Some Thinking

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Thinking

First Thing

It’s about damn time I started blogging again. I’m starting to feel better, and I’ve been pondering a few things.

On Quanta

One of these is the matter of quanta in physics (singular quantum) and what they imply. In physics a quantum is the very smallest thing that can be. Nothing can be any smaller. Funny thing is, I don’ see where the actual size of a quantum is dealt with, and you’d think that would be important. We’re not talking about anything abstract here, but rather the rather concrete.

So I’m taking a quantum as being the smallest volume of spacetime there can be. In the concrete that is, the abstract is another matter.

Now in standard physics quanta are supposed to be what lies beneath spacetime. I’m thinking that quanta is spacetime at it’s smallest dimension, and it is what each quantum can do and how the quanta interact that determines the basic structure of existence. That is a whole ‘nother post, so you get to wait for it.

Suffice it to say there is more to be said.

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There Are Two Proposals Actually

A proposed aerial cable car system that would take people from the San Diego Bay to Balboa Park was reviewed Friday and a report gave a sneak peek at what the so-called “Skyway” might look like.

Source: Plans Revealed for San Diego “Skyway” Ride From Bay to Balboa Park – NBC 7 San Diego

This is one of two proposed aerial tramways, the other planned for the airport to the convention center. There is one already in operation, but that one is restricted to the zoo.

I expect there will be opposition, what with the possibility of construction disrupting things, accidents, and suicides as people find ways to circumvent precautions against jumpers, for we are an inventive animal when motivated.

Here now is the link to the alternate, The route appears to be a bit more complicated than the others, but my concerns regarding disruptions and suicides still holds.

I’m also thinking that the two skyways could be connected, allowing people to travel from airport to zoo without once touching the ground.

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Physicists Model Electrons in Unprecedented Detail — Spoiler Alert: They’re Round

Subatomic particles that have never been seen aren’t quite like what some scientists predicted.

Source: Physicists Model Electrons in Unprecedented Detail — Spoiler Alert: They’re Round

I suspect that electrons are spheres because the sub-electron particles that make them up produce a  blur that we can’t focus on at the moment. That is, we can’t get a sharp enough focus on the sub-electrons to distinguish them.

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‘Broadband’ Networks of Viruses May Help Bacteria Evolve Faster | Quanta Magazine

Illuminating mathematics, physics, biology and computer science research through public service journalism.

Source: ‘Broadband’ Networks of Viruses May Help Bacteria Evolve Faster | Quanta Magazine

And what of eukaryotes?

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Have You Considered?

We all have our comfort zones. I know I do—that being by myself away from others, and I know that most people would rather stay safe and secure where they can be sure of what they know even if it is wrong.

For the typical person in the 16th century the safe zone included the belief that the Sun orbited the Earth, the geocentric model of the universe. But not Nicholas Copernicus. He didn’t think that God would so exalt Man as to put him at the center of the Universe, but that instead the Sun would be at the century with the Earth on the periphery as it were.

Western Europe was at the time at the beginning of the scientific revolution. Which meant that a lot of people insisted on evidence, on proof. Some astronomers say a problem with Nick’s idea, other said that it made sense. So they made observations and came to conclusions.

Now as part of his proposal Copernicus insisted that the planetary orbits were perfect circles because that is how God would do things. However, what the other astronomers saw was no such thing. Predictions were made as to when Jupiter say would be in the sky, and Jove just didn’t show up when he was supposed to.

Then the German astronomer Johann Kepler took the work of his late mentor Tycho Brahe, made some observations of his own, and did some math. Though he did make mistakes, which he did try to correct.

When he was done his conclusion was that far from being perfect circles the planet’s orbits were ellipses, including Earth’s. As you could expect his contemporaries disagreed, and went to put his work to the test.

They found his mistakes and corrected them. They made their own observations, did their own math, and came to the conclusion, “Damn, he’s right.”. The universe they knew was Sun centered with all the planets orbiting it in elliptical orbits. Then centuries later we discover that rather then orbiting the Sun, each planet orbits a center of gravity they have in common with old Sol, an orbit that happens to be a perfect circle. Though that’s not really God’s work, but more because of the laws of motion.

When you get right down to it, Copernicus took a trip outside a comfort zone and as a result how we see reality changed immensely.

Darwin did the same thing in biology, though he relied a lot on the evidence gathered by himself and others. His theory of evolution was not a leap of faith as was Copernicus’ declaration, but a cautious step into the unknown, supported by as much data as he could gather. Still, he has been proven to be write, and even a number of creationists have accepted his work, albeit in heavily mangled form.

And that brings us to the Sasquatch and the Yeti. I remember the early days of the controversy, because scientists insisted there could be no such animals. Apes didn’t live in the mountains—not cold mountains that is, and they had no way of crossing the Bering Strait.

Then people started seeing yeti in the Russian taiga, and it occurred to us that the Straits haven’t always been there. And the fact, last I heard, that Beringia was at the time ice free. No ice fields of any kind at all.

But who was, or were, the ancestor or ancestors?

Some have proposed Giganthropithecus, though it would appear that that genus went extinct long before the Ice Ages leaving no descendants. However, keep in mind that only about 0.1% of all life has left behind anything we can study. Last I heard, within a few thousand years the U.S. population of currently 350 million people won’t leave enough material for a single specimen. You get right down to it, it’s entirely possible the Yeti and Sasquatch do have ancestor, just ones who haven’t been preserved. My conclusion is, they are possible.

But, accepting them is outside our comfort zone. Such things just can’t be. Like the Sun being at the center of the Solar System and descent through modification in biology. We feel safe in our comfort zones—I know I do, and it takes real courage to brave the unknown.

That said, there are rewards for taking the road less travelled, and at least some creationists have compromised with Darwin.

So speaking as an autistic iconoclast I give you my formal permission to be daring. Check the subjects I mentioned above out, especially the state of Beringia about 30,000 years ago. And remember the most important word a scientist needs to know, “Oops.”

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Much to My Surprise

BrainNet allows collaborative problem-solving using direct brain-to-brain communication.

Source: The first “social network” of brains lets three people transmit thoughts to each other’s heads – MIT Technology Review

Gregory Benford is prescient.

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