Thursday, December 27, 2012

What Kind of Intelligence Is Prescience? - 2

In this series we are looking at various ancient writings to discern various concepts about human responsibility for taking care of the Earth.

The notion of prescience comes along with the ride because these are ancient writings, some of them containing warnings about consequences for not being good stewards of the resources of the good Earth.

Let's take a look at Islam and the Koran this time.

Like the U.S. where no debate on climate change took place during the presidential election campaign, politicians from some nations were mum on the subject:
Not a word about climate change, even though the Middle Eastern nation of Qatar is hosting a U.N. conference where nearly 200 countries are trying to forge a joint plan to fight global warming, which climate activists say is the greatest modern challenge to mankind.

‘‘Unfortunately the Arab and Islamic countries have political and economic problems,’’ said Adham Hassan, a worshipper from Jordan streaming out of the al-Khatabb mosque in Doha.

(Boston dot com). They are like us, "political and economic problems" so we forget to mention the most important things some times.

But don't let the politicians fool you, Islam is concerned with taking good care of the Earth in terms of instructions from ancient writings:
‘‘Islam calls for the protection of the environment, but the Muslim countries are mostly poor and they didn’t cause pollution and aren’t affected by climate change.’’

Of six mosques contacted ... one included an environmental message in the Friday prayers, telling those in attendance to plant trees, shun extravagance and conserve water and electricity.

The Quran, Islam’s holy book, is filled with more than 1,500 verses to nature and Earth.

(ibid, emphasis added). Like any nation there are citizens who are more concerned than others about environmental matters.

There is a publication called EcoIslam which deals with environmental matters from the perspective of ancient writings combined with modern writings:
"The London march against Climate Change on 3rd December 2005 attracted 10,000 people from diverse backgrounds, all concerned about the damage being caused to the environment. Amongst them, a group of Muslims called for individuals and nations to act more responsibly towards the earth. Human beings have been divinely appointed as guardians of the earth, they believe."- EcoIslam, Issue 01, Jan. 2006

"In today's climate of uncontrolled extraction and destruction of the Earth's resources, preserving the environment is a priority that requires creative solutions, including the revival of traditional ways of conserving our natural surroundings. In order to preserve its surroundings, the Daarul 'Uluum is utilising the wisdom of Islamic traditions which provide a method for environmental management.

This particular project addresses the stresses put on rivers and water systems by human habitations and uses the harim system that lays down a code of behavior for those living in or near threatened habitats. For example, creating a harim zone in a river system requires that half of the width of the river on each side of the river bank is designated as a pristine area where all human activity is prohibited."- EcoIslam, Issue 06, August 2009

(Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science). The following video explains, among other things, that Muslims have practiced these tenets from the time of Muhammed. [full screen works best]

K.H. Ahmad Yani: "The 'Harim Zone'" from Green Islam in Indonesia on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Savvy Ecocosmological Earth Calendar

The concept of axial precession
Only one calendar I know of synchronizes with the Earth's axial precession.

The graphic to the left depicts that phenomenon, described as "Precessional movement of the Earth. The Earth rotates (white arrows) once a day about its axis of rotation (red). This axis itself rotates slowly (white circle), completing a rotation in approximately 26,000 years" (ibid).

The phenomena of axial precession and axial tilt are important for civilizations to take into consideration in their long range planning.

Or for that matter any planning that is based on ecological / environmental phenomena that have a meaningful impact on civilization.

One calendar that does so is the Mesoamerican Long Count Calendar since it has a method of synchronizing with axial precession as follows:
1 Day = Kin (keen)
20 Kin  = 1 Uinal (a.k.a. Winal)
360 Kin or 18 Uinals = 1 Tun (toon)
20 Tuns = 1 K’atun (k’a toon)
20 K`atuns or 400 Tuns = 1 Baktun (backtoon)

13 Baktuns or 5,200 Tuns = 1 Great Cycle
5 Great Cycles  = 26,000 Tuns (~26,000 yr. axial precession)

(see e.g. Mayan Long Count, and Mesoamerican Long Count). We can calculate how close the Long Count Calendar is to the axial precession cycle:
Earth's axial precession = 25,771 years
26,000 Tun * 360 Kin per Tun / 365.25 solar days = ~25,626 years
25,771 years - 25,626 years = 145 years (axial precession variation)
145 is ~0.56% of 25,771 (very slight degree of variation)

(see e.g. Precession of the Equinox). Therefore, the 26,000 Tun figure is within about a half of one percent of being equal to one complete cycle of the Earth's axial precession as calculated by other astronomical means (we don't know which of the two is more accurate, but a ~0.56% variance between the two is not significant).

[Note that current calendars of civilization do not even take axial precession into consideration at all.]

Another factor of the Long Count Calendar is that "Thirteen b’ak’tuns made up a Great Cycle, which adds up to 5,200 tuns" (Mayan Calendar Portal).

So much was falsely made about a "Mayan apocalypse" on December 21, 2012, because it was the end of a 5,200 Tun Great Cycle (the next Great Cycle of 5,200 Tuns began on the next day, December 22, 2012).

Anyway, that Great Cycle concept is an additional helpful factor because the 26,000 Tun cycle is segmented into five Great Cycles of 5,200 Tun each (5,200 x 5 = 26,000).

Since five Great Cycles make up one 26,000 Tun cycle, and that relates to one cycle of the axial precession of the Earth, we can segment the cycle of axial precession into five segments or sections of time using The Long Calendar.

Why does any of this matter, and what does it have to do with a good or bad calendar, in terms of long range planning by civilizations?

The first factor to consider is the axial tilt:
The Earth's axis remains tilted in the same direction with reference to the background stars throughout a year (throughout its entire orbit).

This means that one pole (and the associated hemisphere of the Earth) will be directed away from the Sun at one side of the orbit, and half an orbit later (half a year later) this pole will be directed towards the Sun.

This is the cause of the Earth's seasons.

(Wikipedia, Axial Tilt). Next consider what happens when the axial tilt rotates during the cycle of axial precession:
Variations in Earth's axial tilt can influence the seasons and is likely a factor in long-term [non-anthropogenic] climate change.

(ibid). Thus, the Long Range Calendar would divide the 26,000 Tuns into five segments of 5,200 Tuns each, which would give such a calendar the utility to help civilizations determine when and how ecocosmological climate change, i.e., natural cosmic climate change would take place in the different hemispheres of the Earth.

Why is that important?

Because it would tell, among other things, when polar ice caps would naturally melt to cause natural sea level rise that would flood coastal areas, when the poles would naturally ice-over to again cause natural sea level drop once again, how the flora and fauna would begin to adapt as those climate changes gently and slowly began to take place, as well as many other fundamental things civilizations need to know to happily survive on a planet like the Earth (see e.g. this and this).

Wise civilizations would use a long term calendar for long term planning in terms of zoning, when and where to build, when and where not to build, how to build for the current and next cycle, and therefore how to avoid a lot of waste, destruction, loss of life, as well as avoiding great, unnecessary expense.

[This all assumes that any Earth civilizations would not cause anthropogenic global warming induced climate change, as current civilization already has done, to a very reasonably predictable Earth environment.]

In closing, let me say that that this post emphasizes the utility of the Mesoamerican Long Calendar, but more than that, it makes it obvious how unwise the current civilization is to always assume that older nations, peoples, and eras were inferior to us in wisdom, vision, and intelligence.

The next post in this series is here.

Video shows ~26,000 Tun / Year axial procession cycle:

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Lovely Planet In The Neighborhood? - 3

Oh, it is just down the block
In this series we have been noting the vast distances to planets that some astronomers loosely call "in our neighborhood" or "near us."

In previous posts regular readers know that we have pointed out how travel to those planets would take orders of magnitude more time than we have, in fact it would take more time than homo sapiens have even existed, which is about 200,000 years.

The pop science rags tell us things like "The extrasolar planet, now named GJ 1214b, is about 40 light-years away ... Astronomically speaking, this [planet] is on our block" or they might say that they have found a planet "near us."

Ecocosmology Blog has consistently pointed out that these planets are well out of our reach, and in fact impossible for us to reach since we have opted to stick with propulsion systems thousands of years old (see A Lovely Planet In The Neighborhood? and A Lovely Planet In The Neighborhood? - 2).

Now, two new planets have been detected that are even more "near" than previous ones we have discussed.

Those new discoveries are 12 light years and 4.4 light years away.

If we calculate using the arithmetic in the two Ecocosmology Blog posts linked to above, the number of years required to go to the planet 12 light years away would be 211,774.36 years ONE WAY.

Likewise, the planet "only" 4.4 light years away would "only" take 77,650.60 years ONE WAY.

Why don't we settle on going to Mars first, as we figure out a realistic mode of transportation for meaningful space travel?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

What Kind of Intelligence Is Prescience?

This post begins a series concerned with prescience ("pre" + "science"), a facet of intelligence that is composed of various degrees of "vision", i.e., the ability to see where any particular behavior will end up.

A primitive example of that facet of intelligence would be to know what would happen if one jumped off a high cliff or drank poison:
Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation's drinking water.

(Poisoning The Well). Young toddlers generally do not develop that type of vision until they age and experience life for awhile, but adults should have adult sense or else they are simply incompetent.

So it is at once clear that prescience or vision develops with time, but it also develops at different levels and rates in each individual (e.g. "visionary: a person of unusually keen foresight").

This blog has a policy of not being bigoted against either science or religion (see e.g. Message of Science & Religion - Western) because people in both of those realms at one time or another make mistakes (see e.g. Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 12).

It would not be wise to reject a person merely because they make mistakes, but it would be wise to question them should they embrace that mistake and descend into denialism, obsessing that the mistake is not a mistake.

One prime example is global warming induced climate change, where deniers typically come from a fundamentalist environment, often associating that fundamentalism with "the Bible."

So, for today's post let's look at a few examples of text from that compilation of ancient writings now in the form of a library (it is composed of many books) to see if there is any prescience about global warming induced climate change in those ancient writings:
Isaiah 24:4-6 - "The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and withers, the exalted of the earth languish. The earth is defiled by its people; they have disobeyed the laws, violated the statutes and broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth's inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left."
Jeremiah 2:7 - "I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable."
Ezekiel 34:17-18. "As for you, my flock ... Is it not enough for you to feed on good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet?"
Job 12:7-10. "But ask the animals, and they will teach you; or birds of the air and they will tell you; or speak to the earth and it will teach you; or let the fish of the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the lord has done this. In His hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind."
Rev. 18:11. "The time has come for judging the dead, and for ... destroying those who destroy the earth" (NIV); "... the time for the dead to be judged, and for ... destroying the destroyers of the earth” (ESV); "the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest ... destroy them which destroy the earth" (KJV); "your wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that you should ... destroy them who destroy the earth." (KJV - 2k)

These are ancient writings of what appears to be prescience recorded by those exposed to some form of visionary intelligence warning about the value of the Earth as well as the consequences for a lack of understanding about it.

More modern visionaries have written similar things that could be considered warnings too:
“The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

(Brainy Quotes). Recent pronouncements of scientific bodies who do research have made statements that tend to show these ancient writings were some form of prescient intelligence:
More than 100 million people will die ... by 2030 if the world fails to tackle climate change, a report commissioned by 20 governments said on Wednesday.

(The Doha, Qatar UN Word Wide Machine). The sense to take care of the Earth is lacking, and that lack of sense has serious consequences.

In a recent post we considered a kind of intelligence with seemingly prescient ability in the abiotic realm (Did Abiotic Intelligence Precede Biotic Intelligence?).

In future posts in this series we will look at indications of prescience in other ancient writings (Hindu Vedas, Koran, Cuneiform, etc.).

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Did Abiotic Intelligence Precede Biotic Intelligence?

Bright Things
I suppose we should also ask ourselves whether or not abiotic intelligence even exists.

If it does, since abiotic evolution preceded biotic evolution in our theoretical models, then that factor answers our question.

Nevertheless, either way it seems to require another discussion about what intelligence in general actually is, and whether it is the same in the abiotic realm as it is in the biotic realm.

It is a subject that is coming up a bit more regularly of late than it used to, when the notion of "intelligence" was limited exclusively to the small realm of human consciousness (see e.g. On The Peak of Intelligence - 2).

One can expect arguments both for and against abiotic intelligence, if we consider and extrapolate on Tenet One, which is:
The stars like our Sun, at the center of all solar systems, will support life forms for an amount of time, but will then destroy life on the planets near them at an unknown time during each solar system's developmental life cycle.

(The Tenets of Ecocosmology, Tenet One). According to our current cosmological evolutionary models, stars evolved during the long abiotic evolutionary phase that preceded the much shorter biotic evolutionary phase (see e.g. Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 3).

In those models "stars" evolved (On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 6) then produced carbon within them, which is the basis of biotic life and therefore biotic evolution (e.g. Logic of Metabolism).

Stars evolved such that they made carbon based life possible, yet they will eventually destroy all the life in the habitable zone of planets near them; life which they originally made possible:
Earth's fate is precarious. As a red giant, the Sun will have a maximum radius beyond the Earth's current orbit, 1 AU (1.5×1011 m), 250 times the present radius of the Sun. However, by the time it is an asymptotic giant branch star, the Sun will have lost roughly 30% of its present mass due to a stellar wind, so the orbits of the planets will move outward. If it were only for this, Earth would probably be spared, but new research suggests that Earth will be swallowed by the Sun owing to tidal interactions. Even if Earth would escape incineration in the Sun, still all its water will be boiled away and most of its atmosphere would escape into space.

(Life According To Science). Before this "catastrophe" happens there is sufficient time for life forms to learn space travel and find a new home world, if:
That final catastrophic event (destruction of life on inner planets), and all events leading up to it, comprise "The Test" (This test is composed of all the preliminary and final evolutionary requirements for the life forms on all planets near central stars. The Test works as a wall, moat, or barrier, to divide those species who may continue to live in the physical universe from those who may not).

(The Tenets of Ecocosmology, Tenet Two). This could be read to imply that abiotic evolution includes a process whereby undesirable carbon based biotic life forms that might later evolve will eventually be extinguished:
"The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe must have known that we were coming."
(Disturbing the Universe,  by Freeman Dyson, 1979). That is, will biotic forms that evolve "automatically" become extinct in the event that they evolve/develop primarily "maladjusted behaviors?"

The notion would would seem to imply, then, the existence of some form of abiotic intelligence intent on preventing future undesirable biotic evolution from getting out of hand and populating the cosmos with undesirables:
To pass The Test, intelligent life forms inhabiting any planet will be required to:
a) first learn to live and work together within, and in accord with, their planet's ecosystem, and to substantially coexist with all the other species on that planet, while overcoming any toxins of power that are contrary to social harmony;

b) develop technology that produces space vehicles able to substantially meet or exceed the speed of light;

c) find another solar system with a habitable planet which contains a central star still having enough time left in its stellar life cycle for them to colonize a habitable planet in that solar system (since it is unknown whether the toxins of power are to be found on all planets, as they are found on Earth, that possibility should be taken into consideration when selecting any new planet or moon as a home world); Note: since red dwarfs are the most stable and most abundant stars, they should be favored over Sun-like stars;

d) colonize that habitable planet, and then improve ecocosmological skills as needed;

e) then repeat the entire process ad infinitum;

f) or, experience a morph into another "species" free from that type of solar/planetary cosmic dependence.

(The Tenets of Ecocosmology, Tenet Three). We reviewed the cosmological evolutionary model of The Big Bang Theory recently, which notably indicates that abiotic evolution is a much older evolutionary process than biotic evolution is.

Abiotic evolution takes up by far the greatest portion of time involved when considering the span of time involved for all of evolution (Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 3).

The fundamental essence which The Tenets of Ecocosmology indicate as being built into this abiotic and biotic evolutionary dynamic is a command of due respect for all life forms:
The seeds of intelligence (genetic and memetic clues) required to successfully perform The Test are distributed into all species, races, religions, sciences, creeds, and genders. Thus, all individuals should be respected as carriers of some quanta of the seed of intelligence required to pass The Test, lest a fundamental quantum of necessary intelligence be lost.

(The Tenets of Ecocosmology, Tenet Four). Thus, the evolutionary path seems to begin with abiotic evolution of a non-living system that can provide the necessary ingredients of later biotic life.

But more than that, it also contains fundamental processes and/or mechanisms for judging some fundamental aspects of the competence of that later-to-begin biotic evolution.

That would seem to be a form of intelligent "non-life," but let's keep our notion subject to the difficulty of defining "life" and "machine":
The definition of life is as enormous a problem as the phenomenon of life itself. One could easily collect from the literature more than 100 different definitions, none satisfactory enough to be broadly accepted. What should the definition contain, to be suitable for all varieties of observable life? Humans, animals, plants, microorganisms. Do viruses also belong to life?


“Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines. These machines are built of component parts, each of which contributes a partial function or structural element to the machine. How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial.” Professor Lithgow said.

(Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 3). The machines that preceded life, and of which life is based, could be said to have evolved in an abiotic process that has some of the hallmarks of "some type of intelligence."

Especially when we are not reluctant to use the term "machine intelligence" to describe the software that comprises the "brains" of computers.

Not a very easy subject to derive only one clear dialogue is it?

Let's really muddy the waters, then, by pointing out that some religions are antithetical to this structure which The Tenets of Ecocosmology set forth above, a structure which favors appreciation of Nature.

This favoring of Nature is not the way of everyone's science or religion:
"Now I notice a very odd point. All other religions in the world, as far as I know them, are either nature religions, or anti-nature religions ... But here is something quite different. Here is something telling me - well, what? Telling me that I must never ... say that death does not matter." - C.S. Lewis

(God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics, page 86). Now that you have been given some food for thought, have fun with it!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 3

The machine age came first
The oft asked question: "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?" is actually a common mistake that both scientists and laypersons alike can make.

A more relevant question: "Which came first machines or biological organisms?" is less often contemplated, so, in this series we have been exploring the realm of time prior to "life", a time before a border line existed between machine and organism.

That is, before the border line between abiotic and biotic, which are defined as:
abiotic: a·bi·ot·ic [ey-bahy-ot-ik, ab-ee-] adjective-
of or characterized by the absence of life or living organisms. (Dictionary).

biotic: bi·ot·ic [bahy-ot-ik] adjective-
pertaining to life. (Dictionary).
As it turns out the "border line" between the two is actually a great chasm of not only space, but of time as well.

This is quite important because the biotic realm is carbon based, and therefore could not, according to cosmological evolution, come into existence prior to carbon having been formed in stars.

Carbon was formed in stars late in the abiotic epoch, via the Triple-alpha process.

The lighter elements had to first evolve from primitive energy, which cooled soon afterwards to a temperature too cool for carbon to form.

That whole early era of evolution is described and detailed by evolutionary cosmology, not biological evolution (On the Origin of the Genes of Viruses - 6).

It covers a vast amount of time compared to biological evolution, which only covers a fraction of the span of time that abiotic evolution covers.

To illustrate, let's review some of that theory from zero to the advent of carbon in stars:
The Big Bang theory is the prevailing cosmological model that describes the early development of the Universe. According to the Big Bang theory, the Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state which expanded rapidly. This rapid expansion caused the Universe to cool and resulted in its present continuously expanding state. According to the most recent measurements and observations, the Big Bang occurred approximately 13.75 billion years ago, which is thus considered the age of the Universe. After its initial expansion from a singularity, the Universe cooled sufficiently to allow energy to be converted into various subatomic particles, including protons, neutrons, and electrons. While protons and neutrons combined to form the first atomic nuclei only a few minutes after the Big Bang, it would take thousands of years for electrons to combine with them and create electrically neutral atoms. The first element produced was hydrogen, along with traces of helium and lithium. Giant clouds of these primordial elements would coalesce through gravity to form stars and galaxies, and the heavier elements would be synthesized either within stars or during supernovae.
(The Big Bang Theory, emphasis added). The Earth is said to have formed  "around 4.54 billion ... years ago" (History of Earth).

Therefore The Big Bang happened about 9.21 billion years before the Earth formed (13.75 - 4.54 = 9.21).

Biological organisms formed on the Earth about a billion years later, which would be ~10.21 billion years after The Big Bang.

Humans, homo sapiens,  are said to have evolved about 200,000 years ago, which would be ~13.7498 billion years after The Big Bang (13.7498 + 00.0002 = 13.75 billion years). Homo sapien evolution is a very tiny 0.0002 billion years of the 13.75 billion year story.

The abiotic epoch which preceded the biotic epoch involved a vast amount of "time" as we know it, populating vast areas of space with the atoms that make up chemicals, the subject of the scientific discipline Chemistry:
Dr Clarke said: “There are a lot of fundamental questions about the origins of life and many people think they are questions about biology. But for life to have evolved, you have to have a moment when non-living things become livingeverything up to that point is chemistry.”
“Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines. These machines are built of component parts, each of which contributes a partial function or structural element to the machine. How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial.” Professor Lithgow said.
Many cellular processes are carried out by molecular ‘machines’ — assemblies of multiple differentiated proteins that physically interact to execute biological functions ... Our experiments show that increased complexity in an essential molecular machine evolved because of simple, high-probability evolutionary processes, without the apparent evolution of novel functions. They point to a plausible mechanism for the evolution of complexity in other multi-paralogue protein complexes.
The most complex molecular machines are found within cells.
Writing in the journal PLoS Pathogens, the team from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences show how they studied the molecular machine known as the 'type II bacterial secretion system', which is responsible for delivering potent toxins from bacteria such as enterotoxigenic E. coli and Vibrio cholerae into an infected individual.

Professor Richard Pickersgill, who led the research, said: "Bacterial secretion systems deliver disease causing toxins into host tissue. If we can understand how these machines work, then we can work out how it they might be stopped."
(Do Molecular Machines Deliver Toxins of Power?). The gist of this is that the era of the evolution of machines is just another way of saying the epoch of abiotic evolution.

Let's look at the sequence again:
1) universe exists as singularity like a hot plasma;

2) a big bang or explosion takes place;

3) parts of 'primitive machines' evolve (electrons, protons, and neutrons);

4) machines (atoms of "the elements") evolve from primitive parts;

5) elements/machines evolve into star machines (Suns);

6) star machines produce carbon, the basis of biotic forms;

7) finally, machines evolve into carbon based organisms (the biotic epoch begins).
This sequence may appear simple at first blush, but is not as simple as it first appears to be, because it contemplates an exploration of the border line between life and non-life:
The definition of life is as enormous a problem as the phenomenon of life itself. One could easily collect from the literature more than 100 different definitions, none satisfactory enough to be broadly accepted. What should the definition contain, to be suitable for all varieties of observable life? Humans, animals, plants, microorganisms. Do viruses also belong to life?
(What Is Life, The Scientist). Once we reach the cellular level, microbes, the jump to multicellular is easier to follow, in most cases, than the jump from abiotic to biotic (see Evolving Multicellularity).

Most scenarios one reads concerning evolution begin with biotic life already existing, then proceed from there.

Thus, the big picture of ~10.21 billion years of abiotic evolution which preceded that much smaller ~3.54 billion years of biotic evolution is often ignored or given short shrift.

Richard Dawkins interviews Steven Rose (minutes:seconds):

00:35 natural selection is only one process or part of evolution, not the exclusive process or part ...

01:20 organisms take part in the selection of their environment ...

03:30 Rose takes issue with the overuse of the gene as the most important element in evolution ...

04:10 entire organisms must change, not simply individual genetic parts of it ...

05:20 Rose does not think that genes pass themselves from one generation of a species to the next; rather he thinks the information is passed, but that the organism then produces genetic material from that information ...

05:25 Rose says the idea than genes replicate themselves is not true; the orchestra of the entire cell is what replicates the genes, the DNA ...

08:20 the cell decides which parts of the DNA, the genes, to turn on and off ...

10:30 Rose indicates that focus one only one molecule, the DNA molecule, the gene, leads down inaccurate pathways; the solution is to see the organism as an entire functioning entity with equal emphasis on the parts, not unequal emphasis on the genetics alone ...

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Common Folk Experience Sea Level Rise NOW

What do people on Pacific Islands have in common with people on Manhattan Island?

Sea level rise is affecting them NOW.

There is the mythical global warming induced climate change and sea level rise which imagines something far off in the future, and then there is the reality that it is with us NOW.

Some folks seem to think that simply choosing one makes that one so.

Sorry folks, realty belongs to no one ... we all have to deal with it.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Damage Cannot Be Undone? - 2

Is dirty oil really worth it?
In the first post we focused on ongoing damage to various Earth cycles.

We are talking about ecological cycles which are global systems that purify air and water for example, so long as those cycles are not impaired by pollution.

When they become impaired by pollution we see odd things happening:
At a meeting with New England commercial fishermen last December, physical oceanographers Glen Gawarkiewicz and Al Plueddemann from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) were alerted by three fishermen about unusually high surface water temperatures and strong currents on the outer continental shelf south of New England.

"I promised them I would look into why that was happening," Gawarkiewicz says.

The result of his investigation was a discovery that the Gulf Stream diverged well to the north of its normal path beginning in late October 2011, causing the warmer-than-usual ocean temperatures along the New England continental shelf.

(Gulf Stream Aberration, emphasis added). If and when ocean currents change then other things we don't really want to change, such as food sources like fishing grounds, are going to change too.

People everywhere are beginning to prepare for radical changes caused by our industrial civilization's folly:
You can survive the end of the world in this charming nuclear missile silo. The views aren't great, but there won't be anything to see outside anyway.

(Apocalypse-proof Condos Already Sold Out). Millions of dollars for a place to hide out from a disturbed planetary ecosystem (Survival Condo Website).

Perhaps those condo people have been listening to scientists again:
The context for understanding these environmental responses is brought into focus by many recent studies showing that, irrespective of future greenhouse-gas emissions, a mean surface temperature increase of 2 °C (over 1990 levels) is inevitable, and an increase of 4 °C or more is not unlikely by 2100 ...

(Nature, The Impacts of Climate Change, emphasis added). To garner and understand of what this means, watch the short but startling video:

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cosmic Rosetta Stones?

"Mt. Sharp" in Gale Crater - Mars
Curiosity Rover is at a location on the planet Mars that has recorded a billion years or so of Martian history.

If you think about it, the location has recorded early solar system history, and it promises to tell us a lot about what happened, not only to Mars, but to our whole solar system.

Like the Rosetta Stone did to help with ancient human languages years ago here on the Earth, this may help us interpret some of the various "languages" or messages in the geological record throughout the solar system.

The Mars Journal provides peer reviewed papers for those interested in detailed discussions of Martian geology.

Years ago the Opportunity Rover discovered what NASA folk nicknamed "blueberries", which were ball-bearing shaped objects made of hematite, an iron oxide.

It was originally thought that those spheres of hematite here on Earth, and by extrapolation those on Mars, were chemically produced, not organically produced.

However, and to the contrary, new research of similar hematite spheres here on Earth has found that those here on Earth were formed by microbes:
Spherical iron-oxide concretions - dubbed "blueberries" - were first found on the Red Planet in 2004 by an earlier NASA robotic probe - Opportunity Rover - providing some of the first evidence for liquid water on Mars.

Earth-based analogues for these "blueberries" are found in the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone near the Colorado River, Utah, where the concretions range in size from small marbles to cannonballs and consist of a hard shell of iron oxide surrounding a softer sandy interior.

Previous theories suggested these concretions were formed by simple chemical reactions without the help of life. However, new UWA research shows clear evidence that microbes were essential in their formation.

This raises the possibility that Martian "blueberries" may not only reveal that water was present on Mars - but life too.

(Phys Org). This may also hold true for the new type of "blueberries" found in Endeavour Crater very recently, found also by the Opportunity Rover:

NASA's long-lived rover Opportunity has returned an image of the Martian surface that is puzzling researchers.

Spherical objects concentrated at an outcrop called Kirkwood on the western rim of Endeavour Crater differ in several ways from iron-rich spherules nicknamed "blueberries" the rover found at its landing site in early 2004.

"This is one of the most extraordinary pictures from the whole mission," said Opportunity's principal investigator, Steve Squyres of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. "Kirkwood is chock full of a dense accumulation of these small spherical objects. Of course, we immediately thought of the blueberries, but this is something different. We never have seen such a dense accumulation of spherules in a rock outcrop on Mars."

(Mystery Spheres on Mars, NASA). The spherical objects at Endeavour are not of the same composition as those found in 2004 shortly after Opportunity landed.

These discoveries lend some credence to the hypothesis of some NASA scientists that some microbes found in meteorites on Earth, whose descendants may be alive today, originally came from ancient Mars (A Structure RE: The Corruption of Memes, quoting Journal of Cosmology).

The exploration of space is never boring, especially when contemplating the full impact of the Tenets of Ecocosmology.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

On The Origin of Propaganda

The old Trees of NYC
Would you, as I once did, think that "propaganda" began in the NAZI Germany of old?

Is propaganda only something that humans do?

For the purposes of this post, we will define propaganda as anything that deceives others.

That is, anything that advocates or nurtures a false sense of reality in others so as to lead a victim or victims into any behavioral pattern that is believed to be real, but in fact is actually unreal.

Additionally, we will expand that meaning to include activity in the environment, the ecosystem of the entire Earth.

This is not being done to denigrate the "natural" world around us, rather it is being done to show that many activities that take place deep within that realm we call nature are behaviors that are not "good," in the sense of Ecocosmology, so we need not define them as "good."

Most microbial life is helpful to other life, only about 1% being pathogenic or harmful to humans, who are composed mostly of microbial cells.

Our first example of propaganda usage is about Sacculina, a parasite:
When a female Sacculina is implanted in a male crab it will interfere with the crab's hormonal balance. This sterilizes it and changes the bodily layout of the crab to resemble that of a female crab ... The female Sacculina has even been known to cause the male crabs to perform mating gestures typical of female crabs ... The natural ability of regrowing a severed claw that is commonly used for defense purposes is lost after the infestation of Sacculina. Although all energy otherwise expended on reproduction is directed to the Sacculina, the crab develops a nurturing behavior typical of a female crab... The male Sacculina looks for a female Sacculina adult on the underside ... then implants himself ... and starts fertilizing ... The crab ... then cares for the eggs as if they were its own, having been rendered infertile by the parasite.
(Wikipedia). Can there be any stronger deceit or propaganda than to deceive a male into thinking it is a biologically functioning female, robbing that male of reality?

Let's take a quick look at two other examples, beginning first with the protozoa Toxoplasma gondii:
If you take a lab rat who is 5,000 generations into being a lab rat, since the ancestor actually ran around in the real world, and you put some cat urine in one corner of their cage, they're going to move to the other side. Completely innate, hard-wired reaction to the smell of cats, the cat pheromones. But take a Toxo-infected rodent, and they're no longer afraid of the smell of cats. In fact they become attracted to it. The most damn amazing thing you can ever see, Toxo knows how to make cat urine smell attractive to rats. And rats go and check it out and that rat is now much more likely to wind up in the cat's stomach.
(Hypothesis: Microbes Generate Toxins of Power). The acts of propaganda also take place in order to deceive plant species:
Phytopathogens can manipulate plant hormone signaling to access nutrients and counteract defense responses. Pseudomonas syringae produces coronatine, a toxin that mimics the plant hormone jasmonic acid isoleucine and promotes opening of stomata for bacterial entry, bacterial growth in the apoplast, systemic susceptibility, and disease symptoms. We examined the mechanisms underlying coronatine-mediated virulence and show that coronatine activates three homologous NAC transcription factor (TF) genes, ANAC019, ANAC055, and ANAC072, through direct activity of the TF, MYC2. Genetic characterization of NAC TF mutants demonstrates that these TFs mediate coronatine-induced stomatal reopening and bacterial propagation in both local and systemic tissues by inhibiting the accumulation of the key plant immune signal salicylic acid (SA). These NAC TFs exert this inhibitory effect by repressing ICS1 and activating BSMT1, genes involved in SA biosynthesis and metabolism, respectively. Thus, a signaling cascade by which coronatine confers its multiple virulence activities has been elucidated.
(Cell - Host & Microbe). This is akin to war practices in the days of castles, with draw bridges and moats, in the sense that sometimes enemies would dress up like knights of that castle, then rushing toward the castle would give a secret signal that deceived the guards into lowering the draw bridge, allowing the adversary into the castle to wreak havoc.

What has been illustrated is that propaganda does not exist only in the human realm, and therefore brings the definition of "natural" to the table.

That debate takes place in both politics and law sometimes, so that what is "natural" ends up being defined as "anything that happens in nature."

We can see that there is a better definition of "natural", and that definition is The Tenets of Ecocosmology.

In other words, "natural" is that which perpetuates life forms which are not part of the process that would take away or impair the ability to comply with The Tenets of Ecocosmology on any planet.

Not only does the definition of "natural" require a sense of perpetuating all good life, but it also requires the sense of perpetuating that good life so that all good life may validly continue out into the cosmos as its planet's host star goes into deadly demise.

The next post in this series is here.

Video about microbes and their communication techniques:

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Resource Based Economy

Tenet 3(a) of The Tenets of Ecocosmology relates to how the fittest civilization is the one that conforms to the norms of the ecosystem it dwells within.

Environmental awareness is an essential quality for civilizations fit enough to survive.

A TED talk discusses how economies and cities could work if that were to be accomplished with global implementation:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Later Than We Think?

The Dredd Blog did a post recently showing that those who do the most polluting in the world, with toxic, dirty oil, are actually sovereign corporations that have no homeland.

They are multinational corporations that use their money to control the energy policy of the United States in order to suit their corporate mania, regardless of the damage it is certain to do to society.

They have, in effect, dissolved the political parties into a bipartisan toxic mix of words and actions that work against the efforts to avoid catastrophe, as explained in some comments made by Noam Chomsky, on the issues facing those of us in The United States:

I’ve kept to domestic issues, but there are two dangerous developments in the international arena, which are a kind of shadow that hangs over everything we’ve discussed. There are, for the first time in human history, real threats to the decent survival of the species.

One has been hanging around since 1945. It’s kind of a miracle that we’ve escaped it. That’s the threat of nuclear war and nuclear weapons. Though it isn’t being much discussed, that threat is, in fact, being escalated by the policies of this administration and its allies. And something has to be done about that or we’re in real trouble.

The other, of course, is environmental catastrophe. Practically every country in the world is taking at least halting steps towards trying to do something about it. The United States is also taking steps, mainly to accelerate the threat. It is the only major country that is not only not doing something constructive to protect the environment, it’s not even climbing on the train. In some ways, it’s pulling it backwards.

And this is connected to a huge propaganda system, proudly and openly declared by the business world, to try to convince people that climate change is just a liberal hoax. “Why pay attention to these scientists?”

We’re really regressing back to the dark ages. It’s not a joke. And if that’s happening in the most powerful, richest country in history, then this catastrophe isn’t going to be averted -- and in a generation or two, everything else we’re talking about won’t matter. Something has to be done about it very soon in a dedicated, sustained way.

(Huffington Post, emphasis added). A scientific paper just released (5/9/12), backs up Dr. Chomsky's statement, indicating that parts of the Antarctic, once thought to be solid, in fact are vulnerable to melt.

Statements by Dr. Hansen say that if Canadian dirty oil is used we can forget it, there will be no turning back:

If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate … Civilization would be at risk … If this sounds apocalyptic, it is … The global warming signal is now louder than the noise of random weather, as I predicted would happen by now in the journal Science in 1981. Extremely hot summers have increased noticeably. We can say with high confidence that the recent heat waves in Texas and Russia, and the one in Europe in 2003, which killed tens of thousands, were not natural events — they were caused by human-induced climate change.

(NY Times, 5/9/12, emphasis added). It really is much later than we think, and the clock keeps ticking in the direction we are not diverting from.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Solar Power Even At Night

Liquid salt, it turns out, has some interesting applications in the field of energy power plants.

Today, lets look at two methods that use liquid salt.

The first one is a solar thermal power plant in Spain, a power plant that gets around one weakness of solar power, which is, that the Sun is not always visible due to weather, and it is not available at night.

There is a salty solution to that problem:

"It is the first station in the world that works 24 hours a day, a solar power station that works day and night!" said Santago Arias, technical director of Torresol Energy, which runs the station.

The mechanism is "very easy to explain," he said: the panels reflect the suns rays on to the tower, transmitting energy at an intensity 1,000 times higher than that of the sun's rays reaching the earth.

Energy is stored in a vat filled with molten salts at a temperature of more than 500 degrees C (930 F). Those salts are used to produce steam to turn the turbines and produce electricity.

It is the station's capacity to store energy that makes Gemasolar so different because it allows the plant to transmit power during the night, relying on energy it has accumulated during the day.

"I use that energy as I see fit, and not as the sun dictates," Arias explained.

(Solar Power Even At Night).Imagine a smart power grid built with these liquid salt storage facilities all along it.

As power needs fluctuate downward, energy going into the grid, whether solar thermal, solar photo-voltaic, wind, and other methods, is stored for later use when the fluctuation goes upward again.

Another place liquid salt is used for power generation has been around for quite a while.

The administrator of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, top physicist Alvin M. Weinberg, wanted a Thorium Molten-Salt Reactor (MSR), but was fired by Nixon for advocating MSR.

The following video describes MSR:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Nuclear Concerns

We have a lot of material concerning Japan's Fukushima nuclear plants (The Fukushima Coverup).

Since those type of nuclear plants are having aging problems in America, we must ask "is Fukushima coming to a location near you?"

The USA is not immune from this type of catastrophe:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Putting A Face On Machine Mutation - 2

When we speak of "life" or "the cosmos", starting our discussion at "the beginning" is difficult.

Especially when, in some ways, "the beginning" is as illusive to us as defining or grasping the meaning of "a line."

Wikipedia tells us that "a line" can extend to infinity, in either direction, having no beginning, and no end.

Or "a line" can be finite in both directions, having one point described as the "beginning point", with another point being described as the "end point".

Still, those two points exist on that other "line" which, as I said, has no beginning point and no end point.

Interestingly, "a line segment" has the same property as one type of line, that is, it has both a beginning point and an end point.

When a beginning point exists, but no end point exists, then the entity is not called "a line segment" or "a line", instead it is called "a ray."

In the first post of this series we dealt with "the beginning", in the sense that plane geometry deals with it, i.e., somewhat like the discussion of "a line."

We looked at where life begins, not in the sense of time, not in the sense of the past or future, but in the sense of locus, that is, where in terms of location, does the "machine" world end, and the world of "life" begin?

To be sure, in this series we have set forth a valid reason to equate "machine" with "inorganic", likewise to equate "life" with "organic":

"Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines. These machines are built of component parts, each of which contributes a partial function or structural element to the machine. How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial." Professor Lithgow said.
"François Jacob described evolution as a tinkerer, cobbling together proteins of one function to yield more complex machines capable of new functions." Professor Lithgow said.

"Our work describes a perfect example of Jacob's proposition, and shows that Darwin's theory of evolution beautifully explains how molecular machines came to be."

(ibid, quoting Science Daily and Monash Univ.). Our science describes those "component parts" of molecules with the word "atoms", which are said to be the smallest unique identifier of  what our science calls "the elements."

What we call "simple cells" are said to be complex molecular machines (inorganic) with something more, hence, more complex organization (organic).

Thus, in this context when we ask about "the beginning", we are simply asking "when we use super microscopes and/or other tools for looking deep into the micro world which our eyes alone cannot detect, where does the 'machine' essence end, and where does the 'organic' essence begin?"

In some cases the answer to that question will depend on definition, on nomenclature.

It probably behooves us to substitute "boundary" in place of "beginning", when we discuss "machine" or "life", at least in the context of locus.

So, concerning inorganic machine entities compared with organic life, our nomenclature should change as scientific discoveries improve to bring us results that boil down to a better scientific understanding.

Einstein once said: "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler" (paraphrased "don't oversimplify").

Based upon the statements of Professor Lithgow, above, we can define two categories of entities, machine (inorganic) and life (inorganic bound with organic).

In that sense, all plants, animals, and elements are either "machine" or "life", it is just that "life" in this nomenclature is "machines bound to additional organic essence", and "machine" in this nomenclature is "atoms and/or molecules without organic essence", or as a recent comment by a scientists indicates:

Dr Clarke said: “There are a lot of fundamental questions about the origins of life and many people think they are questions about biology. But for life to have evolved, you have to have a moment when non-living things become living – everything up to that point is chemistry."

(Univ. of York, cf Organic & Biomolecular Chemistry). So, for purposes of this discussion, looking into our super microscope at the lowest level of the machine world, we will see atoms, then moving up a level we will see atoms organized into molecules, then moving up another level we will see very complex molecules, then at the level where we approach the boundary between machines and where life begins, we will see a very complex molecular machine with something more, something that transforms it into life, a super complex machine with super organization, something we call organic, then eventually we reach the level of "a cell" (cf. Are Toxins of Power Machines Or Organisms?).

Leaving the concept of boundaries, now turning to concepts of "the beginning" in terms of time, The Big Bang Theory (conceived of by a Belgian Priest) deals with "the beginning" in that context.

There is a specific term used to define "the beginning" of elements in the sense of time, thus the beginning of machines in the sense of time, which is called Big Bang Nucleosynthesis.

Following nucleosynthesis, in time sequence, more complex machines developed, which we call stars.

Going on in time sequence in Big Bang cosmology, once those stars formed they then produced even more elements, i.e., more machines.

Clearly then, cosmological evolution advocates and hypothesizes that machines replicated, and/or formed other machines, in the earliest evolutionary processes of The Big Bang.

This is a good place, then, to characterize machines as being able to replicate other machines, but to characterize organics as being able to reproduce their own kind, but change through morphing.

Machines replicate not only their own kind, but other kinds of machines, but observation gives us evidence that life, in its organic reproductive process, reproduces only its own kind but experiences morph from time to time.

This is also a good place to mention that the combination of machine and organic is really what science fiction likes to call "a cyborg", a combination of inorganic machine with non-machine organics.

But, we can also see that organics cannot exist without the underlying machine foundation which organics extend upon.

We can also note that death, then, is the removal of the organic essences, so that the entity can revert back to the purely inorganic (machine) components underneath the organic level.

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Shoot, Aim, Then Roundup The Damage

The photo is from a Fukushima Diary article which shows garden produce downstream from nuclear propaganda.

The odd fellow is from a garden in the suburbs of Tokyo, Japan, according to the diary.

The phenomenon is confirmed by another Japanese source of information.

The incompetence of local and national government, concerning environmental issues, brings suffering to billions around the planet:
The closure of Mexico's biggest garbage dump has highlighted the absence of a comprehensive policy for urban waste collection, disposal and processing, a failure that has serious consequences for health and the environment.

The leftwing government of the Mexican capital decided in December to close Bordo Poniente, the biggest refuse dump, located in the east of the city, without coming up with an alternative solution. Now municipalities adjacent to Mexico City are refusing to accept its waste.
(Garbage, Garbage, Garbage). Incompetent legislation and regulation of herbicides is bringing on extinctions, mutations, and danger to Americans via use of the most "popular solutions", which are human cell damaging chemical poisons:
Used in yards, farms and parks throughout the world, Roundup has long been a top-selling weed killer. But now researchers have found that one of Roundup’s inert ingredients can kill human cells, particularly embryonic, placental and umbilical cord cells.

The new findings intensify a debate about so-called “inerts” — the solvents, preservatives, surfactants and other substances that manufacturers add to pesticides. Nearly 4,000 inert ingredients are approved for use by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, is the most widely used herbicide in the United States.
(Scientific American, Herbicide Roundup). Not that Roundup leaves anything out of its deadly gun sights:
The global decline in amphibian diversity has become an international environmental problem with a multitude of possible causes. There is evidence that pesticides may play a role, yet few pesticides have been tested on amphibians. For example, Roundup is a globally common herbicide that is conventionally thought to be nonlethal to amphibians. However, Roundup has been tested on few amphibian species, with existing tests conducted mostly under laboratory conditions and on larval amphibians. Recent laboratory studies have indicated that Roundup may be highly lethal to North American tadpoles, but we need to determine whether this effect occurs under more natural conditions and in post-metamorphic amphibians. I assembled communities of three species of North American tadpoles in outdoor pond mesocosms that contained different types of soil (which can absorb the pesticide) and applied Roundup as a direct overspray. After three weeks, Roundup killed 96–100% of larval amphibians (regardless of soil presence). I then exposed three species of juvenile (post-metamorphic) anurans to a direct overspray of Roundup in laboratory containers. After one day, Roundup killed 68–86% of juvenile amphibians. These results suggest that Roundup, a compound designed to kill plants, can cause extremely high rates of mortality to amphibians that could lead to population declines.
(ESA - Journal). As if the extinction of amphibians was not enough, see also Roundup - Pitts, Nature's Country Store, Mother Jones, and Huffington Post articles about this calamitous failure of government.

The word ecocide is really just another word for mass murder brought about by criminal insanity of government puppets controlled by mad, careless, unethical, inhumane, rogue businesses.

The public incessantly picks up the tab for the ongoing plunder of the earth, for the nightmare of the dark lords of "business."

It is time to round them up.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Honored Environmentalists

This post begins a series that honors environmentalists who are not paid, but rather volunteer their work to help not only the animal and plant kingdoms, but the entire environment, including human beings.

Ode To Dr. Alexandra Brooklynn Koehne

As a tree
I have
as I stand

my leaves
experience enlightenment
my roots
experience darkness
as I stand

I am composed
my leaves above ground
I am composed
my roots below ground
as I stand

The dark below ground
the light above ground
energize me
as I stand

I take it all in
while I give it all out
the dark
the light
as I stand

I love to munch
carbon dioxide
to make oxygen
for you
as I stand

Some of you
take me
for homes
for poems
for maple syrup
for white oak bark
for Cinnamon
for shade
for granted
as I stand

for you.