Saturday, December 13, 2014

I see

I see the smiling faces, warm greetings of loved ones to each other.
I see the happy scampering kids running around mothers.
I see the occasional frown of a shopkeeper beneath their smile.
I see many entrepreneurs, all offering free samples, all hoping for a good day.
I see smiles painted on, plastered on, varying, waffling – facades strong and weak

I see gray skies and gray ground outside of the warm pleasant shopping mall.
I see reality underpinning artifice everywhere I look.
I see we have done a good job applying our veneer of civilization.
I see a few birds swimming in a thawed December river; they are in formation.
I see formations everywhere, in nature and humankind.
I see a military world at war with itself, and yet wondrously holding together.

I see blurs in the morning before the cyber-news impresses and depresses my soul.
I see pictures of despair and occasional shoots of hope.
I see greedy markets gyrate, resonating with the greed in me.
I see little hope, but sometimes I see a little more.
I see the endless stretch of days and wonder how to make them mean something.
I see how fortunate I am, at least some of the time.
I see how powerless I am to change, and wonder that I have done as well as I have.
I see you, and how sometimes that makes this day truly special.

I see the priceless value of another human soul resonating with mine somehow.
I see how little an artificial currency really means when I have the real you.
I see a thrashing universe, and sometimes tiny bits clinging together.
I see time slowed to a crawl, and us clinging so tight we cannot separate.
I see darkness and I see light.
I see.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Vast new resources

Out at the edge of our Solar System lies the Kuiper belt. Thought to be full of the leftover material from the formation of our Solar System, this is an area studded with millions, perhaps billions of small worldlets and planetoids. Many are thought to be coated with water ice, as well as frozen hydrocarbons. This class of objects is also known variously as Trans-Neptune Objects, or Scattered Disk Objects (referring to the gravitational effect from Neptune's orbit). We are discovering more and more about this region of space all the time. There are undoubtedly a lot of valuable metal ores on many of these bodies. Someday in the distant future, humanity will be out there, studying, surveying and eventually mining and colonizing them.

Closer in, orbiting Saturn, are also many moons. We have discovered a total of 53 natural satellites so far, many in just the last ten years (thanks to the Cassini probe and ground observations). Each one has unique characteristics. Some sweep through or near the rings, creating gaps between the rings. There may come a time when we have automated outposts on the stable moons in Lagrangian orbits surrounding Saturn.

When humanity is able to construct outposts along the way, perhaps on Jovian Moons, and then Saturnian Moons, the way will be paved to go all the way out the Kuiper belt. Even then, we will have barely “scratched the surface” in finding and harvesting resources. For beyond the Kuiper belt, surrounding it and the rest of the Solar System, is an even larger mass of cosmic debris called the Oort Cloud. It is theorized that this cloud, which overlaps the Kuiper belt at its closest point, extends all the way out to a half of a light-year from the Sun or more.

The distance between the Earth and our Sun is 93 million miles. This is also known as “one AU” for astronomical unit. The Kuiper belt is around 50 AU distant from Earth. The Oort cloud is theorized to extend all the way out to 100,000 AU. These asteroids, worldlets and planetoids are not densely packed, but rather a fair distance from each other. Remember, we have sent several space probes through the inner asteroid belt, just beyond Mars, without hitting any rocks. These have made it to Jupiter, Saturn and even to the edge of the Solar System and beyond (Pioneer and Voyager spacecraft).
Our Solar System is so vast, and contains so much wealth, it boggles the mind.

The vastness and richness of Space makes our Earthly problems seem tiny in comparison, at least to me. All this wonder is beckoning the human race to come and partake. Here is hoping that we will discover the resolve and will to do so.

My upcoming book, “New Venture” will touch on some of the possibilities – and of course,the perils and dangers too. New Venture is due out sometime next year. Thanks for reading.

(Facts and figures taken from Wikipedia and NASA informational pages freely available on the Net.)

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Universal Shorthand

Quote from a song:

“Mathematics is the language of love”

In the spirit of fascination with math's ability to describe our universe in shorthand, here are a few old formulas – and some new stuff from the imagination.

π – Greek letter and symbol meaning the ratio of a circumference of a circle to its diameter. The number goes on forever, but a popular designation is 22/7 (22 over 7) or 3.14159.... One of the irrational numbers, and mentioned in such movies as “Contact” based on the book by Carl Sagan.

An irrational number is any real number that cannot be expressed as a ratio of integers. Most real numbers are therefore irrational. Some have theorized that someday a “superior mathematics” will arise where most irrational numbers become rational.

Einstein's famous formula: E=MC2 or energy = matter converted, squared. A small amount of matter can be converted to a large amount of energy, especially in nuclear fission and fusion, or even nuclear bombs.

Euler's Identity:

eix π

e denotes exponential progression, and π denotes the perfect symmetry of a circle. Both are “transcendental” numbers – they go on forever. Someone named Euler combined their quantities to describe space and time. There is an article in the current issue of Wired magazine that goes over it in detail – very fascinating stuff.

For someone with patience and smarts, mathematics offers endless challenge and entertainment – a miniature universe in our minds, reflecting the macro universe 'out there' . And with major discoveries, for instance the discovery and usage of the value zero, new vistas open up. There is no telling what we will discover in the future. But if the past is any guide, there is no real limit to the expansion capability of the human race.

While thinking about things like math formulas, I came up with an idea for a shorthand for emotions. There is another person who wrote a book on this subject, but I'm just throwing out my 2 cents (not for profit. )

If we assign a symbol or value to common emotions, say a delta symbol for happiness, or a minus symbol for sadness, then it may become possible to run some simple “emotional equations” to reduce common human emotional experiences etc to equations. Then it is not such a stretch to assume one can program a computer with said equations, and have it (or a robot face) express said emotions.
It is all mathematical symbols and equations, and as people have shown, these can be coded and run on computers very well.

We Feel emotions, at a foundational level inside. But deep in our brains, are they not simply patterns of electrochemical pulses, ordered surges of chemicals? Serotonin, dopamine, norepinepherine. Sodium and potassium. Ordered firings and surges of chemicals. Someday we may reduce emotions and feelings themselves down to seemingly simple mathematical formulae. At that point we may be said to have evolved from homo sapiens sapiens, since we will have codified and resolved our own emotional processes. The same could be said for memory encoding in the brain. And researchers are working on deep understanding of these processes as I type this. 

When all this will happen, however, is anybody's guess. I get emotional just thinking about it! 

Thanks for reading.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Sinuous no more

I was born in an analog world,
clock faces, radio signals, even car ignitions.
Electromechanical ways were sophisticated 
enough to drive society.

Today I sit and survey the past,
here in a world where every moment
of time is sliced and diced into a million
million pulses. Music is digitized,
sampled and played back -- yet still sounds good.

Pictures, sound, videos, news all streams of
discrete bits, on and off and on again.
Present reality is digitized from top to bottom.

No gentle undulations, only harsh divisions.
Segmented, separated experience so efficient
but in a way so much less mysterious.

Abundance in an absence of romance.

Little did we know – so we took the chance,
bet our future on cybernetic controls.
Here we are, like it or not.

But it is not so bad, really, most of the time,
with the world at my fingertips. 

Loss of analog technology 
seems insignificant today.

     - end