Saturday, October 31, 2009

Oh my Bevie

Oh my Bevie
Find your way back to me
I've missed you
Bring back the happiness
Remember
Our care for each other
Oh my Bevie
Find your way back to me
Dear sweetie
You never leave my thoughts
My lost one
I'm here for you always
Oh my Bevie
Find your way back to me
Tender Love
Strange, so strong, yet fragile
Bring back
Love uncommon on Earth
Oh my Bevie,
Wondering
Through this life, yes I am
Living on
I do live my own life
Oh my Bevie
Find your way back to me
Memories
have of a life of their own
Longing here
for them renewed again
Oh my Bevie
Find your way back to me
Share times
We have lost to this gap
Healing now
Life goes on in tragedy
Oh my Bevie
Find your way back to me
Love Always

(circa 2001)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Communication with Alien Civilizations

SETI, whose job it is to find proof of alien civilizations, has yet to find any alien civilizations. The methods employed by SETI has so far focused on trying to receive messages via the EM spectrum for alien communication.

So far, SETI has been looking for messages from other alien civilizations in the form of "Anybody out there?" However, it may soon be looking for any signs of other alien civilizations by attempting "to eavesdrop on stray signs of intelligence leaked accidentally into space by other civilizations", says Steve Nadis in his Astronomy article titled Eavesdropping on E.T.: Could Changing Channels Tune Into Alien Civilizations?.

There is a quiet zone in the EM spectrum between 1 and 10 GHz. Fewer objects in the universe naturally transmit in that frequency range. If other alien civilizations know this, they may choose to intentionally transmit signals at that level. However, it may be easier to look for signals that alien civilizations naturally put out. The problem is that there is so much background noise at other frequencies, both from the Universe and Earth itself (our own civilization). Some scientists hope that a new radio-telescope coming on line in Australia called Murchison Wide-Field Array (MWA) will allow them to find anomalies that may be leaked transmissions of other alien civilizations. Though MWA is really meant to study the end of the Universe's Dark Ages (when stars began to form), it will also be able to find transient signals that may be signs that something else is out there.

Earth has been broadcasting its presence since the 1920's. Maybe another civilization has been doing the same for much longer? We will soon see.

Reference: Astronomy May 2008, Eavesdropping on E.T.: Could Changing Channels Tune Into Alien Civilizations?, by Steve Nadis

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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday Two: Sponging up energy

Tuesday 2 header

Tuesday Two


Funny without directly rechargingGet nearly perpetual power with these little energy cells that can recharge by harvesting ambient energy, such as kinetic, electromagnetic, heat, radio frequency, and light. This may change everything from hand held devices to desktop computers.

PhraselatorIn real life Star Trek technology news, there's a phrase (not phaser) translator called the Phraselator which will translate statements into one of several languages. It's one-way translation today, but with two of these, you just might be able to carry on a short conversation about the weather with just about anyone on the planet.

Epoch-Fail


To prepare you for your American Idol debut, the Perpetual Kid website (purveyer of many potential Epoch-Fail canidadates) has the Shower Mic Sponge.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hiller Aviation Museum

Flying bears!I recently had a chance to visit the Hiller Aviation Museum. It's an interesting place. The museum is housed within a former industrial building.

In the main entrance hall, the visitor can view a sizable restoration shop with its menagerie of old equipment and tools. The shop is bigger than some machine shops. There are also many scaled airplane models dangling from the ceiling. Let's not forget the rather sizable souvenir shop. Yes, I bought the t-shirt. :)

The main viewing room is the entire right side of the building. It houses many full scale and scaled air machines, with some original airplanes mixed with replicas. Where there's space to fill, you'll find an airplane or parts thereof.

AvitorOne of the more interesting facts promoted at this museum is that there where successful attempts at powered flight long before the Wright Brothers. The Herman Avitor Jr. (or just Avitor) was powered by a 1-hp steam engine that drove twin propellers. It was was the first successfully flown heavier-than-air aircraft to employ a three-axis control system. It was built in San Francisco, CA. In 1869 it took flight near the modern day SF Int'l Airport. Sometime after its first flight, the contraption was destroyed when it caught fire.

Pepsi SkywriterAnother interesting exhibit was the Pepsi Skywriter, used by Pepsi to promote their product for a few decades starting in the late 1920's. I'm not sure if this is a replica, but it is interesting to see the old Pepsi logo and figure how long ago companies where using inventive new marketing techniques to promote their products.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

For You

Flowers I present by love
for my baby, whom I adore

Run to me, my love, kiss me
and feel my heart beat for you

Lean your head on my shoulder
I am your support for life

Guide your heart to my harbor
I shall protect you from storms

Open your places hiding deep
and I will handle with care

Your dreams have haven in me
Our dreams we share as you sleep

These flowers represent all
of my expressions of love

For You


Copyright ©1999, 2001 & 2003 Matthew Lorono All rights reserved

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Possible types of Alien Lifeforms (Part 5: Blue Plants?)

It has been sited by physicists that while photosynthesis on Earth generally involves green plants, a variety of plants of alternative colors may also utilize photosynthesis. The other colors might be preferred in places that receive a different mix of solar radiation than that received on Earth.

Plants on Earth are green because they contain chlorophyll. The chlorophyll is green because it absorbs mainly blue and red light in order to produce food for the plant via photosynthesis, while reflecting the green light frequency.

Scientists at NASA point out that if the stars for other planets were in a different state than our sun and if the light frequency that reached the planets' surface was different, then the plants would have also evolved a different type of photosynthetic pigment (other than chlorophyll). This pigment would be dedicated towards the different light frequencies received by the planet. This would cause plants to appear a different color from green, such as red and yellow.

According to recent studies, no photosynthetic plants would be blue-colored. This is because blue light provides some of the highest photosynthetic yields in the light spectrum. It is important for blue light to be absorbed rather than reflected. This is based on the physical quality of different frequencies of light produced by known types of stars.

One terrestrial example of energy conversion based on something other than ordinary light involves radiotrophic fungi that convert high energy gamma rays into useful energy using the melanin. (In most organisms melanin is used to protect the organism against ultraviolet and solar radiation.) Even still, ordinarily fungi derive their energy from decomposing other biomass, rather than by converting radiation into energy for itself.

It could even be possible for photosynthesis to occur using infrared light. In such an environment, plants may actually appear black.

It is fascinating to image the variations of life that are possible, even if life is based on the same fundamentals as our own.

Reference: Wikipedia article; Wikinews article; NASA - NASA Predicts Non-Green Plants on Other Planets; Dadachova, E; Bryan RA, Huang X, Moadel T, Schweitzer AD, et al. (2007). "Ionizing Radiation Changes the Electronic Properties of Melanin and Enhances the Growth of Melanized Fungi". PLoS ONE 2 (5): e457. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0000457; Candace Lombardi "NASA: Plants on other planets not green". CNET, April 11, 2007; Julie Steenhuysen "New hue: Plants on other planets may be yellow, red". Reuters, April 11, 2007; Ker Than "Colorful Worlds: Plants on Other Planets Might Not Be Green". Space.com, April 11, 2007; “The Color of Plants on Other Worlds” by Nancy K. Kiang, Scientific American April 2008

Response
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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Possible types of Alien Lifeforms (Part 4: Silicon Life)

A popular Sci-Fi topic is alternative forms of life. A common idea is that life could be based on silicon instead of carbon.

The idea is based on the fact that silicon has valence number of four. This means that silicon atoms can be arranged in rings and in long chains that may be useful to create structures upon which biological molecules could be built. However, there are many drawbacks that must be overcome for life to efficiently use silicon as its basis.

Silicon based lifeforms would not have organic molecules used within Terran life. DNA would not be the basis for such life. However, the silicon based molecules may not be stable without an added level of complexity because silicon has a larger atomic radius and mass than carbon. It also has more difficulty forming stable molecules, particularly where water is present.

Even still, it is a possibility. For some reason, many Sci-Fi depictions show silicon based life as being rocklike in appearance. I'm not sure where this idea comes from. It's a bit like assuming carbon based lifeforms look like a lump of coal. I have a feeling that if we do discover silicon based lifeforms, they may resemble us more than many expect.

Reference: Wikipedia article and “Are Aliens Among Us?” by Paul Davies, Scientific American December 2007

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Thursday, October 01, 2009

Autumn-Gem film

I took Allie to something she's not done before, a screening of an independent film, at SCU. The film is called Autumn Gem and is done in the same style as many Biography or History Channel shows. The topic of the film was a late 19th Century Chinese heroine by the name of Qiu Jin. You can see me and Allie in the upper left corner of the room in the panoramic photo. From the looks of my face, I was apparently in the middle of chewing my gum (which is something I don't really do all that often, so this may actually be the first photo of me doing that).


From the movie's website:

Qiu Jin was a seminal leader in both the revolutionary movement and the struggle
for women’s emancipation.
Allie has never heard of Qiu Jin before that evening, as is the case for most Americans (even Chinese Americans who were born in Asia). For me, the film was an interesting exploration into Qiu Jin's role in the Chinese revolution at the turn of the 20th Century. Here's the promotional image from the previous showing.



The makers and supporters of the film hope to sell it to the History Channel or preferably to PBS. Though the film's scope is admirable, in my opinion it needs a bit more editing, production work and clean up before its ready for those venues. It was interesting to watch, but ran a bit long for the quantity of information presented. Even still, if someone is interested in the topic, or even just interested in supporting independent film makers, please check out the upcoming screening dates. They will be all over the country in a 24 day/16 city tour.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday Two: Robots and Bacteria


Tuesday Two

Robot Guard In robot news, Josh Lowensohn explores the Rovio, a $250 robot that acts like an internet controlled telepresence guard dog. Let's hope they never hook this thing up to Skynet. Terminator's primitive cousin has been born!
Yuk!  Bacteria! On the biotech front, the cleverly named Institute of Food Research made an announcement about genetically engineered bacteria that does what it is told to do just by eating a rare sugar called xylan. Sounds just tasty. I'll have two!

Epoch-Fail!

Tesla Motors has been trying to give themselves a lot of press. Their desperation lead them to submit a couple of cars to the British show Top Gear. Bad move! Well, let's be honest, an electric "sports" car that only has peak performance for a 100 mile radius before needing a 2 to ..umm 16 hour recharge? Well, Top Gear's review may not have been 100% fair, but they make some very important points. Here's the video.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Possible types of Alien Lifeforms (Part 3: Arsenic Life)


What if the basic molecules of life where completely different? Life on Earth needs water, carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, and phosphorous. This last one is of particular interest.

Phosphorous is not particularly abundant on Earth. Yet Terran life needs the element. A similar element that could replace phosphorous is arsenic. Of course, arsenic is poisonous to us. This is because it is so similar to phosphorous. It may be possible that life could have evolved on other worlds to use arsenic instead of phosphorous. This is because arsenic can do everything that phosphorous does (in the way of structural bonding and energy storage). It could also be used to drive metabolism. On such a world, phosphorous would be the poison because it would interfere with those functions, much as arsenic interferes with the functions of phosphorous in life on Earth.

Is it possible for lifeforms to be poisonous to each other because of their basic chemistry? Would it be dangerous for arsenic based lifeforms and phosphorous-based lifeforms to simply touch each other or even to life in the same space?

References: “Are Aliens Among Us?” by Paul Davies, Scientific American December 2007

Related articles

Saturday, September 26, 2009

FOX "News" magically turns Republican into Democrats

TCorp has noticed something quite interesting about Fox "News" channel. They are appear to be intentionally labelling embarrassing Republicans as Democrats. Once is a typo, twice is a strange coincidence, but there are four times identified here from over a long period of time.

Fox turns Republicans into Democrats

Fox turns Republicans into Democrats

Fox turns Republicans into Democrats

Fox turns Republicans into Democrats

Hello, can anyone say Nineteen Eighty-Four
or Wag the Dog?

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Toebzilla

Rat Terriers are an interesting breed. They are smart, but independent. That means, they understand you, but take your directions more as suggestions than actual commands. So, our Rat Terrier is named Toebzilla for the fact that he can be a little terror that acts like Godzilla by often walking around on two paws as he terrorizes. Maybe that's where the word terrier comes from? He is adorable and loving.

He does look to us for approval, though its more a matter of watching us to see what he can get away with. Right now, he's sleeping on our couch on top of a quilted blanket which he has adopted as he bed. He did try to take this liberty without my permission, so I made him get off the couch and wait for permission to hop back on. Now that he's sleeping, he's not terrorizing anything.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday Two: Snap Cracke Pop


Word First

Welcome to the first day of Fall 2009. I have something called Tuesday Two on a professional technical website that I maintain. I will be reposted some of those here from time to time. These will include brief showcases of two noteworthy inventions (maybe more sometimes, maybe less). In addition, I may also highlight an epic fail invention. Hmm, I don't know about that word epic fail. It's too much en vogue right now and will likely not be used in a couple years. Let me make up my own derivative.

I will sometimes highlight an epoch-fail invention. That's likely a safe term that won't get over used by the likes of G4 and other "we are cool gadget geeks" media outlets. Epoch-fail also out-does the term epic fail because even an epic is only a short period when compared to geologic time frame of an epoch. Epoch-fail inventions will be (in my opinion, as always) failures that can be registered in terms of how long the dinosaurs roamed the Earth, or when we last had a comet (or was it an asteroid, or huge broken-down alien space ship) smack into the Yucatan Peninsula.

Also, it should be noted that by "invention", I also mean innovation, device, gadget, idea or any other unique real world or conceptual imagining. Normally, I will stick to recent news, but don't be surprized if I honor the axle or deride the idea that UFO's helped Egyptians build the Pyramids.

Tuesday Two

Kindle saves the Earth!Kindle gets nod for living up to the hype. Recent study shows that it is indeed more environmentally friendly than paper books. This, combined with its new lower price should turn some green heads and open their pocket books.

We'll save Fido when Jesus saves you!Do dogs go to heaven? Regardless to one's beliefs, there is now a service available to take care of pets left behind once the Rapture happens. It's billed as,"The next best thing to pet salvation in a Post Rapture World"


Epoch-Fail

  1. This week's first Epoch-Fail award goes to the beloved iPhone 3GS, based on reports from France that suggest it is exploding and cracking without warning. Yikes!
  2. A second Epoch-Fail award goes to those who have been trying to link the good ol' meat and potatoes diet with bad things. Recent studies have not shown a link between meat and dairy products with breast cancer in women.
  3. Yet a third Epoch-Fail award goes to Bank of America for not cashing the check of a man who was born with no arms because he was unable to provide a thumb print.
  4. This week's final Epoch-Fail award again goes to Apple, but this one is directly granted to Steve Jobs for his alleged lie to the New York Times about why the new iPod Touch doesn't have a camera.