Archive for November, 2008

Einstein’s Beautiful Equation

More than a century has elapsed since Einstein unveiled his famous equation equating mass with energy. European researchers revealed last week that they have confirmed, Albert Einstein’s E=mc2. It is perhaps one of the most quoted and widely seen physics equations in the public domain. Yet contained in this short and concise equation is the heritage and ultimate destiny of our species. This equation expresses succinctly the process by which all the matter found in stars, planets, galaxies and people came into being. This equation expresses the very essence of cosmic history in a very brief and yet poetic phrase. For contained in this equation is the very essence of cosmic history and how in the span of fourteen billion years energy evolved into matter and matter evolved into life and consciousness. It explains how within the first three minutes of the big bang pure energy condensed into matter and later how, through the process of nuclear fusion, heavy elements were forged in the hearts of distant and massive suns. It’s the existence of these elements that make the existence of living things a possibility. Porpoises, petunias and people owe there existence to the laws of physics expressed and revealed within the expression E=mc2.

Yet, E=mc2 also reveals the Ying and Yang of humanity’s nature in the way we employ of the mysteries and secrets revealed to us by the Physics of the last century.

In 1939 on the eve of the second Word War Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard wrote the first and perhaps fateful, of four letters to president Franklin D. Roosevelt. It expressed his fear that the Nazis could use it to build an atom bomb. His letter set off a chain of events which were to culminate with the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Albert Einstein would latter describe writing this letter as the one mistake of his life.




Albert
Einstein

Old Grove
Rd.

Nassau
Point

Peconic, Long
Island

August 2nd 1939

F.D. Roosevelt
President of the United
States
White House
Washington,
D.C.

Sir:

Some recent work by E. Fermi and L. Szilard, which has been communicated to me in manuscript, leads me to expect that the element uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. Certain aspects of the situation which has arisen seem to call for watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action on the part of the Administration. I believe therefore that it is my duty to bring to your attention the following facts and recommendations:

In the course of the last four months it has been made probable – through the work of Joliot in France as well as Fermi and Szilard in America – that it may become possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium, by which vast
amounts of power and large quantities of new radium-like elements would be generated. Now it appears almost certain that this could be achieved in the immediate future.

This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable – though much less certain – that extremely powerful bombs of a new type may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory. However, such bombs might very well prove to be too heavy for transportation by air.

The United States has only very poor ores of uranium in moderate quantities. There is some good ore in Canada and the former Czechoslovakia. while the most important source of uranium is Belgian Congo.

In view of the situation you may think it desirable to have more permanent contact maintained between the Administration and the group of physicists working on chain reactions in America. One possible way of achieving this might be for you to entrust with this task a person who has your confidence and who could perhaps serve in an in official capacity. His task might comprise the
following:

a) to approach Government Departments, keep them informed of the further development, and put forward recommendations for Government action, giving particular attention to the problem of securing a supply of uranium ore for the United States;

b) to speed up the experimental work which is at present being carried on within the limits of the budgets of University laboratories, by providing funds, if such funds be required, through his contacts with private persons who are willing to make contributions for this cause, and perhaps also by obtaining the co-operation of
industrial laboratories which have the necessary
equipment.

I understand that Germany has actually stopped the sale of uranium from the Czechoslovakian mines which she has taken over. That she should have taken such early action might perhaps be understood on the ground that the son of the German Under-Secretary of State, von Weizsäcker, is attached to the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut in Berlin where some of the American work on uranium is now being repeated.

Yours very
truly,

(Albert Einstein)


By the process of the conversion of mass and energy humanity has opened up the Pandora box that places the future of human survival in its own hands and all our lives in a balance of fate. Yet, the knowledge of harnessing energy from matter and the celestial motions of heavenly bodies may hold the secret to our long term survival as a species. Nuclear weapons may one day yet be employed to counter the treat posed by More than a century has elapsed since Einstein unveiled his famous equation equating mass with energy. European researchers revealed last week that they have confirmed, Albert Einstein’s E=mc2. It is perhaps one of the most quoted and widely seen physics equations in the public domain. Yet contained in this short and concise equation is the heritage and ultimate destiny of our species. This equation expresses succinctly the process by which all the matter found in stars, planets, galaxies and people came into being. This equation expresses the very essence of cosmic history in a very brief and yet poetic phrase. For contained in this equation is the very essence of cosmic history and how in the span of the fourteen billion years energy evolved into matter and matter evolved into life and consciousness. It explains how within the first three minutes of the big bang pure energy condensed into matter and later how, through the process of nuclear fusion, heavy elements were forged in the hearts of distant and massive suns. It’s the existence of these elements that make the existence of living things a possibility. Porpoises, petunias and people owe there existence to the laws of physics expressed and revealed with the expression E=mc2.

Yet, E=mc2 also reveals the Ying and Yang of humanity’s nature in the way we employ of the mysteries and secrets revealed to us by the Physics of the last century.

In 1939 on the eve of the second Word War Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard wrote the first and perhaps fateful, of four letters to president Franklin D. Roosevelt. It expressed his fear that the Nazis could use it to build an atom bomb. His letter set off a chain of events which were to culminate with the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Albert Einstein would latter describe writing this letter as the one mistake of his life.

Albert Einstein
Old Grove Rd.
Nassau Point
Peconic, Long Island

August 2nd 1939

F.D. Roosevelt
President of the United States
White House
Washington, D.C.

Sir:

Some recent work by E. Fermi and L. Szilard, which has been communicated to me in manuscript, leads me to expect that the element uranium may be turned into a new and important source of energy in the immediate future. Certain aspects of the situation which has arisen seem to call for watchfulness and, if necessary, quick action on the part of the Administration. I believe therefore that it is my duty to bring to your attention the following facts and recommendations:

In the course of the last four months it has been made probable – through the work of Joliot in France as well as Fermi and Szilard in America – that it may become possible to set up a nuclear chain reaction in a large mass of uranium, by which vast amounts of power and large quantities of new radium-like elements would be generated. Now it appears almost certain that this could be achieved in the immediate future.

This new phenomenon would also lead to the construction of bombs, and it is conceivable – though much less certain – that extremely powerful bombs of a new type may thus be constructed. A single bomb of this type, carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory. However, such bombs might very well prove to be too heavy for transportation by air.

The United States has only very poor ores of uranium in moderate quantities. There is some good ore in Canada and the former Czechoslovakia. while the most important source of uranium is Belgian Congo.

In view of the situation you may think it desirable to have more permanent contact maintained between the Administration and the group of physicists working on chain reactions in America. One possible way of achieving this might be for you to entrust with this task a person who has your confidence and who could perhaps serve in an in official capacity. His task might comprise the following:

a) to approach Government Departments, keep them informed of the further development, and put forward recommendations for Government action, giving particular attention to the problem of securing a supply of uranium ore for the United States;

b) to speed up the experimental work which is at present being carried on within the limits of the budgets of University laboratories, by providing funds, if such funds be required, through his contacts with private persons who are willing to make contributions for this cause, and perhaps also by obtaining the co-operation of industrial laboratories which have the necessary equipment.

I understand that Germany has actually stopped the sale of uranium from the Czechoslovakian mines which she has taken over. That she should have taken such early action might perhaps be understood on the ground that the son of the German Under-Secretary of State, von Weizsäcker, is attached to the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut in Berlin where some of the American work on uranium is now being repeated.

Yours very truly,

(Albert Einstein)


By the process of the conversion of mass and energy humanity has opened up the Pandora box that places future of survival in its own hands and all our lives in a balance of fate. Yet, the knowledge of harnessing energy from matter and the celestial motions of heavenly bodies may hold the secret to our long term survival as a species. Nuclear weapons may one day yet be employed to counter the treat posed by rouge asteroids and doomsday comets. Follow the story of Einstein’s famous equation as revealed by the following documentary. This is the story of his famous equation and how E=MC2 changed history and Einstein forever.

Einstein’s Beautiful Equation

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The Mumbai attacks, terrorism and Chuck Norris

First let me express my deep horror of the Islamist attack in Mumbai. I couldn’t think of anything intelligent or original to say so have refrained from posting until now. Ever since that horrible day in September 2001 I have been waiting for another major attack. September 11 set the bar for terrorism, you can bet there is someone out there plotting a more terrible, more audacious attack against the West.

The Mumbai attacks were co-ordinated attacks by gunmen, not bombings, so that could be their new tactic. So how far could you take such attacks? Well back in 1985 the movie below was released.


It proposed communist guerrillas infiltrate the United States and dressed as police officers and other officials start shooting civilians , especially ethnic groups. The result is nation wide riots and panic. I still think the premise is terrifyingly possible. Unfortunately I think Mr Norris’s help would be limited.

Back to bad old days

Our economy begins to slow and higher unemployment looms , so the Rudd government wants to bring back the bad old days of union power:

A RADICAL overhaul of workplace laws, to be unveiled by the Rudd Government today, will propose a vastly increased role for unions, venturing far beyond the policy Labor took to the election a year ago.

Business groups are already branding Julia Gillard’s 600-page legislative package a “throwback to the Keating era” as unions stand to win back rights to demand industry-wide pay deals and access to the wage records of non-members.

Employers are furious that unions – which represent just 14 per cent of the private sector workforce – will get a seat at the bargaining table even if just one worker in a large company belongs to a union……

I hope the Opposition can stop it in the Senate. The government had a mandate to abolish Workchoices not bring back Union dominated industry.

When Worlds Collide (1951)

This is an all time movie classic based on the 1933 science fiction novel co-authored by Philip Wylie and Edwin Balmer; they both also co-authored the sequel After Worlds Collide (1934). It was first published as a six-part monthly serial (September 1932-February 1933) in Blue Book magazine.

Imagine a pair of rouge planets enters our solar system and on a direct collision course with the Earth. Our planet is first devastated, and then destroyed by “Bronson Alpha”, a gas giant-sized rogue planet, orbited by “Bronson Beta”, an earth-sized satellite. Fortunately, advance warning enables several groups of survivors to escape to Bronson Beta, whose orbit maps onto that of the destroyed Earth, and is torn away from its former primary by the gravitational impact of the Bronson Alpha/Earth collision. In the 1951 cinematic incarnation, Bronson Alpha was reimagined as a dwarf star and renamed “Bellus”, while Bronson Beta was designated “Zyra.”

My personal hope is that if this story is ever remade into a major motion picture that it will include elements of the 1934 sequel to the novel “After Worlds Collide”.

The two novels have recently been published by Bison Books in a single paperback edition and are available via AMAZON.COM along with the DVD of the motion picture.

Real Super Humans

Are humans destined to acquire real life super abilities through the efforts of genetic engineers who are mining the random genetic mutations acquired by some members of our species that give them fantastic capabilities? Random mutations that allow some individuals to withstand and survive frigid temperatures, perform fantastic feats of mental calculation and who can see and taste music. Since the beginning of life on Earth human evolution has been driven by the random forces of natural selection. But, now with the advent of genetic manipulation our species is on the verge of directing the course of humanity’s evolutionary future. Will our species diverge into two distinct species of humans leading to a new gulf in social and economic disparity –the genetically enhanced and the genetically inferior? Those gifted with superior intelligence and longer longevity and those without. What does the brave new world of tomorrow being ushered in by biotechnology hold for us?

For answers to these and other thought provoking questions watch the following documentary “Real Super Humans and the Quest for the Future Fantastic” and meet some real people with real super powers. Super powers caused by random genetic mutations. And learn about the scientists who are unlocking the genetic secrets behind these gifts. The work of these researchers is placing humanity on the brink of bequeathing these powers to our children. Prepare to meet the Real Super Humans.

I agree with Elton

Gay old pop star Elton John has a sensible view on gay marriage:

I don’t want to be married. I’m very happy with a civil partnership. If gay people want to get married, or get together, they should have a civil partnership,” John says. “The word ‘marriage,’ I think, puts a lot of people off.

“You get the same equal rights that we do when we have a civil partnership. Heterosexual people get married. We can have civil partnerships.”

If gays really want legal recognition for their relationship civil partnership should do. If they want more then that then we need to ask why?

To Mars and Beyond by A-Bomb

Project Orion represents one of the grandest and most audacious “might have beens” in the fifty year history of space exploration. I have a special interest in this particular project because Project Orion may yet serve as an essential element in a future planetary defence project as George Dyson has hinted in a recent TED talk presentation.

To Mars by A-Bomb – The Secret History of Project Orion (BBC) The extraordinary yet true account of a secret US government-backed attempt to build a spaceship the size of an ocean liner and send it to Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, propelled by thousands of miniature nuclear bombs. Beginning in 1958 Project Orion ran until 1965, employing some of the best scientists in the world, including the brilliant British mathematician and physicist Freeman Dyson.
“Freeman Dyson is one of the few authentic geniuses I’ve ever met”, says Arthur C. Clarke. “Orion isn’t crazy. It would work. The question isn’t whether we could do it, but whether we should do it”. The film uncovers a contemporary angle to Project Orion. Arthur C. Clarke states that today’s generation are once again serious about going to Mars and that NASA has once more become interested in similar nuclear technology as used by Project Orion in the early 60s. The film has exclusive interviews with Ted Taylor, who ran The Project Orion and who is also the most legendary nuclear weapon designer of all time; and Freeman Dyson who is one of the greatest theoretical physicists and mathematicians that has lived this century. Clarke talks about how he originally wrote the screenplay for Space Odyssey 2001 and he describes how he referenced The Project Orion and its use of nuclear explosives within the plot of the screenplay.

However by the time it came to filming, the nuclear references were dropped as Stanley Kubrick had become very anti-nuclear bombs and his special effects team were unable to come up with an idea as to how to visualize the actual impact of the technology.


I can just imagine Ralph, Dennis and I riding a nuclear powered pogo stick to the stars. So it’s Saturn or Bust!!!!

To Mars By A-Bomb

George Dyson reveals Project Orion back in 2002 at TED Talk

Project Orion: A Re-Imagining