Thursday, May 29, 2014

Rethinking the firing of Pluto as a planet

The day will go down in infamy. 
Astronomers had two options:
Recognize 12 objects as planets
Fire Pluto.

They chose poorly.
and Pluto lost it's job.

We did get a new mnemonic to remember our planets.

Mayday! Very Educated Moronic Juiced Scientists Understand Nothing

But what makes a planet?
How about some moons?
  • Pluto has 5 moons that we know of now. (Expect more to come)
  • Pluto is the largest object beyond Neptune. (It officially kicked Eris' rocky butt in the last measurements.)
  • A single orbit around the sun takes 246 earth years. (Also known as 1 Pluto year)
  • Pluto is occasionally closer to the sun than Neptune. (They cross paths)
  • One of the moon, Charon, follows it around in rotation so they always face the same direction. 

Isn't that sweet?

  • This almost got it declared a binary system, only they decided to fire it instead. Proving Astronomers have no romantic inclinations.

It possesses water/ice on the planet.
It has an atmosphere of nitrogen, methane, and carbon dioxide.
and of course,
It circles the sun. 
Honestly, it's downfall was that it lives in the bad part of the solar system. (Near the Kuiper belt)
The new rules to be a planet are thus:
Orbit sun 

Nearly round shape

Has cleared its Yard of debris

How do you clean away the debris when you live in the Kuiper green ghetto belt?
Debris is everywhere!
This is just another case of prejudice against the poor. If Pluto lived closer to Earth, then it might be allowed to claim planethood. However, it would need to do so quickly since the hotter temps would evaporate the ice and water away, and in short order it would most be reclassified as a comet.

So maybe it would be best to leave Pluto in the ghetto and just do flybys on occasion, like next year.

Maybe Not

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Neutrino's are like humans, but smell better

Whenever I use this banner, you can be certain about two things: 1st. I have no cohesive, well thought out issue to discuss, 2nd it probably won't make sense.

Still reading? You must be very bored.

Well my question today is:
Are neutrinos like humans?

Let me go find a picture of a neutrino, so we know what we are talking about.

I'd bet money that's not a 'real' neutrino because they are really small.

Before we go further, here is it's definition.
A neutrino is an uncharged elementary particle that is believed to have a very small mass, that has any of three forms, and that interacts only rarely with other particles

Translation: The neutrino lives in an atom with their family. They are very small and shy of other particles. As long as they remain with their family they do well. But when they decide to leave and go out on their own, they quickly die.

And scientist are lurking about like space predators to trick the neutrinos to leave their home because...and you might want to send your small children away from this blog... BECAUSE THEY WANT TO MEASURE HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE FOR THE NEUTRINO TO DIE.

Is that not the sickest thing you've ever heard?

Well, the Scientific Community is up in arms over the situation, but not because it's cruel and morbid, but because the little neutrinos don't on average all die exactly at the same time. In fact, there is a 9 second discrepancy between the two measuring techniques. That is huge length of time in neutrino land. 

Now things are going to get technical here, so I'm going to get really silly so you won't stop reading. I'll give you the link to the real article later in case you actually wish to know what is going on.

There are two ways to measure a neutrinos death. Yes, we are so morbid that one way to measure wasn't enough, and now it's come to bite their morbid asses, because the two methods don't agree when little neutrino dies. Before we begin, let's me clear about the term 'death'. Like humans, when neutrinos die, they don't disappear, they become something else. When we die, we become foul smelling goop and bones. When the neutrino dies, it becomes protons after emitting an electron and an anti-neutrino, but to the best of my knowledge, none of those are goopy or smelly.

The 1st method used for about 30 years now is called the Beam Experiment. It sends the neutrons marching down a narrow beam until they die and transform into a proton. A proton trap is laid on the sides of the narrow beam to capture and count the protons. 

The 2nd method, used for 15 years, and is considered to be more precise, is called the bottle method.  It gets the neutrinos drunk, traps them in a bottle, then watches as they die over time.

Seriously, could these scientist be more morbid?
Actually, they are because the two methods of luring neturinos out to watch them die are coming up with different averaged death times.

The beam's average is 887.7 plus or minus 3.1 seconds. 

The bottle's average is 878.5 plus or minus 1 second.

Thus, proving once again that walking is better for you than drowning yourself in a bottle. 

It's true with humans and it's evidently true with neutrinos.
You cannot expect drunken neutrinos, stuck in a bottle watching each other dying to live the same life span as neutrinos that walk towards infinity, dying along the way.  

Moving makes you live longer. There is no mystery other than neutrinos live by the same underlying principles that humans do. Exercise will outlive stationary every day.   There may also be a relativity issue going on here as well, concerning time and movement, but I've played with your brain enough now. 

For those whose ears aren't bleeding, here is the link to the real scientific article from Scientific American.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Food for the Future Earth

For those who write of our near and disastrous future, I thought perhaps we should assess available food sources.

Yes, when the cricket keeps you up all night with it's sweet song, you can eat it in retaliation.

Most experts suggest purchasing your crickets from a cricket farmer or your local pet store rather than from your own from your noisy backyard, since you've no idea where wild crickets have been. For all you know, they were just sprayed with poison and their lovely aria is actually a death song about their short life.

It is important, when you bring home your bag of crickets you eat or freeze them quickly. In other words, do not leave them lying about in the bag. They will spoil. Put them either in the refrigerator or freezer at once.

If you put them in a freezer, they will die.  
If you put them in the refrigerators, they will cease to move, but still live. There's a big debate about which is better. Some insist they must be cooked while alive (like a lobster).

After a half hour, in either case, dead or immobile, they are ready to be tossed into boiling water for 2 minutes. This is to kill any bacteria they might carry on them.

No matter how you wish to eat your cricket, the above instructions should be followed every time.

Space Rep: Hold on. What if in the future our electric grid is fried and we have no electricity? Then we'll have no freezer or refrigerator.

I couldn't find any specific detail on how people without electricity prepare crickets, but here is my guess. They go directly to the boil for two minute stage using a deep pot with a lid, so the crickets don't leap out. A few crickets no doubt escape during the transition from basket to pot, which perhaps the children chase down and return to the pot.

Some crickets are poisonous due to the plants they eat, but boiling them in water will extract the toxins as well.

Catching diseases from insects is actually less likely than catching diseases from animals, since we aren't very similar to a cricket.

The only people who seem to acquire allergies to crickets are those who raise them. It is very rare people develop allergies from eating them.

So now that we know they are safe to eat in our future bleak work, let's check out some recipes:

For the fancy meal:

Stir fried crickets on a salad.
After prep, drop crickets in a wok with oil and fry for 1-2 minutes, until the oil stops crackling.
Then add butter, cumin, salt, paparika, corriander, and chili powder. Stir it about. Once the butter has melted, extract the crickets, set to the side. 
Throw in fresh baby spinach into the wok. At first signs of wilt, pull it out and place it in a salad bowl.

Place crickets on top of salad and dash it with lemon juice. Eat at once. With your eyes closed, if necessary.

For the casual snacker:
Prep them, then preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Place crickets on an oil sprayed cookie sheet widely spaced.
Lightly sprinkle with salt
Bake around an hour, flipping them frequently. (It depends upon the size of your crickets and how juicy they are.) They must be cooked until crunchy, but do not burn them! 

One way to tell if they are ready to eat is to roll one in your fingers. If the legs crumble off, then it's done.

Cricket's have a nutty flavor that only requires salt to be enjoyed.

Now in the future world of no electricity, you'll probably need to use a dutch oven on coals to achieve the proper heat. So it gets far more difficult.

Pan sauted:
Saute the crickets in olive oil then once they start to look crispy, add crushed garlic and salt.

Yes, that one even I can do without electricity.

You can also shiskebob, them adding your fav fruits and vegetables. But you will need a thin shiskebob stick, unless you've bought locust instead of crickets.  

Batter covered:
And if you cannot get over looking at a cricket, cover them with a cornmeal batter and drop them hot oil.

But here is why your people of the future will need to eat crickets.  A dried cricket, pound for pound, rivals a cow for the amount of protein it has and has far more calcium and iron than a silly old cow, which is much harder and costlier to raise than a cricket.

And cows moo as if they are in constant pain, while crickets sound very cheerful in comparison.

So there you have it. Future people should be eating crickets, not just because the nutty flavor is delicious, but because they'll probably be the only food source remaining. 

In twenty years, I will write a blog on the feared cricket shortage to occur in the future once we discover they taste best of all covered in dark chocolate.

I have to go eat now. This blog has made me very hungry...

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Choose your animal to de-extinct

Turns out scientists predict, in a few years, we will be able to bring back any extinct animal we want.

By using 3 techniques, which should be finessed in a few years, we can atone for all out past bad maintenance of earth's animals.

1) We can back breed, in which we select a close living relative and selectively breed for the characteristics of the extinct species. 

You might think we could create Dire Wolves in this manner, but oddly they're distinctly different than our modern day wolves. They came from a different line which also went extinct.

However, I believe the crocodile would be a good candidate for back breeding a monster from our past
But why would we do that??? Our current sized ones are trouble enough.

2) For species with no viable genetic material available, we can sequence the genome of similar animals and edit the code to add what is necessary to create our extinct creature. This has been done once already.

Scientist created their Frankengoat (pyrenian ibex) and had embryos implanted in 57 modern day mountain goats. Only one embryo made it to birth and it died soon after leaving the womb due to an improperly developed lung. (Clearly, the scientists need more time to finesse DNA manipulation.) But we are daily expanding our knowledge in this area. For example we now know 'junk genes' aren't junk and proteins have a great deal of influence. They believe within four years, they will have mastered this.

3) Finally, once we painfully create our Frankencreature, we will need to clone it, because otherwise they are going to be very lonely critters.

So by using all three techniques, and without any tree sap involved, we will soon be able to create Jurassic Park.   yeah.

I loved the book, Jurrasic Park, and I loved the movies, but I have grave concerns that I won't love the reality of such.

When I was in Canada on one of my many walkabouts, I came upon an Extinct Animal Zoo.
Fascinated, I enter and walk down a path into the woods. I came around the corner and met a pack of Dire wolves snarling at me. The five foot tall wolves, far wider and muscular than current wolves, caused me to jump back. "Thank God you are extinct!" I declared. 

As I continued my journey, I discovered two things: 1st, I began to fear turns in the path because there was always an extinct animal (in plaster) waiting to kill me around the bend. 2nd) I didn't regret the loss of a single animal I met. I was even glad the Giant Sloth was extinct. 

Check out those claws. And it's about twice the height of a human. It may nibble all the trees it wants, I don't want it anywhere near me. One swat and I'd be dead.

The last 'thank God they're dead' animal was the giant chicken from Madagascar.  However, since this 12 foot chicken didn't die out until the 17th century, there is sub fossil DNA available to bring it back if we want.

I vote NO!  If you think otherwise, check out my prior blog on the matter. I am grateful to the pirates who killed off the giant bird. 

And if that's not enough reason to let the dead lie, consider the possibility that we might bring back a virus while reviving old animals which then jumps species.

Now what does make sense is to save some of our current species that are very close to extinction. However, don't expect that to happen. Here's why:

1) There is no Wow factor in increasing the population of a currently living species.

2) It will create chaos in the different organizations and governmental offices.

Presently the Wildlife people can declare a species (Like the East Coast Mountain Lion) extinct, even as one, possibly two live in my town. They just keep insisting it's a large tabby until someone runs over it. Then stuck with a body that is clearly a mountain lion, they declare it came from the west, so it doesn't count. 

By declaring the animal extinct, it can now be hunted, since it doesn't exist any longer. Thus anything you bag is an anomaly, not a real animal.

However, if we start dredging up and recognizing animals after we have declared them extinct or worse bring back animals that truly are extinct then we'll really be eaten by them, since they are no longer anomalies, but rather Frankencritters.

I need to start building a concrete bunker in my basement now. 
And Thanks to Tony L. who brought to my attention to this musical version of my blog.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Meet a Real Alien


This is NOT a fabricated picture. This is a minuscule creature found EVERYWHERE on Earth and possibly in space. They've been on Earth for at least 20 million years. Since it clearly possesses its own space suit, NASA sent it up into space to see if it could survive. AND IT CAN.

Here are my reasons for declaring it a real, honest to God, space creature:

It can survive in space. 
That means it can endure extreme COLD & HEAT, pressures, radiation, chemical poisonings.
No doubt due to that kickass space suit it's wearing.
And here is an interesting fact about it's suit. When in danger it can roll into a wrinkled ball and the suit hardens. The Tardigrade inside can then live inside for years without eating or drinking. 

We don't actually know now long it can sustain this state of dormancy. We do know the life span of Tardigrade is about 6 months. However, if he's not having fun, he rolls into his impervious ball and stops aging, eating, drinking or carousing with the ladies.

For him, time stops, and when his sensors trigger a positive change in the environment, his suit will soften and he'll start living again. Thus, it's possible for Tardigrades to live very long lives, mostly asleep, if the conditions are poor.

Check out what looks to be the air filter on the suit. I swear to God, the suit looks like green rubber and the tube mouth looks plastic. But this guy is only a half millimeter long, so this an incredibly tiny suit, way beyond our ability to create.

You'll notice the suit does incur wear and tear and his eight legs and head, but otherwise looks in pristine condition. 

The biggest Tardigrade found was .059 inch. I think that's about this big: -  

Tardigrades tend to prefer a nice lichen or moss bed near the water, but they are found EVERYWHERE, so it may be that we just like to dig about for them in lichen and moss, because the photos are so pretty.

They've been found in sand dunes, dirt and water, both marine and freshwater.  (i.e. everywhere)

Our scientists claim they have eight poorly articulated limbs. However, you can say the same about our astronauts when they are in their suits, wandering about on the moon. And I'm guessing with 8 legs plus tiny claws extending from each, that they are far less likely to fall over than our astronauts. So we shouldn't criticize.

Here's an odditity (assuming you haven't found the Tardigrade odd already): Each animal of a species of the Tardigrade family have the exact same number of cells. It's like they've been cloned.

Now, to that super weird mouth.
Even in close up that mouth looks plastic to me.
However, it turns out to be fierce. Inside the tube are stylets which will pierce the cells of  whatever that tube incapsulates. Which means you should NEVER KISS a Tardigarde. I don't care how handsome you think he is. Don't do it!

See those plastic segments? They open into a wide muscular, sucking pharynx.

And what happens when you are sucked? You go directly to the intestine which occupies most of the body length. There you will be digested. Once all your goodness has been extracted, the remaining moves through a short rectum to the anus. In some species, your crappy remnants will be held until it molts. (This indicates to me, that Tardi efficiently uses most of what it consumes.)

Now to its eyes.  First, we need to find them.
This is what we are looking for:

It's suppose to have two of them, then a bunch of sensory bristles all over its body. I have to be honest. I cannot find the eyes on the Tardigrade above, so I'm presenting a different, unwrinkled one:

You may think the two indention above the mouth are the eyes, but you would be wrong. Look further back on the side. I believe that is the eye after looking at arrows pointing to eye pictures. I could have shown you one of those pics, but this guy looks so cute. 

Again: Don't kiss a tardigrade!

Well, all we've left to discuss is his magnificent brain. Only I'm not smart enough to do that. It's like they are talking about an alien creature...oh wait. The Tardigrade is unrelated to any other animal on Earth. He is truly an alien, and his brain is very different and I don't understand it all.

Now to mating: (Only to be done between two tardigrades.)
They are egg layers, but the various species do it differently. Some fertilize the eggs inside the female, others do it after they are laid.

Some species lay eggs when they molt, depositing them beside the molted claws and poop  (that is all that remains of you since you ignored me and kissed one of them).

Wikipedia thinks they are long ago related to the Lobopodas (don't ask) but other articles claim there is no connection to any of our other animals. And since I'm thinking they are the true aliens living among us. I'm going with that belief.

Now we know what we need to achieve to survive space travel.

We need a really large, two legged version of the Tardigrade's super cool suit.

We are so doomed!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Real Apocalyptic Future.

I'm discussing a near-term lethal threat to mankind and a bleak future.

In the Year 2020
A young girl cuts her hand while peeling a potato. She wipes the swelling blood onto her pants and continues working. A few hours later when she has time she rinses the cut in the bathroom and returns to work, only her hand is hurting more instead of less.

By the next day she is feverish, her entire hand is swollen to twice its normal size and she's developed a chest cough. She calls in sick and goes to the emergency room. It's crowded and the long hours of waiting in the cramped room become too much. Too sick to remain sitting up, she stumbles to the corner and lays on the floor. Four hours later when her name is called, she doesn't respond, so they move on to the next patient. 

Near Midnight the cleaning lady pushes her dirty mop over the floors. She scolds the girl to move so she can do her job. A nudge to the hand causes it to split apart. White fluid oozes onto her shoe. She hurries to the nurses desk and reports the event. 

The nurse declares the young girl dead. In an autopsy six hours later, long after the cleaning lady has gone home, they determine the girl is full of a bacteria that is resistant to all known antibiotics. The hospital goes in shut down, but it is too late. Over twenty people came in contact with the girl and have now contaminated all of Las Vegas. More than 700 planes have come and gone since the bacteria entered the girl's minor cut.

The epidemic has begun and we've no way to stop it. The strand is impervious to every antibiotic we have. Now even a simple scratch will kill you.

Looking back to the short era when antibiotics worked.

In the year 1928 Penicillin was discovered and by 1948 it was commercially manufactured.

All too quickly, antibiotics became the cure all for everything, and often those who needed to take them ceased when they felt better, instead of when all the bacteria within them was dead. And thus began the race between antibiotics and bacteria as to which will win the final battle.

Since then a great deal of other antibiotics have been created trying to keep ahead of the constantly mutating bacteria. The latest group, oxadiazoles, were discovered this year and are hoped to help kill MRSA, which has become resistant to almost everything.

But the truth is, we are losing this war at every turn. Our 'wins' just end up making the bacteria stronger and deadlier.

The World Health Organization warns we could soon enter a post antibiotic era where even a small scratch will prove lethal.

Some of the diseases that worry them: Gonorrhea, Klebsiella pneumoniae, an intestional bacteria that can kill newborns and those in intensive care. uriniary track infections, Tuberculosis, HIV, malaria.

This future is not hundreds of years from now. It is right around the corner, in our life time. It is a scary world where lives will shorten and people will be more sickly until only those with the best of immune systems will survive. But will our strongest be strong enough to fight these mutant bacteria we have unintentionally created through our lax use of antibiotics? Or will the human race be taken out by the smallest of enemies?

Given our future is never certain. My advice is to live every day as if it's your last, to enjoy each moment to the fullest, and love life while we can.

And don't abuse your use of antibiotics.

Monday, May 5, 2014

We need more new thinkers like Sonny White

Once again, Science is following Fiction, Science Fiction that is.

Warp drives are a favorite means to cross the huge blocks of space needed to get any where interesting. Without it or other conventions, all we'd have to write about is space soap operas, where the same 13 characters mate, break up, mate someone else, break up, until every possible combination of mating has occurred. Then they start all over.

(For those of you unfamiliar with soap operas, on Young and Restless, Victor has married Vicki, divorced, married other women, divorced, and remarried Vicki so many times, I've lost count. But his marriages have to be in the double digits by now, and his marriages to Vicki are over five times I think.

My point being, without warp drive, a ship's population would need to mate everyone and still by the time they actually get anywhere, the progeny would be highly inbred, so we would need to be very careful about WHO we send on the mission. What DNA profile is the least likely to grow a third arm and become sterile under constant radiation bombardment?


Our physicist could develop warp drive and get us there before we turn into radioactive moles with tentacles growing out of our faces.

Never happening, you say?

Currently, our physicists are in dire straights. The foundational theories of Physics are in danger of being PROVEN WRONG.

Now is the perfect time to step away from String and Super Symmetry theories and do something fun, like create warp drives. 

And one physicist is doing just that. Even more astounding, NASA has given him $50K and TIME to work on it.
Meet Sonny White
Sonny is focused on creating tiny disturbances in spacetime. It's a table top experiment which is why he only needs $50K and TIME to get it done. If he succeeds, then he'll ask for much larger amounts to create a larger bubble of warped space time around a ship.

I foresee a problem if he succeeds with the table top experiment. The very expensive ship we build will disappear the moment the bubble encompasses it and because we still don't understand physics, we won't have a clue where it went and how to get it back. 

Afraid to lose a second ship, NASA will want to wait until our depressed physicists have recovered from their realization that everything they learned through all those years at school was wrong, and that sci-fi writers appear to be far smarter than they are. 

News Flash: Sci Fi writers have always appeared to be smarter. That's because they think in possibilities while physicists are hamstrung by weird theories that will later prove to be wrong.

In a multiverse environment where literally anything does and can happen, I'll take the sci-fi writer's imagination any day.

Or the odd duck physicist like Sonny White. Can you imagine the contempt and abuse he gets at the NASA cafeteria every day?

"Yo Sonny, found Captain Kirk yet?"

The bullying when he asks someone to pass the butter and they throw it in his face.

"Oh, it must have gone through a spacetime distortion bubble!"

I definitely have to put Sonny White up with other brilliant Sci Fi seers who can think beyond the constraints we think is 'real' and look into the endless possibilities for  ways to get us off this time bomb we call Earth.

I was glad to know Sonny wasn't alone in his quest. There are actually other scientists who have created groups like the  100 Year Starship project, the Tau Zero Foundation, Icarus Interstellar to explore possibilities.

So maybe this crisis in Physics is a good thing. Maybe it will cause the unimaginative half to quit and become actuaries, while the rest of our scientists can read up on their science-fiction and renew their imagination.

For serious blog about Sonny White see Scientific American

Friday, May 2, 2014

Earth wants its nutrients back.

I just read my town is going after 'aggressive pot holes'.

First thought: They must be talking about pothole that eat cars.  So I googled to find out what these look like.

Second thought: How could you not see this hole? Were you texting? If so, it serves you bloody well right.

But often they appear out of nowhere. You're just driving along, and the road disappears beneath you.

And then some giant comes along and pisses all over your car. Talk about adding insult to injury.

I had to ponder the next one awhile before coming up with how it came to show us it's underbelly.

The only way I see is that there was no pot hole until he was halfway over, then suddenly, the ground got hungry and sucked the back half in, causing the pickup to to flip over like a dead carcass.

So maybe my town is correct to label the potholes as aggressive, a term normally reserved for animals.

What if EARTH is alive, not just on it's skin, but inside. What if, after years of being depleted of iron by the bald primates that infest its skin, and dig about like evil chiggers, it's decided to reclaim its nutrients.  Thus, explaining why it wants cars, well some cars. Mine appears to be mostly made of plastic.

To Earth's annoyance, the bald primates keep tugging stuff out of its many mouths, before it can digest them.

Perhaps if we let it eat the ones it catches, it will grow full and stop eating more cars. It's not like these cars are worth anything after their encounter with an aggressive pot hole.

Seriously, I might never drive a car again if this happened to me. 

So where have I led you today?

To the possibility that Earth is alive and wants its stolen nutrients back.

Really wants them back:
I should note that my town's pothole problems looks more like this:
Which while annoying, only suggests someone did a poor job packing the asphalt when it was originally laid.

But the others, look like sentient hunger pains from earth.