Paths To Knowledge (dot Science)

What is actually real in Objective Reality? How do you know? Now, prove it's real!

Archive for the ‘Gravity’ Category

Wonders Of The Universe with Professor Brian Cox

Posted by pwl on June 6, 2011

“Wonders of the Universe is a 2011 television series produced by the BBC, Discovery Channel, and Science Channel, hosted by physicist Brian Cox. Wonders of the Universe was first broadcast in the United Kingdom on BBC Two on 6 March 2011. The series comprises four episodes, each of which focuses on an aspect of the universe and features a ‘wonder’ relevant to the theme. It follows on from Cox’s previous series for the BBC, Wonders of the Solar System, which was first broadcast in 2010.” [1]
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Posted in Awesome, Awesome beyond awesome, Complex Systems, Energy, Ethics in Science, Exercise For the Reader, Get some perspective people, Good science attitude, Gravity, Hard Science, Hard Science Required, History, Human|Ape, Humbled by Nature, Ignorance to Knowledge, Intelligent Designer - Yeah Right, Philosophy, Proofs, Rational Thinking, Reality Based Environmentalism, Science Education, Science Shows | Leave a Comment »

The Pioneer Anomaly, a 30-Year-Old Cosmic Mystery that Illustrates Dedication To The Scientific Method

Posted by pwl on December 17, 2010


The Pioneer Spacecraft: Pioneer 10 now soars toward the constellation Taurus, and 11 aims for Aquila

Thirty years ago, NASA scientists noticed that two of their spacecraft, Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11, were veering off course slightly, as if subject to a mysterious, unknown force. In 1998, the wider scientific community got wind of that veering—termed the Pioneer anomaly—and took aim at it with incessant, mind-blowingly detailed scrutiny that has since raised it to the physics equivalent of cult status. Now, though, after spawning close to 1000 academic papers, numerous international conferences, and many entire scientific careers, this beloved cosmic mystery may be on its way out.

Slava Turyshev, a scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., and Viktor Toth, a Canada-based software developer, plan to publish the results of their strikingly comprehensive new analysis of the Pioneer anomaly in the next few months. Their work is likely to bring a conclusion to one of the longest and most tumultuous detective stories of modern astrophysics.

NASA launched Pioneer 10 in the spring of 1972 and Pioneer 11 one year later. The spacecraft’s joint mission was to gather information about the asteroid belt, Jupiter, Saturn (in the case of Pioneer 11), and their moons. As they hurtled past those various celestial objects, the probes measured previously unknown properties of their atmospheres and surfaces; they also photographed Jupiter’s Red Spot and Saturn’s rings up close for the first time. Then, after completing their “flyby” missions in the mid-1970s, the Pioneers kept going. Carrying identical plaques depicting a man and a woman, the atomic transition of hydrogen, and the location of our planet within the galaxy—a message to aliens—the probes became the first manmade objects ever to plunge beyond the solar system into the inconceivable cold and dark of interstellar space. [1]

This is a fascinating story for many reasons: (1) it has parallels to the entire climate debate, (2) complex computer models of various forces of Nature such as gravity and heat, (3) 1,000s of scientific papers peer reviewed none-the-less attempting to find the cause of the anomaly, (4) destruction of the data (almost), (5) refutation upon refutation leading nowhere, (6) a mystery of great complexity, (7) models that are just to inefficient or full of errors, (8) mistaken idea after mistaken idea, (9) complexity, (10) tenacious independent non-official scientific oriented people dedicated to solving the problem on their own time, (11) …, (N) the list of valuable comparisons goes on and on.
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Posted in Adult Supervision Required, Awesome beyond awesome, Climate Science, Complex Systems, Ethics in Science, Exercise For the Reader, Get some perspective people, Good science attitude, Gravity, Hard Science, Hard Science Required, Humbled by Nature, Ideas Crazy Enough to Have a Chance, Ignorance to Knowledge, Majestic Universe, Philosophy, Rational Thinking, Science Education, Science Missions, Science over Propaganada, Science Smackdown, Something to think about, Space Travel, They got the math wrong!, Vehicles, Wait for it! | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

Where do the laws of Nature come from? It from Bit?

Posted by pwl on September 3, 2010

Where do the laws of Nature come from?

Let’s explore this by way of two very interesting conversations, one from philosopher and physicist Paul Davies and the other from Stephen Wolfram.

Philosopher and physicist Paul Davies give a fascinating and thought-provoking talk on the possibility of an ultimate explanation for our universe. Dismissing the multiverse and God, he outlines an idea for finding an explanation for the universe and physical laws within the universe itself.

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Posted in A New Kind of Science [NKS], Adult Supervision Required, Awesome, Awesome beyond awesome, Complex Systems, Definition of Terms, Energy, Get some perspective people, Gravity, Hard Science Required, Humbled by Nature, Ideas Crazy Enough to Have a Chance, Ignorance to Knowledge, Majestic Universe, Paradigm Shift, Philosophy, Proofs, Proofs Needed, Rational Thinking, Science over Propaganada, Science Shows, Something to think about, Spooky Action at a Distance, Stephen Wolfram, Video | 1 Comment »

The Power of Belief and Trust and Mass Propaganda are the Greatest Challenge In Continuing the Scientific Enlightenment

Posted by pwl on December 13, 2009

“So there is no need to invoke a complicated explanation for global warming involving disputed data on sunspots, cosmic rays and clouds, as some sceptics continue to do. The answer lies not in elaborate suppositions, but in the science and the data we can trust.” – Sun sets on sceptics’ case against climate change, Steve Connor,

The question is what is the science? How do you separate the wheat from the chaff? What happens when the data can’t be trusted due to the games that the alleged scientists involved played with it?

The climate debate seems to be less and less about the science than it does to be about people’s internal mental representation of their “beliefs” about the science that they “trust”.

Christopher Monckton proves to be an amazing interviewer.

“I’m most grateful to you for having giving me so much of your time. I do beg you not to believe either me or anyone else on this but do exactly what you just said and check for yourself and when you do I think you’ll find you’re addressing a non-problem. Thank you very much.” – Christopher Monckton

Cryosphere Today, University of Illinois

In the ideals of science “belief” and “trust” have no place as anyone would be able to “replicate” the science claims of any hypothesis on their own at any time.

For some hard sciences this is possible, for example with Newton’s gravity hypothesis just about anyone can do the experiments to confirm or refute the claims. Of course to test Einstein’s claims takes a bit more work and a lot more understanding as to grasp Relativity takes deeper comprehension.

What I wonder about is how can someone grasp what is going on in the global warming climate change debates without bring trust and belief into it? Is it even possible?

Many people I talk to find it difficult to accept that the raw temperature data from the scientists that collect it could be untrustworthy due to sloppy science or due to deliberate manipulation. They think that one couldn’t get away with it. Again it comes down to trust.

What is trust?

# have confidence or faith in; “We can trust in God”; “Rely on your friends”; “bank on your good education”; “I swear by my grandmother’s recipes”
# something (as property) held by one party (the trustee) for the benefit of another (the beneficiary); “he is the beneficiary of a generous trust …
# allow without fear
# reliance: certainty based on past experience; “he wrote the paper with considerable reliance on the work of other scientists”; “he put more trust in his own two legs than in the gun”
# believe: be confident about something; “I believe that he will come back from the war”
# the trait of believing in the honesty and reliability of others; “the experience destroyed his trust and personal dignity”
# hope: expect and wish; “I trust you will behave better from now on”; “I hope she understands that she cannot expect a raise”
# a consortium of independent organizations formed to limit competition by controlling the production and distribution of a product or service; “they set up the trust in the hope of gaining a monopoly”
# entrust: confer a trust upon; “The messenger was entrusted with the general’s secret”; “I commit my soul to God”
# faith: complete confidence in a person or plan etc; “he cherished the faith of a good woman”; “the doctor-patient relationship is based on trust”
# extend credit to; “don’t trust my ex-wife; I won’t pay her debts anymore”
# confidence: a trustful relationship; “he took me into his confidence”; “he betrayed their trust”

It seems that “trust” is replete with “belief and confidence being placed in” others. Here in lies the problem with such a complex discussion about climate science. It is complex and most people tune out when the math gets mentioned. As a result of eyes glazing over they revert to the basic human feeling of trusting another, often trusting the “experts with authority”. I suspect that in the global warming climate debates most people suffer from the belief stricken false argument of appealing to authority since they can’t deal with or won’t deal with the science involved.

Part of the reason is that people often want to simplify by distilling the options down to a simple decision. They don’t want to have to evaluate the thousands of details involved as it takes a considerable amount of time to comprehend each new detail.

I started this blog after a year or so following the debate. What happened was enlightening to me that the facade of “the truth as known by the consensus popular view of science” on many topics was shattered when I asked a couple of questions. It turned out that I simply wanted to comprehend the basic science behind the claims of man made global warming climate change. As someone dedicated to life long learning and a deep interest in science, I work as a systems scientist and with complex software and hardware systems, I thought it would be good to learn the basics by asking a few questions. So I was at a science blog and posted a couple of questions about an article that I’d seen come up in a Google search. The article was from a weather man in South America commenting on Darwin’s notes during his long voyage, the comments were about the climate. The article was suggesting that the climate hasn’t really changed all that much since then. Well not knowing the “veracity” of such claims I thought I’d ask a few questions of people who seemed to be knowledgeable about science and climate science.

The response was shocking indeed. Very quickly I was vilified for asking questions that hit at the assumption of man made global warming climate change. As I pointed out that they weren’t answering the questions but were simply engaging in ad hominem personal attacks and being unscientific in doing so it escalated to the point where I wasn’t just booted off their forums but was banned and all my comments were deleted in the process. Censorship was at work, and alive and well. At some point I might post the copies of the portions of the conversations from those postings that I had the fortitude to save. In any event the specific details aren’t the main point I’m making with this story of what happened.

What occurs to me is that each person makes a mental representation, a map if you will, of what they think is objective reality. Portions of this map are highly accurate. Other portions of the map aren’t so accurate. The key thing that people forget is that “The Map Isn’t the Territory.”

Two important characteristics of maps should be noticed. A map is not the territory it represents, but, if correct, it has a similar structure to the territory, which accounts for its usefulness.” – Alfred Korzybski

This applies in science as scientists need – as a result of human biology and in particular as a result of human brain biology – to make a mental map of objective reality. By necessity this map will have its accurate portions and its inaccurate portions and parts everywhere in between. A main challenge in science, other than the complexities of technology and technical or theoretical knowledge, is ensuring that one’s map is accurate in as many places that matter and importantly in as many places as is necessary to support one’s science. The challenge rests is determining what is real in objective reality and what is just (as in only perceived to be) real in one’s map of objective reality. If it’s only real in ones map of objective reality and not actually real in objective reality then what we are dealing with is a belief and not objective reality.

In science the resolution of belief verses what is really real is supposed to be what can be proven to be real via tools such as the scientific method which uses experiment and observations to confirm or refute science claims from our maps of reality. Of course even when our maps of objective reality are confirmed to the Nth digit of precision they are still maps, although possibly highly accurate maps, and not objective reality itself.

Nature, the mother not the journal, is the final judge in all matters of science – not human judgments, not peer review consensus, not peer review refutations, not our opinions. Nature is the final judge, jury and executioner of all scientific knowledge and for what is real in objective reality. We only need adjust our maps to be as accurate as possible with Nature. This is of course harder said than done. Climate science is one such place where that is particularly difficult due to the high complexity of the many Natural Systems involved.

The deep challenge comes in when there are many differing views on what is being observed, theorized and concluded by human scientists. As humans scientists are also fallible. The scientific method and process is supposed to mitigate against this human bias towards our favorite maps of objective reality.

As the Climategate emails, documents and programs have confirmed the so called consensus and peer review process and even the very heart of the climate science itself has been deeply compromised. Humans it seems, yes even the previously trusted and venerated Climategate alleged scientists have fallen into the ancient patterns of our ancestors – belief stricken group think, thought control or thought management tactics, and politics.

One of the possible outcomes of the Climategate affair is that scientists involved in climate science might start speaking out about how their science research refutes the mainstream group think consensus views.

Any scientific hypothesis is supposed to rise or fail based upon the evidence. It’s coming on a year since I started this blog, Paths To Knowledge dot net, and I’ve yet to even begin to scratch the surface of comprehending the many thousands of issues and detailed points in climate science. No wonder the typical person gives up and takes up “trust in authorities”, as it’s a massive challenge just learning the issues let alone the much more difficult challenge in being able to evaluate these issues and make a determination that has anything to actually do with objective reality. Sure it’s easy to make choices and build up a map of the world that one thinks is reality, it’s quite another to be able to build up a map that can withstand the hard objective tests of the scientific method.

The more that I learn about the science of climate science the less and less the promoted map of man made global warming climate change makes any sense.

Some say there is a mountain of evidence. That may well be, and if so please bring it to me for I can’t see the mountain from where I currently stand.

Nature is the final judge of all science. It is not in the minds of men but in Nature where we test the mettle of any scientific claims.

In my journey to find out for myself what the actual science says and what the criticisms of that science say I’m not only learning about the climate science and other sciences but I’m learning a lot about human nature and the nature of “belief” and “trust” and “faith” and how these can be seriously dark forces when the masses of humanity take up a mental map of reality that doesn’t correspond to the objective reality of Nature itself.

One thing that constantly amazes me when talking to people about the climate is that most people cut off the discussion when it gets too detailed or when a point challenges a “belief” they have about it. For example, many people state that they north polar cap is melting and that that is serious evidence of man made global warming climate change. Ok, I say, what about the observed fact that the amount of ice on Earth is about constant with the southern hemisphere growing in ice about as much as the northern hemisphere loses ice? At this point many people loose their grasp on the conversation when they invoke appeals to authority. This is part of the challenge of science education but even deeper is the problem of how do you teach or educate people about a science that is in flux or that has so much controversy particularly when it’s denied that there is any controversy within the community of authorities on climate science?

How do people of reason comprehend the complexities of climate science let alone determine what is real and what is belief stricken dogma or bad science?

The interesting thing about belief stricken maps of objective reality is that they die with you while the objective reality of Nature keeps on going regardless of us or how we view it.

A real profound question is how are we being in the face of a global pandemic of belief stricken humans who have maps of objective reality that are so far from Nature that it has a serious impact upon society? How does one effectively communicate empowering people to actually grasp and most importantly test the notions of climate science themselves? Is it even possible? Will there always need to be trust and belief involved? How many does it take to shift the paradigm?

The climategate documents demonstrate that one or a few people dedicated to finding out the scientific truths can make a significant difference to the conversation as well as to the actual science involved. As the political shock waves of Climategate reverberate across the world and in the minds of key decision makers what are the next steps?

As I end this first year studying climate science and posting over 400 articles do I have any definitive answers on man made global warming climate science? No, what I’ve seen deeply and profoundly has shaken my own mental maps in the confidence of “science” especially that of what one reads in the popular media and online but even more so of “peer reviewed” articles. I’m much more skeptical of scientific claims in the sense that I’m continuing to ask basic questions of any science that I come across. The spirit of science is to ask questions and is to question all the basic assumptions. The spirit of science education is to allow those questions and to engage with those asking to spread scientific knowledge but also to vet the science. Anything less isn’t science but is something best left to our ancestors in the dark caves of history.

The enlightenment faces its greatest challenge, the power of belief, faith, trust and confidence to distort the best mental maps we have of objective reality into political propaganda tools.

What ever you do find out the science for yourself from a direct as possible a source. Never believe what science writers or science journalists say as their opinions are very often biased due to their own belief stricken conclusions already made. Be INDEPENDENT! Find out for yourself.

The other probably better caution is to not make a decision on man made global warming climate change unless you’ve done extensive research from direct sources and have learned the science and counter science. This point of view is based upon the reality that climate change is a very complex field of science and it’s not easily reducible to platitudes or simplistic beliefs. There are also many social and economic policies now being intertwined with the science mixing up the clarity with their political propaganda messages. Use extreme caution with anyone who says the science is settled or that consensus is science for as we know from basic science philosophy these are never the case as science is always the pursuit of the nature of objective reality.

[:)]

Posted in Charles Darwin, Climate Science, Climategate, Complex Systems, Ethics in Science, Get some perspective people, Gravity, Green Religion, Hard Science, Hard Science Required, Human|Ape, Humbled by Nature, Ideas Crazy Enough to Have a Chance, Ignorance to Knowledge, It's a good thing that your god(s) die with you, Ontology of Being, Paradigm Shift, Philosophy, Politics, Rational Thinking, Reality Based Economics, Reality Based Environmentalism, Scams, Science Education, Science over Propaganada, Science Smackdown | 8 Comments »

NASA JPL Satellite Eyes On the Earth 3D – Gravity Balls and Friends

Posted by pwl on December 10, 2009

Very cool tool from visualizing data from NASA satellites in 3d in a web browser.

What I’m interested in is not just the visualization aspect but the actual data behind the visualizations since as we know from the Climategate confirmations of scientific fraud in climate science visual images can be highly misleading towards the alleged scientists point of view. Raw data please. All manipulations MUST be FULLY documented with the software source code that made the changes and detailed reasons listed for all adjustments.

If we are to raise our knowledge, skills and competence in using the scientific method to study the Earth, Moon, Sol and other relevant systems we must do some basic learning. Hard science requires making use of hard data without cheating and with showing ones data and any adjustments with justifications and open source code for auditing and proper open peer reviews!

Now let’s see what we can learn from this 3d puppy. My favorite is the GRACE Gravity satellites.

I’ve often wondered what impact the uneven gravity has on the Earth’s climate systems and if the gravity effects are taken into account in the so called climate models. As you can see from the above video the Earth isn’t even an oblate spheroid, it’s a really bumpy place when it comes to gravity. This must impact the weather and thus the climate systems as the atmosphere and water and ice move about.

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Posted in Adventure, Awesome, Big Brother Planetary Control System, Climate Science, Climategate, Complex Systems, Evil Walks the Earth and Carries a Big Stick, Exercise for the Reader (that's you), Get some perspective people, Graphics, Gravity, Hard Science, Hard Science Required, Humbled by Nature, Ignorance to Knowledge, It's weather AND climate!, Learning about Science Organizations, Majestic Universe, Math, Proofs, Proofs Needed, Rational Thinking, Reality Based Environmentalism, Science Ficition, Science Missions, Science over Propaganada, SkyNet Battlefield Earth, Total Control Over Our Lives, Video, WOW!!! | 4 Comments »

Good people will do good things, and bad people will do bad things. But for good people to do bad things, that takes religion.

Posted by pwl on November 14, 2009

Conversation with Richard Dawkins and Steven Weinberg.

Part 1 of 8.

“The whole history of the last thousands of years has been a history of religious persecutions and wars, pogroms, jihads, crusades. I find it all very regrettable, to say the least.”

“Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

“I can hope that this long sad story, this progression of priests and ministers and rabbis and ulamas and imams and bonzes and bodhisattvas, will come to an end. I hope this is something to which science can contribute … it may be the most important contribution that we can make.”

“This is one of the great social functions of science — to free people from superstition.”

Steven Weinberg, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin, 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics

Part 2 of 8.

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Posted in Adult Supervision Required, Awesome beyond awesome, Biology, Climate Science, Complex Systems, Ethics in Science, Evil Walks the Earth and Carries a Big Stick, Exercise for the Reader (that's you), Get some perspective people, Gravity, Hard Science, Holding those who run the world responsible for their crimes against humanity, Human|Ape, Humbled by Nature, Ignorance to Knowledge, Intelligent Designer - Yeah Right, Invisible Friend Crowd, It's a good thing that your god(s) die with you, Majestic Universe, Philosophy, Proof God Can NOT Exist, Rational Thinking, Religion, Science Education, Science Info Educational Videos, Science over Propaganada, Video | 7 Comments »

All belief is religion as belief isn’t based upon verifiable knowledge

Posted by pwl on November 5, 2009

All belief is religion as belief isn’t based upon verifiable knowledge.

“A United Kingdom court has ruled that a man can take his employer to court on the grounds that he was discriminated against because of his views on climate change. …

Mr Nicholson successfully argued that his moral values about the environment should be recognised under the same laws that protect religious beliefs.

In the landmark ruling, Justice Michael Burton said that a belief in man-made climate change is capable, if genuinely held, of being a philosophical belief for the purpose of the religion and belief regulations.” Beliefs on climate like Religion, court rules

The word “belief” is a problematic word with so many definitions that you have to pretty much define what you mean either by the context or by direction definition.

Generally when I’m down on the word belief I specifically mean “religious belief” or “supernatural belief” and not a belief that my car is still parked where it is.

I don’t think it’s responsible to say that “I believe in Newton’s Gravity Theory” as to use the word belief to talk about facts mis-communicates to the masses of people out there without scientific training. It’s better to use other words. Your “belief” that letting go of a stone has nothing to do with whether or not the stone falls.

Common uses of belief basically mean that you don’t know or don’t have evidence and that you assume it is true anyway. Since you do have evidence that dropping a stone on earth will have it fall (unless it’s otherwise supported or blocked) using the word belief is a mistake. One instead should say “I know that when I let go of a stone at chest level, it will fall (assuming that it’s not supported or blocked in some other manner).” This has clarity.

It is a big mistake for Richard Dawkins to be using the word belief the way he does with regards to scientific knowledge. He should be more careful and define his terms more precisely when talking about scientific knowledge and what is know and what isn’t since the religious masses use the word belief differently.

Sure people have a “belief” that X person will be a good political leader, but that is an entirely different category and meaning of belief than “belief that god exists” which is a statement that has no evidence and will never have any evidence in all probability not even mentioning all the evidence against the possibility of any gods existing.

As for climate change caused by man the science isn’t settled and if you think it is that is your “belief” and not a valid scientific statement. The more I learn the more I learn that we don’t yet have conclusive answers and that politics of extreme environmentalism started it and now that mainstream politicians have gotten into the act it’s now even more highly suspect. So I’d say show the evidence in a context where it can be audited by anyone which means showing all the data, raw and manipulated, detailed and comprehensive explanations for the manipulations, the statistics methods involved and why they were chosen, the software and the data used to create the graphs, all the scientists notes, photographs, and other materials used in the preparation of all the science papers. It’s clear that climate scientists (and others) have not been up to the standards of other fields and that all publically funded science needs to have it’s standards of openness and auditability raised.

I’m a very strong show me the hard evidence guy. Belief has no place in science nor in the communication of science nor in the science education process unless it specifically means “we think it could be true or false but we don’t just know yet”.

Believing that murder is wrong is a statement of one’s moral values and the word belief is often used although I’d question it’s use there. I’d not say it that way. I’d rather be more specific and say that “Murder is wrong because human life is valuable.”

Is saying “gravity sucks” a statement of “belief” or is it a succinct statement of the known laws of Gravity? I pick the latter.

“The relationship between belief and knowledge is that a belief is knowledge if the belief is true, and if the believer has a justification (reasonable and necessarily plausible assertions/evidence/guidance) for believing it is true. … Later epistemologists have questioned the “justified true belief” definition, and some philosophers have questioned whether “belief” is a useful notion at all.” – wikipedia

So “belief” is shaky ground at best, and as such it’s best to avoid using it when speaking generally about science or anything that is a statement of objective reality or it’s nature. I also use it carefully. My main use is in talking about the belief and faith stricken members of society.

Is that my belief? No, it’s a precautionary guidance principle based on knowledge gained from far too many conversations with the belief stricken who set well placed linguistic and philosophical traps.

Posted in Bad Ideas, Bad Science, Bad Science Attitude, Belief Stricken, Debunking Bad Environmentalism, Evil Walks the Earth and Carries a Big Stick, Get some perspective people, Gravity, Hard Science, Hard Science Required, Holding those who run the world responsible for their crimes against humanity, Human|Ape, Humbled by Nature, Invisible Friend Crowd, It's a good thing that your god(s) die with you, Philosophy, Politics, Proof God Can NOT Exist, Rational Thinking, Reality Based Environmentalism, Science Education, Science over Propaganada | 1 Comment »

Let’s go Direct to Mars for real!

Posted by pwl on July 22, 2009

Mars Direct is a proposal for a relatively low-cost manned mission to Mars with current rocket technology. The plan was originally detailed in a research paper by Robert Zubrin and David Baker in 1990. The mission was expanded upon in Zubrin’s 1996 book The Case for Mars.

The plan involves launching an unmanned “Earth Return Vehicle” (ERV) directly from Earth’s surface to Mars using a heavy-lift booster derived from Space Shuttle components. The booster is no bigger than the Saturn V used for the Apollo missions. Several launches are made in preparation for the manned mission.

The first of these launches the ERV, a supply of hydrogen, a chemical plant and a small nuclear reactor. Once there, a relatively simple set of chemical reactions (the Sabatier reaction coupled with electrolysis) would combine a small amount of hydrogen carried by the ERV with the carbon dioxide of the Martian atmosphere to create up to 112 tonnes of methane and oxygen propellants, 96 tonnes of which would be needed to return the ERV to Earth at the end of the mission. This process would take approximately ten months to complete.

Some 26 months after the ERV is originally launched from Earth, a second vehicle, the “Mars Habitat Unit” (MHU), would be launched on a high-energy transfer to Mars carrying a crew of four. This vehicle would take some six months to reach Mars. During the trip, artificial gravity would be generated by tying the spent upper stage of the booster to the Habitat Unit, and setting them both rotating about a common axis.

On reaching Mars, the spent upper stage would be jettisoned, with the Habitat Unit aerobraking into Mars orbit before soft-landing in proximity to the ERV. Once on Mars, the crew would spend 18 months on the surface, carrying out a range of scientific research, aided by a small rover vehicle carried aboard their MHU, and powered by excess methane produced by the ERV. To return, they would use the ERV, leaving the MHU for the possible use of subsequent explorers. The propulsion stage of the ERV would be used as a counterweight to generate artificial gravity for the trip back.

The initial cost estimate for Mars Direct was put at $55 billion, to be paid over ten years.

Posted in Awesome, Awesome beyond awesome, Business, Complex Systems, Dreaming, Energy, Ethics in Science, Exercise for the Reader (that's you), Gravity, Hard Science, Hard Science Required, Human|Ape, Humbled by Nature, Ideas Crazy Enough to Have a Chance, Ignorance to Knowledge, Invaders from Earth, Learning about Science Organizations, Philosophy, Politics, Rational Thinking, Reality Based Economics, Reality Based Environmentalism, Science Education, Science Info Educational Videos, Science Missions, Science over Propaganada, Something to think about, Space Travel, Vehicles, Video, WOW!!! | Leave a Comment »

Surfing Standing Waves in Montreal and other Rivers

Posted by pwl on July 10, 2009

“Preparing to surf a standing river wave in the St. Lawrence, where high-velocity water roars over a steep river-bottom depression, pitches back and upward, and creates a waist-to-overhead breaker. Surfers paddle into it or swing out by rope to catch the green-faced wedge, rewarded by a seemingly endless ride.

“Once you’re carving, it’s exactly the same feel as on an ocean wave,” said Chris Dutton, the founder of the Web site SurfMontreal.com, “except that instead of going straight down the line, you carve a little bit, flip around, carve back, and can go all day.”

Modern river surfing on standing waves evolved on the Eisbach River in Germany in the mid-1970s. Tidal bores have been ridden for years on the Severn in England; in Bordeaux, France; and on the Amazon. New standing waves are being pioneered almost daily in rivers in places like Colorado, and in Ontario and Alberta in Canada.”

Surf’s up in Montreal!

Posted in Awesome, Awesome beyond awesome, Energy, Exercise for the Reader (that's you), Fun, Get some perspective people, Gravity, Hard Science, Human|Ape, Humbled by Nature, Ideas Crazy Enough to Have a Chance, Ignorance to Knowledge, Science Education, Video | Leave a Comment »

A tribute to the unstoppable and indelible spirit of human beings – life on the edge, literally beyond all limits imagined

Posted by pwl on June 17, 2009

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVLLBDlVUYg]

On August 7, 1974, shortly after 7:15 a.m., Petit stepped off the South Tower and onto his 3/4″ 6×19 IWRC (independent wire rope core [3]) steel cable. The 24-year-old Petit made eight crossings between the mostly finished towers, a quarter mile above the sidewalks of Manhattan, in an event that lasted about 45 minutes. During that time, in addition to walking, he sat on the wire, gave knee salute and, while lying on the wire, spoke with a gull circling above his head.

Port Authority Police Department Sgt. Charles Daniels, who was dispatched to the roof to bring Petit down, later reported his experience:

I observed the tightrope ‘dancer’—because you couldn’t call him a ‘walker’—approximately halfway between the two towers. And upon seeing us he started to smile and laugh and he started going into a dancing routine on the high wire….And when he got to the building we asked him to get off the high wire but instead he turned around and ran back out into the middle….He was bouncing up and down. His feet were actually leaving the wire and then he would resettle back on the wire again….Unbelievable really….[E]verybody was spellbound in the watching of it.[4]

[http://http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lAVj2IVC9ko]

Petit was warned by his friend on the South Tower that a police helicopter would come to pick him off the wire unless he got off. Rain had begun to fall, and Petit decided he had taken enough risks, so he decided to give himself up to the police waiting for him on the South Tower. He was arrested once he stepped off the wire. Provoked by his taunting behaviour while on the wire, police handcuffed him behind his back and roughly pushed him down a flight of stairs. This he later described as the most dangerous part of the stunt.[5]

His audacious high wire performance made headlines around the world. When asked why he did the stunt, Petit would say “When I see three oranges, I juggle; when I see two towers, I walk.”

He crossed EIGHT TIMES and danced while doing it!!! You’re kidding right? Nope…

[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0TXrMLKDu5g]

Very amazing. Beyond words amazing. Indelible WOW!

A true tribute.

Man on Wire is an Academy Award-winning 2008 documentary film directed by James Marsh. The film chronicles Philippe Petit’s 1974 high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of New York’s World Trade Center. It is based on Philippe Petit’s book, To Reach the Clouds, recently released in paperback with the new title Man on Wire. The title of the movie is taken from the police report that led to the arrest (and later release) of Petit, whose performance had lasted for almost one hour. The film is crafted like a heist film, presenting rare footage of the preparations for the event and still photographs of the walk, alongside reenactments (with Paul McGill as the young Petit) and present-day interviews with the participants.

What in your life gets you to take risks and get to your edge of peak performance?

Philippe Petit (born August 13, 1949) is a French high wire artist who gained fame for his high-wire walk between the Twin Towers (WTC) in New York City on August 7, 1974.[1] For his feat (that he referred to as “le coup” [2]), he used a 450-pound (200 kg) cable and a custom-made 26-foot (7.9 m) long, 55-pound (25 kg) balancing pole.

Tight-rope walker, unicyclist, magician and pantomime artist, Petit was also one of the earliest modern day street jugglers in Paris, having begun his career in 1968. He juggled and worked on a slack rope with regularity in Washington Square Park in New York City in the early 1970s. Other famous structures he has used for tightrope walks include Notre Dame de Paris, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Louisiana Superdome, the Hennepin County Government Center, and between the Palais de Chaillot and the Eiffel Tower.

The documentary film Man on Wire by UK director James Marsh, about Petit’s 1974 WTC performance, won both the World Cinema Jury and Audience awards at the Sundance Film Festival 2008. The film also won awards at the 2008 Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, N.C. and won the Academy Award for Best Documentary.

Petit is one of the Artists-in-Residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. He currently lives in Woodstock, New York.


Learning to tight rope walk. Not as easy as Petit makes it look.

Posted in Awesome, Awesome beyond awesome, Bad Ideas, Double Yikes!!, Eeek!, Film, Fun, Get some perspective people, Gravity, Hard Science, Health, Human|Ape, Humbled by Nature, Ideas Crazy Enough to Have a Chance, Ignorance to Knowledge, Lawn Chair Larry, Majestic Universe, Man on Wire, Philosophy, Proofs, Rational Thinking, Science Education, Science over Propaganada, Something to think about, The End is Nigh, Video, WOW!!!, Yikes! | 3 Comments »

Canadians in Space, eh? Yeah, two are headed to the ISS, one now, one later

Posted by pwl on May 28, 2009

Posted in Complex Systems, Gravity, Hard Science, Human|Ape, Humbled by Nature, Ignorance to Knowledge, Invaders from Earth, Majestic Universe, Science Education, Space Travel, Vehicles, Video, WOW!!! | Leave a Comment »

How close to industructable can you get?

Posted by pwl on May 25, 2009


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Posted in Awesome, Awesome beyond awesome, Fun, Gravity, Hard Science, Ideas Crazy Enough to Have a Chance, Ignorance to Knowledge, Rational Thinking, Really Funny, Science Education, Science over Propaganada, Science Smackdown, Space Travel, Vehicles, Video, WOW!!! | Leave a Comment »

Stunning Launch of STS-125 Atlantis Hubble Repair Mission in HD

Posted by pwl on May 14, 2009

Ok, enough of things going slooooowwwly… now for some real speed!!!

WOW!

Too bad they didn’t show the separation of the large External fuel Tank (ET) from the shuttle.

Here are some highlights and other awesome clips, also in HD! Wow, I’ve got those very same kitchen timers (the white ones hanging all over the shuttle)! They are very cool with four count up/down timers plus one count down and one count up timer. Awesome!
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STS-125 Shuttle Atlantis in Orbit, doors open, Canada Arm ready + Orbit of Liquid Fuel Tank Decaying!

Posted by pwl on May 11, 2009

Posted in Awesome, Gravity, Hard Science, History, Rational Thinking, Science Education, Science Info Educational Videos, The Ground is Falling Up!, UFO Proof, Vehicles, WOW!!! | Leave a Comment »

Got my Star Trek tickets! First night! Yes.

Posted by pwl on May 3, 2009

In with the new! Yes, a new trailer too!!!

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Posted in Awesome, Bad Science, Believe it or your a denier!, Damn it!, Definition of Terms, Energy, Ethics in Science, Exercise for the Reader (that's you), Film, Fun, Get some perspective people, Gravity, Hard Science Required, History, Humbled by Nature, Ignorance to Knowledge, Intelligent Designer - Yeah Right, Invaders from Earth, Invisible Friend Crowd, It's a good thing that your god(s) die with you, Live Brains!, Majestic Universe, Philosophy, Rational Thinking, Really Funny, Science Education, Science Ficition, Science over Propaganada, Space Travel, Video | Leave a Comment »

Crash, bang, clang, woops there it goes

Posted by pwl on April 28, 2009


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Skynet Is Watching You From The Sky, yes really they are!!! Not black copters, white ones… see…

Posted by pwl on April 25, 2009

These photos and video where taken in Vancouver, BC, Canada a few weeks ago. Yes, it is a real surveillance helicopter… just don’t know who’s they are flying it for… Vancouver Police? CSIS (Canada’s spy agency)? RCMP? News? Someone else?

The chopper was flying near Vancouver General Hospital however it’s NOT a medical chopper as it didn’t land on the hospital like many choppers do. No, it circled for a while, maybe five to ten minutes… My Cannon G9 camera wasn’t going to get any better shots… need an SLR with a telephoto lens for that… besides I wanted closeups with the photo function of the camera. Anyway these are max optical zoom with digital zoom due to cropping and image magnification… otherwise no filters or touch ups… I tried a sharpen but it didn’t really help as the G9 is a bit grainy when you zoom in lots.

Here are some close up shots taken with the same camera in photo mode.

Can anyone tell what kind of chopper this is? What kind of camera is that? What are it’s capabilities? Whose chopper is it?

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Posted in Big Brother Planetary Control System, Conspiracy Theory, Double Yikes!!, Evil Walks the Earth and Carries a Big Stick, Exercise for the Reader (that's you), Gravity, Hard Science Required, Holding those who run the world responsible for their crimes against humanity, Human|Ape, Ignorance to Knowledge, Invaders from Earth, Invisible Friend Crowd, It's a good thing that your god(s) die with you, My Invisible Friend Needs Me For His-Her-Its Existence, Politics, Rational Thinking, SkyNet Battlefield Earth, Something to think about, Spooky Action at a Distance, The End is Nigh, The Ground is Falling Up!, The Sky Is Falling, To Hell With You Buddy, Total Control Over Our Lives, Video, Yikes! | 3 Comments »

My God Has A Hammer!

Posted by pwl on April 12, 2009

Posted in Baby that became Zombie Jesus, Big Brother Planetary Control System, Ethics in Science, Evil Walks the Earth and Carries a Big Stick, Gravity, Hard Science, Human|Ape, Ideas Crazy Enough to Have a Chance, Ignorance to Knowledge, Intelligent Designer - Yeah Right, Invaders from Earth, Invisible Friend Crowd, It's a good thing that your god(s) die with you, My Invisible Friend Needs Me For His-Her-Its Existence, Proof God Can NOT Exist, Rational Thinking, Really Funny, Religion, Science over Propaganada, Zombie Jesus | Leave a Comment »

Sorry Kirk, Spock, Sulu and Piccard no Warp Drives Allowed in Nature

Posted by pwl on April 3, 2009

Warp drives have been the focus of science fiction writers for decades. But scientists kept them at arms length until 1994 when the idea was put on a firm (ish) theoretical footing by the Mexican physicist, Michael Alcubierre. His thinking is that while relativity prevents faster-than-light travel relative to the fabric of space time, it places no restriction on the speed at which regions of spacetime may move relative to each other.

Yes, imagination is wonderful. Nature is beautifully harsh though.

… Physicists have long wondered what would happen if you threw quantum mechanics into the mix? … They … studied a property of a quantum field called the renormalised stress-energy tensor which should be well-behaved under normal circumstances. But in the front wall of Alcubierre’s bubble travelling at superluminal speeds, the renormalised stress-energy tensor grows exponentially.

That strongly implies that such a bubble would be unstable. So it looks increasingly likely that, after a brief few years of excitement, Alcubierre’s warp drive is impossible.

To this someone replied:

When the word “impossibility” appears in discussions re science, I am always reminded of Arthur C. Clarke’s quote:

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

To which I replied:

When “impossibility” is ignored and Arthur C. Clarke’s quotes start flying I’m always reminded of The Sagan Principle which states that “extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence” which certainly applies to here and in general to FTL.

Do you object that Newton proves that it’s impossible given the Earth Moon System for a human being al natural to jump from the Earth to the Moon (without the aid of technology, aka space ships)? I gather that you’ll bring out Author’s old men quote for this case too. Gravity Sucks in so many ways, and one of those ways is in keeping you firmly within the Earth’s gravity well (unless you are one of the few to reach escape velocity doing the rest of us a favor).

The Fabric of Objective Reality sucks in so many ways. Not traveling faster than light is one of them.

Optimism or pessimism are both irrelevant to the Nature of Objective Reality. The Universe doesn’t care about us, as it doesn’t care at all about anything.

Each aspect of Nature, each Law of Nature that we learn is what is actually going on gives us insights into what is actually possible and what is impossible. Nature is the limiter not our imaginations. Clearly our imaginations run amok all the time (see Amok Time episode of Star Trek for an example of this).

When you willfully ignore hard earned scientific knowledge that can be tested, that has been tested, you might find yourself crossing into that no man’s land of fantasy and delusion. You are not alone as many if not most humans live their lives in the land of delusional fantasies that simply can’t be true given the harsh Laws of Nature, which are the very Laws of Nature that enable you to exist!

So be optimistic or pessimistic all you want. Nature is the final judge of what is possible and what is impossible. Not that Nature is an is. I choose to embrace Nature in all of it’s beauty and horror rather than have delusional fantasies about it. I save my fantasies for entertainment (like the upcoming FTL fantasy Star Trek movie out in about a month) and private relationships.

So enjoy your invisible friend of FTL all you want, just know that no matter how much you enjoy it your enjoyment won’t alter the Fabric of Nature one iota.

Posted in Bad Science, Complex Systems, Damn it!, Energy, Ethics in Science, Gravity, Hard Science, Hard Science Required, Human|Ape, Humbled by Nature, Ignorance to Knowledge, Intelligent Designer - Yeah Right, Invisible Friend Crowd, It's a good thing that your god(s) die with you, Majestic Universe, My Invisible Friend Needs Me For His-Her-Its Existence, Proof God Can NOT Exist, Rational Thinking, Science Education, Science Ficition, Space Travel, Yeah Right | Leave a Comment »

The Limits of Science, an interview with Freeman Dyson

Posted by pwl on March 30, 2009

Freeman Dyson is professor emeritus of physics at the Institute for Advanced Study.

Posted in Biology, Complex Systems, Debunking Bad Environmentalism, Freeman Dyson, Gravity, Hard Science, Hard Science Required, Human|Ape, Humbled by Nature, Invaders from Earth, Science Education, Science Ficition | Leave a Comment »

Ayn Rand, Objectivism and Modern Physics – some thoughts

Posted by pwl on March 30, 2009

From my perspective.

I find Ayn Rand’s writing and films quite boring and dry although parts can be fascinating.

What is clear however is the notion of objective reality as distinct from ourselves. While this isn’t an idea original to Rand it’s the key notion in her objectivism that forms the foundation for the rest which can be taken or cast aside.

The three core axioms of Existence, Consciousness and Identity are irreducible. And again these ideas are not original to Rand.

Yet the combination of these ideas and others is unique to Rand and that is her value to humanity.

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Posted in Awesome, Belief Stricken, Complex Systems, Ethics in Science, Exercise for the Reader (that's you), Gravity, Hard Science Required, Human|Ape, Humbled by Nature, Ignorance to Knowledge, Intelligent Designer - Yeah Right, Invisible Friend Crowd, It's a good thing that your god(s) die with you, My Invisible Friend Needs Me For His-Her-Its Existence, Philosophy, Science Education | 4 Comments »

At 93 million miles away it would seem that we are safe from the suns wrath. But are we?

Posted by pwl on March 23, 2009

The sun is the superpower of our solar system, a thermonuclear blast furnace, erupting with massive explosions. At 93 million miles away it would seem that we are safe from the suns wrath. But are we? With some experts predicting the most violent outbreak of solar activity in modern history its never been more important to understand the secrets of the sun.

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Posted in Climate Science, Complex Systems, Debunking Bad Environmentalism, Disasters, Double Yikes!!, Energy, Gravity, Hard Science, Hard Science Required, Humbled by Nature, Ignorance to Knowledge, Intelligent Designer - Yeah Right, Majestic Universe, Science Education, Science Shows, Terrorfying, The End is Nigh, The Sky Is Falling, Video | Leave a Comment »

On the Gravity of Apples and Moons

Posted by pwl on March 19, 2009

Nothing can exceed the speed of “c”, light, not even gravity! Einstein proved this in his Special and General Theories of Relativity. This means that even invisible beings (aka gods) can’t travel faster than the speed of “c”, which proves that they can’t be omnipotent, omniscient or omnipresent since these attributes all require information travel faster than light! Sorry, as a result gods simple can’t exist in our universe!

“The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory is spearheading the completely new field of gravitational wave astronomy and opening a whole new window on the universe. LIGO’s exquisitely sensitive instruments may ultimately take us farther back in time than we’ve ever been, catching, perhaps, the first murmurs of the universe in formation.”

The challenge of gravitational wave detection (pdf).

LIGO Caltech | LIGO Wikipedia

Posted in Belief Stricken, Complex Systems, Gravity, Hard Science, Humbled by Nature, Ideas Crazy Enough to Have a Chance, Ignorance to Knowledge, Intelligent Designer - Yeah Right, Majestic Universe, Proof God Can NOT Exist, Proofs, Religion, Science Education, Science Missions, Some Intelligent Designer, Space Travel, Video, Yikes! The sky is NOT falling! | Leave a Comment »

Matter tells space how to curve, and space tells matter how to move

Posted by pwl on March 16, 2009

Matter tells space how to curve, and space tells matter how to move.” — John Wheeler (physicist)

Posted in Complex Systems, Ethics in Science, Gravity, Hard Science, Humbled by Nature, Intelligent Designer - Yeah Right, Majestic Universe, Science Education, Video | Leave a Comment »

 
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