Archive for the ‘Science musings’ Category

Row, row, row your boson…

September 8, 2009

Gowland Harbour

The universe is nothing more than the dreams of the matter that lives in it.

 I will endeavor to explain why I believe this is so. I ask that you stick with me as I wade through some serious scientific concepts. The words may sometimes be big and unfamiliar but I will try to keep explanations of the concepts as simple as possible.

 Albert Einstein attempted to describe the nature of the universe mathematically. While he failed in his effort to arrive at the “Theory of Everything”, he is credited with what may be the most well known formula in the modern vernacular.

 Let’s have a peek at the formula E=mc² from a layman’s standpoint, shall we?

 It has three components – E – energy, m – mass and c – the speed of light. So just what are these things really?

 Wikipedia describes energy as “a scalar physical quantity that describes the amount of work that can be performed by a force” Work is nothing more than force multiplied by displacement of an object, or the quantity of energy transferred from one system to another. “Different forms of energy include kinetic, potential, thermal, gravitational, sound, light, elastic, and electromagnetic energy.” These forms of energy can all transform from one to another but when the amount of “work” each describes is factored, the amount of energy is the same. Often, two of these energy types can be linked together as a single entity. Electromagnetic radiation is energy propagated as electric and magnetic fields which vary over time.

According to the Georgia State University Department of Physics and Astronomy “the mass of an object is a fundamental property of the object; a numerical measure of its inertia (the tendency of a body to resist acceleration; the tendency of a body at rest to remain at rest or of a body in straight line motion to stay in motion in a straight line unless acted on by an outside force); a fundamental measure of the amount of matter in the object”. Matter is anything which occupies space and has mass. While the layman may believe that mass is an unchanging property of an object, at speeds approaching the speed of light one must consider the increase in the relativistic mass. Relativistic mass is simply the change that happens to mass as it approaches the speed of light. According to current theory, mass increases as speed increases until at the speed of light, mass is infinite.

The speed of light is the speed at which electromagnetic waves propagate (move) in a vacuum and is observed to be exactly 299,792,458 meters per second. It is theoretically presumed to be the fastest speed at which matter can travel. This theory is not applicable, however, to the quantum universe. Photons, which are the particles we observe as light, have been seen in experiments to actually travel faster than “the speed of light”. Confused yet? We will get to this in time.

So, we have looked at all three components in Einstein’s famous equation and time is an integral part of each. It is not mentioned directly in the equation. Time is also just a concept. While we can measure it in microscopic fractions with tools like atomic clocks, if we were able to put a clock on every discreet bit of matter, it would actually be different for each and every one if they were moving in relation to another. While relativistic differences are too small to be noticed by things moving at low speeds in relation to each other – such as two people moving toward or away from each other here on earth, those relativistic differences do exist and we can, in fact, measure them.

So, to briefly review, energy is a force doing work. Mass is a numerical measure of inertia – matter resisting changes in motion. The speed of light is how fast certain forms of energy travel in a pure vacuum. So far what we have are a bunch of concepts – force, work, speed, relativity, motion, time. Our universe is defined by concepts rather than by objects.

“But wait!” you say. “What about matter?” “It is not a concept! It actually occupies space. I can touch it and feel it. It affects me and I have an effect on it”.

I don’t think it is a fluke that matter is something defined by the concepts of mass and inertia. If we actually look at what we know about matter, it may just be conceptual too. Remember mass is the tendency of an “object” to resist changes in motion. The object – matter – has more mass the faster it goes so matter is not an unchanging thing. We just happen to live in a time and place in the universe where energy levels are fairly stable and so matter is fairly stable as well. Looking out at the universe we are able to see places (and times) where energy levels are not stable and so mass and matter are not either. We could likely not exist in our current form in much of the earlier universe – which we can see with powerful telescopes. We are also lucky we do not live near an unstable star where matter changes from one form to another and energy levels can and do fluctuate radically.

It is also not an accident that to really see what matter actually looks and behaves like we need to build gigantic and expensive particle accelerators and other experimental apparatus. These machines may also tell us that there are forms of matter which we cannot currently perceive (and which theoretically exists) but which actually make up a good part of the universe. This is really a clue as to how blind we really are from a human perspective. We are capable of sensing only a narrow view of the true universe and require technology to even begin to perceive the true fullness and beauty of “creation”. We are further limited by theoretical dogma and our perception of the universe is often based on outdated or flawed ideas.

On the surface and when looked at with human eyes, matter can be everything from opaque to invisible and exists in a number of states with which we are familiar. I refer to solids, liquids and gases. These forms of matter have everything to do with density and that has a lot to do with energy levels. Matter at a lower energy level will tend to be more solid and as energy levels rise it becomes liquid and then gaseous. There is also a fourth form of matter which in truth makes up most of the universe with which we are currently familiar. Plasma is matter which is gaseous and has been ripped apart into ions (atoms which have lost or gained electrons) and electrons. Our sun and all the other stars in the universe and a lot of the matter blown out by them is made of plasma. We are not done. Here things get strange to us. In reality, there are at least six forms of matter. The next two only exist at energy levels which are rare in our corner of reality. They are Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) and fermionic condensates. To understand these we need to be familiar with basic matter smaller than protons, neutrons and electrons.

In grade school science we learn that atoms are particles which have a nucleus of protons and neutrons with electrons in orbit around this core. We have all seen pictures taken by our most powerful x-ray microscopes and atoms look like nothing more than a grainy black and white photo of bubble pack. Molecules are just bunches of atoms stuck together. High school and university science tells us that protons, neutrons and electrons are also made up of three basic building blocks – quarks, leptons and bosons. The way these particles interact with each other determines what the form of matter will be. Break it down a bit further and we find quarks and leptons are made up of particles called fermions. There are a fairly large number of sub-atomic particles which have been discovered but for the purposes of our discussion, they are not important. They are simply particles which are combinations of fermions or bosons. If we are describing particles which do not have internal structure, that is they are not made up of any other particles, we are, by definition, discussing elementary particles. Current theory and physical observation show us that all matter in the universe is made up of fermions or bosons. We are not currently aware of anything smaller than these two elementary particles.

It has been possible, by cooling bosons and fermions to temperatures a few hundred billionths of a degree above absolute zero (the temperature at which ALL atomic movement stops, -273.15 C and theoretically not reachable by any means natural or experimental) to create Bose-Einstein condensates and fermionic condensates.

At this temperature (a microbe fart of a degree C above absolute zero) bosons can combine into an unstable superparticle called a Bose-Einstein condensate. This particle is a very strange speck of matter in a number of ways. Put two of these particles together and they merge. They behave as a single particle – not like a bunch of atoms stuck together, but as a single particle. They are not solid or a gas or a vapor but a new state of matter altogether. BECs can only be made from normal atoms where the number of protons, neutrons and electrons added together is an even number – sodium or rubidium for example. Try to make them from normal atoms with an odd number of protons, neutrons and electrons and nothing happens.

A fermionic condensate is produced in a similar manner, using potassium-40 atoms. Potassium-40 just so happens to have an odd number of protons, neutrons and electrons. Fermions do not appreciate being forced to clump together so a much different experimental technique and apparatus is required than that used in producing BECs. Fermionic condensates are even stranger and at this point in time less well understood. To even begin to appreciate what these particles are, scientists turn to quantum physics.

Very discreet statistical differences in conditions in the experimental apparatus result in very different particle behavior. Described mathematically, this behavior becomes a probability. This probability is further described as a quantum state. The quantum state of a particle gives some indication as to whether it will act like a particle or a wave.

A truly strange thing about these two forms of matter is that when two or more BECs or fermionic condensate particles interact they do not just join like atoms do. Atoms hook on to each other by linking electron clouds. Their nuclei tend to remain unchanged. These new forms of matter actually merge to become a single particle. One of the behaviors scientists have found is that where the parts of BECs or fermionic condensate particles overlap when merging, sometimes the “atoms” (the individual bosons or fermions) in this new particle DO behave like waves on a pond and cancel each other out. These “atoms” do not blow up, they just disappear. They are not destroyed. They simply show up instantaneously elsewhere at a point where two “waves” add up together to make a bigger “wave”. It is here that “matter” truly becomes a matter of probability. Particles appear and disappear without energy being lost or gained and those particles might seem to move quite large atomic distances instantaneously. We have no way of labeling individual particles which are so small, so we cannot be certain that it is a specific particle which moves from one place to another, but regardless, the speed of light becomes meaningless.

Let’s get back to the point now shall we. We have come to understand that the existence of the basic building blocks of matter is just mathematical probability.

 When we view the universe through the lens of quantum physics everything becomes a probability. Matter and time become mutable things. It is not just weird thoughts racing through the confused minds of nutty professors either. Actual experiments have shown matter appearing and disappearing. Photons have been noted to travel faster than light. The deeper we peer into the atomic universe, the less likely it seems we will actually “see” atomic sized particles. We observe the effect particles have on the space and other matter around them but actually see more space in between those particles rather than the particles themselves. It seems more and more likely that matter is really just probable rather than certain. So where does that leave us?

 Let’s draw another simple comparison shall we? Human thought is physically seen to be nothing more than nerve impulses firing in the brain – nothing more than chemical reactions causing electrons to move from one place to another. From that simple biological basis arise memory and emotion, creativity and planning, dreams and godhead. How can all these infinitely complex things come from a simple chemical reaction in a biological matrix?

 Human perception is nothing more than the interaction of atomic particles. As far as we know, when those interactions cease, perception ceases. We label it death.

 It is only human hubris which presumes that other organized forms of matter are without perception. We have become aware that life forms similar to us are capable of perceptually experiencing those things humans are able to do – all but thoughts of god – and that may be simply because we do not understand the language of that life form. If that is so, it becomes possible to believe that simpler life forms might have simpler forms of memory and creativity and even of godhead.

 As we expand our knowledge of the universe we must also expand our understanding of consciousness.

 Particles seem behave in certain and specific ways both when alone and when in bunches but when we peer deeper into the atomic world particles become more of a probability and less of a certainty. They have causative behavior if they are acting as elementary particles combining to make a proton or as neurons firing in a human brain or as one galaxy colliding with another.

 In point of fact, while we are theoretically aware of the existence of certain particles, we have yet to be able to confirm that existence through “direct” observation. Big on the list for particles for which scientists would like confirmation are gravitons, Higgs bosons and a whole raft of charged particles such as neutralinos, charginos, squarks and others (all “superpartners” of known and as of yet theoretical particles). Small and fleeting as they are, they may actually end up being the bulk of the “physical” universe until we come up with a new physical model. Our understanding of our place in the universe must necessarily change if we find that it is much different than what we currently believe.

 The point is that the more we know the less we know. Particle interaction can result in consciousness and yet we have yet to actually “see” a particle. What we do know is that as far as we know matter is energy. Without energy there is no consciousness. There, I said it. We can describe particles and the effect they have on the universe around them but all we are really measuring is energy.

 The contention of this essay is that the universe exists only in the consciousness of the energy within it and that universe is as simple or as complex as the amount of energy involved. I am of the opinion that every individual exchange of energy creates its own universe and while we as humans may think we agree on the nature and existence of a single universe, in fact we all perceive something unique to ourselves. EVERY view of the universe is unique no matter how complex the descriptive framework may be on which we agree. It may be that the more we learn about the universe, the closer we will come to understanding this argument. Until then I suppose we will bumble around making presumptions (as I just have) based on incomplete hypotheses. It is the human way. It is also totally entertaining.

Oh, and one more thing. Before you take this argument to heart and try walking through a wall, remember, you will need to convince the consciousness of the energy which makes up the atoms of the wall, that your perception is in fact the true one and that each of those atoms needs to let you pass because you believe they must. Otherwise you will just bump your nose.

If I could save time in a (magnetic) bottle…

October 30, 2008




The question for this essay is – what is time – really?


Albert Einstein opened wider the mathematical door to understanding time more completely and yet he commented that time is what you measure with a clock. He showed mathematically, that even with perfectly synchronized clocks, time is totally subjective and is completely related to movement. That is a terribly important concept. Take two clocks in perfect sync. If one remains stationary and the other begins to move away from it, they will no longer measure the same passage of time in relation to each other. The moving clock will actually seem to run more slowly than the stationary clock. The faster the moving clock is in relation to the stationary clock, the slower time for the moving clock will seem to the stationary clock. See the relationship? The higher the speed differential, the slower the speeding clock will seem to be. There is a balance in mathematical terms. The beauty is that subjectively, time is the same for both clocks. Objectively (that is MEASURABLY) the two clocks will not agree as to the passage of time. The fast moving clock will seem to be operating normally from its own viewpoint and by comparison, the stationary clock will seem to be running more quickly. So how can this be?


Is it not a similar subjective movement of time we feel when waiting FOREVER in the doctor’s office? There is no easy answer but there is a surprising one. The subjectivity of time passing between an impatient patient and one engrossed in a good book will be entirely different but if those patients had perfectly synced clocks, those clocks would remain more or less synced. So it seems we have a second kind of subjectivity. The beauty is that while subjective time for the individuals involved is different, clock time remains the same – so we still have balance. This balance is similar to the previous example where the clocks are moving in relation to each other but time seems to be passing at the same rate for each individual clock – just not in relation to each other. There is a balance in both examples but in the first case the physical relationship between the clocks is in flux while in the second the perception of time is in flux.


So, we are back to the same question – kind of. Maybe the question should be – is time real? By that I mean does time exist without mathematics to define it or movement, equipment and intellect to objectify it? Even if we apply all four of these things to time, each can give us a different subjective result.


Long before the advent of mechanical devices to measure time, mankind measured time in the passage of seasons. As our conceptual abilities expanded we began recording the passage of moon phases and days. As our ability to record the passage of time improved, our ability to further refine time into smaller bits continually improved. What began as a stick in the ground measuring the movement of a shadow has now become a cesium atomic clock cooled to within a few millionths of a degree of absolute zero (the conceptual point where all atomic movement stops). It now turns out that absolute zero is a concept too. The closer we get to it the slower atoms move but really, scientists have now come to believe atoms will never freeze to a stop completely – ever. This means as our ability to cool atoms further improves, we might eventually chop time into infinitely smaller bits but are we any further ahead than when we measured time as spring or fall?


Atomic clocks are so accurate today we can easily measure the difference in synchronicity between a stationary clock and one moving even slowly in relation to it. Our ability to measure time reinforces Einstein’s theory that the closer to the speed of light a clock approaches, the slower the moving clock will appear in relation to a syncronized but stationary one. At the speed of light, time on the moving clock will appear to stop in relation to time on the stationary clock.


We have also observed that photons, the particles of which light is composed and which we know can be either particles or waves, can appear to travel faster than light. In the new world of quantum physics, we can show that a photon which is behaving as a particle can “tunnel” through a quantum barrier and appear on the other side of that barrier instantaneously – apparently traveling faster than light. We have also observed that two photons from the same source but which are distant from each other can influence one another’s behavior in a manner which can be described as instantaneous and therefore faster than light. It’s beginning to look like time is a bit more complex than looking at our watches.


Then we have theoretical evidence of the existence of particles called tachyons which can move faster than light. In our search for these and other esoteric particles we have built larger and ever more powerful machines called colliders. The current king of colliders is the Large Hadron Collider in Europe and the initial goal of this machine is to find the only particle in the Standard Model (describing the basic building blocks of our universe) which we have yet to find. That particle is the Higgs boson. One of my favorite people and one of the brightest I know (although a bit of a Ludite) despairs over “watching the boffins do jigs over giant machines” while people are starving in Africa. She is right of course but if the boffins are successful we might find that our perception (there is that word again) of the universe is so limited as to be almost blind to reality. We might compare it to the difference between what our eyes are capable of seeing and what is truly visible if we are capable of viewing the universe in all wavelengths (such as infrared, x-ray and microwave radiation). So why should we care if our perception is limited?


The simple answer is that just as we first poked a stick in the ground to get a better idea of the passage of time, we need to continue to build on our understanding of the universe. Finding this final particle in the standard model will show us that we are not completely full of crap so far as current theory goes and that we are on the right track to better understanding “the way things work”. It may also show us an entirely new way of seeing our universe. There is a suggestion that if we can find the elusive Higgs boson, we will also find that we live in an ocean of bosons in which we move like a spaceship would move in intergalactic space – that is to say in a vast emptiness where the nearest stars are millions of light years away but in a universe where there are uncountable stars. In fact, if Higgs bosons are shown to exist, we are likely to find that bosons are the REAL bulk of matter in the universe. Theorists postulate the density of Higgs bosons is actually so great that for every particle of matter we can perceive, there are uncountable billions or trillions or more of Higgs bosons, although we currently have no way of perceiving them. So, WHY SHOULD WE CARE you ask again? Well it turns out that the Higgs boson is theoretically related to an effect called the Higgs field which is in turn responsible for an effect which imparts mass to otherwise massless particles and these particles – once they have mass imparted to them become photons, quarks, gluons, leptons and (W+, W-, Z) bosons which are the basic building blocks of all matter.


So why did we end up here? Were we not discussing time? Well, it turns out we still are discussing time. If we live in a universe where the vast majority of particles are currently invisible to us no wonder time is confusing. This is even truer if these currently invisible particles are intimately related to an effect which allows time to exist by giving otherwise massless (therefore predictably faster than light) and hence timeless particles the ability to take on mass and then form into clumps of things we can perceive in both time and space. If you didn’t get that, read it again, it’s important.


If large numbers of particles in the universe can exist in a massless and timeless state no wonder time is subjective to us. We might be trying to understand reality from the same standpoint as a bacterium trying to read and understand Homer’s Iliad.


OK, here is the kicker. If we exist in a largely invisible (to us) universe, is it not possible that our very awareness as humans springs from this invisible universe? It might explain a great deal. Since the human race became capable of stringing two thoughts together we have created a mythology of life after (and sometimes before) death. If our consciousness is rooted outside time and space then we really are immortal in the truest sense and when our physical bodies die, we simply ditch the part which is limited by time and space.  


WAIT A MINUTE! How do we get to the point where consciousness is outside time and space? Well, does consciousness have mass? Do we not – each and every one of us – experience timelessness every night when we sleep? Do we not have a racial mythos of life after death and a huge body of near-death and return-from-death tales? Can we not have effect on our time sense through meditation or drug use or mood or attitude? Never mind the damned atomic clocks which we know will never perfectly agree with each other.


And don’t get me started on memory or dreams!


All these things are possible if our consciousness is structured by and rooted in particles which we assume exist outside “normal” time and space. A structure of tachyons is an interesting possibility but the Higgs boson is looking like a better bet in the short term.


Unless we continue to expand our understanding of how the universe really works we are just wandering around in the dark. It has been a fun trip for the human race so far but I believe we are trying to formulate opinions without enough information. I am not certain finding the Higgs boson will give us a better understanding of consciousness but it is a lead pipe cinch it will not make us more ignorant and maybe, just maybe, will take us further down the road to figuring out who we really are and why we experience the universe the way we do. Possibly, it will give us a much better understanding of time and if it really has any importance in our existence. We may just find that time is a construct which allows us to objectify mass and therefore create our own reality.


I have personally found myself standing at the door to timeless existence and while I do not feel able to explain what I experienced, one thing has become perfectly clear. One does not need ANY particular belief to experience that which I experienced. One simply needs to be capable of experiencing without prejudice. Time may currently be a mystery but that is not to say it will always be so. We may very soon discover that time is no more mysterious than heat from a fire. We just have yet to see the fire.





All shook up

October 5, 2008
The mainland, looking east from Quadra Island

The mainland, looking east from Quadra Island

Living on the west coast is marvelous. The weather is polite, the scenery spectacular, the people friendly.

What we forget is that we live in an active fault zone which has generated the most powerful quake recorded in modern times. Alaska experienced a 9.3+ quake in 1964. The geological record shows similar massive ruptures in the past as well. In the early 17th century, Japan was hit by an enormous “orphan” tsunami (no local earthquake before hand). The source has been found to be off northern Vancouver Island in what is known as the Cascadia subduction zone.

The Cascadia subduction zone is both large and complex, covering an area from the northern US coastal states to Alaska and from the coastal mountains in the east; well out into the Pacific Ocean. Mount St. Helens and Mount Baker rise in this zone and Vancouver Island comprises a large piece of it.

Earthquake theory predicts periods of gradual strain building along a fault until the pressure is released in an earthquake. What has been found during recent observations in the Cascadia subduction zone (hereafter called the CSZ) has been quite different. One of the most active segments of the CSZ is about 80 kilometers north-west of the tip of Vancouver Island. Here, small quake “swarms” occur every eighteen months or so, with values on the Richter scale rarely exceeding 5.0. It might be expected that these swarms would release strain along the fault and while this seems partially true, observations show strain drops only marginally and then begins to build again, rising fairly rapidly to levels above those found before the swarm. Core samples and coastal sediments indicate the last major quake in the central CSZ was over four hundred years ago, so we are well past the “normal” release period of a couple of hundred years between major quakes.

By comparison, the San Andreas fault, further south, ruptures fairly regularly with quakes occasionally over 8.0 releasing strain where those quakes occur. What seems (in my opinion) to be different in the CSZ is that while the San Andreas is fairly straight and the boundary between the Pacific plate and the continental plate fairly well defined, the CSZ has a large chunk of continental plate which is not North American interfering with subduction of the Pacific plate. That chunk drifted across the Pacific before piling into North America millions of years ago and is now known as Vancouver Island.

So what does this mean for those of us who live in the CSZ (and those around the Pacific Ocean who would be affected by a tsunami generated from a major quake)? Seattle, Tacoma, Portland, Vancouver and Victoria are major cities which have never experienced a major quake and if a quake of the expected possible magnitude were to occur, it could eclipse the largest in California by a factor of ten times or more. It remains to be seen what might be left standing if, no WHEN, this happens.

All we can really do is continue (albeit with more urgency) to retrofit old buildings to meet current earthquake standards, build to more stringent standards now and in the future, become intimately familiar with the tsunami warning system and personally prepare for significant disruptions in supplies and transportation at some time between this moment and the not too distant future.

We do live in interesting times

Coming through

September 12, 2008

As a verbally challenged individual with an overactive mind, I find myself reflecting on the nature of communication. Just what qualifies as communication? It is obviously not just words.

Human written and verbal communication, while able to convey extraordinarily complex ideas is able to both enlighten and obfuscate depending on the agenda and delivery of the originator and the intellectual balance and viewpoint of the recipient. Symbolic languages such as mathematics would, on the surface, appear less open to interpretation, but again seem to depend on the capabilities of both the “speaker” and the “listener”. Human communication is a dog’s breakfast, best served with a grain of salt (how’s that for mixing metaphors?). We have always assumed that what separated us from animals was our ability to displace, to imagine ourselves outside our immediate time and place. We now know that at least one other species – the great apes, is also capable of displacement. A number of apes have proven capable of learning American sign language and have communicated ideas every bit as complex as those of a preschool child. They have even shown amazing creativity by combining symbols in new ways and creating new symbols to convey ideas not available to them with the vocabulary they were originally taught.

A number of other “higher” mammal species (dolphins are a prime example) are observed to have a structured vocabulary of sounds. It is possible, therefore, that other species are capable of displacement but since we have yet to decode non-human communication we can’t yet be sure. Is it possible, given the enormous vocabularies of these other species and the certainty that at least one non-human species can displace, that they (dolphins for instance) can dissemble?

Many animal species use sound to communicate but again, in more complex organisms, we observe the nature of those sounds depends on the state of the originator. Dogs, for instance, in similar situations will vocally express themselves differently based on whether they are excited, frustrated, fearful, neurotic or aggressive (among other things) and yet be thought to be “speaking” the same “word”. When we include body language (a dog’s primary form of communication) the complexity increases dramatically. Many animal species communicate primarily through body language, others via scent, touch or taste. It seems ANY combination of the five senses can be used to communicate. Can it be possible then that any non-symbolic, sensory based communication in organisms considered less intellectually complex than humans might be able to convey complex ideas and possibly exhibit displacement? Is the ability to dissemble really a stretch then?

Should communication as a definition be limited to the five senses? A case might be made that all interactions in this universe are a result of some form of communication. Even at the atomic level, can we accept that an electron communicates with a nucleus via “language” based on charge? There is certainly an extraordinary amount of complexity even in this supposedly simplest of relationships. If we view this interaction through the lens of quantum physics, things become stranger and more complex still. Particles on opposite sides of the universe can directly affect each other or can change state from particle to wave or can exist in more than one place at a time. Could this by definition be a case of the particle creating its own reality and affecting other particles based on what it “decides” to do? Could this be considered dissembling?

If, as it appears, this quantum “communication” is instantaneous, what of possible interactions which require centuries or millennia or aeons or longer? What of the stately dance of galaxies as they wheel through interstellar space? I can not imagine any interaction more complex than two or more groups of billions of stars moving around or through each other. Does this complexity allow – even create – new and totally unique forms of communication?

So, we finally get to the point of this little exercise. While I am having trouble learning French, I find myself convinced that if I could learn the underlying language of this reality I could, in fact, convince walls that I could walk through them.

On –

September 9, 2008


A guy goes to the doctor. He has a cucumber in one ear, a sausage in the other and a pineapple up his nose. He says to the doc “Doc, I’m not feeling well. What is wrong with me?” The doc replies “It’s obvious. You are not eating right”

Doctors are always telling me I’m not eating right and I have yet to find a pineapple up my nose…..

Fan worship

I don’t like movie stars, popular musicians or any other famous people. They tend to be SO narcissistic. Every time I have hung out with one they only want to talk about themselves and NEVER want to talk about ME.

Climate change

Recent findings in the geological record show that volcanic activity has increased threefold in the last 1000 years. This means a threefold increase in greenhouse gases, acid rain and atmospheric particulates. These increases predate the industrial revolution by many centuries and the number of cow and sheep farts previous to that are insignificant (although they are one fifth of modern “emissions” and attributable to mankind as keeper of cows and sheep). 

Modern industrial emissions total about one tenth of current volcanic output. and while they are laden with man-made chemicals, heavy metals, carcinogens and other nasty stuff, the atmosphere just doesn’t care. What is true is that even if mankind were to reduce their output to zero, global warming would still be a fact. This is not to mean we should just carry on polluting. Nooooo. We must clean up our act or poison the earth. But, we must also prepare for the effects climate change will bring because whatever we do, climate change will happen. Change is good, right? Hmmmm. If you live at sea level you might want to look for a house in the mountains.