Archive for Science

Ring of Fire, HAHAHAHAHA, Sorry.

Posted in Entertainment, Movies, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2015 by urbannight

This little disaster movie must be made for t.v. because it is a two-part movie.  The human drama was pretty good in most places, a bit melodramatic in others.  The writing for most of it wasn’t bad.  The science is pretty awful.

An oil company is secretly using a new laser drilling system to drill over twice as deep as they are legally allowed.  They are after what they think is a pocket of oil.  The geologist who signed off on it, but only at the legal depth, is aware of the target but had identified it is compressed magma.  Which it turns out to be.  The volcanic structure of the area is a caldera type volcano with a number of towns that had been built-in the caldera.

This is part of the ring of fire and they expect it to trigger an extinction level event.  In fact, they keep talking about and counting down to one massive event happening all around the entire tectonic/volcanic area called the Ring of Fire.  This is a massive area going around in a circle on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

At least they are having some of the initial events related to this having occurred around five months before.  But this one break through into the magma chamber has destabilized the entire Ring in a matter of hours and they are expecting the entire ring to start erupting all at one time in under a day.

Now, when I was in college and minoring in Geology, there was a theory that something could set off the Ring of Fire.  But not in the way depicted in this movie.  It would take something very massive and if it triggered any part of the ring it would only  be certain parts.  That might trigger other sections.  By trigger it was only in the sense that it would increase the tectonic and/or volcanic (although both are intrinsically related) activity in the area which might be enough to trigger eruptions or might not be.

Theoretically, something might possibly be able to trigger the ring in stages and it might cause eruptions, eventually, in stages, but nothing that would go off all at one time or that could trigger a mass extinction event.

HP Lovecraft and Religion, a few thoughts as I drove to work.

Posted in Literature, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 22, 2015 by urbannight

HP LovecraftHPL often makes the religious most susceptible to madness in his stories. They turn into absolute wrecks when confronted with things out of the ordinary. These things are not supernatural in nature and the person’s religious actions to protect them do not work. His creatures are natural but either ancient, alien, or trans-dimensional. So he is basing his monsters/creatures on science (or science fiction) that we don’t understand. The implication is that religious people are weak minded to start with.
Yet many times he has people who were more rational and non-religious go to religious authority figures for help when strange things start to happen to them or around them. It is like he is saying that it is human nature to turn to religion when confronted by the unknown or the unknowable. Of course, anything suggested by or provided by these religious figures always fails. HPL’s views of religious are well known.
His stories reflect a concept that those who are religious and depend on religion to start with are weak minded individuals but even those with stronger mental fortitude will turn to religion when faced with the unknown, that it is basic human nature. But since God doesn’t really exist, religion cannot solve the strange problems caused by life forms that science was unable to identify or that came from other places. But people’s reliance on religion makes using religion an easy way to take over a community in order to control people for ulterior goals.
In fact, as I sit here running stories through my head, I can only think of one that uses a supernatural horror instead of one that could be considered natural if unknown or unearthly. That is Dreams in the Witch House. There may be others that I would find if I sat down and flipped through more stories. That’s just an off the top of my head recall.
The fact that his horror seldom uses magical causes actually increases the horror. The idea that the world is much bigger and stranger than we can see in our ordinary reality and those things have no care for the structure of the world as we see it and have created it for ourselves is a more terrifying concept than supernatural horrors.

You might think of urine as liquid gold – or just a little gross.

Posted in Health, History, Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 6, 2014 by urbannight

Urine is surprisingly useful.  The saying, “full of piss” once referred to having white teeth.  It was used to brush the teeth with to whiten and clean the teeth an mouth by Romans and Europeans used it to clean the house as it was better at cleaning and brightening objects than the soaps of the day were.  In fact, this is why Romans also used it at public laundry facilities.  Ammonia is a base and therefore good at neutralizing stains which were usually caused by things that were more acidic.

The dying and tanning industries were also collecting and using urine because of it’s cleaning and brightening properties and that it helped get other biological matter off leather while making it softer.  It was also used on and industrial scale to make explosives and gunpowder.

Modern science is using it to regrow teeth (China), make fuel (Nigeria) and create medications for use in hormone therapy, improved composting, and NASA filters it for drinking water in space.

I thought this would be longer, but a lot of the uses I remember being told turned out to be untrue.  Mostly the first aid related uses.  Such as peeing on injuries to clean them.  Which could be used if there were no water sources nearby.  It is only sterile inside the body, it becomes contaminated with bacteria on the way out.  But in swampy areas, polluted areas, and areas with no water source, it could still be used as it could be the cleanest water nearby.  Some water poor areas still use animal urine to wash up in because it does have cleaning properties and water for drinking is too valuable to use for bathing.

Printable Electronics! Woot!

Posted in Science, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2013 by urbannight

printed%20electronics_sI’ve been complaining about the cost of electronics for a while.  I keep waiting for electronics to go down in price but, thanks to Apple, we now have a culture in which a new and expensive upgrade comes out at about the same time when something should be coming down in price.  There is no gap in between anymore.  Support for older devices is vanishing earlier and software developers are abandoning users of older items faster than ever.


This is why I decided to skip the entire smart phone phenomenon and have a no-nonsense mp3 player.  I refuse to be an iSheep and I’m not playing the ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’ game.


The issue is silicon and copper based parts which are expensive and require special equipment to produce and install.  There are organic and plastic variations that are less expensive, but also less effective.  At least until now.


These new, printable, polymers can be “brushed over a surface to create a thin-layer of film capable of carrying an uninterrupted charge.”




They are looking to use these in LED displays or in the coating for solar cells.  Hopefully, this will start to make some electronics more affordable. 


I keep hoping for the days when tech is so available and affordable that people can easily afford high tech equipment even as they live in hole in the wall dives and the ease of affordability makes the tech not worth stealing.  I read too much cyberpunk as a developing child.

Zombie Worms

Posted in Education, Science with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2013 by urbannight

Reading an article on a whale skeleton found in Antarctica, it mentioned ‘zombie worms’. The name is great but how does a worm without a mouth eat? I had to look it up.

Its actual name is Osedax and they seem to be a bright pink with feathery feels all around them, kind of like millipede legs.

Now to the question of the feeding, the drill into the bones. But they don’t have any drilling organs. They excrete acid. How is a good question since they appear not to have organs for that either.

Apparently, those feelers are the ‘drills’ that penetrate the bone and those feeler create and excrete an enzyme that dissolves the bone. The worms have some kind of bacteria that then absorbs the fats and other materials in the bones.

This is a very female dominated creature. Only adult females are found on the rare occasions that they find whale bones. The males don’t leave the larval stage and live inside a ‘gelatinous tube covering part of the female’. The only purpose for the male is to fertilize the eggs the female lays. It is interesting that the male actually can fertilize anything since they never make it to the adult stage. The female can house hundreds of these males.

Apparently, once a worm settles into a bone she starts producing eggs continually. (They eat, they reproduce, why am I suddenly thinking about Tribbles) The article that is supposed to explain how they reproduce doesn’t actually say anything else. Since the males live on the female, are the eggs fertilized as they are excreted or the males leave the female to go to the egg deposits and then return. Is it another enzyme excretion?

The worm can swim up to 10 days to find a source of bones to feed on. Found on whale bones, experiments have discovered that the worms will also feed on cow bones and other animals. So they are not as picky as pandas.

This article also shows worms that look very different from the feeding article. There are 5 known varieties so maybe they look a lot different from one another. Anoter article states they are very diverse.

Most of the articles I can find are just direct reprints of the two articles I’ve used here. Google it and you will find the same. I don’t have my books on correct notation forms with me.

Strange Dreams

Posted in Books, Entertainment, Gaming, Life, Movies and Theatre, Science, Technology, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 7, 2012 by urbannight

Lebbeus Woods ship for Aliens 3

(Apologies, I will have to tidy this entry up a bit latter.  But I burnt lunch twice while doing this and I don’t really want to waste anymore food.)

I had a dream about a planet ship built on earth. There was NOTHING really new in this dream.  But that is  usually how the subconscious works.  It pulls from a variety of sources.  Usually from things watched, read, or thought about recently.  Since I’ve been watching comedies and Korean horror, reading fantasy and children’s fantasy, and working on non-fiction and some fantasy, this extremely Sci-Fi focused dream has to have been inspired by the only source of Science Fiction I’ve had the past month.  Thanks StoriesbyWillaims, Sci-fi is invading my sleep.  Also credited are Star Wars the Old Republic and Alpha Centauri.

It was partly built with technology from ‘somewhere else’.  The dream didn’t specify.  Perhaps another planet, fleeing the ravengers came across earth and a joint project enabled the two to build something beyond what their individual technologies would allow.  The technology and programing itself was highly adaptable so that it would update itself.  It was intuitive so that it could see connections between two lines of study and research and be able see where the results could be connected to create new things.  But it stopped just short of being self-determination and self-awareness.  People were loaded onto this craft and sent out into space.

People need purpose so we set up city like communities.  People had homes, jobs, and mostly replicated the normal lives they left behind.  I am myself in this dream and I have no idea what my job was exactly.

We encountered others who needed to be saved and were able to save portions of populations.  The ship ended up in districts where certain, more compatible races, lived.  Shortly after this ship takes off from earth, robotic and medical joint research enables the ship to see a way to create cybernetic bodies and download personalities into them with some reproductive capabilities.  People still desired children. It would massively extend life spans, slow down childbirth rates, control population growth without legislating it, and even enable people to cross over to a different species.

I took advantage of this tech as did many people.  Some people did not.  It was too strange, to scary, or denied God too much.  But most of the overly religious never got onto the ship to start with.

But for some people, the reproductive functions didn’t.  Some people greatly pitied those who realized they would never be able to reproduce.  Some of them fell into a deep despondency.  Other didn’t care.  It created an almost eternal life span for the people to went into it early on. This was soon seen as a flaw and some limitations on life spans were incorporated into the design.  With a long time to live, some who realized they wouldn’t be able procreate took the view that it was simple a matter of time before the weird glitch would be found and corrected.

This saw an upswing in people from less human-like looking races towards more human like races.  Or adapting  the particular physical attributes the races prized most to a more human-like base structure.  Not out of any idea that ‘human’ were better but because, off of the native planets and on a ship, even a planet sized one, it simply had better functionality.

I was in one of the early batches with nearly unlimited life span and ended up in some sort of military capacity.  At a shop one day I ran into the first person I had known in childhood who also made it onto this ship.  Eric Hansen.

Eventually, the districts came to represent different political ideals and world views.  And the natural progression was, of course, war.  It was bad enough having to deal with war between our various ideals but there was also the ravengers to deal with.  As the scientists and the labs were busily churning out research to find a way to deal with them, the ship puts two and two together and creates a new drive and shooting use far away and beyond anyplace we could identify.  And a new internal transport vehicle is produced based on the Kia model my roommate recently bought.

Custom Kia Soul (in my dream, it could fly)

The thing is, during this ‘jump’ the ship pretty much put every one to sleep.  But there were some damages when coming out the other side.  Various areas were woken up at different rates.  Some of the districts took advantage of it to advance their war efforts.

We were fighting off a unit with newly adapted, close quarters weaponry.  Cutting weapons for up close, personal, fighting.  I grabbed two pieces from a downed enemy and was trying to figure out how to use them when a new surge was pushed forward, largely civilian cannon fodder.  I was told to fall back and give them to someone else when I finally got the hang of it.  These were ugly, brutal weapons causing pain and suffering rather than a quick death.  Once I figured them out, it was basically a bloodbath.

Only I don’t like slasher films so my brain, which dreams in vivid, color, movie-like patterns kindly avoided letting me actually see some of that stuff.

Anyway, it was a very detailed, elaborate, drawn out dream with lots of elements from many sci-fi movies, books, and t.v. shows.  Opps, and games.

Inspiring Blog Award

Posted in Art, Books, Entertainment, Food, History, Hobby, Life, Movies and Theatre, Photography, Science, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2012 by urbannight


Hey, I got nominated this!  WOW.  I never thought of myself as inspiring.  The thanks for this nomination go to storiesbywilliams who has an amazing wealth of knowledge about science and science fiction that just puts me in awe.  The amount of research it must take, with the amount of writing and blogging he does, I don’t know how he finds the time to do things like work, eat, sleep, and generally live.  He always reminds me of things I’ve forgotten and challenges me with things I didn’t know.

Now is the part where I talk about myself.  Ouch.

1. Canon.  To the annoyance of some of my friends, I sometimes get a little too caught  up in the idea of ‘canon’ and get annoyed an non-cannon stuff in films based on books, comics, or older films.  I’m not good at pretending it is an alternate universe. I have no problem with suspension of disbelief until the universe contradicts itself.  Then it all comes crashing down on me.

2. Tea.  I drink a lot of it.  I am, at this moment, sipping on Pumpkin Spice Warm up the Day Tea from The Republic of Tea.

3. Cosplay.  My unit at work wanted to go a group costume idea for the Halloween contest.  But I didn’t care for the idea.  It wasn’t elaborate enough.  Over the past years, I’ve set an expectation of fairly elaborate costumes.  The Fairy Goth Mother, A Kabuki Ghost, Marie Laveau – Voodoo Queen of New Orleans.  I didn’t want to go dressed up as a computer, a headset, a mouse, a new loss form.  So I am doing my own thing.  Either a representation of The Raven or a Death Maiden.

4. Cooking.  I love to cook.  Lately, I haven’t been doing too much of it.  The budget has been tight, so elaborate dishes have gone by the way side for a while.  I really want to post some more cooking blogs, but I’m just not here with it right now.  Maybe after I meet a few other goals I’ll get back into it properly.

5. Temper.  I have one.  It doesn’t come out to play much.  But one morning, a person I actually value ticked me the hell off and I sorta unleashed.  He didn’t like it and deleted and blocked me on Facebook.  I’m a little sad but I admitted I over reacted.  I could admit that but he is the one who decided to take his ball home and not play with me anymore, to use a childhood metaphor.  It will probably take another 10 years to reconnect again.

6. Cats. I have two.  They are almost as anti-social as I am.  But the one likes to lay across my boobs when I’m working on the computer.  This requires me to use both arms to hold him so I can’t get anything done.  He had gotten me killed many times in online games.  Maybe I ought not to have named him Puck?

7. Tarot Cards.  I have a Tarot Card addition.  I love to accumulate them.  There are so many lovely sets out there.  So I stay away from places that sell them when I have no money.  I think I have about 8 sets right  now.  I just love seeing all the different interpretations of the cards that people draw.

Here is the part where I nominate a bunch of other people who inspire me.

1. Fogs’ Movie Reviews. This reviewer is one of my favorite all time movie reviewers.  We have a blend of similar and dissimilar tastes in films.  He reaffirms some of my thoughts on movies while also, occasionally, getting me to give something a try that I had planned on skipping.  Even when we disagree on a film, I can appreciate where he is coming from on his assessment of it.  My movie reviews are nowhere near as detailed and in-depth as his and me makes me realize how I could do so much better an makes me want to improve my style of reviewing.

2. Gin & Lemonade. This lady writes some of my favorite posts about everyday life.  She reminds me that nothing is to big or to small.  It all deserved to be valued and appreciated.  But perhaps the small things need it most of all.  Because the big things are all made of small things and we tend to ignore or brush aside the small things most often.

3. Kloipy Speaks.  This gentleman fluctuates between movies and life, much like I do.  His focus is a bit narrower and he comes across titles that I haven’t seen and really should.  Although I think our taste in horror is a little more divergent than, say my taste in movies when compared to Fogs.

4.  Madame Guillotine‘s amazing quality of research reminded me how much I used to like researching things.  (right after college, I continued to research stuff just for the fun of it.)  The really weird thing is that I want to write fiction and I keep getting really great ideas for non-fiction projects anymore.  She also posts about things she buys or her husband has given her that I drool over; weird and wonderful gothy sorts of things that the average person just doesn’t get or understand.

5. Meanwhile, back at the farm. . . .  This blogger is probably on with whom I have the least in common.  Her photography is wonderful.  Her blogs remind me of home despite the fact she is from the Dakota plains and I am from the mountains of North Idaho.  Her blogs often make me think of my father, who grew up on a farm in South Dakota.  She makes me miss my old camera that broke when it got caught in a door and hate my new camera which was the closest in comparison to my old one but simply fails at taking as good of shots at that one did.  Still, thanks to her, I’ve started carrying it with me at all times, like I used to do.

6. Rantings of an Amateur Chef is my favorite food blogger.  Not only does he post the most amazing things, his food has even gotten me to try food items I normally hate.  Oddly enough, I still hate them, but I keep on trying them.  He is better than a lot of the cooking shows out there.  I’ll take his blog, any day, over the food network.  Well, over anything except Without Reservation.  But that isn’t a cooking show so much and an interesting food and travel program.

7. Sweet Mother has to be the funniest blogger I’ve come across.  She cracks me up.  I appreciate this a lot because I just do not think I can do funny.  And we all really need a good laugh at least once a day.  More is preferable.  And she is guaranteed to produce at least one good laugh, if not more, out of nearly every posting she does.