"Just Listen & You'll Hear"

Think you're pro-life? 65 people starve to death every minute. In 2010 America will spend about 758 billion dollars on military and homeland security, or about 22,187 dollars for each of the 34 million people who will die of starvation this year. If you're pro life, take whatever time energy and resources you are willing to donate towards your movement, and redirect it to these starvation victims. It will be a much easier battle, save far more lives, and won't contribute to social conflicts.

8·9·10 (!)
So here are some more thoughts on the whole "end result of capitalism" problem I'm always blathering on about. First, I recently noticed a compensating effect by which new jobs are invented, usually due to new technology that enables humans to contribute to corporations in a new way, (e.g., computers allow us to make all sorts of nifty charts easily—more seriously, they allow us to perform complex analysis tasks that we couldn't have carried out by hand previously). 

Second, I recently heard an advertisement for a radio story about farming cooperation, where a bunch of volunteers pick from a list of small farms and then show up on a scheduled day to help out. At least thats what the story sounded like. It's easy to imagine some work remaining human simply because humans enjoy it, doing it in their free time, free of charge. This is one way leisure time can be filled productively.

Thirdly, this article in the NYTimes  (use bugmenot if you want to try to avoid registered login), this article points out a certain demographic which seems to be valuing a less consumerist oriented lifestyle. I think this indicates two things (though the article doesn't really comment on either of them), one, that we have reached (maybe surpassed) a saturating point about material possessions, and the happiness incurred by reducing those things is statistically significant! And second, ———must finish reading the article first! Four pages, not one... also I forgot the second point I wanted to make—too many distractions.

There is talk amongst his enemies, of Christopher Hitchens experiencing a "deathbed conversion". Upon reflection, it's humorous to imagine that a human's decline from a healthy state to the moment of death would carry with it an increase in mental facilities of some sort, mostly because the opposite is so painfully obvious. Case in point, dementia, Alzheimer's, senility, these are all brain disorders leading to decreased cognitive capacity, and also strongly correlated with age. Case example, Kurt Gödel, among the most brilliant of logicians of all time, responsible for some very important 20th century results in mathematics grew severely paranoid as he aged. In one incident, a friend found him freezing in his home in (I presume NJ) winter, with all the windows open, convinced the KGB was filling his house with poisonous gas. He didn't die of "natural" causes, he starved to death. He did not trust anyone to cook for him except his wife, so when she fell ill and could not cook for him anymore, he simply did not eat. Even if a vocal atheist were to provide a deathbed conversion example, for these reasons, (as well as he fact that arguments from personal revelations are vacuous), there can be no value to it. 

Wait a second! Can we reformulate the position momentum uncertainty principle as a position/time uncertainty principle? And then we also have an energy time one? Can we view all this as time being fuzzy? Maybe not, I need to go check. Cause "fuzzy time" seems right up the alley of event horizons and gravity... update 9·15·10: This all seems too simple and obvious to actually have any meaning and yet have gone unnoticed. I need to stop thinking about complicated matters that I am not well trained in late at night.

"Tapping the earths enerkachoo."
"The horse says 'doctorate denied'."
"Something sinister won't build itself."

Ha ha ha ha ha! 
To all you intelligent conservatives out there, please, get a handle on this. Conservapedia isn't just making conservatives look stupid and ignorant, it's making them look absurdly ridiculous and paranoid as well. Compare Conservapedia's relativity denialism with this article.

It baffles me that they would dare challenge relativity. Andy must either be crazy, or clinically paranoid. He should realize that when his young followers take an interest in the lies of relativity, they are much more likely to find the millions of supportive papers and articles and related topics, with every degree of comprehensibility, and details ranging from the broad ideas down to the most specific nuances, all of the experiments and real life applications. Compared to his paltry claim of liberal conspiracy. 

"Science cannot move forward without heaps!"
"Dude, I bid you a fond cowabunga! I'm off to laugh with the reaper!"

Hitchens speaking about deathbed conversions:
"the idea that I would make a pact, or a wager, with the supernatural in which I don't believe, in the sort of fearful hope of better treatment… suggests that what people must think of their god is that he is either a fraud, or a monster. That he would smile on that kind of plea, and that kind of uh, loss of dignity."

To argue that we won't ever reproduce the human brain is to argue that some aspect of it is either unknowable, or un-build-able. But we know it can be built, (since the body builds it "naturally"), and it's hard to imagine that an aspect of it could possibly be unknowable, since the entirety is right there in front of us, at any stage of it's development.

It's interesting how many charity organizations we have dedicated to fighting currently incurable disease. Not that I oppose such organizations, it's just that there are so many other causes of suffering & death around the world that are immediately preventable, and which if we were to solve would result in huge savings. That is, instead of invading foreign nations and destroying their infrastructure, in the name of eliminating enemies, how about we flood foreign nations with aid, in the name of making friends? We've spent 743 billion dollars on Iraq. Sure Saddam was a terrible man, having committed the most serious of war crimes in the 80s, having seized power in a horrible way, and having suppressed dissident in the most despicable of ways. But most of his citizens had electricity! Oddly, it was after the first gulf war that Iraq's healthcare system went down the tubes.

I've written a few times before about how many people asked me about the LHC & black holes, leading up to the starting of the particle collider. But a new explanation suddenly occurs to me. People like to imagine black holes in space as being vacuum cleaners, sucking up any celestial body that wanders too near. But space is very, very large. Most of everything is empty space, whether you look at an atom, or a handful of atoms, or the solar system, or the galaxy. It's "power on all scales".

How do we verify that mass is exactly additive? In fact, with relativity, it's not constant (it transforms according to the specified inertial reference frame).

Forced to choose between your religious beliefs, and the life of someone you love dearly, which would you choose? Do the religious answer this question as easily as atheists? I would argue no, not at all. Many religious people, when faced to choose between their beliefs, and accepting a friend/child's homosexuality, choose their faith and reject their friend/child. (That's not to say there aren't plenty of religious people who accept homosexuality, nor to say there aren't atheist homophobes.)

"The result is that about two and a half of the thirteen pounds of plutonium in the pit, (about 20% of the 6.2 kilograms (14 lb) ) fissioned, and converted probably less than 1 gram (0.035 oz) of mass into energy, releasing the energy equivalent of 21 kilotons of TNT or 88 TJ."
Or about 722,000 gallons of gasoline. Update 9·16·10: this is why many people advocate nuclear power playing a role in the reduction of fossil fuel usage, because the energy released by fission (though far less efficient in an actual power reactor), is just insane—that 6.2 kg of Pu only takes up about 1.4 cups of space. This is also the reason why though breeder reactors greatly increase the power generated per amount of fissile material, there are great concerns of proliferation, since breeder reactors would increase the amount of bomb-ready material dramatically. (And we literally have to keep track of every kilogram of the stuff.)

The music here is so awesomely dramatic.
This is a longer documentary on monkeys, with many more interesting facts and behaviors, but also the dramatic scenes of nut cracking. And the stuff about dropping rocks on the cats!

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence," is not always true. When the doctor calls you back and says you tested negative for disease X, she's telling you the search for evidence (the test), turned up no evidence. Obviously this is usually interpreted as good evidence of absence.

You can define marriage as between a man and a woman. And you can define voting as something white men do. And you can define non-white people as property. And in every case, you're treating one person as having more rights than others, effectively denying humans equal status. I don't get it, the progress of human rights has such obvious extensions, and yet people resist every fucking step of the way, even though in retrospect it's appalling to think that it was once acceptable to buy and sell other people. Even though that was only 150 fucking years ago! And interracial marriage was illegal only 43 years ago. For whatever reason, it takes humans a very long time to open their eyes to the obvious. Open your eyes!

"Freaquel Rights"

Draw map of inconsistencies in religion, small chains of logic that don't really fit together.
Draw map of scientific interpretation over top of all the small chains, showing they fit together fine.
A support group/relief fund for priests & others affected and afflicted by/with religion.

"This is the dangedest wang I've ever doodled." —Bubblegum Tate.

When someone says, "I can't imagine living in a world where god didn't exist", or something to that effect, are they saying they have too little faith in humanity to imagine we don't have a supreme ruler somewhere? Are they saying they have too little faith in themselves? Or instead of faith, confidence in their own abilities to make the world a better place? Maybe they're saying they don't want to live in a world where they have no chance of a pleasant eternity afterwards, like heaven, but is that any different than a child saying they wouldn't want to live in a world where santa didn't exist to give them gifts each year? Although I don't like my finite lifespan, I'm glad to know that there is no one so evil as to damn a fraction of my fellow humans to eternal suffering. Which I would find even more excruciating were I to find myself in the oddly rewarded heaven group. But regardless of all that, I aspire to leave this world in an even better condition than I found it, for whoever follows me. And in general, humans have done that. We've eliminated nearly every source of suffering that nature ever threw at us. Except one another. We don't fear being eaten—a fear most organisms battle daily, for their entire lives. We've manipulated our food supply to the point of common obesity, shaping both animals and plants into high-energy sources of nourishment, virtually eliminating the threat of starvation, another threat to every other organism on the planet, every day of their existence. We have mostly mitigated the dangers of weather, extending our habitat far beyond our natural hides would allow. We've even eradicated some of the most devastating and brutal diseases ever to afflict humankind. But I'm not sure we've made a lot of progress on the "don't kill each other". Unfortunately we've gotten much more efficient at that, and possibly even more frequent, though it's hard to say, with history's wild ups-and-downs of genocide. On the bright side, globally we have a policy of not condoning genocide, and slavery, and often the global community takes positive action in response to such actions, though we're not that great at it, and we do still ignore a lot of obvious human rights abuse. But it's improved!

People are often fond of saying "anything's possible", and "science has been wrong in the past, it could (or will!) be wrong again in the future", as if tomorrow up could be down. But most things cannot be, as they have been ruled out by observation. A trivial example is the solar system. For thousands of years, primitive humans believed Earth to be the center of the universe, and believed Jupiter orbited the Earth. Better observations ruled out such a model, and no new evidence will ever allow that model in, unless we rewrite the definition of orbit, which is obviously different than science being wrong. Isaac Asimov has an excellent essay I've probably linked before.

I don't understand people's concept of the supernatural, for logical reasons. I have trouble seeing room for something inaccessible to scientific probing and yet influential to the physical world. It seems to me that anything that happens must in fact be within the laws of nature, and any time those laws appear violated, it is merely an indicator that our model of those laws is incomplete (which as a physicist I find very exciting).
It's not even that I demand proof of the claim of the existence of the supernatural, long before that I want a logical explanation. It's as if you told me you had an object that was both very nearly spherical, and very nearly cubical, simultaneously. Obviously these two properties contradict one another, and I wouldn't bother asking to see such an object, I'd first want to know how it is someone can think both definitions can be satisfied simultaneously, without contradiction.

Where is my list of amazing science facts?
Including: trees are made primarily of air.
The earth is round.
There are more molecules of water in a cup than there are cups of water on the planet.
Nine out of ten cells in your body are not you.

Someone somewhere recently said that intelligence is not selected for. But that is completely incorrect! We most certainly were naturally selected, and it was clearly only our intelligence that was selected for—in the few million years we've been diverging from the other monkeys we've dramatically increased our intelligence and all but lost every other physical advantage we may ever have had. (Maybe walking upright? Maybe opposable thumbs?) And boy has the selection been driven far; we are the only species with any shot of surviving the death of our planet, or the foresight to prevent ourselves from causing our own extinction.

"On the first date? You know I'm not that kind of indescribable horror."
Ha ha ha ha, "there is no god."

Hmm… how about a program that takes photos or video and makes 3d models, then makes prints for paper to print & assemble the models?

I think I might heavily suffer from the false consensus effect
And an over-blown sense of concern for others' wellbeing makes me feel like I live inside the Abilene paradox.
"Moreover, novelty triggers attraction." I got that going for me.
But don't discount the role of inaction.

I was reading about plutonium today, and apparently the sum total of North Korea's plutonium production should be less than 70 kilograms (154 lbs). Some of this was used in the bomb they blew up, while the rest of it should still be lying around, with small amounts left in the filtering process equipment. Based on measurements of such equipment, the IAEA should be able to determine whether or not the amount they claim to have made is really what they made, and therefore whether it's all there or not. Though I have to wonder, what is to stop them from mixing it with a combination of say, tungsten and iridium, which would deceivingly increase its weight, so they could divert the rest off to a secret project? Thats how impossible it really is to track this stuff. A study advocated that the IAEA reduce its "significant quantity" (SQ) from the current 8 kg down to 1 kg (2.2 lbs), since a technologically advanced society can build a 1 kiloton yield device with only 1 kg of Pu. (A poor tech society needs 3 kg min for a bomb.) It's also worth noting that the whole 70 kg would only take up about a gallon of space. And there is about 500 tons of Pu on the planet. Oops. If the arms race and nuclear weapons stockpiling doesn't qualify as clinical insanity, what possibly could?

I want to switch to multiple posts a day, instead of one long ridiculous post every few weeks or months. I wonder if I'll do that. My wrist hurts a lot.

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