Monday, September 30, 2019


The next to last sentence in this video is a hoot.

The Zipf Mystery

This is really interesting, for the mathematical or the inquisitive.

"The way one of my teachers explained the 80 20 thing: 80% of the noise in a classroom is caused by 20% of the students."

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Which Way Is Down?

This has some interesting explanation of Relativity.

I have some problem with the concept of "Spacetime" because that leads to conclusions like time didn't exist before the Big Bang.

The Special Theory of Relativity is a great model for making predictions in the universe, but maybe, and that is a big maybe, another theory could also make accurate predictions.

Fwd: Asteroids and earth life

Asteroid dust may have triggered massive explosion of life on Earth 466 million years ago

Nearly half a billion years ago, there was a huge explosion of species development on Earth, causing the biodiversity of animals to increase dramatically -- but the true cause of that event has remained a mystery.

In a new paper published on Wednesday in Science Advances, scientists show that the event's onset coincided with the largest documented asteroid breakup in the asteroid belt over the past two billion years.

That breakup, which was triggered by a collision with another asteroid or comet, would have spread enormous amounts of dust throughout the solar system.

"The blocking effect of this dust could have partly stopped sunlight from reaching the Earth – leading to cooler temperatures," the study's co-author Birger Schmitz, a professor of nuclear physics at Lund University, writes in The Conversation. "We know that this involved the climate changing from being more or less homogeneous to becoming divided into climate zones – from Arctic conditions at the poles to tropical conditions at the equator. The high diversity among invertebrates, including green algae, primitive fish, cephalopods and corals, came as an adaptation to the new climate."

Schmitz and his colleagues also studied the distribution of very fine-grained, extremely tiny dust in the sediment, determining its extraterrestrial origin by discovering helium and other substances inside the sediments.

"Our results clearly show that enormous amounts of fine-grained dust reached Earth shortly after the breakup," writes Schmitz.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Brachistochrone

The Physics of this is really interesting.

M&M's - Wikipedia

The candy-coated chocolate concept was inspired by a method used to allow soldiers to carry chocolate in warm climates without it melting.

During World War II, the candies were exclusively sold to the military

Monday, September 16, 2019

Stable Climate

We are fortunate to live in a geologically stable period. In 535 AD, a supervolcano blew away one island in the Philipines creating an 18-month nuclear winter world wide. However, that's small potatoes compared to what this planet has been through. We have enjoyed about 12,000 years of relative comfort after the last period of glaciation. This brief warm period is predicted to go away in another 10,000 years. The further you go back in time, the more extreme some of the events have been, including at least five mass extinctions. One of these was caused by an asteroid strike and another may have been caused by a deadly gamma-ray burst from space. Twice, the planet has frozen solid, covered in a mile or more of ice worldwide. In the very early days of planet Earth, a Mars-sized object hit the Earth scooping out enough material to create the moon.  


Saturday, September 7, 2019

What Will We Miss?

This is a very interesting video.

It would seem impossible for humans to survive billions of year.  If we have any descendants billions of years from now, then they would be dramatically different in form and function.  They would also have to survive many worldwide extinction events.

Due to plate tectonics coming to an end, the Earth is predicted to be cold, dry and dead in 500 million years.  Maybe our more advanced descendants, if they are still around, will find a way to terraform the planet  

I think that machine intelligence will eventually replace biological intelligence.  I see this happening through our own actions as we slowly modify ourselves.  I think that the beginnings of this will start in our lifetimes.

Here is another very interesting video from the same source, called "Last Words."

Best wishes,

John Coffey