This portion of my site is powered by Blosxom. Blosxom is a perl script whose functionality here is extended through several plugin scripts in order to dynamically assemble a multitude of separate plain text files stored in a directory tree on the server into a cohesive, dated and RSS enabled weblog. Now in daily (r)sync with the directories on Nate's Powerbook.
Return to in8sworld.net
The topic of how best to charge cell phone batteries and ipods or run a small nebulizer while camping has come up before. This file is just some notes I don't want to lose. We might choose to use a battery and an inverter. Optionally we could charge the battery from a 50W solar panel. Today, to run an oscilliscope off a battery we used the following equipment:
Vector 225 Watt Inverter
Lifeline GPL-U1T battery
For camping we should really get a deep discharge battery (scooter and marine batteries) since these are designed to be fully discharged unlike car batteries which are always being charged by the alternator and don't like being fully discharged.
To calculate how long stuff will run, do some back of the hand calculations. You need to find out the wattage each device uses. For a single laptop which uses a transformer rated at 65W (obviously this is a peak value and will not use this much power all the time). Assuming we find a 55Ah deep discharge 12V battery we could run that laptop at peak power for about 10 hours.
55Ah (battery rating) * 12V (battery voltage) = 660VAh / 65W (device wattage found on transformer) = 10 h
Since its unlikely that we'll be playing with a laptop for 10 hours while camping, but instead just charging cell phones this seems entirely doable.
"We are all made of atoms which were here when the Earth formed, lo these many years ago"
In a general sense you're right - and its a profound thought. Technically, the earth gains about 100 million kg of mass each year due to meteorite impacts (at the same time its losing some similarly insignificant amount of mass from the atmosphere as well). Since some meteorites contain iron or nickel we could theoretically have some atoms in us that weren't actually on earth when it formed.
Here's something to think about while you gaze out that window.
What you're looking at when you see the Helderbergs is the result of what is called "differential erosion". The very top of the "scarp" (as its called) is made up of (Hamilton group) shales (like weak slates) that don't erode as quickly as the underlying Helderberg limestones. (This is the same principle that is seen at and is the reason why there is a Niagra Falls). The result (from millions of years of erosion as rainwater sought what is now called the Mohawk River) leaves a "scarp" (a precipitous drop where trees and grasses can't always get a good hold so in places you'll see the rock layers).
These layers (both the shales on top and the limestone below are evidence that where you are was once at the bottom of a huge sea because shale and limestone are only formed only at the bottom of seas. Limestone is a "sedimentary" rock (rock that is made up of lots of little bits of something compacted together) in this case, composed of grains of calcium carbonate (most grains being the skeletal fragments of marine organisms that have died and settled to the bottom of a sea. Geologists think that the shale layers (made of particles of mud and other bits of rock) on top are all that is left of the huge mountains that once rose out to your left (I'm assuming you're looking south by southwest). Even though the ground upon which the room you're in sits seems solid enough, it is rising imperceptibly still, because all the weight of those ancient mountains has been eroded away and the land as far as you can see every year weighs less and rises higher above the more dense rock upon which it "floats" like the froth at the top of a boiling brew pot.
If you dig into these layers you should be able to find fossil evidence of sea creatures from the Silurian and Devonian periods (~400-340 million years ago) when where you are right now was within about 10 degrees of the equator! Finding anything which has been identified as being from a more recent time than the Devonian would completely and utterly destroy the entire theory of "deep time" which is the basis of the theories of geology and evolution (unless it could be explained somehow). Enough field work has been done that I am confident that this will never happen. The only creatures that lived during the Silurian (whose dead carcasses formed the lower limestones) were sea-going, though the very first amphibians have left evidence in that top shale layer (the Devonian).
What you are seeing out there is the earth's untidy basement. The very beginning of everything you can see and recognize as life.
For most of pre-history, human societies had words only for "one", "two", and "many". We can easily remember patterns of twos and threes, but give most people a set of 10 numbers to memorize and our eyes glaze over. Humans have an even tougher time conceiving of truly large numbers. Our penchant for the lottery is evidence of this - if we understood the odds better we'd probably never play. Many people confuse million and billion even though they are vastly different in scale - all those zeros make our heads spin. We are just not "designed" to be able to appreciate the vastness of space and time and so I'm not sure that its so much an arrogance as a real disability that makes it difficult for humans to accept that it is extremely unlikely that we are alone in the universe.
Well put, all very good points. The internet and TV advertising has made everyone an armchair medical professional so we're all demanding expensive services and drugs we wouldn't have even known about 10 years ago. Information is a double edged sword though, as I believe the more transparency we can bring to health care the better it will get. Here's another example of lack of transparency:
Those that run a business know very well how much the insurance plan is costing the company because they are the ones negotiating it with the insurance company. The way insurance has been rising lately, CFOs may be re-negotiating that contract every year, sometimes going with a new plan entirely each time meaning that employees may end up having to change their doctors, or suddenly pay a lot more out of pocket for co-pays. However, the scam seems to be that the insurance company will offer the principals of a company a much better plan and then cheap out on the plan they offer to the employees. The employees never see any of the details of the arrangement or have any way to know how much the plan is really costing the employer so they don't know they are getting the proverbial shaft. This is one very big reason why health insurance should not be an employer-based system - the company actually has an incentive to screw the employees!
If the total energy of the universe is finite, then the total energy that any civilization can recover and metabolize is finite as is all recoverable information content. Therefore, life must eventually cease to exist and all record of its existence disappear as well. The only strategy life has is to reduce its energy consumption rate in order to... Read More prolong the inevitable as long as possible. This is a very sucky state of affairs for life - so I say "Damn the Electrons, Full Speed Ahead!" [see Life and Death in an ever expanding Universe, Krauss and Starkman at Case Western, 1999]
Induction and deduction are pervasive elements in critical thinking. They are also somewhat misunderstood terms. Arguments based on experience or observation are best expressed inductively, while arguments based on laws or rules are best expressed deductively. Most arguments are mainly inductive. In fact, inductive reasoning usually comes much more naturally to us than deductive reasoning.
Inductive reasoning moves from specific details and observations (typically of nature) to the more general underlying principles or process that explains them (e.g., Newton's Law of Gravity). It is open-ended and exploratory, especially at the beginning. The premises of an inductive argument are believed to support the conclusion, but do not ensure it. Thus, the conclusion of an induction is regarded as a hypothesis. In the Inductive method, also called the scientific method, observation of nature is the authority.
In contrast, deductive reasoning typically moves from general truths to specific conclusions. It opens with an expansive explanation (statements known or believed to be true) and continues with predictions for specific observations supporting it. Deductive reasoning is narrow in nature and is concerned with testing or confirming a hypothesis. It is dependent on its premises. For example, a false premise can lead to a false result, and inconclusive premises will also yield an inconclusive conclusion. Deductive reasoning leads to a confirmation (or not) of our original theories. It guarantees the correctness of a conclusion. Logic is the authority in the deductive method.
If you can strengthen your argument or hypothesis by adding another piece of information, you are using inductive reasoning. If you cannot improve your argument by adding more evidence, you are employing deductive reasoning.
Its the same principle that makes the sky blue (when we're not having wonderful sunsets). Those longer wavelengths of light (the reds and oranges) pass right through the atmosphere, while the shorter wavelengths (blue) hit gas molecules in our atmosphere and scatter about. If we had no atmosphere, not only would we all be dead, but there would be no blue sky at all. A visitor in a space suit standing on the surface would look out at a black sky dotted by tiny stars and a bright white sun about the same angular size in the sky as the moon.
White shelled eggs come from chickens of Mediterranean background. Brown shelled eggs come from American breeds. Blue and green shells come from a South American breed called Araucana. The color of the shell has nothing to do with flavor or nutritional value. These factors are directly related to the chicken's diet. Chickens that are fed foods with strong flavors such as onions or garlic will lay eggs with a distorted flavor.
Information from 'Your Chickens, a Guide to Raising and Showing' by Gail Damerow. ISBN: 0882668234
I have several varieties of chicken here at home. They are all fed the same feed. Even though I have brown, white, and green egg laying varieties, the eggs all taste the same.
The structure of human populations is relevant in various epidemiological contexts. As a result of variation in frequencies of both genetic and nongenetic risk factors, rates of disease and of such phenotypes as adverse drug response vary across populations. Further, information about a patient’s population of origin might provide health care practitioners with information about risk when direct causes of disease are unknown.
The picture that begins to emerge from this and other analyses of human genetic variation is that variation tends to be geographically structured, such that most individuals from the same geographic region will be more similar to one another than to individuals from a distant region.
T = c + 40
I am not an authority on this topic, but I was thinking the problem might be rooted in the fact that religions were once the sole body of answers to the mysteries of the world. They were based on the heroic and fantastic oral histories of pre-literate peoples which changed with the telling, and adapted to new situations and events. The major players in these pagan religions were obviously once men who had walked the earth, but who had become God-like in the re-telling, thier specific identities lost in time. Then came writing - religions that were founded in literate societies like Christianity and Islam were codified, their heros fixed in time - unchanging. The stories could no longer mutate subtely in the telling to incorporate new information. As the sciences rose to supply new answers, these religions found items in their texts that were at odds with the scientific explanations, and a choice had to be made to reject one of the two philosophies. In a sense, it is ironic that writing and a literate populace have brought forth the swift advance of science and reason open to new ideas and solutions while it has at the same time doomed adherents of major religions to a static, unchanging worldview.
Re:How about more truth in politics?
Wow, who do you work for, Shell, Total, or Exxon? This Argumentum Ad Hominem is by far the worst spin I have ever seen on the most promising alternatives to dino-fuels. What is the half trillion dollars we are "investing" in Iraq if not oil industry subsidies?
Not to mention that bio-fuels are cumulatively far less CO2 producing because the plants that comprise it grew by photosynthesis which removes carbon dioxide from the air.
Bio-fuels are the perfect transitional solution for weaning the United States off of its petroleum addiction. We can stop paying farm subsidies to keep farming viable - demand would rise and we wouldn't have to pay to keep farmers from farming. We can reuse all of our current fuel infrastructure (refineries, fuel tankers, gas pumps, etc) with next to no investment.
Bio-fuels would release us from foreign oil dependence, substantially drop our CO2 emissions, costs us nearly nothing, and save us money on farm subsidies. A nice crutch until we can arrive at an end-to-end solution for "zero-emission" fuel.
Lastly, bio-fuels have other positive aspects, for example biodiesel: 0 sulfur emissions, 2/3 less exhaust smoke (over dino-diesel), far superior lubricating qualities (than dino-diesel), etc.
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill scientists say no good evidence exists to indicate that dinosaurs are the ancestors of modern birds.
Alan Feduccia and colleagues say fossilized structures found in China that some paleontologists claim are the earliest known rudimentary feathers were not feathers. Instead, Feduccia -- a professor of avian evolution, paleobiology and systematics -- says the fossilized patterns appear to be bits of decomposed skin and supporting tissues that just happen to resemble feathers to a modest degree.
"We all agree that birds and dinosaurs had some reptilian ancestors in common," said Feduccia. "But to say dinosaurs were the ancestors of the modern birds we see flying around outside today ... is a big mistake."
A report on the team's research appears in the online Journal of Morphology.
Copyright 2005 by United Press International
Evolution is a fact. The processes we call 'micro-evolution', or minor changes in populations of organisms in measurable time have been shown to occur in a lab. Micro-evolution does not include changes that are large enough to describe a new species, but instead are small-scale processes that are generally undisputed by critics of Evolution. Macro-evolution describes evolution on a large scale over longer that measurable time with the eventual rise of new species. Macro-evolutionary theory includes common ancestry, descent with modification, speciation, the relatedness of all life, transformation of species and large scale functional and structural changes of populations through time resulting in new species.
The theory of Common Descent concerns the genetic origins of living organisms (though not the ultimate origin of life) and states that all life on Earth are genetically related to some degree. According to this theory, all modern living organisms with all their incredible differences are the progeny of one single species in the distant past. There are four fundemental criteria that characterize all life: 1) replication 2) heritability 3) catalysis 4) metabolism. If all these functions are required for life and life descended from a species that included these four functions, then all life found today should perform these functions and should have inhereted the structures used to perform them. A basic prediction of Common Descent is that all life we find should be very similar in the mechanisms and structures that perform these functions. This is testable, which makes this a scientific theory - if we find one species that does things differently, we will have to modify the theory to accomodate it or throw it out.
All life found to date use the same polymers to perform these four functions: polynucleotides, polypeptides, and polysaccharides. Regardless of the species, the DNA, RNA and proteins used in known living systems all have the same chirality. Chirality describes the 'handedness' of a molecule, describing two molecules that are mirror images of each other called stereoisomers. RNA has 16 stereoisomers, but all life uses an RNA of one specific chirality.
Replication in all species is performed by the same polymer (DNA or RNA) which is synthesized using only four nucleosides (of which there are 99 naturally occurring).
All life must catalyze chemical reactions necessary for life. In all known organisms, enzymatic catalysis is based on protein molecules (and rarely on RNA molecules), there are 320 naturally occurring amino acids known, however the protein molecules used by all known organisms are constructed with the same subset of 22 amino acids.
All known organisms with few exceptions (which are minor variations) share a universal genetic code which transmits genetic information to the catalytic material.
All organisms found to date use extremely similar, if not the same, metabolic pathways and metabolic enzymes in processing energy-containing molecules. All eukaryotes and the majority of prokaryotes perform glycolysis in the same ten steps in the same order using the same ten enzymes. The most basic unit of energy storage is the same in all species that have been studied: ATP. Many molecules could serve this purpose equally well: there are almost 300 that could do the job, but only ATP is used in all life.
Over 20,000 new DNA and protein sequences are deposited at GenBank yearly, amounting to over 34 million new bases sequenced every day. Each and every one is a test of the theory of common descent. Even though having a genetic sequence that is not a derivative of the standard genetic code would be very useful (in avoiding viral infections for instance), this theory predicts that we will never find such an organism.
Costs of photovoltaic panels seem, in 2005, to be about $1 to $2 per
Another thing to note is that although a country may 'produce' a lot of oil, it's not necessarily getting exported. In fact, some countries (like China and the US) may be sizeable oil producers, and yet export none of it.According to this site
There were 60.94 million barrels per day (mb/d) of oil was produced worldwide in 2004.
48.69 mb/d are exported worldwide. 24.86 mb/d is exported by Opec alone constituting 51% of all oil exports! The US consumed about 20 mb/d of oil in 2004 which means we needed to import 11.3 mb/d that year.
Some of the biggest producers right now in the US include: Gulf of Mexico (1.6 million bbl/d) which is the only group of producers on the rise now, Texas onshore (1.1 million bbl/d), Louisiana onshore (244,000 bbl/d). All of these producers' oil production sum on average to 2,944,000 mb/d or 33% of total US production (or 14.7% of total US consumption). These production platforms are in the direct line of fire of seasonal tropical cyclones and are taken offline in some percentage yearly. Hurricane Ivan in Sept, 2004 impacted production until as late as Nov. 9 of that year.
The US farmer is often described as being the most efficient in the world because they can produce more food per capita than any other nation. This is a kind of energy economics that ignores physics. A physicist would look at efficiency in terms of units of 'energy in' to 'energy out'. In these terms, a US farmer is the least efficient in the world, because the huge combines that get food on our tables are massive machines that require some kind of energy (other than solar or human power) to operate.According to this source,
2/3rds of all oil use in the US is for transportation.
This is not typical in the rest of the world where oil is more generally used for space heating and power generation. Reference
Yet, for all of our dependance on oil, the US does not currently have a reliable source of domestic fuel oil. Our over consumption (waste) and this greater reliance on foreign oil is a threat to national security. The lack of a sound energy policy endangers the US in many ways: by draining financial reserves that would be better spent on other concerns (or building reserves) and entrusting the stability of our overall national economy to the vagaries of fuel oil pricing, creating a 'weak link', a singular failure point.
Re: groan (Score:4)
The colours shown on the weather radar images represent the different echo intensities (reflectivity) measured in dBZ (decibels of Z) during each elevation scan. "Reflectivity" is the amount of transmitted power returned to the radar receiver. Reflectivity (designated by the letter Z) covers a wide range of signals (from very weak to very strong). So, a more convenient number for calculations and comparison, a decibel (or logarithmic) scale (dBZ), is used.
The dBZ values increase as the strength of the signal returned to the radar increases. Each weather radar image you see includes a colour scale. The scale represents dBZ values of the energy reflected back to the radar from precipitation and other airborne material (dBZ values from 5 to 75).
The scale of dBZ values is also related to the intensity of rainfall. Typically, light rain is occurring when the dBZ value reaches 20. The higher the dBZ, the stronger the rainrate. Depending on the type of weather occurring and the area of the country, forecasters use a set of rainrates which are associated to the dBZ values.
Hail is a good reflector of energy and will return very high dBZ values. Since hail can cause the rainfall estimates to be higher than what is actually occurring, users need to be wary of converting these high dBZ values into rainfall rates. Typically, any value over 60 dBZ has a high correlation to hail within a storm.
“A general problem in biology is how to incorporate information about evolutionary history and adaptation into taxonomy. The problem is exemplified in attempts to define our own genus, Homo. Here conventional criteria for allocating fossil species to Homo are reviewed and are found to be either inappropriate or inoperable. We present a revised definition, based on verifiable criteria, for Homo and conclude that two species, Homo habilis and Homo rudolfensis, do not belong in the genus. The earliest taxon to satisfy the criteria if Homo ergaster, or early African Homo erectus, which currently appears in the fossil record at about 1.9 million years ago… We suggest that a fossil species be included in Homo only if it can be demonstrated that it (i) is more closely related to H. sapiens than it is to the australopiths, (ii) has an estimated body mass that is more similar to that of H. sapiens than to that of the australopiths, (iii) has reconstructed body proportions that match those of H. sapiens more closely than those of the australopiths, (iv) has a postcranial skeleton whose functional morphology is consistent with modern human-like obligate bipedalism and limited facility for climbing, (v) is equipped with teeth and jaws that are more similar in terms of relative size to those of modern humans than to those of the australopiths, and (vi) shows evidence for a modern human-like extended period of growth and development.” (Wood & Collard, 1999) Genus may be defined as: “In the first (evolutionary systematic) interpretation, a genus is a species or a group of species of common ancestry that occupies an ecological situation, or adaptive zone, that is different from that occupied by the species of another genus… In the second (cladistic) definition, a genus is a group of species that are more closely related to one another than to species assigned to another genus. Thus, this interpretation insists that a genus must be monophyletic; it cannot be paraphyletic… We suggest, therefer, that a genus be defined as a species, or monophylum, whose members occupy a single adaptive zone.”