Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Ultimate Mystery of the Universe (Video) *Stephen Wolfram ponders a unified theory*

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The Universe is expanding gradually now. Schematically, this diagram traces the 13.7 billion year (plus a trillionth of a second ...) history of the Universe from the quantum scale to the formation of stars, galaxies, planets, and the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP). Credit: NASA


The Ultimate Mystery of the Universe: Stephen Wolfram Ponders a Unified Theory

How Big is the Program that Runs Our Universe? Stephen Wolfram asks, "is there ultimately some simple rule that determines everything that happens in our universe? Is there some ultimate theory of physics that will allow to sort of hold in our hand some specification of everything about our universe and everything about the history of our universe?" Further, he asks, "how many lines of code is the program that runs our universe? Is it, you know, is it three lines long? Is it 10,000 lines long? Is it 10 million lines long? Is it the size of the operating systems that run on our computers? You know: how big is the program for our universe?"

Big Think "The Ultimate Mystery of the Universe" The Stephen Wolfram ponders what a unified theory of the universe might look like.



Some WMAP cosmic microwave fluctuations over the full sky with 5-years of data. Colors represent the tiny temperature fluctuations of the remnant glow from the infant universe: red regions are warmer and blue are cooler. Credit: WMAP Science Team


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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Security Web Monitoring USA (Video) *FBI Guardian Database = 160,000+ "Suspicious" Americans*

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"See Something, Say Something"
American web of 4,058 federal, state, and local organizations are monitoring USA citizens via the FBI Guardian Database


Monitoring America: Security Web = 161,948 "Suspicious" Americans

Yes, Big Brother and The Matrix are watching. Top Secret America is a Washington Post project that describes the huge security buildup in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. This report was written by Dana Priest (in the video below) and William M. Arkin. We're not talking about several federal, state, and local law enforcement and security agencies here, we're talking about thousands. CBS reports on this project, "It describes a web of 4,058 federal, state and local organizations, each with its own counterterrorism responsibilities and jurisdictions. At least 935 of these organizations have been created since the 2001 attacks or became involved in counterterrorism for the first time after 9/11."

This "massive web of bureaucracy is tasked with keeping America safe". This intelligence web includes technology built for the battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan, an FBI classified database of "suspicious" citizens, and experts who train law enforcement on the Islam religion. 

FBI Guardian DataBase Nowadays, to be "suspicious" is determined by the "grass roots" (a citizen, local law enforcement, even a bank). The information then goes to a state "fusion center", which the federal Department of Homeland Security assisted in funding. After assessment for a possible link to terrorism, the information is sent to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Forces (JTTFsJ. If the data is determined to be valid, i.e. suspicious, it is entered into the FBI Guardian Database. To be "suspicious can be something as simple as snapping a photo of your local ferry boat" (or generating this blog post?). Files are kept on Americans who have never been charged with any security violation and some have been turned in by their neighbors "who think they look suspicious". To date, over 160,000 Americans are in the FBI classified database and another 7,000 are in an unclassified database. The "file" on each "suspicious" American citizen includes name, address, employment, financial and residential history, multiple phone numbers, and anything that "adds value". Many of the files are in limbo, waiting for additional information to come along to clarify the initial suspicious activity report.


(MSNBC Dylan Ratigan Show) "Top Secret America" The Washington Post's Dana Priest takes viewers inside the security web monitoring America.



Some USA citizens are listed in the FBI Guardian Database because a neighbor reported them as "suspicious"



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Sunday, December 12, 2010

NASA Discovers New Form of Life? (Video) "The definition of life has just expanded"

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Mono Lake, California: Where the microbe, strain GFAJ-1, was discovered


NASA Discovers New Form of Life?: "The definition of life has just expanded"

The Discovery All life observed was believed to have 6 biochemical requirements, building blocks, to exist, survive, and reproduce: carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur, phosphorous. That was until the discovery by NASA-funded astrobiology research of GFAJ-1, a microbe in the common group of bacteria, the Gammaproteobacteriahis. In an experiment, GFAJ-1 was ultimately fed only arsenic, a toxic chemical, and no phosphorous, until "the microorganism substitutes arsenic for phosphorus in its cell components". GFAJ-1 was discovered at Mono Lake, California and the research results were announced at a NASA press conference on December 2.

The Implications First, although GFAJ-1 may interact with other biological entities in the Mono Lake ecosystem, a form of life based on other elements can potentially live in a separate ecosystem. It is certainly possible that other similar life forms such as a modified GFAJ-1 could exist in an ecosystem independent of the ecosystem as normally defined and observed. Second, life based on the 6 building blocks, biochemical requirements, leave signatures through chemical processes. These signatures are searched for in the Universe, on exoplanets in other solar systems, to detect extraterrestrial life. If other building blocks, biochemicals, are utilized by life, past searches may have been futile to begin with and future searches will need to incorporate detection of new signatures.

The Hype? GFAJ-1 was a normal bacteria to begin with. It was only through an experiment that phosphorous was removed and replaced with arsenic. That is, when GFAJ-1 was discovered, the 6 necessary biochemicals, including phosphorous, were being utilized as would be expected. In an experiment the phosphorous was replaced with arsenic. GFAJ-1 continued to function normally with arsenic and this is an important, if not profound, discovery. GFAJ-1 was not a new form of life until then, the experiment. There is some disagreement in the scientific community if phosphorous was replaced by arsenic by GFAJ-1.

(ABC News) "Breakthrough in NASA's Search for Life in Space" John Berman reports on the newest finding from NASA.

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GFAJ-1
A microbe in the common group of bacteria, the Gammaproteobacteriahis


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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Michio Kaku on the Technological Singularity (Video) *If you can't beat the machines, merge with them!*

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Will humans and machines merge?
Is the technological singularity inevitable?


Michio Kaku on the Technological Singularity

The Technological Singularity This turning point happens when humans create a superhuman artificial intelligence. That is, humans create a machine smarter than themselves. Wikipedia states, "A technological singularity is a hypothetical event occurring when technological progress becomes so rapid that it makes the future after the singularity qualitatively different and harder to predict. Many of the most recognized writers on the singularity, such as Vernor Vinge and Ray Kurzweil, define the concept in terms of the technological
creation of superintelligence, and allege that a post-singularity world would be unpredictable to humans due to an inability of human begins to imagine the intentions or capabilities of superintelligent entities."

In the video below, physicist Michio Kaku presents his view of the technological singularity, "a time when computer power grows without limit, surpassing human intelligence, sweeping aside everything in its path." Further, "when the singularity arrives, we cannot predict what these superintelligent machines will do. They will have their own goals and stop at nothing to fulfill them. They may even choose to eliminate everything that stands in their path, including us."

Kaku asks "What happens when the machines become smarter than us?" He then presents his solution: "embrace the singularity, merge with them". That is, digitize all the information from human brains, upload the information into a "mother computer" (or mother of all computers?), and create a "vast database of all human knowledge". Conversely, information could be downloaded into humans for "instant knowledge". Kaku then concludes, "So when the singularity arrives, we will be in control. By merging with machines, we will enter a new age of superhuman existence. In the post-human era, we become homo superior. We become a new species. We're talking about humanity becoming like the gods."

This solution is contingent on humans being able to merge with machines before the technological singularity occurs, of course. 

Video Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku discusses his thoughts and solution to the Singularity. Excerpt from the tv series Sci Fi Science.



See Blog Archive for more posts regarding the technological singularity!


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Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Rise of China: Unsustainable Growth? (Videos) *Living beyond its environmental means?*

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China-Hong Kong Bridge


The Rise of China: Unsustainable Growth?

Two videos, and viewpoints, of China are presented below.

Unsustainable Growth in China? In the first video, the WWF (Worldwide Fund for Nature) says China's growth is environmentally unsustainable in its "relentless march to prosperity". China's "ecological footprint has surpassed a point of sustainability that threatens us all". China is consuming twice the resources of its own "biocapacity". Carbon emissions, from the burning of fossil fuels, is the largest single factor in the exponential increase of China's ecological footprint, increasing 20-fold in the last 50 years. China accuses the West of hypocrisy in attempting to curb China's carbon emissions and ecological footprint. China continues advocating an ongoing exemption for developing nations such as China, India, Brazil, et. al. so that economic growth will not stall and the standard of living will continue to increase.

A Changing China "For hundreds of millions of Chinese, Yue-Sai Kan is a household name. The journalist, television host, entrepreneur and author has been a key figure in modern Chinese culture for 20 years, and she continues to have her finger on the pulse of the Chinese people." About 300 million people in China watch her show which started in 1986. By comparison, the population of the USA is 310+ million. She has been called the "Chinese Oprah". "China is changing very, very fast, the economy is growing  like crazy", she says. Yue-Sai discusses the government-controlled and government-owned media plus the expansion from one TV station to 3,000+ stations in China.

China's View of America Yue-Sai Kan says the Chinese have always liked the American culture, "from Coca-Cola to Hollywood movies". However, "politically there are things they do not like. The latest, for example, is the way the American government is buying $600 billion worth of debt."

The Rise of China Yue-Sai Kan says "what is happening here is essentially a miracle. Anyone who has come here would be thinking to themselves, "this place is growing like amazing', I better learn something about this place'. Because it is an area of the world we should learn a little more about. In the last 20 years, it has grown by leaps and bounds and the Chinese have gotten a lot more self-confidence. This will enable them to go into the next decade with extraordinary power."

Reuters "WWF Says China Growth Unsustainable": China is living beyond its environmental means a Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) report says ahead of Cancun climate conference.Helen Long reports.

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ABC News "The Most Famous Woman in China": Yue-Sai Kan, television host and businesswoman, reflects on a changing China.

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About China

China has the largest population of any country in the world. Total population is 1.328 billion (2008), about 22% of total population in the world. Li Bin, director of the National Population and Family Planning Commission, said that the world's most populous country is projected to have 1.39 billion citizens by 2015. China also has a very dense population, with approximately 135+ people per square kilometer. By comparison, the US Census Bureau estimates the USA population at 310.8 million and the world population at 6.88 billion.

Since the founding of new China in 1949, China's economy has witnessed great achievement in different stages. The CIA World Factbook estimates China is the third largest economy in the world, behind the European Union  and USA and ahead of Japan.

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