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?
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.
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.
I got a ping this morning from a website called cleanup-registry.net It arrived because I’d been referenced as a website in the network setup using the plugin, “Related Websites” by the Blog Traffic Exchange (actually, it may be time to knock this experiment on the head as generally, the sites are only loosely related and have poor linkage otherwise).
Whatever; the link referenced an old post of mine about Microsoft software problems here. Notionally, the website looks okay and professional – but I smelled a rat!
This is a screenshot of the whole post (at ). So I did a search on the user’s error message:
‘The DOTNETFX35SETUP.EXE file is linked to missing export NTDLL.DLL:NtShutdownSystem.’ (it turns out later that I should have just done a search on the text in the first paragraph of the post…)
About six entries down in the Google search results, is this page from the respected ‘Yahoo! Answers’ forums website, shown at left.
The screen-shots of each WILL blow up to full-size, but to save you making direct textual comparisons, let me tell you now that the text in both, and one comment, the accepted answer in Yahoo! Answers, is EXACTLY the same!
For your interest, the accepted answer is that the OS’s are incompatible and there’s a fix described.
The real problem is the dates! cleanup-registry.net’s is the 8th September 2009; Yahoo! Answer’s is from 8 months ago!
What we are seeing is the same sort of tactic employed by the Google Treasure Chest scammers of a fake blog (now called a flog!) being used as part of a selling campaign. They’ve content-scraped decent content and passed it off as their own as a means of justifying their flogging area.
Q. Their product?
A. They are trying to sell a registry cleaner type software and a computer maintenance service ($25 per month!) in Las Vegas.
All of this is done under the banner of some fairly useful video how-tos and some less worthy content scraping from other websites….
The killer bits are that all the ‘blog’ entries are dated 24/9/2009 (apart from the odd one) and all the pages and how-tos are dated 24/7/2009!!!
I remember an old Tommy Cooper gag that went something like this;
I went to the doctor and said, “Doctor, doctor. It hurts when I do this” (Cooper raises his knee upwards to demonstrate)
The doctor said, “Well don’t do it, then“
The point is that it’s exactly like our prolific consumption of carbon-based fuels, but even worse, the now openly thought assumption that Global Climate Engineering is an antidote to global warming. An Elastoplast for the weather! Ha Ha.
Because of the world’s dependence on burning carbon, no-one wants to stop doing it. Economic growth, health, prosperity, comfort and status. We can’t afford to. No-one can.
So instead of reducing consumption, all the mad-cap ideas ever invented are now being loudly mooted which will put it into people’s heads that not only are they possible, but also that they will happen. People will think that climate change is like an illness, and can be treated with an aspirin.
But it’s not.
The trouble is, that all the ideas are possible, but the consequences have never been tested. Because it’s the climate on the world we inhabit, there is no dummy test run for any of these plans. And because the Thermo-haline Circulation (THC) in the oceans takes ~1000 years to complete it’s full circuit, and because the THC is a major component of the Earth’s climate (because water and salt are such good heat stores), any changes we make now and have made in the past, will take centuries to smooth out. In short…..
We’ve got one shot at it.
Royal Society afforability and effectivness graph
There are host of ideas; wave-powered pumps to speed up ocean circulation; salt crystals in the sky to increase planetary albedo; space mirror to reflect sunlight; grind up scrap cars for ocean fertilisation to increase algal growth; artificial trees (to replace the ones we’ve chopped down?) – in short, heaps of them.
But none have been tested and none can ever, ever, be tested. There is no sandbox area. No roll-back facility. No system restore. No Backup. That’s it. It’s all or nothing.
Q. Why? A. Because the climate is a very complex thing and errors done at the macroscopic level will take millennia to work out of the system, if at all. Remember, the climate doesn’t smoothly vary. It swings wildly between two or more stable states, currently “Ice Age” and “Not quite Ice Age“.
The simplest way to reduce global warming, and at the same time make our nations less strategically dependant on others, and without all the problems of over-compensation, is just as Tommy Cooper’s doctor said,
Don’t Do It!
Don’t burn so much, don’t consume so much.
The tipping point, from the guys at the Royal Society and James Lovelock, will be when I’m about 75. Reduced pensions in my old age will be the least of my worries!
Exploring the Simultaneous Nature of Cause & Effect
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Finale, Episode – “All Good Things…”
"The Trial Never Ends": Q and Captain Jean-Luc Picard discuss the collapse of the anti-time eruption.
I’ve just watched the double episode finale to the TNG Picard series just after the cyclists finished their ascent of Mont Ventoux in this years Tour de France. It was “All Good Things…”(see link, link & link for full episode info)
In a nutshell, Picard, by the absolute faith that his crew have in him, across three different life-times, undoes a space-time anomaly of their own creation which saves life on Earth…
What I saw was a fine dramatic representation of the Buddhist principle of karma transcending time and space, and the principle that karma (all that we and our lives are) can be changed both backwards and forwards in time; The simultaneity of cause and effect!
Well! While all fine and dandy as a piece of fiction, how can I say that this is what it’s really like?
Nichiren Daishonin, the 12th century Japanese Buddhist monk, in a letter to the grandmother of Jibu-bo Nichii, one of his disciples, tried to explain a bit of the history behind a ceremony for the dead to her. (A Buddhist service held for the repose of the dead. Such ceremonies were conducted annually, usually on the fifteenth day of the seventh month.) In it, he says, almost a conclusion to his explanation,
The Venerable Maudgalyayana put his faith in the Lotus Sutra, which is the greatest good there is, and thus not only did he himself attain Buddhahood, but his father and mother did so as well. And, amazing as it may seem, all the fathers and mothers of the preceding sevengenerations and the seven generations that followed, indeed, of countless lifetimes before and after, were able to become Buddhas. In addition, all their sons, their wives or husbands, their retainers, supporters, and countless other persons not only were enabled to escape from the three evil paths, but all attained the first stage of security and then Buddhahood, the stage of perfect enlightenment. – On Offerings for Deceased Ancestors, WND, p820
I’ve highlighted the crushing significance that summarises the whole letter, both in it’s literal summary and as it’s sense and meaning. Nichiren is saying that we can affect the past from now, as well as the future. Like Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek episode, the past, present and future are as one, overlapped, affecting each other in a miraculous way.
It’s as if the arrow of time , something everyone experiences in their daily lives, does not exist.
Maudgalyayana gets killed
Of course, faith is behind all of this; but if we accept both tales at face value there is much to commend it and the value system for life that they support. Here’s how it panned out for Maudgalyayana….
He was a disciple of Shakyamuni, (the person we call “The Buddha”, idolised in many lands). Maudgalyayana was supposed to have supernatural powers, such as mind-reading, out-of-the-body experiences and walking through walls. He also brought bad karma upon himself by killing his parents which led to his death at the hands of bandits. To change his karma, he studied the Lotus Sutra, so that later, when he met the bandits he ignored his powers and did not defend himself.
Harry Patch fought at the Battle of Passchendaele in World War I
Shakyamuni said that even supernatural powers are of no use to avoid one’s karma, especially when it is so heavy… That’s what was said and believed at the time.
But is it true? Is any of this possible?
I believe it is so. We can change the past as well as future. Harry Patch who died today aged 111, recalled shooting a German in the leg so as not to kill him (see here), just after seeing a young man die. He said,
“I fell in a trench. There was a fella there. He must have been about our age. He was ripped shoulder to waist with shrapnel. I held his hand for the last 60 seconds of his life. He only said one word: ‘Mother’. I didn’t see her, but she was there. No doubt about it. He passed from this life into the next, and it felt as if I was in God’s presence. I’ve never got over it. You never forget it. Never.”
When they reached the enemy’s second line four Germans stood up, and one ran forward pointing his bayonet at Patch who, with only three rounds left in his revolver, wondered what to do. He then deliberately fired at the man above the ankle and above the knee….”You’ve got a memory. You’ve got a brain about the size of a tea cup. I’ve got a memory that goes back for 80 or 90 years and I think that memory goes on with you when you die. And that’s my opinion. Death is not the end.”
Experiences like this can be rationalised into the mere electrical workings of the brain. But in a way, Patch’s actions shaped the rest of his life. He didn’t die early, and maybe had the well-known “survivor’s guilt” for not doing so. But like the fictional Jean Luc, he has communicated across the ages and affected people because of it. Without being a Buddhist, his actions have nevertheless been Buddhist.
The follow up to the quote above (from a BBC documentary), is that his three chums were blown to bits 6 weeks later. His not un-natural words were;
“If I had met that German soldier after my three mates had been killed, I’d have no trouble at all in killing him”….
The thing is, he didn’t. The order of events was different and as in the Star Trek story, who’s to tell what’s what?
Planck’s Constant and Entanglement
J B S Haldane: My own suspicion is that the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.
It’s been said that if Planck’s Constant were slightly different – or maybe not so constant – then we ourselves might have the supernatural powers to be able to walk through walls like Maudgalyayana. In fact, the physics says that this must be so! The natural repulsions of atoms would be different and matter could diffuse through matter with less interaction (or be totally inert depending which way it went).
F. W. Dyson, A. S. Eddington, and C. Davidson, "A Determination of the Deflection of Light by the Sun's Gravitational Field, from Observations Made at the Total Eclipse of May 29, 1919"
Surely this is a definition of supernatural?
Entanglement is another “spooky” quantum property. Einstein did not like this because of the “simultaneity” which went plain against his experimentally provable Relativity theory (Edington proved this because light bends near large masses). But it exists and experiments have now been done that confirm (at least so far) simultaneous action at a distance. (see Was Einstein Wrong?: A Quantum Threat to Special Relativity). So experiments prove both instantaneous action at a distance and space-time bending….
Surely, this also is a definition of supernatural?
“My own suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we cansuppose.” – JBS Haldane
…although a better version, attributed to Edington goes,
“Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine.”
Nichiren, in his explanatory letter to the grandmother of Jibu-bo Nichii, follows the passage above with a quote from the Lotus Sutra saying,
Therefore, it is said in the third volume of the Lotus Sutra, “We beg that the merit gained through these gifts may be spread far and wide to everyone, so that we and other living beings all together may attain the Buddha way.”
This is also similar to a further sentence which I say twice every day,
But those who practise meritorious ways, who are gentle, peaceful, honest and upright, all of them will see me here in person, preaching the Law. At times for this multitude I describe the Buddha’s life span as immeasurable…
When Patch first spoke about WW1 he said, “For eighty years I’ve never watched a war film, I never spoke of it, not to my wife. For six years, I’ve been here [in the nursing home]. Six years it’s been nothing but World War One. As I say, World War One is history, it isn’t news. Forget it.”
He obviously hated everything about WW1. But for his last 11 years, after living a life of gentle merit, he finally spoke and told his tale. Like the Venerable Maudgalyayana who changed his karma, bathed in the ‘queerness’ of the universe, Patch changed his by finally telling his story after sowing the seeds so long ago. He’s made sure people don’t forget it. The Star Trek episode “All Good Things…” touched on this also. Where the past meets the present, which meets the future.
when you are happy, you should remember that your happiness in this life is nothing but a dream within a dream
It’s as if there is a common strand of semi-known knowledge across all of humanity that just needs to be awakened.
Sometimes it’s story-tellers,
Sometimes it’s traumatised soldiers,
Sometimes it’s scientists searching for truth…?
We all know it, we all know how to behave. But we forget.
A Dream within a Dream
I suppose that all sentient beings are questing for “truth”.
Sometimes we need some proof, like the scientist.
Sometimes we need emotional trauma, like Harry Patch.
Sometimes though, the truth is self-evident, and is a belief, derived from universal truths beyond time and space, elucidated by an enlightened one and transmitted as a belief system and a way of life.
This later one we call Buddhism.
As Nichiren said, a dream within a dream…. the proof for this truth lies within the words and actions of ordinary people searching for this truth….
When the world makes you feel downcast, you should chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, remembering that, although the sufferings of this life are painful, those in the next life could be much worse. And when you are happy, you should remember that your happiness in this life is nothing but a dream within a dream, and that the only true happiness is that found in the pure land of Eagle Peak, and with that thought in mind, chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. – The Fourteen Slanders, WND, p760
The inter-connectness of all things is how The Buddha described it. His last words have various translations into English, but they all convey the same meaning that the universe is transient and an exhortation to do one’s best!
“Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!” – link
“All created things are impermanent. Strive on with diligence.” – link
“Behold, O monks, this is my last advice to you. All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation. Do your best.” – link
“Behold, O monks, this is my last advice to you. All component things in the world are changeable. They are not lasting. Work hard to gain your own salvation.” – link
See Harry Patch’s death today in my previous post here.
Last year I told how I tackled various sorts of spam hitting the website, in particular, in this post, User Registration Spam. Even now, my main defence is SABRE, although I don’t use all the options. This gives me the combination of flexibility, security and openness I require on this website. Other plugins combat comment and trackback spam with similar arguments of implementation.
As part of the post, I mentioned how I was getting repetitive pings from a Latvian (or certainly E European) outfit called eclub.lv
eclub.lv and It’s Browser Differences
This is the guts of this post.
I have four browsers installed on my Windows XP machine. All software is current and my anti-virus NOD32 updates when it feels like – sometimes every hour if there’s a big web attack happening.
My browsers are:
Internet Explorer 8
All software I use is at the latest build version. I’ve tried Safari but it was too open and naff when I tried it and haven’t installed it since.
Now you try this experiment and see if you get the same result as me…
3 browsers say the site is okay. Opera says it’s dodgy and hosts malware.
Now this is weird. Firefox normally picks up on stuff like this, as do the others. But Opera is the only one this time…. It’s not as if it’s a new site. My original post was from April 2008 (last year) and it’s behaviour was such that I had to block it out. Since then, cleaning out .htaccess hasn’t resulted in the Latvian’s return.
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