Thursday, November 28, 2019

You can launch a balloon mission to the stratosphere for about the cost of an iPad. | Space

https://www.space.com/20089-near-space-balloons-science.html

I have been wondering for a long time why couldn't you have a space capsule that is lifted by multiple hydrogen-filled balloons, and when it reaches the maximum altitude, it would pump the hydrogen out of the ballons and use it for fuel to continue its journey upwards?  At the maximum balloon height, air resistance would be minimal.  The temperatures would be cold making it easier to store gasses under compression if you need to.

I assume that ordinary balloons will break or be fragile.  Perhaps tougher materials can be devised for this.

You will also need oxygen.  The only question is if you can get enough from the atmosphere when you need it, or if you have to store it.  I'm thinking that maybe you could work out a process to acquire and store it as you rise.

To get a better technology, we need a really dense energy source, such as nuclear power, nuclear fusion, or antimatter.  The last two are beyond our capability, for now.



Thursday, October 24, 2019

Mad Queen Chess

Between the years 1475 and 1500, a new variant of chess arose called "Mad Queen Chess." The previously weak queen suddenly became the most powerful piece on the board. This made games more exciting and allowed them to finish faster. This is the version of chess we play today, with only minor differences.  

I thought that "Mad Queen Chess" originated in England during the reign of Queen Mary I during the 1500s, but it actually originated in Spain in the late 1400s because Queen Isabella was a very powerful Queen.

I think that chess is being played now more than ever, but it has shifted to online.  When I first got on the board of the Utah Chess Association around the year 2000, the membership was down to 500's, compared to the heyday of around 800 to 900. By the time I left Utah, it was 350.  Some of this decline happened while I was President of the Utah Chess Association.  If it wasn't for the kid's tournaments it would have less than 100.

Best wishes,

John Coffey


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Best wishes,

John Coffey

http://www.entertainmentjourney.com

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

M&M's - Wikipedia

The candy-coated chocolate concept was inspired by a method used to allow soldiers to carry chocolate in warm climates without it melting.

During World War II, the candies were exclusively sold to the military

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%26M%27s


Saturday, September 7, 2019

What Will We Miss?

This is a very interesting video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uiv6tKtoKg

It would seem impossible for humans to survive billions of year.  If we have any descendants billions of years from now, then they would be dramatically different in form and function.  They would also have to survive many worldwide extinction events.

Due to plate tectonics coming to an end, the Earth is predicted to be cold, dry and dead in 500 million years.  Maybe our more advanced descendants, if they are still around, will find a way to terraform the planet  

I think that machine intelligence will eventually replace biological intelligence.  I see this happening through our own actions as we slowly modify ourselves.  I think that the beginnings of this will start in our lifetimes.

Here is another very interesting video from the same source, called "Last Words."  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qig68IuPrbk

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Friday, August 9, 2019

Planet Earth

I think about things that maybe most people wouldn't worry about. We live in a violent universe. Earth recently had a near-miss with a bus-sized asteroid that could have wiped out a major city with a ten megaton blast. However, chances are it would have just exploded over an ocean someplace. It is unlikely to hit a city. However, there are also more asteroids out there.

The last time the supervolcano in Yellowstone National Park erupted 640,000 years ago, it destroyed life in several nearby states. By comparison, this makes the asteroid look like small potatoes. These explosions are so big they create their own weather over hundreds of miles. We are "overdue" for another eruption, which could wipe out half the country, but the experts say that it will not happen any time soon. I heard that NASA is trying to find a way to relieve some of the pressure below the park.

In 535 AD, multiple volcanic eruptions, and possibly a supervolcano, blackened out the sky everywhere on earth, creating an 18-month winter.

A couple of times in Earth's history the whole planet froze solid with a layer of ice a mile thick.

Over hundreds of millions of years, there have been several mass extinctions on planet Earth. At least one may have been caused by a gamma-ray burst. Gamma-ray bursts are massive amounts of deadly radiation from space given off by black hole formation. Although such events hitting Earth are extremely rare, they have the potential to wipe out all life on Earth.

The Earth was hit by an object the size of the planet Mars 4.5 billion years ago. This is how we got the Moon, which is made of material from the Earth's crust.

These catastrophic events are fortunately very rare.

We have been technically living in an ice age for 2.5 million years. There have been several periods of massive glaciation in human history. These usually had devastating effects on the human population. The human race was almost wiped out 50,000 years ago. All of human civilization, such as farming, writing, working with metals, building cities, occurred during a "brief" 10,000 year warm period after the last period of glaciation. We have been fortunate to live in a "brief" time of very stable climate. No matter what humans do with CO2, and we are going to run out of fossil fuels in 100 years anyway, we expect another period of glaciation 10,00 years from now.

The Earth's orbit around the sun is not entirely stable. The slow precession of the orbit causes dramatic effects on the climate.

Although you could argue that rising CO2 is an issue in the short run, over the long term the decline of CO2 has been very dramatic and looks very bleak. Over the last 40 million years atmospheric CO2 levels have been in a nosedive. This is because natural processes sequester CO2 in the ground. During the last period of glaciation, CO2 levels got down to a record low of 180 parts per million, which is just barely above the level where all terrestrial plants die off from a lack of CO2. If humans are around for another 10,000 years then we will have to deal with this problem.

  

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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Math problem.

This kind of thing causes huge arguments on the internet, but I think that engineer types should get easily get the answer...

Sunday, June 16, 2019

(28) Luciano Pavarotti sings "Nessun dorma" from Turandot (The Three Tenors in Concert 1994) - YouTube

There is a new movie about the singer, Pavarotti, which describes him as a playboy.

That made me wonder, what is the big deal about Pavarotti?

Pavarotti was the most commercially successful tenor ever.  At the time of his death, he was worth 472 million dollars.  That is a sum that would put most successful rock bands to shame.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Whiskey Expert Guesses Cheap vs Expensive Whiskey

I thought that is funny.  I don't drink alcohol.  I can't stand whiskey.  I thought that she would get drunk from so much taste testing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gIg1gAy4lVg

Liechtenstein - Wikipedia

Liechtenstein follows a policy of neutrality and is one of the few countries in the world that maintain no military. The army was abolished soon after the Austro-Prussian War of 1866, in which Liechtenstein fielded an army of 80 men, although they were not involved in any fighting. The demise of the German Confederation in that war freed Liechtenstein from its international obligation to maintain an army, and parliament seized this opportunity and refused to provide funding for one. The Prince objected, as such a move would leave the country defenceless, but relented on 12 February 1868 and disbanded the force. The last soldier to serve under the colors of Liechtenstein died in 1939 at age 95.[68]

During the 1980s the Swiss army fired off shells during an exercise and mistakenly burned a patch of forest inside Liechtenstein. The incident was said to have been resolved "over a case of white wine".[65]

In March 2007, a 170-man Swiss infantry unit got lost during a training exercise and inadvertently crossed 1.5 km (0.9 miles) into Liechtenstein. The accidental invasion ended when the unit realized their mistake and turned back.[69] The Swiss army later informed Liechtenstein of the incursion and offered official apologies,[70] to which an internal ministry spokesperson responded, "No problem, these things happen."[71]
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liechtenstein

John Williams - Battle of the Heroes (Official Audio)

John Williams is the bomb. It is hard to listen to this and not be moved.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHuD5y-PZM0&feature=share

Just looking at the awards John Williams has gotten, it is amazing the music that this man has produced.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Rio Grand

BTW, I spent some time looking at the Rio Grand on the map. That river starts in Colorado. It is a hell of a long border. Imagine building a wall.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Anacreon Song

This song was the inspiration for the National Anthem, along with Francis Scott Key's poem The Defense of Ft. M'Henry.  Our national anthem is inspired by a popular 18nth century drinking song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydAIdVKv84g

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Drag racing

In a restaurant they had Drag Racing on a TV. The racer obtained 205 MPH in 6 seconds. I did some math and got 1.55 horizontal G forces, which is amazing. The net G force combined with the earth's gravity is close to 2.

It is my understanding that some electric vehicles can do better.


Best wishes,

John Coffey

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Range of human radio broadcast.


Not the square, but the blue dot. 

I have heard that our radio broadcasts are too weak to extend even that far.

This is about three times the diameter of "Known Space", which is the area explored by humans in a fictional series of great science fiction novels by Larry Niven and others.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Known_Space  However, at least five different advanced species exist in "Known Space."

My point is that you could have a vast empire just in the area of the blue dot.

BTW, our galaxy has so much mass that there are a couple of smaller galaxies that orbit it in the same way planets orbit the sun.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

The future of humanity

I see a danger to the future existence of the human race, and it is the kind of thing that people should think about and prepare for now. Sometime in the next 50 years machines will be smarter than people. There are major technical hurdles to overcome, such as the inevitable end of Moore's Law, which probably mean that it is not right around the corner or even within the next couple of decades, but it will happen, and easily within this century. And if for some reason it does happen within the next couple of decades then that means the results will be upon us that much sooner.

We can predict what will happen next and follow it to its logical conclusion, which is a future without people.

As machines become smarter, people will become increasingly reliant on technology. We can see that already with smartphones, which only have been with us for barely over a decade. Eventually machines will do all the heavy mental work, which will make our lives easier, but also make us more dependent.

And since we will be so dependent on the machines, we will start incorporating them into us. This will evolve over time until we are no longer purely human, but human machine hybrids. Perhaps when your biological brain dies, the machine part of you will be able to continue with all your memories intact. Maybe it would have an artificial body or maybe it will exist in a virtual world. It is likely that some would prefer to live in a virtual world where they can do more things than they could in the real world. Taken to the eventual extreme, our descendants would no longer bother with biological bodies and prefer to exist as machine intelligences either in the real world or in virtual ones.

The evolutionary pressure will be against purely biological people. Having machines incorporated into you will make you more productive, competitive, and increase your quality of life.

The future I describe might be long distant, but if it is not the future we want for the human race then we should start thinking about it now. Maybe we could have a Pure Human movement that would prohibit the merging of machine intelligence with human intelligence? This could be roughly analogous to the current legal ban on human cloning, because we very likely have the technology right now to clone humans, but countries ban it because they are uneasy about the implications of where that might take us.

However, we might not be able to prevent it. Linking machines with human intelligence is likely to happen in such small steps that we will easily adjust to it. It is sort of happening already with our dependence on computers. It could also start as a series of military applications where having the most effective soldiers determines who wins the wars. And once the genie is out of the bottle, we will never get it back in.

Best wishes,

John Coffey

Saturday, February 16, 2019

This is interesting

One modern art critic was asked to review some of his paintings without being told who painted them and judged them "quite good". The different style in which he drew human figures, however, the critic said, represented a profound uninterest in people....   water colours prove he was "grim" as a painter.