Friday, November 11, 2016

Interactive And One Way Conversations

Interactive and One Way

Since the events of the 8th of November 2016 it has become evident how it is that the outcome occured.  Many pieces have been presented that analyze this.  Here are some of my thoughts that follow along in the same vein.

We gather information with our senses and use reflective thought to make judgements and conclusions to guide how we should behave. 

Additionally, and in many cases more importantly, we use direct and interactive conversation with others to form our judgements. 

We are hardwired by natural selection to 'sort things out'.  This attribute is part of how all creatures are able to get around and successfully negotiate their environment.

For our species, we have raised this attribute very high level.  Our ability to engage in reflexive thought coupled with our ability to engage in interactive conversation with our fellow humans marks our species as unique in its ability to persist and blossom.  

Our ability to accumulate, preserve and advance our knowledge is completely entangled in our ability to engage in direct and critical interactive conversation with each other.

We are also compelled to share our observations, ideas, and judgements with others.  This compulsion is not to just invite agreement but also, and much more importantly, it invites critical feedback to whatever idea or judgement we have come to.  Critical feedback is a necessary part of creating new and improving on old ideas.  There really is no such thing as a successful solitary human.

When direct conversation becomes one way instead of interactive dark situations can and will emerge. 

With the advent of Writing, Printed Media, Cinema, Radio, Television, and finally the Internet non interactive, one way conversation has become much easier.

When it emerged, writing was to one extent or another interactive. It was and remains an effective way of engaging in interactive communication between individuals and as a way an individual and groups can communicate with each other.  

Social media conversations between an individual and a group of 'friends' is an example of written conversation. Ordinary conversations in organized meetings and social gatherings are other examples.  Modern written, audio and visual weBlogs are examples of how individuals communicate with groups. 

To the extent that the communication of thoughts and processes is not interactive but one sided creates the potential to expose a darker side of human communication where harmful, and false ideas and processes can be adopted.  

This darker side of human interaction is a slippery slope that is very easy to slide down.  It is much easier, sometimes, to just listen and not reflect.  It takes extra mental energy to think critically and if the argument is well stated and easy to believe. We find ourselves suspending our critical thinking.

Looking back on history we see technological innovations in communications many times subverted and used to empower the few over the many.  The early church before widespread literacy enabled by printed books is an excellent example.  Once printed media was widely available and literacy blossomed the few keepers of the written word no longer held undue sway over the rest.

With the modern advent of printed media, cinema, radio, television, and the internet we see the dark side of one-sided communication rise to new heights.

The ability of newspapers and magazines and even books to transmit ideas in a non interactive manner has long been recognized for its ability to sway the way we think and behave. We are usually quick to label sources that propose harmful and false ideas as one-sided and call them propaganda.

Written communication necessarily forces the reader to engage in reflective thought.  It can be used subvert the reader into agreeing with positions and ideas that are harmful by careful structure and presentation.  Because of its pace it is much less effective in subversive than the spoken word or visual presentation.

Radio, and television are much easier to use to present one-sided propaganda.  The reason is they are verbal and visual and more importantly they mimic actual interpersonal communication without interaction.  We hear and or see someone talking directly to us and we are forced to just listen, and watch. 

This is opposed to the case were in the course of an actual one-to-one conversation you may interrupt at any time and challenge or ask for expansion of an idea or statement on the fly.  

One reason this has become such an easy way to subvert our way of thinking about things is that it is baked into our way of learning.  The one-sided lecture as opposed to an interactive dialogue to teach and learn has expeditiously become the norm. When combined with the suppression of the ability and the skill to engage in critical thought and expression then even the learning process itself is subverted.

Careful choice of the presenter's arguments and style of delivery whether strictly auditory or visual and auditory can and has swayed great numbers of the population into the adoption of harmful positions of thought.

The first instance of this in my life occured while I was on a business trip to Spain.  I learned, via television, of the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.  

It came to me at that moment that the talk radio show of Rush Limbaugh was partially responsible.  Here was a fellow who employed talk-radio to subvert how his audience thought about current events.  This subversion could have help set the environment that motivated the man who carried out the bombing.

A month or so before my trip a friend of mine at work, who attended high school with Rush, related a conversation he had with him at a reunion.  My friend asked Rush what was going on with that radio program. Rush responded that it was all just entertainment.  Rush disavowed his program was intended to inflame harmful ways of thought in the susceptible population of listeners.

The advent of talk-radio and the 24 hour cable news and radio news cycle in the past 30 years has given rise to many more examples of this sort of media.

The advent of satirical programming like Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, The Colbert Show, and late night entertainment shows has given rise to examples of media that take as their audience folks who despise media like Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.  These types of shows are examples of the same type of non interactive communication.

The result is large percentages of the population have become convinced that their 'side' whether represented by Fox News or The Daily Show has got it completely right and they find themselves unable to communicate with each other.  Somewhere around one percent of the total of over one hundred twenty million votes separate the two sides in the 2016 presidential election.

Additionally the emergence of "Reality-TV" has also done damage.  These types of shows, sometimes characterized as 'real-world-soap-operas' have blurred the line between entertainment, fiction and reality.  The winner of the presidential election in 2016 leveraged just such a blurred line to catapult himself into the national spotlight and when combined with non interactive communication did convince enough folks in enough states to vote for him and ensure an electoral college victory.

Finally:  How do we as a modern global society move away from non interactive communications that can and do lead to dark results and instead toward a method that allows interactive communications based on the scientific method to have sway not only for technological progress but also social progress?

Such social progress is critical.  We live on a single planet that has finite resources.  We must as a planetary society come into balance not only with each other but also with our ecological niche in the biosphere.

Currently we are out of balance. We need to learn and teach critical thinking.  We need to limit non interactive communications to only fact based presentations or entertainment and not blur the lines between fact, fiction, and entertainment.

Expressing an opinion in an interactive forum that allows interactive challenge is fine.  Expressing an opinion as fact and news (whether in a satirical or non satirical manner) in a forum that disallows challenge and interaction must be stopped.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Bike Crash (The Big Whoops An Update)

The Big Whoops - An Update

RELEASED:    By my surgeon.
I am still working on my general physical conditioning and range of motion.  However my surgeon said last Wednesday (9 NOV 2016) that my hip bone has completely healed.  He agreed that I should still work on conditioning and range of motion and said that in six months, barring any glitches, what ever was left of the injury was 'The New Normal'.  Last night I attended a spin class and a stretch yoga class immediately after the spin class.  This morning I feel fine.
:   From outpatient PT (Physical Therapy)  

I am still VERY much in PT ... Now instead of going in once or twice a week and doing stuff at on my own ---  

I am now 100% doing all my exercises on my own.  

I do them at the same gym/wellness-center I've been attending for the past 10 years.  

Here is my schedule 5-7 days a week:

(Four Machines)
1 - 15 minutes - recumbent fixed bicycle
2 -  2 sets of 15 - Push Plate Machine (both legs) (repeat rt leg)
3 -  2 sets of 15 - Leg Curl Machine (both legs) (repeat right leg)
4 -  2 sets of 15 - Leg Ext Machine (both legs) (repeat right leg)

2 sets of 15 - Side-Step UP/DOWN (right leg) (repeat left leg)
2 sets of 15 - Front-Step UP/DOWN (left leg) (repeat left leg)

2 sets of 15 - Side Kick Using Black-Band (right leg) (rep rt leg)
2 sets of 15 - Front Kick Using Black-Band (right leg) (rep rt leg)
2 sets of 15 - Back Kick Using Black-Band (right leg) (rep rt leg)

2 sets of 15 - 'clam-shell-leg-left' Using Red-Band
2 sets of 15 - 'bridge-lift' Using Red Band

(Walk / Climb Stairs)  
I now walk while holding my cane and only use it necessary and when stairs are there I climb them, at home and the gym.

I have two cold packs I keep in the freezer and use on my hip when I get home if need be.

As time goes by I increase time/resistance/reps/sets when the current sets get too easy.  Also as any particular exercise seems too much I ease up on that exercise for that day.  And if some day I feel really knackered I will skip that day.  The plan is to do each of these exercises not to the point of pain but instead with enough exertion that I feel I am exerting myself but in a sustainable manner.  

A couple of weeks ago my surgeon said it may be 9-12 months before I feel totally 100%.  Since I was used to going to the gym five days a week before I broke my hip I do now just think of these exercises as replacing what I used to do with the added metric of finding my hip working better and better.

As time goes by I will add swimming and spin class and then even cycling again.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Bike Rides And A Crash (August 2016)

Bike Ride/Crash - Tue 23 Aug 2016

NC Museum of Art -> House Creek Trail -> Crabtree Creek Trail -> Anderson Point Park -> Neuse  River Trail -> Falls of the Neuse Dam -> Falls of the Neuse Dam Visitor's Center -> Falls of the Neuse Road -> Durant Road -> Honeycutt Road -> Honeycutt Park Trail -> Strickland Road -> Cannonade/Forum Drive -> Old Lead Mine Road -> Allyn's Landing (Home).

This was the plan, my estimate was about 70k.  The ride started great, I left Evelyn pruning her roses at the NCMA and headed out.  Going up and down the hills at the art museum and making may way to the I440 bike overpass near Wade Avenue is a beautiful segment.  Down House Creek Trail to Blue Ridge Road is also a very nice segment.  I even got to trigger the solar powered bike crossing lights at Blue Ridge Road.  It was then onto Crabtree Creek Trail.

The Crabtree Creek Trail ends upstream from where I joined it about 2-3 miles and ends downstream at Anderson Point Park 14-15 miles.
I have biked all the bits of this trail many many times.  I knew that the construction on the trail along the creek from Capital Blvd to Raleigh Road was ended and I looked forward to not having to leave the trail for a detour. Well:  There still was one near I440 underpass and Yadkin Drive, but that was almost not a detour since I usually leave the trail near there and take to the streets to get to Lassiter Mill.

I made my way all the way to crossing Atlantic Avenue and noticed a 'Greenway-Closed-Ahead' sign.  I thought, well perhaps they are not yet finished with the section from Capital Blvd  to Raleigh Road.

When I actually arrived at the barrier I found this was not the case:  The greenway was closed over the course of the last few hundred yards before even getting to Capitol Blvd.  This section is a wood trestle that climbs the face  of what is almost a palisades of Crabtree Creek.

So I backtracked to Atlantic Ave crossed the creek and headed down Hodges St to Capitol Blvd, back over the creek and onto Yonkers Rd. This was where I knew I could rejoin the Crabtree Creek Trail by cutting through a now empty construction site.  The construction crews had filled in some of their mud holes with coarse, loose, deep gravel.

9:35 Tuesday 23 August 2016:

Right there is where I should have dismounted and walked my bicycle to the greenway trail. Instead I picked my way along convinced that would make it or have enough warning so I could dismount safely.

Instead by the time I realized that the patch of gravel I had entered was too deep and loose to get through it was too late.
I started to unclip my left foot and the front wheel jerked as it sunk into the gravel causing the bike to fall to the right.

I started to unclip my right foot and the torsion on my leg combined with the force of impact as I struck the gravel was just right to snap my right hip.

At the time I thought wow that hurts I bet I bruised my hip.  I did unclip and just lay there thinking, I need to get up.  Instead I called and text'ed Evelyn that I had crashed and where I was.  I did get on all fours and stand up and using the bike as a crutch got over to the shade and propped the bike against a post of the shelter over the greenway where it goes under the railroad trestle.

Evelyn drove over and rescued me and we got the bike on the back of the car and headed over to Raleigh Orthopedic Urgent Care Clinic.  

They X-Ray'ed my hip and it was broken. (See before/after pictures below).  I was going to continue on to see Dr.Chiavetta is my knee doctor (who was in their Garner office that day) so they said I should get some crutches to get around with.  When I got fitted the crutches and took my first attempt to walk with them I said, 'I better sit down right now!'.  I did sit back in the wheelchair and the next thing I knew it was 30-45 seconds later and a doctor was taking my pulse.  I had undergone "syncope".  I then broke out in a huge sweat and they called 919 and the Wake EMTs transported me to Rex Emergency.  (The total drive time was about 2 minutes since Raleigh Orthopedics is just down Edwards Mill Rd from Blue Ridge Rd.)

Dr Chiavetta and Dr Wein the Dr from Raleigh Ortho who was on duty that day at Rex decided that the break only required screws to hold it together rather than a replacement so Dr Wein put me on his schedule for early evening, since I had not eaten anything since breakfast.

The folks at Raleigh Orthopedic are really super.  The fellow who got me fitted for crutches and got me in the wheelchair instantly when I started to go woozie said as we left: 'You owe me a beer!' and I told him, 'You got one coming, how's a pint of Guinness when I get healed up?' 

The folks at Wake Emergency were super too.  I talked with all the nurses, the emergency doctor and Dr Wein and the anesthesiologist and they wheeled me right from the emergency to the OR.  The anesthetic they went with was something called a 'spinal-block' and another that would just put me 'lightly-under'.  I recall looking at the clock in the OR and it said 6:07pm (eight and half hours after I fell).

It was then as if someone reached over and clicked off the lights, I do not recall them going off but the I do recall them coming back on:  The clock on the wall of the recovery room read 7:40pm.

Additionally when the 'lights-came-on-again' I distinctly recall that my visual field presented itself as a tiled set of images of the same scene:  The ceiling of the inside of the OR each tile persisted as they wheeled me around to the recovery room where the tiles resolved themselves to a single image.  Wierd!

The anesthesiologist said that I would not be able to 'feel' anything from the waist down and would first be able to wiggle my toes but not feel anything.  That was just how it went.  By the next morning I was back to normal as far as feeling goes.

I even got out of bed the next day Wednesday and took a step or two on a walker.  They were already discussing whether or not I should go home or to rehab.  The next day Thursday I again met with the PT/OT and Admin person who said if they recommended rehab she was looking for a slot for me somewhere and said she was trying for Rex Rehab which is right there on the Rex campus.  By that afternoon they had decided that rehab was the best course and there was a slot for me at Rex Rehab.  I took another very short ride in a Rex ambulance to the Rehab building.

The folks at Rex Hospital were so good and professional and correct I was super impressed.  The hospitalists described what she felt was the reason I 'fainted' when trying to walk on crutches:  I had been sitting since I got in the car to come over with the very short time of getting out of the wheelchair and on to the x-ray table, and standing up for the first time combined with trying to move the weak leg to move on the crutches was too much for the body and it said, 'You are trying to do what?  I'm shutting you down!'.

My stay at Rex Rehab, working with the PT team, working with the OT team and interacting with the Dr., the PAs, the Nurses the Nurse Assistants and all the staff was completely seamless and easy.  That therapy is excellent:  The got me in shape to go home very quickly.  I arrived on Thursday afternoon and the following Thursday they said: 'You are headed home Saturday!'  I felt strong enough and agile enough by Saturday morning so that I knew they were right on the mark.  A wonderful bunch.  (My insurance would have paid for 20 days but I only used 8 or 9 of them).

The recovery from having my hip pined has three parts according to how much weight I put on my hip:

[Toe-Touch-No-Load]  This last 5-6 weeks and next Tuesday will mark week three of this.  I get around on a walker.  And can put my foot down but not to bear any weight.

[Light-Load]  This is when you can put weight on you leg but it is not to bear its full load.  Weight bearing actually causes bones to knit together stronger.

[Full-Load] This is when the leg can bear its full load and is the end stage of the healing process.

All three stages together take between 4 to 5 months.

So I am marking my calendar 125 days in the future from 23 August 2016 which is 25 December 2016 as the first day of not having a broken hip.  With the understanding that this may be optimistic.  Here is my countdown timer url.   

I am writing this from a super nice rehab: UNC Rex Rehabilitation Center.  It is just a few yards down the way from Rex Wellness we're I swim five days a week and do a spin class two days a week.  

Here are the before and after pictures:
About half way from the knob to the ball the faint line is the break.

Three Screws

Bike Ride - Sun 21 Aug 2016

Neuse River Trail:  Falls of the Neuse Dam to the Glenburnie Dam of the Neuse River.  This is a great place to turn around.  I also brought a peach and some tiny tomatoes.  I was a bit slower coming back because I got a phone call while I was riding and had to slow down.

Total Time -------- 2:11 h:mm
Turnaround Time --- 1:02 h:mm
Distance ---------- 48.0 km
Turnaround Dist --- 24.0 km
Average Speed ----- 22.0 kph
Turn Around Speed - 24.0 kph
Average Heart Rate  107  bpm
Max Heart Rate ---- 145  bpm
Calories ---------- 2080 (8703 kilo joules)
Nike Fuel --------- 5899

Click This Link for some pictures.

Bike Ride - Fri 19 Aug 2016

Neuse River Trail:  Falls of the Neuse Dam to the suspension bridge and back.  A nice cool morning with the temp in the 70s. I did have a flat just a couple of miles down the trail on my back tire. Fortunately I had one last intertube.  I'll need to visit the bike store and get some more.

Total Time --------- 1:50 h:mm
Distance ----------- 42.5 km
Speed -------------- 23.2 kph
Max Speed ---------- 41.0 kph
Average Heart Rate - 108  bpm
Max Heart Rate ----- 143  bpm
Calories ----------- 1864
Nike Fuel ---------- 5899

Click THIS-LINK some pictures:.

Bike Ride - SAT 13 AUG 2016

Neuse River Trail: Falls of the Neuse Dam to 0:58 minutes and 13.5 miles down river then 1:00 hour back to the dam

Total Time --------- 1:58 h:mm
Total Distance ----- 43.5 km
Average Speed ------ 22   kph
Average Heart Rate - 106  bpm
Max Heart Rate ----- 133  bpm
Calories ----------- 1809 
Nike Fuel ---------- 5719

Bike Ride

Red Cross Building to Anderson Point to Falls of the Neuse Dam
Total Time ----- 1:46:59 h:mm:ss
Total Distance - 35.66   km
Average Speed -- 20      kph

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Another Nice Bike Ride

Another Nice Bike Ride

Time ........ 3:43 h:mm
Distance .... 68 Km
Avg Speed ... 18 kph
Max Speed ... 60 kph
Avg HR ...... 111 bpm
Max HR ...... ~130 bpm

This is the same route I took last week except I was not surprised by the two detours and just took them.

I forgot to bring a snack but when I checked my backpack I found half of a PBJ from last week ... I looked at through the plastic bag and thought; "Wow it still looks good!"  I turned it over and saw this wonderful rainbow of mould!  I thought, "Dang!  If color indicates different species then there are at least three different kinds of mould there!"

I skipped eating it and pushed on.  By the time I got back the temperature had climbed to over 90F (I left the house at 8:15 am and got back just a little after noon.  Next time I am going to leave at 6:30AM!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The Sub Solar Point Tomorrow At 6:34pm EDT

Happy Midsummer's Eve 

This means midsummer's day will arrive tomorrow. To be precise at 6:36PM EDT the Summer Solstice will occur. 

At that point in time the 'Subsolar-Point' will reach its most northern latitude. The subsolar point it the location on the earth where the sun is directly overhead.  This point travels around the earth once every 24 hours and travels is located between the tropic of cancer and the tropic of capricorn latitude lines depending on where the earth is in its orbit about the sun.

These latitude lines are determined by the the tilt of the axis of the earth with respect to the plane of its orbit about the sun. 

The name of this latitude line in the northern hemisphere is "The Tropic of Cancer". At the location of the 'Subsolar-Point' tomorrow at 6:36PM EDT it will be precisely LOCAL SOLAR NOON

All this happens because the tilt of the earth's axis of rotation does not change as the earth orbits the sun.  This means that the earth is tilted toward the sun parts of the year and tilted away from the sun other parts of the year.  When the north pole is maximally tilted toward the sun then the subsolar point reaches it most northern latitude.

This year the location of this most northern subsolar point in time and place will be near where the tropic of cancer crosses the Hawaiian Island Chain. 

To figure out exactly where this is all you need to do is add the number of degrees minutes and seconds of the time of the solstice to some know longitude. 

The Solstice this year will be at 22:34 UTC 20 June 2016 - so at 10:34 in the evening at the prime meridian the subsolar point will reach the tropic of cancer. That means 10 hours 34 minutes to the west of Greenwich England on the tropic of cancer the most northern subsolar point will occur (and mid summer will have arrived!) 

To sort out what the actual latitude and longitude is we note that the latitude is pretty easy; 23.5 degrees: The exact same number as the inclination of the axis of rotation of the earth to its orbital plane about the sun. 

The longitude is also easy since all you need to do is convert 10 hours and 34 minutes to degrees of longitude. The entire planet has 360 degrees of longitude. The planet also rotates on its axis every 24 hours. So divide 360 by 24 and you get 15. This means that the subsolar point moves 15 degrees of longitude every single hour. 

So what is the longitude of 10 hours and 34 minutes? Well 10 times 15 gives 150 so that is longitude 150 degrees west. And the 34 minutes of clock time: That comes out to be 34 minutes of longitude as since there are 60 minutes of longitude in every degree of longitude. 

So at 23 degrees 30 minutes north latitude and 150 degrees and 34 minutes west longitude at local solar noon the apparent location of the sun will be directly overhead and that is the most northern point local solar noon it will reach all year! 

You can plug into Google Earth/Maps these two numbers and see where that is.  Here is a URL you can click: (23°30'00.0"N 150°34'00.0"W).  So, you should do this tomorrow at the time of the solstice.

Here is a Google Earth .KMZ file you can use and some screen shots.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A Nice 70 Kilometer Bike Ride

A Nice 70 Kilometer Bike Ride

69.2 km --- total distance
18.1 kph -- average speed
74.0 kph -- max speed 
3:48 hh:mm - total time

That 74 kph was coasting down Sawmill Road between Lead Mne and Six Forks - And that amounts to only 46 mph.

I traveled down Old Lead Mine to Lead Mine then to Sawmill.  I turned on Longstreet at the top of the hill and traveled to the start of 'Mine Creek Greenway'

I traveled 'Mine Creek Greenway' to Shelly Lake then on down Lead Mine Creek to where it intersects with Crabtree Creek.

Then I headed down 'Crabtree Creek' greenway all the way to the end at Anderson Point Park.  I encountered two construction detours.  One at the intersection of 'Crabtree Creek' greenway and I440 and the other at the greenway and Capital Blvd.

The detour at Capital Blvd required that I travel down Yonkers Road to Raleigh Road to get around 'The Swamp'.  They are putting something right straight through the swamp.  I joined up with the greenway where it crosses Raleigh Blvd and traveled on down to the WakeMed area and Glenburnie Drive.

The greenway from Glenburnie Drive to Anderson Point is beautiful, modern, wide and just nice.

I had my 'Lunch-PBJ' at Anderson Point Park.  This reminded me of the ride back n 2004 where every day was PBJs for lunch.

Instead of fooling with all the construction detours I headed up 'The Neuse River Trail' to Fall of the Neuse Dam.  I left the greenway at the new 'Falls of the Neuse' bridge and slugged up the hill on Falls of the Neuse Road and then onto Strickland Road.

The nice part of this part of the ride from the Neuse River back to home was I did not have to ride on the road very much but instead stuck to the sidewalk which lasted all the way to the Raven Ridge Intersection.

I did leave the sidewalk until Honeycutt Road where they started up again.  It was then sidewalks all the way back to Forum Drive on Six Forks Road.  

Here is a google maps URL that shows all the turns and such and is all set up for following the bike trails:

Here is the 'embedded' map:

A nice bike ride.  Here are some pictures from the ride.  Here is a URL to all the pictures so you can 'swipe' through them:

Had to exit to Yonkers Rd then on to Raleigh Blvd to get back in touch with the trail.

Looks like the trail will be open again in July.

The end of Crabtree Creek Trail

Blow up of the map

The Map - Hiking, Cycling, Dog Walking, NO Horse Riding, and NO Motorcycles.

Crabtree Creek Trail T's into Neuse River Trail.

Mile 17.5 of the trail - Go left to the dam and right to Clayton.

Nice Bird Houses.

This is a nice park.


The Rider.

Now this is handy, tools and a bike pump.

The Tool Set.

The Pump

That URL is:
I wonder if they have 'chat' where they can walk you through a bike repair at one of their stations?
Here is the URL for this set of stuff:

Repair Station

Milburnie Dam

Only a few miles from the dam.

Rest Stop a few miles from the dam.

Average HR = 114
Max HR = 141
Woah!  Those are big numbers, (for me).

Nike - BURN, since I only have HR data then this essentially echos that.

Saturday, June 11, 2016



What does the word "Humongous" mean?  It means large, it means enormous.

When we look at the night sky we see stars.  If it is a very dark night and we are far away from light pollution then we can see the 'Milky-Way' (our home galaxy) and we can see 'more-stars'.

When the full moon is high in the night sky it appears to be a small disk.  

The amount of sky any astronomical object uses up is measured in arc-degrees and arc-seconds. The entire sky or celestial sphere is 360 arc-degrees in circumference when you consider the entire sky from pole to pole and all the way around the planet.  

This means at night from any one spot on the planet at any particular instant you can only see one half of the sky (the other half is on the other side of the planet, called the 'daylight-sky').  The planet rotates so during the night more than 1/2 of the entire sky will be visible during the night as stars set and stars rise. 

So, back to the full moon.  The full moon uses up a square of sky equal to 31 arc-minutes or about 1/2 a degree on a side.  The sun takes about the same amount of space in the sky which is why, during a total solar eclipse, the moon can 'blot-out' the sun.

Using telescopes we can magnify the part of the sky we point the telescope toward and see distant objects appear bigger.

Since the invention of time-lapse photography things have become much more interesting.  For daylight photography we can watch a flower bloom, or we can watch clouds develop and sweep over the landscape.  There are lots of very cool videos of the night sky using time lapse photography.

There is another extremely cool us of time-lapse-photography and that is the ability to keep a telescope pointed at the same place in the sky and keep it moving to correct for the rotation of the earth so that patch of sky is always centered in the view.  Then instead of taking a video all the light collected from the telescope is collected on a single frame.  The result is that dim objects in the night sky can be made visible.  The Hubble Space Telescope works this way and we see wonderful pictures.  

When magnification is not used much we can now use telescopes to see dim objects in the sky and that are not magnified very much to just collect all the light from some patch of sky and see what shows up.

The Astronomy Picture of the Day for today 11 June 2016 looks at a patch of sky that would hold a 4x4 grid each grid element being the size of the full moon.  The galaxies in the picture are over 20 times further away than the Andromeda galaxy, the closest galaxy to the milky-way.  If the same patch of sky had the Andromeda galaxy in it would fill almost all the patch.

When you look at the night sky think of the full moon and how much space it would be taken up if you arranged 16 full moons in a 4x4 square.  Then think what you would see if you collect all the light from that patch of sky to reveal the very dim objects in the patch.

The picture you would get is today's APOD:

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Great One And A Half Hour Bike Ride

Great One And A Half Hour Bike Ride

My sister and I did a very nice 1 1/2 hour bike ride from The Falls of The Neuse Dam down to the 'First-Compass-Rose' and back last Thursday.

01:36 - hh:mm
27.24 - kilometers
16.90 - kilometers per hour
39.30 - kilometers per hour max speed

It was a beautiful morning.  My sister drove up from her home in Holly Springs to do the ride with me.  So now I think the next ride we should do together would be for me to head down to Holly Springs, and together we ride on the ATT (American Tobacco Trail).  I really would like to explore that trail starting near the Chatham County line and going into Durham County perhaps as far (and further ) than the new I40 bicycle bridge.  Then perhaps onto the NC147 bicycle bridge.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Mathematical Optimism

Mathematical Optimism

I'm currently reading two books:  "Prime Numbers and The Riemann Hypothesis" by Barry Mazur and William Stein and also the book: "The Humans A Novel" by Matt Haig.

The book on the Riemann Hypothesis is wonderful and I recommend it highly. 

I also enjoy Science Fiction and thinking about 'Life the Universe and Everything'.

Science Fiction about how aliens actually think and Science Fiction that envisions how Artificial Intelligence works many times have the same feel to them.  

The book "The Humans A Novel" is about how an alien could possibly react when exposed to humans. It also has as a plot device the idea that there is a solution to the Riemann Hypothesis.  The perspective is from the alien's viewpoint.  I highly recommend this book.

In the book the main character observes that human lifespan is around 30,000 days. 

That got me to thinking:  If we lived on average 30,000 days then ...

30,000 divided by 365.25 is 82.136 (A little over 82 years)

0.136 times 365.25 then divided by 30 is 1.656 (A little over a month and a half)

0.656 times 30 is 19.68 (A little over 19 and a half days)

0.68 times 24 is 16.32 (Around  4:20 pm)

0.32 times 60 is 19.2 (Just a bit over 19 minutes)

0.2 times 60 is 12 (That is 12 seconds)

In a few days I will encounter the 69th anniversary of the date of my birth which occurred on the 15th of May, 1947.

In thirteen years I will be near the point where I will encounter my eighty second anniversary of the day of my birth.

The month of June has 30 days.

The 15th of June is therefore 15 days from the end of June.

This means that July the fourth is 19 days from the 15th of June.

Putting this all together At 4:19 and twelve seconds in the afternoon of the 4th of July in the year of 2029 I will have aged about 30,000 days.

I am in excellent health. I engage in around five an a half hours of aerobic exercise a week.  I don't have heart trouble.  I am a bit overweight and have osteoarthritis in my knees but manage it with my exercises which consist of swimming and biking.  I've already out lived 50% of my grandparents and my parents, the other 50% of which lived to their early to mid 80's.  Also, healthy living behaviors during the years before the ones when they passed on were not nearly as sophisticated as the ones we have these days, not to mention the ones we will adopt in the coming years.

So I'm thinking 12 seconds past 4:19 in the afternoon of the 4th of July 2029 could be a nice day for me to celebrate the coming of even more days.

NOTE: According to the social security actuarial tables my current expected lifespan is 30,681 days so that gives me another one year, ten months, fifteen days, and eighteen hours.  So tacked on to the date above that means that 12 seconds past 9:19 in the morning of the 2nd day of June 2031 could equally be a nice day for me to celebrate the coming of even more days.

NOTE: One more interesting number:  There are about 10^-43 seconds in one unit of planck time (the smallest division of time).  Which means there are about 2.592 x 10^52 planck units in a human lifetime.  The universe is about 13.5 billion years old so that comes out to be 4.260 x 10^60 planck units.  Which means that the universe is only eight orders of magnitude older than the average human's lifespan.

So we should all enjoy our 2.592 x 10^52 heartbeats of the universe.  Written out with all the zeros that comes out to be


Monday, April 25, 2016

First Bike Ride Since Last Fall

First Bike Ride Since Last Fall

Sunday 24 April 2016 was a beautiful day.  

A week ago Friday I got my knees filled up with cortisone and only did swimming this past week.  My knees felt better and better as the week went on.

So this morning Evelyn said, "Didn't you say you wanted to ride your bike today?".  That was it away I went.

This ride was not a super long one.  I just biked down Old Lead Mine Rd and cut through the neighborhood to Sawmill Road then down the hill and up the hill to Longstreet.  Then along Longstreet to the end of the 'Mine-Creek-Greenway'.   Then down the greenway to where Lead Mine Creek joins Crabtree Creek.  Then along the greenway up Crabtree Creek to its end, the 'trun-around-point'.

Here are the details.

00:45 --- hh:mm - To Turn Around Point
13.50 --- km ---- To Turn Around Point
01:35 --- hh:mm - Total Time
27.30 --- km ---- Total Distance
17.20 --- kph --- Average Speed
57.10 --- kph --- Max Speed

I also have a nice heart rate monitor and I wore it.  Because my iPod Touch was out of gas I could not capture everything but was able to upload the ride once I got back.  

Below is a screen capture of the ride as monitored by 'Ticker-X'.  That max hr is bogus and represents the monitor 'settling-down' when I first put it on.  If my iPod touch had been operational I could have captured just the ride.

I did 'thump-it' twice once just before leaving the house and once when I pulled back into the driveway.  

You can see that low point at the beginning of the ride:  That was me coasting down Sawmill Road at nearly 60kph. The the spike represents me climbing up the hill to Longstreet. 

That dip in the middle is me sitting on a bench at the far end of the greenway up Crabtree Creek drinking water and eating a candy-cane.

And you can tell that the way back was 'up-hill' as compared to the the way back.

That first big spike on the way back is me pedaling uphill at Shelly Lake.  The second big spike is when I peddled up the last bit of the greenway to Longstreet then on up Longstreet to Sawmill. The final little spikes are me climbing up Sawmill and heading back up Lead Mine Road and Old Lead Mine Road.

Here is a link to a: google maps version of the bike ride if you click on it a map should come up showing the ride.  The ride is what is called an 'out-and-back' ride so the KM marks look a little strange until you realize that they increase to around 13KM then continue to increase to 26KM by following the route back to the beginning.  Here is .KLM file that  you can use Google Earth to view: