Monday, January 29, 2007

Trainspotting

"Escoge la vida. Escoge un trabajo. Escoge una profesión. Escoge una familia. Escoge una puta televisión grande. Escoge lavadoras, carros, estéreos y abridores de latas eléctricos. [...] Escoge sentarte en un sofá a mirar concursos televisivos que entumecen la mente y despedazan el espíritu, mientras te atiborras de comida chatarra. [...] Escoge tu futuro. Escoge la Vida... Pero, ¿por qué querría yo hacer algo semejante?" Corte a una escena en la que los personajes se están inyectando heroína. Todavía en off: "Yo elegí no elegir la vida: elegí algo distinto. ¿Los motivos? No hay motivos. ¿Quién necesita motivos cuando tiene heroína?" De ahí en adelante, la película describe cómo la amistad de Renton, Sick Boy, Tommy, Begbie y Spud se desintegra poco a poco, a la par que avanzan hacia una autodestrucción por lo visto irreversible.

That is the Spanish version of that classic line in the British movie "Trainspotting".

"Choose Life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players and electrical tin openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol, and dental insurance. Choose fixed interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three-piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on Sunday night. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing, spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked up brats you spawned to replace yourselves. Choose your future. Choose life... But why would I want to do a thing like that? I chose not to choose life. I chose somethin' else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you've got heroin?"

I came across that reference trying to remember the right way to conjugate "to choose " in Spanish. Escoger.

I liked that movie.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sunday Morning

This is a blog. Web Log means a record online. Right now is early in the morning in the Midwest. I know of two or three people that read my pieces besides me. I am writing to them, sometimes with them, but mainly with myself.
I understand that a conversation requires time, otherwise whoever is listening does not know what the conversation is about. The main reason I started these musings is to keep young people interested in science. At some point I even advertised it in class, I do not think that those students read what I write. Then I followed the Mexican presidential election and my favorite won, but the election was stolen once more, sad Mexican story. At this stage I must have attracted two or three more like minded Mexicans. I am concerned about environmental degradation, so I expect that a few more like minded people come here once in a while.
Today I am starting a new topic. Relevant Science and my conception of reality, my worldview. Of course this is present in previous posts, but the purpose of this note is just to clearly say what is this worldview.
I believe in the uniqueness of my mind and the minds of anybody that may be reading this.
All of us know the opinions of people around us, thus we have a collective opinion, and conception of reality. Whoever has one, which is incomprehensible to us, is either a foreigner or mentally challenged. These opinions are recent and ancient; I have a strong bias towards the most recent ones. That is what makes me a scientist. Science is the method to keep knowledge accurate. These ideas may come from twenty thousand years ago or from our last moment of consciousness, in both cases, the scientific method can be used to gauge their relevance to the world we live in, and most of all if they are true or false, when something like truth value can be ascertained.
I write here some of the beliefs that are my worldview.

We live in a planet near the Sun. We have not found life besides the one on Earth.

On Earth the most complex objects we know about are our brain and the nervous system connected to it.

The gray matter that resides in a very thin layer of the brain is very active; it consists of connecting and disconnecting elements. This constant activity produces consciousness.

The Sun is in the middle of its life cycle of ten billion years.

The Universe started fifteen billion years ago; it has expanded to the point where the effects of dark energy can be observed with telescopes.

The Hubble Space Telescope and others, show that far supernovae move faster than near ones. Hubble observed constant velocity, the Hubble telescope shows constant acceleration instead.

In the far future every single atom we are made of, produced in supernovae, is going to be teared apart by this dark energy.

It is not clear if our species will have descendants after the one hundred thousand years we have already been around. If we do, that consciousness will be destroyed by dark energy.

Today, twenty one years ago the space shuttle Challenger failed, everybody on board died.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Two Friends

Mario Albarrán died in Tonantzintla Puebla. Benjamín Grinstein published this week a test of string theory.

What is there in store for me?

Only time will tell.

I express here my condolescences to Mario's relatives, and my congratulations to Benjamín for a work well done.

Beirut

Today I read Robert Fisk's report on the street fights in Beirut. He feels that the situation is ripe for a war like in 1975.
At the same time President Bush told us yesterday that he is sending twenty thousand more soldiers to Baghdad.
This does not look good.
To me these are signs of hard times coming to the Middle East, and maybe a wider area.
The Earth gets hot, and we puny creatures on its surface, feel the heat.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Global Climate Change

I heard President Bush for the first time acknowledge the existence of Global Climate Change right now.

'We are like alcoholics who have got as far as admitting there is a problem. It is a start. Now we have got to start drying out - which means reducing our carbon output.'

This quote from Peter Cox of Exeter University is relevant to describe President Bush.

IPCC

Global warming: the final verdict

A study by the world's leading experts says global warming will happen faster and be more devastating than previously thought
Robin McKie, science editor
Sunday January 21, 2007

Observer
Global warming is destined to have a far more destructive and earlier impact than previously estimated, the most authoritative report yet produced on climate change will warn next week.

A draft copy of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, obtained by The Observer, shows the frequency of devastating storms - like the ones that battered Britain last week - will increase dramatically. Sea levels will rise over the century by around half a metre; snow will disappear from all but the highest mountains; deserts will spread; oceans become acidic, leading to the destruction of coral reefs and atolls; and deadly heatwaves will become more prevalent.

The impact will be catastrophic, forcing hundreds of millions of people to flee their devastated homelands, particularly in tropical, low-lying areas, while creating waves of immigrants whose movements will strain the economies of even the most affluent countries.

'The really chilling thing about the IPCC report is that it is the work of several thousand climate experts who have widely differing views about how greenhouse gases will have their effect. Some think they will have a major impact, others a lesser role. Each paragraph of this report was therefore argued over and scrutinised intensely. Only points that were considered indisputable survived this process. This is a very conservative document - that's what makes it so scary,' said one senior UK climate expert.

Climate concerns are likely to dominate international politics next month. President Bush is to make the issue a part of his state of the union address on Wednesday while the IPCC report's final version is set for release on 2 February in a set of global news conferences.

Although the final wording of the report is still being worked on, the draft indicates that scientists now have their clearest idea so far about future climate changes, as well as about recent events. It points out that:

· 12 of the past 13 years were the warmest since records began;

· ocean temperatures have risen at least three kilometres beneath the surface;

· glaciers, snow cover and permafrost have decreased in both hemispheres;

· sea levels are rising at the rate of almost 2mm a year;

· cold days, nights and frost have become rarer while hot days, hot nights and heatwaves have become more frequent.

And the cause is clear, say the authors: 'It is very likely that [man-made] greenhouse gas increases caused most of the average temperature increases since the mid-20th century,' says the report.

To date, these changes have caused global temperatures to rise by 0.6C. The most likely outcome of continuing rises in greenhouses gases will be to make the planet a further 3C hotter by 2100, although the report acknowledges that rises of 4.5C to 5C could be experienced. Ice-cap melting, rises in sea levels, flooding, cyclones and storms will be an inevitable consequence.

Past assessments by the IPCC have suggested such scenarios are 'likely' to occur this century. Its latest report, based on sophisticated computer models and more detailed observations of snow cover loss, sea level rises and the spread of deserts, is far more robust and confident. Now the panel writes of changes as 'extremely likely' and 'almost certain'.

And in a specific rebuff to sceptics who still argue natural variation in the Sun's output is the real cause of climate change, the panel says mankind's industrial emissions have had five times more effect on the climate than any fluctuations in solar radiation. We are the masters of our own destruction, in short.

There is some comfort, however. The panel believes the Gulf Stream will go on bathing Britain with its warm waters for the next 100 years. Some researchers have said it could be disrupted by cold waters pouring off Greenland's melting ice sheets, plunging western Europe into a mini Ice Age, as depicted in the disaster film The Day After Tomorrow.

The report reflects climate scientists' growing fears that Earth is nearing the stage when carbon dioxide rises will bring irreversible change to the planet. 'We are seeing vast sections of Antarctic ice disappearing at an alarming rate,' said climate expert Chris Rapley, in a phone call to The Observer from the Antarctic Peninsula last week. 'That means we can expect to see sea levels rise at about a metre a century from now on - and that will have devastating consequences.'

However, there is still hope, said Peter Cox of Exeter University. 'We are like alcoholics who have got as far as admitting there is a problem. It is a start. Now we have got to start drying out - which means reducing our carbon output.'

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian News and Media Limited 2007

Monday, January 22, 2007

How Could the Present World Order End?

It is a historical fact that no government lasts forever. The Roman Empire had its moment, but nobody speaks Latin now really. At this moment one could make a case that the US is the New World Order. Democracy in Iraq, Afghanistan, and maybe soon in Iran and North Korea? It does not seem likely. More likely I see a future Venezuela with a one man rule just like Cuba.

At least the intended purpose of the Bush administration does not seem doable.

I see a breakdown of the current capitalist way of doing things. There has not been an effort, definitely not from this administration, for a sustainable path of development. The one man rule of Cuba seems to have been more successful in this direction. They are not sending huge amounts of CO2 to the atmosphere.

If somebody is going to put the pieces together of this broken Earth, I think the more likely candidates are the indigenous peoples from all over the World.

Terrorism or Global Warming?

The British journalist based in Lebanon, Robert Fisk recently made a comparison about these two worries.

You can read his story here

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Tortillas

The crisis has hit hardest for the poorest Mexicans, who may spend more than a quarter of their daily salaries on tortillas.

“This really affects my budget, the expenses of my family, because I cannot tell my kids to eat less,” said Ruth Soria, a 37-year-old housewife, who was buying four pounds of tortillas for her six children on Thursday. “This is something that they must control well. The tortilla is something basic for us. What the government did today is the least they could do.”


By JAMES C. McKINLEY Jr.
Published: January 19, 2007

New York Times

This 37-year-old housewife reminded me of my mother. She also had six children and I was responsible to buy one kilo of tortillas (around two pounds) every day. I used to eat one tortilla with salt on the way home. Without tortillas Mexicans feel deprived.

Felipe Claderón, the Mexican president, had to put a stop at the soaring price of tortillas even though he believes in a free market.

As I see it, this is only the beginning, the world economy is going through "seismic" changes.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hawking Global Warming and Terror

Hawking: Climate Change Worse Than Terror
Doomsday Clock Now Gauges Climate Change

Hawking: Climate Change Worse Than Terror

The Associated Press
Jan 17, 2007 8:57 AM (1 day ago)
Current rank: # 1 of 15,589 articles
LONDON - Scientist Stephen Hawking described climate change Wednesday as a greater threat to the planet than terrorism.

Hawking made the remarks as other prominent scientists prepared to push the giant hand of its Doomsday Clock - a symbol of the risk of atomic cataclysm - closer to midnight. The move will mark the fourth time since the end of the Cold War that the clock has ticked forward and Hawking warned that "as citizens of the world, we have a duty to alert the public to the unnecessary risks that we live with every day."

And there goes Miami!

“Here in Miami,” Dr. Leatherman said, “we’re going to have an ocean on both sides of us.”

You can read that at the NYT Science Section this week.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lectures

I am listening to a lecture from the University of California at Berkeley. I have been in lectures since I was in first grade when I was six. Kindergarten does not occur in the lecture form, as far as I can remember at least.

Are lectures good?

I am moving away from that form of learning and teaching. Lectures require an acting personality. One should be interested and able to make oneself interesting. It could be an actor, or a Rock Star. Bob Dylan comes to mind. He is a poet on the stage, he makes us consider deep human issues, .. how many times can some people exist, before they can hear people cry ... . memorable experiences, I will say. I saw Dylan in Mexico City many years ago.

But how much the students learn from the lecture? Good students learn a lot, bad students don't learn much.

I prefer now that besides my "performance" in front of the students, they also work a lot. The ideal situation is that they get so "inspired" by the elan produced by the lecturer, that they can't stop learning the subject. I don't think that this happens often. The other extreme is to drill, no matter how interesting the material is presented.

I am trying to put myself somehow in the middle of those two extremes.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Near and Far Future

Tomorrow I have to teach algebra and geometry. According to my last post many years from now Dark Energy could brake everything apart.

Obviously those are two very distinct time frames.

If I knew in detail what will happen soon I would be very successful and very likely wealthy. The truth is that I do not know what is going to happen from day to day, and this Universe we live in could be organized in such a way that the future is uncertain.

In the long run all of us will be dead, but then again, very few people could make much money out of that, maybe buying life insurance, but I think the insurance companies have better tools than we do to make them winners in that game also.

So what do I have to offer?

Not much, if I had some way to know the future this blog would be very popular.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Dark Energy in the Universe

"Worse, dark energy might be evolving. Some models predict that if dark energy becomes ever more dominant over time, it will rip apart gravitationally bound objects, such as galaxy clusters and galaxies. Ultimately, planet Earth will be stripped from the sun and shredded, along with all objects on it. Even atoms will be destroyed. Dark energy, once cast in the shadows of matter, will have exacted its final revenge."

Thus ends Chris Conselice his article in next month's Scientific American.

This is the main component of the Universe, more than three fourths of all energy that exists is Dark Energy.

Only recently has it been studied, only today did I find out, that the end of our region of the Universe, may be the complete destruction of everything we know by Dark Energy.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fisk en Español, de La Jornada de México

Robert Fisk
Bush y la marcha de la estupidez

Así que George W. Bush, comandante en jefe de las fuerzas estadunidenses, va a enviar otros 20 mil de sus soldados a la tumba de Irak. La marcha de la estupidez continúa. Habrá calendarios, fechas finales, metas tanto para Estados Unidos como para sus sátrapas iraquíes. Pero todavía se puede ganar la guerra al terror. Prevaleceremos. Victoria o muerte. Y será muerte.

El anuncio del presidente Bush hizo sonar todas las campanas esta mañana. Mil millones de dólares en ayuda adicional para Irak, un registro cotidiano del éxito futuro de Irak mientras los poderes chiítas iraquíes ­a los que hay que referirse todavía como el "gobierno democráticamente electo"­ marchan hombro con hombro con los mejores hombres y mujeres de Estados Unidos para restaurar el orden y llenar de temor los corazones de Al Qaeda. Llevará tiempo ­cómo no, años, por lo menos tres según palabras dichas esta semana por el comandante de mayor jerarquía en el campo, el general Raymond Odierno­, pero la misión se cumplirá

Misión cumplida. ¿Acaso no fue ese el lema hace casi cuatro años en ese solitario portaviones anclado frente a las costas de California, cuya cubierta recorrió Bush con uniforme de piloto militar? Y apenas unos meses después, el presidente lanzó un mensaje para Osama Bin Laden y los insurgentes de Irak. "¡Entrenle!" Y le entraron.

Pocos pusieron atención cuando, a finales del año pasado, los líderes islámicos de esa feroz rebelión árabe proclamaron a Bush criminal de guerra, pero le pidieron no retirar a sus soldados. "Todavía no matamos los suficientes", anunciaron en su declaración videograbada.

Bueno, ahora tendrán su oportunidad. Qué irónico que fuera Saddam, dignificado entre la turba que lo linchó, quien se atreviera a decir en el cadalso la verdad que Bush y Tony Blair ni siquiera musitarían: que Irak se ha vuelto un "infierno".

Es de rigor, en estos días, evocar a Vietnam, las victorias falsas, los recuentos de cadáveres, la tortura y las matanzas... pero la historia está tapizada de hombres poderosos que creyeron poder abrirse paso a sangre y fuego hacia la victoria contra toda probabilidad. Viene a la mente Napoleón, no el emperador que se retiró de Moscú, sino el hombre que creyó poder liquidar a los guerrilleros de la España ocupada por Francia. Los torturó, los ejecutó, impuso un gobierno local de lo que hoy llamaríamos Quislings o al-Malikis. Acusó con razón a sus enemigos ­Moore y Wellington­ de apoyar a los insurgentes. Y cuando se encaró con la derrota, tomó la decisión personal de "relanzar la maquinaria" y avanzar para recapturar Madrid, como hoy intenta Bush recapturar Bagdad. Por supuesto, terminó en desastre dos años después. Y George W. Bush no es Napoleón Bonaparte.

No, para profecías yo me volvería hacia otro político menos brillante y mucho más moderno, un estadunidense que entendió, poco antes del lanzamiento de la invasión ilegal de Irak por Bush, en 2003, lo que le ocurriría a la arrogancia del poder. Por su relevancia en este día, las palabras del ex republicano Pat Buchanan merecen grabarse en mármol: "...pronto lanzaremos una guerra imperial en Irak, con toda la fanfarronería con que franceses y británicos emprendieron la marcha hacia Berlín en agosto de 1914. Pero esta invasión no será el día de campo que los neoconservadores predicen... tan cierto es que habrá ataques terroristas en el Irak liberado como los hay en el Afganistán liberado. Porque un Islam militante que mantiene cautivos a decenas de millones de verdaderos creyentes jamás aceptará que George W. Bush dicte el destino del mundo islámico... si en algo sobresalen los pueblos islámicos es en expulsar a las potencias imperiales mediante el terrorismo y la guerra de guerrillas. Sacaron a los británicos de Palestina y Adén, a los franceses de Argelia, a los rusos de Afganistán, a los estadunidenses de Somalia y Beirut, a los israelíes de Líbano... Hemos emprendido el camino hacia el imperio y detrás de la próxima colina nos encontraremos con los que fueron antes que nosotros".

Pero George W. Bush no se atreve a ver esos ejércitos del pasado, cuyos fantasmas son tan palpables como los de los 3 mil estadunidenses ­olvidémonos de los cientos de miles de iraquíes­ que han hallado la muerte ya en esta guerra infame, y las almas de los muertos futuros que aún alientan entre los 20 mil hombres y mujeres que hoy envía a Irak. En Bagdad avanzarán hacia "bastiones insurgentes" tanto sunitas como chiítas: ya no sólo la variedad antisunita a la que apostaron en vano en otoño, porque esta vez, y de nuevo cito al general Odierno, es crucial que el plan de seguridad sea "parejo". Esta vez, dijo, "debemos tener un enfoque creíble, de ir contra extremistas sunitas y chiítas".

Pero si algo no tiene Bush es un "enfoque creíble". Los días de la opresión pareja desaparecieron hace más de tres años, a raíz de la invasión. La "democracia" debió instaurarse al principio, no retrasarla hasta que los chiítas amenazaron con sumarse a la insurgencia si Paul Bremen, el segundo procónsul estadunidense, no organizaba elecciones, de la misma manera en que los militares estadunidenses debieron haber prevenido la anarquía de abril de 2003. La matanza de 14 civiles sunitas por paracaidistas estadunidenses en Fallujah, esa primavera ­extraño paralelismo con el asesinato definitorio de 14 civiles católicos en Derry por paracaidistas británicos en 1972­ puso el sello a la insurgencia.

En efecto, Siria e Irán podrían ayudar a George W. Bush. Pero Teherán era parte de su "eje del mal", y Damasco un mero satélite. Iban a ser la presa futura si el proyecto en Irak hubiera tenido éxito. Luego sobrevinieron la vergüenza de nuestra tortura y nuestras matanzas, la limpieza étnica en masa y el baño de sangre en la tierra que proclamamos haber liberado.

Así pues, más soldados estadunidenses deben morir, en sacrificio a aquellos que ya murieron. No podemos traicionar a los caídos. Es mentira, claro. Todo hombre desesperado sigue jugando, de preferencia con la vida de otros.

Pero los Bush y los Blair sólo han experimentado la guerra por televisión y Hollywood; ésa es su ilusión y su escudo. De hecho, algún día los historiadores preguntarán si Occidente no se precipitó a la catástrofe en Medio Oriente con tal entusiasmo porque ningún miembro de ningún gobierno occidental ­excepto Colin Powell, a quien han sacado lastimosamente de escena­ combatió jamás en guerra alguna. Los Winston Churchill se han ido; hoy sólo sirven de guardarropa a un primer ministro británico que mintió a su pueblo y a un presidente estadunidense que, al tener la oportunidad de luchar por su patria, sintió que su misión durante la guerra de Vietnam era defender los pacíficos cielos de Texas. Pero todavía habla de victoria, tan ignorante del pasado como del futuro.

Pat Buchanan terminó su profecía con palabras inmortales: "La única lección que aprendemos de la historia es que no aprendemos de la historia".

© The Independent

Traducción: Jorge Anaya

Plan to Get Out of Irak

"So what’s the solution? What’s my plan? How do we get out of Iraq? Answer: the same way we got out of ‘Nam. In ships."

Greg Palast

This great American investigative reporter living in England, has a plan that will work if only it were implemented. Vote for Greg Palast for President.

You can read the whole article by Palast here.

The US is sacrificing many in Irak

"But still he talks of victory, as ignorant of the past as he is of the future."

Robert Fisk

This great journalist, living in Lebanon, condenses in one sentence the folly of the US President.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

iPhone

Today Steve Jobs announced a historic new product. You can read about it in Wikipedia already!

I worked at Lucent Technologies, the research branch of the American telephone monopoly, AT&T. The big wigs at that company let us all go home, and they started to look for a new business model. They own the network, they pay whoever makes the best telephone, the hell with Lucent. And there I go, out the door.

Now Steve Jobs is the darling boy of the old AT&T. I did not see it coming, but then I very rarely see the future, it was my son that kept me abreast of the meteoric race that Apple, Inc. was involved in.

Yahoo, Google, Apple, and AT&T, a big American family, wow!

The service will be available this coming June, and then in 2008, it will be worldwide. Maybe a singularity is coming, and Apple will also go by the wayside as I, and many other engineers at Lucent. Maybe a company that does not exist yet, maybe a company started by my son in our garage, will bring the holographic telephone or something, but today after seeing Jobs' presentation in San Francisco, I expect the Cupertino, California Company, to take the market by storm.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Back to School

After two weeks of reading and taking it easy, tomorrow I am going back to school. During classes I wake up early every day and my schedule changes. I finally read "The Trouble with Physics" by Lee Smolin.

I have mixed emotions after reading the book. I almost went to work with Gerard 't Hooft for my postdoctoral year in Holland. Now I know, after reading the book, that he is more inclined to consider the issues that interest me. I ended up going to work with Hung Cheng at the Department of Applied Mathematics of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That was good, but I think it would have been better to work with 't Hooft.

So is life, there is no law that forces me or anybody else to do one thing instead of another. There is free will, and then there is death, and as Einstein said, death is good because it allows us to see somebody's life as a work of Art.

Affirmative Action Anyone?

When I was a student in the University of California at Santa Barbara, I read in the paper that Mr. Bakke, a white student, took the Univeristy to court because he was discriminated against on the basis of being white.

The University changed its policies and now one gets to that public university on the basis of merit. Would you expect more whites on campus now? Unexpectedly for Mr. Bakke the answer is NO. Now the "new Jews", as the article informs us, i.e. the Asians are getting into that competitive University above the percentage of the population of that origin in the State.

The phenomenon is not localized in California, all over the US the percentage of students of that ethnicity is bigger in the universities than in the general population.

I, for one, am not surprised, I met my first friend from China, when I was studying high school in Mexico City!

Now the rest of us should sit down in our chairs and rise up to the competition, let us study harder.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Auger Collaboration

"As of this writing (early 2006), the Auger Observatory is just releasing its first data. The good news is that the experiment is working well, but there is still not quite enough data to decide whether the cutoff predicted on the basis of special relativity is there or not. Still, it is reasonable to hope that after running for a few years, there will be enough data to settle the issue.

Even if the Auger team announces that special relativity remains viable, this finding alone will be the most important in fundamental physics in at least twenty-five years - - that is, since the failure to find proton decay. The long dark era in which theory developed without the guidance of experiment will finally be over. But if the Auger discovers that special relativity is not completely right, it will usher in a new era in fundamental physics. It's worth taking some time to explore the implications of such a revolutionary finding and whence it might lead."

The above quote is from Lee Smolin, in "The Trouble with Physics".

The Auger Collaboration is taking data day and night on the highest energy cosmic rays hitting the World. It is our Highest Energy Cosmic Window on Earth. As Smolin says, it is bringing back hard data to a field that became very speculative.

James Cronin vision made this possible. He is a great scientist. When Jim asked a Mexican team to help him in this project I happily joined, unfortunately the support I was getting from the Mexican government was not enough to support my family in the US, so I decided to immigrate to the US in 1998.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Free Will

I just read an article in the NYT Science section this week about free will.

I did not will to be born, and it is likely that I will not will to die, but that does not imply that free will does not exist.

Even in classical mathematics irrational numbers contain an intrinsic level of uncertainty. If everything is determined one will think that free will does not exist. But if there is always going to be a next digit in the value of the square root of the number two, and no human being will ever know this next number until it is calculated, this mathematical fact opens the door for the concept of free will.

If the future is not determined by the past, then there is the possibility of free will. We know that mathematics does not give a unique prediction for the future, even in simple arithmetic operations, so within our formal mathematical methods, there is room for free will.

Meterorite


In Freehold Township N.J. a meteorite hit the roof of a house. This object is dense, a small volume weights a few ounces. The matallicity of the part of the Universe we inhabit is a necessary condition for the existence of life. These events happen with certain regularity, but this regularity does not take away the important information that they bring.
We are in a metal rich part of the immense Universe, we inhabit a Rare Earth, and we are special beings. Intelligent life is an event of very little probability in the Universe we know. Even metals are objects of little probability in the big scheme of things. First stars make Iron after several generations of cataclysmic events, and then those metals organize in emergent phenomena like bacteria and then animals and human beings.

Professor Brownlee said: "If the object is a meteorite, its falling to the ground likely would have caused a sonic boom, but [the sonic boom] may arrive later than the actual impact,". Brownlee is the controversial author of the book "Rare Earth" that gives us reason to be proud to be star dust.

We are star dust, and proud of it.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Visión Pública

He agregado a mi lista de links a Visión Pública. Una mirada a México, desde la ventana izquierda.

Chomsky y La Matemática

Here I translate to Spanish a note on Chomsky. The original is on Chomsky and Mathematics.

Noam Chomsky ha escrito profusamente sobre política. La Matemática es una disciplina para ir cuidadosamente a través de nuestros pensamientos. Las mentes jóvenes son más susceptibles al cambio; en mi posición como profesor de preparatoria en los Estados Unidos tengo la responsabilidad de guiar a mis estudiantes para deducir conclusiones claramente basados en la información dada. Los análisis de Chomsky son bien pensados, pero más que en política sus contribuciones han sido en lingüística, en mi opinión la ciencia humanista más matematizada. Aspiro a guiar a mis alumnos hacia un entendimiento de la realidad a su alrededor para que puedan escoger sus vidas futuras sabiamente. Veo al menos tres opciones para su futuro, uno, fortifican sus mentes y encuentran las trayectorias más racionales hacia nuestra sobrevivencia, dos, ingresan a una organización protectora legal, o tres, ingresan a una organización protectora ilegal.
Estas tres opciones no son excluyentes, pero yo propongo la hipótesis de que sin una mente poderosa, ellos más probablemente ingresarán a organizaciones destructivas.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Am I up to It?

It, is the rest of my life. I do not know how long I will live, but I wonder if in the time left there will be something I feel proud about. Now, beyond the basics: I am the proud father of two intelligent human beings with their own aspirations. But besides that, somehow expected life accomplishment, is there anything more?

The only thought I can claim with some pride, is that Information is Matter. I have not proved it, by any means, but somehow I have the intuition, that Information is more than meets the eye.

Energy seemed ethereal to non-physicists when it was first proposed, and now due to Einstein, we know that mass turns into energy, and vice versa. My guess is that Information will similarly surprise us.

Space time, turned into spacetime, maybe now, spacetime temperature, will turn into spacetimetemperature.

Temperature and Entropy go hand in hand, and so do Spacetime and Energymomentum. Then Spacetimetemperature may be dual to Energymomentumentropy. Since Shannon we know that Information is akin to Entropy.

I cannot help but notice, that the biblical: "In the beginning there was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." -- John 1", sounds like what I want to say. I am not Christian, but I believe that the instruction set for the Universe, and the Universe itself, at some level of unification are one and the same thing.

The truth of the matter, is that I do not know how to go from this intuition, to a working scientific theory which will qualify as my contribution to Science.

Have a Prosperous and Happy New Year!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Spies, Dictators, and 2007

First 2007 = 223 x 3 x 3 , 223 is prime, and a big and lucky prime!

I do not think this means anything but there it is, I am the first in 2007 to point out the prime factors of 2007.

Two dictators died this past year, Augusto Pinochet and Saddam Hussein. That in itself does not mean anything either. People die, at some point or another all of us will be dead. I finally saw the video of Hussein's execution. He did not seem scared, he reminds me of Joseph Stalin; poor and indolent men that caused a lot of pain to some people that crossed their lives.

I have not seen many spy movies or TV programs, I liked Get Smart, Maxwell Smart (Don Adams) was a likable character. In real life though the spy archetype is complicated, if one believes in the roots of the conflict they are fighting for; spies are soldiers like everybody else; society assigns that role to some. Maybe all of us are a little bit of a spy, when we venture in enemy territory and try to blend.

What I do want to do is to be a spy for the human race inside the Universe. I want to find out secrets of nature to reveal to my people, just like Prometheus gave humans the knowledge of fire and the Gods punished him and humans.

Twitter Updates

NetwokedBlogs

Search This Blog

Total Pageviews