Monday, July 31, 2006

Downtown Mexico City Semi-Paralized!

Many hundreds of thousands of people went downtown on Sunday (7/30/06) and many stayed even today Monday(7/31/06). What is going on? Read the LA Times.

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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Why do you need one million people?

Today one million people protest in Mexico City, you can find here my translation of the legal demands of the demonstrators. Today's NYT chronicle here

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Mexico City's Zocalo

The post below is about the Zócalo. Your computer may not have the font, without accent the name of the place is Zocalo. This site is about relevant science, many of the readers may think that this is just politics, maybe relevant, but not science. I hope the following paragraphs give some perspective.

Before Christopher Columbus (Cristóbal Colón) came to America in 1492, Mexico City was called Tenochtitlan. The center of the huge Aztec empire was inside Lake Texcoco, and the center of town was the Zocalo. There were pyramids and other government buildings. This place has been important for mexican politics for more than four hundred years. Maybe only in Perú is there another plaza as old and as relevant for the human story. Tomorrow Andrés Manuel López Obrador is asking one million mexicans to protest at that historic place.

Right now his party, Partido de la Revolución Democrática (PRD), is in control of the police and the city government. I was in that plaza in 1968 protesting, and the police did not want us there; maybe americans can have an idea of what I mean if they know what happened in Lincoln Park in Chicago in the summer of 1968 during the Democratic National Convention. Then Mayor Daley from the Democratic Party did not want protests in his city.

Tomorrow a million mexicans will meet in that historic plaza to protest, but you know what, now the protesters control the police. Keep tuned.

Next Mexican President?

Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) is asking a million people to protest tomorrow in Mexico City. He wants a ballot recount. Gore could have done this in 2000 and Kerry in 2004, maybe AMLO will succeed in 2006.

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Friday, July 28, 2006

Free Education with RSS

Great RSS feed source to learn for free on a lot of different topics.
This is a good service.

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Sunday, July 23, 2006

No light in Queens?

NYT(080106)There is no date for the restoration of electricity in a famous burough of New York City. The National Guard may be called. What is going on?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Congratulations American Team!

Americans won gold medals in Singapore in the 2006 Physics Olympics.

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Science Olympiad

Congratulations, great team!

Monday, July 17, 2006

This, is how it's done America!

"900,000 protesters marched through the Mexican capital on Sunday to demand a manual recount in the disputed presidential election, led by a leftist candidate who says fraud cost him the presidency." Can't imagine what 900,000 truly is? Take a look at the photos.

According to Mexico City Police it was 1.1 million people.

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Sunday, July 16, 2006

Information Processing Bound

Prof. Hsu from the University of Oregon has recently made public a fundamental result.

This result states the deep connection between two foundational concepts of physics; Information and Size.

The rate of Information processing cannot be bigger than the size of the device times 1085.

This is a tremendously big number, but it is not infinite.

Any device, no matter how big, cannot perform more than a certain number of computer operations per second. According to Hsu's bound, the mind of the Universe only has performed 10100 operations so far.

Friday, July 14, 2006


James Lovelock recently wrote the book

"The Revenge of Gaia"

I write a few comments here.

As I write I am listening the UN's debate on C-SPAN on the Israel-Lebanon War. I was born in 1949, one year later than the establishment of a new state in Palestine. Fifty seven years from then we are witnessing now the war between two semitic people, descendants of Abraham: the children of Ismael and of Isaac. When the children fight, the Earth, Gaia suffers. Our mother Gaia is sick. Lovelock does not think that she will die; but he is not so confident as to the future of the children of Abraham.

In more scientific terms the problem Lovelock's warns us about is relatively simple. The Sun is getting hot, the gases on the Earth's atmosphere are keeping more heat inside than is reflected back into space. The result is that most of us will be able to survive only moving North in the northern hemisphere, and South in the southern hemisphere.

Why should we believe Lovelock? He was the first or one of the first to recognize that the Earth-Sun system is more dynamic than previously thought. Once life starts on Earth it is unavoidable to establish feedback connections that control the temperature of the atmosphere. There is a balance between life, i.e. the biosphere, the temperature of the atmosphere and the Sun's temperature. There are indications that this balance is moving to a new point of equilibrium, that likely will make the Equator unhabitable.

We can choose to disregrad Lovelock's warning, I for one take him very seriously.

Triumph of the authoritarians

"CONTEMPORARY CONSERVATISM and its influence on the Republican Party was, until recently, a mystery to me. The practitioners' bludgeoning style of politics, their self-serving manipulation of the political processes, and their policies that focus narrowly on perceived self-interest." John W. Dean
I recommend Dean's book. I see some Relevant Science in Dean's ideas. Followers of authoritarians do not ask questions. If true, that explains partly why DeLay does not explain us why he effectively took away the vote of minorities by redistrictering Texas voting places in the middle of census results. The census is every ten years, the next one is 2010, why 2006 is a moment to define the districts?

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Florida 2000, Ohio 2004, and Mexico 2006

It seems that Mexicans take vote counting more seriously than Americans. They want to do it twice. "Voto por voto, casilla por casilla". Vote by vote, ballot boot by ballot boot. Read Greg Palast note on the Mexican presidential election.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Claims of Election Fraud in Mexico: Why Mexico Deserves Better

Story about how the current claims of widespread election fraud by the second runner Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador are failing behind the expectations they raised. The facts produced so far do not support the widespread fraud that is being claimed.

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The Stolen Election of 2004.

title says it all.

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Mexican Presidential Election

Greg Palast's expertise on the US presidential elections of 2000 and 2004 comes handy when one wants to analyze the Mexican presidential election of 2006.

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General Breaks Down While Speaking of Immigrant Father

A hush fell over the auditorium at Miami Dade College as Pace, a Marine who was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., was overcome with emotion and struggled to continue reading from his statement as the opening witness at the field hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

General Pace, you are a man.

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Monday, July 10, 2006

Tesla: Master Of Lightning

10 July 2006 marks what would be the 150th birthday of the great inventor Nikola Tesla. For those who could make it, Tesla is immortalized as a statue at Niagara, New York depicting the master of lighting. Tesla's AC became the current used throughout the world's electrical grids today.

Now Tesla is the unit of magnetic field. One Tesla is 10,000 Gauss. Both were great men, one studied small fields, the other big fields.

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Sunday, July 09, 2006

Power in Mexico II

"Algunos de los ejemplos citados: la casilla básica 2876 y sus tres contiguas, tienen 264 votos para Calderón cada una. La básica 893 y sus 3 contiguas, tienen 179 cada una. Y la básica 3177 y su contigua, 274 cada una."

Antonio Gershenson writes the above in today's La Jornada:

He is a physicist and a journalist. He believes that he uncovered a program used by the electoral comission in Mexico to fix the numbers, thus helping the government's party in the presidential election last Sunday.

The irregularity consists in having several polling sites with identical number of votes for the ruling party. These sites are related, but there is no reasonable explanation of why each has to have exactly the same number of votes for one candidate. One case is an acceptable accident, but the three reported by Mr. Gershenson, seem more like fraud than accident.

The last word has not been said. Yesterday there were hundreds of thousands of people in Mexico City's main plaza. The challenger asked them to bring ten friends and relatives next Sunday. We may have over a million angry voters in the Aztec capital. Every hundred years or so there seems to be restlessness in the land of the first people of this continent. Mexico did not start in 2000 when the current president took over, and will not end in this year of 2006.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Power in Mexico I

This graph by the Federal Elections Institute in Mexico can be analyzed.

It does not show statistical fluctuations. The challenger candidate was winning and near the end the incumbent party's candidate overtook him for a final photo finish. That is exciting in sports but unreal for statistical data.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Power in Mexico

"El político tabasqueño señaló que no hay duda de que se manipuló el PREP, y eso lo pueden demostrar, ya que tienen todas las pruebas. En una elección cerrada, "como aparentemente se está dando, cuando hablamos de 42 millones de votos, como en el conteo rápido, nunca hubo cruces de datos y siempre el candidato del PAN estuvo arriba, lo que estadística y matemáticamente es imposible"."

For those that do not read Spanish, the opposition candidate in Mexico, states that it is statistically and mathematically impossible to have a situation where one party, never more than 1 % above, is always above and never comes down.

I agree with him, even though through most of the night the opposition was less than 1 % above, at the end, the elections authority, ended up giving the race to the current government's party.

It seems that there is not going to be a winner before early Septemeber; by law the elections authority has to resolve this election  by then.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


There were elections in Mexico last Sunday July 2, 2006. Up to today it is a tie between the current president's party and the opposition. In Mexico the president cannot be reelected. The six year term is all one president has to implement his or her government plan. The decision on the next president must be taken before early September of this year.

Is there any relevant science here?

Politics is relevant, that is how power is established. A president affects the lives of many people. The question is that if science is an issue in this important event of mexican life.

There are some technical issues related to the election, like the official count update stopped on monday night:

Today the electoral commission is counting the ballots to reach a definite conclusion.

From a technical point of view this shows that electoral processes have not used the most current technology for counting votes.

One scientific issue I can consider here is the statistical distribution of random processes, in most random events events follow the law of big numbers, leading to a bell-shaped curve. I do not have graphs for the election yet, but if there was tampering with the numbers, those curves could be one of the places where one can look for illegal intervention to modify the results.

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