Quark stars and quark super nova

Was reading today about the concept of “degeneracy” for various subatomic particles, which among other things explains the properties of white dwarf stars (electron degeneracy) and neutron stars (neutron degeneracy).  Mention was made in the article about quark stars – a hypothetical type of star that basically consists of quark matter bound by gravity (instead of by the strong nuclear force as quarks normally are), as a result of quark degeneracy.

This is extremely weird and there are no established instances of such stars if they exist, although the article mentions there are a couple of candidates which have been observed by Chandra.

Mention is also made of the possibility of quark nova which, if they occur, would be the most powerful explosions in the universe.

Stop the Internet Blacklist!

Dear friend,

I just emailed Congress to urge them to oppose the Internet Blacklist Legislation, known as the PROTECT-IP Act in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House. This legislation seeks to give the executive branch power to conduct slash-and-burn campaigns against websites that allegedly host – or even link to – content that infringes on intellectual property rights. That would “disappear” whole domain names, fundamentally undermining Internet security, and/or choke off their financial support. The Internet Blacklist Legislation puts more sites than ever at risk, effectively upending the DMCA safe harbors that have been crucial to the growth of Internet innovation and creativity.

Sadly, these short-sighted and dangerous bills won’t do much to stop online infringement – but they will jeopardize our ability to speak and read online with the kind of freedom we cherish in the offline world. Deep-pocketed Hollywood lobbyists are aggressively pushing to control and censor the open Internet, willing to sacrifice free speech and our Internet culture in hopes of controlling how people view their movies and products.

We need to stop this bill before it goes any further. Will you contact your representatives in Congress and urge them to oppose the Internet Blacklist Legislation? Visit: https://eff.org/r.C8A


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iPhone vs. HTC War on Xtranormal

This company called Xtranormal has offered this free service through their website where you can essentially upload text of dialogues and have it animated with various different characters.  The animation is not exactly Pixar-quality, but it does lend an element to what would otherwise be dry text interchanges between people.

Somehow, as with many odd things on the Internet, the site became a medium for certain unexpected niches of people wanting to post either real or hypothetical dialogues to prove points or otherwise paint pictures of situations or people.  One group was workers in the health profession creating dialogues of apparently true verbal exchanges that happened (this last one is hilarious) between doctors and/or nurses or other staff, indicating some of the inanity that goes on behind the scenes sometimes in hospitals.

Today while reading through a thread on Slashdot about the Apple suit against Samsung in Germany due to claimed patent infringements of the Galaxy Tab, someone linked to this Xtranormal dialogue (WARNING – the dialoge starts out kind of funny but descends eventually into crass language) which basically takes a pot shot at Apple fan-ism – i.e. people who are fans of Apple’s products.  After watching the video on YouTube I realized that this first video spurred a whole slew of response videos.  This whole damn war started on Xtranormal/YouTube regarding the iPhone vs. the HTC Evo phone.  Regardless of what position one takes or doesn’t its crazy to see this war going on and how intently some people must feel about this issue and how funny it is when a bunch of adults resort to using tacky animated characters to make their points.  Maybe surreal is a better term for it.

Facial Care Essential Accessory

One issue that ladies with long hair face when going through their facial care routine is what to do with the hair.  Obviously one needs to hold one’s hair back when cleansing, and having it back while applying makeup also makes that process much easier.  Yet if you have curly hair like mine (type 2C/3A) you may not be too eager to clip or tie your hair back, as it can mess with your curl definition.  There needs to be a less disruptive way to hold hair back, and fortunately there is with this wonderful hair accessory called a Tassi.

A Tassi is a sort of hair turban.  Its a hair holder that fits over the head with an opening at the top and an elastic band to keep the hair out of the face.  I find this is the least disruptive way to hold my hair back while cleansing or applying makeup.  Its a great little invention and an essential accessory to have.

Note, if you color treat your hair a lot, you might want to opt for a darker color Tassi.  This way if you use your Tassi after a color treatment you don’t have to worry about it staining.

Shocking data comparison of sizes of US states and of countries

I just saw this list of U.S. states and territories by area.  Its shocking to read this list and realize how much smaller many countries around the world are than I actually thought.

For example, I didn’t know that California is larger than Japan, the Philippines, and New Zealand.

I did not know that Burma was a large country (I had thought it relatively small).  I did not know that Greece and Iceland are comparatively tiny, and so are Cambodia and Uruguay.

This list makes the world seem really small all of a sudden.

More info that the microorganisms in us can control us

I wrote a while ago about how it can sometimes be disgusting when someone kisses you, slobbering whatever microorganisms are growing in their mouths – and usually there are a lot of them – all over and possibly inside you as well.  Candida is a well-known yeast that causes infections in humans.  It can persist in the body and be very difficult to get rid of.  It feeds off a bad diet, rich in refined carbohydrates and processed foods.  Its difficult to get rid of because its difficult to get off the refined foods for people who are on them.  Its a shock for the body and brain in different ways.  There are definite withdrawal symptoms and various stages of detoxification on the rocky road to cleaning out one’s system.

Therefore I don’t appreciate it when someone with bad hygiene plunges their tongue into my mouth unexpectedly when I’m just trying to be a sexy girl and seem inviting and receptive to them.  They take it way too far.  I wasn’t asking to be attacked biologically.  A nice kiss on the cheek or just lips with no tongue is so much sweeter and… sexier, inasmuch as not having microorganisms injected into my system is sexy.

In that previous post I speculated that there might actually be these covert wars going on between different groups of humans, based on the types of microorganisms living in their bodies.  This of course would relate to their diets.  Diet relates to choices – conscious choices one makes about how to live – so there’s an aspect of will to this and also an element of karma.

It could be that there are these secret immune wars going on in the world, and that there even exist collective dynamics for these things as people of certain types form dynamics to reinforce each others’ ways.  Maybe these are the real wars that are affecting the world, these secret wars which are operating at the level of microorganisms in our bodies.

Today there is published another article which states that the microorganisms in us can affect our minds.

Viva las vegans!

Animation of Earth’s First Discovered Trojan Asteroid

Astronomers have discovered Earth’s first trojan asteroid.  Trojan asteroids are asteroids which orbit in the path of another planet.  They are difficult to discover because they occupy a part of the sky where the Sun is.  However, this particular trojan was discovered because of its highly erratic orbit and thanks to the NASA’s WISE observatory.  Because of the erratic orbit, at times it gets far enough out from the Earth’s orbital path, away from where the Sun would be in the sky, to be detected via infrared.




Galactic Spacetime Frame Dragging

One of the very interesting phenomena of gravitational physics relates to how massive rotating objects actually drag space time around with them.  Imagine a ball spinning in a viscous fluid such as thick syrup.  As the ball spins, it drags some of the syrup around with it.  The syrup is like spacetime.  It sounds uncanny, but in reality it is what happens – space and time literally do get dragged around massive objects.  The reality is even weirder than the ball example, because massive objects also cause other weird distortions around them – the way they pull on objects can actually shift the internal structure of objects, distorting them in subtle ways, and cause dilations in space and time.  According to the article, the spacetime dilation caused by our spinning Milky Way galaxy is one million times stronger than that caused by Earth.

What is fascinating is that humans are arriving at a point where they will actually be able to detect gravitational waves caused by distant events.  Certain phenomena, usually involving supermassive objects spinning at extremely high velocities, can create these monster gravitational waves which actually propagate through the universe and can conceivably be measured when they pass by Earth.

Today there is a very interesting story in the news about a researcher who claims to solve a long standing mystery physics – certain types of interactions which can lead to either left- or right-handed outcomes tend to favor one side more than the other.  There has been no known mechanism to explain this.  Probabilistically,  there should be an equal number of left- and right-handed events.

Now a researcher claims that this mystery can be solved by taking into account the gravitational frame dragging of the galaxy.  Because our galaxy is super massive, as it spins it creates an enormous effect which actually influences the properties of subatomic particles.  According to his theory, there is in fact no parity violation at all – the effect of our galaxy’s distorting spacetime on subatomic particles evens out in the end, once this effect is taken into account.

This is one of those stories which seems to slip through the radar but which in fact can be very significant.

Technological Hubris with Catastrophic Consequences

From a just-published nytimes.com article entitled “‘Safety Myth’ Left Japan Ripe for Nuclear Crisis“.  I quote a few excerpts below:

Near a nuclear power plant facing the Sea of Japan, a series of exhibitions in a large public relations building here extols the virtues of the energy source with some help from “Alice in Wonderland.”

“It’s terrible, just terrible,” the White Rabbit says in the first exhibit. “We’re running out of energy, Alice.”

A Dodo robot figure, swiveling to address Alice and the visitors to the building, declares that there is an “ace” form of energy called nuclear power. It is clean, safe and renewable if you reprocess uranium and plutonium, the Dodo says.

“Wow, you can even do that!” Alice says of nuclear power. “You could say that it’s optimal for resource-poor Japan!”

The government and the utilities encouraged the creation of many organizations that propagated the message of safety. One of the oldest, the Japan Atomic Energy Relations Organization, receives 40 percent of its financing from two ministries that oversee nuclear power and 60 percent from Japan’s plant operators. In addition to producing information promoting nuclear power, the organization sends nuclear power experts to speak at secondary schools and colleges, at no cost.

Mitsuhiro Yokote, 67, the executive managing director of the organization and a former nuclear engineer at the Kansai Electric Power Company, acknowledged that the experts conveyed the message that nuclear plants were absolutely safe.

After Chernobyl, the nuclear establishment made sure that Japanese kept believing in safety.

The plant operators built or renovated the public relations buildings — called “P.R. buildings” — attached to their plants. Before Chernobyl, the buildings were simple facilities intended to appeal to “adult men interested in technical matters,” said Noriya Sumihara, an anthropologist at Tenri University who has researched the facilities. Male guides wearing industrial uniforms took visitors around exhibits consisting mostly of wall panels.

But after Chernobyl, the facilities were transformed into elaborate theme parks geared toward young mothers, the group that research showed was most worried about nuclear plants and radiation, Mr. Sumihara said. Women of childbearing age, whose presence alone was meant to reassure the visitors, were hired as guides.

In Higashidori, a town in northern Japan, one of the country’s newest P.R. buildings is built on the theme of Tonttu, a forest with resident dwarfs. The buildings also holds events with anime characters to attract children and young parents, said Yoshiki Oikawa, a spokesman for the Tohoku Electric Power Company, which manages the site with Tepco.

Here in Shika, more than 100,000 guests last year visited the P.R. building where Alice discovers the wonders of nuclear power. The Caterpillar reassures Alice about radiation and the Cheshire Cat helps her learn about the energy source. Instead of going down a rabbit hole, Alice shrinks after eating a candy and enters a 1:25 scale model of the Shika nuclear plant nearby.

The nuclear establishment also made sure that government-mandated school textbooks underemphasized information that could cast doubt on the safety of nuclear power. In Parliament, the campaign was led by Tokio Kano, a Tepco vice president who became a lawmaker in 1998. Mr. Kano, who declined to be interviewed for this article, returned to Tepco as an adviser after retiring from Parliament last year.

In 2004, under the influence of Mr. Kano and other proponents of nuclear power, education officials ordered revisions to textbooks before endorsing them. In one junior high school social studies textbook, a reference to the growing antinuclear movement in Europe was deleted. In another, a reference to Chernobyl was relegated to a footnote.

The effect could be seen in opinion polls that even after Fukushima have indicated that young Japanese are the strongest proponents of nuclear power.

In the country that gave the world the word tsunami, few measures were taken at Fukushima Daiichi or elsewhere to protect plants against the giant waves. Neither the Dodo nor the Caterpillar makes any mention of tsunamis to Alice.

Heidegger once made a statement that the explosion of a hydrogen bomb, which (based on understanding at the time) might be enough to snuff out all life on Earth, was the “mere final emission of what has long since occurred”.  How many catastrophic things far worse than Fukushima exist, occurring right now in our midst?  How can we see?

Extremely Useful Organization Item: Hanging jewelry organizer

I decided to get a few different types of soft plastic jewelry organizers as an experiment.  The one that I like the most is the Household Essentials 01943 Ultra 80-Pocket Hanging Jewelry Organizer.


The actual quality of this organizer is very high.  It is not cheap, tacky plastic but very high-quality plastic.  It looks and feels like it was made very well, which it is.

I initially questioned how useful the format of something hanging in a closet would be for jewelry storage, but it has turned out to be an excellent storage format and the items are very accessible.

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