Deja Vu

Just a few days ago I did a piece on an unvaccinated kid dying in Spain. Today we have a woman from Washington state dying from the measles. Well, she developed pneumonia as a side effect from having the measles.

http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/washington-womans-measles-death-us-2003-32187053

This woman apparently had a weakened autoimmune state and contracted the measles in a hospital. It is a shame, she was in the hospital for some medical reasons at the same time someone else there developed the rash associated with the measles, a fluke. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time. If the person that had that case of measles had been vaccinated…? This woman would still be alive.

I don’t want to harp again, so soon, about the importance of vaccines, but dammit it is so vitally important to vaccinate. Vaccines save lives from unneccessary risk of dying from a preventable disease. Vaccinate! Vaccinate your kids! Do not listen to the crazy people that claim vaccines cause autism. They don’t. It was all a bogus story, by an asshole with an agenda, who had his work discredited, and lost his license. It was fraud!

One good piece of news most of you probably already know, California signed into law, the bill that requires all children that want to go to a public school must be vaccinated. No opt out clause. Needless to say this is a major step in the right direction. I hope other states take notice.

Oh, Jim Carrey, shut the hell up, save your stoopid for your movies.

http://news.nationalpost.com/health/the-void-behind-jim-carreys-rant-the-arguments-against-californias-new-law-have-nothing-to-do-with-science

The Big Rip

Not the chile, nachos, and beer, big rip many of you may be familiar with. No the fate of the universe has a few differing conclusions by the notable smarty pants scientists, physicists, and mathmeticians way above my pay grade, of whom I am greatly indebted to for their services. These conclusions fall into three main categories.

First there is the Big Crunch, where it is thought by some that the expansion of the universe will gradually slow, and then fall back in upon itself. Creating a big crunch calamity where all matter recondenses into, what I understand, an enormous black hole state, that may be able to repeat the singularity event that is believed to have started the universe as we know it.

Then there is the Big Freeze, where the universe expands so far that the gases needed for new star formation is spread so thin that star formation ceases, the universe grows cold, and dies a lonely death.

Finally we have the Big Rip, the Big Rip takes into account what is thought to be driving the expansion of the universe. This cause has been labeled dark energy. Dark energy is an as of yet, unproven entity, however it is almost sure to exist, we just haven’t exactly determined the how or why it exists, or how to detect it. The only way we can tell it is there is by studying how it infuences the matter we can detect, and measure the effects of the matter as it relates to the expansion we know is happening. Did that make sense? The Big Rip theory generally claims that over time the universe basically strectches beyond its capability to stretch and everything pretty much flies apart, even at the atomic scale.

A team from Vanderbilt University, right here in my home state of Tennessee, (thus lending some credibility to the notion that we aren’t all a bunch of bible addled hillbillies) released a paper earlier this year, the result being some new math that appears to favor the Big Rip outcome. I should note the key players involved with the paper, and I quote:

The new approach was developed by Assistant Professor of Mathematics Marcelo Disconzi in collaboration with physics professors Thomas Kephart and Robert Scherrer and is described in a paper published earlier this year in the journal Physical Review D.

BigRip

This new math concerns itself with cosmological viscosity. Cosmological viscosity? Now admittedly, I am not familiar with cosmological viscosity. This viscosity is thought to have a similar effect on universe expansion as is expected of dark energy. This paper and its math takes into account this viscosity and its effects. I tried to do some research on this subject and quickly ran into info behind paywalls, although I did find this:

http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Suresh_Kumar187/publication/225118853_Viscous_fluid_cosmology_with_a_cosmological_constant/links/00b495201c90cb1633000000.pdf

…but that quickly devolved into some chicken scratch math I have no comprehension of.

Then I found this page:

http://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/192147/cosmological-bulk-viscosity-is-the-universe-a-fluid

Where someone (who apparently had access to the paper, or payed for it) was trying to make heads or tails of this cosmological viscosity thing and asked a question there to see if he could get a clarification. One of the answers was thus: Protip: Just about anything on arxiv posted to gr-qc and cross-posted to astro-ph is pseudoscience. (Yes, this offends lots of people employed as “scientists.” No, I will not back down on this claim.) –  Chris White (end quote)  Note that this paper is available on arvix.org if you would like to pay for it.

So I’m not exactly sure how seriously I should take all of this viscosity stuff, but let’s continue. I don’t like to stick my neck out and report on something I am not at least a little familiar with, but let’s assume for the sake of argument this cosmological viscosity thing is real and has a measurable effect on our universe. This next paragraph offers an interesting theory, quoted in full:

Most dark energy theories to date have not taken cosmic viscosity into account, despite the fact that it has a repulsive effect strikingly similar to that of dark energy. “It is possible, but not very likely, that viscosity could account for all the acceleration that has been attributed to dark energy,” said Disconzi. “It is more likely that a significant fraction of the acceleration could be due to this more prosaic cause. As a result, viscosity may act as an important constraint on the properties of dark energy.”

If there is anything to this possibility it does raise some interesting aspects to the dark energy problem. I’m not real sure yet if they are offering a solution to a problem, that may have its own problems just yet though. All I can say is they are pretty sure this new math poses a distinct possibility to consider. Here is a little more info from the article, relevant to cosmic viscosity, that might help.

The type of viscosity that has cosmological relevance is different from the familiar “ketchup” form of viscosity, which is called shear viscosity and is a measure of a fluid’s resistance to flowing through small openings like the neck of a ketchup bottle. Instead, cosmological viscosity is a form of bulk viscosity, which is the measure of a fluid’s resistance to expansion or contraction. The reason we don’t often deal with bulk viscosity in everyday life is because most liquids we encounter cannot be compressed or expanded very much.

Disconzi began by tackling the problem of relativistic fluids. Astronomical objects that produce this phenomenon include supernovae (exploding stars) and neutron stars (stars that have been crushed down to the size of planets).

Scientists have had considerable success modeling what happens when ideal fluids — those with no viscosity — are boosted to near-light speeds. But almost all fluids are viscous in nature and, despite decades of effort, no one has managed to come up with a generally accepted way to handle viscous fluids traveling at relativistic velocities. In the past, the models formulated to predict what happens when these more realistic fluids are accelerated to a fraction of the speed of light have been plagued with inconsistencies: the most glaring of which has been predicting certain conditions where these fluids could travel faster than the speed of light.

“This is disastrously wrong,” said Disconzi, “since it is well-proven experimentally that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.”

So, I take it that this new idea allows for a cosmic viscosity that doesn’t violate the speed of light. That would be an important hurdle to clear. Honestly I’ve been in over my head for a while now, but I can see the other side, and if I flail around a little longer I believe I can get to the other side. With that in mind I will quote the last few paragraphs of the article to offer further explanation as to how this new theory applies:

In reference to the Big Rip. “It is predicated on a type of “phantom” dark energy that gets stronger over time. In this case, the expansion rate of the universe becomes so great that in 22 billion years or so material objects begin to fall apart and individual atoms disassemble themselves into unbound elementary particles and radiation.

The key value involved in this scenario is the ratio between dark energy’s pressure and density, what is called its equation of state parameter. If this value drops below -1 then the universe will eventually be pulled apart. Cosmologists have called this the “phantom barrier.” In previous models with viscosity the universe could not evolve beyond this limit.

In the Desconzi-Kephart-Scherrer formulation, however, this barrier does not exist. Instead, it provides a natural way for the equation of state parameter to fall below -1.

“In previous models with viscosity the Big Rip was not possible,” said Scherrer. “In this new model, viscosity actually drives the universe toward this extreme end state.”

According to the scientists, the results of their pen-and-paper analyses of this new formulation for relativistic viscosity are quite promising but a much deeper analysis must be carried out to determine its viability. The only way to do this is to use powerful computers to analyze the complex equations numerically. In this fashion the scientists can make predictions that can be compared with experiment and observation.”

So, if you are still with me and haven’t fallen asleep, the new theory appears to harmonize with speed of light problems. Offers an explanation that either coincides with dark energy or perhaps removes the necessity of it. Lends some credence to the Big Rip, and may help adequetely describe the observations we already have. Admittedly there is a lot of work to do yet to achieve additional support for this theory. There is a lot of speculation, especially on my part, but it is an interesting side show for now. If you’re into that sort of thing.

I’ll be waiting for Sheldon to weigh in on the matter. :)

My initial source:

http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2015/06/new-model-of-cosmic-stickiness-favors-%E2%80%9Cbig-rip%E2%80%9D-demise-of-universe/

Stupid Creationist Argument Given A Dose Of Science

You know the one about the human eye being too complex to have evolved? Yeah, that one:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-07/cifa-mpe062915.php

I’m making a short story out of an article well worth reading, so click the link if you want to see more.

Here we have a predatory single celled organism with an eye much like a human eye, an interesting quote: “The single-cell marine plankton, a predatory microbe, bears a dark purple spot known as an ocelloid. It resembles the multicellular eye of animals so much that it was originally mistaken for part of an animal the warnowiids had eaten.”

With further study they found:  “this eye-like structure contains a collection of sub-cellular organelles that look very much like the lens, cornea, iris and retina of multicellular eyes that can detect objects — known as camera eyes — that are found in humans and other larger animals.” How’s that for some cool beans? I do wonder how an eye so complex could have evolved in a single celled organism? The creationist argument says something like the human eye is too complex to have evolved these traits, therefore jeebus. Or some such shit.

Now here we have a single celled organism much with eyes like our own. I guess jeebus loves his special little single celled creations as much as he does humans? I didn’t see anything along those lines back when I took it upon myself to read the bible, maybe I missed that part?

Scientists are unsure exactly how these eyes work, they still have some difficult work to do, but I think we have another creationist claim laid to waste, by science. 1,000 stupid claims to go.

I will finish up with another quote from the article: “The work sheds shed new light on how very different organisms can evolve similar traits in response to their environments, a process known as convergent evolution. Eye-like structures have evolved independently many times in different kinds of animals and algae with varying abilities to detect the intensity of light, its direction, or objects.”  Yes, new light that sends the cockroaches scurrying along to look for another unsupported claim to bolster their attempts to appear scientific. Good luck with that…

Antivaxxers Child Dies in Spain

This story is sadly lacking in details, I have searched several links, all with scant information. All we know is an unvaccinated six year old boy contracted diptheria, and died from it. The first death there from diptheria in 29 years. 29 years, think about that for a moment. Why would it be 29 years since the last diptheria death? Maybe because vaccines work!

I have no way of knowing if the parents opted out because of religious stupidity or regular old run of the mill mill stupid. Either way we have a clear example among many of late, why vaccines are important. They save lives, and provide herd immunity among populations.

There is some good news here in the states, California is attempting to push a bill through that requires children in public schools to be vaccinated regardless of personal or religious reasons. The bill passed. It still remains to be seen if the bill becomes law.

There is no good reason not to vaccinate your children and many good reasons to do so. Only those innoculated against reason and evidence seem to think otherwise. If you think you have the right not to vaccinate your kids, fine. But do not think that means you have the right to mix your unvaccinated child into a population of vaccinated individuals. There are always a few who for whatever good medical reason cannot vaccinate.  When your right to not vaccinate endangers others, that is where your rights end. The rest of us have the right to keep your potential carrier out of the protected population.

And another thing. I have seen several kids through school, having been in two marriages, both with kids. When your kid gets sick, keep them at home! Do not send your sick child to school to infect the rest of the kids at school. Why on earth anyone would be so irresponsible is beyond me. I can’t possibly count the number of times one of my kids has come home with strep. The flu. Numerous stomach bugs etc etc. Keep your sick children at home! Once they have been fever free for 24 hours, you can send them back to school. They should no longer be able to infect other kids at that point. (at least that’s what I have been told by our family physician)

One link of several around about the child in Spain:

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/boy-dies-diphtheria-spain-parents-rejected-vaccine-32069410

This link has more info on the California bill:

http://www.latimes.com/local/political/la-me-pc-vaccine-mandate-bill-up-for-vote-thursday-in-california-assembly-20150624-story.html

Marriage For All

In a landmark decision June 26/ 2015 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of gay marriage. It’s about time. I am not gay, don’t even have any gay friends (that I’m aware of) but this news brought a tear to my eye. Why? Because I know now an oppressed and often demonized segment of society has the freedom many of us have taken for granted. A freedom they have fought for for decades, a freedom denied them by the ultra conservative right, a freedom due to all in this country. Today I am proud to be an American.

It also pleases me that the ultra conservative types are frothing about the mouth right now. I am sure they are busy constructing strawmen to attack, setting up commitees to lobby, or scurrying to the hidey holes they live in. Faux News is probably having a meltdown. Their news personnel will be screaming that the sky is falling, the end times are nigh, and it’s all Obama’s fault!  The talking heads will explode. It is a great day to be a skeptic! A great day to remember for a long time.

I’ll be celebrating with a snort or two of Old Charter (8 year old Kentucky Bourbon with a wonderful sultry smokey after taste) in a bit. This is an occasion to celebrate, and to remember. I will be able to tell my grandkids that I saw Jordan play, saw Jeter retire, saw man go to the moon, and saw the biggest victory for gay rights ever.

Congratulations to those who would choose to marry.

Just a Note to My Readers

I know I haven’t been very entertaining lately. Haven’t posted much. (until a few minutes ago with the Wal Mart thing) I just haven’t had time to do much of late. Heck I can’t even keep up with reading all of the blogs I have in my reader, let alone find or make the time to get any legitimate posting done. But I promise to work on it.

Just have to say that the friends, and followers, it seems strange to call people followers, but you know what I mean… I just want to say I appreciate you being there. The amount of followers I have is by no means a great number, but it has exceeded my expectations by a long shot, is still growing,  and I am grateful you found this blog entertaining enough to click the follow button. Thanks.

I Was a Little Miffed in the Wal Mart Today

Now I’ll admit Wal Mart tends to get me miffed quite a bit, with their continuous shuffling of their inventory from aisle A to aisle Z, or the extremely annoying habit of carrying item X for the last 10 years, and no longer offering item X anymore. How about the fact that they start pushing x-mas crap in July? How about the fact that they start pushing Easter items as soon as x-mas is over? How about the fact they start pushing Halloween items the day after Easter? That might be a tad exaggerated, but not by much!

Or their notion of seasonal items. Seasonal items like x-mas decor or Halloween stuff I understand. I went there one fall day intending to buy a boat seat, they told me boat seats were seasonal. I still can’t understand how a boat seat is seasonal when the entire population here lives less than 10 miles from Ky. Lake? Ky. Lake is an enormous section of the Tn. river boaters of all stripes use all year long. No a boat seat is NOT seasonal, thank you.

Then they went with self checkouts. Nevermind the fact that if they would actually have a couple of people manning the 50 registers they have, there would be little to no waiting. Nevermind it’s a Friday afternoon and everyone has just been paid, pushing along carts filled to the brim with goods and they have 3 checkouts open and the lines are ridiculous, what are they thinking? No, what bugs me about the self checkout is this, they are training us to do the work for them! They don’t have to PAY someone to run a register if they can train YOU to do the work! I, having a bit of insight and the desire to see the common man/woman succeed, try to always use a checkout manned by a human being getting payed an hourly wage. I would not see them lose their jobs because of my inclination to be in a hurry. I have used the self checkout a time or two I’ll admit, but I prefer to have a human get paid to check me out, even if I have to suffer for 10 minutes of waiting to get it done.

None of these usual aggravations is my source or irritation today. What has me miffed? Advertising. Not signage, signs I have been conditioned to for decades, no we now have an array of TV screens dangling from the roof, or hanging on the rack at the end of the aisles. They continously blare commercials for products, or push all of the benefits and perks of having a Wal Mart card. Rather loudly. Rather obnoxiously. For whatever reason, today was the day it pissed me off. Then to top it off, someone got on the in store intercom and advertised again for the Wal Mart card!

I for whatever reason, feel like I am getting pounded unneccessarily and from all angles. I can’t get away from it! It pervades the once serene shopping experience. It grinds away at my conciousness, it grates my fricken nerves, it’s like only getting two hours of sleep and then being hounded by six children of their wants and needs all at the same time. Leave me the hell alone!

If in the next few days, any of my much appreciated friends, readers, followers of the blog, hear about some crazy guy with a ball bat busting up electronic advertising in a Wal Mart, you can say “Hey! I might know that guy!”

Seriously, where does this end? Where is the line? I have seen sci fi movies exhibiting all kinds of floating, flashing signs well beyond my expectation of advertising saturation. Is that really where we are headed?

All I know is this, in the interests of my personal health, via the significant increase in my blood pressure from being there, I will have to do much less shopping at the Wal Mart. I would rather suffer the small inconvenience of having to stop at two stores to get all of my shopping done, or pay a tad more for this or that item, than be hounded with electronic advertising the entire time I am in their store trying to spend MY money.

Another thought on advertising. I will not buy or wear any kind of advertising. No hats with Coke, or Budweiser. No shirts conveying any advertising message. I’ll tell you why. I refuse to advertise for these companies for free, let alone BUY the advertising items with my own money, and then wear them for free. These companies spend millions of dollars every year for advertising, why on earth would I do that job for them? For nothing? After paying for the advertising item? They should be giving these things away if they want people to advertise for them! Even then they would still have to pay me to wear it. Now if a shirt or cap had something to do with an activity or charity I might support, I could be convinced to wear it. Maybe. But Large corporations are getting no free ride from little ole me, and Wal Mart, already long since having been a source of aggravation, is going to see less of me in their stores. With all of the other things they do that bug me, this is the one that has done it.