Monday, October 31, 2005


I feel silly. Back to Physics, Religion, Art and/or Politics later...

I did an online personality test. You answer a bunch of questions and then it tells you what movie you are like. Since the result was sorta scary I decided to post this one today.

If you check out The Phoenix's website he has some great scary stories, one that was contributed by me called "A Good Soul with a Dark Past." I am the second story down from the one Phoenix wrote about The Lemp Mansion

Ummm... Kinda true, in a freaky sort of way. Scary.

Remember to check out The Phoenix for scary Halloween fun!


Friday, October 28, 2005

Like I mentioned before, I emailed many people and invited them to comment on my ID post. I've been getting some very interesting responses and I am going to try to post as many of the good ones as I can. Colin Purrington, Associate Professor at Swarthmore College answered the call with the following comment. I took it from the comments page because I like his position of early intervention.

Colin Purrington said...

Teaching "intelligent design creationism" (IDC) in science class is a bad idea, but there are several contexts that make it more or less bad.

In the worst case scenario, a teacher with creationist leanings is the science teacher. He or she will be, of course, _delighted_ to teach IDC, and will presumably sell it to students as if IDC were actually a scientific concept, which it is not. How common is this scenario, however? In the United States, it would be very, very common. Belief in the supernatural, and belief in biblical truth, is very high even among teachers hired to teach science. Teacher suspicion of evolution tends to increase if they don't have a higher degree in science, too, so that means anti-evolution teaching is likely to be higher among the lesser-qualitified elementary school teachers and middle school teachers.

Another scenario is a teacher who thinks that evolution is a completely well-supported theory and that IDC is just intellectual garbage, formulated my mushy-brained, pro-religion zealots. Given an opportunity to bash IDC in front of his or her students, he or she will. As for the above scenario, this means that one particular religion (Christianity) will be discussed to the exclusion of all other religions. In one case it will be praised, and in the other, laughed at. But for both cases it will be, essentially, illegal because it establishes one particular religion over another.

The final scenario that is likely to exist is in classes where the teacher could really care less about promoting/bashing supernatural explanations for natural phenomenon. He or she is just worried about teaching the academic standards, and getting the students to perform well on standardized tests. Diluting real science with IDC or other fad anti-science will have an immediate, and negative, impact on such scores, and the teacher will probably just skip over the IDC altogether. But he or she lives in the United States, and students (overwhelmingly anti-evolution due to indoctrination during elementary school years) will bring the topic up in class over and over again. It would not be pretty.

There are other scenarios, too, but all of them end up with U.S. public school graduates becoming dumb and dumberer. From a realists point of view, I think they only way to teach American's about evolution is to teach it to kids when they are in elementary school. Children of this age are being told at home that evolution is silly if not satanic, and are being told that everything we see has been created (rather recently!) by God. Therefore, instruction that counters these parental "facts" should be delivered via the school system...and delivered at the age when it might actually do some pedagogical good. If high school graduates in the United States still believed in Santa Claus, I'd bet good money that we'd have massively-expensive "interventions" in kindergarten, just to ensure that our citizens didn't have strange, unrealistic expectations about gifts during adulthood.

For Christmas, I want IDC to go to another, even more backward country. And, yes, I've been very, very good this year.

Thanks Colin!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

ID Response

Why I think it is wrong to think that ID is a valid scientific theory:

There were many times in our scientific history where we could have stopped and said this is where G-d begins and science ends. If that was the case, Newton would never have discovered the laws of gravity and motion, Einstein would never have looked at the world in a different way and developed his theories of relativity, we may never have pushed that theory to the limit and theorized then subsequently discovered black holes. More importantly, we never would have found out about viruses, DNA, molecules and atoms had we never pushed a little beyond what we understood. There is an interesting theory of the G-d of the gaps. That is whatever we don't understand in science we attribute to G-d. The gaps we fill in with G-d.

This is dangerous not only for science but for religion. If we keep pushing G-d father and further away and limiting Him to the gaps then as we discover more of the universe G-d shrinks in his place. If that happens the significance of G-d become less and less important because we always attribute him to the latest thing in the universe that we don’t understand. As for the danger in science, if we say that this is where science stops and G-d begins then that prevents up from ever pushing the boundaries of human understanding. Remember in history when there was a recession in art and science? The church took a prominent position during that time, establishing itself as the authority on all human intellectual undertakings. This a time when astronomers were not allowed to say that the planets orbited the sun because it supposedly went against church doctrine. (Exactly what passage that states that the planets specifically revolve around the sun in the bible I am not too sure, but that was the interpretation at the time.) We lovingly call that time the Dark Ages and it’s not because of the weather.

I believe that Galileo was forced into house arrest for his beliefs along those lines. Luckily for us there were brave scientists who stood up for the principles of truth in their calculations and observations. Slowly but surely scientific truth won out over centuries of dogma. In 1981, the Pope John Paul II finally opened up an investigation into the persecution of Galileo. I think that the whole Galileo thing was more a personal thing between Pope Urban VIII than dogmatic response to the obvious truth that Copernicus was right. In 1990, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said, “At the time of Galileo the Church remained much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself. The process against Galileo was reasonable and just” Of course to put it in context he was saying that the Inquisitors were simply defending the Church because Galileo was such a loudmouth, spreading his anti-church rhetoric like let’s see, ummm, the Earth revolves around the sun…? Yeah, bad idea.

Now who am I to tell billions of human beings that they’re wrong? I think that religion has some really great qualities. But like anything else, take in moderation. Every time the church tries to put G-d into the equation they end up retracting that idea and moving Him a little further out, like a giant board game. I imagine the church’s pieces of G-d like silhouetted cardboard pieces looking like Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel version of G-d with his big beard pointing at another cut out piece of Galileo. More science pieces get put on the board as G-d is painted into a corner surrounded by little cardboard Einsteins and Stephen Hawkings. Of course in the religious game bard G-d rules and scientists are relegated to a small corner of the board and no spinner or dice. Silly ain’t it?

I’ve been told that ID and Creationism are not the same thing. One, ID, is a scientific theory and the other, Creationism, is a religious idea. I don’t think that’s true. Any scientists I know or have read about have not considered ID a scientific theory. For the most part, I think ID is Creationism parading around as a genuine theory. It’s a way to infuse religion into science and make it palatable to the masses. It has failed. There is no way without verifiable and reproducible observation or experiment to consider ID a theory. Just because it “looks” like the world was created with intent by a supreme intelligent being doesn’t mean that it was. Philosophically, you can say that but scientifically you cannot. I am willing to agree with religious leaders who argue that the world was designed by a creator, or a first cause on purely philosophical levels. I am also willing to look at the very fine-tuned universe and evolutionary gaps that seem to point toward ID and say that perhaps that it is true. But as for empirical evidence, ID offers little. Creationism offers none. I’ve mentioned it too many times before and I am starting to sound repetitive but my argument is that G-d and religion require pure belief. There is not evidence of G-d’s existence besides our faith in the books we read and the prayers we say. Our collective faith and gathering together to celebrate that faith is enough for the proof of the existence of G-d. Anyone to trying to pin the existence of G-d on a scientific theory is engaged in futile endeavor. It will not happen. Science is not belief; it is fact. It is testable and reproducible. Evidence must be empirical and not ethereal. You can’t say that G-d exists because the scientific facts make it seem to be that way.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Discussion Topic: Intelligent Design

I posed this question as a topic over at The Contrarians Website but since they haven't touched it yet I thought that I'd pose it here and let my readers comment. I'll reply to anyone who wants to comment. Think of this as my version of the Sunday New York Times Op Ed Page. I sent out some emails to various people in science, skeptical thought and politics to comment on this topic. I got some very well thought out editorial comments that I will post below the topic. I thank everyone who answered my email; it is much appreciated. Some Congressman that I queried responded with a format email response that said they couldn’t address any of my concerns, as I did not live in their district. I thought that was interesting. I wonder if a Senator or Representative thinks that when she is interviewed by a news program?


Some on the political right think that we should be teaching “Intelligent Design” in the classroom as an alternative to Evolution. Is this wise since it is not even considered a valid theory by most scientists? Intelligent Design seems like a Theological issue not a Scientific one. Does the government have the right to dictate what our science teachers can teach? Also, do you think that if Intelligent Design is a valid theory or alternative to Evolution then wouldn’t a mandatory section of World Religions be just as valid a subject in Social Studies class to give students a sense of what other religious ideas are available and practiced? As long as we are on the subject of alternatives, shouldn't we be teaching the basic concepts of Buddhism, Hindu and Native American Creation Stories too?


Below see some comments collected from various people I posed this question to. Mr. Michael Shermer, Publisher of the Skeptic Magazine answered first before the bell went off. Thak you Mr. Shermer.

Opinion Editorial, Los Angeles Times, Sunday, August 7, 2005

“Why God’s in a Class by Himself.”

By Michael Shermer

Intelligent Design (ID) creationism has resurfaced in the news again after President George W. Bush’s remarks were (mis)taken by IDers to be a solid endorsement by the president for the teaching of ID in public school science classrooms. (Bush’s science adviser, John H. Marburger 3rd, said in a telephone interview that “evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology” and “intelligent design is not a scientific concept.”)
There was considerable media hype over the story, and I did a number of interviews, including a query from a reporter who asked for my opinion about whether one can believe in God and the theory of evolution. I replied that, empirically speaking, yes you can, the proof being that 40 percent of American scientists profess belief in God and also accept the theory of evolution, not to mention the fact that most of the world’s one billion Catholics believe in God and accept the theory of evolution. But then this reporter wanted to know is if it is logically consistent to believe in God and the theory of evolution. That is, does the theory of evolution—if carried out to its logical conclusion—preclude belief in God? This is a different question. Here is my answer.

You can believe in God and evolution as long as you keep the two in separate logic-tight compartments. Belief in God depends on religious faith. Belief in evolution depends on empirical evidence. This is the fundamental difference between religion and science. If you attempt to reconcile religion and science on questions about nature and the universe, and if you push the science to its logical conclusion, you will end up naturalizing the deity because for any question about nature—the origins of the universe, life, humans, whatever—if your answer is “God did it,” a scientist will ask, “How did God do it?, What forces did God use? What forms of matter and energy were employed in the creation process?” and so forth. The end result of this inquiry can only be natural explanations for all natural phenomena. What place, then, for God?

One could argue that God is the laws and forces of nature, which is logically acceptable, but this is pantheism and not the type of personal God to which most people profess belief. One could also argue that God created the universe and life using the laws and forces of nature as his creation tools, which is also logically fine, but it leaves us with additional scientific questions: which laws and forces were used to create specific natural phenomena, and in what matter were they used? how did God create the laws and forces of nature? A scientist would be curious to know God’s recipe for, say, gravity, or for a universe or a cell. For that matter, it is a legitimate scientific question to ask: what made God, and how was God created? How do you make an omniscient and omnipotent being? Finally, one could argue that God is outside of nature—super nature, or supernatural—and therefore needs no explanation. This is also logically consistent, but by definition it means that the God question is outside of science and therefore religion and science are separate and incompatible.

Bottom line: teach science in science classes, teach religion in religion classes.

Michael Shermer is the Publisher of Skeptic magazine (, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and the author of How We Believe, The Science of Good and Evil, and Science Friction (Henry Holt/Times Books).

Here is a very well put counterpoint to my Topic by Rich Deem over at God And Science Website. I wanted to hear from people who would be opposed to my argument as well as people who agree. Thanks for contributing Rich. Just as a note, when Rich checked my website the post wasn't up yet because I had some trouble getting the post published to the site.


Intelligent design has nothing to do with creation stories and does not posit a specific means by which the designer accomplished design. Like many other writers, you don't seem to understand the nature of ID, but assume it is religion in disguise. ID is not inherently religious (in fact, it is theoretically possible that some non-supernatural intelligent species designed life on earth sometime in the past). I am a creationist and am not part of the ID movement, although I recognize that ID may provide evidence that is of interest to me

As it stands now, there is a fair amount of data supporting intelligent design in cosmology, with several cosmologists already having published studies in this discipline.

In my opinion, there is not enough rigorous evidence for intelligent design in biology to justify its teaching in the classroom. Such evidence would consist of the genetic design of irreducibly complex systems whose components were genetically unrelated without functional predecessors among related organisms. The ability to detect such systems will probably be possible within the next decade and might even be possible today, given the sequencing of a number of complete genomes. However, it is unlikely that such research would be supported by federal granting agencies because of a preconceived bias against even the possibility that intelligent design exists.

As a Christian, I am perfectly content exercising my first amendment rights by publishing how the scientific evidence supports the Christian worldview and creation model. A religious view that cannot be supported in the free marketplace of ideas is not worthy of faith. I do not support the establishment of any particular religious interpretation by the government schools, since it is possible that the one established might not be Christian.

I did not see any blog on this topic at your link and hope you will consider this e-mail before making the same foolish claims that so many make regarding ID and the religious connection.

Rich Deem

Sunday, October 23, 2005

My Sunday Post: Response to those saying Serenity is the new Star Wars

One of my favorite podcasts is Dragonpage. They run three different feeds that deal with science fiction. One is for books, another for T.V. and movies and the third is called Wingin' It because it's more free form and they drink beer while doing it. Anyway, they are huge fans of the movie Serenity and there was a recent discussion about how they all agreed that Serenity was the new "Star Wars." By the title of my blog you can tell where I sit in that argument. Yep. I say, close but no cigar. And by close I mean Star Wars is here and if you travel a few thousand light years on a slow boat you may get to Serenity over here. Yes. They are in the same galaxy but Star Wars is still far and away the more influential film of its day. Read the post. Comment if you like. I will argue with you if you like as well. BTW, extreme geek alert. Don't say you weren't warned. I take my Sci-Fi and Fantasy very seriously. And go check out Dragonpage. It just may save your life... (OK the last part is over the top.)

I recently saw Serenity. Being a Joss Whedon fan I was disappointed that I never caught Firefly on TV and equally disappointed when it was cancelled. Oh well, I thought. It probably wasn't very good. Then I heard a movie was being made and thought that maybe something was up. I borrowed the DVDs from my cousin and watched them all in three days. I was siked to see the movie and disappointed that there was not going to be any more series episodes. The movie was spectacular. I was blown away. Because the movie requires a sense of movement and drama that TV series don't the way the story progressed and the characters developed in such a short time was so awesome. I loved how Joss Whedon progressed the Buffy characters through the season and there was never a throw away. Here he compressed the best of a season into one movie. Even when the scene should be corny I felt chills like when River, in half shadow, is standing there with her weapons surrounded by dead Reavers. I pray that I see her again on screen. All the characters were fully developed and believable as far as a sci-fi movie can make them.

Joss is a genius and my world is better to have his stories in it. That being said, I think that Serenity the movie owes more to others that came before it than it is an original concept in itself. The characters, story, design and effects exhibit shades of many of my favorite classic movies and shows: Star Trek, Spaghetti Westerns, Rawhide, Dawn of the Dead, The Matrix and of course Star Wars. I love all those movies and genres and I don’t think it bad to take inspiration from them. In fact the genius of Joss Whedon is that he can blend all those inspirations and make them work. Not only work but also work better than it should, all with great, funny, poignant dialogue layered with insightful commentary on relationships and life. Joss Whedon is my hero in fiction writing. I wish I could write a story arc half as well as he can. I wish I could write dialogue one-eighth as well.

That being said, I’ve been hearing on your show that you people are comparing the experience of seeing Serenity to seeing Star Wars for the first time. Now I can understand if you didn’t see the movie sitting in a theater in 1977 for the first time. Then I’d understand because you were reared on the influences of the twin gods of George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg. Lately it’s been cool to bash these guys but you have to remember back to those bygone days when movies were magic again! What Star Wars did to film was incomparable. What it did for merchandising (no matter what you think of it) was insane. What it did for special effects was absolutely mid blowing. His story was genius that hinted that we were looking at just one small part of a rich and detailed universe. His characters in a word: archetype. His overall arc, dramatic. That was the problem; he could never live up to the initial expectations in the prequels. He lost something along the way. He aged and became less maverick, less egotistic and lost his verve. The story suffered. Granted his dialogue was never too great to begin with but in a strange way it worked, corn and all. The characters in the prequels were unforgettable. The angst ridden Anakin, the young idealistic queen (although elected queen? Why even bother, Princess Leia was a princess because of Bail Organa not her real parents!), Jango Fett. Clone Warriors, Darth Maul, Count Dooku and the vile, cunning Senator Palpatine, I mean Chancellor no wait I mean Emperor no wait Darth Siduous, Mace Windu and of course the young Obi-Wan Kenobi who IMHO was fantastic and the best most tragic character of both trilogies. Actually, Obi-Kenobi’s character benefited the most from the prequels, more than Palpatine and a little more than Yoda. It’s just that they were great characters in a great story arc that was in the wrong plot with the wrong dialogue.

But despite the failings of the prequels I would still rather have a Jedi Star Fighter or Darth Maul action figure than say, Mal. Or Jayne. Or River. Well, actually I’d take River (the girl is flexible, I give her that) over Darth Maul at my current age but as a kid, no contest. Although Natalie Portman? Or Slave Girl Leia? Hmmm… That’s a different email post.

See as a kid or even a young teen, Star Wars blew me away. It was unique in almost every way including the way it took an old mythic tale and made it new. It also harkened back to the good old days of Science Fiction Serials. The guy was boy genius and the crew that he surrounded himself with was first rate, top notch. The images, design, characters, space ships, action, weapons were never seen before. C’mon, lightsabers? You can’t beat it. And Oh yeah, Psychic warriors? Jedi. Mal? Han Solo. Chicks with blasters? Leia Organa Skywalker-Solo. An oppressive government with unlimited resources? The Empire. A dark warrior who in the end realizes the error of his ways? Darth Vader. Should I go on? No.

I loves Serenity. I loves Firefly. But the new Star Wars? I think that it pales in comparison to the impact and sheer iconography of the first and original Star Wars. I mean the original Star Wars changed movies. Just because the studios couldn’t imitate the success of the original thinking it was all about the Special Effects basically ghettoizing a whole genre of movies doesn’t change the brilliance and impact it had on people all over the world in 1977.

Believe me, I want another “Star Wars.” I want to be blown away by a movie. I want to walk away wanting more. Serenity was great for different reasons. Lord of the Rings, the movie was as close as anyone has come in the last thirty years. Yes, it was based on a classic novel but the love that Peter Jackson and his crew had for the book showed. Even when he changed things he stayed very close to the original vision. As much as one can with the limitations of expositional story in movies. (The Lord of the Rings kinda reads like the bible in some points and I found myself drifting, yet I digress.)

Anyway. That’s how I feel about it. I want to give Serenity the movie and Firefly the series its due, but I don’t think it’s in the same category as far as influence of mythic proportions as the original Star Wars.


Friday, October 21, 2005

Art In America (Part Two)

One of my favorite Abstract Impressionists is Jackson Pollock. The guy who did the paint splatters. Don’t think 1980s fashion, think purposefully designed layers of color put down over time to form dynamic, expressive and textured compositions. This was called Action Painting and you can see why. What was he saying? What was he proving? I don’t think he was saying anything and that’s where the confusion comes in. People think that each painting “says” something. If it doesn’t “speak” to them it’s not art. Art is not that literal all the time. Sometimes it is full of symbolism and allegory. Sometimes it’s an experiment in color and form and space. Sometimes it’s a celebration of beauty or even strangeness or ugliness. I’ve been lost in a Jackson Pollock painting for long spaces of time. Sometimes it’s like watching a moving picture.

Art communicates but it is not communication. Art cannot heal. Art is not more important than human life. Art has a place. Anywhere it can be seen. But it doesn't have to be inside a museum. A tagger or graffiti artist is an artist if he cares for the thing he creates. A filmmaker is an artist if what she makes intends to impress on the viewer something more than the words and pictures. Art is always more than the sum of its parts.

Picasso and Braque are two of the most famous painters in the Cubism movement. They are fine examples of that movement which is shared by Jackson Pollock, Abstract Impressionism. Instead of forgoing figure and representation they took figure and representation and broke it down. They examined it not only in its parts but also in its movement represented by lines, shapes and color. They abstracted faces and interweaved them with the pieces of other objects. It is an analytical approach to representation, mostly using earthy colors, a backlash against Impressionism that celebrated color and light.

As a fan of art I feel that art that doesn't make you sit there and contemplate at least for a few minutes hasn't done its job. At least my personal favorite artworks do that for me. I’ve seen art make of feces and it doesn't make me think of anything more than what it is. I've seen paintings that I've stared at for a long time and then returned for more. Like a font I come back to it because I thirst for it again and again. It draws me to it like a magnet. I am impressed and astounded not only by the forms, figures and colors but the time it was done. The person who did it.

That is what makes art so special that it is created by people. It is not accidental. You can find things in nature or that occur by accident and frame them and make them art but the point of view of a person behind the creation or the framing is what makes it art. When it comes down to it, a flower is beautiful but it is not art. But if you take that flower and put it in a frame and arrange it, you’ve made it art.


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Art in America (Part One)

This post is not quantum physics but art one of my many other interests. Sometimes I add a comment to someone else’s post and it becomes a post. This is one of those situations:

As an artist I must say that art is anything that moves you. Makes you think. Makes you feel good. Challenges conventional wisdom or even celebrates conventional wisdom. Art is a wide-open area of conversation or a narrow-minded point of view. Aesthetics are facets or qualities of anything be it a painting, a building or a car that appeals to a group of people. Aesthetics tends to be dictated by a group while art is personal. It’s a feeling that people may share but is not necessarily the same for each person. Aesthetics seems to have a basis in science while art is more spiritual, soulful.

As a former employee of a Modern Art magazine I saw a lot (a lot) of crap. Lots of lazy art that I felt let the artist off the hook too easily. The stereotypical artist who makes art that "nobody understands except real artists and critics" is alive and well. Believe me, if it offended it was all the more better. Some people have a point of view that art is anything that is against the grain or that puts people off because they believe that that is the equivalent of making you "think."

I don't agree.

The wholesale desecration of someone else's symbols for no other reason than personal revenge is NOT making a person think. It's mudslinging of the worst kind. You can put someone else's symbols into your paintings or sculpture or movie or anything else and comment or criticize it, but to desecrate? That crosses lines set down by society. Art is not war. Art is not politics. Art is Art. Art is in itself a whole thing. It can say anything you want but when used as a weapon it ceases to be art and becomes something else. It becomes personal journal or a diary. It becomes a political campaign. And that is not to say that those things in themselves cannot be art but it’s the context that counts.

For example, Dada is an art movement that more than being art in itself is more art commentary. Not criticism but commentary. It says, this is art and it is art because I created it with the same process that a sculpture uses but my art happens to be an everyday object. A fur teacup. A bicycle wheel on a stool. A toilet bowl. Granted when you see those things you don’t say, “Art!” but at the time, in the context that it was presented, it was art. It may not have been your kind or art or art that appealed to the masses or even art that many people “got” without an explanation of the intent of the artist but it was art. That was the end of it. Those artists expanded the tools and artist can use. It expanded the realm of possibility in what we call art. (Art is whatever we decide.) But it was not scandalous in and of itself. Perhaps people thought it scandal to consider that thing art but it was not offended a believe system shared by millions. It was not propaganda being held up as art.

That’s the difference that most people don’t get. A lot of people look at some art and say, “My kid can do that.” But their kid did not do it. Their kid couldn’t conceive of it and reproduce it with intent. And their kid could not explain it to others.

(To Be Continued)


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Ahh… Quantum Mechanics. (Part Three)

String Theory to the rescue!! Ta Da!! In string theory the constituents that make up everything in the universe are tiny (and I mean tiny!) vibrating strings. These strings contain the information that were sucked into the black hole’s singularity. Please don’t ask me how. I don’t know. A little faith here. I’ll get that info as soon as I can.

String cheese and string theory? Not the same thing. See string theory is a complex set of theories that say that the smallest, smallest, smallest, smallest… (Need I go on? OK Smallest!) thing that can ever be is a string. Right now. String. Purely Mathematical. Can’t be proved except mathematically. Can’t be seen except mathematically. Can’t even really be described in any physical sense except, that’s right… Mathematically. OK it’s a string. We all know strings but it’s a special string that exists in like 10 dimensions. So try describing that. As a matter of fact string theory predicts the existence of many dimensions above the usual four. Four?

Space-time is the four dimensional universe we live in. It’s all three dimensions you’re used two which are directional and then time. A drawing is two-dimensional. A movie is actually three-dimensional in a way. Life is four-dimensional. That’s as simply as I can put it. But for String Theory there are up to ten or more dimensions needed to explain the theory. It also tries to explain Quantum Gravity. But I digress.

So Hawking, the genie in the bottle, says that black holes hide the information that goes into it in the singularity but they also radiate. He conceded the point and paid his debt to John Preskill, which in a weird way symbolizes the debt paid to the universe when virtual particles appear and disappear. Good thing Preskill and Hawking aren’t virtual particles. (Or Antimatter and Matter for that umm… matter.)

The End?


Monday, October 17, 2005

Ahh… Quantum Mechanics. (Part Duex)

The universe constantly creates and destroys particles on a quantum level. In the vacuum of space, virtual particles pop into existence and then collide together to destroy each other. Energy is spontaneously created and destroyed. Wait a minute there cowpoke!! The Theory of Conservation of Energy says that can’t happen. Sure E=MC2 but that just means matter can be converted into energy and vice-versa but the net energy and matter of the universe just never goes up or down. Right? Right. See the virtual particles come to life by borrowing that energy and then paying it back by destroying themselves. No net energy or matter change. See?

What about Black Holes, smarty pants? What about them? Nyaa!!

Well, black holes do represent what we call a singularity, which is an area of space where physics breaks down. Matter falls into the black hole but doesn’t return and becomes part of infinity. What does that mean? Nobody really knows because we can’t study a black hole. Roaches go in but they don’t come out!!! Remember?

Stephen Hawking once said that we can’t know the black hole’s contents because everything that goes into it is lost. Information is gone. Black holes don’t have hair! He said that because of the singularity the information is gone and no matter what, we can’t retrieve the information. Hawking first proposed two theories that looked paradoxical. One was the above-mentioned theory that information goes into a black hole and is lost. Another was that a black hole radiates! That means because of quantum fluctuations in space virtual particle create radiation near the event horizon of a black hole and radiates. They get an itty-bitty bit smaller every time and over a gazillion billion samillion years they disappear. Theories say that this Hawking Radiation would take longer than the life of the universe to completely shrink a black hole to nothing. Despite that, the theory says it radiates to nothing and the information inside at some point must be released. So on the one hand he says information is lost forever and on the other he says it radiates away everything it contains! A paradox.

Of course recently he reversed his decision and paid a bet to John Preskill of an Encyclopedia symbolizing the information in a black hole.

(To be continued)


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Ahh… Quantum Mechanics.

Quantum Mechanics is not like regular mechanics on the macro level. Nope. See when you go through your life it wouldn’t be right if when you went to work, your boss suddenly appeared both in front of you and behind you at the same time berating you for being late and early at the same time (Or being in the office in three places at once while simultaneously drinking coffee, flirting with the secretary and surfing the net.) Of course there’s always the chance that you could show up at work and complete all your work in one day for all time but then there is the other probability that your workload quadrupled too. But that’s the thing, you couldn’t know what was really happening since everything is only a possibility of happening and nothing at all really ever happened except virtually. It also wouldn’t help to have two Mother-In-laws now would it, both on the phone and in your living room. How would it feel if you went out your door everyday and you stepped into a new neighborhood every time? Or if your drive to work were not a linear event but you had to travel every conceivable combinations of your route all at the same time even one that took you around the nearest galaxy and back. Even if that did happen you’d still end up in the same place. Don’t Panic (as the guide says) because quantum physics doesn’t affect the macro level, the relative largeness that we live in. Really, we have no idea how or why we don’t act like quantum particles since they are what we are made of. Imagine how cute electrons are. Aren’t they cute? Little fuzzy particles of probability. Just like my dog they can’t stay still for very long. That’s because quantum theory demands that we cannot know both the position and the velocity of an electron. We can measure the position fine but the velocity is never accurate, It’s a probability curve. It can be going this speed or that speed or some speed in between. We just don’t know. Or if we can measure its speed the position is a fuzzy probability. It is measured at a certain rate of speed but the darn thing could be here, there or on Uranus (which would be quite embarrassing to say the least!)

Things get weirder. Remember in my last post when I spoke about the churning of empty space? No. OK well empty space churns. Got it? That means that even in a vacuum, where there is conceivable nothing there, there really is something. Confused? Me too. Remember that people who study Quantum Physics, really smart people, still don’t really understand Quantum Physics either. Richard Feynman said, “Do not keep saying to yourself, if you can possibly avoid it, ‘But how can it be like that?’ because you will get ‘down the drain,’ into a blind alley from which nobody has yet escaped. Nobody knows how it can be like that.”

(To be continued)


Friday, October 14, 2005

80s TV. (To Be Continued...)

I had some comments on the last blog post where many readers who loved the old shows didn't like what they became in their waning years. Not sure if the A-Team ever did a reunion show but I never liked the reunion shows anyway because they tended to be cheap and usually not as good as the regular shows. I also find movie versions of shows really bad. I don't think I've seen a good one yet. Brady Bunch was an all right movie remake but Hollywood tends to make the movie versions self-referential and mocking. They are never "serious" remakes. Think Starsky & Hutch. It was a Saturday Night Live sketch of a show that took itself seriously. I heard they are doing Land of the Lost movie with Will Ferrell. Will Ferrell? You can already tell it'll suck. I waited a long time for them to pick that up and now they are ruining it. I hope they pull it off but I think it's going to be another Starsky & Hutch. I mean the movie was OK and a little funny but it wasn't a movie version of the show. If they did the A-Team movie version they could update it to make it good. (I am officially throwing my hat in the ring to write the script! Anyone listening? I'll also write the Knight Rider movie... And the cross-over.) Back to Land of the Lost, couldn't it be done well? Couldn't we get someone who knows how to balance the line between camp and drama like Joss Whedon? Now that boy can write dialogue and he knows how to craft a story arc. I think it a shame what they do to old TV shows. Movie and TV are two different concepts and what works on one doesn't work on another. How about a remake of a TV show on TV?

Speaking being critical, I mentioned that Teh Blog Father reviewed my blog and I thought it funny and of course true. Here's the entire review reprinted and another link back to Teh Blog Father. Just because I owe it to him. Also, remember to go there and read other reviews he's done. Check out the sites that they link to. Traffic is the key to this whole thing so share and share alike:

"Obilon Kenobi: The Last Jedi

So, your homegirl thinks Jedi warriors are like soooo dreamy [love bubbles popping], but she likes the bad-boy type and wants to date Darth Maul. Blasphemy!! I hear you cry, and I would have disagreed with you, but then I met the chosen one, the only remaining Jedi on the planet: Obilooooooooon Kenobiiiiii! Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee, let her date Obilon, and stars she will see (literally, 'cause this homie has the bling bling)! Writing about writing, politics and magical electrons, this bruthah, I mean Jedi, will show her The Force from the comfort of his couch, complete with beer in hand and a potbelly to boot. And to all dem playa haters who stand in his path? It's hasta la vista, babaaaay! Or is that another movie altogether? Oh hell, just show the man some loooooove!"


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Extremely Short Post (Update. Now it's a long post. Oh Well.)

Off the beaten path of physics and science we cover popular culture in this post. In the early 80s I thought Michael Knight was cool and I wanted to be his sidekick sitting beside him in K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two-Thousand) kicking butt on those evil geniuses and anti-government agents. I always wanted there to be a crossover between the A-Team and Knight Rider. They lived in the same time frame so it could be possible. They could go head-to-head, as Michael Knight has to bring in the band of renegades. Face and Michael Knight would go against each other to try to pick up the marginally intelligent scientist of the week who has a PHD but can't tell the difference between leathery-cheese and real substance. Then we'd have a scene where B.A. Baracus gets trapped in the K.I.T.T. car. I can imagine K.I.T.T. telling Mr. T in his faux computerized English accent, "I pity the fool who underestimates my computational power." Mr. T, "What you say fool?!" Ah ha. Ah ha. Too funny! In the end I think Col. Hannibal and Devon, that guy who sits behind the desk at Knight Industries and hires Michael Knight to do his jobs, come to some sort of understanding or they were old war buddies in a covert ops assignment in Cambodia and Michael Knight lets them go back into the world of renegade fugitivism. (I made up that word!) Michael has some misgivings about it but Devon knows best.

As a side note, did you ever notice how everything seemed so futuristic when we used to add two thousand to it when it was the 80s? Think Terminator and 2001: A Space Odyssey. If we were smart we'd realize the mistake of George Orwell and notice the passage of time makes all things seem passé and say made it the Knight Industries THREE thousand!! In a thousand years we'll still seem cool. And the acronyms would still work! Of course in a thousand years we could still be watching the Terminator movies the A-Team and Knight Rider. I know I will.


P.S. Teh Blog Father has reviewed my blog and it is one bad review. And by bad I mean good. Like that is one bad mutha... Shut your mouth! I'm just talking about obilonkenobi!!! Check out his site. Have your blog reviewed if you have one and give the guy some props. I know I do.


Friday, October 07, 2005

Quantum Theory Isn't Just Weird It's Like Religion

When G-d told Einstein that he needed to calculate the perihelion of the orbit of Mercury to prove his theory of relativity correct, I almost believe it. When G-d tells George W. Bush to attack a nation in the Middle East, I’m a little more doubtful. I mean what’s a guy who hardly worked a day in his life, probably never read the bible, doesn’t believe in scientific theory and readily admits that he doesn’t read a newspaper doing with the voice of g-d in his head. Well, ok there are some medical diagnosis’s that can clear up that question but let’s pretend that the guy talks to G-d. Well that’s not unusual is it? I mean even the staunchest atheist has to admit that when faced with death there may be a little speck of faith? A little dark corner of the brain that says, “Oh G-d, please don’t.” And it wouldn’t be so bad now would it?

Quantum theory is a little like G-d. It’s mysterious, we don’t understand it, it behaves in ways we can’t describe and it can appear out of nowhere and disappear again. Quantum theory tells us an electron can be in two places at once. That light can act as a particle and a wave at the same time. It tells us that a fuzzy probability exists as the building block of all things. We can’t predict where or when something is going to be. To boot, what we consider a vacuum in space, is actually a foam of quantum particles buzzing with energy, spontaneously creating and destroying particles.

In the relative calm of outer space where on the macro level nothing seems to happen, on the quantum (or sub atomic) level there is a sea of stuff. Quantum theory predicts that particles can spontaneously appear from nowhere. They pop into existence. That’s odd because that goes against the law of conservation of energy, which states that nothing can be absolutely created or destroyed. No matter ever disappears from the universe. It always goes somewhere of becomes something else. It can change properties or become pure energy but it must always exist in some form. There is no net change in the amount of energy or matter in the universe combined. Hence E=mc2. That means that energy is also a form of matter and vice-versa. We can change matter and release energy (vast amounts of it) or we can do the opposite.

When a particle erupts from the quantum foam then it must “pay a price” for it’s existence. A lot of energy is expended to create that virtual particle so that it cannot exist for a very long time. It must pay back the universe for existing and thus be destroyed. No net change. Two particles are created for a brief time and then combine to destroy each other. This happens quickly and constantly so that there is a sort of static all around us in space. There is no peace in the quantum world. It’s a very energetic place and it’s what we are built from.

Einstein didn’t like the theory of Quantum Physics. He actually helped create it with his own theories but he proclaimed at one point “G-d doesn’t play dice.” Again, how he knew what G-d did is beyond me but he was a pretty smart guy. Maybe he’s right. Maybe we’re missing something that explains why electrons seems to create a pattern that looks like it’s a wave when we can do a different experiment to make it act like a particle. For now all we have is a pretty solid theory that we can’t really explain but it works. A lot of really smart guys came up with this theory too. Although Einstein to his death tried to come up with some alternate explanation that would link the quantum to the relativistic science he created. But once thing eluded him and everyone since, gravity.

Gravity itself is not elusive. It’s weak when compared to, say, electromagnetism. Don’t think so? No? Well it is… See gravity keeps everything on the ground because, as Einstein explained the space around the earth is bent so that everything falls to it. We have no other choice but to be grounded because there is nowhere else to go. There is nowhere else. Reality, space, the “fabric of the universe “bends” toward heavy objects. The heavier it is the more it bends to it.

There are four basic forces and only two of them seem to relate to us on our everyday life as we know it. Electromagnetism, which includes heat and visible light, gravity, The String Force and the Weak Force. The Strong and the Weak force act at atomic levels. We won’t discuss them here. Just know that there would be no us without them. The stability of the universe depends on them.

Electromagnetism is much stronger than gravity. Try to jump into space, how high can you go. A foot or so? Take a piece of metal and drop it. It falls to the earth. Everything you know is attracted to the earth is some fashion. That’s why airplanes are scary to some people. They fall to the ground. But now take a strong magnet and put it over a metal object or another magnet. The metal or other magnet goes up toward the magnet. It just shoots off the ground like gravity has no effect. It sticks together tightly. A really strong magnet can prevent you from pulling it apart. Why doesn’t this great gravitational force pull the magnet to earth instead of to the metal? Because electromagnetism is much stronger than gravity. The effect of gravity on electromagnetism is almost negligible.

Yet, gravity keeps up grounded. It allows us to live. While it acts nicely on a macro level on the micro and quantum level gravity’s effect is nil. That’s the whole problem? How do we account for gravity on the quantum level? Why is it so weak and why doesn’t it affect quantum reactions. It’s a non-factor. But just try to say that when you jump from a tall building. You’d much rather be an electron then.

Then again, gravity can affect light. Yes, Einstein’s theory predicted that light would bend around a heavy object because of gravity. It was proven once by Eddington and then a thousand times over by gravitational lenses in space and other observations. Light bends around gravity.

If that’s true then is there gravity so strong that light bends into it and like us can’t escape? Light is made of another particle-wave light object called a photon. Photons contain a lot of energy and almost no mass, which is why they travel at the speed of light. Wait they are light. Yes, photons are so light they travel at the top speed in the universe. Se we can’t travel the speed of light because as we go faster we become more massive and more mass means more energy needed to push us so we can go faster and finally we become so infinitely massive that no amount of energy can push us. We can’t even approach the speed of light. Small almost massless particles do. Like Neutrinos and photons. They zip. They can’t help but go the speed of light. Photons, like any objects get caught in the pull of gravity. When the gravity is that massive it’s only one thing: A Black Hole. Can you believe that when the term, black hole was coined the French refused to use it because it sounded vaguely sexual? It’s true. They relented and I’m glad they did.

A black hole is a real enigma. It represents a breakdown of physics, as we know it. See the speed of light is the absolute speed limit. You aint going any faster in this universe bub so don’t even try it. (You can travel vast distances that would seem like you are traveling faster than the speed of light but that’s only because of worm hole. Little tears in the universe that connect far places across the geodesic space. Forget it.) In a massive star if it condenses to a certain point it’s gravity become so great that even light can’t go around it. It is literally a black home in space. If a massless particle going at the speed of light ain't escaping, then nothing will.

Just for fun, time also stops inside a back hole. I threw that in there because it’s just too cool not to mention. A thing like this can only be called one thing: A Singularity. A singularity. Great name. Scientists are cool. They name stuff cool. A singularity is a point in space where physics breaks down to infinities. Infinite smallness, infinite gravity, no time, a dead end. A one-way street to infinity. Infinity Way. Infinite Inn. Like the Roach Motel, Physics goes in but it don’t come out. That’s because you can’t calculate in infinities. It’s like the universe errors out at the Singularity.

Oh wait, there’s that little Conservation Law we spoke about. Does a black hole violate the law of conservation of matter and energy? I looked it up the answer is no because as the black hole absorbs matter it grows in size. It feeds.

So although gravity is weak when talking about a tremendous mass, it’s strong. It literally shapes our universe. G-d played a little dice then, didn’t he?

Steven Hawking is a great mind trapped inside a body racked with Lou Gehrig’s disease or ALS. I’m reminded of the Disney movie, Aladdin, where the great genie describes the curse of his existence by saying he has great cosmic power all trapped in an itty-bitty living space, meaning the lamp. Stephen Hawking’s great mind proves that a man can continue to do great things even though his body fights against him. He holds the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge, the same post that both Sir Isaac Newton and Paul Dirac held among other great minds. His mind conceived of Hawking Radiation. This means that Quantum Physics shows that while nothing can escape a Black Hole’s gravity, it can radiate and shrink in size, albeit very slowly.

So ultimately, the Law of Conservation is preserved.

So it makes a little sense. Quantum physics has some weird results mathematically and in practice but it works out. It’s the basis for a lot of solid science. Sometimes you have to take a theory all the way and then add a little faith. Of course you have to know what you’re talking about to get to that point at least a little. You have to understand the science a little to make presumptions. You have to have studies the experiments to know what they mean. We can’t make bold judgments like the universe began from a Singularity without knowing a little something.


Thursday, October 06, 2005

Lies And The Lying, Liars Who Tell Lies While They Lie There And Then Lie Some More. Liars!

OK that’s a take on the Al Franken book that I read. It’s very entertaining and a little liberal. That’s an understatement. But it’s funny so I enjoyed it. I never knew that Stuart Smalley was so smart and witty. I hear he’s even running for senator somewhere. Anyway, I liked the book but I read it so long ago I can’t comment on the specific arguments he made.

Athene Aquinas has visited my site and proclaimed it good. Her site has been a source of enjoyment for me so I linked to her. If anyone mentions my name in their site then they get an automatic special posting and of course a link back. (At least on the post.) Check out her site. She lives in Germany. She comes from Iceland. She is named for a Greek Goddess and a Christian Philosopher. This one’s got credentials.

In her post here she discusses why she complains about Bush. It’s one long paragraph and I take credit for it being formatted that way. Or the blame depending on how you look at it. She has some funny anti-Bush stuff on her site which is, I guess, funny, if you’re anti-Bush.

Anyway, if you read the post then you can come back here to read my comment or stay there to read it.

My response:

Yeah. I agree with the point on Iraq. That if Bush hadn't lied to us but told us he was going in for reasons moral and just I guess I'd be a little more for this engagement. But I also think that he had more reasons that just Saddam is a bad guy to do it. Some of the arguments I've heard: "He gassed thousands of his own citizens to death." That's terrible. Shades of Hitler there. But when did he do that? The eighties!! Yes the 1980s when I was just a teenage hormone. Are you to say that Bush went to war with a guy that three other presidents didn't go to war with for those reasons. Even Bush's father waited for the guy to go invade another country before he stepped in. I heard a funny comment by someone on NPR about a year ago. I can't remember who it was, she was female and an author, that's all I can remember. But she said: "Bush Sr. went to war with Iraq to prove to the world that you cannot unilaterally use your force to invade another country. Bush Jr. went to war in Iraq to prove that you can." Very insightful.

As long as we’re anti-Bush my Grandfather sent me a funny joke. He likes this administration just as much as I do. He complains that when Bush has to speak to the press off the cuff he sounds like an idiot, which almost anyone who’s paying attention should agree with. Even if you like the administration you have to admit he stumbles over his words says really ridiculous things almost all the time.

Here’s the joke:

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the president his daily briefing. He concludes
by saying: "Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed."

"OH NO!" the president exclaims. "That's terrible!"
His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously
watching as the president sits, head in hands.

Finally, the president looks up and asks, "How many is a

You have to really not like Bush to think this is funny. And I think it’s funny so you make the connection there.


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

No time to read?

I've been told that people just don't have time to read posts longer than two or three paragraphs on a blog. I guess that makes sense and even though it goes totally against my nature. So I am going to only do short blogs and see how that works out. I can't make any promises here because I do tend to go on but in that case I must just have to serialize the post and break it up over a few postings. That's probably what I'll do. I have been trying to get the site and the feed listed on as many blog lists as I can but being a newbie at this I don't always get the technical side. If anyone is willing to help a new guy out please email me or post a comment to help. I want to learn how to navigate the whole technorati thing and put keywords to my posts as I see on other sites. Anyway, any help would be appreciated.

I am ordering a couple of items off the cafepress store that I opened to see if they are of good quality. I don't want anyone spending money before I see if it's worth it. If the items are good I'll let you all know here and then you can order to your delight. I do not plan on offering any type of guarantee over the cafepress one so buyer beware on that. I expect that it should be good since the site is pretty popular.

OK now for some interesting stuff. I've been surfing the web at night going through other blogs and I see a wide range of different types, themes and quality. Some are very intelligent, original and slick. Others, well, no so... But I think this blogging thing is great and next to podcasting which takes a little more of an investment it's the new future of communication and journalism. Media has been changing for years now and this technology, far from being a revolution, is a new tool that will expand the type of information and news coverage available to the world. Imagine that people in Iraq or New Orleans can report on events in real time! We called the Vietnam War the TV war because every night Americans watched the action from their homes. In the first Iraq war we saw nightly the things that went on mostly that same day or previous evening. Even in 2001 for the attacks on 9/11 we watched with a delay of minutes of hours. Now we can see and read about events happening minute by minute. We can have reporters (professional or amateur) telling us what it feels like to be on the inside as the events unfold. No waiting for analysis or to embed reporters into the area. Anyone with a wireless connection can be anywhere reporting as things happen. We can experience the soldiers’ reactions immediately after a firefight or the daily drudgery and pain of the flood victims in New Orleans. It gives us a sense of immediacy that we never had before and brings us closer to the events, makes it more real. Perhaps when we see it happening in real time and can get the unfiltered emotions of the people experiencing the news as it happens then we will learn to feel empathy for those suffering far away or we will think twice before committing humans to a war without cause. I think of that Jet Blue airliner with the damaged landing gear coming in for a landing and because of the satellite TVs on the plane the victims were watching their own drama unfold as it happened. They were at the same time victims and watchers of the events. It is a duplicity that we never had before. I can now watch myself experience the drama from outside my own experience.

So I just broke my own rule for not posting longwinded essays! I never learn.

Remember that feedback is appreciated and reciprocated!


Monday, October 03, 2005

Shameless Self Promotion

OK. So you thought I was above this kind of thing right? Nope, you're wrong. Go shopping in my store. Buy stuff. Help send my kids to college. Support the arts. Stop reading this and click on the link darn it and get out your credit card.

Thank you.

Lon S. Cohen's Store for his art & books & other items.

If you want the direct link it's here:

The link will be posted on the side bar. Oh wait... there it is! Like magic. So now you have no excuse. Go buy stuff with your Home Equity Lines of Credit for G-d's sake!


Sunday, October 02, 2005

I'm going to try it and if it works I will let you know right here!

I found this on another blogger's page. I usually don't believe this stuff when it comes through email but it's too good not to try. i won't be using an old tire but something small at first. It's hysterical. My cousin Mike used to tell me how he hated these junk mailings and he'd rip the application up and send it back in the postage paid envelope. I've done that once in a while but this takes the cake.

Check it out here!

Let me know if it works or even if you try it!


Saturday, October 01, 2005

We are all made of stardust

Sounds like a really bad seventies love song by Air Supply right? Wrong. It’s the truth. That’s right. As much as the crooners of old are scarce to admit the idea of stardust is not new. It’s old. Very old. Like beginning of time old. O.K. That’s just crazy because the universe began at moment zero for argument’s sake and stars did not star burning until about one million years later. Pretty quick considering the universe is about 15,000,000,000 years old. That’s fifteen billion! Since then a lot has happened. Stars formed and exploded and reformed from the clouds of dust roaming the universe. See a star forms when gas and dust coalesces and forms a ball of hydrogen that falls together, heats up and begins fusing atoms. We don’t really know exactly how or why this happens but it does. Hydrogen begins a nuclear reaction at about 15,000,000 degrees Celsius. So you’d expect it to take a little time. The Hydrogen fuses at this temperature and through a process releases energy and makes Helium.

Starlight is created by nuclear reaction, not chemical burning of the type that creates a romantic evening by the fire or the Yule Log. So stars are interesting little engines. They fuse atoms to become bigger atoms. Then they fuse to become bigger atoms and soon you have some poster in high school science class telling you how all these elements fit together. That’s the periodic table. Hydrogen will become helium, helium will become carbon, carbon becomes nitrogen and in turn it becomes oxygen and so on and so on and… You get the picture. If you know anything about biology (and I don’t) then you know the basic building blocks of life are there. We’re carbon based creatures. The elements are spread throughout the universe when stars age and explode. They just puff out the outer surface and become a beautiful nebula that you see in the Hubble Space Telescope pictures. That stuff floats through the galaxy and eventually lands somewhere or becomes part of another star. Big huge gas clouds again become stars and so on and so on and…

Here’s what I’m getting at, the universe is this big repetitious machine that keeps producing elements that get recycled and remade. You’d think that by now after 15,000,000,000 years that we’d be a little scarce on the simple elements and heavy on the side of carbon and other stuff. Guess what? You’re wrong. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. It’s what makes up about 76% of the place. You couldn’t tell by looking around your house but it’s true. Next is helium at about 24%. There is almost no other percentage detectable elements out here! Again, by looking around you’d say that scientists are crazy and you’d be right but not for that reason. By mass, stars and gas clouds far outweigh everything else so you don’t find too much other elements floating around. It’s all kinda compacted together in places like comets or your intestines. We’re the result of billions of years of stars exploding and reemerging. That’s right all that work for us. Sounds a little silly but it’s true. And we may just be a happy accident in any case.

So we are all made of stardust. I like the sound of it. Sounds romantic. Even if in this crazy universe we are all just a fortunate mistake and that our complicated little bodies mean very little in the scheme of things. I like the sound of the fact that we are all stardust. Of course because most of the rest of the universe on average is homogenous (it’s pretty much all mixed together in equal parts) and isotropic (everywhere you look it’s the same) we’re pretty special beings down here. The brain is the most complicated place in the universe that we know of.

Even when we die our bodies become part of the mixture again and then, who knows, in a few billion years or so the sun will swell and absorb everything on earth making us a part of the universal mixture again. That’s romantic too. Everything will convert to fuel for the sun to turn into energy and be released back to the void as dust and gas and radiation. We truly become dust again like the good book says. Or we become light which according to some interpretations is what we are anyway.

When Einstein calculated his Special theory of Relativity he stuck a little idea in there calle E=MC2 which changed the world. His idea was simply beautiful. Energy equals Mass times the Speed of Light Squared. Every bit of matter is compact energy and every bit of energy is radiated mass. The potential was great and terrible once we figured out how to convert mass to energy quickly. But the idea presented by Einstein in such a simple equation was masterful. Enegery measured in Ergs can be converted directly from Mass measured in Grams times and incredible number which is the speed of light measured in centimeters, squared. So 1 gram of matter can be converted to 30,000,000,000 times 30,000,000,000 ergs or 900,000,000,000,000,000,000 ergs. That’s a lot of ergs! I don’t even know what number that is or even what amount of energy that relates to but I bet it’s a lot. With the right technology that can be harnessed in the safest possible way we can rid ourselves of the Oil Cartels in one fell swoop. Of course nobody wants a nuclear reactor in their neighborhood and if you look at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl you can see why.