Archive | July 2021

Our Lady of Perpetual Moonshine

Ceramic Moonshine Jug with 'Beaver Liquor' Design | Etsy
For those special Canadian parties. Etsy.

Hmm, so the SO is currently in self-imposed quarantine at the condo. Technically “at home.” At least in the same city. That’s something. Canada requires you to do a test when you arrive, but if you’re fully vaxed, you don’t have to quarantine unless the PRC comes back positive. In my opinion, with Delta, that’s closing the barn doors after the horses are out. But…..Since the SO was in an area where they had 30K new cases in the last couple weeks he doesn’t want to take any chance of causing a Delta outbreak in BC. So he’s staying at the condo till the test result comes back. He said he might even come home and do the whole 14 days. He’s that concerned.

Le Pape stayed in the Netherlands, and La Mère joined him there this week. They have family and friends there they haven’t seen since last Oct. They want to be home, even if it is a hotbed of covid cases and dramatic floods. La Mère especially wants to see her relations in France and Belgium. I’m glad they could be here, and now they can be there and safely back again. The Netherlands has good rate of vax, not great, but they’re way better (83%) than the US on single shots. And they are busting ass to get 2nd shots in arms. The level of anti-vax there is low. It’s considered very un-community minded to be anti-vax. Dutch guilt. It’s a powerful thing.

Mutti is doing well. She cancelled all Gran’s home health services this week due to Delta covid fears. She said it was hard giving up the help, but she thought it best. Then she told me she felt bad about our summer ending up in all manner of tatters because of Gran’s illness and the SO’s travels. She asked if I wanted to do Gran’s Oct 1 to Dec 31, instead of Sept 1 to Nov 30, so the SO and I could have a couple solid months together. Yes, please! So don’t plan to hear from hear me again till October-ish. Fall colour in BC! Yes, please!

Peak colour is late October early November, but with climate change, who knows anymore.

Da wants to come up for a short visit in August, when they lift the border restrictions. He thinks he can get The Dude to fly him out as The Dude is looking to buy some commercial space in BC and Da sort of suggested he had an in there. Uh….okay. Does that mean we get to meet The Dude? We’ll see. I’m kind of hoping we can take a trip to Quebec. I’d love to visit Au Diable Vert and see the Dark Sky Preserve, and the ObservEtoiles show.

Le Pape will come back in October for business as some shifting gets underway. We can have our usual Thanksgiving and Christmas, with Gran – to which the SO can hopefully fly-in “no problem.” Then by Feb, I’m home, hopefully with a new job, and we can see his folks, who plan to come back in Spring, depending on the state of the world, et cetera, et cetera. Fingers crossed, arm vaxed, masks at the ready, anyways.

Ok, this week some people went to space. God bless, Wally Funk, the 82-year-old aviator, woman, and only truly “qualified to be in space” person aboard any of the “star” ships. Yes, she was taken as a token and a publicity stunt, but I still feel nothing but happy for her. She was more qualified than any male contemporary to be in space 60 years ago but NASA and the US science community then, and still now, has huge problems with women. So she didn’t get her chance then. I’m glad she got it now. Go, Wally!

Mercury 13' pilot Wally Funk will carry 60 years of history to space on  Blue Origin flight | Space
What a real astronaut looks like.

A recent study concluded at the rate women are graduating in Astrophysics, it will take another 60 years to reach parity with men. 60 years. Six-zero. The study didn’t even bother to subsequently follow up about the prospects of women of color. But I’m gonna say, for them to reach parity, maybe 100 years? This makes me really sad, because these voices will push science in new directions, important directions, that they wouldn’t otherwise go. Discoveries will stall, needlessly. Science will be held back, needlessly. Disasters that could go averted, won’t be, needlessly.

I’m pro-space, pro-science, and pro-women in space and science. America and NASA? Not so much. Example? NASA decided in 2019 they in order to get funding (taxpayer money) they had to convince women (who are are 51% of the US workforce and therefore the taxpayers) to invest. They said this part out loud. I’m not making it up. So someone at NASA cooked up the “All women space walk” as a PR stunt to get women’s money (not women) “onboard”.

Only problem, they then had to delay the walk because NASA suddenly discovered it didn’t have enough woman-size space suits. There were only 2 women on the “all-women” team. Because 2 is all they want in space. And because in the 60 years since women have been training to be in space….uh….yeah, only one woman’s space suit was ever made. That tells you all you need to know about NASA’s commitment to women in space and the old boy STEM culture there.

There is a “no women in space” culture, pretty much all over the Western capitalist world, still today. Russia had a woman in space in 1963. The US has sent 50 women to space – wikipedia list them as “list of female spacefarers”. Compare that the number of men sent to space – 339. Wikipedia lists them as “List of astronauts by name.” See the difference? Women are not astronauts, just spacefarers, people on a journey. You can see how this attitude permeates in our pop-culture media, and sends a clear message to all girls and women that they’re still considered inferior to men, even in space. It’s really (bad) art imitating (bad) life. (Good art pushes boundaries.)

A recent OpEd about the Dr Who franchise, written by a man, decided it was time to “exterminate” Dr Who. In no small part because Dr Who’s latest reincarnation is a woman. He said:

A gender-swap of the role brought attention and initially high ratings, but viewership has since settled at much the same levels as under Whittaker’s predecessor, Peter Capaldi. The decision to cast a woman as the Doctor has also meant the franchise became a pawn in the culture wars, further souring relationships in the fandom, and making the social media posts of the show’s creators and stars toxic to wade through.

So, despite the fact the ratings did not decline one iota under the former male Dr Who star’s levels, the show should be killed because she didn’t improve the ratings? And you blame that on her being a woman? And too, because a few fans in the worldwide gender diverse fandom (I’m guessing a few young white men), couldn’t accept a woman Doctor? Seriously? That’s what you want to say? In 2021. A few guys are uncomfortable with it and vent in their social media posts and that’s a reason to exterminate the popular series (and by the way, vanish the only female Dr)? Wow.

STAR TREK BEYOND Embraces Trek's Fifty-Year Legacy • TrekCore.com
Just to be clear, even 50 years on the Vulcan, and the alien have to be white. Women have to wear short skirts on the bridge. And the villain is a Black man. Wow. Gene Roddenberry would roll in his grave at the giant leap backwards.

Star Trek, another iconic series that was socially ground breaking in its day, the 1960s, is now very much a 1950s version of space. If you doubt, I would suggest you watch the most recent movie in the franchise. Keeping all the costumes, sets, and scripts exactly as they are just imagine all the men in the women’s roles and costumes speaking the women’s dialogue, and then all the women in the men’s roles and costumes, speaking all the “male” dialogue. Then it’s easier to see the how deep is the problem of space a 1950s America is. It’s overwhelmingly white men “heros” act ridiculously violently, while all women are really scenery for the men to look at or victims to be rescued.

The idea of space, as the new frontier, is tainted by the old frontier. All the stuff humanity hasn’t dealt with here on Earth, continues in space. Recently Thomas Edsall wrote an OpEd for the NYT about how We are leaving “lost Einsteins” behind. Uh… yeah. I agree that spatial awareness is something people in STEM totally need. By the way, who has the best spatial awareness? Women. It used to be men training in STEM had to learn to do actual technical drawing. They had to actually put models/machines together manually. That’s not the way it works anymore with the advent of computers that can simulate and create drawings.

So vital spatial talents lost? You bet. But may be we aren’t leaving behind lost Einsteins. Maybe what we’re leaving behind, for the last 500 years, is actually lost Curies? And maybe we should address that? I know it’s a big ask. I mean….the men on the Norwegian Olympic committee apparently can’t even bring themselves to ask the IOC to allow Norwegian women beach volleyball players to play in board shorts like men. The women have to play in tiny bikini bottoms. Not even spandex shorts will suffice. The women have to pay a fine for dressing like human beings and athletes instead of male sexual fantasy objects. It’s bad.

Equestrian
He’s not wearing bikini to compete. Although I guess the horse is naked enough?

Women and men wear the same clothes in the same sport for every sport, fencing, equestrian, swimming, gymnastics, skiing, curling, soccer. A uniform fit to purpose for the sport. It should be virtually the same clothing for male and female athletes. Why this is hard to grasp in 2021 is beyond me.

This is not to say men are alone in this entrenched “men of science” mindset. I read Dr. Kathryn Flinn’s piece on Canadian, Dr. Suzanne Simard’s book Mother Tree. It was a good piece. Very typical of the “I’m a real scientist. This book written by X is not 100% good science and 100% science is really better for the public.” That’s a very male science viewpoint. Actually, Dr. Simard’s science writing is for the popular culture. You can’t save trees unless people care about them. In birding we say, birds are most at risk of being ignored to death. No one in NYC cares about burning forests in the west till their air becomes unbreathable. You can’t get regular non-biologist people to care about the life of trees, or anything, by requiring them to have a biology degree level of understanding before you talk to them.

This kind of review happens anytime a scientist writes science for a non-science audience. Fritjof Capra ran into this way back in 1975 with his Tao of Physics. But that book got more people into studying Physics than any 100% science book. It drove academic inquiry. It drove investment. And that lead to science breakthroughs. So, I get the point of the review, but I think she overall missed the point of the book. Dare I say it? She missed the forest for the trees. Yep, I said it.

I see these kinds of reviews as valid, in a serious science journal. But in Scientific American? I think that’s more about the reviewer building her “Hey, I’m a real scientist” “like a man” bonafides. It’s academic signaling. And I get it, she’s trying to fit into a man’s world – science. She wants to be taking seriously by the men who control her career. She wants tenure. She’s got a full plate of publish or perish. It’s how you get ahead and establish yourself in academia. But I really have to draw the line under the use of 18th century white male religious claptrap like “man is a moral creature in an amoral world.” Um…wow, so wrong. Where to begin?

This is cosmic scaffolding. Looks a lot like a brain’s neural network, doesn’t it? Cosmic scaffolding. The “cosmic web” of dark matter as simulated on a computer. .
 
NICKOLAY Y. GNEDIN, NATURE, 435 (2 JUNE 2005)

How about this? Man is an amoral creature in a moral world. Let’s start there. The world has its own morality, it’s always bending toward balance. Ecological systems are very complex, but as whole, always moving toward balance. (Yes, kind of getting into complexity theory and systems theory here, but stay with me.) A forest is in balance. An invasive species (brought by man) the bark beetle shows up. Trees start to die faster than they can be replaced. CO2 goes up. O2 production goes down. Animals start to starve and lose shelter. They move – if they can – to new spaces. But sometimes their lives are specifically tied to a single species in that forest.

The roots of dead trees can hold the earth when rains come. The earth starts to dry out. This changes weather patterns. Wet and dry light strikes develop. Whole forests got up in flames. 100K acres, gone. Animals lose their food and shelter en masse, or die en masse without habitat. The bark beetles also die. Then it takes decades for the forest to fully return to the CO2 sink O2 producer it was, to the habitat it was. That’s the earth, rebalancing itself. That’s the earth’s morality. It’s always interconnectedness acheiveing balance.

In a way, democracy is like this. It’s large scale interconnectedness of many small individuals. It’s reliance is on group knowledge and the consensus/balance of all parties involved. It seeks to leverage the power of all for the balanced good of all. You should be deeply concerned when the group knowledge and consensus is overturned or thwarted by the few. When the few want to rule over the many because they think they know better. I’m not saying groups are perfect. I’m a big supporter of small Ag (family farms), small tech (apple started in a garage), small pharma (looking at you weed growing hippies). Innovation always starts small, often with just one person. I’m saying just think about how small systems interact to form a healthy large system that benefits all, not the few.

Rabbits: Habits, Diet & Other Facts | Live Science
I’m pro rabbit too.

Okay, back to nature being moral and man not so much. Man doesn’t care about balance. Man only cares about what man wants. He sees his needs as primary and the rest of the world as subject to his needs. For many millennia, man has abandoned the role of caretaker, gardener, (the role most religions assign humanity) for a selfish one that sees as his “moral” imperative the “taming” of “mother” nature – a system he doesn’t actually understand or even want to understand before he starts wrecking havoc on it.

Man brings rabbits to a rabbit free continent, so he can shoot them for sport. And then the rabbits devastate the native landscape. Which devastates the native wildlife. Which starts the climate change ball rolling. There’s a reason snakeheads are destroying US rivers and lakes, and it’s not because the snakeheads scraped together cash, bought a ticket, got on a plane and brought themselves to the US. Pythons in the Florida Everglades? That’s not nature. That’s man. Man’s stupidity is destroying nature, the complex system that keeps us all alive.

This happens over and over and over. Man discovers fire. Wood burns. Chops down trees. Destroying habitat. Hmm. Man looks around. What’s better than wood to burn? Coal. How do you make coal, cut down way more wood to burn into coal. Then you find you can mine coal and so you destroy whole mountains to get at coal. Hmm. What’s better than coal? Whale oil. Sure, ok. Now let’s kill all the whales. What’s better than whale oil? Black gold, petroleum? Lets extract that by injecting toxic chemicals into the earth. And belch out CO2. What’s better than petroleum? How about atomic energy, no nuclear energy. That’s safe. Let’s use that.

I mean…really, we are not a highly intelligent species. Even Jesus call us stupid sheep. And he, as God, supposed made man. (When a male god makes a man in his own image…and then call him stupid, what does that say about the god who made man?) The history of man using technology to solve problems his technology created in the first place is pretty unrelentingly grim reading. So when I hear someone talk about climate change and trying to end on a high note by saying “Man will use his brain (it’s always a man) to figure out new technology to save the world….” I have to roll my eyes.

Man doesn’t understand the basic “technology” of nature, that why he keeps screwing it up. We live on a paradise. We turn it into a hellscape through our own lack of understanding about how our world actually works. We don’t know how to create, develop, or use technology in a mindful, beneficial way to protect our planet and ourselves. And frankly, as long as women and indigenous, and people of color’s voice are locked out of the conversation, all the conversations, political, business, scientific, it’s goint to stay that way.

When we shut down all but our own voice, or the voice of those exactly like us, nothing good can happen. A woman immigrant made the mRNA vaccine possible to save the lives of millions. But because it was a woman’s idea, it spent 3 decades backburnered, kinda pooh-poohed by science. Then came covid. Now it’s saving billions. And has the future of saving millions from potentially many, many other diseases. Would covid ever have happened with a woman in the White House? If women of all races weren’t still held back as chattel slaves of men and unable to vote 70 years after Emancipation? Weren’t, even today, still subject to men’s whims about reproductive rights? Or simple criminal justice for women? Because women are still woefully underrepresented, underfunded, and unheard in politics, law, religion and science?

The scariest thing on the planet right now? People who think quantum technology is nifty. No one fully understands the quantum world right now. But we take the little knowledge we have and start futzing around with the quantum world to make it do things for us, like encrypt conversations. Typical white male thinking. Kinda reminds me of the 2000 atomic bombs people blew up for “research and testing” the fallout of which blankets the globe and will for the next 10,000 years. Know before you blow, people. If you have no idea how the forces you are work with actually work…double-check that a “good idea.” Cart, horse.

Obviously I’m not anti-tech or anti-science, and there are many good people, men and women, who really think about the ethics and outcomes of scientific research and discovery. And yes, lots of progress has been made for women in science, but it’s no where near where we need to be to pull up from planetary destruction. It’s all hands on deck. Old models of science that cut out the impact on the earth our actions have, frankly just won’t cut it. Science that’s “all about me and what I benefit I can get out of it” is bad science. It’s bad science for humanity, if it’s bad for the globe. And we need to figure out if it’s bad for the earth before we do stuff.

Stop trying to militarize and monetize before you understand the forces you are working with. Work with the forces of nature, to do good. When you accept the natural world as it is, you see man’s crazy made-up current culture for what it is, destructive. Most of science, because it’s very Westernized, is very colonial. The idea that any discovery is mine to do with what I like because I “discovered” it (the Mermaid question). Um, no. Or, worse still, the idea that anything that might advance me toward a new discovery that helps me is totally acceptable. Again, no.

Petroglyphs at Chumash Painted Cave State Historic Park, high above Santa  Barbara, California | Library of Congress
No, I didn’t see any petroglyphs. Sure. Sure. If science loses it humanity then there’s no purpose for doing it.

No one sane would use the research on twins gained from Nazi torture and experimentation. That’s an extreme example, but in many respects, science still does this kind of research, only now it uses it. I can’t even fathom why the professor at Caltech is being allowed to publish his research, after desecrating sacred land to get the samples, to do the research on such samples and he’s been teaching his students it’s okay to do the same and letting them base their PhD research on those samples they stole. The damage they’ve done can never be undone to that cultural site, to that culture.

I love geology. I love Caltech. I’m currently taking an online course through Coursea from a Caltech professor. I understand people, even really good people, can make terrible mistakes. But, can you honestly tell me a person with a PhD and 50 years of in field experience didn’t know how to read a map? Or ask questions of a ranger? The right thing to do would be to return all the samples to the indigenous people, burn all research associated with those samples, and withdraw those papers from publication. This would show you’re serious about making amends.

Publish or perish, doesn’t mean you get to perish other people or their culture so you can publish. I’m not trying to be harsh here. I’m sympathetic to people who make genuine mistakes. But in 99 out of 100 cases, they aren’t genuine mistakes. They’re white male scientists filled with hubris who are dismiss native culture, science and religion and see those not a guidestars and important to advancing knowledge but as standing in the way of their science, their careers. Manua Kea is a classic example. It belongs to the indigenous Hawaiian people, to their scientists and culture. But the US went ahead and built telescopes on the site, desecrating it. If our scientists are that smart, they should be able to figure out another place to build telescopes.

Elon Musk's Starlink satellites are interfering with astronomy. It's just  the beginning. - Vox
Musk-ing” up the sky.

Anyway, I sort of dropped out of orbit. Coming back to space, and space travel. The hope of space was that it wouldn’t become another “trashed by rich white men” place and filled with garbage, discrimination, hate, inequality, et cetera. Enter three, not so wise, but very rich white, men Musk, Bezos, Branson. Musk is throwing satellites into space at an unprecedented rate without regard for science at all or that fact that space belongs to all of us, not just rich people who can afford to build and launce rockets. (Yes, I do see the irony. Musk is doing to US astronomers now what US astronomers did to the indigenous people of Hawaii by building on Manua Kea. Karma’s a bitch.)

Musk at least can claim mental illness for some of his genuinely bad decisions. Branson and Bezos? Not so much. Sir Richard seems like a genuine space enthusiast. Yes, ego to the stratosphere, but honestly a person who thinks and innovates. Enthusiasm can lead you to astray. From the late Latin enthusiasmus ‘inspiration, frenzy’ from the Greek enthousiasmos, from enthousiazein ‘be inspired or possessed by a god’ (theos ‘god’). So crazy as well.

Jeff’s a whole ‘nother level of problem. You do not now, nor did you ever, need to enter space to understand that our shared planet is fragile and needs to be protected — mostly from people exactly like you guys. All anyone need do ever do is pick up a decades-old book, like, say, Silent Spring (by a female scientist, Dr Rachel Carson). Or sit in the jungle watching apes (like female scientist, Dr Jane Goodall). Or maybe, just talk to a woman who had to flee to a contaminated nuclear site to have some sort of life — away from petty the wars of petty men. Don’t expect anyone to believe you when you say you can’t see the Earth needs help except from outer space.

Earth From Space - Western Hemisphere
Love it so much I never want to leave.

Maybe rich white, men should stay on earth and try to see their workers as hard working and deserving of dignity, and respects. Maybe they could spend millions setting up a giant union at every one of their plants. Or lobbying for universal healthcare, childcare, free education, gun safety, green energy, clean oceans? Maybe they could go all in on protecting voting rights so the great unwashed masses — who want to save the planet — can be heard loud and clear instead of through a hazy of gas and oil lobbyists. Bee verges – maybe? I’m just spitballing here. There’s a lot you can do, for people, for the planet while ON the planet. The needs are so great at this point, just pick something.

Going to space? Oh my goddess. So you can capitalize space? With space tourism? A guaranteed planet unfriendly, dirty industry? The totally foreseeable (in 2010) space tourism race, is still not well researched for impacts on earth’s climate, and not in anyway regulated by govt for the amount of carbon dumped into space on each fanciful flight for billionaires (or their sons). The level of total irresponsibility here is off the charts. And I’m pro space! I’m 100% pro “to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before!”

And the idea that capitalists should “Off-world” their toxic waste, rather than change to a sustainable industry, a zero-waste business, a zero-waste sustainable world? Just do the math, genius. Earth’s resources to send stuff to space, to keep Earth’s polluting industry in space, to return products (made from Earth’s stuff transported to space) back to Earth? It’s nuts. Just 100% environmentally devastating, for the Earth! Apparently he employs only scientists that can’t do math. Space is not your dumping ground. It doesn’t belong to you. I can understand his desire to be seen as a Stetson-wearing Texas space cowboy, saving the Earth, given the insecurity he clearly feels about his manhood (based on the design of his rocket). But level-up by paying your taxes, Tex.

Kiddie wings | Etsy
Kiddie wings. The inscription is “Junior Pilot”. Trans World Airlines. Trans kind of has a different meaning now but I’d still definitely buy a ticket.

There’s a big difference between an astronaut and an a–. Jeff was cargo. Do you know how ridiculous it looks to see an middle-aged billionaire white guy, with his middle-aged billionaire white brother, and the teenage white son of an middle-aged billionaire white guy, all of whom know zip about space (compared to the fully qualified astronaut, old white middle-class woman they brought along), blast themselves into space on a giant phallus? And then upon returning to Earth, award themselves little gold wings, of the sort they used to hand out on airlines in the 1960s when 5-year-old children would go on their first flight? All the while having to listen to men (and only men) who worked for NASA be interviewed about how great it all is?

Ugh. I’m sorry, it was just too over the top. Listening to the NASA guys (one white, one Black) talk about “how far we’ve come”? Like this was collective action, involving all of us, was sickening. Jeff had the company PR tape praising him turned around before the rocket even cooled off. It was so clearly a “look how far I’ve come” right wing, white male, “rugged individualist” (non-taxpayer), Horatio Alger, colonialist, capitalist, crap. It was honestly shameful. Space should be a “we” endeavor, driven by the democratic collective tax-paying we at every level. Space doesn’t belong to you. Repeat that till it sinks in.

Every day, for decades, for centuries, women in STEM have been harassed, passed over, ignored, pushed aside, denied educations, … by NASA, by men in STEM, and the by rich white male capitalists that fund science (Keck Observatory, funded by oil baron, Mr Keck’s foundation – long after he died). I applaud Wally. But she’s still, as she was in the 1960s, being used as a token spacewoman in a man’s world. Not to be taken seriously even though she is the best, the brightest, the strongest, the most qualified. She’s there to show “Hey, look! Even safe for an old woman.” A PR stunt. This is bad for STEM, for science, space, for all humanity, for all life on Earth.

Alice Ball, M.S. She’s celebrated in Hawaii on Alice Ball Day – once every four years on February 29

I applaud the scientific ingenuity that created the ability to do these re-useable launches. But I see them as totally ill considered, planet-destructive, and a further step along the road of delaying real change needed on Earth. It’s just a new money-making venture for white male capitalist billionaires – one that comes at the expense of everyone’s (every living thing’s) public good and shared space. This is, at best, probably Phase 1 testing of Jeff Bezo’s real-life 2012 escape plan. It just doesn’t matter to him what happens to people on Earth, or to the planet. He’d rather suck Earth dry and leave the empty husk behind. Or maybe ship everyone else off it to work at his polluting-in-space industries.

Personally speaking, I never want to go to space. I love space. I love studying space. I know what it’s like. I don’t need to go there. I’ll stay in paradise, in the CHZ, the Goldilocks zone. I want to work to keep the paradise I was born to live in harmony with alive to be cared for and lived in harmoniously by new generations of the Earth’s many life forms. Maybe it’s a good thing if all the Bransons and Bezos and Musks of the world leave the Earth they never really cared for, and the humanity they never really liked, behind? I hope they find what they’re looking for out there. But it’s a cold and violent universe, and my guess is anyone they run into will consider them objects to be used for their own purposes. I hope they enjoy that experience.

I am hopeful. There are a lot Americans are prioritizing the planet, over the economy, even over civil rights, right now. Interestingly Americans give less priority to climate than healthcare, but if the planet is sick and dying, news flash, you are too. I feel hope that a lot of different people are getting involved – because white men alone, and for sure rich white men alone, are not going to save the planet. They screwed it up. They just want to screw it up more by doing stupid stuff to boost their egos like go to space. It’s the new climb Mt Everest (“discovered” by whites in 1852, but whose real name has always been Chomolungma, which means “Mother Goddess of the World” since the dawn of time. Think about that.). They want to do anything but stop and look at what nature actually needs to heal.

If we want to tackle global healing, everyone has to take their rightful place and give their ideas, so balance can be restored and harmony achieved once more.

John Lewis' long civil rights legacy began in Nashville
If this is what it takes, sign me up.

I want to pause here and say something about the 4th place priority for civil rights. That’s actually a big concern. If you don’t have fulsome civil rights in operation – ie, the right to vote, HR1, The John Lewis Voting Rights Act, someone who believes in democracy heading up the Post Office and getting your ballot in the mail to you, someone who believes in democracy on the canvas board counting votes – the voice of the people is never heard – for climate change and healthcare and a better economy model – is never heard and never enacted. And you should know, senate Republicans know this. Killing civil rights, is killing climate change, is killing healthcare, is killing the building of a better, cleaner, more gender/race considered (childcare/education/equality) powerful economy.

I also want to say that any number of people are going to object to my reference to the balance of nature. Yes, nature is a dynamic system, constantly in flux, constantly changing, but for thousands of years, that system, what we know of it (and we know so little still, historically and now) was always that life was happening, and life forms were constantly impacting each other. There was never a force on the planet (humanity) that was wholly self-involved in destruction, often for the pleasure of it. US squirrels don’t import millions of Columbian roses for thousands of weddings every year (sorry, no, women are just as hard on the planet as man). Hawks don’t kill for sport. I’ve never seen herds of antelope carpet bomb another herds of antelope. There is a balance in nature, a dynamic one, tending to the expansion and preservation of life forms.

I get that for some I may be way too open minded when it comes to science. Admittedly, I enjoy listening to lectures by Noble Laureate Dr Brian Josephson (great subtle host disclaimer at the end!). I listen to people on the leading edge (no, it’s not bleeding edge, please stop saying that) of their field. You wanna talk real world warp drives? Sure, I’ll buy you coffee and a danish. I’m forever poking around on the fringes, but also in the ancient storehouses too, sifting through old ideas. New, old, out of the box (to where I hope the cat of Schrödinger finally escaped), it’s all worthy of consideration because somewhere, there’s an idea (or many) that just might help us all heal the world. I’m not going to give up looking.

If that makes me Our Lady of Perpetual Moonshine* to you, I’m okay with that. One thing I’ve learned from caring for Gran, the more difficult the job is to do, the greater the love you need in your heart to do it. Healing the Earth will be super difficult at this point. There’s going to be pain, setbacks, disappoint, and lots of loss and death. But in the end? We will get there. Because those of us that love Earth (and all that lives on her) are far more and far stronger than those who hate her (and all that lives on her). Come Hell or high water, we will restore our mother to health and she in turn will let us live to someday dance among the stars.

Woman On Moon Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock
I’m off moonshining till October. For reals. See ya.

(*Physicists dismiss what they see as impossible ideas by calling them perpetual motion machines or moonshine.)

This entry was posted on July 23, 2021.

Let’s get physical, (meta)physical

Actually banned in some places as too provocative, in 1981.

This week SO called the 7-day return plan was shot, due to shots. I said, “Whaaat?” He was fuming mad at the time of the convo. Un-Christian words were spoken. Threats to relocate the whole business, kit and caboodle, away from the EU were made. He has to get a 2nd Pfizer shot, from his doctor in the Netherlands, because (apparently) the EU won’t accept his first Canadian AstraZeneca shot as “real” because it was possibly manufactured in the US or India. Color me confused, but that’s was the upshot as I understood it.

For inter-EU travel, the EU will only accept certain vaccines as “real.” For AZ vax? Only EU manufactured AZ is “real” to them. Um….ok? That being true, the SO (and Le Pape) are going to get a second Pfizer shot there while they’re there. Hmm, triple vaxing. Not sure what the research shows on healthy people with good immune response being triple vaxed. Not sure there is any research. His father was ok with the situation. He’s older. To him it’s government required. It’s the cost of doing business. Better to just get it done and dusted.

The SO, being younger and taking a more global humanitarian view (2 good Pfizer shots, that might have vaccinated 1 unvaccinated person, somewhere in the less developed world, had to instead be “wasted” on them) was feeling some moral outrage. I asked what about La Mère? She and Le Pape, like the SO, are all mixed vaxed now. He said she’ll probably have to fly back and do the same. They were looking into getting her a ticket for next week. I’m going to say, level of absurd, super high. But at the same time, I do actually get where the EU is coming from.

The Perfect Banana Split
Always go for the triple scoop in summer.

As I understand it, Canada does test and certify any vaccine before using it. That is, there’s always a quality check. They’d know if they got a bum batch. The US does the same. So, the AZ vax Canada has given out to protect people was, and remains, 100% legit. There really should be no concern in the EU about Canadian AZ vaccinations. But there are. Because Canada got its AZ from the US and India. The US plant that makes the AZ vaccine was the same one making of J&J, and it botched a bunch of vaccines. So there’s reason to be cautious with US manufactured AZ. I get it.

As for India’s vaccine? Since I have Indian friends, I enquired what they thought. They did not hesitate to tell me. There’s basically a news blackout in India, because that’s what failing authoritarian regimes do. No foreign press, no homegrown are allowed to report on govt failures, like Covid containment. But, from what their families in India tell them, fake vaccines are rampant there. They understand that the EU wants to protect itself from a) visitors who may have been given heavily diluted or even 100% fake vaccine and b) giving their own EU-citizens a vaccine that might be less than 100% good.

The SO did cool down after a day or two. It’s amazing what really good beer with really good friends can do to drown one’s sense of moral outrage. It was pointed up to him, that given the state of the world, if a 3rd, completely unnecessary, shot is all he was being asked to do to keep lots of people happily employed, wasn’t that a win for humanity too? I’m going out on a limb here, but when he said that to me, I translated his friend’s comment as a courteous version of “stop being a giant prick, get a pinprick” or, “wow, stop being so American.” Message received.

Seriously, mixed vaccines are good. Is this a problem with the word “mixed”?

I’ve been thinking a lot about language this week. The ways we use it, and it uses us. We tend to think of ourselves as visual creatures, but we’re really not. Sound is the primary sense of humanity. By that I mean, you can hear, and learn via what you hear, in the womb. Things like touch or taste happen in utero. Before you can see (or smell). Yet we still insist we are primarily visual. We spend a lot of time communicating, visually. But language is still our primary means of communication. People gathered round a fire, talking. People gathered around a person reading a book or playing music, listening. Radio.

Not to get political, but you can watch Jan 6th footage, with your eyes, and the sound turned off. It’s violent. And yet, lots of Americans — who keep listening to people who say, don’t believe your eyes — now actually don’t believe their eyes. It truly is a case of having people by the ears. This isn’t new, or even news. The Bible is full of admonitions about not listening to the devil/people who speak evil. I’m not suggesting plugging one’s ears to the world, only that one should consider the subtle nature of language. Consider who is speaking, and what is their intention. Consider how do they use language (or your attention).

In Germany, it’s against the law to spread misinformation about covid or vaccines. To be very honest, I think that’s a solid public health law that harms no one and helps the whole nation. It’s nothing to do with inhibiting free speech, instead it’s an analog to the “Can’t yell ‘fire’ in a crowded theater” rule. “Can’t yell ‘vaccines are dangerous’ in a covid filled a world” is the same thing. The lie being told causes people to take an action that is predictably life/health/safety threatening to others. It’s great that the US Surgeon General admonishes people not to spread lies, but…. we’re way beyond that. Though I’m not sure people know it.

File:Delta Air Lines B767-300ER N394DL.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
The only kind of Delta I want to catch this year.

LA County just went back to masking because of Delta (the Indian variant, which, according to my Indian friends we’re not allowed to say because Modi didn’t want people around the world commenting negatively his rule, so he pressured the WHO). I’ve been watching the number of cases rocket up in Gran’s county too. A few weeks ago, it was an R of .9, cases were 1 per 100k. Now it’s R of 2 and cases of 4 per 100K. Mutti is thinking of cancelling Gran’s homecare because of it. She just would rather not take the risk of having people in the house. Even if that means cutting back on her hours. I can’t say I disagree.

We, the US, Americans as a nation, shouldn’t be here now. But we are, because of lies. This is true of climate change as well. And especially true of voting and democracy vs the GOP’s white “Christian” male authoritarian vision. The US military is not supposed to be in charge of saving democracy from a rogue president and his “off the rails” political party. Democracy, voting as a wide-scale participatory event, is supposed to make sure that scenario doesn’t happen. Democrats are not taking things seriously enough. They act like the crisis is over. It’s not. Try reading Max Heirich’s Cultural Breakthroughs, 1976. Anyone interested in politics should give it a glance..

Heirich’s article is about fads and breakthroughs, and generating conceptual revolutions. Tennessee taking down vax info to (supposedly) appease anti-vaxers? That’s allowing a few “off the rails” authoritarians to turn a fad into breakthrough. You should be thinking about the Munich Agreement, and how Appeasement always ends with low-intensity war turning into high-intensity conflict. The CDC and the federal govt should be pushing back on Tennessee, really hard. Sane GOP leaders stepping down because they don’t support the Big Lie and some small vocal (deluded) minority do is, again, Appeasement. It allows people who are radically divorced from reality but on a “mission” to take over a party, revolution. Again, this doesn’t end well.

This means the dogs of your mind, too.

At this point, you might be worried. But consider the word worry. What is worry? Well, if you think of a dog worrying sheep… you have an image of harassment. When you worry, you harass yourself. It doesn’t do you, or your mental sheep, any good. Let it go. There’s a better way. Worry is different from concern (from the Latin root, cernere, meaning to sift or separate). Con-cern means “with sifting.” It’s okay to actively be sifting, separating out, looking at, and evaluating, until you dis-cern (same root), sift out what’s important. But even at that, remember you actually decide, and therefore influence, your finding of what is important. This was brought home to me this week when the SO asked to do a bunch of zoom interviews for interns.

First of all, I was touched he asked me to help out (although I am cheap help). Second, I find this kind of thing fun. I love HR interviewing. But the SO, he had other ideas. Less fun one. I was to ask each person set of questions, all asked in the same sequence. Ugh. Then I had to ship the interviews to a transcription service to be typed up, so he could read them. This, he said, was to eliminate visual bias. Um…ok. But, and here’s where we come back to language again, the language people use is also filled with indicators of class, education, gender, etc ad infinitum.

I did mention this, and he understood. But his response was “gotta start trying to stop bias somewhere.” He said after he read through all the interviews, he’d look at the actual tapes of the interviews later. I’d like to say I did exactly what he asked, but…he did ask me, so no. I tacked on 1 additional question. At the end of the each interview, I asked: “If you were out fishing and caught a mermaid (merman, depending on the interviewee’s chosen gender), what would you do first?” I asked this question because when I was with my Gran last year, she’s a big fan of Family Feud, they asked the question: “We interviewed a 100 men and asked them, ‘If you were out fishing and caught a mermaid, what would you do first?”

Mermaid - Wikipedia
Dear Goddess, not more fishermen.

Hands down it was a brilliant question for a number of reasons. The answers they had on the board were:

  • 26 – keep her/take her home
  • 21 – free her
  • 14 – kiss her
  • 9 – take a picture
  • 6 – make love to her
  • 3 – swim with her

If you look at the list, and you’re a woman, you understand it instantly. There’s been some progress made, in having women seen as human beings. After all, 54% of the answer were ok. Not great, but ok. On the other hand 46% of men gave answers that meant they intended to kidnap, enslave, sexually assault, or rape a woman they just met. And they didn’t even think about it twice. Those men couldn’t imagine the woman, with a brain and feelings and heart, as anything but an object they caught, to be used as they wished. It was pretty telling about the men in society. (granted small sample)

The man who actually correctly guessed “free her” was a young Black man who, alongside running his own business, viewed his life has helping others by the grace of God and did so through addiction and alcohol recovery work. See the difference? He saw a woman, a fellow human being, in need, first. Not a free piece of tail. I told the transcription service to leave off the last question. Save that for a surprise for the SO later when he watches the videos. But back to my point, language is often very revealing. A picture is not worth a thousand words. A picture, without words, often doesn’t get very far.

Earthshine – Moon Glow
A picture of Earthshine. Look it up.

Britney Spears is another interesting case of words. She’s in a conservatorship. But if we swap Ms Spears out for Kanye West, a man who has arguably genuine mental illness, can you see a judge putting him into the kind of conservatorship Ms Spears is in? Probably not. Why? Because a) he’s a man. Women always need to be contained. Men? Never. And b) when you swap out total control over a white female life, for total control over a Black male life, including make that man work and take almost all the money he makes to give to a group of others, people recognize that as slavery, not “conservatorship” or “guardianship” (both words I imagine people in the Deep South used in the 19th century for slavery).

Anyway, language is key to asking these (what is freedom, what is slavery, what is truth), and other, big questions. Pictures can’t ask questions. Data can’t ask questions. If I showed you a picture of the sun and moon rising in the east – at the same time – you’d freak out (it does actually happen). That picture is data. Because you probably know the Sun rises in the east, sets in the west, and then the moon comes up in the east. You have a knowledge base, based on language. But then new data blows a hole in your worldview. So you’re forced to ask questions. How can this happen? Why does this happen? What does it mean? And it’s this last question that really bothers some people.

I actually started this post because I feel I might have slighted particle physicists last week. That wasn’t intentional. They do incredibly important work for our society (as do microbiologists). I just have issues with messy language. Particle physics is full of words like superposition, quark, nonlocality, etc. It’s not anyone’s fault. They’re trying to describe a system (the quantum world) that’s not fully understood. They name things as they go along so they can talk about them. But there’s not much of system to naming. It’s a way different approach, way harder to do, than trying to name something once you understand the whole system and how one isolate part works and how it interacts with its own and other systems (the non-quantum world).

Bachmans Finch | McGaw Graphics
Bachman’s pinewoods finch, aka Bachman’s Sparrow, aka Pinewoods Sparrow, aka a bird.

I think birding has sort of recently hit a similar wall. People of color have started asking why we have to keep names of racists for birds. Bachman’s Finch for instance. I heard a birder say “Everyone knows he (Bachman was friend of Audubon, who “discovered” the finch) was a racist. Why can’t we go back to Pine Sparrow?” first of all, everyone doesn’t know. I didn’t. The first think I think about when I hear the name of a bird is not “I wonder if the person who named it was a racist.” My feeling is, why not call it whatever the Native Americans called it. After all, they saw the birds first. Why do white people get to name any native birds at all? Just saying. In this case, the name is important, but it’s a layer on top of a foundation that’s a way of organizing information about birds (taxonomy). In physics? Not so much.

I tend to think, as I do with math, if the language is messy, one’s thinking can be held back by that mess. You can’t break through if you can’t state things with clarity. I’m not saying you can’t have big thoughts, like “what does this mean?”, that’s a big (metaphysical) thought stated with clarity. I’m just saying, a lot of (physical) physics seems linguistically, nomenclatural-wise, messy at this point in the journey of discovery. And I wonder if that’s hurting (or helping) physics. I wonder about the attitudes in physics, which tend to be, shut up and calculate — because funding is based on monetize or militarize (or both) each discovery. There’s not a lot of room for broad thought, and physicists even seem alarmed by such free thinking.

To quote Matthieu Beau’s quite interesting 2011 paper (Feynman Path integral approach to electron diffraction for one and two slits, analytical results), the whole point of his solution is: “It thus avoids metaphysical questions…” But why do we want to avoid them? They enrich and push forward discovery. We can’t separate out people, from the world their participating in. It’s like a fish studying the water it lives in. Doable, but it will be influencing the water around it, by swimming in it, pooping in it, and conducting other assorted fish-type actions.

If you’re not asking “what does this mean?” when you get an answer, (such as, to the mermaid question), you’re missing out on quite a lot of available information. Potentially, you’re missing out on the information you need to learn even more, to have a radically new idea, make a bold discovery, or even just a chance to avoid a big mistake (like wasting years on a dead end theory, or hiring the a rape-minded person to be an intern). Recently a computer program was invented to sift through past experiments, created by humans, to come up with novel ways to run experiments. (The program, and it’s 2.0 version were both given male names).

The article title billed it as “AI designs quantum physics experiments beyond what any human has conceived.” And that’s great, but you read the article and see the basis information was all human designed experiments. It’s inventor said of an experimental set up the computer program concocted: “This is a generalization that (to my knowledge) no human dreamed up in the intervening decades and might never have done.” Is that perhaps because the field really doesn’t allow anyone enough “dreamtime”? And openly frowns on those who get “metaphysical”? I really don’t know. Questions lead us to answers, and often more questions. Some people don’t like that.

I admit to thinking a lot about this sort of stuff this week. I was listening to Rainn & Reza have a Metaphyiscal Milkshake with Mayim Bialik about “is religion is still relevant?” And I’ve been reading David Kaiser’s How Hippies Saved Physics (about Bell’s Theorem and quantum mechanics). I guess I’m still two. I keep asking: why? And I think that’s okay. Life is a book of questions, not all of which have answers (now, yet, maybe ever). That scares some religious people, it also scares some scientists. Scientists don’t want to ask metaphysical questions. Religious people don’t want to ask scientific questions. It’s how we got to the current hot mess, I think. But all you can do is play the hand you’re dealt.

Five playing cards – the ace, king, queen, jack and ten of hearts – spread out in a fan.
Oh yeah, I got me the royal flush — of luv.
By Photo: Graeme Main/MOD, OGL v1.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26889555

You ask questions, of all kinds. You listen to credible people, of all kinds. You sift. You separate. You consider the big picture, and the infinitely small one. You try to guard against your bias and remember that pooping in your own water can be a factor. And sometimes, yes, when faced with people who lie, who are filled with a desire for malign influence over your life, who are so far gone they really should be under a conservatorship, you just have to plug your ears and walk out of earshot till you find a place of Zen. Or maybe you need to unplug to get there. Either way, I’m headed there now.

What is an Enso? - Lion's Roar
It’s an enso.

This entry was posted on July 16, 2021.

Apocalypse? Wow.

Amsterdam

I stuffed Le Pape and the SO on a plane for bound for Amsterdam yesterday, hence I have the opportunity to whip a one-off summer post without neglecting the SO. I think Le Pape is returning, he left La Mère here. But I guess it’s all a bit up in the air (no pun intended). I know the SO is returning. And we’ll still have at least 6 weeks of fun time together. Canada and the Netherlands don’t require travellers to quarantine anymore, if you’re fully vaxed.

The boys are making a 7-10 day business trip. I was asked if I wanted to tag along, technically it would be business, there’s a board meeting. But at 9 hrs flight time, not including gates and security and customs? I said no thanks. The SO totally understood. I think they both really just wanted to be back in the EU during the Tour de France, which ends the 18th, but…yeah, sure, business reasons too.

Actually, I’m happy to have a bit of alone time – with the dogs and cats – at my own house. This may sound weird but, it’s been a weird summer so far. We left Gran’s June 15, the day after she got out of the hospital. She is doing much better now. Mutti said she could handle things with Gran, with the home care assistance. So we drove up the coast over the course of 10 days. It was glorious!

Man Using Sledgehammer
How to choose a sledgehammer.

We stopped in to see my Da — and got roped into doing some demo on Hugh’s new home. Gotta watch that reno bottom line. If you ever want to know how someone is really doing, give that person a sledge hammer. I’m not saying the SO didn’t enjoy himself, he did. He said it was “refreshing.” But…yikes that damaged drywall was busted out lickety split. I was still unscrewing the kitchen cabinet doors (to be refinished). And I had power tools!

By the time we reached home it was the 24th, the day before the big heat dome started. On the 25th friends began calling over asking if they could come hang out with us — because as a SoCal gal, I insist every home I live in must have AC. This led to a weird dynamic. We are fully vaxed, but Canada said we have to quarantine for 2 weeks, till July 8th, even though Canada was going to lift the quarantine requirement for fully vaxed people entering the country July 5th. So, we’d need to quarantine 3 more days after quarantine entry laws changed because we arrived pre-7/5. Stupid.

Anyway, as law abiding citizens concerned about other people dying…we decided to quarentini it up in the basement so the upper floors and attic were available for couch surfers, day trippers, etc. I think at one point we had 7 adults, 1 child, a diabetic dachshund, 2 kittens, and a parrot. And there’s only one bathroom upstairs. We asked people to bring their own food, just use the toilet (no baths or showers), wear masks around other people, and stay off the internet (while the SO is working).

Parrot enrichment. It’s a thing.

It worked out well. People went to work, they ate out, they crashed overnight in the AC. A couple people were there every day all day during the heat. A child with quite bad asthma. A woman with lupus. They all seemed to be having a good time. We had to just listen in the basement, although on Day 6 we did have a backyard good-bye barbie. I suppose it was technically illegal, but…it seemed wrong not to go since they threw it as a thank you for us. And it was outside, so… we went.

After they left we had quarantine “together time,” but with the full house, and all our pets, not just the dogs. That was great. Then immediately our quarantine ended, the SO had to get on the plane. And that’s ok. I know he’ll have a great time because he hasn’t been home in a year, and the Netherlands is still home for him. All good. I’m hoping the utility bills come while he’s away, so I can pay them before he sees them. I have no idea what our squat house AC is going to cost. Typically we only AC certain rooms in the house, not the whole freaking house.

Oh well, needs must. Chips where they may, and all that.

The Practical Appeal of Window Awnings - Design for the Arts & Crafts House  | Arts & Crafts Homes Online
Awnings work

I have to say, I’ve thought a lot about apocalypses during the past few weeks. Mostly because people kept using the word apocalypse. A lot. As a Catholic, you grow up hearing about the Apocalypse. Which most people think of as catastrophic events, but really it means “the revealing,” in this case, of Christ. So on a personal level, apocalypse isn’t a scary word for me. On a community level? Um….kinda learned to live with it years ago.

As a Californian with decades dealing with local weather apocalypses, climate change, and all their fallout, it was a little interesting watching people in BC react to their first real “revelation.” Even people who accept climate change and understand its impacts, rarely truly understand what it all means till they start experiencing the cascading effects themselves. Heat leads to death, leads to fires, leads to dead marine life, leads to poor water quality, leads to poor fisheries, leads to economic impact, leads to ….

Even people who believe in climate change (or Covid), often assume it won’t happen to them or they’re somehow insulated. So they don’t really prepare (get vaccinated!). They don’t own blackout curtains or window awnings or AC or go-bags or have a fire route escape plans from their house, let alone from their entire city. To have to come to grips with these things on the fly? Isn’t fun. And then after a revelatory event ends (Jan 6th), there’s often the fall back of “That was interesting. But it’s a one off. An aberration.” They again put off change (HR1 – @DNC stop asking for money to save democracy in 2022, when a majority of people gave Dems a majority in the house and senate and the WH! Do your Dem job in 2021!)

Rare, 2-headed snake discovered by Florida house cat | Live Science
This is an aberration.

Anyway, that’s been my summer so far. Weird. Wild. Woolly. I’m currently spending time doing math as a pleasurable distraction. I was thinking about knowledge lost by schoolchildren in the US during covid. And then I realised I had probably lost knowledge over time. I found a math textbook left behind by our 10 yr old visitor. Eeek! I turned a few pages felt out of my depth. But, but, but, how could this happen? I did calculus in college! I look at advanced math all the time and understand it. Don’t I? Understand it?

Honestly, revelations suck sometimes. So, I’m doing math courses on Khan Academy, trying to get my chops back. I’m starting with 4th grade math. It’s sad, but it gives me empathy for the children. And “bad at maths” is at least something I can remedy. Math is really just a language I used to know but haven’t used in awhile. It’ll come back to me. I think part of my problem is I never used math as math. I used logic to figure out math. When I did skills test for pre-calculus on the Khan Academy website, I passed with 100%. But I used logic to arrive at the answers not math.

I like math; math has beauty. But sometimes people who love math, let it overrule their ability to think outside of math (logic). And sometimes, if you’re really into math, your inability to do new or remarkable math can put the breaks on what you can think of as possible. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, about limitations on thinking that keeps us from seeing reality, or possibility. For instance, today, we all know our solar system revolves around the star we call the Sun. If you ask someone when did we know this to be true, you’ll probably hear about Copernicus. But actually, this was discovered 18 centuries earlier, by Aristarchus of Samos.

Copernicus got there, 2000 years later.

You might ask, why was basic such science insight was dismissed for 2000 years? The answer there is culture. Culture decided the earth was the center. Not science, math, or observation. And human culture is hard to change. Even when culture finally accepted a Sun-centric solar system, there were still problems. Math problems. You can make math do almost anything. If you want to know why something isn’t true (or fully correctly theorized), check the math. The more messy the math, the less likely it is to be true. And we see an example of this when we look at the history of orbit of the moon.

The moon is the moon. Its orbit is its orbit. But culture, science + culture, decided the moon didn’t go around the earth. It had it’s own path around in circles in space, and based on observations, that had to be a super weird orbit. So they came up with very twisty math to make the moon’s very twisty path (as defined by culture) work. Centuries on this was found to be incorrect. But people had believed it because the theory fit cultural beliefs and the math, though complicated and weird, “worked.” It worked hard, to prove a false belief.

By the way, earth had a second moon for a bit in 2020, but it’s gone now. Observation, not math, told us the moon was there. Culture this time said, “Wow!” I’d call that progress.

How Many Moons? | NASA Space Place – NASA Science for Kids
Actually, Gaia, I’m gravitationally attracted to you and can’t escape. I like you, but don’t make more of our relationship than it is.

I think a lot about stuff like this. About how we can be blinded to things as they are because we’re stuck in a mindset that was, perhaps, “as things were” at one time, but clearly objectively aren’t true now. Sometimes the things we believe were never true. We just wanted them to be true – because our culture told us it was. Sometimes we enlisted math to prove/explain things we wanted to be culturally true. And pure math got roped into the sordid cultural drama. I’m pro-math. Math can be very revealing. Very predictive. But theory based on observation (reality) + math produces better outcomes than theory based on culture + math.

Anyway, back to the apocalypse. People running around talking about apocalypses got me thinking about black holes swallowing the universe. Which got me thinking about the Big Bang. I have a pet theory about the Big Bang. I think in some other universe, a black hole formed and sucked in a vast untold amount of material. The hole became impossibly stretched, that is, spacetime stretched in the gravity well of the black hole, and eventually all this material compressed to the size of an atom in a hot dense state, and then as a result, a tiny atom-size tear appeared in the bottom of the well, a tear in spacetime, and that became the place and moment the Big Bang happened, that started our universe.

We have seen white holes. Those are black holes that suddenly belch out light and energy. I think that belch is probably what happens when the atom-size hole in spacetime rips at the bottom of the gravity well. When a big bang happens. I think we see a tiny bit of the blow back and that’s the energy leaving the now white hole. After that, the black hole is sealed off. It sort of conceives, gives birth and then dies, if you want to look at it that way. That’s my theory anyway.

Are some black holes wormholes in disguise? Gamma-ray blasts may shed  clues. | Space
Black holes, the ultimate consumer.

I’m sure a professor of astronomy or astrophysics would say I’m crazy. But to me, there’s a natural (as in, nature) logic to it. Things in the universe, our universe, come into being, consume things, reproduce, and die. It would explain a great deal about cosmology that right now has no explanation or has explanations such as, the Big Bang appeared out of nothing. (Seriously, nothing.) I don’t think anything every truly disappears or truly appears from nothing. It’s just we lack a full understanding. Our picture is incomplete. Or worse, we are blinkered, by our beliefs.

I like particle physics, but sometimes I think they’re the microbiologists of the cosmos. It’s like they’re trying to understand a single-cell virus in a cat’s intestine. But they don’t see the cat’s whole internal physiology. And they don’t see the cat living externally, or see the cat and how it behaves and interacts with its environment. But it’s all tied together. Understanding a single-cell virus in a cat’s intestine is awesome and needful, but it doesn’t unlock the secrets, mysteries, or grand unification theory of “cat”-ness. You need to a cat for that.

Anyway, Poirot says, “Time to feed me.” He’s the catness in charge of the house universe. His GUT is empty. No mystery or secret there. I must attend. Otherwise, it’s apocalypse meow.

Cat Wants Food HD Stock Images | Shutterstock
So weak… can’t stand…feed me.

This entry was posted on July 9, 2021.