Monday, June 22, 2015

If Only A. Scalia were Half as Smart as He Thinks He Is!

by Len Hart, the Existentialist Cowboy

Antonine Scalia somehow managed to get a lifetime 'gig' on the U.S. Supreme Court. Before SCALIA came on board, SCOTUS might have been competent if not 'supreme'. All bets are off now. 

SCALIA has thrown in with a fringe group called "young earthers". They are called "young earthers" because they believe that the Universe and the Earth were created con-currently about 6,000 years ago. SCALIA has that in common with Sarah Palin who believes that human beings walked with the Dinosaurs

There is NO EVIDENCE but religious dogma for this 'young universe' theory. The opposite is true of the scientific evidence that proves conclusively that the universe is much, much older. Most recently scientists discovered an "object" whose distance from Earth can be measured. That distance is about 13.7 billion light years from Earth. Put another way --it has taken light (the light we see) some 13.7 billion years to reach earth. That, of course, is inconstent with Palin and who clams that the universe and everything in it is  but 6,000 years old.

SCALIA joins S. Palin by subscribing to it. Both Palin and Scalia are WRONG and embarassingly so! Recently --the most distant object in the universe was discovered and verified by REAL SCIENTISTS in the real world. The AGE of the universe is determined by the distance --in light years --to that recently discovered object. This figure, we are told, is derived by adding up the "begats" in the Old Testament.  

The distance to this object is stated in light years as is the distance to almost every object beyond our moon. The distance to the most distant jobject yet discovered is 13.7 BILLION LIGHT YEARS. That means that merely observing this object is PROOF that the universe is AT LEAST 13.7 BILLION years old as it has taken light from the object 13.7 BILLION years to reach the Earth where we have observed it. 

SCALIA should stick to law (or, at least, his defective grasp of it) and leave science to intelligent people! Put another way --SCALIA should just SHUT UP about things of which he is ignorant. Uh....come to think of it, SCALIA is no better at law than he is at science. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

U.S. Elections May be in Violation of the 14th Amendment

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

The ideal of one man, one vote has NEVER been achieved. If your VOTE does not carry the same weight as does the vote of someone else, then your rights under the 14th Amendment have been violated! For example, it is possible that a Presidential candidate could get a greater number of popular votes but, by losing a few large states, gets fewer electoral college votes and, thus, lose the White House.

On any given election, votes are not equal. Someone else's vote may be worth more than yours or your vote may be worth more than the vote cast by another person. Votes are not equal; elections may not be fair. In some cases, fairness is ignored. In others, it is controversial. In yet other cases, your vote may not even count.

In a democratic election between two candidates, the winner is the person with the majority of the votes. But when three or more candidates run, things are seldom so simple. The winner often amasses only a plurality of the votes. (Bill Clinton, for example, won the presidency with 43 percent of the vote; Jesse Ventura won the Minnesota governorship with 37 percent.) The plurality winner could be everyone's least favorite candidate and still lose in a head-to-head battle. As Saari puts it:
"The plurality vote is the only procedure that will elect someone who's despised by almost two thirds of the voters." --Discover Magazine, May the Best Man Lose, November 1, 2000
The 14th says that ...
"no state shall ... deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
--U.S. Constitution, 14th Amendment The Equal Protection Clause may be seen as an attempt to secure the promise that "all men are created equal".
Not only minorities but every person has a stake in his/her vote being counted; but --even more importantly --counting for as much as every other vote cast by every other person in the nation. The most promising proposals include the 1) System of Single Transferable Vote (STV) proposed by Thomas Hare in England and Carl George Andrae in Denmark in the 1850s. Adopted throughout the world, STV has been adopted throughout the world to elect public officials, prominently in Australia, Malta, the Republic of Ireland, and Northern Ireland as well as in local school board elections in New York City.
Other systems have their own advocates as well. They include preference voting, the Borda Count, range voting et al. All have in common that they are far superior to any method now in use in the United States in terms of how accurately any given election reflects the will of the people. My own "preference", however, is the Borda count in which... ...each voter ranks all of the candidates from top to bottom. If there are, say, five candidates, then a voter's top-ranked candidate gets 5 points, his second-ranked candidate gets 4, and so on. Finally, the points from all the voters are added up to determine the winner.  
--Discover Magazine, May the Best Man Lose, November 1, 2000
It is hard to see how anything could be simpler and just as hard to see how a nation which tolerates the unequal nature of elections can make a straight-faced claim to being democratic or fair. It is hard to see how any government formed as a result of unfair or inaccurate voting systems can claim to be legitimate.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How to Resist Illegal Police Searches and Violations of the Fourth Amendment!

Commit this to memory:
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

--Fourth Amendment, U.S. Constitution
Bottom line ---unless the officer wanting to harass you, search your car, pester you or argue with you can PRODUCE a WARRANT issued by a judge that describes 'particularly' the article that you are suspected of possessing, you need not submit to any search whatsoever. You know that! The judge knows that! But 'hot dogs' cops either don't know it or don't care or both!

Most of the time, police must present their probable cause to a judge or majistrate, whom they ask for a search or arrest warrant. Information is reliable if it shows that it's more likely than not that a crime has occurred and the evidence sought exists at the place named in the search warrant, or that the suspect named in the arrest warrant has committed a crime.

The prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures effectively restricts actions that cops may wish to take but cannot unless they get a warrant. Producing the probable cause is the responsibility of the police and it follows from the 'presumption of innocence'. That's not your problem! The fact is "unreasonable searches and seizures" are illegal if not authorized by a warrant and NO warrant shall be issued but upon 'probable cause'! Therefore, you are not required or expected to do the cop's job for them.

An example of what cops are capable of occurred in Houston some 20 years ago. Cops, responding to a disturbance, arrested an Hispanic Viet Nam war hero who was accused of creating a row in a bar.
He was beaten so badly by the cops that the jailer refused to admit him; he ordered the cops to take him to a hospital. Instead, they took him to a dimly lit area on Buffalo Bayou between downtown and the city's River Oaks/Memorial area. There they beat the holy hell out of him while shackled. Then they leveraged him out over the bridge and DUMPED him into the inky dark waters of Buffalo Bayou some 20 ft (or more) below.

He drowned and the cops --to Houston's credit --were made to stand trial for murder! They were convicted! I covered the trial.

If you should get stopped by a cop who persists and despite not having a warrant FORCES a search upon you, get his badge number!

SUE him!

Demand that he be dismissed without pension!

FILE charges against him!

Sue either the city, the state, the district!

Sue the bastards!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Of Space-Time and Clock Towers

by Len Hart, the Existentialist Cowboy

Brian Greene is an American theoretical physicist and string theorist who has worked on mirror symmetry since 1996 while a professor at Columbia University. As a result, he believes that in “infinite” universes, the number of ways in which matter can arrange itself is infinite. Eventually, a “universe” is repeated. Such a parallel universe would look very much like the one we live in.

Therefore, Greene says: if the universe is infinitely large, it is also home to infinite parallel universes.
As a string theorist, he believes that apparent conflicts between current cosmology (Relativity theory) and quantum mechanics is resolved with string theory –his 'specialty' for the past 25 years. Greene believes that the entire universe is explained with small strings vibrating in as many as 11 dimensions. Moreover, within our single universe time is relative to where you are and how fast you are going at any given instant.

Therefore, time is always local even within the single universe we live in. For example, time is slower for anyone who is moving. As Einstein demonstrated, time stops for anyone traveling at light speed.

Einstein imagined a street car leaving the clock tower in Bern. As long as his speed was less than that of light, the clock viewed from the street car would appear to be moving forward, marking the 'forward' progress of time. But –should the street car exceed the speed of light, the hands of the clock would appear to go backward as the street car actually catches up with and passes light beams.

This effect can be simulated with an oscillator or an old 33 and a third RPM album turntable with a disc of concentric hash marks calibrated to appear stationary under florescent (pulsing) light. If the turntable is too slow, the hash marks will appear to rotate in one direction. If the rotation is too fast, the marks will appear to move in the opposite direction. At the desired turntable speed, the hashmarks will appear absolutely motionless. By the same token, time STOPS for one traveling at the speed of light.

The downside is that many other unfortunate things will happen to you at that speed. So –don't try this at home or without the supervision of experts. You are safe if you confine your experiments to an old 33 1/3 RPM turntable and some old Rolling Stone LPs.

A few years ago, Julian Barbour “shook up” readers of “Discover” magazine when he denied the existence of “time”. He may be correct. Interestingly, he is consistent with Einstein. Einstein posits that time is merely one's local' movement relative to the speed of light. Young Einstein lived in Bern (Switzerland) where he worked at the patent office. He often took the tram home in a direction away from the famous Bern clock tower. He imagined how the clock might appear should his tram exceed light speed.

He immediately concluded that the hands on the clock tower would appear to move backward relative to the forward movement perceived by pedestrians on either side of the street. The explanation is simple: at faster than light travel, the tram overtakes that light that had previously left the tower. One looking back at the tower would see the hands run backward.

That, of course, is a dramatic example that drives home the point for anyone daring to imagine faster-than-light trams. The conclusion is simpler: time is different for every person occupying a different space from every other person. For that matter, time differs from every point to every other point in the universe.Barbour believes the past, present and future all exist in what may be called a timeless 'super-verse'. Barbour posits a series of “NOWS” like individual frames on a motion picture film strip. 'Nows' exist for actual events but, interestingly, many 'nows' are alternate possibilities, i.e, virtual universes.

This view is consistent with Einstein's analogy re: the Bern clock tower. To use Barbour's film strip analogy, NOW is a single frame, the universe –the entire film strip. Parallel universes may be compared to alternate "film strips", thus Barbour's views are consistent with Greene's "parallel" universes. If Barbour's timeless universe is akin to a film-strip, then Greene's parallel universes are a shelf full of film-strip canisters –each containing a feature-length film. In this case the feature-length movie is the universe as it unfolds. But --as we as long as we travel at sub-light speeds, we move forward in time as "light" over-takes us. But if we should exceed light speed we will eventually see the big bang! In fact, we can see remnants of the big bang now. This "object", astronomers tell us, is some 13.7 billion years old and as many light-years distant.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Why You Should Never Kill A Slow Roach

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

I wanted to post a status that says: "Never kill a slow roach, you just improve the breed!" But --I can't find the origin of it. All my google searches take me to my own blog : ). So --if Google says I said it, then I risk their ire if I should deny it. Google has spoken!!

I cannot believe that at a time when the right wing and many throughout the ranks of the GOP have most vociferously attacked Darwinism no one but me would have summoned up the wisdom of cowboys with respect to the propagation of cockroaches in order to refute them. Cockroaches are a species which, by Darwinian standards, typifies "natural selection", less accurately, the "survival of the fittest". Like Republicans, cockroaches can be depended upon to crawl into and spoil stuff.

Cockroaches are a species which, by Darwinian standards, typifies "natural selection", less accurately, the "survival of the fittest". Critics of Darwin have said that no one has yet produced an entirely new species by selection. But they have indeed done precisely that! Consider wheat! Wheat does not grow in the wild. Wheat is related to ancient grasses, clearly the result of an ancient application of "artificial selection." Had wheat evolved naturally, it would be found growing wild like prairie grass.

Wheat can be compared to a thoroughbred, but more evolved and, therefore, a better example of evolution at work. A thoroughbred, for example, is still a horse but wheat is no longer mere prairie grass. It's something entirely "new". It is a new species.

Social Darwinism has harmed mankind. It rationalizes and justifies the perpetual and deliberate impoverishment of large segments of our society. The GOP will support this as a matter of policy so long as someone like Ronald Reagan can, nevertheless, make them "feel good about themselves". Alas --the GOP will face its own extinction, a process that I believe is underway as we write.

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Why Space Aliens Never Came Back to Earth

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

IF you think the politicians, the beauracrats, the asshole pundits in DC or NY et al, et al care about you --just REMEMBER VIET NAM!

Kent State, the Woodstock generation was a generation not afraid to take it to the streets, the campuses, the media! Alas --neither Democrat nor GOP administrations gave a shit! Viet Nam was in no way "improved" by U.S. presence; nor was it liberated by the sacrifice of thousands of young lives in a dank, fucking swamp.

I see little chance of improvement today, tomorrow nor several years down the road. The U.S. has squandered the seemingly endless resources for which they murdered entire Native American tribes. Even now --at this moment --the United States is on the very bottom of the list with the World's Largest NEGATIVE Current Account Balance (formerly called the Balance of Trade Deficit). China Owns US!

Or --as Charles Fort put it: "We are property!" He was right but got the "owners" wrong. He thought our owners were space aliens. Reality was and remains much simpler. We may have been better off if "space aliens" had been benign, all powerful and landed! Hello Klaato! Loved your movie. You should have won the Oscar and --to wow the crowd on Oscar night --beamed up to the "big mother" ship.

Interestingly --UFO sightings seem to have diminished to near nothingness over the last 60 years or so. I have a "theory": Aliens came, they saw, they were disgusted! They returned to whence they came and vowed never, ever to come back!

Monday, April 14, 2014

NASA Plans: A Warp Drive, Visit to Alpha Centauri

by Len Hart, The Existentialist Cowboy

A triple star system associated with Alpha Centauri is now targeted for a visit by NASA! The triple-star system is composed of a binary system - two stars akin to the Sun --and another, larger and hotter star Called Alpha Centauri A.

Two other stars are smaller, cooler. Alpha Centauri B is itself orbited by a red dwarf and is more distant. A third star may or may not be a part of the "systems". Called Proxima Centauri, it is just 4.22 light-years from Earth --the closest star outside our Solar System. Recall that our own sun is a star.

This is a "big deal" for at least two reasons.
  1. Alpha Centauri is the closest star system in the sky. Because of that it’s very bright, and because it's very bright, it is well studied. It has been the object of "planet searches" for decades.
  2. At one time and for awhile some toyed with the idea that the small red dwarf Proxima could boast a planet.
Alas --if it has a planet, it may be too small or too far out to be detected.

Dopplar Shifts

The signal from the planet is very weak; it was located only because its gravity tugs on the star. The effect of the "tug" is detectable and measurable: it's a wobble! Predictably, a massive star tugs harder on the star it orbits, smaller planets less so. The "wobbles" are very nearly imperceptible. In the case of stars, the "wobble" almost always means: planet!

With planets of "low mass" the doppler shift is less apparent!

Don't Forget the Aliens?

Relatively speaking, the "system" is in our "backyard"! Additionally, the stars seem very much like our own old Sol --the Sun. UFO aficionados have said that this is the most obvious location of "aliens" that some believe have already visited earth. Some believe that one expedition crashed in the planes of South Eastern New Mexico in the 1940's.

Some writers have said that "... we are very close to finding a planet with the same mass as Earth." It is also said that these planets may have water. Liquid water may very well equal life. It is one thing to find planets of the "correct mass". It is quite another to find planets having both ideal position vis a vis "their" star as well as having the "right mass".

Several writers, scientists, astro-physicians have said that it is only a matter of time before the first life sustaining planet other than Earth may be discovered.