Tag Archive: philosophy

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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Dr Who and the Death of Self

Galaxies in Coma Berenices

Galaxies in Coma Berenices

Each one of the fuzzy white bits in the photo above is a galaxy containing billions of stars and thus many, many life-forms, all at various stages of evolutionThis statement is derived from the work of thousands of intellectuals using the powers of observation and deduction available to us all.

Journey's End (Doctor Who)

Journey's End (Doctor Who)

Tonight there was a show highlighting bits of the top BBC show, Doctor Who.

It was a reminder, for me, of the most cataclysmic scene, from the final (proper) episode called Journey’s End, where “The Doctor”  has to wipe the mind of Donna, his companion, to save herself from going mad.  (this was because she’d inherited his Time-Lord powers in the picture here, which are too much for a human).

Flowers For Algernon (S.F. Masterworks) (Paperback )by Daniel Keyes

Flowers For Algernon (S.F. Masterworks) (Paperback )by Daniel Keyes

This scene I can fully empathise with because of my own experience of an under-active thyroid gland which removed my powers of intellect and concentration, and almost removed my concept of “self”, before I was diagnosed.  At the time, when I was recovering, I called it my “Flowers for Algernon” experience.

“Flowers for Algernon” is an all-time great science fiction story.  Charlie Gordon, the story-telling diarist, like Donna Noble in Doctor Who, and like myself earlier, we were all crushingly aware of the powers we once had, but now were losing, visibly.

Socrates

Socrates

In many respects, it’s much worse than death.  People sometimes worry about death and try not to think about it, hoping it will go away.  Myself, I’ve always pondered it, sometimes to gloomy distraction.  It’s like the great unknown.

Socrates said;

Ordinary people seem not to realize that those who really apply themselves in the right way to philosophy are directly and of their own accord preparing themselves for dying and death.

With this, I fully agree, and can thus explain away my gloomy dallyings with the words of one of the greatest thinkers of all time.

Nichiren, the Buddhist monk of a later age said;

Life at each moment permeates the entire realm of phenomena and is revealed in all phenomena. To be awakened to this principle is itself the mutually inclusive relationship of life at each moment and all phenomena. – WND page 3, On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime

I think that with this in mind, for my next existence I’ll go somewhere different to this Earth….

Since I’ve been born I’ve always felt ‘old’, as if I’m returning here to ‘fix’ something, a devoir-faire.

Maybe I’ll be in these red centres of creation, a truly glorious image emphasising the hydrogen clouds.

"Mountains of Creation" by Spitzer. These towering pillars of cool gas and dust are illuminated at their tips with light from warm, embryonic stars.  The pillars in the Spitzer image are part of a region called W5, in the Cassiopeia constellation 7,000 light-years away and 50 light-years across. In the image, hundreds of forming stars (white/yellow) can seen for the first time inside the central pillar, and dozens inside the tall pillar to the left.

"Mountains of Creation" by Spitzer. These towering pillars of cool gas and dust are illuminated at their tips with light from warm, embryonic stars. The pillars in the Spitzer image are part of a region called W5, in the Cassiopeia constellation 7,000 light-years away and 50 light-years across. In the image, hundreds of forming stars (white/yellow) can seen for the first time inside the central pillar, and dozens inside the tall pillar to the left.

It’s truly a great privilege to be able to go out on an evening and stare at our night sky and the Milky Way, pondering on the gems that must exist, both in front of our eyes and those ones hidden by vast distance.

Our Milky Way by Spitzer Telescope - click for source page with VERY high resolution pictures!

Our Milky Way by Spitzer Telescope - click for source page with VERY high resolution pictures!

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Garbage Summer Science

Is This the Worst Science Project Ever?

Pitt JolieThe Daily Telegraph, short of stories this summer now that the expenses scandal is dead, has published a picture of Angelina Jolie under the heading:

Women getting more beautiful, say scientists: (see link)

According to some work done by  Finnish Philosopher/PsychologistYliopistotutkija – University Researcher Degree: Doctor of Philosophy Department of Psychology University of Helsinki P.O. Box 9 (Siltavuorenpenger 20 D) FIN-00014 University of Helsinki” http://web.archive.org/web/20100115033346/http://www.helsinki.fi:80/psykologia/english/introduction/personnel.htm Markus Jokela,

…attractive women have more children than their less attractive counterparts and that a higher proportion of those children are female…

The methodology was to look at 2000 Americans, and then decide that ‘beautiful‘ women had 16% more children.  How this ‘beauty‘ decision was derived, is unknown, save for the comment that,

“attractiveness was assessed from photographs taken during the study”

The article continues in the same vein by quoting the results of yet more “scientists” from the London School of Economics taken in 2006.  They had the same ‘results‘.

The gaffa in charge of this, Mr Kanazawa, said…,

“Physical attractiveness is a highly heritable trait, which disproportionately increases the reproductive success of daughters much more than that of sons.”

Rubbish Science

Dunce's Hat

Dunce’s Hat

The point is that the above statement is produced with absolutely NO backing.  It’s an opinion, that’s all. 

It could be equally well said about men.

Remember, it takes two to tango and make a child.   The fact that attractive men can rapidly spread their seed faster than any woman proves that this statement is bunkum…

Look at it like this…
  • In 9 months, a woman can parent one child.
  • In 9 months, with one successful shag per day, a man can parent 270 children.

Who is having the greater initial reproductive success?  Obviously, the man.

I’m sure that someone like Brad Pitt, Jolie’s husband, if let loose into the wild, would procreate many more children than Jolie could!  If he came to Bridgwater, it’d be legs akimbo for weeks followed by lots of little Brad lookalikes!  Apart from the jollity, this will seriously slew the statistics wholly against the research’s argument! It only takes one rampant male to break the ‘hard work’ of hundreds of ‘beautiful’ women taking a lifetime to improve the gene pool!

Or look at it like this…

DNAThis ‘research’ assumes that attractiveness is a one-way process and that women passively sit around waiting to choose the best mate (using what criteria, are we to wonder?).  Again, this is plain garbage.  Women aren’t passive.  If one of a woman’s criteria for mate choice is the appearance of the man, then it chucks out the research findings right out of the window.  Indeed, the ‘beauty’ gene, if it exists, could be being selected for because the man holds it (he having half of his mother’s genes, after all) without actually expressing it himself.

Note to Researchers: check out the difference between a genotype and a phenotype before spouting this muck.

Or Look at it This Way…

My Observation of many UK towns tells me that there are a lot of fat munters on the estates (call them endomorphs, please).  They all have appear to have heaps of children despite any perceived lack of ‘beauty‘.  So what does this mean to a ‘scientist‘ in this calibre of research?

A.  Using their specious logic, I could say that fat munters are the most successful breeders in the country.  I could say that only fat people breed fast.   I could make all sorts of scurrilous accusations about them and the reason(s) for the perceived fecundity.  Just like boys-nights-out on a Friday eyeing up the talent?   But I won’t….

Because Any Logic with like this is seriously flawed.

CrowdIt’s not logic, it’s just opinion dressed as fact.  What the Telegraph (and other media organisations) has done by publishing this rubbish as summer titter, is to denigrate the hard work of real scientists with the mumbo-jumbo claptrap from pseudo-scientists looking for job justification.

There’s a heap of proper evolutionary and genetic research that disproves this tripe, so why do the Telegraph publish it?  A.  To fill space.

Finally

Even defining beauty with the narrow bounds of appearance is hard enough – but beauty and appearance, the attractiveness of an individual – these are all complex concepts that have provided artists and writers material for millenia

The trouble with the ‘research’ and it’s reporting, is that it demeans the real work to titillate the lowest common denominators in society, with the result that scientists, striving for humanity’s betterment, are made to look like pariahs and idiots, which in the long run, is very, very bad.

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Buddhist Advice for 4th May, 2009

After this day of action I’ve been taking against the naffness and sheer greed in the world, I’d like to share some words of wisdom and encouragement that I’ve just received before I retire for the day:

The strength of our life force manifests itself in our voices.
Let’s therefore use our courageous voices for the cause of justice and make them echo all over the world, and so help as many people as we can to hear about this Buddhism and its philosophy! – Daisaku Ikeda, “Kyo no Hosshin”, Seikyo Shimbun, May 4th, 2009

“Rather than offering up ten thousand prayers for remedy, it would be better simply to outlaw this one evil.” – On Establishing the Correct Teaching for the Peace of the Land – The Writings of Nichiren Daishonin, Vol.1, page 15

WORDS OF THE WEEK – May 4th-10th, 2009

The essence of the Lotus Sutra is the spirit of ‘shakubuku’ – sharing the philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism with others*.
Let’s muster up the courage to refute those beliefs and tenets that obviously misguide people to unhappiness and suffering, and speak out the truth confidently and with conviction!
This is the great strength of the SGI. – Daisaku Ikeda

* shakubuku – http://www.sgilibrary.org/search_dict.php?id=1974

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End of the World promises Great Hope for the Future of Humanity

  • Two days to go!
  • The End of the world is nigh!

In CERN, the LHC is having it’s first big switch on in two days time, the 10th of September.  All the news is full of it currently, and they especially focus on the possibility that we’re all gonna die.  ( A small test has already happened to calibrate the sensors.  This test was almost as big as a decent atom-smasher of 10 years ago which also had premonitions of the apocacalypse attached to it! ).   There have also been tales of death threats and a maverick scientist, without explicitly saying who he is or what he means.  Well here he is!

He looks like the public’s typical idea of a mad scientist.

The thing is, we’re all gonna die.  The key thing is to do the best you possibly can in your time available.  I’ve got a post set up to appear on the 11th of September to remind me I’m alive or that I’m in a state of being slowly swallowed up by a black hole….whatever, there are more important things than that.  Barring some unforeseen personal tragedy, I’ll read it then.

In actual fact, the LHC and the other associated large example of power physics & philosophy being applied by the medium of intense international co-operation at Cadarache, are two of the reasons why I have such high hopes for our survival as a sentient species.

Despite all the diplomatic and actual warfare being promulgated across the globe, quietly, behind the scenes, the very same countries who are so visibly in conflict, are engaged in co-operative enterprises, which if applied in daily life, would improve the lives of everyone of the world immeasurably.

The sums of money being pledged are huge – rivalling those lost by gamblers in the credit crunch.  This proves the true intent of the people and countries involved.  What their actual political leaders say and do is of no import whatsoever.

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