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Thread: Scientific Exploits — Fact and Folly

  1. #1 Scientific Exploits — Fact and Folly 
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    The ‘dry’ formulas from science books are depended on for a large portion of our existence, and while we may stand in awe at their deeper meaning and even enjoy some lab experiments, they don’t always reveal the full and complete depth of what the scientists went through. The endeavors are ever insightful, often amazing, and some even approach the ridiculous. Some of the scientific pioneers really had it rough.

    Scientists, like those of any discipline, can be doggedly eccentric in their quests. Sometimes the perseverance paid off and other times it really flopped.

    Feel free to add, comment, or just enjoy. (It doesn't have to be a poem.)

    Halley, Newton and Hooke

    Halley was a sea captain, a cartographer, a professor
    Of geometry, a deputy of the Royal Mint, an astronomer,
    And the inventor of the deep-sea diving bell, and wrote some
    On magnetism, tides, planet motions, and fondly on opium.

    He invented the weather map and actuarial table ages,
    Even proposed methods to work out the Earth’s old age
    And its distance from the sun, even how to keep fresh fish,
    But one thing he didn’t do was to discover Halley’ comet,
    For he merely noted that it was yet another return of it.

    He made a wager with Robert Hooke, the cell describer,
    And with the great and stately Christopher Wren:
    They bet upon why the planets’ orbit were ellipses.

    Hooke, a known credit-taker, claimed he’d solved the problem,
    But had to conceal it so that others could yet have satisfaction.
    Well, Halley became consumed with finding the answer,
    So he called upon the Lucasian Mathematics Professor.

    Issac Newton was indeed brilliant beyond measure,
    But was solitary, joyless, paranoid, and ever no pleasure.

    Once he had inserted a needle in his eye and poked around,
    Far inserting the leather bodkin between the eye and the bone.
    Another time, he'd stared at the sun for so very long
    That he had to spend many days in a darkened room.

    Frustrated by mathematics, Isaac invented the calculus,
    And then for twenty-seven years kept it hidden from us.
    Likewise, he did the same with the understanding of light
    And spectroscopy, keeping it for thirty years in the dark.

    For Newton, science was but a partial part of his life’s routes,
    For much time was given to alchemy and religious pursuits.
    He was wholeheartedly devoted to the religion of Arianism,
    Whose main tenet was that there could be no Holy Trinity.

    Ironically, he worked as a Professor at Trinity College,
    Although the only one there who was not Anglican.
    He also spent an inordinate amount of time studying
    The floor plan of the lost temple of Solomon the King,
    Even learning Hebrew, the better to scan the original texts.

    Another single minded quest of his was to turn base metals
    Into precious ones, his papers revealing this preoccupation
    Over optics and planetary motions and such mentations.

    Well, Halley asked Newton what the curve would be
    If the planets’ attraction toward the sun was supposed to be
    The reciprocal to the square of their distance from it.
    Newton promptly answered, of course, an “ellipse”.

    Not finding his calculations of it, Newton not only rewrote it,
    But retired for two years to produce his master work,
    The Plilosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica.

    To Halley’s horror, Newton refused to release the crucial third volume,
    Without which the first two would make little sense.
    There had been a dispute between Newton and Hooke
    Over the priority of the inverse square law in the book.

    That solved by Halley’s diplomacy, the Royal Society
    Had pulled out from the publication, failing financially,
    For, the year before, there had been a very costly flop
    Called The History of Fishes; so, Halley himself popped
    The funds for Netwon’s publication out of his own pocket.

    Newton contributed nothing, as usual, and, to make matters worse,
    Halley had just taken a position as the society’s clerk,
    They failing to pay the promised 50 pounds to his purse,
    Paying him only with very many copies of The History of Fishes!

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    The Transit of Venus Across the Face of the Sun
    And the Unluckiest Man on the Face of the Earth

    Edmund Halley had suggested that if you measured
    The passage of Venus over the sun from selected
    Places on Earth, you could work out the distance to the sun
    By using triangulation and then go on to use that calibration
    To find the distances to all the other bodies of the solar system.

    These transits come in pairs eight years apart
    And then there are none at all for a century dark.
    There were none in Halley’s lifetime, but in 1761,
    Twenty years after Halley’s death, the world was one.

    Scientists set off for points all over the Earthly globe,
    Hundreds of them, but most remained in problem mode.
    Many were waylaid by war, shipwreck or sickness.
    Then, too, there was much damage to the instruments.

    Jean Chappe spent many months traveling to Siberia
    By horse, sleigh, boat and coach, nursing his criteria
    Over every bump. At last he was near, but swollen rivers
    Blocked the way; locals blamed it on him looking at the heavens.

    Guillaume Le Gentil set off from France a year ahead of time,
    But got delayed and was yet stuck at sea in brine,
    Impossibly trying to take measurements from a pitching ship.

    He continued on to India, now having eight years to prepare
    For the transit of 1769. He erected a viewing station there,
    Having everything ready on the fine day of June 4th;
    But just as Venus began its pass, a cloud slid forth
    Right in front of the sun and stayed there and spent
    Its time exactly for the the duration of the transit:
    Three hours, fourteen minutes, and seven seconds.

    Enroute to a port to head for home, he contracted dysentery
    And was laid up for a year, but then finally left the territory
    On a ship that was later hit by a hurricane off
    Of the African coast and nearly wrecked and lost,
    But he did make it home 12 years after setting off,
    Only to find that his relatives had long since sealed his fate
    By declaring him dead and then plundering his estate.

    The few measurements from 1761 were of no benefit,
    But, luckily, in 1769, James Cook had watched the transit
    From a sunny hilltop in Tahiti, giving enough weight
    Of information now for Joseph Lalande to calculate
    The mean distance to the sun at about 150 million kilometers.

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  4. #3  
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    I'm not sure you have much of an audience for this. What are you seeking to achieve?
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    It's just some possibly interesting scientific literature. Some of the more modern attempts or proposals may be even more revealing, which will appear much later on.
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  6. #5  
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    Well, I hate to be a party pooper, but I don't feel your post quite makes it. You have a pot pourri of interesting facts (not scientific literature, by any stretch of the imagination), but it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. This is a shame, since you appear to be knowledgeable and also have a sense of circumstance. If this is to attract attention you need to get some kind of hook into your writing.
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    Well, true, so perhaps someone may pick up on some of it, although it's not the usual kind of thread for debate, which is why it's in this forum section. I considered putting it in the The Social Science forum of History, but since it's all pure science I put it here.

    Finding the Edge of the Universe!

    At Princeton University, Robert Dicke and his team
    Had really been building up much scientific steam
    From pursuing George Gamow’s good suggestion
    Of a deep space Cosmic Background Radiation.

    Gamow wrote another paper suggesting some ways
    To use the Bell antenna, but no one read it in those days.

    Unknowing of this paper and unbeknownst to Dicke,
    Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, but 30 miles not far,
    Were diligently trying to get rid of this very CBR!

    At Bell Lab, their large communications antenna deployed
    Was plagued by some persistent background noise,
    A steady steamy hiss, unfocused and unrelenting,
    They ever attempting to squash it away so painstakingly.

    For a year they’d tried to eliminate this nuisance noise,
    Through testing, rebuilding, and wiggling-dusting ploys,
    Even placing duct tape over each and every seam and rivet.
    They even wiped away a ton of bird guano from the dish,
    Scrub brushing it and sweeping it clean. But, no fish.

    Little did they know they’d found the edge of the visible universe:
    The very first photons were at hand—the most ancient light,
    Although time and distance had changed it into microwaves.
    It was this interfering radiation they wished to swish away.

    If the Empire State Building was the universe we know,
    They had reached within an inch of the sidewalk below.
    In desperation, they called Princeton about the noise;
    “We’ve been scooped!” Dicke sadly told all of his boys.

    Penzias and Wilson received the 1978 Nobel Prize,
    Even though they’d not been looking, CBR-wise,
    And didn’t even know what it was when they found it,
    Nor had they ever described it in any scientific paper,
    Not even knowing the significance but from the newspaper.
    (Sadly, all that Dicke’s team got was a bit of sympathy.)

    note: they didn’t really call it “bird guano”,
    but a “white dielectric material”.

    See The Birth of the Universe At Home

    You, too, can detect the ancient CBR;
    Just tune your TV to a blank channel;
    About 1% of the dancing static is the CBR.
    When there’s nothing on, it’s really everything!
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    Measuring the Size of the Earth

    An English mathematician, Robert Norwood, among many,
    Wished to know the circumference of the Earth, as any,
    With his back against the Tower of London, he worked
    Two devoted years marching 208 miles north to York,

    Repeatedly stretching and measuring a piece of chain
    As he went forth through all the heat, cold and rain,
    He all this while made many meticulous adjustments tolled
    For the rise and fall of the land and the meandering road.

    Then, in York, a year since he began in London,
    He measured the precise angle of the sun.
    Thus, using trigonometry to size a degree of the mark,
    He came up with 110.72 kilometers per degree of arc.

    Not thinking that these measurements could be true,
    Since the slightest errors could throw them into the blue,
    Jean Picard spent two years trundling and triangulating;
    Using quadrants and pendulum clocks, he got 110.46.

    But, was the Earth fatter at the north and south poles?
    Now new measurement were need to replace the old.

    A hydrologist, Pierre Bouguer and and soldier,
    Charles Marie de La Condamine, with many bolder,
    Traveled to Peru to triangulate distance through the Andes,
    To measure the meridian’s length from Cuenca to Yoarouqui.

    They needed but to go 200 hundred miles for one degree,
    But everything began to go wrong, sometimes spectactularly.
    In Quito, they provoked the locals, getting stoned away,
    Then their doctor was murdered and the botanist went crazy.

    Fevers and falls claimed even more, and the most senior member,
    Pierre Godin, ran off with a pretty thirteen year old girl.
    Then they had to halt their work for eight long months,
    Having to sort out a problem in Lima with their permits.

    La Condamine and Bouguer stopped to each other speaking,
    And all the while officials had many suspicions, unbelieving
    That French scientists would travel halfway the world around
    To measure the world right here in their very own towns.

    Why didn’t they make the measurements in France?
    Well, Edmund Halley, an exceptional figure, by chance
    Got from Newton that our planet was slightly oblate;
    But, Jacques Cassini had come up with the reverse fate.

    Jacques was wrong, but the Academy sent the team in mind
    To South America, to mountains with good sight lines;
    However, the mountains of Peru were often lost in the clouds,
    So they’d wait weeks to observe for an hour, complaining loud.

    Plus, the terrain was near impossible, even defeating the mules,
    But the men plodded on, fording wild rivers, hacking jungles
    And crossing uncharted stony deserts far from supplies,
    Tackling the task for nine long sun-blistered years of lies.

    They then found out that another French team, cold,
    Had taken measurements in Scandinavia that showed
    That indeed a degree was longer near to the poles,
    The Earth Forty-three kilometers wider equatorially
    (Than from top to bottom around the poles.)

    Still not talking, Bouguer and La Condamine just moaned,
    Returning to the coast and even taking separate ships home.
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    The Back Door Of Our Cafeteria
    And the Invincible Rulers of the Earth

    For two billion years in the Archaean world, bacteria
    Were the only forms of life. Algae, or Cyanobacteria
    Learned to absorb water molecules, dining on hydrogen,
    But releasing oxygen as waste—photosynthesis began.

    The world began to slowly fill with “poisonous” oxygen,
    But not right away, as it first combined with iron then,
    Producing iron oxide that sank, that on the bottom lay,
    In the primitive seas; the world was literally rusting away.

    After two billion years, the atmosphere had filled with oxygen
    A new kind of cell arose. Some oxygen-using organisms
    With organelles produced an energy much more efficient.

    This was the endosymbiotic event of a mitochondrion
    Which made complex life possible, by a liberation
    Of energy from food, feeding on nutrients we take in.

    We need them but they don’t need us, for without them
    We couldn’t even live for two minutes.
    They don’t even speak the same genetic language
    As the cell in which they live.

    These eukaryotes are an old unknown visitor
    Within our homes who’ve stayed on for a billion years.

    In another billions years they learned to form together
    Into complex multicellular beings, yet, still this world
    Of the small was to ever live on and rule the world.

    At dinner, Louis Pasteur used a magnifying glass for
    Searching for microbes in his food, until invited no more.

    There are 100 quadrillion bacteria within us and upon us,
    Ever grazing on our flesh and digesting our food bus.
    The Earth is not our planet, but theirs. They let us live.
    They even purify our water and keep the soil productive.

    A single bacterial cell can generate 280,000 more a day.
    They can also share information, taking a piece away
    Of genetic code from any other any time. They swim
    In a single gene pool. They are an invincible superorganism.

    They live in caustic lakes, in Antarctica, and in boiling mud
    And even thrive seven miles down in the Pacific Ocean,
    In sulfuric acid, too, and in a 166-year-old bottle of beer,
    And can even gorge themselves on plutonium nuclear.

    Bacteria were yet alive in a sealed camera lens stowed
    On the moon for two years, but they seemed a bit slowed.
    Some were even found two thousand feet below the Earth
    Dining on the stuff that's in rocks, like iron, sulfur, and dirt.

    Some frozen ones were even revived from the three million
    Year-old permafrost of Siberia, and finally, one older than
    The continents, was resuscitated, a 250 million-year-old
    Bacteria that had been trapped in a salt deposit hold,
    Two thousand feet underground in New Mexico, maybe.
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    Alchemy Happens via Radioactivity
    How Old can the Earth Be?

    Through E=MCC we see that vast energy reserves
    Are bound up in small amounts of matter, preserved.
    Henri Becquerel carelessly left a packet of uranium salts
    On a wrapped photographic plate in his drawer vault.

    Some time later, he was surprised to discover that
    The salts had burned an “light” impression into it.
    The salts were emitting some rays of some sort, curiously
    So he turned the matter over to Marie Curie, literally.

    Madam Curie and her new husband Pierre, with glee,
    Noted that the rocks poured out great amounts of energy,
    But they never diminished in size or changed in any way.
    (They were converting mass into energy very efficiently.)

    They also found polonium and radium and a Nobel prize,
    Along with Becquerel, in 1903, Einstein yet on the rise.

    Radioactive elements decayed into other elements,
    Noted Ernest Rutherford and colleague Fredrick Soddy;
    One day you had an atom of uranium that “bled”,
    And the very next day you had an atom of lead.

    It always took the same amount of days
    For half of the sample to decay,
    And so this steady reliable rate of decay
    Could be used in kind of a clocking way.

    Tick-tock, how old was it? More than 700 millions years worth!
    This age was way more than anyone had given the Earth.
    He lectured, taking out a piece of radioactive pitchblende,
    Showing it to aging Kelvin, but Kelvin rejected it to the end.

    Dimitri Mendedeyev rejected it too, as with everything new,
    Ever storming out of labs and lecture halls all over, too;
    However, element 101 was called mendelevium in his name meant,
    And quite appropriately, for it was a very unstable element.

    Pierre Curie began to experience radiation sickness, getting weak,
    But in 1906 he was fatally run over by a carriage on a Paris street.

    Marie worked on with much distinction, but had an affair
    So indiscreet that even the French were scandalized there,
    And so she was never elected to the Academy of Sciences,
    Despite not just one, but two (Physics, Chemistry) Nobel prizes.

    Scientists yet thought that radioactivity was beneficial,
    Putting thorium into toothpaste and laxatives as useful;
    Eventually these products were banned, by 1938;
    But for Madam, who’d died of leukemia, it was much too late.

    The radiation is so pernicious and long lasting
    That even now her papers from the 1890’s,
    And even her cookbooks, are dangerous and toxic,
    So all her lab books must be kept in lead lined boxes.
    (One must wear protective clothing to look at them.)

    Marie Curie was a very attractive lady very much aglow,
    For my great ancestor in his old writings such told me so.
    She radiated warmth unto him as a rainbow of sparks—
    “Great balls of fire!” he remarked, “They now glow in the dark!”
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    The Caldron That Almost Brewed Humanity Away

    At Toba, in northern Sumatra, a supervolcano
    Erupted only seventy-four thousands years ago.
    Six years of volcanic winter followed this eruption,
    Bringing pre-humans to the very edge of extinction.

    There were but a few thousand of them left around,
    Since very little light could reach the dusty ground.
    It took twenty thousand years for them to recompose.
    From this handful of hardy souls we humans arose.

    In 1960, Bob Christiansen looked around everywhere
    At Yellowstone National Park for its volcanic caldera,
    But found it nowhere. By some coincidence, NASA
    Had photos from a recently tested high altitude camera.

    Astounded, Bob learned why he’d failed to spot the caldera;
    It was virtually the entire park, 2.2 million acres of area!
    Yellowstone must have blown up with a violent misery
    Far beyond anything known throughout our history.

    The crater was forty miles across. The cataclysm was
    Even beyond the scale of what the imagination does;
    It had thousands of times more monstrous molten fire
    Than Mount St. Helens. Krakatau was but a firecracker.

    Yellowstone’s eruptions average one really massive blow
    Every 600,000 years, the last one being 630,000 years ago;

    It is long overdue. Better take out some no-fault insurance.
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    The Last Dodo Worked in a Museum

    The famously flightless bird, the good old dodo,
    Had a dimwitted but ever trusting natural motto.
    During millions of years of isolation from us,
    It had evolved on the island of Mauritius.

    It was not at all ready for human behavior low,
    Even waddling over to note the fall of its fellow.

    In 1755, seventy years after the last dodo’ s word,
    A museum director at the Ashmolean in Oxford,
    Nothing that its dodo specimen had become “tired”,
    Being unpleasantly musty, so he threw it into a bonfire.

    We are now not even sure what a living dodo was like,
    But for some oil paintings. We will not again see their likes.
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    1816: The Year Without a Summer

    In 1815, on the island of Sumbawa in Indonesia,
    Tambora exploded, killing a hundred thousand people.
    The Earth began to cool from the smoky ash and dust,
    And sunsets became extraordinarily colorfully beauteous;

    Lord Bryon dreamed that the bright sun was dying—
    The spring never arrived and the summer was very trying.
    Crops all over failed to grow; Ireland was famished.
    Earth’s temperature had fallen by but 1.5 degrees F.

    They called it the year of Eighteen Hundred and Froze to Death.
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    I actually enjoy these short quick reads. Reminds me a bit of the "connections" show for some reason. Sometimes a bit less than rigorous and slip shod on facts but highly entertaining. Science doesn't need to be stogy or smell like your grandmother's attic.

    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
    “The Holy Land is everywhere” Black Elk
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    Oh, good; here's more then. Many of them are rhymed.

    We may eventually get up to more current times.

    These old guys did a lot, not even having Google.

    Mastodons and Extinctions

    In the late 1700’s, Cuvier could take heaps of bones
    And whip them into shapely forms not in the stones.
    After describing and naming the fossil elephant the mastodon,
    He put forward for the first time a theory on extinction.

    He said that from time to time there were global catastrophes
    In which some groups of creatures “became history”.
    This raised many uncomfortable implications at the time,
    For why would God create and destroy without reason or rhyme?

    This suggested an unaccountable casualness by someone unseeing
    And greatly troubled the belief in The Great Chain of Being,
    Which held that the world was carefully ordered for us—
    And that every living thing thus had a place and purpose.

    Meanwhile, William Smith noted a correlation in fossils
    In rocks to find the relative rock ages that were possible.
    At every change in rock strata, certain fossils vanished,
    While in others they carried on into subsequent levels.

    Now it was seen that God had wiped out creatures extinct
    Not only occasionally but repeatedly—which made us think
    Him not only careless but as having an outright hostile distinction.
    Clearly, there had been more than the Biblical Noachian deluge extinction.
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    The June 30, 1860 Showdown

    Were we descended from some ape-like creatures?
    A thousand people sat down to hear the lectures.

    The Bishop of Oxford, Samuel Wilberforce, rose to speak,
    And while speaking, and into his flow, looked at Huxley,
    And asked if he’d become attached to apes by way
    Of his grandmother’ or his grandfather’s recent sway.

    Huxley turned to his neighbor and whispered plans,
    “The Lord has delivered him into my hands”,
    Then rose with a relish and said something, agape,
    Of the nature “I’d rather claim kinship to an ape
    Than to someone using his eminence to propound
    Such unscientific twaddle in a serious scientific forum!”

    This was an insult to the Bishop’s office and his door,
    So the proceedings instantly turned into an uproar.

    Someone ran around holding up a Bible, to exclaim
    “The Book, the Book!” (Truly, we’ll never be the same.)

    (The "someone" was the captain of Darwin's Beagle ship)
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    The Near Decline of Physics
    Due to Its Undressed Terms

    The quarks, those constituents of the orgy
    Playfully bound within the nucleons’ chamber
    Are named up, down, strange, charm, bottom and top,
    The last two once being called beauty and truth;

    However, when just one of a type was contained
    It became referred to, say, as a naked beauty,
    And thus nude tops and bottoms their charms revealed—
    To ever be in closeness binding, bonding,

    So, they even tried just u, d, s, c, b and t
    To prevent some ultimate collapse of physics,
    But the truth of the flavors beneath the veils
    Remained as the sheerest vision preferred.

    So, we have these vibrant dancing ladies:
    The naked heavyweight top, charming up,
    And, down, the strange beauty of the raw truth,
    With a bare bottom just around and behind.

    They gyrate, spinning their charms, twirling,
    In the universal dance of stunning motion,
    The polarity sometimes reversed,
    Whirling, their bottoms up and tops down.

    And then there are Eden’s many colors,
    In this flower garden filled with flavors,
    Such as red bottom beauties, blue tops,
    And magenta undulations unstopped.

    Gluons are the bees of the flower beds,
    Carrying pollen back and forth to bond
    The many relationships that make
    This loved world go ‘round as reality.

    Eyed in views that probe the fundamental,
    Quarks strangely swirl in and out of sight,
    Pulsing, throbbing with elemental delight,
    In and out—the love-made life of eternity.

    These attractions in the altogether denuded
    In the buff became the strong force, manifest,
    That the mother-nature-naked terms exposed
    To denote the stark beauty of truth uncovered.

    “Three Quarks for Muster Mark”

    Naked quarks would really love to go wild and dance,
    But there’s only a finite amount of energy and chance;
    So they would spiral out of control, having quite a blast!
    Such they have been confined within the proton—to last.

    They’re made bottoms-up; can we see them tops-down, a go-go?
    No, for the Quantum Censor protects the charm show,
    Their strange beauty and flavor bound up and down,
    As the proton is much immune to disturbance around.
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    Poor Pluto’s been banished to the underworld,
    Charon rowing him to the land of the forgotten.
    Schoolchildren petitioned for his return,
    But he was voted off of the solar island.

    Memory’s crutch for the order of the planets,
    Is now just “MVEMJSUN”—
    Old Pluto tried so darn hard, its position
    Now even closer to the sun than Neptune’s.

    Well, many have searched for quite a while for
    The next planet without any success—
    There have been hoaxes, theories, and some ghosts;
    Yet, I have firm proof of another planet.

    But, first, a review of some poor attempts:
    “Vulcan” was spotted very close to the sun,
    And “existed” for about five days,
    But now is relegated to the Star Trek World.

    Another “Vulcan”, impossible to see,
    Being 180 degrees away from Earth,
    Behind the sun, was seen in the movie
    “Journey to the Far Side of the Sun”.

    Could an asteroid like Eris be a planet?
    Nope, not allowed, although all of the
    Debris between Mars and Jupiter
    Could have come from an unstable planet.

    Nice try, but it’s not out there anymore,
    And any planets of other solar systems
    Don’t count, nor does Planet Hollywood
    Or Daily Planet or any other restaurants.

    Perhaps there’s another planet way out,
    Beyond; that may be so, but, no matter,
    Though it may become the 10th planet, since
    I have found the newest 9th with no doubt.

    The 9th planet does follow an orbit
    Close to Earth’s, ever falling toward the sun—
    It is right under our nose: It’s the moon!
    But, wait, you say, it is Earth’s satellite.

    Our moon is unique in the solar system—
    It’s not captured by the Earth, but by the sun,
    It’s orbit being everywhere concave to Sol.
    (Thanks to Issac Asimov for proving this.)

    Never does our moon fall away from the sun,
    For it’s attracted to it about twice as much
    As it is to the Earth, although the moon and
    The Earth do form a double planet system

    That revolves about a common point that
    Happens to be inside of the Earth.
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    The music of the spring was in the breeze,
    A prelude borne by airy musicians
    Of the trees—the mating calls of the birds,
    That opened for the cosmic symphony.

    The Music of the Spheres played in the park
    At night—flung down by our Father, the Sky,
    Through the soft night to our Mother, the Earth,
    Then to us, their audience and progeny.

    The planets joined in a concert to the
    Merrie Monthe of Maie, arrayed as follows:
    There was Venusia, the Bringer of Peace,
    Singing side by side with warring Marsius.

    Flitting about was the wingéd Mercuria,
    The speedy messenger who conducted
    The orchestra, melting all of us who
    Were touched by her wand of burning desire.

    And mighty Zeus, was there, full to the brim
    With the jollity of the fat man's belly.
    By Jove, came Saturnus, so very gray
    With age—lumbering into the party.

    Thence sat Urania, the magician, and
    The old sea captain, King Nep, the mystic,
    But not Pluto; he was downsized, no more
    One of the harmonics—an underworld!

    Jupiter’s music was round and robust,
    While Saturn’s boomed with the sounds of grandeur
    And the old venerable melodies;
    But, Mercury soon picked up the pace.

    Next flowed the serene love songs of Venus,
    Followed inexorably by Martial marches.
    Now was the time for Urania's magic—
    She played musical jokes and surprises.

    At last, their music came to mesh as one,
    And our wanderers of the night floated
    Away on the haunting mystical strains
    Of King Nep's tune, into the May Flower moon.

    Now we’re touched, so touched by the starlight,
    Afraid that we'll ne’er be the same again.
    Can you sense the euphony of the spheres?
    Can you fathom the theory of everything?
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  20. #19  
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    Jan 2011
    What No Man Had Thought Before

    Alan Guth had never done anything much before,
    But soon attended Dicke’s Big Bang lecture tour,
    And so had decided to study the birth of the universe.
    And so just like that he developed inflation theory first.

    The “Big Bang” formed 98 percent of matter spent,
    But whence the rest of all the higher elements?
    What flaming forge fired carbon, iron and more?
    Fred Hoyle was a nut, much unloved, and a big bore.

    Working with others who often avoided him,
    Hoyle came up up with imploding stars, a whim
    That that allowed supernovae to generate
    The heavier elements at the rate of his steady state.

    This process was known as nucleosynthesis,
    Causing a 100 million degree heat and mist
    That sprayed new elements into gaseous clouds of stardust
    That could eventually coalesce into solar systems, and us.

    99.9% of this mass made our sun, the rest leftover dirt,
    Ever colliding, two grains being the conception of Earth,
    For in every encounter there was always a winning lump
    Of these endless and random bumping growing clumps.

    (Fowler, not Hoyle, obtained the precious Nobel prize;
    Hoyle had been overlooked, but to no one’s surprise.)
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  21. #20  
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    Jan 2011
    The Curious Encounter With Madame

    De Broglie declared that all motion
    Of particles must be associated
    With the propagation of a wave.
    Einstein then wrote that De Broglie
    “had lifted the corner of the great veil.”

    Einstein later had an opportunity
    To lift another veil—that of Marie Curie,
    When they vacationed together,
    Quite reactively, in the Swiss alps.

    Did they or didn’t they exchange energy?
    Einstein was a ladies’ man, though married,
    Busy having an affair with his cousin, Elsa,
    And Marie was a married man’s lady. (Paul’s).

    Einstein wrote his wife that Marie was a grouch,
    But was this just a misdirection meant to allay?
    They inhaled the alpine air, talking science,
    Strolling far and trying to name the peaks.
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  22. #21  
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    Jan 2011
    The Golden Stream

    In 1865, Hennig Brand thought that gold
    Could be distilled from human urine old,
    Perhaps noting a similarity in color,
    So, he kept fifty buckets in his cellar.

    By some method, he converted urine
    Into a noxious paste of some kind,
    Then into some translucent waxy substance,
    But so far there was no gold, and none hence.

    However, after a time the substance began to glow,
    And when exposed to the air burst as an inferno.
    The substance soon became known as phosphorus,
    But was too costly to make its business prosperous…

    For an ounce of the flaming stuff sold
    For way more than the price of gold!
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  23. #22  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Austin, TX
    I suggest blogging instead.
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  24. #23  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    I agree.

    Sorry, I thought you said flogging.
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  25. #24  
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    Jan 2011
    The Asteroid That May Destroy Humanity

    The air beneath it couldn’t get out of the way of the rock,
    Rising in temperature ten times more than the sun is hot.
    Everything and everyone crinkled and crackled in the heat,
    Then a thousand cubic kilometers of earth blew from beneath.

    This shock wave, radiating at about the speed of light,
    Would sweep just about everything else out of sight.
    From further away, one would see a blinding light
    And then the unimaginable grandeur of an apocalyptic sight:
    A rolling wall of silent darkness as black as midnight.

    It would reach to the heavens, filling the entire field of view,
    Traveling far beyond the speed of sound toward me an you.
    A bewildering veil of turmoil would [ful]fill our vision
    During those few last minutes before we met oblivion.
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  26. #25  
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    Jan 2011
    The Age of Rust

    Aliens visit the Earth, thinking lush,
    Only to find it covered with rust.

    Their visit does not occur in future times
    When the Earth is full of dusty rime,
    But is way back in the youthful years
    Before there was any atmosphere.

    Bacteria have just begun making oxygen,
    Discarding it as a mere waste product—
    An unwanted poison to be jettisoned.

    Everything on Earth that is capable
    Of being oxidized becomes oxidized;
    We’ve seen evidence of this rust
    In bands of red oxide deep in the crust.

    Only when this rusting comes to an end
    Do the oxygen levels in the atmosphere rise;
    They are only 1 percent after 2.4 billions years;
    Now being 20 percent after double those years.
    The aliens soon leave our planet,
    That rusting junk pile that
    Could never amount to squat.

    (They did take a photo of the Eiffel Tower, however.)
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  27. #26  
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    Jan 2011
    Einstein As a Near Traffic Fatality

    George Gamow told in his book,
    ‘My World Line’,
    How he was conversing
    With Albert Einstein
    While walking through Princeton
    In the 1940s.

    Gamow casually mentioned
    That one of his colleagues
    [Pascual Jordan]
    Had pointed out to him
    That according to Einstein's equations
    A star could be created out of nothing at all,

    Because [at point zero]
    Its negative gravitational energy
    [mass defect]
    Precisely cancels out
    [is equal to]
    Its positive mass energy
    [rest mass].

    "Einstein stopped in his tracks,"
    Says Gamow,
    "And, since we were crossing a street,
    Several cars had to stop
    To avoid running us down".
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  28. #27  
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    Jan 2011

    Occam sharpened his razor,
    To a one-dimensional line,
    Then cut his beard into strings.

    They sprung from the depths,
    Vibrating the songs of reality,
    For which all composites sprang.

    In the alphabet, Occam saw the unnecessary,
    So he struck out ‘j’, ‘q’, ‘x”, and ‘z’, being rarities
    Or duplicates, and then even cut more,
    Those being the vowels taking up space.

    [which then became:]

    n th lphbt, ccm sw th nncssry,
    S h strck t ‘’, ‘’, ‘’, and ‘’, bng rrts
    r dplcts, nd thn vn ct mr,
    Ths bng th vwls tkng p spc.

    (But then we could only understand him almost)
    (Bt thn w cld nly ndrstnd hm lmst)
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  29. #28  
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    Jan 2011
    That Blankety Blank

    Euclid and Pythagorus never even thought of it,
    Perhaps not needing it for geometry;
    So it was and wasn’t ‘Greek’ to them.

    Aristotle was deathly afraid of it.

    Even the word ‘naughty’ came from it.

    ‘0’ had a chilly reception everywhere,
    It’s rounded symbol enclosing nothing,
    As if it could be captured,
    But ‘nothing’ never changed,
    Being the same even if you took it away.

    Humans stumbled on zero & nothing by accident,
    And recoiled in horror, fearing it, reviling it,
    And sometimes even banning it outright
    As some kind of evil influence.

    After many centuries, it seemed to be tamed,
    Put in its place as a simple little placeholder.

    Then the beast reared its ugly head for real,
    Misbehaving like a monster right and left:

    It brought instant death by multiplication,
    And wrought total absurdity through division,
    Yet halting our expensive computers.

    It exploded into the ambiguous fog of infinity;
    It ran away from us in calculus,

    Sliding us down the slippery slope
    Of closing in on it but never reaching it.

    It spawned ghosts such as negative numbers,
    Imaginaries, and those ephemeral infinitesimals.

    Both the genie and the genius
    Had been let out of the bottle,
    And the goose egg still
    Confounds and confuses,
    No one knowing zilch about it,
    Creating paradoxes left and right.

    Notes on Nothing

    If something could be made from Nothing,
    Anything could and would
    Spring out anywhere, anytime,
    And perhaps it does.

    “Nature abhors a vacuum”

    — Aristotle

    “Absolute Nothing cannot be;
    therefore there must be something”

    — Austin
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  30. #29  
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    Jan 2011
    Star Stuff

    How could we ever know
    The composition of a star?
    It’s not like we could go there
    To collect a sample.

    “Impossible,” it was thought.

    Then starlight shadows were found that
    Spelled out a complete list of the ingredients—
    A quantum mechanical bar code of its elements.

    Astrological Non-Science

    The gravitational pull of Venus and Mars
    On someone at birth would be overpowered
    Even by the gravitational pull
    Of the obstetrician walking
    Around the delivery table.
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  31. #30  
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    Jan 2011
    The Irrational

    Indefiniteness didn’t sit well with Pythagorus,
    Ever concerned with the perfection of numbers.

    You can divide the circumference of a circle
    With its radius but you cannot write the result
    As a fraction or a ratio, for pi just keeps on going.

    So, he pledged his disciples to secrecy,
    For the ancient Pythagoreans
    Had developed an entire religion
    Based on the rationality of numbers.

    Yet, one rebel vowed to let the word out;
    However, he mysteriously drowned at sea.
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  32. #31  
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    Jan 2011
    Inanimate to Animate

    Now, how does one draw a clear line
    Between organization and not?

    When, even, does the night turn to day?

    The most interesting and potent things,
    From the evolution of the universe to life,
    Exist at the blurred boundary
    Between order and chaos,

    Life perhaps emerging in tide pools—
    The shifting edge between land and sea.

    It is the fuzzy realm
    Where things have to be orderly enough to take form,
    But not so much frozen that they cannot change.
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  33. #32 The Frozen Vacuum 
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    Jan 2011

    ‘Here lieth One whose name was writ on water.’

    The ‘false’ and melted vacuum was liquid energy—
    Unstructured, unordered, and going nowhere,
    But, then, inexplicably, it ‘fell’,
    As from a kind of ‘shelf’…

    …Whirling, twirling and swirling inward
    Until there was no more inward left…

    And thus it crystalized, frozen,
    Into our structured ‘true’ vacuum,

    It ‘thought’ that its future could never be,
    That its quality was but written
    On the water and the wind
    With a feathery quill
    Whose ink was the smoke and fog
    Of a shimmering dream.

    Then it died… like the Phoenix.

    Ere the breath that could erase it blew,
    Death, in remorse for that fell slaughter,
    Death, the immortalizing winter, flew
    Athwart the flowing stream—
    And Time's printless torrent grew
    A scroll of crystal,
    Blazoning the name
    Of ‘The Universe’!
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  34. #33 Color Lore 
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    Jan 2011

    In the netherworld, I learned the lore and
    Legends of the colors, of their uses
    In nature and emotions, the whatfor
    Of their light’s glowing activity:

    All color variants, quite numberless,
    Are made from the three primaries, no less;
    Namely: red, yellow, and blue—often backed
    By colorless white tinges or shades of black.

    From just these three essential hues derives
    All of heaven’s prismatic radiance,
    Myriad colors of floral brilliance,
    And technicolors that come so alive.

    The offspring of married red and yellow
    Is the secondary, orange, a bright fellow;
    Its sibling, of blue and yellow, is green,
    With, of course, some gradation in between.

    Saintly brother purple, twixt reds and blues,
    Completes the second generation hues.
    Next to arrive, lime-green, is a grandchild,
    As are all the tertiary colors wild—

    They’re crimson, magenta, maroon, scarlet,
    Amber, auburn, salmon, ocher, russet,
    Mauve, taupe, fuchsia, cherry, cerise, umber,
    Teal, emerald, and vermilion others.

    Strangely enough, all the color-pairs
    That symbolize seasons and festive fairs
    As they’re found naturally in nature’s ways,
    Do contrast on the color wheel, crossways:

    Direct opposites on the color wheel,
    Sky-blue and leafy-orange, represent fall,
    For they are autumn’s contrasting colors
    That quite up for its lack of flowers.

    As with crocus, spring’s floral colors yet
    Remain yellow primrose, purple violet—
    The sensual sun, as it were, warming
    The virginal earth, with love, into spring.

    The Christmas Holiday Season is “seen”
    In its opposing hues of red and green—
    As in Holly, berry-red, ever-green,
    Or in Poinsettias’ red flush, leaf of green.

    We’re out of diametric color sets,
    So, which for summer? It must then contain
    The entire spectrum, as these the sunset
    And the rainbow express, in shine and rain.

    Since winter’s snow hides all things out of sight,
    Its colors are hidden inside white—and night,
    The cold season’s symbols, for they conceal
    All of spring and summer’s bright floral feel.

    For that as different as day and night,
    We have the twin-opposites: black and white,
    For the day-clock first became dark and light
    When twin-gods split day & night, wrong & right.

    Heaven’s splendor, white, for purity, bless,
    Holds all the colors of prismatic light,
    But the symbol of the Prince of Darkness,
    Black, removes all the colors from our sight.

    So then, it is proved that, in both nature
    And in the color wheel, opposites attract
    And complement in their contrast—to procure
    Both real and symbolic color contracts.

    Next, we’ll turn to the colors lone, to see
    The whatfor of their light’s activity,
    But first, let’s ask, Are there any missing hues,
    Unknown, hidden in rainbows, or not used?

    Hidden colors? No, for I see how red goes
    To orange, graduating through the rainbow
    Into yellow and on through green, to let
    Blue into indigo to become violet.

    Perhaps, between green and blue, lies some new
    Tincture, unique enough to be it’s own hue,
    But, alas, those turquoise waves everyday,
    In tropic seas, wash that theory away.

    Yet, there may be some new colors that lie
    Before or beyond the spectrum and the eye,
    Like infrared or ultraviolet,
    Or gold, which only the fairies can see.

    But what of clear, white, silver, gray, or black?
    Well, they’re not true colors, for, either they lack
    All color (black, clear) or hide all hues (white)
    Or are mixtures (gray, silver): black-white.

    But wait, there is a well-known color,
    One quite common in both dress and nature,
    That cannot be found in the rainbow—
    Give up? It’s brown—and has nowhere to go!

    Brown is the color of death, like the leaves
    That crumble dry and lifeless when earth grieves,
    Which is why the faeries won’t let it show
    In their magically spectral rainbow.

    But, alas, brown’s new hue is not to last,
    For brown’s no more than red, yellow, and black.
    So, onward we move: What do colors mean?
    What’s nature’s physiological scheme?

    When we see red, we see danger: Stop! Blood!
    Metabolism rises, adrenaline floods—
    And, so, restaurants use red tablecloths
    To increase both the appetite and the cost.

    Yellow, the quickest color we can see,
    Means caution, as with black on a bee,
    But yellow’s bright and cheerful, too, and lends
    Light to small and sunless rooms like kitchens.

    Healthful orange is the common man’s color;
    So, to make the expensive look cheaper,
    Such as with a hotel, they paint it orange,
    And put some shiny polish on the door hinge.

    Blue invigorates, and, therefore, provides
    Extra strength and power, so blue’s on our side
    When the home team’s locker room is painted
    In its hue (visitor’s was pink—they fainted).

    Blue, as was said, is good, except on food,
    For few foods are blue; so, in diet mood,
    Put a blue light in your kitchen—and lose
    Weight avoiding repulsive looking food.

    Pink (red tinted with white) debilitates,
    Sapping strength and temper, so, that is why
    It’s used in prison cells and locker rooms,
    For it calms the most violent inmates.

    What of purple? Well, it’s mournful, but, too,
    It’s stately, regal, and virginal, new.
    Of green, though it’s seldom worn, none complain;
    And use it in their carpets to stay sane.

    The stars are not just white, they scintillate:
    Sirius is blue, its companion green;
    Betelgeuse, red; many, like Sol, yellow;
    Arcturus, orange—all jewels constellate.

    Well, as colors go, so, then, do we, see:
    Hues are just differing wavelengths of light
    That the brain interprets, in its own right,
    For some natural colored necessity.

    May I chance upon a land of strange rainbows
    Of elfin-hued flowers: red delphiniums,
    Black tulips, orange fuchsias, white marigolds,
    Bronze grass, and the legendary blue rose.
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  35. #34  
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    Jan 2011

    The past is never past,
    At least while we are alive.
    Our memories, though volatile,
    Being both ephemeral and re-cognized,
    No doubt have some basic persistence.

    But how does this past remain,
    And what kind of substance
    Could there be
    That lives outside time?

    What makes it so strong
    That it can survive
    The merciless climate of the brain?

    And in what storm’s eye does it reside
    In the center of the maelstrom
    Of the change and growth of cells?

    What be this grain that persists
    Among the shifting sands of time?

    All this we shall show
    And answer soon
    In the search for lost time.

    Our rememberings try to describe
    Reality as it really was experienced,
    But, that sheer essence may elude,
    Although some general outline remains.

    Then, too, we add to it, subtract from it
    And reconnect by association to the new.

    Lo, the subjective metes out our reality;
    While the objective lies furthest removed.

    Perhaps, we may have a memory
    That returns from a taste of butterscotch
    From which Grandma’s home then arises,
    And then of connections further becoming.

    How do some crumbs, here, and of the past
    Waft back as vapours unto our present?

    Do the senses of smell and taste,
    Yet more fragile and more insubstantial,
    Bear a unique burden of memory,
    As more enduring and faithful,
    Rising up past the ruins of the rest?

    Just noting the butterscotch,
    Back then,
    Without its tasting,
    Would not have made the mark.

    Everything is connected
    Within the mind,
    Each germ of recollection
    Ballooning into a revelation.

    Time mutates some ancient pastimes,
    And so they are not wholly recaptured,
    And sometimes rather fallible,
    Even altered more by the call to mind,
    Yet they are there.

    A memory begins as a changing
    Connection between two neurons.
    The strength of the synapse changes
    So that the neurons can communicate.
    Thus, the taste of memory
    Also activates
    The neurons downstream
    To do with one’s childhood days.

    The neurons have been
    Inextricably entwined,
    Yet, too, reconsolidate upon recall.

    How do we remember
    Long after we have forgotten?
    How do such apparitions reappear,
    Some with no suggestion of their origin,
    And sink and swell, float and change,
    Withering the acids of time’s reflux?

    The memory making process need proteins
    For the cellular construction of remembrance,
    Yet the life of a protein is but 14 days.

    And some hippocampal neurons die,
    And some are born anew,
    Yet some memory seems immutable.

    Does the mind constantly reincarnate?

    Aye, our memories must be made
    Of a material stronger than cells,
    And must be quite specific as well.

    While each neuron has but a single nucleus,
    It has a teeming mass of dendritic branches,
    Connecting to other neurons
    At dendritic synapses,
    Such as the branches of two trees
    Touching in a forest.

    So, it is at these tiny crossings
    That memories are made;
    Not in the trunk of the neuronal tree,
    But in its sprawling canopy.

    What marks a specific branch
    As a memory?
    What molecule awaits
    The taste of butterscotch?

    It has to turn on mRNA
    To help make the proteins.

    It’s name is
    Cyptoplasmic polyadenenylaton
    Element binding protein,
    A tough assignment of a name
    For even my memory to recall,
    So, how about CPEB, for short.

    Since it was in the brain’s memory center,
    Scientists looked for it in sea slugs,
    Amazingly finding it in the slug’s neurons.

    Upon removing it, the sea slugs
    Could not remember a darn thing!

    But how does it work,
    Existing outside of time?

    Well, it has a series of repetitions
    In its amino acid repetitions:


    Where Q is glutamine.

    Looking for similar odd repetitions,
    What looked like a prion was found!
    They are pathogens
    Of earth’s nastiest diseases.

    However, they are everywhere,
    And have two distinct states,
    As no other proteins do,
    One active and one inactive.

    Without guidance from above,
    They can switch states
    And alter proteomic structure
    Without changing DNA,

    And then transmit their
    New, infectious structure
    To neighboring cells
    With no transfer of genetic material.

    Biology’s sacred rules are violated!

    In the brain, CREB proteins are
    Sturdy enough to resist time,
    They being virtually indestructible.

    Yet, they have plasticity,
    Being free of the genetic substrate,
    To change their shapes,
    Creating or erasing a memory.

    When we think,
    The neurotransmitters
    Serotonin and dopamine
    Are released by neurons,
    Which switch the CPEB protein
    Into its active state
    By changing their very structure.

    The activated CPEB marks
    A specific dendritic branch
    As a memory,
    Recruiting the requisite mRNA
    Needed to maintain
    Long-term remembrance.

    And, yet, prions have
    An element of randomness
    Built into their structure
    Due to the inscrutable
    Laws of protein folding
    And stoichiometry,
    Even becoming active
    For no reason.

    Ah, such contingency
    Is just like Proust predicted:
    The remembrance of things past
    May not be the remembrance
    Of things as they were.

    Due to unpredictable and unstable prions,
    We have some essential randomness,
    For memory obeys nothing outside of itself.

    (from Jonah Lehrer)
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  36. #35  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Austin, TX
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Sorry, I thought you said flogging.
    I'm beginning to think that your proposal was more on point.
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  37. #36  
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    Jan 2011

    She, looking like Melanie of ToeQuest
    And still in her pajamas,
    Grabbed her purified water bottle
    And hopped on the bus.

    Glad to see her,
    I waved her over to my seat,
    For she was my guru.

    I was also in my pajamas,
    For this made the yoga
    Of our meditation therapy easier.

    “This is not a real bus, nor is is really moving,” I offered.

    “True,” she replied, “we are dream characters
    In the dream of the Perfect Awareness.”

    “It just all plays out in our consciousness,
    Kind of like a movie.”

    “Yes, nothing comes through the senses
    Or from the brain or any thing like that;
    It’s life’s soap opera channel
    And there is no remote control.”

    “It goes as it has to go; all is illusion,
    But we aren’t fooled at all.”

    “No, we are foolproof.”

    “Why are you wiggling all around?”

    “I have to pee; it’s a dream pee,
    But it is still a dream hurt.”

    “Well, you could get off at the next stop
    And go into a building.
    I’ll see you at the class.”


    “I’ll tell you a short joke before the stop comes.
    If you are Russian before you get to the bathroom
    [water closet to you]
    And you are English after you come out,
    Then what are you when you are in the bathroom?”

    “I give up; the dream didn’t tell me the answer.”


    “Ha, ha. Now I can’t wait for the next stop!”

    “Just ask the driver to stop near a building
    Or a gas station and let you off.”

    “OK, I’ll see you in a while.”

    She had to pee so bad that she ran straight for a building
    And rushed in right to the bathroom
    Without anyone even noticing.
    Nor did she notice what the name of the place was.

    When she came out of the bathroom
    She was English again.
    An orderly stopped her, restraining her.

    “I’m sorry. I had to go.”

    “You need permission for that.
    Now let’s get you back to your room.”

    “What? I don’t have a room. Where am I?”

    “Why, of course, you are a resident
    Of Chesterfield Mental Institution.”

    “No I’m not. I just got off a bus.”

    “We hear those kinds of stories all the time.
    Where’s you room?”

    “I am sane,” she said with a dry mouth.

    “Would you like a drink?”

    “No, I only drink a special kind of water.”

    “Oh, a special kind?
    Then maybe it is in your room.”

    “I left it on the bus.”

    “There’s no bus stop here.
    Let’s get you out of the lobby.”

    “I don’t belong in this place.”

    “Then why are you wearing pajamas?”

    “For meditation therapy.”

    “Therapy? Well, I can get you to that.”

    “You don’t understand. I am normal.
    My God, what a turn this dream is taking!”

    “A dream?”

    “Yes, nothing is real; all is a dream.”
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  38. #37  
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    Jan 2011
    No Time Machines

    Now, tongue in cheek,
    I’ll tell why there are no time machines.

    It isn’t that no one ever came back
    From the future to see us,
    Although that is still an OK reason
    For no time machines being possible.

    Nor is it that there can’t be
    A future going on somewhere ahead of time,
    Since that’s a fine one, too.

    It is that women prevented time machines
    From being invented;
    For, every time a man said,
    “Honey, I’m going out to the garage
    To work on my time machine”
    The woman in his life would reply
    “That’s impossible, dear.
    Stop wasting your time.
    There is housework to be done
    And grass to be cut.”

    The man would still sneak out
    To try to work on his time machine,
    But the woman would find him
    And once again say something like,
    “That’s impossible, nut head.
    Get in here and do something useful!”

    And that’s why there are no time machines!
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  39. #38  
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    Jan 2011
    The Amazing Discovery of Forbidden Colors

    Are there any missing hues,
    Unknown, hidden in rainbows, or not used?

    It turns out, that,
    Due to the way our visual system is,
    We cannot see bluish yellow—
    And I don’t mean green,
    Which can become of those.
    Nor reddish green;

    Yet, I have made
    The amazing discovery of seeing them!

    By looking at a square of blue
    And one of yellow,
    Each having a small cross in the center,
    I was able to cross my eyes
    To bring them together,
    And then saw the elusive
    Bluish yellow,
    And in another cross,
    Reddish green,
    Although at first
    They jumped all around
    And even put holes into each other.

    Scientific American explains the whole deal.

    Meanwhile, I am in the bliss of seeing the forbidden.
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  40. #39  
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    Top Secret Cosmological Conjecture

    Energy conservation is absolute in each O region.
    Energy conservation globally is undefined
    Since there is no time translation globally.

    Inflation is the ultimate free lunch (almost)
    Which drives each O region to a flat metric
    Which locks each O region within the Bekenstein bound
    And creates a zero energy Universe. ( Almost)

    The process of inflation required
    A given amount of seed energy to it.
    Once inflation is launched
    The work function of expansion
    Is used to create all the mass energy in the Universe
    Without violating the conservation of energy.

    The small seed energy to launch inflation
    Comes from a Quantum Fluctuation
    Which creates both
    A negative energy time reversed inflating Universe
    And a positive energy time forward inflating Universe,
    The sign of energy and arrow of time being always forward
    And the energy always positive
    From the perspective of any observer.

    This is a process analogous to particle pair creation
    And conforms to numerous cosmological models:
    Sakharov multisheet model,
    The no boundary model,
    The Venzianio and Gasperini string cosmological model etc.

    The end state of the Universe
    Will be an empty De Sitter State
    With a constant vacuum energy density.
    This De Sitter space will be the birthing ground
    For baby BIVERSES as described by a model
    Like the Carroll Chen proposal.

    Please keep this under your hat—in your mind!

    In the same way as particles
    Emerging from the vacuum
    Are produced in pairs and characterized
    By opposite physical properties
    (i.e., opposite charges,
    Momentum, angular momentum, etc.)
    To avoid violations of conservation laws,
    The Universes are created
    Are also produced in pairs,
    And are characterized
    By opposite kinematic properties.

    One of the Universes expands
    While the other one shrinks.
    However, the shrinking Universe
    Behaves as if it was
    Traveling backwards in time
    With respect to the coordinates
    Playing the role of time in mini superspace.

    (from Bob Zannelli (sp?) of the Atoms and the Void list)
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  41. #40  
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    Jan 2011

    It is a beauty and a brilliance
    Flashing up in its destructance;
    For, everything isn’t here to stay its “best”;
    It’s merely there to die in its sublimeness.

    Like slow fires making their brands, it breeds;
    Yet, ever consumes and moves on, as more it feeds,
    Then spreads forth anew, this unpurposed dispersion,
    An inexorable emergence with little reversion,
    Ever becoming of its glorious excursions
    Through the change that patient time restrains,
    And feasting upon the glorious decayed remains,
    In its progressive march through losses for gains.

    We have oft described the causeless—
    That which was always never the less,
    As well as the beginnings of our quest,
    And, too, have detailed, in the rarest of glimpses,
    The slowing end of all of “forever’s” chances;

    So, then, we must now turn our attention keen
    To all of the action that’s here in-between—
    All that’s going on, and has gone before,
    Out to the furthest reaches “ever-more”;
    For, everything that ever happens,
    Including life and all our questions—
    Meaning every single event ever gone on
    Of both the animate and the non—
    Is but from a single theme played upon.

    This, then, is of the simplest analysis of all,
    For it heeds mainly just one call—
    That of the second law: dispersion,
    The means for each and every occasion,
    From the closest to the farthest range—
    That which makes anything change.

    These changes range from the simple,
    Such as a bouncing ball resting still
    Or ice melting that gives up its chill,
    To the more complex, such as digestion,
    Growth, death, and even reproduction.

    There is excessively subtle change, as well,
    Such as the formations of opinions tell
    And the creation or rejections of the will.

    And, yet, all these kinds of changes, of course,
    Still become of one simple, common source,
    Which is the underlying collapse into chaos—
    The destiny of energy’s unmotivated non purpose.

    All that appears to us to be motive and purpose
    Is in fact ultimately motiveless, without purpose;
    Even aspirations and their achievement’s ways
    Have fed on, and come about through, the decay.

    The deepest structure of change is but decay;
    Although, it’s not the quantity of energy’s say
    That causes decay, but the quality, for it strays.

    Energy that is localized is potent to effect change,
    And, in the course of causing change, it ranges,
    Spreading, and becoming chaotically distributed,
    Losing its quality but never of its quantity rid.

    The key to all this, as we will see,
    Is that it goes though stages wee,
    And so it doesn’t disperse all at once
    As might one’s paycheck before a month.

    This harnessed decay results not only for
    Civilizations, but for all the events going fore
    In the world and the universe beyond,
    It accounting for all discernible change,
    Of all that ever gets so rearranged;
    For, the quality of all this energy kinged
    Declines, the universe unwinding, as a spring.

    Chaos may temporarily recede,
    Quality building up for a need,
    As when cathedrals are built, or forms,
    And when symphonies are performed;
    But, these are but local deceits,
    Born of our own conceits;
    For, deeper in the world of kinds
    The spring inescapably unwinds,
    Driving its energy away—
    As ALL is being driven by decay.

    The quality of energy meant
    Is of its dispersal’s extent;
    When it is totally precipitate,
    It destroys; but when it’s gait
    Is geared through chains of events
    It can produce civilization’s tenants.

    Ultimately, energy naturally,
    Spontaneously, and chaotically
    Disperses, causing change, irreversibly;

    Think of a crowd of atoms jostling,
    At first as a vigorous motion happening
    In some corner of the atomic crowd;
    They hand on their energy, loud,
    Inducing close neighbors to jostle, too,
    And soon the jostling disperses, too—
    The irreversible change but the potion
    Of the random, motiveless motions.

    And such does hot metal cool, as atoms swirl,
    There being so many atoms in the world
    Outside it than in the block metal itself;
    Entropy’s statisticals average themself.

    The illusions of purpose lead us to think
    That there are reasons, of some motive link,
    Why one change occurs and not another,
    And even that there are reasons that cover
    Specific changes in locations of energy,
    The energy choosing to go there, intentionally,
    Such as a purpose for a change in structure,
    This being as such as the opening of a flower;
    Yet, this should not be confused with energy
    Achieving to be there, in that specific bower,
    Since, at root, of all the “power”,
    Even that of the root of the flower,
    That there is, is the degradation by dispersal,
    This being mostly non reversible, and universal.

    The energy is always still spreading, thencely,
    Even to some temporarily located density—
    An illusion of specific change
    In some region rearranged,
    But, actually, it’s just lingering there, “discovering”,
    Until new opportunities arise for “exploring”,
    The consequences but of random opportunity,
    Beneath which, purpose still vanishes entirely.

    Events are the manifestations
    Of overriding probability’s instantiations—
    Of all of the events of nature, of every sod,
    From the bouncing ball to conceptions of gods,
    Of even free will, evolution, and all ambition;
    For, they’re of our simple idea’s elaborations;
    Although, for the latter stated there
    And such for that as warfare,
    Their intrinsic simplicity
    Is buried more deeply.

    And yet, though sometimes concealed away,
    The spring of all creation is just decay,
    The consequence and “instruction”
    Of the natural tendency to corruption.

    Love or war become as factions
    Through the agency of chemical reactions,
    All actions being the chains of reactions,
    Whether thinking, doing, or rapt in attention,
    For all is of chemical reaction.

    At its most rudimentary bottom,
    Chemical reactions are rearrangement of atoms,
    These being species of molecules,
    That, with perhaps additions and deletions
    Then go on to constitute another one, by fate,
    Although, they sometimes only change shape,
    But, too, can be consumed and torn apart,
    Either as a whole or in part; so cruel,
    A source of atoms for another molecule.

    Molecules have neither motive nor purpose to act—
    Neither an inclination to go on to react
    Nor any urge to remain unreacted;
    So, then, why do reactions occur, if unacted?

    Molecules are but loosely structured
    And so they can be easily ruptured,
    For reactions may occur if the process energy norm
    Is degraded into a more dispersed and chaotic form,
    And, so, as they usually are always constantly subject
    To the tendency to lose energy as the “abject”
    Jostling carries it away to the surroundations,
    Reactions being misadventure’s transformations,
    It then being that some transient arrangements
    May suddenly be “frozen” into “permanences”
    As the energy leaps away to other “experiences”.

    So, molecules are a stage in which the play goes on—
    But not so fast that the forms cannot seize upon;
    But, really, why do molecules have such fragility,
    For, if their atoms were as tightly bound as nuclei,
    Then the universe would have died, being frozen,
    Long before the awakening the forms “chosen”,
    Or, if molecules were as totally free to react
    Every single time they touched a neighbor’s pact
    Then all events would have taken place so rapidly
    And so very crazily and haphazardly
    That the rich attributes of the world we know
    Would not have had the time to grow.

    Ah, but is it all of the necessitated restraint,
    For it ever takes time the scene to paint,
    As such as in the unfolding of a leaf—
    The endurations for any stepping feat,
    As of the emergence of consciousness
    And the paused ends of energy’s restlessness:
    Is of the controlled consequence of collapse
    Rather than one that’s wholly precipitous.

    So, now all is known, of our here’s and nows
    Within this parentheses of the eternal bough,
    As well as the why and how of it all has come,
    And of our universe’s end—but, that others become.

    (The verse lines, being like molecules, warmed,
    Continually broke apart and reformed
    About the rhymes which tried to be nonintrusions,
    Eventually all flexibly stabilizing to conclusion.)
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  42. #41 Dark Matter 
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    Jan 2011

    Could there be more to this world—
    Those of the undrawn shades unfurled?

    Is there a universe alongside this bright zone,
    A parallel, twilight world overlapping our own?

    Are there shadow beings all about us,
    That we can only perceive as blankness?

    They’d be made of but the dark matter,
    Yet lively with their own kind of chatter,
    These shades flowing right on through us—
    We the lighted “plus” to their dark “minus”.

    These pale shadows of our attendants,
    Are not as us—of light’s extent,
    But are as black clouds of a coal sack;
    Nay, they’re not even dark or black,
    But are of an invisible bivouac.

    Dark matter and its shadows traverse
    The bulk of the missing-mass universe.

    The shades of evening draw us on—
    We must look to the past, upon the first eon.

    Two distinct families of matter
    Were created in the Big Freeze batter,
    Just those two that did then so accrue
    When they were frozen out of the primordial stew
    As the fetal universe was cooling
    And the hearty gruel was ungrueling.

    The normal universe and the shadow universe
    Can interpenetrate, neither averse
    (Or even “adverse” to rhyme the verse)
    Nor of coerce; they just cannot interact,
    As they have no contract.

    If the shadow universe was richly sown
    It could have evolved along with our own.

    Shadow planets could form
    Around shadow stars as norms
    And become populated with swarms
    Of those shadow beings lukewarm.

    They would be invisible specters, unseen phantoms,
    Unobserved presences, indiscernible apparitions,
    Imperceptible wraiths, unnoticed spirits, magic places,
    Inconspicuous spooks, and hidden traces…

    But first we must ask what makes a universe,
    Such as ours, the one in which we immerse.

    It is the forces that count for everything,
    Matter being but a secondary singing,
    For atoms exert forces through space,
    Especially of the electromagnetic race;
    So, then, it is forces that disburse
    The currency of a rich universe.

    This is why we don’t fall through a chair—
    That mostly empty space of “thin air”
    When we decide to sit down there.

    Space is a kind of a large-scale limitation
    Of an underlying discrete network of connections.

    Atoms would not even know at all
    That their companions existed, with no call,
    Without the push or pull of the forces’ thrall,
    As then they themselves would be as pall
    As some ghosts passing through a wall.

    The four forces hold our world together
    In its diversity of shape, structure, form, and color.

    Some forms of our matter don’t feel
    All of the four forces as real:
    Neutrons have no electric charge
    And so they don’t “care”, Marge,
    About that e/m force at large.

    Suppose some form of matter didn’t feel
    Any of the four forces that became real?

    Dark Matter doesn’t appear to discourse,
    Not having the resource of its own special forces
    To bind it together; no packhorses.

    All it can feel is the “force” of gravity,
    And perhaps the weak force’s changeability—
    Which is for decay, and not stability;
    In fact, both forces are weak, a pravity.

    You cannot hold a person-size lump
    Of matter together with just gravity’s slump;
    So, then, no interesting lumps can form
    In the dark universe, not even unicorns.
    Even making a star or a planet
    Is difficult with just gravity alone working on it,
    For the electromagnetic force is crucial
    To slowing any of the material
    Down enough to hold it in one place;
    So, then, there can be no shadow race…

    …No veiled hints, obscured suggestions,
    Unknown impressions, out of sight suspicions,
    Nor any supposed tinges, shimmering glimmers,
    Resembling semblances, or ghostly whispers.

    What has no light is but a dark shade,
    With no creatures therein made.
    So, dark matter is not a source for being;
    ‘Tis but a very large matter to us unseeing.

    And, yet, is it we who are the outsiders,
    Our luminous bubbles of foam the riders—
    The stars, planets, and us the striders—
    On the vast ocean of dark matters much wider.

    We were an “afterthought”,
    With no forethought,
    Although perhaps made possible, nonetheless,
    By the dark matter—since it was oblivious
    To much of the great primeval blast,
    It forming filaments that could last,
    Attracting our regular matter
    That was everywhere splattered,
    Into the pearls of the galaxies
    Strung along like cosmic necklaces.
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  43. #42  
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    Jan 2011

    These are the two really last frontiers of knowledge.

    We have them surrounded, though,
    Since substances go in
    And life and consciousness come out.

    Life is relatively “easy” to figure out,
    Compared to consciousness,
    Since it’s composed of functions and processes
    That we can even see, given enough research;
    So, the elan vital has gone the way of the dodo bird
    And doesn’t compare at all
    To the mysterious quality of consciousness,
    Which I’m including here since it allows life
    To observe its comings, going, and doings.

    There’s no doubt that life and consciousness
    Require a certain kind of physical process,
    For life correlates to the physical functions,
    As does the contents of consciousness correlate
    To cognitive processing.
    Note that I said the “contents”.

    As life is “easy” to explain,
    This leaves but the quality of consciousness
    To be nonreductive to the necessary physical;
    So, then it must be, for now anyway, that:

    In certain kinds of biological systems,
    The information from cognitive processes
    Has a dual nature, like “It from bit”,
    This being called naturalistic dualism,
    A nature that is just as fundamental
    As mass-energy, charge, and space-time, etc.,
    It always leading to a mental representation
    Of some of the information in the brain beneath it.
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  44. #43  
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    Occam was running an anonymous support group
    Called On and On Anon.

    His opening remarks took but a few seconds:
    “One can often say more with less.”

    Bill Clinton, along with many other politicians
    And lawyers, then went on and on for hours.
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  45. #44  
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    Since one million years had just passed by,
    They, of the future, prepared to open, nigh,
    The absolutely sealed container’s prize,
    Of a capsule made so carefully that it did survive
    Without damage, being totally impregnable
    To any outside influence imaginable.

    They expected to see, perhaps, some old relic,
    But certainly nothing alive that could tell of it,
    For it would be hard to imagine, even then,
    That some organism could keep on going its ken
    Over its course of a million years later,
    Sealed inside this tight container,
    Unable even to exchange energy’s spark,
    This metabolism being the hallmark
    Of life and all that quacked or quarked…

    And, so, they did not at all expect something
    In there that would be flapping its wings,
    Gasping for air, or anything at all of life’s song,
    Wondering what had taken so long.

    Well, they were right and they were wrong,
    For in the time capsule that was planted so long,
    Several things had with it come along…

    One was a plaque, of numbers low and high,
    And containing some primes and pi,
    Another, some essays of the future—
    Some, like Austin’s, quite mature,

    Along with Darwin’s book, maps curled,
    And many other items of the world,
    From those times when the oceans swirled;
    But, the last, one perhaps not intended,
    Was a microbe—an extremophile—
    Laying there quite contented all the while!

    Well, they soon laughed, loud and long,
    For they were in between right and wrong
    About what could survive from so long ago,
    For, it was really walking mighty slow!
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  46. #45  
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    Jul 2005
    Questor, could you give it a frigging rest please. This is a discussion forum, not a vomitting forum.
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  47. #46  
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    Jan 2011
    You may be too illiterate to get anything out of it, as well as being too stupid and selfish in thinking that you can speak for all. You can control your own behavior, but not others. Wise up; it's even a 101 pre-school level course, although that may be out of your reach. And try to stop looking here, if that's even possible, or is that, too, beyond your capabilities?

    Anyway, tough shit, for some like it. Now go cry like a baby and go away, for you rule nothing.
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  48. #47  
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    Jan 2011
    (Not for Opha, for he's off gurgling and vomiting)


    The Strength of Gravity, the Feeble Apparent

    Gravity is a universal force—for any body:
    The force felt by a body is mass proportional;
    Yet, the acceleration that’s felt is the inverse!
    This coincidence removes all mass dependence.

    (Einstein transcended this amazing “coincidental” race
    By bodies going straight through curved space.)

    Gravity might be derived from the fundamentals,
    The byproduct of a small residual after cancelations
    Of opposite electric or color charges, and more.
    Why then is gravity universal, for its sources are not?

    Perhaps the appearance of feebleness is deceptive
    Since protons and neutrons are but lightweights.
    But why are they so light? Their mass is a compromise
    Between a disturbance energy and its cancellation.

    The quarks’ color charge
    Disturbs gluons around them,
    Small at first,
    But larger growing farther from the quark.

    These disturbances cost energy,
    But, how to cancel them?

    With an anti-quark
    Or two complementarily colored quarks.

    But, the qualifying quarks
    Can’t sit atop the originals,
    For quarks have no definite position,
    Just a wave function,
    And they can’t be localized
    To a small spread of position,
    For this requires a larger energy;
    So, forget nullification.

    The compromise is that
    Some residual energy amounts
    From the not-completely-canceled
    Gluon field disturbances
    And from the not-completely-canceled
    Quark positionings;

    Thus, the proton mass from m=E/cc,
    With this tricky element
    Of how the gluon disturbance field
    Grows with distance.

    The residual strong energy
    From color charge also binds
    The protons and neutrons
    In the atomic nucleus;

    The electromagnetic electron/nuclei
    Charge residuals
    Bind atoms into molecules,
    And molecules into materials.

    Asymptotic freedom
    Is a subtle feedback effect
    From virtual particles
    Antiscreening the color charge.

    This antiscreening builds up gradually,
    Especially at first,
    Then proceeds more quickly,
    Building upon each building.

    Whereas, screening happens
    For electrically charged particles,
    Being such as a positive charge
    Attracts a negative virtual cloud.

    Thus, at first,
    Since it’s so slow to build,
    The pressure
    To localize the nullifying quarks
    Is quite mild as well;

    Thus, there’s no need
    To very strictly localize and
    So the energies are small;
    So then is the proton mass.

    This is the lightness of being.

    (Ideas herein were gathered from readings,
    esp. Frank Wilczek)
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  49. #48  
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    Jan 2011
    (Again, not for Ophi, for he is against science-related material, as well as against real scientists who have actually done something. Since this thread is still all about that, he is left behind, still gurgling and barfing all over the forum.)


    Institut für Quantenoptik und Quanteninformation

    Does the moon still exist
    When we aren’t looking at it?


    (AND ‘IT FROM BIT’?)

    One (or both) of these assumptions is
    Inadequate to describe the physical world;
    However, Bell’s theorem
    Does not say which to abandon.

    However, lately it has been confirmed
    Even more conclusively
    By Ziellinger and associates
    That entangled particles do not have
    Preexisting properties,
    Such as polarization,
    That are independent
    Of any observation.

    So, there goes naive realism.

    Now, what about at the classical level?
    Well, although there, too,
    We transform reality, or I could even say,
    Create reality, although it’s consistent
    Among all individuals,
    For we see the same trees
    And buildings, for example.

    Two particles are called entangled
    If they share the same fuzzy quantum state,
    Meaning neither of them begins
    With definite properties
    Such as location or polarization
    (Which can be thought of
    As a particle’s spatial orientation).

    Measure the polarization of one photon,
    And it randomly adopts a certain value,
    Say, horizontal or vertical;
    Oddly, the polarization of the other photon
    Will always correlate to that of its partner.

    Zeilinger, whose group invented
    A common tool for entangling polarization,
    Likes to illustrate the idea
    By imagining a pair of dice
    That always land on matching numbers.

    Equally mysterious,
    The act of measuring one photon’s polarization
    Immediately forces the second photon
    To adopt a complementary value.

    This change happens instantaneously,
    Even if the photons are across the galaxy;
    The light-speed limit obeyed
    By the rest of the world
    Can take a leap,
    For all that quantum physics cares.

    I’d like to come to the second freedom:
    The freedom of nature.
    You said that for example
    The velocity or the location of a particle
    Are only determined at the moment
    Of the measurement, and entirely at random.

    I maintain: it is so random
    That not even God knows the answer.

    For me the concept of “information”
    Is at the basis of everything we call “nature”.
    The moon, the chair, the equation of states,
    Anything and everything,
    Because we can’t talk about anything
    Without de facto speaking about the information
    We have of these things;
    In this sense the information
    Is the basic building block of our world.

    In your last book you wrote:
    “Laws of nature should make no distinction
    Between reality and information.” Why?

    We’ve learnt in the natural sciences
    That the key to understanding can often be found
    If we lift certain dividing lines in our minds.

    Newton showed that the apple falls to the ground
    According to the same laws
    That govern the Moon’s orbit of the Earth.
    And with this he made the old differentiation
    Between earthly and heavenly phenomena obsolete.

    Darwin showed that there is no dividing line
    Between man and animal.

    And Einstein lifted the line
    Dividing space and time.

    But in our heads,
    We still draw a dividing line
    Between “reality” and “knowledge about reality”,
    In other words between reality and information.
    And you cannot draw this line;
    There is no recipe, no process for distinguishing
    Between reality and information.

    All this thinking and talking about reality
    Is about information,
    Which is why one should not make a distinction
    In the formulation of laws of nature;
    Quantum theory, correctly interpreted,
    Is information theory.

    And can you explain
    All these strange quantum phenomena
    Conclusively with your information concept?

    Not all of them yet, but we’re working on it;
    With limitation it works excellently.


    I imagine that a quantum system
    Can carry only a limited amount of information,
    Which is sufficient only for a single measurement.

    Let’s come back to the situation of two particles
    Colliding like billiard balls,
    And in so doing entering a state of limitation.

    In terms of information theory that means
    That after the collision the entire information
    Is smeared over both particles,
    Rather than the individual particles
    Carrying the information.
    And that means the entire information we have
    Pertains to the relationship
    Between both particles;
    For that reason, by measuring the first particle
    I can anticipate the speed of the second,
    But the speed of the first particle is entirely random.

    Because the information isn’t sufficient.

    Exactly. Its randomness is ultimately
    A consequence of the
    Finiteness of the information.

    Quantum Breakdown

    To investigate where quantum mechanics
    Breaks down and classical mechanics begins,
    The team is investigating
    Two weird quantum properties:
    Entanglement and superposition.
    When two particles become entangled,
    They become inextricably intertwined,
    So that changing the properties of one
    Has an immediate effect
    On the properties of its partner

    Superposition is another feature
    That is peculiar to quantum systems;
    Before a quantum object is measured,
    It does not have definite characteristics;
    Instead, it exists in a superposition
    Of multiple mutually contradictory states—
    Allowing it to be in two places at once, for example.

    Thus, if information is the
    Most fundamental notion
    In quantum physics,
    A very natural understanding of phenomena
    Like quantum decoherence
    Or quantum teleportation emerges.

    And, so, quantum entanglement
    Is then nothing else
    Than the property of subsystems
    Of a composed quantum systems
    To carry information jointly,
    Independent of space and time;
    And the randomness of
    Individual quantum events
    Is a consequence of
    The finiteness of information.

    The reduction of the wave packet
    Is just a reflection of the fact
    That the representation of our information
    Has to change whenever the information itself
    Changes as a consequence of an observation.

    A few months ago Zeilinger reported
    Implementing a new kind
    Of statistical Bell test,
    Devised by Leggett,
    That pits quantum mechanics
    Against a category of theories
    In which entangled photons
    Have real polarizations
    But exchange hidden particles
    That travel faster than light.

    In principle,
    Such faster-than-light theories
    Might have perfectly
    Mimicked quantum strangeness
    And let realism go unmolested.
    Not so, according to the experiment:
    The results could be explained
    Only by quantum unreality.

    So what idea replaces realism?
    The situation calls to mind
    One of Zeilinger’s favorite books,
    The humorous novel
    ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’,
    By Douglas Adams,
    In which a mighty computer
    Crunches the meaning of life,
    The universe and everything
    And spits out the number 42.

    So its creators build a bigger computer
    To discover the question.

    If quantum indeterminacy
    Is like the number 42,
    Then what idea makes it intelligible?

    Zeilinger’s guess is information,
    Just like a bit, can be 0 or 1;
    A measured particle ends up
    Either here or there;
    But if a particle carries only
    That one bit of information,
    It will have none left over
    To specify its location
    Before the measurement.

    Unlike Einstein, Zeilinger accepts
    That randomness is reality’s bedrock.

    Still, “I can’t believe that quantum mechanics
    Is the final word,” he says.
    “I have a feeling that if we get really deep insight
    Into why the world has quantum mechanics”—
    Where the 42 comes from—“we might go beyond.
    That’s what I hope.”

    “Then, finally, would come understanding.”
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  50. #49  
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    The Implications of Infinity and Eternity

    It is very likely
    That there are other Earths out there
    Exactly the same as ours.

    As we will see,
    The universe retains
    Its own history and future.

    The All, meaning Totality, as we know,
    Cannot be bounded (or it wouldn’t be the ALL),
    And so its extent must be infinite.
    Nor can it have a beginning, for then, again,
    It wouldn’t be the All, and so it must be eternal.

    In an infinite eternal place,
    Which I will call the universe,
    Every possible combination of matter
    And energy (unstructured matter) exists,
    Not only right now,
    Even many times over
    (Due to infinity),
    But ever will and did,
    Even many more times over
    (Due to eternity).

    Since the Earth (and everything known)
    Is a part of ‘possible’, since it is here,
    There’s no problem with
    That use of the word ‘possible’.

    It’s only those things that we don’t know
    Are possible that we can’t say for sure.

    We’ll have to wait for better computers
    To figure it out, a daunting task
    Since even a state of one change
    Of one atom requires a precursor form
    And a series of prior events
    Cascading backwards through
    Infinite time and across infinite space.

    However, there is still
    Every possible combination
    Of matter and energy;
    It’s just the resolution
    That remains unknown.
    Think of morphing objects together;
    The resolution is like
    How many intermediate stages there are
    (Possibly infinite, but who knows).

    I am calling this notion ‘supercontinuity’.
    It says that any object known to us,
    Whether a galaxy, planet, person, or whatever
    Has a prodigious number number
    Of very similar examples in space somewhere,
    Varying along every possible parameter.

    This supercontinuity must be true by virtue
    Of the universe’s permutational variability.
    The only question is what is its resolution:
    How closely can these (separated) instances
    Of any given type of object resemble each other?

    For example, even on Earth,
    Between human races,
    The percentage of DNA separation
    Is less than .1 percent
    (2% between chimps and humans).
    There is even a web site
    Where one can look up
    Their so-called ‘doubles’ on Earth.
    Identical twins have identical DNA,
    But differing experiences
    (So we are not yet at the stage of identicality).
    To be exactly the same,
    They would have to have
    The same molecules and quantum states.

    But, heck, there is all of space and all of time;
    Thus, it is very likely, even certain,
    That at least some intermediate states
    Of a certain resolution exist somewhere
    At this very moment,
    And always did and will at any given time.

    If there is not exactly another Earth,
    Surely there could be one
    Whose only minor difference
    Was one unnoticeable at the atomic level.

    So it is that every loved one
    We have ever lost is alive and well somewhere
    (As an exact duplicate).
    Of course, they may be separated from us
    By a humongous distance,
    But are indisputably alive right now;
    This instant, as they ever were and will be.

    Such it is, in this way,
    That moments are never lost
    In the infinite eternal universe,
    For every touchdown pass
    And first footstep on the moon
    Is still ever happening somewhere.
    Somewhere, too,
    Dinosaurs roam distant lands
    Just like those of Earth.

    So, the universe contains
    Its own indelible history and future.
    All moments of every object’s history
    Exist permanently in space,
    Separated by near-infinite distances
    (If not infinite).

    Consider this supercontinuity
    To be your secular ‘afterlives’,
    Some of which are identical
    And some for which
    The narrative may differ slightly.

    Either way will do, for any narrative will do,
    But if it is the same, you wouldn’t even remember it.
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  51. #50  
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    What would it be like to be another kind of creature?
    Do I-thoughts of self-consciousness emerge
    From their integration of experiences?

    Who knows about the ‘I’, but, in a sense,
    We already know about being other creatures,
    For we already have been during our development:

    The growth of a human parallels and recapitulates,
    At a vastly accelerated rate, the evolution of life.
    We start out as a single-celled organism,
    Much like an amoeba or a bacterium.

    Then we progress through the phase of a blastula,
    A simple, undifferentiated multicellular stage,
    To become an embryo barely distinguishable
    From those of many other animals, even
    Including those of reptiles and amphibians.

    For these first few weeks after conception,
    We are truly a lower form of life ourselves,
    Bathing, as long ago, in the warm amniotic sea.

    So, how did it feel to you? Can you recall?
    No, for you were not around at the time;
    There was no developed conscious sense of self.

    But, now we do feel like someone,
    Having inner depth,
    Our activity and actuality
    Being one and the same.
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  52. #51  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by questor
    You may be too illiterate to get anything out of it, as well as being too stupid and selfish in thinking that you can speak for all. .
    I am not speaking for others. I speak for myself. This is a discussion forum. Your posts do not encourage discussion. The only thing they encourage are thoughts of suicide. I invite other posters to add favourable comments about your contributions in this thread. If you are correct we shall see a veritable flood of praise.
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  53. #52  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    This is a discussion forum. Your posts do not encourage discussion. The only thing they encourage are thoughts of suicide.
    Oh, please. That's hardly true. They also encourage thoughts of violence. Come on, man... Let's not limit ourselves.
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  54. #53  
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    Don't kill yourself, Ophi, over the science of scientists as well as my own musings. You cannot speak for all inspiration of discussion anywhere or even just the joy of reading. Its likeness even had much praise on BAUT and other sites. Enjoy your anger, violence, and whatever, and preferably, read elsewhere, to save your life. You rule nothing, as has already been shown and contradicted. Put this thread as an unwatched topic.
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  55. #54  
    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    No offense but i tend to agree with Ophiolite and Inow. This (whatever it is) is up to 4 pages in length now, and there has yet to be any indication for you as to what is going on. You placed it in the Science-Fiction and Non-Fiction subforum for some reason but the content doesn't seem to fit. I seriously think you need to invest in a personal blog for your "poetry???" as this is NOT the place for it. This is a forum for discussions not for personal writing exercises.
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  56. #55  
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    Thanks. Some may consider parts of it as science-fiction and some may consider some parts as non-fiction. Thanks for the "no-offense", for that is much more sensible than the others who cannot be, even anywhere. The thread is probably close to getting finished anyway (75% done), as quite a range of old exploits as well as newer science ideas have been covered.
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  57. #56  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by questor
    You cannot speak for all inspiration of discussion anywhere.
    Seriously, what does that phrase mean? All inspiration of discussion? Does not compute: if it is a metaphor it is a damn poor one.

    You seem to labouring under the misapprehension that you write well. Perhaps you do, but opaque prose suggests not.

    Quote Originally Posted by questor
    You cannot speak for ........even just the joy of reading. .
    Well yes I can. I have been reading for almost six decades. From Chaucer to Faulkner, fact to fiction; letters, novels, texts, poetry. It is presumptuous of you to suggest I cannot speak to the joy of reading. Perhaps I find some writing joyless.

    Quote Originally Posted by questor
    You rule nothing, as has already been shown and contradicted.
    You have repeatedly made this irrelevant, strawman assertion - I rule nothing. Where did I claim I ruled something? Certainly nowhere in my interchanges with you. This suggests an obsession in your character rather than a flaw in mine.

    You might also care to explain your English usage, again. You say it has been shown and contradicted. Literally, you say it has been shown that I rule nothing, but that demonstration has then been contradcited. Not at all what you meant. You might find me a more interested audience if you could write coherently. Until then adieu.
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  58. #57  
    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Washington State, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by questor
    Thanks. Some may consider parts of it as science-fiction and some may consider some parts as non-fiction.
    The problem is that your writing does not fall into the scope of this subforum, as it is neither, and this forum is intended for discussing literary works, which you, in 4 pages, have fairly actively discouraged.

    Quote Originally Posted by questor
    ...for that is much more sensible than the others who cannot be, even anywhere.
    I also not that you very often include very poorly veiled insults to the person you are discussing something with. That is not what I would consider good forum behavior.

    Quote Originally Posted by questor
    The thread is probably close to getting finished anyway (75% done), as quite a range of old exploits as well as newer science ideas have been covered.
    Please take the other 25% you have yet to "cover" and place it in a personal blog. if you want you can link the blog here, but the posting massive walls of text is not why this forum is here .
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  59. #58  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
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    Behind the enlightening rod.
    Newton did NOT invent calculus, Leibniz did. Once was Leibniz on an Italian crewed vessel when blew up a great storm. He knew enough Italian to realize the crew wanted to throw his Protestant butt overboard to appease God and save their skins. Cleverly he let them see a rosary he was praying with that he had brought along for just such an occasion. Brilliant.

    You guys should leave the bad poet alone, he is not hurting anybody, if you don't like, don't read, go to one of Prince's threads and abuse him instead.

    Big brains!
    The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding go out to meet it.- Thucydides
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  60. #59  
    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    Why was this thread necro'ed????
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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  61. #60  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    Why was this thread necro'ed????
    Because it starts smelling of decay ?
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  62. #61  
    Forum Senior questor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Finger Prince View Post
    Newton did NOT invent calculus, Leibniz did. Once was Leibniz on an Italian crewed vessel when blew up a great storm. He knew enough Italian to realize the crew wanted to throw his Protestant butt overboard to appease God and save their skins. Cleverly he let them see a rosary he was praying with that he had brought along for just such an occasion. Brilliant.

    You guys should leave the bad poet alone, he is not hurting anybody, if you don't like, don't read, go to one of Prince's threads and abuse him instead.

    Big brains!
    Good advice, and thanks.

    Want more facts and follies?
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  63. #62  
    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    To be honest if it is more of your poem that should be posted in a blog, not so much
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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  64. #63  
    Forum Senior questor's Avatar
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    Some of them might as well be prose.
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  65. #64  
    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
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    if your uncertain, and not open to discussing them, as before, then you should blog them elsewhere
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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  66. #65  
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    (The blog feature on TheScienceForum has been turned off)



    Entropy is always the winner in the end,
    When there’s no more money left to lend;
    Meanwhile, we stabilize, in nature’s way,
    Rearranging resources temporarily.


    Going beyond our very old obsession, so vast,
    Of how the universe began, back in the distant past,
    Yet, retaining our search for meaning, from that,
    We now turn to how will it all end, this and that,
    Whether becoming collapsed, expended, or flat.

    Is there is some deep meaning in all that?

    Yes, for it is there in that future distance,
    We’ll find, or not, the end of our persistence—
    Whether or not we are at all forever resistant;
    Whether all that was, and what was did and done
    Will be of any long-lasting benefit to anyone—
    Of what destiny awaits, if there ever was one.

    Endings are important to us, for what we’re about,
    Because we believe that how things turn out
    Implies what the beginnings ultimately meant,
    Of what, or not, is our place in the firmament.

    As an ambitious species of nurture and nature,
    We now and have always pointed toward the future,
    For, of the three forms of the chimpanzee:
    The common chimp, the bonobo, and us, we
    Are the only chimp who went beyond the trees…

    And, more importantly, ever out of Africa, freed,
    By that exodus, which laid down, indeed,
    From that experience, the urge and the need
    To move on, exploring, ever planting another seed.

    The horizons on Earth sufficed us, as through time,
    For many millennia, but now the horizons’ climes
    Have broadened, through cosmology and physics,
    And so they can well inform us of our prospects.

    The future matters to us, for very basic reasons:
    We wish to offset our mortality, our pleasin’s,
    To know if humanity’s works, for every season,
    Will be remembered, or lost; all for nothing, even.

    The Final, Silent Dark Marches On…

    Time hurls a million waves of its displacement
    At us, yet we are still here—the replacements:

    Time, ever gray with age, hurls its changes, then,
    ‘Gainst existence’s rock, time and time again,
    The entropic seas denuding the sands,
    Yet, energy is preserved, via nature’s wands.

    Reminiscence has weathered, but could ne’er wither,
    For, in the mists of time; yesteryear yet appeared.

    Would the prospect of a “Big Crunch” bring on phobia,
    Such as an ever more confining claustrophobia?

    Seems a better thought, somehow, though no picnic,
    But more pleasing, if the universe was also cyclic,
    Although, then, all would still be really crushed,
    And forever lost, gone headlong into the rush.

    We expect cycles, for all the days and seasons
    Embedded this in our ancestors, into our reasons,
    Since, at least, the periodic supplies a rhythm,
    A pattern—the rolling hills of lives onward driven.

    As for the cyclic, endless repetitions, they, too,
    Would seem to revolt more of us than just a few;
    As, too, perhaps, would some infinite abyss of time,
    Which, too, grants us neither reason nor rhyme.

    Does the drama go on forever, or does it end?
    What do the visions of the future portend?

    Doesn’t it all have some purpose meant—
    Some goodly end of all of it to us might it present?

    Is our higher mammal time, uncertainly,
    Of such a short parentheses within eternity?

    It’s only a finite time, it seems, which, too, tends
    To horrify many, and more, as the universe ends,
    Such as told by Robert Frost, a name of chill:
    In heat or in cold, known as fire or ice, still.

    Should we not believe in God since nothing lasts?
    Well, if nothing lasts, then of what our purpose past?

    Is a purpose really required, so constructive,
    Or would that really be quite restrictive?

    No realm could really be special or sent,
    Its becoming being of some specific intent,
    For, all has arrived here of causeless incident.

    Is there anything wrong with the freedom to be,
    Anywhere, any how, or at any time during eternity?


    Should we rail against the law of entropy,
    The “heat death” of thermodynamic energy,
    The second of its final laws, we see,
    Because it would destroy all of futurity?

    Well, there are so many ways for disorder to be,
    Rather than any one ordered state specifically.

    Would even a heaven on earth become a misery
    If it, as it might, contain no more novelty?

    Must there be an end to our revelry?
    Can’t we, at least, hibernate eternally?

    Will Shakespeare’s works live on, paternally?

    Is this not a Wagnerian struggle for eternity?

    Science Can Settle Whether a Last Day
    Is Ever Going to Come this Way

    Only a decade or so ago, with some consternation,
    We discovered the universe’s large acceleration,
    This expansion even increasing, onto a thin disaster,
    The galaxies getting further away, ever & ever faster…
    Then, one last snapshot taken, for all to remember.

    The accelerating expansion of the universe’s rafters
    Means that the universe will cool even ever faster;
    So, the rare forms of the future’s life prolongers
    Will have to keep themselves ever more cooler,
    Think more slowly, and hibernate ever-longer.

    One day the last protons will fade away, of yon,
    Leaving but dark matter, electrons, and positrons.


    As Time, now hoary with age,
    Hurled forth its ashen change,
    The charge ever san, pale and colorless,
    That force born to summon decay, so endless,
    ‘Gainst Nature’s Universe each and every day.

    Time and time again, Time fed all upon,
    In its bloodless, white, and waxen way;
    But, this everlasting rose would not fade,
    Its luster even brightening by the day,
    Ever unsuccumbing to the sickly, peakèd
    State draining drawn the life away.

    Entropic seas yet denude the mountains,
    Yet, this enduring flower, never-endingly
    Has cast Deathly Time aside, for now,
    Ceaselessly somehow thriving on,
    To that which was the near imperishable,
    The flame of beauty still inextinguishable,
    Forever celebrated as near immutable,
    Gaining its seemingly perpetual permanence
    From the undying love of the glorious present.

    Yet, everything was moving apart, cooling off,
    The big slowdown not really so very far off;
    Ultimately, even the black holes of late
    And the lightless planets would dissipate.

    The primordial soup, once so rich and hearty
    Was now a thin gruel that couldn’t serve the party.
    Some day, every particle would be moving away
    From every other particle, so much out the way
    That they won’t even be able to see one another;
    Thus, for all intents, change will have ceased forever.

    Our spurt of life, followed by an infinite stretch
    Of dark equilibrium, was but the briefest sketch—
    A warm and fuzzy stage, so interestingly active,
    Whose time, relatively, was but infinitesimive.

    Yet, we were there, in all our glory,
    For whenever else could we be?

    In the future, the uncounted societies of
    Overlapping minds accumulate, with love,
    In island redoubts, their preserved data burning
    With a vital remembrance, in which, returning,
    The past is the present and future, they all reliving
    The data, even animating it, and ever altering.

    Without any new enrichments, the present and future
    Reprise the past, in this retreat from external nature.
    Their candles would have been nearly invisible to us,
    They enduring, by diminishing, so as not to exhaust.

    They made few new memories, a kind of blind sight,
    For whatever realities had ever existed out of sight
    Of their own mental structures were now fractured,
    And thus not so different from those manufactured.

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  67. #66  
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    The Penultimate Part of the Final Dark


    The majority of the energy
    Of the universe is dark today,
    Although everything else passes
    Through it in every way.

    It’s everywhere,
    Having a component
    That repels its own state,
    Which causes the expansion of
    The universe to much accelerate.


    We’re on a one way trip from the quantum fluke,
    That maximal energy within old Planck’s nook—
    Heading toward the oblivion of sparse expansion,
    All that we ever loved and knew going to extinction.

    They sent message of early warnings to some,
    In those castles of illusion, yes, many a one,
    That they would face the decay, not so far away,
    Of the heavy particles, the “proton pause”, one day.

    No self-assembled granularity can endure
    Forever, but must return to the substructure,
    And, so, the lives must all transition, it seems,
    From heavier to much lighter regimes…
    Although this, too, would not be permanent,
    All destined to be swallowed by the firmament.

    We have often asked why some space exists,
    Why it permits the countless to briefly persist
    On Mother Earth, nourished under Father Sky—
    All of those finite sparks that light and die.

    There were those who endlessly debated,
    Whether to live in their virtuals unabated,
    Or to press forwards and outwards, of delirium,
    To seek out new localities in the mysterium;
    But, the pauses of the heavy particles continued,
    And so there was nowhere to go for the retinued.

    It was much simpler once, in those days of old,
    When we thought that universes didn’t go cold,
    But that they expanded and collapsed,
    Still destroying all, yet ever giving more to last.

    And, well before that, once upon a storied time,
    We simply made it all up, with tales and rhyme,
    In place of any physical observations,
    Or of all our revealing experimentations.

    The past was now a reef of dead accumulations,
    A graveyard of various useless informations,
    Which, despite their splendorous beauty,
    Could not provide a novel futurity.

    The last one of us, born of the sparkness,
    Kept a window to the outer darkness…

    S/he looked out, from a once brightly
    Colored and sparkling inner reality,
    Into the dark abyss…

    There was nothing out there,
    All being so lonely and bare—
    No more singing of life’s song;
    For now everything was gone.

    The Final Epilog

    There could not have been any special time,
    One that was privileged over any other chime,
    Nor any special place, nor any specific form
    Arising out of the necessarily causeless realm.

    Even those locally specific dates and places past
    Of the events’ novel memoirs could not ever last,
    They being writ on water, with no meaning vast,
    Disappearing in significance so very fast,
    Since it’s only the universals that last.

    The protons were all gone from the show,
    Having decayed so very long ago,
    Into positrons—ever canceling the electrons,
    And emitting the fleeing light of photons;
    There being, of course, an equal amount
    Of protons and electrons in the count.

    And, of course, along with all the protons,
    Went all of the atomic elements—the end,
    All of their forms becoming myth and legend—
    As they were still dreamt of in night dreams,
    Those forms that we once had, so it seemed.

    S/he, as many of a luckily adaptable kind,
    Had long since lightened and lighted the mind
    With the dwindling electrons, and precious photons—
    That beginning light of ancient times, growing wan.

    Ours had been the only line in the universe,
    One that had become sentient, with proto-man first,
    The rest of the cosmos being but a colossal waste,
    A foreboding, harsh, and very dangerous place.

    S/he was now the only one left,
    Having outlived all of the rest.

    The universe was near crumbling away,
    Having run out of space, time, and all its sway.

    S/he was dispersing, melting, into the vacuum, lone,
    But, s/he held on for another thousand years, alone.

    And, then, s/he, too, was gone,
    Being the last of the hominid’s song,
    Of all that was sapient: the Magnificat,
    The composition of Earth’s sweet plot,
    The greatest symphony that was ever sown,
    Now having faded into the unknown.

    From nothingness our forms became,
    And into the same must go the remains.

    If the unknown be such, ‘though it’s otherwise;
    But, still, if it’s yet called unknown, then the reply
    Is still, for sure, that we’re free to be, anywise.

    If you’ve shed a tear, reading here,
    For both the far, and the near and dear,
    It won’t make their graves green again;
    But, it’s possible that life could begin again…

    Be of Good Cheer-—the sullen Month will die,
    And a young Moon requite us by and by:
    Look how the Old one meagre, bent, and wan
    With Age and Fast, is fainting from the Sky!
    (A Khayyam quatrain that’s not in the Rubaiyat)

    Our universal fruits are of a cosmic seed,
    As yet another yield of All possibility treed,
    For siblings elsewhere in the entropic sea
    Are also born of such probability.

    The Eternal Return

    Behind the Veil, being that which ev’r thrives,
    The Eternal Cosmos has ever been alive.

    Some time it needed to learn Everything for,
    And now well knows how these bubbles to pour,
    Of existence, in some unspent universe,
    Those that wrote your poem and mine, every verse.

    So, as thus, thou lives on yester’s credit line,
    In nowhere’s midst—now in this life of thine,
    As of its bowl our cup of brew was mixed
    Into this state of being that’s called “mine”.

    Yet worry you that this Universe is the last,
    That the likes of us will become the past,
    Space wondering whither whence we went
    After the last of us her life has spent?

    The Eternal Saki has thus formed
    Trillions of baubles like ours, and will form,
    Forevermore—the comings and passings
    Of which it ever emits to immerse
    In those universal bubbles blown and burst.

    So, fear not that a debit close your
    Account and mine, knowing the like no more;
    The Eternal Cycle from its pot has pour’d
    Zillions of bubbles like ours, and will pour.

    When You and I behind the cloak are past,
    But the long while the next universe shall last,
    Which of one’s approach and departure it grasps
    As might the sea’s self heed a pebble-cast.
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  68. #67  
    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Washington State, USA
    I take it you dont understand the purpose of a blog????
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
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  69. #68  
    Forum Senior questor's Avatar
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    Jan 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by Paleoichneum View Post
    I take it you dont understand the purpose of a blog????
    As said, the blog feature has been turned off.
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  70. #69  
    Time Lord Paleoichneum's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Washington State, USA
    The web is full of blog hosting options.
    If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. -Thorin Oakenshield

    The needs of the many outweigh the need of the few - Spock of Vulcan & Sentinel Prime of Cybertron ---proof that "the needs" are in the eye of the beholder.
    Reply With Quote  

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