Sunday, May 10, 2020

History of the bicycle

The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora affected the weather worldwide. The year 1816 was called "the year without a summer." There were widespread crop failures. Many horses starved and died. So in 1817, German Baron Karl von Drais invented the first bicycle, which was called a "hobby horse" or a "dandy horse." The first bicycle did not have pedals, so people had to use their legs to push the bicycle. Pedals would be invented in 1863.

Bicycle science - how bikes work and the physics behind them

'Scientists have been puzzling over what makes bicycles balance since they were invented, back in the 19th century. In 2007, a group of engineers and mathematicians led by Nottingham University's J.P. Meijaard announced they'd finally cracked the mystery with a set of incredibly complex mathematical equations that explain how a bicycle behaves—and it turns out that gyroscopes are only part of the story.

According to these scientists, who used 25 separate "parameters" or "variables" to describe every aspect of a bicycle's motion, there's no single reason for a bicycle's balance and stability. As they say:

"A simple explanation does not seem possible because the lean and steer are coupled by a combination of several effects including gyroscopic precession, lateral ground-reaction forces at the front wheel ground contact point trailing behind the steering axis, gravity and inertial reactions from the front assembly having center-of-mass off of the steer axis, and from effects associated with the moment of inertia matrix of the front assembly"

Or, in simple terms, it's partly to do with gyroscopic effects, partly to do with how the mass is distributed on the front wheel, and partly to do with how forces act on the front wheel as it spins. At least, I think that's what they said!'

The Future of Humanity

Something I wrote last year:

I see a danger to the future existence of the human race, and it is the kind of thing that people should think about and prepare for now. Sometime in the next 50 years, machines will be smarter than people. There are major technical hurdles to overcome, such as the inevitable end of Moore's Law, which probably means that it is not right around the corner or even within the next couple of decades, but it will happen, and easily within this century. And if for some reason it does happen within the next couple of decades then that means the results will be upon us that much sooner.

We can predict what will happen next and follow it to its logical conclusion, which is a future without people.

As machines become smarter, people will become increasingly reliant on technology. We can see that already with smartphones, which only have been with us for barely over a decade. Eventually, machines will do all the heavy mental work, which will make our lives easier, but also make us more dependent.

And since we will be so dependent on the machines, we will start incorporating them into us. This will evolve over time until we are no longer purely human, but human-machine hybrids. Perhaps when your biological brain dies, the machine part of you will be able to continue with all your memories intact. Maybe it would have an artificial body or maybe it will exist in a virtual world. It is likely that some would prefer to live in a virtual world where they can do more things than they could in the real world. Taken to the eventual extreme, our descendants would no longer bother with biological bodies and prefer to exist as machine intelligence either in the real world or in virtual ones.

The evolutionary pressure will be against purely biological people. Having machines incorporated into you will make you more productive, competitive, and increase your quality of life.

The future I describe might be long distant, but if it is not the future we want for the human race then we should start thinking about it now. Maybe we could have a Pure Human movement that would prohibit the merging of machine intelligence with human intelligence? This could be roughly analogous to the current legal ban on human cloning, because we very likely have the technology right now to clone humans, but countries ban it because they are uneasy about the implications of where that might take us.

However, we might not be able to prevent it. Linking machines with human intelligence is likely to happen in such small steps that we will easily adjust to it. It is sort of happening already with our dependence on computers. It could also start as a series of military applications where having the most effective soldiers determines who wins wars. And once the genie is out of the bottle, we will never get it back in.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Friday, May 8, 2020

We May Have Just Solved the Mystery of 11 Year Long Solar Cycles

Sunspots go through a cycle roughly every 11 years where they alternate between no sunspots and intense sunspots. This affects temperatures on earth and can interfere with communications. There have been some really bad sunspot eruptions, like around 1860, where the electromagnetic interference damaged telegraph wires. If this were to happen again then we could see disruptions to the electrical grid and communications.

We did not know why this happens every 11 years but now we think that we do. The planets, Earth, Jupiter, and Venus align roughly every 11 years, and the combined effect creates gravitational tidal forces that interfere with the magnetic/electrical currents on the surface of the sun. The video gives more details.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Monday, May 4, 2020

The 10 Things That All Flat Earthers Say

I think that this is interesting because it also applies to other misinformation.

If a person either has a belief or has reason to distrust what is generally accepted as the truth and then they hear something that gives confirmation to their point of view, then they will latch onto it like it is the gospel.

Some of this ties in with conspiracy theories, which seem to me to be fueled by the belief that there are sinister forces that intend to do us harm.

Can You Call an iphone in a Vacuum Chamber? 4 Different Signal Tests!

The last part with microwaves is a bit scary. I thought the microwave ovens were supposed to be faraday cages blocking all EMR.

Where Did Life Come From?

Why Math Might Be Complete BS | Answers With Joe - YouTube

The Fringe Theory That Could Disprove Dark Matter

How real is "Contagion?"

Best wishes,

John Coffey

3 Perplexing Physics Problems

A Brief History of: The Demon Core (Short Documentary)

Drew Berry: Animations of unseeable biology - YouTube

This is surprisingly interesting ...

The Dirty Police Secret: DNA Evidence is Sometimes Wrong

March 1st, 1896

March 1st, 1896 - French physicist Henri Becquerel discovered the principle of radioactive decay when he exposed photographic plates to uranium salts.  

Why Whales Explode

POPULATION Growth Comparison 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 (70.000 BC - 2100)


The History of Climate Cycles (and the Woolly Rhino) Explained

The 1995 Hubble photo that changed astronomy

Brown; color is weird

What If Betelgeuse Exploded Right Now?

Best wishes,

John Coffey

5 of the World's Most Dangerous Chemicals

Monster magnet meets blood.

Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

This is significant. We are looking at an exponential increase on a daily basis. Since it is still early, it is likely to level off somewhat. 

Down The Rabbit Hole Of The Delayed Choice Quantum Eraser | Answers With...

Basic Rocket Science: Sub-Orbital Versus Orbital - Scientific American Blog Network

You can launch a balloon mission to the stratosphere for about the cost of an iPad. | Space

I have been wondering for a long time why couldn't you have a space capsule that is lifted by multiple hydrogen-filled balloons, and when it reaches the maximum altitude, it would pump the hydrogen out of the ballons and use it for fuel to continue its journey upwards?  At the maximum balloon height, air resistance would be minimal.  The temperatures would be cold making it easier to store gasses under compression if you need to.

I assume that ordinary balloons will break or be fragile.  Perhaps tougher materials can be devised for this.

You will also need oxygen.  The only question is if you can get enough from the atmosphere when you need it, or if you have to store it.  I'm thinking that maybe you could work out a process to acquire and store it as you rise.

To get a better technology, we need a really dense energy source, such as nuclear power, nuclear fusion, or antimatter.  The last two are beyond our capability, for now.

High-level equilibrium trap - Wikipedia

Why Snatch Blocks are AWESOME (How Pulleys Work) - Smarter Every Day

Overpopulation & Africa

7 World Cities Most Likely to Experience an Earthquake | Travel Trivia

Betelgeuse Looks Fainter Than Usual. Could It Mean It's About to Go Supernova?

Physically, the star is currently bloated out to a radius of perhaps eight Astronomical Units (AU). If you plopped it down in the center of our Solar System, Betelgeuse might extend all the way out to past the orbit of Jupiter.

Predictions I made 10 years ago about 2020.

Now might be a good time to review the predictions I made 10 years ago for the year 2020. However, most of my predictions were overly optimistic. 1. Self Driving Cars. This one was not hard since progress was being made on this ten years ago. We're not yet to the point where everybody can have a self-driving car, but we are not far off. 2. Cloning Organs. Certainly, we will see this in the coming decade. Progress is being made on creating human-compatible organs in animals like pigs. Also, some progress has been made in 3D printing organs and constructing body parts surgically. 3. Intelligent Robots. This prediction was way off, but an astonishing amount of progress has been made in the last decade in Artificial Intelligence. Mostly this has been done in the area of deep mining data to allow computers to make predictions, including predictions about you personally, like what kind of advertising you would like to see. I don't think that "Sophia" counts here, as the robot mostly follows scripted responses. 4. The joke about Nuclear Fusion is that it has always been 30 years away, and will still be 30 years away 30 years from now. Although the first prototype was originally predicted to come online about now, it is still about five years away. Other efforts at Nuclear Fusion has been making progress and show promise, but are a ways off. It is likely that something will be working by 2030, but not in widespread use until 2040. However, Nuclear Fusion has the potential to change our world as much as any technology that has come before it. 5. Increasing human lifespan. There are people claiming that they can do this right now by lengthening telomeres, but it is far from proven (and maybe dangerous) and may take a long time to become an acceptable medical procedure.  

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Fusion Energy is About to Unlock Humanity's Destiny - YouTube

Quantum Entanglement and the Great Bohr-Einstein Debate | Space Time | PBS Digital Studios - YouTube

Adam Savage does ArcAttack! - Maker Faire 2011 (HD)

Sent this years ago. I think that is so cool.

Electric Car Charging, How long does it REALLY take?

Which AA Battery is Best? Can Amazon Basics beat Energizer? Let's find out!

When We Took Over the World - YouTube

Can This Deadly New Virus Destroy the Human Race?

Many of the recent scary diseases have come from China, which makes sense given the large population base and population density. More than half the world's population lives within a circle in Southern Asia including China and India.

Old-fashioned rice cookers are extremely clever

Top 20 Biggest Scientific Discoveries of the Decade

Is Cooked Honey TOXIC? (and other honey myths)

Why does light slow down in water?

P vs. NP - The Biggest Unsolved Problem in Computer Science

A crude chess program in order to look 10 half moves ahead would take the hypothetical 25 moves possible and do roughly 25 to the 10nth power calculations, which would take a very long time. However, the alpha-beta algorithm eliminates mathematically unnecessary calculations making this more like 5 or 6 to the tenth power, which is a huge difference.

What surprises me is that program Stockfish reduces this to more like 2 to the N power, which is considerably less. Exactly how it does this I'm not sure, although I have some idea.

I would contend that looking deeper in chess will always involve an exponential increase, by definition. To not be exponential means that we could look infinitely far ahead and completely solve chess. This is kind of the point of the video.

Unexpected Discovery: Ultra Dense Planet Outside of Galactic Plane

The Earth in Minecraft, 1:1 scale ...for the first time.

This is interesting.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

A Scientific Explanation For God? | Answers With Joe - YouTube

Quantum entanglement doesn't necessarily mean that all the particles in the universe are connected.

Much of the weirdness from Quantum Physics comes from the fact that particles are really fluctuations in fields.  What we experience as particles are really waves.  Like a packet of energy oscillating in a field. 

How Dogs (Eventually) Became Our Best Friends

Do Larger Breasts Equal Bigger Tips? | MythBusters

Cephalopods: Aliens From Earth

Number of Indiana cases doubled in 4 days

Fifty-seven days ago:

Chest Freezers; What they tell us about designing for X

There is a barrier at the edge of the solar system

The Nature of Nothing | Space Time

How far is the edge of the universe?

I am surprised by the answer ...

When a Billion Years Disappeared

QFT: What is the universe really made of? Quantum Field Theory visualized

I've been aware of this for a few years. The fundamental building blocks of all matter are particles that are themselves excitations of fields that behave like waves. In 1801, the double-slit experiment showed that light was a wave, but later experiments showed matter also behaves like a wave. This is why you get weird explanations of quantum physics, like particles being able to be in two places at once, and particles popping in and out of existence. This is because the particles are the crests of waves on an invisible ocean. On large scales, you can't see these waves, but on extremely tiny scales particles exhibit weird and random behavior.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

5 Times Scientists Were Very Wrong About New Discoveries, Because of Hope

Antimatter Light Spectrum Discovered!

Can leptogenesis explain why there's something instead of nothing?

Why You Should Never Put Tomatoes in the Fridge!

Klaxons; What makes them sound like that?

Switches are Clicky; Here's Why

The mysterious rays shooting at us from space

The Liquid Batteries That Could Power Entire Cities