Monday, October 4, 2021

Tesla Autopilot Hits a Deer (and I think it will happen again.)

Personally, I think that autopilot is a bad idea.  Being engaged while driving is important to our survival or at least to maintain our skills.  

Can you imagine having an autopilot in a chess game where it only depends upon you to make the most critical decisions?  The player would not be fully engaged.

Maybe in a decade, it will be perfect.  Maybe the computer will be safer than my own driving, especially as I get older.  I can see using the time for something more productive.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

10 Eye-Opening Quotes From Famous Scientists | Inspiring Quotes

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.
— Marie Curie

As great as Marie Curie was, she also died from radiation poisoning from her study of radiation.

Friday, September 24, 2021

What Really Is Everything?

Starting with Democritus in 430 BC, people have been trying to understand the smallest units of matter.  However, when you get that small, matter becomes fuzzy and behaves like a wave.  According to Quantum Field Theory, what we experience as particles are energy ripples in Quantum Fields that exist everywhere.  So matter is like the waves on a vast ocean.  There are many such fields and they interact with each other to make all of reality.

Most Realistic Sim of The Universe Ever Created Is Sort of Mind Blowing

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Rare Photo

Einstein thought that Quantum Physics is an inadequate representation of reality and that there are hidden variables or physics that we don't understand, and possibly may never be able to understand.  I have seen a video claiming that the hidden variable idea has been disproven, but I side with Einstein on this one.  Much can be explained by the fact that what we perceive as particles are waves in fields according to Quantum Field Theory.  All the weirdness in Quantum Physics has to do with the particles not having an exact location.

The next question would be what are the fields made of?  We might never know.  

I find Pilot Wave Theory enticing.  The idea is that particles are actually particles, but they ride on top of waves giving us essentially the same result.  Reportedly there is some minor evidence for this, but the two theories are hard to distinguish from one another.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Thursday, September 9, 2021

What is the Milky Way?

We can't see all of our galaxy. Much of it is blocked from our view by dust and gas. However, scientists have used things like x-ray emissions to get a pretty good idea of what the Milky Way Galaxy looks like. We live roughly halfway between the edge and the center.

Light and other electromagnetic radiation from parts of the galaxy take tens of thousands of years to reach us. This makes me wonder if our image of the galaxy is based on what we see now, or based on where we expect stars to be right now?

Re: V'ger

There is a saying in science that it is never aliens... until it is. A great many natural phenomena can generate electromagnetic radiation.

On Wed, Sep 8, 2021 at 7:01 PM Larry wrote:

I am enjoying a great sci fi book called Omega from Jack MxDevitt, which has bad things coming from the galactic center...but here is something new in reality...

Astronomers have detected a strange, repeating radio signal near the center of the Milky Way, and it's unlike any other energy signature ever studied.

According to a new paper accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal and posted on the preprint server arXiv, the energy source is extremely finicky, appearing bright in the radio spectrum for weeks at a time and then completely vanishing within a day. This behavior doesn't quite fit the profile of any known type of celestial body, the researchers wrote in their study, and thus may represent "a new class of objects being discovered through radio imaging."

The radio source — known as ASKAP J173608.2−321635 — was detected with the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) radio telescope, situated in the remote Australian outback. In an ASKAP survey taken between April 2019 and August 2020, the strange signal appeared 13 times, never lasting in the sky for more than a few weeks, the researchers wrote. This radio source is highly variable, appearing and disappearing with no predictable schedule, and doesn't seem to appear in any other radio telescope data prior to the ASKAP survey.

When the researchers tried to match the energy source with observations from other telescopes — including the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, as well as the Visible and Infrared Survey Telescope for Astronomy in Chile, which can pick up near-infrared wavelengths — the signal disappeared entirely. With no apparent emissions in any other part of the electromagnetic spectrum, ASKAP J173608.2−321635 is a radio ghost that seems to defy explanation.

Prior surveys have detected low-mass stars that periodically flare up with radio energy, but those flaring stars typically have X-ray counterparts, the researchers wrote. That makes a stellar source unlikely here

Monday, August 30, 2021

7 Ways To Pull Carbon From The Atmosphere

As soon as I post comments to this video, they seem to disappear.  It is possible that they are being censored because I am including links.

Here are my comments...

Iron Fertilization, in theory, can pull as much CO2 as we want from the atmosphere:

However, all this fuss over CO2 fails to understand the history of CO2 on this planet.  If you look at the atmospheric CO2 level over the last 40 million years, you will see that it is nosedive. ( Figure 4.)  This is because natural processes sequester CO2.  We were actually running out of atmospheric CO2.  During the last period of glaciation, the CO2 level dropped almost to the level where all terrestrial plants die.  The entire history of the Earth is one of massive CO2 decline.

All this fuss over global warming fails to understand the temperature cycle on planet earth.  Every 100,000 years the temperature of the planet quickly shoots up 8 to 15 degrees celsius.  Then it remains stable for 10,000 years after which it goes into rapid decline and then we get 80 to 90 thousand years of massive glaciation where half of North America is covered by ice.  All of the human civilization arose during the brief 10,000-year warm period that we are currently in.  Science has said that no matter what we do, we will be back to an ice age in another 10,000 years.   The period from 1500 to 1850 was actually known as "The Little Ice Age."  The earth appeared to be cooling until we interfered with all that pesky CO2.

What causes these changes?  The Milankovich cycles.  The other planets tug on the Earth's orbit and affect its tilt.  We are currently halfway between the maximum tilt (which melts ice near the poles) and the minimum tilt.  (

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Why Are There No Quasars Near Us?

So the largest Black Hole that we have detected has a mass of 66 billion suns, and due to friction gives off light equal to 22 trillion suns.  If you lived in the same galaxy, you probably would be fried.  It confirms my observation that the universe is a violent place.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

An evidence review of face masks against COVID-19 | PNAS


Our review of the literature offers evidence in favor of widespread mask use as source control to reduce community transmission: Nonmedical masks use materials that obstruct particles of the necessary size; people are most infectious in the initial period postinfection, where it is common to have few or no symptoms (45, 46, 141); nonmedical masks have been effective in reducing transmission of respiratory viruses; and places and time periods where mask usage is required or widespread have shown substantially lower community transmission.

The available evidence suggests that near-universal adoption of nonmedical masks when out in public, in combination with complementary public health measures, could successfully reduce ReRe to below 1, thereby reducing community spread if such measures are sustained. Economic analysis suggests that mask wearing mandates could add 1 trillion dollars to the US GDP (32, 34).

Models suggest that public mask wearing is most effective at reducing spread of the virus when compliance is high (39). We recommend that mask use requirements are implemented by governments, or, when governments do not, by organizations that provide public-facing services. Such mandates must be accompanied by measures to ensure access to masks

During past national crises, persons in the US have willingly united and endured temporary sacrifices for the common good. Recovery of the nation from the COVID-19 pandemic requires the combined efforts of families, friends, and neighbors working together in unified public health action. When masks are worn and combined with other recommended mitigation measures, they protect not only the wearer but also the greater community. Recommendations for masks will likely change as more is learned about various mask types and as the pandemic evolves. With the emergence of more transmissible SARS-CoV-2 variants, it is even more important to adopt widespread mask wearing as well as to redouble efforts with use of all other nonpharmaceutical prevention measures until effective levels of vaccination are achieved nationally.

I suspect that mask-wearing is marginally helpful, mostly to prevent the infected from spreading droplets, but not near as good as vaccination.  I find that wearing a mask for more than an hour to be pretty uncomfortable around my ears.  I am going to try to see if I could find a more comfortable mask.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

VFX Artists DEBUNK Pentagon UFO Videos

That Time a Science Fiction Writer Accidentally Almost Revealed the Manhattan project.

The author Robert Heinlein wrote a story about radioactive weapons of mass destruction midway into World War II.  He wrote about weapons that would kill people through radioactivity.  This was actually a pretty good story.   However, he considered writing about an atomic bomb instead but didn't do so because he thought that the U.S. government might be secretly working on such a weapon.  In science fiction, the idea of an atomic bomb predates World War II.

After the Trinity test, engineers at Polaroid noticed that radioactivity in the atmosphere was affecting their photographic film, and so they figured out that an atomic bomb had been detonated.  Since the light from the Trinity test could be seen from a great distance, the army had a cover story that a secret weapons depot had exploded.

In the early 1930s, Japanese comic books had stories where the Japanese would be victorious against the United States by destroying the American fleet in a surprise attack.