Friday, May 25, 2018
We take so much for granted, don't we?
Take water for instance. If it is clean, drinkable and abundant, then, what's more to know?
Here are two examples of mind-blowing water research I've discovered.
Microscopy Advance Reveals Unexpected Role for Water in Energy Storage Material,Veronica Augustyn, Matt Shipman, North Carolina State University , 24 May 2018
“Specifically, we found that the water layers do two things,” says Ruocun “John” Wang, a Ph.D. student in Augustyn’s lab and lead author of the paper. “One, the water layers minimize deformation, meaning that the material expands and contracts less as ions move in and out of the material when there are water layers. Two, the water layers make the deformation more reversible, meaning that the material returns to its original dimensions more easily.”
“In practical terms, this means that the material with water layers is more efficient at storing charge, losing less energy,” Augustyn says. Much more here...
Life Changing Discoveries
The one thing I have learned in this life is that what we discover today will turn a bright, revealing light on what we thought we knew for certain.
Consider water. Because water is everywhere, we believe we know a lot about it. After all, water is water, right? We know potable water is better to drink because it is clear of unhealthy contaminates and not to drink bad water. That’s about it.
But, there is much more to learn about water.
Dr. Gerald Pollack, professor of Bioengineering, University of Washington (Seattle), explains, “More than 99% of molecules in our body are water, but we don’t have a clue about how water works. We really don’t understand it,” he said.
Please go here for the rest of the story...
Thursday, May 24, 2018
Facebook, Google, Amazon, the CIA, the FBI, have all this data about each of us.
In time, because of advances in data analysis, improved algorithms, "they" will know more about each of us than we understand about ourselves... which this or that we will choose to purchase, which way we might choose to vote... if we will vote.... etc.
You name it, one or more of those "Theys" will know your choice before you make it.
What does it all mean?
Could it mean that the future will not be the domain of humans. Will the algorithms dominate?
"The future of life itself may depend upon the answer to this question."- Prof. Yuval Noah Harari
Will the Future Be Human? (in 3 minutes and 25 seconds)
Published on May 14, 2018
Animation produced by: http://whiteanimation.com
"Prof. Yuval Noah Harari tells us about the clear and immediate danger hidden within the information revolution. If we are not careful, in the future we will become the property of commercial companies and legal entities that will use our personal data for their benefit. This is a grave warning that if we take seriously will lead us to a more optimistic future."
Audio sourced from a presentation given by Prof. Harari at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2018: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npfShBTNp3Q
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
UCLA Scientists have succeeded in transferring a memory from one marine snail to another. (Please see story below.)
When I read the story I immediately thought of a future when humans live forever, perhaps as clones. But not as “tabula rasa” or “blank slate” clones, only looking like the original.
No, living forever, in my mind, means retaining life-experience memories, as well as the personal characteristics that make us who we are, no matter the “body” we occupy. In fact, our body cells replace themselves all the time. but we still retain our memories.
Eventually, death arrives, and we are no more in this world.
The “living-forever-body” must also include “living-forever-memories”, too.
That’s why the marine snail memory transfer success is so important. It may portend a day when our memories live forever.
Biologists 'transfer' a memory, University of California, Los Angeles, medicalexpress.com, 14 May 2018.
“UCLA biologists report they have transferred a memory from one marine snail to another, creating an artificial memory, by injecting RNA from one to another. This research could lead to new ways to lessen the trauma of painful memories with RNA and to restore lost memories.”
"I think in the not-too-distant future, we could potentially use RNA to ameliorate the effects of Alzheimer's disease or post-traumatic stress disorder," said David Glanzman, senior author of the study and a UCLA professor of integrative biology and physiology and of neurobiology. The team's research is published May 14 in eNeuro, the online journal of the Society for Neuroscience.”
“RNA, or ribonucleic acid, has been widely known as a cellular messenger that makes proteins and carries out DNA's instructions to other parts of the cell. It is now understood to have other important functions besides protein coding, including regulation of a variety of cellular processes involved in development and disease.”
Please go here for the rest of the story.
Elvis Presley - Memories -1968
Monday, May 21, 2018
Make America Great Again?
The problem is our world is just not that simple.
Algorithms… algorithms... more algorithms...
Life has become complicated…
"Never Under Estimate Human Stupidity."
Yuval Noah Harari
Why fascism is so tempting - and how your data could power it
"In a profound talk about technology and power, author and historian Yuval Noah Harari explains the important difference between fascism and nationalism -- and what the consolidation of our data means for the future of democracy. Appearing as a hologram live from Tel Aviv, Harari warns that the greatest danger that now faces liberal democracy is that the revolution in information technology will make dictatorships more efficient and capable of control. "The enemies of liberal democracy hack our feelings of fear and hate and vanity, and then use these feelings to polarize and destroy," Harari says. "It is the responsibility of all of us to get to know our weaknesses and make sure they don't become weapons." (Followed by a brief conversation with TED curator Chris Anderson)
"This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page."
"The most important thing is to liberate ourselves from suffering... understanding what suffering is, what causes it and how to be liberated from it."
Yuval Noah Harari TED Dialogues
Natinalism vs. globalism: the new political divide
"How do we make sense of today's political divisions? In a wide-ranging conversation full of insight, historian Yuval Harari places our current turmoil in a broader context, against the ongoing disruption of our technology, climate, media -- even our notion of what humanity is for. This is the first of a series of TED Dialogues, seeking a thoughtful response to escalating political divisiveness. Make time (just over an hour) for this fascinating discussion between Harari and TED curator Chris Anderson."
"This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by our editors on the home page."
Friday, May 4, 2018
Dear great-great-great-granddaughter and great-great-great-grandson:
A brilliant man once explained to me, “You are not here on this earth to accumulate money, fame or power. Nor, are you here to find the love of your life. You are not here to “get” something. No, you are here to contribute that which will uniquely flow through you.”
He continued, “That uniqueness will come to you in time. It will find you. You will not find it.”
“And, when that day comes, accept it. Then do whatever it is that you must do, for it is your gift for those you love and those yet unborn generations to follow.”
Well, that day has arrived.
Now, I know my unique gift for you is to continue the work of my ancestors - your ancestors, too.
They worked unceasingly to provide a secure, loving home. They built that home in a land of opportunity, where the air was clean, the water sweet, and the earth poison-free. Flowers and trees surrounded our home. Birds sang, and a multitude of wildlife flourished nearby.
Hatefulness was forbidden and learning cherished. Our door, always open to new experiences, was still protective against harm.
Outside of home, your ancestors, women and men, served selflessly and heroically out of compassion, in pursuit of happiness and peace for all.
In my time, as in times past, leaders have proven cowards, soullessly sacrificing the future, your world and the helpless, for trillions and trillions of dollars of the public trust. All for personal gain.
I, and many others, struggle day-in and day-out to counter this never-ending ruthlessness of these soulless beings, who have forced us into a last-ditch battle to preserve something of our earth for you.
The fact that you are reading this letter is proof that we have somehow managed to overcome our inadequacies, faults and frailties in the face of unrestrained avarice and unmitigated evil.
My hope is that I have helped to pass to you a secure, loving home in a land of opportunity, where the air is clean, the water sweet, and the earth poison-free. That you, too, enjoy the flowers and trees surrounding your home... that birds sing for you and the wildlife flourishes nearby.
This is the world I hoped for you and the reason I lived.
May God be with you, now and forever. May he give you the strength and wisdom to pass our world on to your great-great-great-grandchildren. Whatever you do, please, Don't Stop Believin'.
Your great-great-great-grandfather, Ron
Journey - Don't Stop Believin'- 1981
Thursday, May 3, 2018
While much of the known world has, and continues, to develop and implement sustainable energy technology, the good old USA, led by the Trumpists, has retrogressed into the fossil fuel Dark Ages.
Most Americans falsely believe their nation is a technology leader. We are not. We are Fossil Fuel Geezers.
We operate our society on electricity generated by antiquated coal and natural gas, or worse, nuclear-powered generation plants, that are wired together with an “1880 Power Grid” that loses nearly 69% of the electricity generated and distributed to us. (See video below.)
Additionally, the “Grid” is invitingly vulnerable to any “nutcase” or terrorist committed to causing painful mischief, or natural disasters, including floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, solar storm cosmic radiation, etc.
An answer? A bunch of small power plants.
Solar or wind electricity generated by rooftop systems, or a plethora of standalone systems, massive wind farms or massive solar arrays, in many cases joined together in microgrids, is fast becoming the world standard.
Why? Because we have developed a lot of new technology since the 1880s, and it is cost effective.
Please check out: Solar Surprise: Small-Scale Solar a Better Deal than Big, John Farrell, ilsr.org, 9 Mar 2018.
"If you’re a Public Utilities Commission eyeing the least cost solar energy, it’s clear that electric customers benefit regardless of the scale of the solar build, but there’s definitely not a benefit to building bigger than about 10 to 20 megawatts. In other words, you may need to consider different factors, such as who earns the return on investment from the solar project. If solar projects are comparable cost, a Public Utilities Commission ought to favor project development with maximum public economic benefit, as opposed to utility shareholder benefit."
"If you’re a city or community looking to maximize the value of your solar investment, smaller is best. There’s every reason to favor distributed solar because the economic multipliers far outweigh any benefit from building solar bigger. The final chart shows the combination of purchase price less local spending value."
|Small is beautiful, wrote E. F. Schumacher, but when it comes to solar, |
it’s also an economic smash-hit.
One supposed sticking point I often hear is, "What happens when the sun goes down or the wind stops?"
No doubt you’ve heard about Tesla Powerwall? That is one proven solution.
Under development is another that may be coming your way…
Stanford researchers have developed a water-based battery to store solar and wind energy, Tom Abate, Stanford University, 30 Apr 2018.
“Stanford researchers have developed a water-based battery that could provide a cheap way to store wind or solar energy generated when the sun is shining and wind is blowing so it can be fed back into the electric grid and be redistributed when demand is high.”
Please go here for the whole story.
Tired of being a Fossil Fuel Geezer? I am. (Too, please consider the potential for new, higher-paying jobs that will be created when we switch over.)
"Lost in Transmission": How much energy we lose from plant to plug
"How much energy is lost between the power plant and your house? Inside Energy's Jordan Wirfs-Brock explains."
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
So, Dodge City, Tombstone, Abilene and the others of the Wild West had it right.
“… statistics show that, next to drunk and disorderly conduct, the most common cause of arrest was illegally carrying a firearm. Sheriffs and marshals took gun control seriously.”
“Although some in the gun community insist that more guns equals less crime, in the Wild West they discovered that gun control can work. Gun violence in these towns was far more rare than we commonly imagine. Historians who’ve studied the numbers have determined that frontier towns averaged less than two murders a year. Granted, the population of these towns was small. Nevertheless, these were not places where duels at high noon were commonplace. In fact, they almost never occurred.”*
Back in 1879 all cowboys had to leave their six shooters and Winchesters at the stable at the edge of town or with the sheriff, who then gave ‘em a token to be redeemed upon leaving town.
Oddly, even the NRA has decided guns are not welcome when Vice Pres. Pence is scheduled to speak before the esteemed body this Friday.
I guess, according to the NRA and the Secrete Service, guns aren’t welcome at this particular NRA shindig.**
So why should guns be welcome everywhere else?
Shouldn’t what’s good for the goose be good for the gander?
Better, let’s just follow the Old Western tradition and check the six shooters at the stable or the sheriff’s office.
*Did the Wild West Have More Gun Control Than We Do Today, Adam Winkler, THE BLOG 09/09/2011 03:42 pm ET Updated Nov 09, 2011
**The NRA said guns will be banned during a Pence speech. Parkland students see hypocrisy,
Alex Horton, msn.com, 30 Apr 2018.
Lyle Lovett - If I Had A Boat - 1987