Archive for Science

Evening Chores

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2012 by urbannight

My apartment resembles this.

I’ve picked up olive oil and sweetener from the store and had dinner and fed the cats.

The litter box needs to be cleaned before I can take a hot bath.

I need to get the Holiday tubs out of the storage closet.

I need to find the book I was have through last night.

I need to cook up the pork chops and millet for lunched over the next three days.

I have a Halloween ornament to work on and some shows to watch and some articles to read.

I need to try to get the two blogs, one on a particular show and one on an article written.

And I wanted to go to bed early.

What does your Tuesday evening look like?

Sometimes it just doesn’t work…..

Posted in Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2012 by urbannight

The sun on the way to work.

The last two mornings had the most amazing view of the sun from the interstate. And it was a huge ball of fluorescent orange color. I figure it must have has something to do with the moisture in the air in the mornings. Or something as I really had no clue and it was to pretty to really care about the mechanics of it. Perhaps I don’t care is less about it being too pretty to analyze and more about me not being a morning person and researching it is too much science for me before 10:00 am.

But I had to drive the last two mornings and wasn’t able to try to get a shot. Today I was riding with my roommate and got my camera ready for ‘Photos while Driving’. Go figure, today would be the one morning with actual clouds. I missed a couple good shoots juggling the stuff he picked up at the drive through. Then I got a lot of really blurry ones. Pictures while moving at 65 miles per hour can do that. Then the sun was too far behind the clouds.

And the incredible red-orange fluorescent color didn’t really come out well on the camera. I’m bummed about that. But I’ll give it another try tomorrow. Maybe there won’t be as many clouds and I’ll get a good, open sky, photo of it.

I can only hope.

Tipping Point, Shadows of the Future.

Posted in Economy, Food, Life, Politics, Technology, Work with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 12, 2012 by urbannight

The news says that the Earth will reach a ‘tipping’ point in 2025. It will be a point of no return. For the past couple of years, there have been the occasional report of a similar nature.

I argue that we have already past it. We use up materials and resources faster than we can replace them. Some resources are not replaceable. I remember reading, not so very long ago, that some computer parts manufacturers are looking for new materials that can do some of the things that the existing materials do because we are running out of some of those minerals that have desirable properties.

The world has spent over 20 years trying to get all the countries to agree on something, anything, that will slow down the damage humanity is doing to the global ecosystem. Nothing ever happens. When they do occasionally agree on measures, they put the Due By date way out there and by the time it arrives, some other administration has decided to override it. To change something so they can back out of it.

If governments can come to any real agreement and put it into place right now, I don’t thing it is enough to reverse the problems as they exist. On the monetary front alone, it will probably completely destroy what is left of a very fragile economy.

Some ‘experts’ are saying we don’t’ really need to worry about it since we can overcome any repercussions through human innovation. But that is only if people want to change and there is little evidence that supports it.

Oh, some people are going green. Some people have created businesses to try to creatively reuse garbage to reduce the impact on the environment. But businesses and corporations are the ones saying that the changes to protect the environment cost too much, even though they are the very ones tying up most of the world’s money. The time frames were supposed to be for the companies to set aside the money, get the renovations under way, and spread out the costs over time, in order to minimize the financial impact. But they never did it.

Maybe that is the real reason so many science fiction writers are writing about dark futures where the world is falling apart rather than writing about hopeful futures and creating new concepts to inspire scientists to create and advance their fields. It’s because they, like me, see how things have been going and have no faith in big business and governments to make the changes needed to save the planet and save humanity.

We see a world creating its own death. Although I have more hope for the earth than I do for the human race. I see the world becoming worse, the middle class in advanced countries will continue to slide, and we will end up with a bizarre mix of high tech toys and third world quality of life. Although it isn’t that bizarre as writers have been describing that very thing for many decades.
Either there will have to be measures put into place to control population growth and people will resent a draconian government or people will continue to reproduce at an ever expanding rate. If the former, there could be some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. Maybe. Fewer people mean resources do farther. But at the same time, fewer people mean not as many people are purchasing stuff. The economic structure will probably have to change. But if it is the later, we will probably see the increase in disease and perhaps plague.

This will wipe people out and result in the same reduced population. But it will probably be far more catastrophic in nature and lead to a fall of civilization.

In the end, I think something will happen that will wipe out large chunks of the human race. I don’t think it will happen overnight. So people won’t really believe it is going on. I think it may take a few generations. And after it collapses, I believe those who remain will rebuild. Only I don’t have a high regard for humanity. So I don’t think people will have learned a lesson. I think it will take more generations to rebuild and people are people and will probably go through the same processes.

It reminds me of a short story by Asimov called ‘Nightfall’. It was a great little story about how a race lived on a planet in a cluster of suns. They never had night. They never had darkness. When a rare eclipse occurred, it was so catastrophic that society collapsed. There was archeological evidence of such repeated collapses. But the time between events was such a long period that people couldn’t understand the evidence. The result was that they never learned to adapt and anticipate the event and instead kept following an identical path of growth, development, progress, and collapse.

Wow. This might be a rather depressing blog. Sorry about that. But that’s where my mind went today.

Why the GOP is Dragging the Country Backwards.

Posted in Economics, Life, Politics, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2012 by urbannight

The US Navy has come up with a stealth submarine that is so expensive that it would cripple the military to build them. It is described as, “A super-stealthy warship that could underpin the U.S. navy’s China strategy will be able to sneak up on coastlines virtually undetected and pound targets with electromagnetic “railguns” right out of a sci-fi movie. (Eric Talmadge, AP)”

Everything seems to be getting to expensive for the government to do anymore. Advancements in military technology and the space program just to name two. Personally, I blame uncontrolled, Free Market, capitalism. By not putting any type of controls on it, Capitalism has been allowed to rape the populous in order to keep increasing the profit margins. Prices keep getting pushed up to get the most out of ever person. Everything is more expensive and most of the money gets tied up in those big businesses and people have less and less to spend.

We also have a situation that seems very odd. We have a large portion of out of work people. More technology tends to use fewer people. Some fields have nearly disappeared. We are also told we have a shrinking work force as more Baby Boomers are retiring and we don’t have enough workers to keep up the tax base to fund their social security benefits.

The real answer is that we need fewer people. The technology of the future uses fewer people so we need to produce fewer people. That means we have to figure out a better way to fund the government retirement programs. This wouldn’t be as bad a problem is we stopped the out of control cost increase as businesses try to milk the population of every penny they have. But once the population starts to die off and if we make a point not to over procreate then there will be more money for the rest of us. There will be more money for science and technology that will take us into the future.

At this rate, it is clear that we are not going to progress. We can no longer afford it. We are not even going to sit here and stagnate. We are already slipping backwards and regressing. The very science fiction that gave people the ideas to strive for is also becoming darker, more dismal, more depressed. So much so that one writer challenged other writers to start writing more hopeful futures with new ideas. The current science fiction seems to have stopped creating new technological ideas that might exist in the future. But even should they get those creative, inventive juices flowing, the finite money supply will be so tied up in corporate business that it just won’t be there to fund the projects.

So, if the government and military really want to continue advancements in modern weaponry, then the government needs to look at profit caps for businesses, limits on how much prices can increase each year, greater control on medical costs (inflation on medical care increase at a rate of between 2 and 4 times greater than the cost of living inflation each year), and encourage the use of birth control rather than limiting it. Then the reduced population will have more money and be happier. Science fiction writers can help create the ideas for the scientists to develop and we can start moving forward again. But it requires doing everything that sends the GOP screaming onto their soap boxes and into their pulpits.

Women, Girls and Hormones.

Posted in Education, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 5, 2012 by urbannight

Ladies, have you ever wished you could just hurry up and go through menopause just to get rid of some of the side effects of that time of the month?  I’m thinking about it as I hit here recovering from a migraine I’ve started to get almost every single month for the past couple of years.  Blood pressure meds took care of most of the headaches, but not this type of headache.

I’m thinking about it and wondering if it also has anything to do with the jump in weight I’ve had the past couple of years. When you are over weight, you produce more estrogen.  Could that be the source of my increasing monthly migraines?

Which leads me to an article I read yesterday. Or today.  I don’t remember as it is a blur.  What I do remember is that it was about the fact that girls are more and more often hitting puberty earlier.  As young as 6 years old.  That is still a bit odd but 9 years old is not unusual anymore.

People are trying to slow it down by avoiding meats that have had growth hormones used on the animals to make them bigger faster.  Many think this may play a part in early development.  And that may be true to a certain extent.

undernourishment does slow it down.  And the school lunch program was started because they realized that a lot of American youths were actually undernourished.  So much so that they didn’t qualify for the military during the draft for WWII.  So better nourishment and general health may also play a part.

But I also read another article this week on the fact that the medical field is considering changing the definitions of normal birth weight.  More and more babies are being born heavier.  More and more mothers are waiting until later to have children.  They are looking at redefining a whole slew of ‘norms’ relating to pregnancy and childbirth.  If weight is tied to onset of puberty in girls, then it could be possible that girls that are starting out heavier as infants may be in line for early puberty.

Personally, I think ‘normal’ infant weights ought to be the weight in relation to height that give an infant the highest level of health and success.  I don’t see how saying the new ‘sumo’ babies are the new norm and accepting that as a normal weight is healthy as there seems to be indications that this is already putting them at higher risk of childhood obesity from the moment of birth.

Somehow, the entire notion just offends me.