Thursday, October 19, 2017

Two Recent Charlie Pierce Pieces Reposted: (1) Steve Bannon's Crusade for Toxic Trump; (2) The Republican Party's Incurable Voodoo Economics Prion Disease -- Interspersed with Unrelated Pics

Turquoise blue-colored house siding, Friendship Heights, Washington, D.C., 3:59PM September 24, 2017.

This (large) house is at the corner of 44th Street and Brandywine Street NW.

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I've decided to postpone the entry on the kilonova findings announced this week to Saturday night when I plan to be home watching the MeTV Super Sci-Fi and Sunday Red Eye lineups. That seems more appropriate -- and I'll have more time.

For this entry, I'm going to post two recent Charlie Pierce pieces and intersperse them with various pictures I took including a batch from a Sunday walk here in D.C. about four weeks ago, as well as a some others (it's obvious which ones they are).

One of the elephants at the National Zoological Park (National Zoo), Washington, D.C., 4:28PM Sept. 23, 2017.

I think this is "Shanthi" -- one of the six female elephants that call the Smithsonian National Zoological Park home. I asked one of attendants the name of the elephant, and I think that's what she said (plus I looked up the names on Elephant Trails Exhibit website).

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First piece ...

Where the Power Lies

For all the Mercer money, Mitch McConnell has the upper hand.

Before we all get misty about John McCain's hardly veiled broadside at the political philosophy, such as it is, that propelled the president* into the White House -- and it was a real, stick-swinging, Old Testament-prophet kind of thwacking, and very well-deserved, too -- we should remember that McCain's vision of nationalism always has been pretty damn trigger-happy. It's a strange vision to have when the predominant reaction from most Americans to the death of four Green Berets in Niger was, "What the hell are American troops doing in Niger?" And whenever I hear a politician talk about how this country has a duty to lead the world because it is "the last best hope of earth," I grab my wallet and Cambodian peasants run for the shelters.

Another picture of "Shanthi" the elephant, National Zoo, Washington, D.C., 4:28PM September 23, 2017.

The oldest elephant -- Ambika -- was born in India circa 1948. (How did she get over to the United States? It had be by ship.) 

I'm still unhappy that the National Zoo got rid of its only hippo -- Happy -- to make room for an expanded elephant exhibit. Happy is at the Milwaukee County Zoo now.

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Nevertheless, McCain was right in his basic point -- namely, that Steve Bannon, who schooled the president* in what passes for a political philosophy, is a paper tiger and an intellectual featherweight. He cut his teeth on Wall Street and in Hollywood, both places where you can go far when your only real talent is the ability to bluff people out of their money.

The fruits of my Target toiletries shopping extravaganza, 7:56PM September 21, 2017.

OK, obviously, I didn't buy them all in one expedition.

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Ever since the election, Bannon has been riding high as the voice of the "anti-establishment" Republicans. He's been giving his speeches and sounding the tocsin of his "populist" revolution. (Strangely, he's been silent on the plutocrat's wet-dream of a tax package that his former protégé is trying to push through Congress.) Back in July, when he was still working in the White House, he was making noises about raising the top tax rate to 44 percent. This, of course, was doomed to go nowhere and Bannon went back to Breitbart's Mausoleum For The Otherwise Unemployable.

House and yard at the corner of Fessenden St and 43rd Pl NW Washington, D.C., 3:53PM September 24, 2017.

Actually, I'm unsure if this is 43rd Place (between 43rd and 44th Streets NW).

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There, he has spent most of his time playing handball with Mitch McConnell's spleen. Again, not something I'm altogether against in principle, but it does make me wonder why people in the Republican party get the yips about this guy. So far, he's been involved with a freak presidential election and with defeating an incumbent in Alabama whose brief stint in the U.S. Senate began when he was appointed by a crooked governor whom he was investigating as the state's attorney general. But, seriously, let's see the revolution, please?

The corner of Murdock Mill Rd and 44th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 4:01PM September 24, 2017.

Honestly, in all my many years in D.C., I never knew where was a Murdock Mill Road. It exists between Brandywine and Albemarle Streets NW. It is actually an extension of Butterworth Pl NW.

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Bannon talks big about running Erik Prince in Wyoming, and about running Chris McDaniel in Mississippi. But Prince is a vaudeville villain and McDaniel is a crackpot retread and, most notably, neither of them is jumping at the chance that Bannon is offering. So far, the challengers to incumbent Republicans like Jeff Flake and Dean Heller seem to have been brought out of the wingnut hiring hall for retreads.

In Arizona, Kelli Ward, who once was chemtrail-curious, is back for another try. In Nevada, they've brought Danny Tarkanian off the bench again, and Tarkanian has lost five times. Bannon certainly has some money behind him; the Mercers already have kicked in at least 300-large to Ward's campaign. But you don't really get the sense that his revolution is taking off. Nobody seems to be lining up behind the last heir to House Harkonnen. This is largely because Bannon's revolutionary creed is incoherent to the point of laughability.

Large house on Murdock Mill Rd NW, Washington, D.C., 4:02PM September 24, 2017.

This is the 4300 block of Murdock Mill Road. Furthermore, this large house is a very new one. It doesn't appear in the current Google street view (June 2014).

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Take, for example, his speech to the equally laughable Values Voters Summit, which probably is what McCain was replying to the other night. There was a lot of gotterdammerung tub-thumping; Bannon called for a "season of war" against the GOP establishment. (I swear, Game of Thrones is having an terrible effect on our politics.) "It's not my war, this is our war and y'all didn't start it, the establishment started it," Bannon said, starting it up again. From CNN:

"Up on Capitol Hill, it's like the Ides of March. They're just looking to find out who is going to be Brutus to your Julius Caesar. We've cut your oxygen off, Mitch."

House at the corner of Murdock Mill Rd and 43rd Pl NW, Washington, D.C., 4:02PM September 24, 2017.

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Funny, when McConnell was standing up there next to the president* on Monday, and the president* felt obligated to tell the world what great pals he and McConnell were, the Kentuckian seemed to be breathing just fine. Perhaps that's because, for all Steve Bannon's stentorian palaver, it is McConnell who wields actual power. Bannon has the Mercers' money and he has an enthusiastic universe of angry shut-ins out there in the hinter-net, but the simple fact is that his whole pitch depends on rallying voters behind a corrupt and incompetent president* pushing unpopular policies. There simply aren't enough human beings in the country who care enough for the president* to risk a race against Republican incumbents.

Crusades don't get off the ground if the pope is toxic.

Grounds of the National Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C., 4:13PM September 24, 2017.

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Second piece ...


This crazy might be the deepest rooted.

The carillon tower of the National Presbyterian Church, Washington, D.C., 4:13PM September 24, 2017.

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Professor Krugman seems miffed, via the NYT:

Modern conservatives have been lying about taxes pretty much from the beginning of their movement. Made-up sob stories about family farms broken up to pay inheritance taxes, magical claims about self-financing tax cuts, and so on go all the way back to the 1970s. But the selling of tax cuts under Trump has taken things to a whole new level, both in terms of the brazenness of the lies and their sheer number. Both the depth and the breadth of the dishonesty make it hard even for those of us who do this for a living to keep track.

The start of the "Massachusetts 39th Trail" off Van Ness St NW heading into one of the fingers of forested parkland in Washington, D.C., 4:18PM September 24, 2017.

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You knew this was coming when the president* tweeted out how proud he was that his tax plan was praised by Arthur Laffer, the cocktail-napkin Kreskin of supply-side economics, the original sorcerer who concocted the spells that produced those magical tax cuts, and, finally, the guy who fed the Republican Party a bowl of the very tastiest monkeybrains.

The forested footpath of the Massachusetts 39th Trail, Washington, D.C., 4:21PM September 24, 2017.

I walked to Reservoir Road, which one of the disjointed wooded trails intersects, and thence over to Georgetown University.

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The prion disease's first symptom was the adoption of what Poppy Bush called, correctly, the "voodoo economics" of Ronald Reagan's first budget. The Republican Party bought into an economic theory that was just as detached from reality as anything Reagan ever said about trees and air pollution, or anything the current president* has said about anything.

Sidewalk and row houses in the 3600 block of N Street NW, Washington, D.C., 5:27PM September 24, 2017.

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That theory is now accepted as irrefutable dogma. Outside of the social issues, which the Republicans subcontracted to an extreme splinter of American Protestantism, supply-side has been central to everything that the modern conservative movement has brought to the Republicans. It is the linchpin of 40 years of conservative Republican politics, and it is rusted in place and it's now immovable. It is at best a fanciful dream and, at worst, as Krugman points out, it's a provable fraud made up of hundreds of smaller frauds.

The end (corner) house in the 2600 block of Dumbarton St NW, Washington, D.C., 5:43PM September 24, 2017.

This house abuts Rose Park at the eastern edge of Georgetown.

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[Cont'd Krugman excerpt within the Pierce piece:]

Oh, and there were the recent state-level experiments. Sam Brownback slashed taxes in Kansas, promising an economic miracle; all he got was a fiscal crisis. Jerry Brown raised taxes in California, amid predictions of -- you guessed it -- disaster; the economy boomed, and the main problem is a housing shortage. There is nothing, nothing at all, in this history that would make any open-minded person believe that the Trump tax plan will cause dramatically accelerated growth.

The fountain at Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., 5:56PM September 24, 2017.

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Quite simply, if the Republican party is going to regain its sanity, it has to give up all of the crazy, and this perception of how the economy works is the most deeply rooted crazy there is. If you can believe at this point that tax cuts pay for themselves, how hard is it to believe that climate change is a hoax? If Professor Krugman can survive the next few months without taking hostages, it will be a genuine miracle.

Building façade, 900 block F Street NW, Washington, D.C., 8:27PM October 17, 2017.

I walked back home on Tuesday night from happy hour with Andrea, detouring briefly at Trade and even more briefly at No. 9.

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OK, that concludes the two pieces.

As a brief update, I'm home now at this late hour after work and the gym, watching late TV, specifically, my usual set of MeTV programs: Carol Burnett & Friends, Perry Mason, The Twilight Zone, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

An alley off the 1000 block of F Street NW (near the intersection with 11th Street NW), Washington, D.C., 8:29PM October 17, 2017.

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Tomorrow (Thursday) after work, I am meeting my coworker friend for drinks. Last (Tuesday) night, Andrea and I met up (the first time in quite a while) and went to Dirty Habit to the outdoor courtyard bar.

The weather features nothing but sunshine and excessively dry conditions, but at least it's not hot. Highs today were in the lower 70s F to include 71F at KDCA and KBWI, 70F at KIAD, and 73F at KDMH. Tonight is a partly cloudy, cool, dry one with midnight temps around 55F here in the District but in the upper 40s F in the suburbs.

Nighttime view looking west along the 1200 block G Street NW, Washington, D.C., 8:33PM October 17, 2017.

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OK, that's all for now. My next planned entry will be Friday night -- although it might not be until Saturday night.

--Regulus

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Another Day, Another Camp Runamuck Cabinet Kilonova -OR- Scott Pruitt Takes the Lead

A man on a bicycle on Harris Hollow Rd. in (Little) Washington, Va., October 14, 2017; Photo by Flickr user Chasing Mailboxes and featured in this CWG entry.

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Apologies for lack of update last night. I started composing an entry -- which I intend to complete and post tonight -- about the amazing gravitational wave and "kilonova" discovery announced yesterday, but it was just too late.

In the meantime, I just want to post this Charlie Pierce piece excerpt:

"This is beginning to get ridiculous, but the way things are going, every day is going to be Scott Pruitt Day for a while here in the shebeen.

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency always has seemed less than enthusiastic about, you know, protecting the environment, but very enthusiastic about making it harder to protect the environment from the people who have financed his entire public career.

In the spirited competition for Worst Hire down in Camp Runamuck, Pruitt has opened a wide lead. Betsy DeVos is just ignorant and Ben Carson spends most of his time in Dimension X, but Pruitt is so actively, deliberately hostile to the mission of the agency of which he is in charge that it almost makes you forget that he also has the extravagant use of government aircraft as part of his case for the award.

In the long run, it may turn out to be Neil Gorsuch, but, weight for age, Pruitt's has begun to lap the field."

Haha

Pierce goes on to talk about the latest Pruitt ecological atrocity.

--Regulus

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Outer and Inner Limits of TrumpWorld -OR- Clown with a Demon Heart

A barred owl perched on a tree branch in Shenandoah National Park, Oct. 13, 2017; photograph by Flickr user John C. Ernst and reposted in this CWG entry.

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Sunday early afternoon.

The day is variably / mostly cloudy with temps around 75F and the dew point creeping up -- back up to 66F. It I clearing up, and late afternoon, is going to be mostly sunny and unseasonably hot (reaching 85F or so). A cold front is progged to pass through the region tonight with a 50 percent chance of some rain showers. Thereafter, it is forecasted to be sunny and actually pleasantly cool for a few days with highs in the mid 60s F and lows in the upper 40s to around 50F.

12Z 10/15/2017 GFS showing 6-hr precipitation (mm/hr), mean sea level pressure (MSLP), and 1000-500mb thicknesses (dekameters) for the Lower 48, valid hour 138, 12Z 10/21/2017, as prettied up by TropicalTidbits.com.

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As suggested in the GFS output image directly above, the problem thereafter is that the fucking high pressure block over the eastern United States powerfully reasserts itself for at least the next 10 days with warming temperatures and stagnating conditions so that by a week from now, we could very well be back up to 80F across the D.C. area and dry as a bone.


The fall foliage display is going to suck this year -- drab and dull as shit -- and in the context of endless warmth and dry conditions. I hate this place. 

That aside, I'm just not feeling that well. I'm very achy (maybe from the 6 mile treadmill jog yesterday) and headachy (maybe from alcohol withdrawal), not to mention very chilly -- although I do have the window a/c cranked up in this little dust trap of an apartment, so there's that. Speaking of the dust trap, I continue to fight the dust bunnies that threaten to engulf my apartment.

They remind me a bit of the episode of The Outer Limits I watched last night on MeTV, namely, "Cry of Silence," specifically, the mobile, sentient, and physically attacking tumbleweeds in a remote desert canyon.

While that whole episode is intriguing, I really preferred the first of the two back-to-back episodes, namely, "Demon with a Glass Hand." Awesome episode.


I don't know what to do today. I was going to go to the gym for weightlifting and a swim, but given how I feel, I think I'm going to wait until tomorrow after work (and try to get a jog in as well). I went yesterday, but skipped the weightlifting part. Today, I'm just not feeling up to such physical exertion. Besides, if I go today, I'll skip tomorrow, and I don't want to skip Monday.

That aside, I should get out of this damn apartment. I do live in Washington, D.C., not far from Dupont and Logan Circles. That's supposed to mean something great. 

Before going, though, I'd like to post this YouTube version of last night's Saturday Night Live sketch called "Kellywise" of Kellyanne Conway as a parody of the shape-shifting Pennywise the Clown drawing -- and then yanking -- Anderson Cooper into a drainage sewer on a rainy night:


Caution: It is a bit gratuitously violent and faux-gory (which means it is actually gory) in one part.

As Aaron Blake wrote in the Washington Post article: "The Conway short, though, is the one that should have people talking Sunday. And it was by far the more provocative one, both for what it says about Conway and the media that covers her and her ilk."

And here is a comment accompanying the article from commenter Great Lakes Blue that I'd like to post:

Brilliant and so dark. SNL is reaching new levels of creativity amidst these chaotic, disturbing times. I felt like a similar thing happened with 60s music amidst the Vietnam War. Art keeps us sane and connected when society is going off the rails.

Let me also say that the level of public discussion in the form of the writings of Jonathan Chait, Andrew Sullivan, Charlie Pierce, and Paul Krugman -- not to mention, from the other side, George F. Will -- has really been invigorating and thought-provoking and all-around terrific.

However, none of it is making any difference since our political system is so badly broken with so many rotten people in power, so much ideological lunacy, so much money perversion, all overseen of course by a nihilistic monster in the human form of Donald Trump.


The headline doesn't do the piece justice. To be clear, Will has always been one of the consistent deeply conservative "Never Trump'ers."

OK, that's all for now. My next planned update will be late tomorrow night.

--Regulus

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Jukebox Saturday Night for October 14th, 2017: The Henry's Mammy, Bob's Love Generation, and Etta At Last Edition


"That's My Mammy" by Henry Thies and His Hotel Sinton Orchestra (1928)

This was recorded May 28, 1928. The slightly racially-tinged title notwithstanding (at least to the ears of someone in 2017), this is a nice piece. The singing doesn't start until about 90 seconds into it.

I heard this piece on Bryan Wright's terrific Shellac Stack Podcast in show No. 92.

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Next up, a sweet, wonderful, and upbeat song ...


"Love Generation" by Bob Sinclair ft. vocals by Gary Pine from the album Western Dream (2006)

To be clear, "Love Generation" was released as a single in Oct. 2005 and then appeared on the Western Dream album that was released in April 2006.

The video accompanying this is basically perfect for the song.

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Given how I'm feeling tonight, I'm going to end this edition of Jukebox Saturday Night with something mellow and wonderful ...


At Last by Etta James from her album At Last! (1960)

Yes, indeed. At Last. I know I featured it almost four years ago in this JSN edition, but this is one of those pieces that sometimes you just got to have.

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OK, that's all for now. Please see my previous entry for an update.

--Regulus

Saturday Evening Post for October 14th, 2017: Blog Entry on the Edge of Nowhere

**This entry was posted Oct. 14, 2017.**

Sun through trees in the 2000 block of New Hampshire Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 4:34PM October 14, 2017.

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I'm home in my lamp lit, window air-conditioned, little efficiency apartment watching the MeTV Super Sci-Fi Saturday Night lineup -- which segues into the Sunday Sci-Fi Red Eye lineup. I just made some dinner and finished four loads of laundry.

The episode of Star Trek: The Original Series episode is my favorite one: The City on the Edge of Forever. These are the digitally reworked ("remastered") versions.


The Svengoolie-hosted movie this week was a light-hearted one: "The Ghost and Mr. Chicken" starring the late comedic actor Don Knotts of "Barney Fife" character fame. Battlestar Galactica (the 1978 series) is on next. I love the opening theme to it.

My friend Chester on the US-Canadian border in Vermont at the end of a 20-day, 300-mile hike starting from Dalton, Mass., with a final night (after reaching the border) in the nearby City of St. Albans.

Awesome achievement, Chester. You should be proud. (By contrast, I sat in an office cubicle and gone to a few bars and restaurants during that time.)

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I'm totally not going out tonight. Last night was the usual disaster show, and I'm quite worn out. To be clear, I made it to the gym today, but I got there at nearly 5PM. Instead of a multi-part workout, I just did a treadmill jog followed by a swim. I managed to get up to six miles in two parts while watching on the treadmill's TV monitor two-and-a-half episode of The Golden Girls on TV Land.

The view of Manhattan and the Hudson River from atop One World Trade Center, October 13, 2017.

This picture was taken by a person I know named Tim. He is someone with whom I was close friends -- in a manner of speaking -- about 20 years ago, but with whom I only recently (in the last three months) became reacquainted. It's all somewhat problematic.

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For tomorrow, I am planning on going back to the gym to do the weightlifting. For tonight, as I said, I'm just in and doing nothing but watching TV and updating this blog. I've composed a Jukebox Saturday Night entry that I will post in a few minutes

--Regulus

Friday, October 13, 2017

Reposted: Ethan Siegel's Forbes Piece on the Eternally and Infinitely Inflationary Multiverse; Perhaps, the Neural Network in the Mind of God?


Below is reposted in full a very informative piece in Forbes.com (yes, Forbes) about inflationary cosmology and how that strongly suggests the existence of an infinite multiverse.

I've posted the same images from that article but I've flipped some of them sideways and, in a few places, broken up the paragraphs for formatting purposes.

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The Multiverse Is Inevitable, And We're Living In It

By Ethan Siegel, Contributor
Forbes
October 12, 2017

Source here.

Caption: An illustration of multiple, independent Universes, causally disconnected from one another in an ever-expanding cosmic ocean, is one depiction of the Multiverse idea.

Imagine that the Universe we observe, from end-to-end, is just a drop in the cosmic ocean. That beyond what we can see, there's more space, more stars, more galaxies, and more everything, for perhaps countless billions of light years farther than we'll ever be able to access. And that as large as the unobservable Universe is, that there are again innumerably more Universes just like it -- some larger and older, some smaller and younger -- dotted throughout an even larger spacetime. As rapidly and inevitably as these Universes expand, the spacetime containing them expands even more quickly, driving them apart from one another, and ensuring that no two Universes will ever meet. It sounds like a fantasy picture: the scientific idea of a Multiverse. But if the science we accept today is correct, it's not only a valid idea, it's an unavoidable consequence of our fundamental laws.

Caption: Artist’s logarithmic scale conception of the observable universe. Note that we're limited in how far we can see back by the amount of time that's occurred since the hot Big Bang: 13.8 billion years, or (including the expansion of the Universe) 46 billion light years.

The idea of the Multiverse has its roots in the physics required to describe the Universe that we see and inhabit today. Everywhere we look in the sky, we see stars and galaxies, clustered together in a great cosmic web. But the farther away in space we look, the farther back in time we look as well. The more distant galaxies are younger, and hence less evolved. Their stars have fewer heavy elements in them, they appear smaller as fewer mergers have happened, there are more spirals and fewer ellipticals (which take time to form from mergers), and so on. If we go all the way to the limits of what we can see, we find the very earliest stars in the Universe, and then a region of darkness beyond that, where the only light is the leftover glow from the Big Bang.

Caption: Looking out at more and more distant objects in the Universe reveals them to us as they were farther back in time, going all the way back to before there were atoms, all the way to the Big Bang.

But the Big Bang itself -- occurring everywhere at once some 13.8 billion years ago - wasn’t the start of space and time, but rather the start of our observable Universe. Before that, there was an epoch known as cosmic inflation, where space itself expanded exponentially, full of energy inherent to the fabric of spacetime. Cosmic inflation is itself an example of a theory that came along and superseded the one that came before it, in that it:

1. Was consistent with all the successes of the Big Bang and encompassed all of modern cosmology.

2. Explained a number of problems that the Big Bang couldn't address, including why the Universe was the same temperature everywhere, why it was so spatially flat, and why there were no leftover high-energy relics like magnetic monopoles.

3. And it made many distinct new predictions that could be tested observationally, most of which have been confirmed.

There’s also, however, one consequence that inflation predicts that we do not know whether we can confirm or not: the Multiverse.

Caption: Inflation causes space to expand exponentially, which can very quickly result in any pre-existing curved space appearing flat.

The way inflation works is by causing space to expand at an exponential rate. This takes whatever existed before the hot Big Bang and made it much, much, much larger than it was previously.

So far, so good: this explains how we get such a uniform, large Universe. When inflation ends, that Universe gets filled with matter and radiation, which is what we see as the hot Big Bang.

But here’s where it gets weird.

In order for inflation to end, whatever quantum field is responsible for it has to roll from the high-energy, unstable state that drives inflation down into a low-energy, equilibrium state. That transition, and "rolling" down into the valley, is what causes inflation to come to an end, and create the hot Big Bang.

Caption: If inflation were a classical field, you'd get inflation for as long as the field value remained large, but as it got smaller by, say, rolling into the valley below, inflation would come to an end and reheat the Universe.

But whatever field is responsible for inflation, like all other fields that obey the laws of physics, must be an inherently quantum field in nature. Like all quantum fields, it's described by a wavefunction, with the probability of that wave spreading out over time. If the value of the field is rolling slowly-enough down the hill, then the quantum spreading of the wavefunction will be faster than the roll, meaning that it's possible -- even probable -- for inflation to wind up farther away from ending and giving rise to a Big Bang as time goes on.

Caption: If inflation is a quantum field, then the field value spreads out over time, with different regions of space taking different realizations of the field value. In many regions, the field value will wind up in the bottom of the valley, ending inflation, but in many more, inflation will continue, arbitrarily far into the future.

Because space is expanding at an exponential rate during inflation, this means that exponentially more regions of space are being created as time goes on. In a few regions, inflation will come to an end: where the field rolls down into the valley. But in others, inflation will continue on, giving rise to more and more space surrounding each and every region where inflation ends. The rate of inflation is far more rapid than even the maximum rate of expansion of a matter-and-energy-filled Universe, so in very short order, the inflating parts take over everything. According to the viable mechanisms that give us enough inflation to produce the Universe we see, there are many more regions of space surrounding our own -- where inflation did end -- where inflation doesn't end right away.

Wherever inflation occurs (blue cubes), it gives rise to exponentially more regions of space with each step forward in time. Even if there are many cubes where inflation ends (red Xs), there are far more regions where inflation will continue on into the future. The fact that this never comes to an end is what makes inflation 'eternal' once it begins.

This is where the phenomenon known as eternal inflation comes from. Where inflation ends, we get a hot Big Bang and a Universe -- of which we can observe part of the one we're in -- very much like our own. (Denoted by the red “X” above.)

But where inflation doesn’t end, that produces more inflating space, which gives rise to some regions that will have hot Big Bangs causally disconnected from our own, and other regions that will continue to inflate. And so on.

Caption: As vast as our observable Universe is and as much as we can see, it’s only a tiny fraction of what must be out there.

This picture, of huge Universes, far bigger than the meager part that's observable to us, constantly being created across this exponentially inflating space, is what the Multiverse is all about.

It's important to recognize that the Multiverse is not a scientific theory on its own. It makes no predictions for any observable phenomena that we can access from within our own pocket of existence.

Rather, the Multiverse is a theoretical prediction that comes out of the laws of physics as they’re best understood today. It’s perhaps even an inevitable consequence of those laws: if you have an inflationary Universe governed by quantum physics, this is something you’re pretty much destined to wind up with.

Caption: While many independent Universes are predicted to be created in an inflating spacetime, inflation never ends everywhere at once, but rather only in distinct, independent areas separated by space that continues to inflate. This is where the scientific motivation for a Multiverse comes from.

It's possible that our understanding of the state before the hot Big Bang is incorrect, and that our ideas about inflation are completely wrong for this application.

If that's the case, then the existence of a Multiverse isn't a foregone conclusion. But the prediction of an eternally inflating state, where an uncountably large number of pocket Universes are continuously born and driven inextricably apart from one another, is a direct consequence of our best current theories, if they're correct.

What is the Multiverse, then? It may go well beyond physics, and be the first physically motivated "metaphysics" we've ever encountered. For the first time, we’re understanding the limits of what our Universe can teach us. There is information we need, but that we'll never obtain, in order to elevate this into the realm of testable science. Until then, we can predict, but neither verify nor refute, the fact that our Universe is just one small part of a far grander realm: the Multiverse.

Astrophysicist and author Ethan Siegel is the founder and primary writer of Starts With A Bang! His books, Treknology and Beyond The Galaxy, are available wherever books are sold.

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So, as I understand it, if this is true, then the Multiverse is an infinity of universes. Put another way, the multiverse is an infinity of self-replicating, inflationary infinities. Perhaps we can think of it as the neural network in the Mind of God.


And on that note, I think I will end that's all for now. It's late and I need to go to sleep.

--Regulus

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fall's Retreat and No Weather Comments, But Lots of Moral Trolling -OR- This Endlessly Warm and Humid October in TrumpWorld

The bar at Duplex Diner, Washington, D.C., 9:07PM October 11, 2017.

Very cozy. Very millennial. Very D.C.

Clarification: (11:52AM 10/12/2017) Those three "very" descriptors were for when I thought my lead image was taken in McClellan's Retreat, not Duplex Diner. (I confused them for some reason.) I would not use those terms to describe Duplex Diner at all.

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Apologies for lack of entries the past two nights.

On Tuesday night (into early Wednesday), I just didn't feel like writing anything and then last night, I met my coworker friend Raphael at McClellan's Retreat for drinks before heading home -- detouring at Duplex Diner, where I rarely go, but where last night, I had an unexpected and pleasant encounter with Brett.

Drizzly, gloomy evening, 1700 block Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C., 6:31PM October 11, 2017.

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Of that whole shitty 17th Street D.C. gay mafia, she was the only one who was ever nice to me and treated me decently. Of course, that's precisely because she wasn't part of that shitty gay mafia. But I have no desire any longer to discuss that.

What's more, I'm delighted to have flushed the memory of M. WADE Tipamillyun. There was never any "there there" anyway.

Blurry image of a drizzly nighttime view at the intersection of Florida Ave and 19th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 10:05PM October 11, 2017.

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The weather remains shitty this October with well-above-normal warmth and mid-summer-like levels of humidity (with multiple days in a row of dew points over 70F). Today, however, we are in a good easterly (maritime) flow with low clouds, drizzle, and much cooler temperatures (around 65F with dew points about 60F).

There were some bouts of heavy rainfall last night although shitty KDCA managed to miss most of it. The 24-hour rainfall totals through 9AM this morning were as follows:

KDMH: 0.84"
KIAD: 0.79"
KBWI: 0.65"
KDCA: 0.11" (screw you, too)

Another goddamn spell of 80F+ heat is forecasted by this weekend with no real sign of fall weather -- it being pushed out, again, to days 12 to 15, in the GFS runs, which means it is in the fantasy panel territory.

The 0Z Oct. 11, 2017 GEFS ensemble 16-day forecasted 2-meter high and low temperatures (in Fahrenheit) for KDCA valid Oct. 11 - 26, 2017
(as created by WeatherBell.com).

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The longest stretches of dew point temperatures of at least 70F at KDCA for the month of October, 1937 - 2017.

This shows the top three such stretches -- in 1959 (blue), 2002 (orange), and 2017 (green). To be clear, dew point temperatures have been recorded since 1936 while the full air temperature record goes back to Jan. 1971. Official records have been kept at National Airport since Aug. 1941.

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The 8-to-14 day forecasted temperature anomaly probability for the United States valid Oct. 18 - 24, 2017 issued Oct. 10, 2017.

I'm so fucking sick of these "much above normal" temperature probability maps. It's all we get nowadays.

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On a related note of things I'm fed up with, I've had to give up at least for now on participating in the CWG comment section.

The issue is that it's always the same dozen people who participate, the majority of whom are these exurban-dwelling bourgeois marshmallows and/or buccal-pumping frogs who like nothing but endless sunshine, heat, and "no weather." I just don't understand why people like that even pretend to have a weather interest.

The comment section is insipid, jejune, boring, vapid, and all-around-stupid to include swapping gardening tips and recipes, or just using that forum as a sort of daily diary (i.e., nothing for actual fans of "the weather" in all its forms). 

The exception is when there is a major weather event when the floodgates open to let in the rest of the internet sewer -- with hundreds and thousands of anonymous commenters posting highly-charged political comments (and while I agree with most anti-Trump sentiment, it does make it basically a flame warring exercise).

Of course, those comments never get removed, unlike mine, which appear to be monitored by the CWW moderator in some cartoonish fashion.

Like everything else, after a while, it totally disappoints. I also see it as a form of moral trolling.

Speaking of moral trolling, read this piece by Jonathan Chait about the weird titillation of the Orange Buffoon Emperor's inner court at the Harvey Weinstein scandal and the "connection" they've made to Hillary Clinton (link embedded):



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Well, I better end this entry and get my day started. Tonight is a gym night and then I'll come home and watch my late-night line up to include Perry Mason on MeTV. I intend to post a new entry but I can't promise that I will for sure.

--Regulus