Saturday, June 26, 2004

Some Space Elevator links I found on slashdot - isr link, and one from wikipedia. It's very impressive that such a thing is even possible, allthough I'm still not confident that it will actually be built. Not only do 60,000 kilometers worth of the carbon nanotubes have to be manufactured, it all must be imperfection free - it really is as strong as the weakest link. They need to figure out a better way of holding tubes together as well - pressure bonding them together has been suggested.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Two websites on Gerontology - i.e. the science of aging: Chris Smelick's (I taught his physics lab, he encouraged me to start my website): Biological Gerontology and João Pedro de Magalhães' Senescence.

Monday, June 21, 2004

I thought this description of the air-braking of the space shuttle was also cool, got the link from slashdot where they are talking about the space ship one flight.

I thought this website was interesting: Retrofuture. Still, exponential technological and scientific growth continues unabated, if perhaps not in the directions people had predicted several decades ago. Along more tradiationally awe-inspiring lines, today Scaled Composites launched a man into space (barely, but an excellent start) with only 20 million in start-up capital, and they're looking pretty good for winning the X-prize. They have much more ambitious plans in the works as well, including eventually leaving the earth's gravity well entirely. Also, IBM's Blue Gene prototypes are crawling up the top 500 supercomputer list.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Another great picture from Allison, who I will write an email to very soon! Also some cool links: Gregory Chaitin's home page, which has interesting discussions of meta-mathematics which I tend to agree with - he states that it will probably be necessary to keep on adding different interesting axioms, just as one would expect with the ensemble. Then there is Robert Munafo's home page which includes an excellent long discussion on very large numbers*. And also Sean Carroll's blog, which he is quite good at updating.

* - Ok, here's my really big number system, which I think I came up with in my first year of college. Recursive exponentiation is key. Define the function n-star-x: n*x = x^(n-1*x), with 1*x = x. Thus 3*3 = 3^3^3 = 3^27 ~ eight trillion. Let alpha = (10^100)*(10^100), i.e. google star google, a rather large number. The next obvious step is beta = alpha*(alpha*(...*(alpha*alpha)))) where ... indicated alpha repititions of the n-star-x function. You can call this beta=alpha**alpha if you like. Thus we have described very large numbers with only a little bit of information - so the next logical step is to state the existence of numbers which are the largest that can be explicitly described in N bits, say gamma = largest finite number describable by beta bits. Amusingly enough, this is the current limit of research according to Robert's webpage - they call them busy-beaver turing programs.

** Also the APOD picture for Wed. was my favorite galaxy M87, although M83 is pretty good too, both the galaxy and the band (also listening to black dog these days). I'd rather like to visit M87 at some point in the future. The weather has also been amusing recently, with thunderstorms pouring rain furiously while the sun can still easily be seen shining, and then stopping on a dime, a soaking deluge becoming a fine mist in 30 seconds.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Back from the cape. Here's a test print that my Granddad gave me, which is really cool I think, somewhat surreal with the dark trees and bright yellow flowers.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Been a while since I've updated! - but I've been very busy. And now my favorite month has already passed, and won't return for 11 more months. That's all right, its more valuable that way - but it always passes so quickly. Usually it's just small moments in time which are ephemeral, but it seems like the whole month of May is. Hmmm, last time I had a pause where I think to myself - here I am at this moment in time - I was checking the tire pressure for Katie's car out in the hot sun - you almost sort of breath in the asphault, and its not a bad thing - shortly before she had driven off to see her parents. I love those moments, perhaps I should try and train myself... Been very busy with the research and Statistical Metaphysics though. I've finished my statmeta paper and presented it to the transhumanist conference people, we'll see what they think of it. They'll be astounded if they have any sense. And the research is so close to completion but it's not quite acting like I had expected - is it real behavior or a numerical chimera???

More random impressions - was reading Perdido Street Station before going to bed recently, and the characters go to consult an giant interdimensional spider for some cryptic, oracle-esque advice. I wouldn't mention it, but that night I had dreams of spides all over the place, including a hazy shape I saw in the dark, then turning on the light to see a giant spider on a glass of water I was drinking - but then rationalized that it was OK - big and yellow so it must be a friendly garden spider. And I wouldn't normally mention that sort of thing either, but the next morning the pinky finger on my right hand sort of itched/burned, but it didn't climb out of low level conscious thought until that afternoon when I thought clearly to myself that hey, my finger feels like its been dipped in weak acid, and inspecting it closely I find two tiny red dots rights next to the fingernail.

I had another memorable thought as I was driving home from the mall with Katie at dusk, and driving along the back roads we were enjoying the long 3-foot grass that was growing along side the road, and I thought to myself that I would probably be nostalgic for this sort of thing when I am a thousand years old.

Oh yeah, and I saw a brilliant bright blue meteor zip across the sky earlier tonight as the sun was setting.

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