Reality is just a thought?

This has been all over the net for years.  I still love it tho:

In the article Scientists Claim the Universe is a Giant Brain, they rely on a whole bunch of circumstantial evidence that the universe, as we know it, is actually a huge brain.  Well, a lot of stuff in the universe does look like brain stuff.  But, a lot of it looks like sand and dirt as well.  Hard to go terribly far with that concept.  But, it’s still cool to ponder.  And, oddly enough, that concept has actually been around a while in slightly different formats. 2001: A Space Odyssey, the book, basically implied that the “gods” were merely a body-less mind with super-powers.  Their desire to become physical was embodied by Dave Bowman’s transformation into the Starchild.  In essence, they were nothing more than a brain.  They probably looked like that pic up there.


Is the universe a giant brain?

Nastier Storms?

( Originally posted August 1, 2005, on Spacedream. )

I read this article in the Lexington Herald this morning:

The accumulated power of Atlantic hurricanes has more than doubled in the past 30 years, witha particularly dramatic spike since 1995, and global warming probably is a major cause, according to a study to be published this week…..

Though a connection between global warming and hurricane ferocity might seem logical, the report by a reputable climatologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the first to draw a statistical relationship between the two.

OK, there’s the foregone conclusion that there are more and more powerful hurricanes in the last 30 years. global warming’s to blame. No if’s, and’s, or but’s. However, I have an issue with this whole article. ( Surprised? ) Let’s start with the, I would assume, equally reputable National Weather Service. I am going to use their data to get to the point I have. I am not a reputable climatologist at MIT, so someone feel more than free to help me out here. OK? Here we go:

Here is the graph from NOAA of Atlantic hurricanes by decade:

 DECADE  Category  ALL  Major
 1  2  3  4  5  1,2,3,4,5  3,4,5
1851-1859 7 4 4 1 0 16 5
1860-1869 5 8 2 0 0 15 1
1870-1879 8 5 6 0 0 19 6
1880-1889 11 9 4 1 0 25 5
1890-1899 8 5 5 2 0 20 7
1900-1909 10 2 4 1 0 17 5
1910-1919 8 6 4 3 0 21 7
1920-1929 7 3 3 2 0 15 5
1930-1939 9 4 3 1 1 18 5
1940-1949 7 8 6 2 0 23 8
1950-1959 8 1 8 2 0 19 10
1960-1969 4 5 3 2 1 15 6
1970-1979 6 2 4 0 0 12 4
1980-1989 9 2 4 1 0 16 5
1990-1999 2 7 4 0 1 14 5
2000-2009 8 4 6 1 0 19 7
2010-2012 3 0 0 0 0 3 0

That’s a lot of data.  So, I simplified it some.  Since the assumption is hurricanes are getting more powerful, I made a power index in descending order by decade.  This is what you get:

Decade Avg Power
1940-1949 4.9
1880-1889 4.5
1910-1919 4.4
1950-1959 4.2
1890-1899 4.1
2000-2009 3.8
1870-1879 3.6
1960-1969 3.6
1930-1939 3.5
1990-1999 3.3
1851-1859 3.1
1900-1909 3
1920-1929 3
1980-1989 2.9
1860-1869 2.7
1970-1979 2.2
2010-2012 1

Whew. NOW I see it. If you take the average power by year, the last decade ranks at the top if you disregard the previous decades.

Folks, this “research” by MIT is so bogus is pathetic. It then even drew conclusions for the future based on this conclusion they reach by ignoring the previous 100 years:

The 2005 season, with a record seven named storms by July 23, provides unpleasant support for that conclusion.

Now, the article does go on to cite some criticisms of Kerry Emanuel. They show that Emanuel cherry picked his data to come to his conclusions. Well DUH!

This is the worst “research” I may have ever seen in my life.

Think about this folks, 2 of 2005’s named storms, that Emanuel cites as evidence to support his conclusion, never made landfall. How much does he want to stake on a guarantee that SOME major storms in the not-too-distant past were never observed?  What Emanuel has actually done is prove that there is:

  • Scientists willing to skew data to push their philosophical agenda, and:
  • Media more than willing to print anything to push their philosophical agenda.

That’s all this research does.

Hell, I won’t even go into the days I recall when people were concerned about a lack of hurricanes in the 90′s.

Another decade has passed since this original post.  The facts have only damned Kerry Emanuel’s claim.  This current decade has seen ZERO major hurricanes and only a hand full of minor hurricanes.  I’m sure MIT rebutted Emanuel’s “findings” at some point.  I’m too lazy to look for it. ( And equally sure MIT didn’t.  Debunking bogus Global Warming claims isn’t very high on academia’s priorities. Especially with this President’s administration. )

Atlantis Found?

( Originally posted February 20, 2009, on Spacedream. )

This is pretty cool. Not sure what exactly it is tho.


Now, some are speculating it’s Atlantis. Seems a little farfetched to me for several reasons. First of all, let’s look at what Atlantis supposedly looked like:

‘At the centre of the island, near the sea, was a plain, said to be the most beautiful and fertile of all plains, and near the middle of this plain about fifty stades inland a hill of no great size… There were two rings of land and three of sea, like cartwheels, with the island at their centre and equidistant from each other… in the centre was a shrine sacred to Poseidon and Cleito, surrounded by a golden wall through which entry was fobidden…

There was a temple to Poseidon himself, a stade in length, three hundred feet wide, and proportionate in height, though somewhat outlandish in appearance. The outside of it was covered all over in silver, except for the figures on the pediment which were covered with gold… Round the temple were statues of all the original ten kings and their wives, and many others dedicated by kings and private persons belonging to the city and its dominions…’

On each of these ring islands they had built many temples for different gods, and many gardens and areas for exercise, some for men and some for horses… Finally, there were dockyards full of triremes and their equipment, all in good shape…’

Now, the problem we have here immediately is this thing is a rectangle, not circular in any way. Now, this rectangle in itself is not necessarily a problem, but the size of it is. It’s 100 miles wide. In order for it to fit the description Plato gives Atlantis, the circular rings would have to be HUGE. Probably 1,000 miles wide in order to fit a 100 mile wide object in it. In simpler terms, it would have to be the size of the United States in width.

It’s an interesting feature for sure. Now, Google doesn’t substantiate anything it gets. It gets it straight from the source. There’s no way that I know of other than contacting the source of the pictures to see if it’s accurate, an anomaly, a corrupted piece of data, or what. But, if anyone wants to give me a million bucks or so, I’d love to go down there and see what it is!

Heck, no sooner than I post this CNET has to come right behind me and ruin it all:

Bathymetric (or sea floor terrain) data is often collected from boats using sonar to take measurements of the sea floor. The lines reflect the path of the boat as it gathers the data.

Life on Enceladus?

I LOVE Enceladus! Seriously, I do. On March 3, 2006, I wrote this:

The big tease that wasn’t ( thanks to Matt Drudge ignoring posting protocol ), is that there is LIFE ON ENCELADUS!

Well, that’s not exactly proven. There is apparently, very strong evidence of liquid water.

See those plumes shooting off Enceladus? Those are apparently ice crystals. What makes this situation unique is that they think there is water below the surface feeding those plumes. Now, on Earth, where there’s water, there’s ALWAYS life.
But, this isn’t Earth we’re talking about. It’s a 500km moon of Saturn. Sure, it’s got water, and it may be heated by some internal mechanism like volcanic activity. But, it gets very little sunlight and the water is under a solid sheet of ice. Whatever might be living down there, in the millions of years Enceladus has been around, would still have most likely evolved no more than microbes.
Now, I’m one of those people that’s certain there’s advanced life out there. So, I’m not going to be shocked when we do find microbes on other planets or moons. Finding water is cool. But to me, that’s all it is. And, contrary to some of the buzz yesterday, it’s certainly no guarantee that life exists on Enceladus.
We do however, need to go there and find out for sure!

But I don’t stop there!  On June 23, 2011, I obsessed even more:

Enceladus has always been my #1 favoritist place to look for life.  It’s not all that far away, and it seems to have a rather active geology:

Now, we get this:

Data from Cassini’s cosmic dust analyzer show the grains expelled from fissures, known as tiger stripes, are relatively small and predominantly low in salt far away from the moon. But closer to the moon’s surface, Cassini found that relatively large grains rich with sodium and potassium dominate the plumes. The salt-rich particles have an “ocean-like” composition and indicate that most, if not all, of the expelled ice and water vapor comes from the evaporation of liquid salt water.

That little moon just keeps getting cooler and cooler all the time.  Wonder when Virgin Galactic will start taking vacation trips there?

NOW we get this:

The scientists determined that the ocean is likely salty and quite basic, with a pH of 11 or 12 — roughly equivalent to that of ammonia-based glass-cleaning solutions, but still within the tolerance range of some organisms on Earth. (The pH scale runs from 0 to 14. Seven is neutral; anything higher is basic, and anything lower is acidic.) 

Enceladus’ subsurface sea contains dissolved sodium chloride (NaCl) — run-of-the-mill table salt — just as Earth’s oceans do, researchers said. But it’s full of sodium carbonate (Na2CO3), which is also known as washing soda or soda ash, as well.

Not exactly Aruba, but definitely has potential for life of some sort.  Can NOT wait for a serious probe to explore subterranean Enceladus.  Screw Mars, this, and Europa, are the place to be.

<a href="" title="Is there life on Enceladus?">Is there life on Enceladus?</a>

Charlie Chaplin and the time traveler?

This was voted Youtube’s Phenomenon of the Year for 2010.  With good reason.  This is the original version of the story.  There’s a thousand copies on Youtube now, but I prefer to salute the originator of anything.  As such, it’s a little longer and wordier than it needs to be.  So, if you’re as impatient as I usually am, skip to 2:42 for the good stuff.  Carefully watch the fat person in the black coat.

OK, definitely a wtf moment for sure. From a science perspective I got two problems with it. First of all, I don’t believe in going backwards in time. Slowing it down, maybe. But going backwards? Not possible. Do the real math.

Secondly, even IF a person had time traveled back to 1928 from a point in the future where both time machines AND cell phones existed, it wouldn’t have done them much good being as cell phone support structure wouldn’t exist for another 70 years. There are no towers. And, in the not too distant future, people won’t be holding cell phones to their ears.

So, for what it’s worth, the video is not what it appears to be. Today, it looks like someone talking on their cell phone. Reality has shifted perception. It most likely was a 1920’s hearing aid.

Originally posted 10/28/2010 on

That Russian Progress issue

Click the button to make this video full screen.  Press go and see how long it takes you to figure out what’s going wrong with the Russian Progress 59 supply ship.

It returned to Earth harmlessly yesterday, burning up on the way down to the Pacific Ocean. I’m still waiting a little while longer before buying my space-flight vacation tickets.

Strange outer space signal that baffled Australian scientists turns out to be microwave oven

Gotta love days like these:

Scientists discover that unusual signals long detected at a radio telescope in Australia – which were thought to be from space – were caused by the site’s microwave oven.

But what has to really add insult to injury is that the mysterious “signal” that had been eluding them since 1998, was figured out by a PhD student.

SR-71 Blackbird

Just for the record, my favorite “airplane” of all time is the SR-71 Blackbird.

Able to do 2,193 mph at 80,000+ feet, everything else just seems to be very inadequate. The last one was retired in 1999. They have one on display at the Udvzr-Hazy Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

SR-71 at the Udvar-Hazy Museum

Don’t tell security, but I have touched that one, more than once.

With the advent of stealth technology and the ability of satellites to zoom in on things, the need for speed has pretty much killed off the super-exciting jets the military had in the past.  They go fast, don’t get me wrong, but not the mind-numbing crazy speeds of Mach 3.5 or so.


Flash Light – Atomic Dog

Push play, then read the rest.

Uptown Funk has been a huge hit for Bruno Mars et al. I’ll admit I’ve enjoyed the song. Not so much because it’s a musical masterpiece, but because it very obviously gives a nod to a sound that used to be a HUGE part of my youth.

If you’ve made it this far, press play again and keep reading.

You didn’t go to a school function when I was in high school without bumping to Atomic Dog. In college, you did something else. But, every single disco in the USA played Atomic Dog. At least once. And every time they did, I was on the dance floor. I didn’t always dance a lot. But when Atomic Dog came on, I was out there. If Atomic Dog wrapped up the evening, I probably had a date. If Flash Light wrapped it up, I might be OK. But Atomic Dog was the deal maker.

I finally got to see George Clinton/Parliament at Beale Street a few years ago. It was a good show. It was fun. For something with that lofty expectations, that was more than I expected.

Bruno is doing himself well emulating George Clinton. Real funkin well.