Tag Archive: Armstrong

Antimatter: The Real Giant Leap

One Small Step for Man, one Giant Leap For Mankind

When Armstrong said those words (except I missed out the ‘a’), it looked like men & women would be walking tall on all sorts of astronomical bodies in a continuation of the Apollo programme.  As we no know, things didn’t quite work out like that though, and the Moon is still the only place we’ve been except our dear Earth – although unmanned and earth-based exploration continues in great leaps and bounds.

CERN Makes Antimatter Last

But although announced with a small fanfare, the news that CERN has made antimatter atoms in the form of anti-hydrogen last for getting on for half a second made me blink twice.  See BBC News item here.

It’s my guess that this is the real “small leap for mankind” that will eventually lead to the real “giant leap”.

We are now talking the Star Trek language that everyone understands;  antimatter, containment fields, annihilation.  Soon we’ll have dilithium crystals and the stock market to sell them in!

Consequences of Antimatter Creation

But seriously, it’s one hell of a leap.  The big puzzle is why matter (and thus ourselves because we are made of it), is here.

Why is there any of it, anyway?

… …  because in every experiment that we’ve done, matter and antimatter cancel each other out!    Exactly!

So the physical laws that we’ve invented or discovered, right back to the Big Bang, all say that we should not be here.  Any of us.

Current physics says that our universe  should only contain the energy from the mutual annihilation of matter & antimatter.  But there is also matter, which is tightly rolled up bits of energy….

Self-evidently, we are here, which means that matter had a slight excess over anti-matter just after the Big Bang.

So I think that somewhere within the physics of our creation of antimatter, lies the answer to the matter/antimatter conundrum, of that I’m sure.

We’ve made a few atoms so far and watched them annihilate with matter on contact.  The next steps will be to make and keep zillions indefinitely until they are needed.  What for?

Starships perhaps?

Animality

Now suppose we make these starships.  Our current selves are very destructive, both towards our environment and ourselves.

  • We live on our Earth, us in the West consuming like locusts while those less well off try a rapid catch-up.
  • We have never had a year without a major loss of life through conflict, disease or other disaster.

In short, though we may well have the technology and explorative urge for interstellar travel in the future, our present state of intense animality leaves us unsuited to such endeavours.  It’s unlikely that any expedition would arrive at its destination intact.  They’d self-destruct.  It’s what people do.

We must change ourselves before we can aspire change our location in the universe, or else our present location (the Earth), will be a blackened desert.  Un-departable.

Soka Gakkai

Today is exactly  the 80th anniversary of the Soka Gakkai.

It’s a Buddhist organisation with its philosophy wrapped up in its name of  “Value Creation Society“.

Let us all use three words as tenets, a true mantra for a civilised survival on Earth for generations to come.

When the time arrives for the Earth’s ultimate destruction, if we haven’t made a “Value Creation Society” that would allow our escape, then we are quite simply, stuffed.

So join the millions of Soka Gakkai Buddhists today as they celebrate their inheritance from one man, then another and another.

Makiguchi was his name and he died for his principles in a Japanese gaol in 1944.  He and his disciple Toda were hounded by the animality of the times and only Toda was left at the end of WW2.

From him, and then Ikeda, the Soka Gakkai  owes its existence, and we all need such principles if the magic of antimatter creation and containment is to mean anything in the future.  It’s a truly wonderful thing.

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WordPress 2.8.2 Upgrade – Out of Memory, Apollo 11?

Strangely post on July 20th, 2009
Posted in Technology Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WordPress Upgrade Error

Neil A. Armstrong - Astronaut Edwin Eugene ´Buzz´ Aldrin, Jr. on Moon (1969)

Neil A. Armstrong - Astronaut Edwin Eugene ´Buzz´ Aldrin, Jr. on Moon (1969)

I had messages from one of my managed sites that it went invisible and chucked out weird messages….  Well  that’s certainly up to the normal standard of feedback I get as a tech person!

However, I too when doing this website got an annoying message on the recently introduced WordPress auto-update feature – it ran out of memory!

The message went:

Fatal error: Allowed memory size of 33554432 bytes exhausted (tried to allocate 2355395 bytes) in myRoot/wp-includes/http.php on line…

Now I’m loath to download stuff and re-install files when a method exists to eliminate this tedium.   So….

  1. I hunted for a file list so that I could replace just the changed one – couldn’t find it – “that’s odd” I thought.
  2. Fished around a bit more for it – no joy.
  3. Saw single posting about the XSS vulnerability – ah!  This is important and they’ve whacked it out fast before talking about it!  Security first, chat second.  THIS IS GOOD!.  This is one of the reasons I like WordPress – actions speak louder than words!
  4. Tried looking for a generic fix using the error message – this link in the forums provided the fix!  http://wordpress.org/support/topic/194370

So that’s the answer for me, and it worked.  This is the code change you need to do:

In wp-settings.php which is one of the files in your WordPress root installation (i.e. not in one of the sub-folders), set the memory limit like so (it’s at the top of the file, just after the comments):

if ( !defined('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT') )
       define('WP_MEMORY_LIMIT', '64M');

The ’64M’ is the new value. Previously it was ’32M’.

There are other fixes, but this worked for me, and if it works, ultimately, that’s all I’m bothered about!  It’s the old answer of “chuck more memory at it”….

Apollo 11

As an aside, on the 40th anniversary of men walking on the moon, the lunar module computer has ~76k of memory!  This is Don Eyles, whose first proper job as a young man was to program that computer….  How times change.

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Murderous, Stupid, Boy

ZackThis is the full text of an ‘article‘ posted on the Michigan State University (MSU) news section by ‘the State News opinion writer’ apparently.  Zack (for it is he) has his own particular version of personal rights and responsibilities, somewhat at odds with US law.  His article worked though – he has had a shed load of comment…

Black 2001 Saturn SC2. That’s the car I drive – and if you’re a bicyclist on the road but not in a bike path and you see my car, I hope you’re wearing a helmet, because I might run you over.

Maybe not intentionally.

But you see, with all these things I can do in my car nowadays, such as choose a different song on my iPod, send a text message while driving or fall asleep at the wheel because I had to wake up for a worthless 8 a.m. biology lab, I might not notice you.

And, considering you are where you should not be, I might hit you.

The simple fact of the matter is, MSU has so kindly provided sidewalks for people on foot and Rollerblades, and MSU’s ordinance should be revised to require bicyclists be there too. The university has outlined bike paths on certain roads, but bicyclists can’t just create imaginary bike paths like they do.

I cannot drive my car on the sidewalk, so why must you ride your bicycle where I drive?

Many of my friends ride bicycles on campus, so I’m not trying to berate a whole demographic of students. I appreciate bicyclists who advocate environmentalism, since they are making up for the damage I do with my car.

I respect bicyclists who use bicycles as a form of exercise, since people certainly can never get enough fitness in their everyday routines.

But for as much as I respect and appreciate bicyclists, I will not hesitate to honk at them when they are interfering with the roads.

My concern is not merely about inconvenience.

Bicyclists on the road are a driving hazard to people in automobiles, since many bicyclists make turns without using hand signals and ride too close to other vehicles when there is no designated bike path.

For example, I was driving to work Tuesday when a bicyclist pulled up in front of my car in the right lane on Farm Lane going northbound where it intersects with Shaw Lane. There is no bike path at this portion of the road, and I needed to be in the right lane to avoid the left turn only lane, but the bicyclist was in the way.

Instead, I had to speed ahead and veer away from the fast-approaching rear end of the car in front of me, just barely making it into the right lane.

Some will say I could be more patient on the road.

But roads are for cars, not bicyclists. The bicyclist should not have been in the car lane.

It’s possible some bicyclists are trying to live out their dreams of being Lance Armstrong, and the smooth terrain offered by the roads where big, people-killing cars are designed to travel on are more desirable than the sidewalk pavement.

I get it, bicyclists – you’re in the Tour de France. Well, in your head at least.

But in reality, my gas-guzzling, carbon footprint-leaving car is trying to get around you, the bicyclist. And you, the bicyclist, prefer to coast, not along the side of the lane but in the exact middle.

Maybe in your head you are actually driving a car. Maybe that’s why you believe you should be behind a pickup truck and in front of 15 other cars trying to pass you.

And maybe you are Armstrong, so talented and in shape and able to pedal so, so fast. But Armstrong’s average speed in the 2001 Tour de France was 24.9 mph, which is 0.1 mph less than most of the speed limits on and around campus.

Plus, I’ve had difficulty finding students who actually obey the speed limit anyway.

It’s common for motorists to drive at least 5 mph above the speed limit, which makes your task to out-pedal Lance Armstrong all the more daunting. And considering you’re not actually Armstrong (even if you do wear a skintight yellow bicycle uniform), you likely are not going 24.9 mph.

And, oh yeah, Armstrong is competing when he is bicycling – your leisurely ride through campus might not even register on a police radar.

But, hey, snap out of it. You’re not Lance Armstrong.

And those are the headlights of my black 2001 Saturn SC2 bearing down on you.

Zack Colman is the State News opinion writer. Reach him at [email protected].

Published on Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Zack’s piece is a prime example of why there are no such things as ‘accidents’. All crashes and killings are someone’s fault – maybe it’s inattention, but it’s everyone’s duty to be attentive. If you can’t do it, get off the road.

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Cavendish Wins Milan-San Remo; but how’d you know?

100-Milano-Sanremo-arrivo--346x212

Mark Cavendish wins by 11cm over 185km!

Mark Cavendish wins by 11cm over 185km!

Gazzetta della sport run the race and have a Mario Cippollini interview here.  Websites and news agencies across the globe are full of Cavendish’s win but in Britain it’s a 15 second radio item and well-buried articles on the BBC etc.  Most UK news even forgets to mention that he’s only the second Briton to win the race – the other being the tragically great Tommy Simpson.

The Milan-San Remo spring classic even has it’s centennial edition this year but that obviously isn’t good enough for the UK!  It’s 185km of up and down, finishing with a sprint.  Mere mortals would die from the effort!  Good profiles and maps are here.  Even the finish is dodgy – after descending perilous hairpins the sprint is in a town with more bends and obstacles.

But the UK general public are oblivious.  Cavendish has won more TDF stages than any other Briton – in short, apart from a few speed time-trialling type records, he’s the most successful British cyclist ever and he’s only just started!

But how’d you know?

Chris Hoy and the other Olympians had their moments of fame and he even won Sport Personality 2008.  What are they doing now?

How’d you know?

This Year’s Tour de France

Lance Armstrong has said he’s going to give it another go.  Cavendish is flying.   Mont Ventoux where Simpson (Holly’s uncle) died in that race, is scheduled to be climbed for the first time since 2002 …

The omens are there – it stands to be a cracking race.  But will we be able to see it in the UK in normal time if you don’t get Eurosport?  I doubt it.

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