Sunday, June 27, 2010

Accelerating Expansion of the Known Universe

For about the last 15 years, astronomers, who have long known about the expanding of the Universe, have been aware that that rate of expansion seems to be accelerating.

The phenomenon is sometimes attributed to "Phantom Energy," which is a concept like "dark matter" -- like "luminiferous ether," it was a concept that was thought of not because the thing named was detected, but rather because scientists observing the behavior of matter concluded, "Look, it simply HAS to be there!" In the case of "luminiferous ether" -- stuff which, when waves are in it, they are perceived by us as light -- it appears that scientists have been wrong.

I have a very simple explanation for the appearance that the Universe is expanding at an accelerating rate -- accelerating expansion is what being sucked inside a black hole looks like as one rushes faster and faster toward the center after entering the event horizon and experiencing time reversal.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Joke: The Stingy Bank Loan Officer

The bank President instructs the loan officer in the New York City office, "Listen, these are tough times. We have to eliminate risk from our loan portfolio. So, from now on, only lend money to people who don't need it. And make sure that those are well-secured loans."

The loan officer agrees.

A few minutes later, in walks a famous, fabulously wealthy movie star hunk and his voluptuous female escort. The movie star says, "Listen, I'd like to borrow $15,000."

The loan officer thinks, "WOW! This is unbelievable! A fabulously wealthy borrower, who clearly doesn't need the money!"

So, the loan officer puts on a grim, business-like face and says, "Ahem, I think that we can help you, sir. But, of course we'll need collateral."

The movie star smiles and says, "How about my brand new $1.7 million Burgatti Veyron, which does 0 to 60 in 2.6 seconds, and maxes-out at one-third the speed of sound!"

The loan officer thinks, "Sheesh! The world's most expensive sports car! That's security enough!" But, while he manages to retain his business-like demeanor, he has the movie star sign some papers, he receives his car keys from him, explains that the car will be parked in the bank's secure, insured car lot, and he gives him a bank check for $15,000.

The movie star smiles and says, "Your man will find the car parked in back of the building."

The bank president is shocked at the report of his loan officer's quick success, and writes a memo entitling him to a bonus with the next paycheck.

A week later, the movie star comes back to the loan officer, smiling, a different lovely girl hanging on his arm.

"I'm here to repay my debt," he says. "How much do I owe you?"

Puzzled, the loan officer takes out his calculator, and multiplies $15,000 x .07 interest -:- 52 weeks per year, and says, "That will be the $15,000 we loaned you, plus $20.19."

The movie star gives the loan officer back the bank's own $15,000 check, and a $20 bill and a quarter from his pocket. "Keep the change," he says. "Now, where are my car keys?"

The loan officer is numb with astonishment. "But if you did not even need the $15,000, why did you borrow it?"

The movie star smiles and says, "Where else can I park a $1.7 million car in Manhattan for a week for $20.19?"

Monday, June 21, 2010

If BP Fails to Cap the Well


As BP confesses that the amount of oil gushing from the well may be equal to 100,000 barrels a day -- surprise, surprise -- the world is pinning its hopes on the two wells being drilled to stop it.

But I think that all should assume that those efforts are going to fail.

I believe that at one point there was a proposal to use one of the two new wells to pump that gushing well full of cement.

But can that be done, at a depth and at pressures even higher then those at the well head?

And that assumes a drilling "bulls eye," doesn't it?

I believe that at another point there was talk of at least one of the wells being a relief well, which would removel oil and gas from the rock near the gusher, decreasing pressure at the gusher.

But, note -- even if the relief well turns out to be physically connected to the gusher well, the most the relief well can do is reduce the flow from the gusher by one-half.

And that assumes that all goes well.


As the oil gushes, gushes, gushes, gushes to the surface, the oil will spread out across the ocean's surface, killing quadrillions of oxygen-generating diatoms -- doing exactly what to humanity's oxygen supply?

That may seem like an absurd concept, now -- but will it, in two months? And if BP's efforts don't work, will it in 6 months, as the Gulf Stream begins carrying oil to Europe, and Canada and Russia?


I read some talk of a "nuclear option" -- running a nuclear device down the hole and collapsing the well. That sounds difficult, and risky. Let's say that we win the war against the pressure and get the device down the hole. Can we get it down far enough to avoid turning the surface of the sea floor inyo a rubble-filled crater which merely disperses the current flow over a wider area of sea floor?


I still prefer the device I designed a few weeks ago -- it runs a spring-loaded barb down the hole on the end of a piece of all-thread, and then a motor on a cap pulls the cap down the all-thread onto the well-head.


I also proposed running debris through a "straw" down a sock instead of directly into the oil flow and using that the plug the hole. If the sock is long enough and deep enough the mass in the sock might overwhelm pressure and plug the hole.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Where I Am on the Political Spectrum These Days

What has happened to me, philosophically, in the last several years is just amazing. I still regard myself as a broad-minded Christian conservative Republican. But the people around me would probably regard me as a crazy Communist radical if I laid-out my current perspective in all of its glory.

THE JFK ASSASSINATION: JFK was an immoral sex animal. He was a Catholic having sex with every good looking girl he could get his hands on. BUT, I think that a person has to be crazy to believe the single bullet theory. To me, it is clear that the federal intelligence services conspired with members of the Dallas Police Force to do him in.

THE VIETNAM WAR: Did you know that Ho Chi Minh came to us first, but we said, "No"? Oh, my heavens! I supported the Vietnam War, but I have since learned that the North Vietnamese were more conservative than President Nixon! As my son was watching that movie on "Woodstock," recently, I commented to him that the anti-war protesters there would have been shocked and angry at the conservatism of the North Vietnamese -- far, far, far to the right of President Nixon!!! -- and would have preferred President Nixon over the North Vietnamese!!!

How strange!!! How unbelievably strange!!!!

When we warred against North Vietnam, we warred against "mom and apple pie." No joke. We really did.

9/11: I have watched the World Trade Center buildings fall a hundred times. At this point I think that you have to be crazy to believe that a bunch of Arab terrorists were responsible.

Do you know what I think Osama Bin Laden is going to say, if he is captured alive? He is going to say, "What???!!! I did THAT???!!!"

But he will not be captured alive.

At this juncture, I think that 9/11 was about insurance coverage.

CORPORATE BONUSES: This subject makes me crazier than any other. AIG is small potatoes. Forget AIG.

They are ALL writing memos justifying "bonuses." Do you know what those memos say? They say, "I have very cleverly laid-off 150 employees, saving the corporation $15,000,000 this year. GIVE ME A BONUS!!!"

It is really theft from shareholders and employees.

It is evil.

Arrest them, please.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Death Jokes

A man goes to his doctor for a blood test, and then he goes on vacation.

After his vacation, the moment he steps in the door the telephone rings. The man picks up, and it's his doctor. "I've got good news and bad news for you," says the doctor.

"I'll take the good news first," says the man."

"The good news is that you have 24 hours to live," says the doctor.

"What???!!!" says the man, "What???!!! That's the 'good' news???!!! What in Heaven's Holy Name is the 'bad' news???!!!"

The doctor answered, "I started trying to call you yesterday."

A young man goes to his doctor, who gives him a very thorough examination. Finally, the doctor says, "I have some very bad news for you. You only have ten left to live."

"'Ten'!!!!!!!!!!" quotes the man angrily, "'Ten'!!!!!!!!!! Ten what?????????? Years? Months? Weeks? Days?"

"Nine..." the doctor answers.

The Case of the Teacher Guilty of Sin

Hypothetical is based on a real case:

Christian woman starts teaching 4th grade in a Christian school in early 2008.

She becomes engaged during the school year.

In January, 2009, she commits the sin of engaging in premarital sex with her future husband, and conceives a child by him.

They marry, as planned, in February, 2009.

In April, 2009, she goes to her principal, a woman, and announces her pregnancy, and requests 6 weeks unpaid maternity leave in the Fall.

During this discussion, the principal is told the probable due date, counts back, and says something like, "Wait -- did you conceive this child before marriage?"

"Yes," the teacher answers.

"You're fired, for immoral conduct," says the principal.

Then, the school notifies other teachers and parents of students that the fourth grade teacher was fired for engaging in the important sin of premarital sex.

The teacher sues the Christian school.

You are on the jury. Would find the school liable? If so, how much would you award as damages?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Which Reminds Me of a Joke...

A man walking along the beach in California sees a bottle in the sand and rubs it and out pops the genie, of course.

"Oh, no!," complains the genie, "Not another one! The fifth one this week! Don't tell me! You want three wishes, right? Well, forget the three wish business! You only get one, you moron, so choose wisely!"

Disconcerted, the man says, "I hate sailing, and I'm terrified of flying, so build me a steel bridge from here to Hawaii, so that I can finally visit Hawaii."

The genie responds, "Look, think of the problems entailed by your request -- billions of tons of concrete and steel. I'd have to enslave thousands, for your stupid little visit. The environmental impact would be giant. Getting state, federal and international approvals would be next to impossible. Shipping companies will be wildly opposed. Can't you think of something else?"

"Well," the man responds, "I can't understand women. I can't figure out what they mean when they talk in 'code.' They say one thing but mean the other. And all of this business about feelings and emotions. Can you explain women to me?"

The genie answes, "Will that be two lanes, or four?"

Kids on the High Seas

Forgive me for not publishing for awhile. Responsibilities win. Avocational endeavors lose.

The dismasting of 16 year old solo sailor Abby Sunderland's boat in the Indian Ocean this week, so that she was mistakenly feared lost by observers around the world, generated a flurry of nasty criticism of the parents by people around the world -- should responsible parents be allowing their teenagers to do such things?

When Robin Lee Graham began his famous solo voyage around the world in 1965, it was still a "National Geographic world" where costumed folk of marvelous lands opened their arms appreciatively to travelers from the West, in the warm afterglow of World War II.

No longer. By and large, the world is filled with hatred and coveting, terrorists and crime. They want to seize us, cook us and eat us for dinner, I think. It really is much changed.

Those social dangers are in addition to the dangers in an environment afflicted with global warming, where the average weather-bearing vortex is 50% larger and more powerful than they used to be, only a few decades ago. The seas are more dangerous than ever, as a consequence.

It sounds like I'm about to condemn Abby Sunderland's parents, right?


As our kids grew up, changes in our society forced me to amend Birds and the Bees discussions with them to include advice respecting extraordinary care even about kissing -- even polite let-me-get-to-know-you kissing -- of all things. Since the 1960s, growth hormone in our meats and unmetabolized birth control pill chemicals spread everywhere in the environment have pushed kids' bodies into puberty years and years earlier. Kids have begun having sex and bearing babies earlier than ever. Kids are contracting venereal diseases earlier than ever -- including the viral kind, for which there is no cure. Finally, kids are now customarily substituting head jobs for venereal sex to avoid pregnancy -- transfering virus-generated venereal disease, and the accompanying warts and sores from the crotches of infected children to their mouths. Thus my Birds and the Bees advice on care even about kissing.

Kissing has become a life-threatening enterprise, with possible devastating lifelong, life-threatening consequences.

So, here is my simple question for readers here: Who is safer? Abby Sunderland, alone on a sailboat in the middle of the wild Indian Ocean?

Or one of our kids on a date?

Surprisingly, it's a difficult question.

Sail on, Abby. Be careful, little honey, but sail on, sail on.