Saturday, November 27, 2010

E8-based Theory of Everything: "Our universe is this beautiful shape"

Think of this a sort of an eight dimensional periodic table upon which all the subatomic particles in the universe (Quarks, Glueons, Leptons, etc.) are displayed in their proper place. Then consider that when all of the particles are where they should be that their interactions cause all of the forces of the Universe such a Gravity, Atomic, Strong Electromagnetic, Weak Electromagnetic etc. etc. etc. For all of its complexity, if true, it will a simple explanation of everything.

"On November 6, 2007, Antony Garrett Lisi, an American-born theoretical physicist, published the paper called "An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything", describing a new unified field theory that connects the theories of quantum physics and gravitation using the mathematical shape E8. Lisi's inspiration lies in this elegant and intricate shape known to mathematics, called E8 - a complex, eight-dimensional mathematical pattern with 248 points first found in 1887, but only fully understood by mathematicians this year after workings, that, if written out in tiny print, would cover an area the size of Manhattan. E8 encapsulates the symmetries of a geometric object that is 57-dimensional and is itself is 248-dimensional. Lisi says "I think our universe is this beautiful shape." What makes E8 so exciting is that Nature also seems to have embedded it at the heart of many bits of physics. One interpretation of why we have such a quirky list of fundamental particles is because they all result from different facets of the strange symmetries of E8. Lisi's breakthrough came when he noticed that some of the equations describing E8's structure matched his own. What Lisi had realised was that he could find a way to place the various elementary particles and forces on E8's 248 points. What remained was 20 gaps which he filled with notional particles, for example those that some physicists predict to be associated with gravity. Physicists have long puzzled over why elementary particles appear to belong to families, but this arises naturally from the geometry of E8, he says. So far, all the interactions predicted by the complex geometrical relationships inside E8 match with observations in the real world. The crucial test of Lisi's work will come only when he has made testable predictions. Lisi is now calculating the masses that the 20 new particles should have, in the hope that they may be spotted when the Large Hadron Collider starts up. "The theory is very young, and still in development," he says. "Right now, I'd assign a low (but not tiny) likelyhood to this prediction. For comparison, I think the chances are higher that LHC will see some of these particles than it is that the LHC will see superparticles, extra dimensions, or micro black holes as predicted by string theory. I hope to get more (and different) predictions, with more confidence, out of this E8 Theory over the next year, before the LHC comes online."

Below is a video that introduces the man who envisioned this geometric form.

And to dig deeper here is another site:
Pythagoras was correct.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Eldo Is Dead

Eldo was a character. He attend the Church I nominally belong to. Eldo was a small man in his 60s. He was stationed in or around Cu Chi when he was in Vietnam. Eldo was a Tunnel Rat. He was one of those people who crawled into small holes in the ground and crawled about in damp spider filled tunnels dug by the enemy. Sometimes the tunnels led to three story underground hospitals or command centers. Most of the time they led to small rooms or bunkers where the enemy took shelter from our multi-million dollar air strikes above. Many times they led to booby traps, Claymore mines, punji sticks, cobra snakes tied to the beams above, and of course the enemy and their weapons. Eldo probably went in to the tunnels several times with only a knife and a small caliber pistol. Couldn't take a 45 automatic in, made too much noise in the tunnels and would burst your ear drums.

Eldo came back to the states with "issues". I ran into him late in his life. He self medicated with booze and other substance. Sometimes he came to Church under the influence of spirits that were not so holy. The congregation cut him a lot of slack and took pretty good care of him. I didn't know him well, but I understood him.

Eldo like to fight. Got into bar fights on a regular basis, from the looks of him some days, he apparently lost most of the time. He needed those demons in him beaten out on occasion I guess. Sort of a self punishment, or maybe even a way of testing whether he was alive that day or not.

Most men with heavy duty issues like Eldo killed themselves within the first five years after returning from Nam. Most people are not aware of that heavy suicide/accident rate. During that period of history Vietnam Veterans only made good news copy when they robbed a bank or something. Eldo danced between life and death for forty years or so. That's a pretty good run actually, forty years. He lived longer that the median life span of his In-Country-Nam Veteran buddies. That median span is now known to be about 56 years (regular types live 73.5 years on the average). Two-thirds of us are dead already. Only about 850,000 or so left. About 350 or so die every week. This week Eldo was one of them.

Eldo was found dead. No official word from the medical examiner yet. Most bets are on an overdose. Accidental? Doesn't matter much, he is gone.

Yes, I'll go to his funeral, that is if it is anywhere nearby. A warrior needs all the support they can get, even in death.

Eldo my boy, got two things to say to you. First, thanks for your service. Secondly, and most important, Welcome Home.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Good Morning A37 Whom Ever You Are

Good morning A37 and Private Caller, and H272, Service Call, and/or Unknown Name.
No I do not answer my phone when computers call me. I figure a machine answering a machine is quite adequate. However my answering system is beginning to think you guys don't appreciate her good work because you terminate your connection before she finishes her hello spiel. She is getting paranoid that maybe you don't really love her. You would think that if you are calling her before 9 a.m. that you might at least let her finish her intro.

As for myself, who the hell are you and why are you bothering me. I don't need help with my credit cards, I do not want to change my phone service, I will not donate to the Smokey The Bear Mountain Legionnaires of New Mexico. No I don't know where Jerry Bear lives. Indeed, I've never heard of Jerry Bear.
At least the robo-callers had the decency to go ahead and leave their message. I used to think computers could count. A37 you have called me every morning for two years. ( I just check out the call log). I have forgotten who you really are but I don't ever plan to pick up the phone, not even if you change your name to 3A7, or 37A.

I hear a rumor that cell phone don't get harassed by your shit. Maybe that is what I should do. Or maybe, maybe, I'll just resign from the telephone grid. I don't really need you anymore. I personally get maybe one call every two or three weeks. How shall I go, Cell or Null?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Recycled story: Thank You For You Service

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thank You For Your Service : A little Story

Up and until about four years ago I never had these words said to me: "Thank You For Your Service".I'm a Vietnam Veteran, a Regular Army Volunteer that served four years on duty and one tour in Nam. I had some strange but minor things happen to me when I returned from Vietnam. No body shouted Baby-Killer directly to my face however. The shunning was low key and was mainly compose of avoidance, avoidance of acknowledging my service, avoidance of recognizing any sacrifice I had made, in fact just plain avoiding me.But four years ago a young man, not yet even born yet when I was in Nam, said to me, "Thank you for your service." It was like a lightning strike. It pierced my soul. I was extremely surprised at my emotional reaction to what he said.Since then, I have had three other young people say that to me when they somehow learn that I served in Vietnam.

Among ourselves, we Viet Nam Veterans, after we ascertain that someone has truly been to Nam, we have been saying, "Welcome Home". I guess that is some sort of secret code among us. Yes, even though nobody else gives a shit that you made it back, your brothers in arms do. Now the U.S. Government has tried several times to do something, albeit way to late, to say to the Nam Vets, "welcome home and thank you." It was always too little, too late, and half hearted and organized by some Nam Vets themselves. It just never took you know.It probably didn't help none that America when it finally elected people from the Vetnam era, elected mainly draft dodgers and Jodys to the Presidency while publicly pissing on the grunts who fought over there. ( Well how about McCain you say? McCain was an incompetent third generation Naval Beggar's Brat who got his rewards and honors at the expense of others. )

So after all that prep here is my little story.

A few weeks ago I was at a small family museum along Route 66 celebrating the Mother Road.The guy showing me around was about my age. A gruff dude, impatient to run me through the cases and trophies of the The Road so he could get back to a game on TV.

When we came to a display case with his fathers WWII dress uniform in it he talked about him and how he had fought on the beach on D-Day. Then he mentioned that when he got back from Nam he could fit into his Dad's uniform himself.Well that statement, elicited the testing questions from me and him to see if truly we had been in Nam. Then came a quick exchange of a few lies and war stories. At the end he said, "Welcome Home", and I said to him, "Yes and Welcome home to you too, and by the way , thank you for your service." Dang it we were shaking hands at the time, his grip tightened and his eyes began to tear up. "In all my life," he said, "No one has ever thanked me for my service."

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

How To Be Alone And Have Solitude By Yourself

I once wrote, " I live alone with my wife and family." It was true, I did. They had a bare hint of what had been a who and what I was even then. I wasn't hiding, but I wasn't there. That seems as though it should be sad. Sometimes it was. Christmas was lonely. My birthday was lonely. Other times not so much. Being alone was the way I was raised as a child. Out on the prairies, walking the fields, doing my things, exploring the world. My father told me once after my return from Africa that I had been gone since I learned to walk.

Sometimes you are alone because of betrayal. You are alone because you are unpopular or standing for an unpopular thing. Often, you are alone because you prefer it. Many times, because you are shy, you will be alone. Sometimes you are alone because you are depressed and withdrawn. That's the bad alone. That alone you need to find someone to help you with.

Solitude requires you be alone. You can have solitude if you have cats, even with three cats in your lap you are still alone. You can't be alone if you have a dog. Dogs do not allow solitude.

There is a skill to being alone:

Monday, November 8, 2010

New Dream, New Country, New Way Of Life!

The America of your parents is over. It is gone. It will never return. What we are fighting for now is what will the New America look like. Glenn Beck, Fox News, the Koch boys etc. are leaning towards Nativism and Fascism. The "Progressives" more towards the successful socialist models of Europe that we helped build after WWII.
Right now we are slipping into the Banana Republic mode, demonizing our opponents, arresting and jailing people for their credit card debt, preventing people from voting, and telling our poor to shut up and stay hidden out of the way.
What next?

"Americans have lived beyond their means for decades. It was a culture long defined by a mantra of entitlement, one that promised opportunities for all while ignoring the risks. Relentless and seemingly unstoppable upward mobility was the secular religion of the United States. Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, established the so-called ownership society, while Congress and the White House helped free it of the constraints of laws and regulations.
The dream was the country's driving force. It made Florida, Hollywood and the riches of Goldman Sachs possible, and it attracted millions of immigrants. Now, however, Americans are discovering that there are many directions that life can take, and at least one of them points downward. The conviction that stocks have always made everyone richer has become as much of a chimera in the United States as the belief that everyone has the right to own his own home, and then a bigger home, a second car and maybe even a yacht. But at some point, everything comes to an end."

A Super Power In Decline
SPIEGLE On Line International

Read the whole six part article. It is from the German perspective, but you will recognize everything discussed.

American Exceptialism, like any good ism is dead. It doesn't matter that it was a myth, it was our myth. Justice of the Idealistic in America died the day our SCOTUS violated the Constitution they were sworn to uphold and elected George W. Bush with 5 votes. Education and intellectualism are things to be scorned. Common sense based in ignorance is finding simple answers for complex problems.

So do we swing our dreams towards the Wiemar Republic model of the 1920s or towards something more socialistic? No we can't go back, we can't calm down and be reasonable, we can't just let a minority decide. The pessimist in me says buy some guns, the optimist say move to a place where the people are like you, the pragmatist says buy the guns, fill the Cuba Cabinet, and hunker down and see what happens.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Another Damn Paradigm Shift or Downshift :RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms

I have spent my adult life flowing in and out of the academic education world. It has been sort a warp and weft weaving of all sorts of worlds into this life but education makes up the bulk of the "tapestry". I have watch education stumble through paradigm shift after paradigm shift, reformations, and multiple revolutions. K-12 and higher education both have tried this that those and them and we always seem to come back to the 19th century models. Why?

One reason is simple demographics. The children are always saddled with their grandparents' systems and institutions. Up until the last 100 years that hasn't been any real problem. The technological and informational sectors of society varied little between the child and grandparent.

That's over now. Indeed a child's world doesn't even partially resemble that of their parents except in those static areas like government, religion, and education that are totally dominated by the past. Meanwhile economics, commerce, technology, etc. are six eight ten step ahead of those static systems. It is a complete mismatch, and is becoming a danger to the continuity of our culture.

Below is a 12 minute version of a lecture that exposes some of this. It is entertaining and informative and worth your investment of time. My next post will give you an opportunity to watch the long version.

Sir Ken Robinson - Changing Paradigms

Here we have the longer version for your edification.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Two Passenger City Car: We Need It Now!

It was on NBC's Today Show in Spring 2009 and was given what might be call a cold reception.

The P.U.M.A., a Segway/GM experimental prototype, zipped up and down the street, turned 360 degrees on its own radius, parked in 1/3rd the space. It would go 35 miles on a single plug in charge at home and would run at up to 35 mph.

"Take two companies whose products are sort of a joke, slap them together, and here's the result: The P.U.M.A., a sort of giant, two-person Segway that is designed for commuters, with a 35-mile range from its lithium-ion batteries."

Yes it was not well received.

"GM and Segway's joint venture is probably best described as a rickshaw without all the charm. The self-balancing Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility Project (P.U.M.A.)... No word on when or if this'll actually go into production but it's expected to be priced at just 25% that of a regular automobile. "
That was then.

This is now.
GM Unveils EN-V Concept: A Vision for Future Urban Mobility

"EN-V’s platform has evolved from the platform of the Personal Urban Mobility and Accessibility (P.U.M.A.) prototype that was developed by Segway and debuted in April 2009. Segway has worked collaboratively with GM to develop and deliver multiple copies of the drivetrain platform that seamlessly connect to and power the various EN-Vs.
EN-V is propelled by electric motors in each of its two driving-mode wheels. Dynamic stabilization technology empowers EN-V, giving it the unique ability to carry two passengers and light cargo in a footprint that’s about a third of a traditional vehicle. It can literally “turn on a dime” within its own operating envelope. In addition, everything in EN-V is drive-by-wire, supporting its ability to operate autonomously or under manual control. The motors not only provide power for acceleration, but also bring the vehicle to a stop.
Power for the motors is provided by lithium-ion batteries that produce zero emissions. Recharging can occur from a conventional wall outlet using standard household power, allowing EN-V to travel at least 40 kilometers on a single charge. EN-V can also improve the efficiency of the public electric infrastructure since the vehicle can communicate with the electric grid to determine the best time to recharge based on overall usage.
By combining the Global Positioning System (GPS) with vehicle-to-vehicle communications and distance-sensing technologies, the EN-V concept can be driven both manually and autonomously. "

"General Motors and its strategic partner, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Group (SAIC), share a common vision for addressing the need for personal mobility through a radical change in personal urban transportation."
Producing the car alone is not enough, a system supporting the use of this type vehicle must accompany it. How long do we have to wait?