works. Ten years ago, I read an alarming article in TIME magazine purporting to show all of the harmful long-term effects. Yes, I'm a bit suspicious because the mainstream media is often nonsense on drugs, marijuana being a case in point. I was alarmed nonetheless. I guess I'm too old to feel any desire to try some new drug. Also, I feel that people should regard any drug as merely experimental until it has been around for at least three thousand years, treating people with medical conditions.
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by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Female Brain

I woke up this morning with a strange thought that felt right. No, nothing sexual--or not exactly. I don't blog about sexual matters for the most part, mostly because they are mundane and there is not much to say about them unless, I suppose, one has a particularly spicy sex life. Instead I was thinking about a recent hypothesis concerning homosexuality's origin.

Some researchers believe that sexuality is determined in the womb and is not a wholly genetic matter, but that a fetus is exposed to either too much or too little (or just right, according to your viewpoint) testosterone during a critical period of development. I have given this hypothesis much thought. For me, it would mean that I was exposed to more than the standard amount of testosterone while still a fetus, and that my brain therefore remained feminine (contra-intuitively) rather than turning masculine. I may have forgotten or misinterpreted certain aspects of the scientific rationale, but the gist is that a homosexual  infant boy's brain is actually the brain of a baby girl at birth. Native testosterone will over time make this brain more masculine and increase the sex drive but to varying extents, resulting in gays being more or less feminine, and overall gays should be a bit more feminine, on average, than the norm.

Feminine qualities I expressed from the earliest ages were sensitivity, passivity, talkativeness and obedience. As I developed I was encouraged and pushed to express masculine qualities and suppress certain feminine qualities, such as sensitivity, but without much success. Bullies were always taking advantage of me because they could easily make me unhappy or afraid through an unkind word or even an attack. Being pressured to be something one is not is stressful and causes internal confusion, doubt and distress. I think growing up was difficult, because in those days nobody understood, or if they did understand a little bit they shut up about it and were of no help to me at all. I think I would have had a much better time if I had known at least one other person that was gay and not in the closet. I grew up thinking I was the only one in the world.

I pity the conservative Christians and Muslims that think gay is bad, because they are going to have a hard time with their gay kids. When Mom and Dad don't understand, the prognosis is poor for the family. I think the conservatives think that they are fighting against a tribe of gay outsiders, strangers, aliens. The reality is that they are fighting against their own family and their future children and grandchildren. Alienation and ostracism awaits, a disappointing outcome for an investment of eighteen-plus years in raising a child, but it is to be expected when Mom and Dad cannot understand what is plain before them. They are second-guessing God, to put things in their terms.

For me it is curious to think of my brain being a female brain. I have always thought of my thinker as a male brain because that is what everyone told me, and I based my self-concept on what I was told. Accepting gayness and femininity comes as something of a relief, because I fought against it for so long in the early years, thinking it was wrong, bad. I see now why I get along well with women and relate with them. I think my brain began female at birth, but is now a hybrid due to the influences of testosterone and peer socialization. I am between the genders, neither one nor the other, but mostly female, I think. I find many straight men to be less interesting than straight women and not very skilled at communication. If all one can talk about is the ball game, that is thin gruel indeed. Give me a woman any day.

Looking back on all my romantic adventures, it is clear that nothing ever worked out with women. So I ask myself why, and the reason may be that my brain was mostly female, and the straight women were looking for a mostly masculine brain. Pheromones also play a role. It is not likely a straight woman would remain attracted for more than a brief period to a gay man, because the spiritual element is contradictory. The gay man is eventually interpreted as a friend, much like other female friends. The woman would have to have a lesbian component in order to remain attracted to a gay man, but even that poses problems because the male has different equipment, contrary to the lesbian's fantasies and expectations.

I was involved with a lesbian at one time, but that did not work out well because she had a butch ex-girlfriend that reestablished control of her (she was a femme), but I think it would not have worked out anyway. She used me to assuage her Catholic guilt, nothing else, and I don't think she was ever genuine, but was pretending with me. I certainly did believe that I was in love, even if it was very foolish and sudden. She said she was bisexual, but was she? Was I? I think to me that love and being in love was more important than the sex. Love was ecstasy. It was a sweet delusion without much grounding in reality. I was looking for an intimate friend due to the female nature of my brain, which seeks intimacy. The sex was not important to me, and I wasn't aggressive in that area, which is the exact opposite of the masculine priority, because men want sex above all else. Sex to me was regarded as a symbol or verification of love and valued only for that purpose, not for the pleasure it might bring.

Sexuality goes to the physical, and there is nothing a male body has that a garden-variety lesbian wants. The same applies to gay men. There is nothing about the female body that I particularly desire, although I can appreciate it as a thing of beauty. I am not overawed at the sight of breasts, and I think that is the essential difference between myself and a straight man.

Much was all right with men, in fact I had an easy time with guys, and of course that is why in time I identified as gay and decided to abandon the pointless and painful pursuit of women. It took me a long time to accept being gay and self-acceptance came in gradual degrees. I think I accept myself more now than I ever did in the past.
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by igor 04:20 4 replies by igor 09:32 0 comments

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Toxoplasmosis

Toxoplasmosis is scary! Especially for cat owners like myself.

I am continually reminded by existing science and new scientific discoveries of how ignorant I am and how ignorant the human race is. We make too many assumptions. Only recently in our history have we begun--and we've only just begun--to become aware that microorganisms are our #1 predator. We are not at the top of the food chain after all. Microorganisms are. Invisible bodies are preying upon us, often without our knowledge. They influence our behavior, causing depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, aggression. For most of our history we assumed that demons and spirits were causing harmful changes in people. Now we are learning about the real demons that are invisible to the naked eye.

I do not know how cat owners are going to cope with Toxoplasmosis.

But perhaps I'm too credulous.

The media, after all, pushes alarm buttons in order to push copy. They want to grab eyeballs in order to sell advertising. That is their entire focus.

In reality, at my age, is there even a 1% chance that I am not infected with Toxoplasmosis, after having opened my home to cats every day of my life? I think not. I think it is futile to fret over Toxoplasmosis, at least for me. Younger people might have a chance of never getting infected in the first place, but it is entirely unrealistic to expect that after decades of shuffling litter boxes back and forth I have managed to remain Toxo-free. Also, most people do not appear to suffer ill effects from Toxoplasmosis. Hidden within the article is a little hint that the main sufferers are immunocompromised and elderly patients, for whom Toxo may be the least of their worries.

So I have decided not to worry about Toxoplasmosis, although I will certainly take extra precautions when disposing of cat litter. And the cats are banned permanently from the bedroom and the study.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Human Missions?

Humans are ill-prepared for space exploration. Until we create a new species that is better adapted for space travel, all missions should be of the robotic variety if they are to be cost-effective and efficient, rather than mere shows put on for public entertainment. Humans are only well-adapted to Earth. Putting a human into a hostile environment like space requires too many innovations and creates difficulty where weight and cargo space are at a premium. It is also extremely dangerous to the humans involved, although they are more than willing to risk their lives.

A space-traveling race would be small and lightweight, about the size of a mouse, with low requirements for food and respiration, requiring a smaller vessel in order to escape Earth. It might very well photosynthesize in order to supplement its diet. It would be highly resistant to radiation, gravity, and the absence of gravity. Its sole function would be to pilot a craft and react quickly to emerging opportunities and hazards in its immediate environment, eliminating the need for long-distance communication to ground control on Earth. Actual exploration and mining activity would be conducted by robotic units remotely controlled by the pilot.

I may be conservative in thinking that an intelligent species would need to be mouse-size. It is possible, though unlikely, that a species with our intelligence, or even more, could be the size of an ant, although I do not understand how except through some kind quantum mechanics hocus-pocus communication with a larger being on Earth.

I may also be mistaken in thinking that a body is needed for an intelligent species. The only advantage organic life has over computers is that we are are more effective at general tasks and general learning. The self-aware computer may exist right now in a laboratory, and no one should discount that possibility, but it is certainly not capable of translating its will into reality, while humans with their bodies do have that capability. Yet it is possible that a robot could do everything that a living organism could do and better. I don't like the idea, but it would be naive to dismiss it. Already, ordinary desktop computers with nothing special in the way of a processor or memory can very easily beat 99.99% of all chessplayers. That is enough for me to respect artificial intelligence and accept the fact that we are, all of us, obsolete to a large extent, and we are simply waiting until the next generation of technology replaces every single human profession under the sun.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Get that HPV Vaccine

I remember a couple years ago some right-wing Internet yahoo wrote that I was "a lazy race-baiting homosexual with warts."

I was surprised first of all that he had bothered to read enough of my blog to make these observations. You know, I'm glad when the opposition reads my blog. I didn't mind the homosexual bit. I'm gay, big deal. As for lazy, well, I know I'm not, and people that know me know I'm not, so that just bounces right off. Race-baiting, I don't know where he got that from. Maybe somewhere I didn't toe the party line on a sensitive racial issue exactly as he expected me to do. More likely, he misinterpreted a complicated sentence due to lack of basic reading comprehension. I don't know, but I thought that was the strangest part of his little critique.

As for the warts, they're gone now, although I did have them at one time and probably still carry the HPV virus like millions of other people. That is one reason I recommend that young people get the HPV vaccine. I wish I had. But having had warts doesn't really bother me, although it does raise my risk for cancer. Is there a stigma to warts? Maybe, but it can't be greater than the stigma attached to herpes. At any rate I've gotten past stigmas for the most part. Stigmas are stupid, a shortcut for people who don't like to think for themselves.

Moral of this little story is for people, especially the younger generation, who are or intend to be sexually active to get the HPV vaccine. It's cheap and not only will protect against warts but also certain forms of cancer. The vaccine is not just for girls either. Every young person should get it.
techlorebyigor is my personal journal for ideas & opinions