Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Solar and Human Systems

Morning sunrise, Flagler Beach, Florida.

I found this picture online -- it is just coincidental that this is where my dad presently lives.


Today has so far been practically a non-day ... I slept in until basically 4PM as I tried to catch up on my weekly sleep deficit.

I didn't get to bed until about 5:30AM after having gone out last night to Buffalo Billiards and then to Cobalt.

Upon arrival home, I composed what I hoped was a nice email to a certain C. bartender, except when I sent it, I discovered Yahoo -- with its shitty new advanced format that is very difficult to navigate -- had put the entire email in psychotic-looking 24-point font.

Thus, I had to resend it, with a note explaining.

However, based on the subject heading of the crazy looking email, I've decided to add a sub-banner to this blog below the "Regulus Star Notes" title / banner.

Anyway, the new addition is: "Notes from the Local Universe..."

The order goes: Planet Earth, Terran Solar System, Local Bubble, Orion / Local Arm, Milky Way Galaxy, Local Group, Canes Venatici Cloud, outskirts of the Virgo / Local Supercluster, Pisces-Cetus Supercluster Complex / Local Universe, Observable Universe, Total Universe ...

... and, perhaps, Self-Replicating Multiverse, Eternity and Infinity, MIND of GOD

Earlier at Buffalo Billiards, the Friday night segues as it usually does when I'm there with my extended social group from a straight after-work happy hour (which I did not arrive at until 10PM) into a gay - dominated, everyone with their own self-absorbed agenda and on-the-prowl night.

As for the Buffalo Billiards at Dupont Circle, the entire staff last Tuesday was fired apparently (as was told to me) on the grounds of employee theft. Except (again, as it was told to me second hand) it was literally on the day a new management company came roaring in, appropriately this year, on election day, Nov. 2nd.

Whatever the reason -- I'm declining to speculate and opine -- the new staff came across like the staff of a chain sports bar in some vapid shopping mall along the interstate in a soulless Middle American city.

Of course, there was still the Friday night self-important but inherently highly neurotic yuppie D.C. crowd from blaring nonstop vulgar hip hop music from the jukebox, or whatever it's called now. Washington, D.C., is both fun and deeply depressing at the same time.

What really bugged me is the bartender wanted a frickin' card to hold JUST TO ORDER FOOD -- and DESPITE the fact I told him I was going to pay CASH upfront. I ordered a single $9 order of generic bar food.

He insisted on the card and I said, no, I'd sooner cancel the order and leave. He said that was "company policy" and I said I don't care if that's the policy, I was not giving him the ONE card I have -- which is my bank ATM card. Period.

That was my ATM checking account debit card, not some multi-tentacled predatory credit card company's "Platinum XT-3000" card with a 1,200% interest rate and 650 pages of rules written in 4-point font (a corporate finance lawyer's wet dream) that Americans, so in love with their system and selves, CAN'T WAIT to pay and scream about how that's "freedom."

Maybe I should have just yelled "SOYLENT GREEN IS PEOPLE!" and ran out. Ha ha. Except that would have just dated me and nobody would have gotten it.


Saturn: Lord of the Rings


Changing subjects, here are two competing views on the general topic of the "equivalency" between the Republican right and liberals / progressives. The specifics differ -- in the first case, Rachel Maddow is talking about GE/NBC senior management's decision to indefinitely suspect Keith Olbermann without pay for making a small number of political campaign donations without explicitly getting approval from the company.

In the second case, Bill Maher addresses Jon Stewart's point that in the cable news food fight universe, and overall American political discourse, there is an equivalency between both sides.

The latter view, of course, is what titillates Fred Hiatt and The Washington Post editorial writers to no end, as well as their "Free Trade" monomania, which more and more people are realizing is a ticket to economic oblivion.

I think Rachel Maddow makes some excellent points.

But Bill Maher in his hysterically funny way makes the equally excellent point that the rightwing agit-prop machine and its ardent followers are, well, crazies and pretending there is an equivalency is, well, bullshit.

UDPATED: The link was, of course, removed by the corporate attorneys at HBO and YouTube who live to devour space and time. Anyway, tt was from the Nov. 5, 2010 episode of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO. I will try to find a new link. Eventually, it will reenter the public space.

Best line: "Keith Olbermann is right when he says he's not the equivalent of Glenn Beck. One reports facts, the other one is very close to playing with his poop. And the big mistake of modern media has been this notion of balance for balance's sake ..."

Even his guest Fareed Zakaria laughed at that one.

One more political item ... the verbal clash on Morning Joe between Glenn Greenwald and Lawrence O'Donnell was actually a highly substantive one and is worth viewing.


I think Neptune is my favorite planet (well, other than Earth), maybe because I was born in Neptune, New Jersey and its blue color.

Oh, and this is for Kristof ... It's Dr. Robert Lanza's latest bio - quantum - mechanical - metaphysical piece from Salon entitled "Is Death the End? Experiments Suggest You Create Time". The concluding part is the most intriguing.


The Weather ...

The weather threatens to be blah and tranquil all week with no rain and mild temps -- low 60s Fahrenheit, which is infinitely better than the nightmare of this past hateful summer.

Dupont Circle, Washington, D.C., on a drizzly-wet, chilly evening in the soft city of the sort I love, 6:18PM, Nov. 4, 2010.

Nov. 4, 2010 -- my late paternal grandmother's 102nd birthday.


The largest of the Trans-Neptunian Objects (TNO's), including "dwarf planet" Pluto.


I'm not really sure what I'm doing tonight. I'd like to try to take a walk tomorrow. We are already well into autumn with the leaves, if anything, past their colorful peak and falling off.

It appeared to me to be a crummy autumn display because of the extreme heat and drought of this past summer -- WOODY! / LWX are pleased. But it's also true that in my little D.C. bubble between Dupont Circle and U Street/Cardozo on one side and L'Enfant Plaza on the other, with almost no travel outside of it in weeks, I really haven't seen lots trees.

I'll try to take a walk in the Friendship Heights and Palisades area tomorrow.

Diagram of the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud of frozen comet nuclei. The Oort Cloud extends a third of the way to the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, which is 4.24 light years away and may be loosely gravitationally bound to the binary Alpha Centauri system in a trinary system.


OK, that's all for now. My next planned update will be Monday night, so in time for Tuesday morning. Oh, yes, I'm scheduled to have the second part of my root canal on Wednesday. Then Thursday is the Veteran's Day holiday.

Regulus appreciates the importance of good dental hygiene. This image appeared on Nov. 4, 2010 in the U.K. Telegraph newspaper, source here.


OK, that's really all for now.



krzysztof said...

This quantuum time business is fascinating but it gives me headaches. To me 80% of what theoretical physicists do nowdays is rather math than testifiable physics. At least one string theorist I talked to about that seemed to (reluctantly) agree.

Regulus said...

Agreed ... I've heard that string theory has caused much trouble in physics departments since it is basically a leap of faith to believe that the underlying fabric of space-time in fact consists of such strings.