Einstein: General and Special Relativity

Einstein was unique in that he was able to expand on Newton’s ideas of gravity and give us a new way of thinking about time. This would be unremarkable if it wasn’t for the fact that his theories have been proven over and over (for example, thank him for GPS technology and bending light).

For some modern physicists, his ideas are lacking because of quantum dynamics. Of course this is a serious field of study, but it kind of makes me mad when I hear about contemporaries dissing him (I won’t name any names).

Scientists that argue for brane theory and dismiss the subtle mixture of space and time confuse me. How can you acknowledge that time is inexorably linked to space and then propose a theory that suggests another hidden dimension of space? This supposedly allows time to have existed forever. How is this more satisfactory? How can we reconcile the macro with the micro in a way that doesn’t destroy 100 years of proven theory? Are we just going to paradoxically claim that time is intimately linked to space but is also potentially independent of 3-dimensional space?

We get into a terribly difficult ontological argument about “What comes before time existed?”. If we accept that time has always existed then we have to accept these ontological arguments. The Arrow of Time is a hard philosophical construct to detour.

What’s great about Einstein’s theories is that he taught us that things are much more chaotic than Newton. He got us to the moon, helped guide Voyager, and obviously helped make GPS satellites possible. Why were all these things significant? Because of time. Time travels differently depending on velocity and nearness to mass. This was his Opus. No serious scientist would argue against this logic.

What is arguable is the essence of “time”. I don’t think it is a knowable variable, but it works in the math as a variable nonetheless. 😉 Careful!

The Strange Things Our Bodies Are Made Of

Biological processes in the human body are astounding by any measure.

We take for granted that human bodies need water and food. But what happens at the micro-scale is bewildering, even for micro-biologists and medical doctors.

Yes folks, I’m talking about chemistry. But before you click away, please know that I am not going to bore you with meaningless chemistry knowledge like you probably endured in high school or college.

Instead, I’d like to look at a few of the body’s essential nutrients that are very surprising. This doesn’t come from anything I’ve ever read or learned (and I doubt you have either), but nonetheless it should surprise and delight.

Let’s begin:

1. Potassium – The chemical symbol for Potassium is, counterintuitively, K (for Kalemia in Latin). In its pure form, it is highly combustible in water. By “highly combustible”, I mean that if you take a chunk of it and throw it in a bowl of water, it will violently catch fire. On top of that, potassium is radioactive. Proponents of nuclear energy sometimes state that you get more radiation from eating a banana than by living near a nuclear reactor. While I can’t vouch for the validity of that statement, I can vouch for the radioactiveness of potassium. Ironically, our bodies NEED potassium.

Potassium is a very important mineral to the human body.

Your body needs potassium to:

  • Build proteins
  • Break down and use carbohydrates
  • Build muscle
  • Maintain normal body growth
  • Control the electrical activity of the heart
  • Control the acid-base balance

2. Sodium – Like potassium, sodium catches fire in water. Less so than potassium, but defintiely pyrophilic. This begs the question: “Isn’t the human body inundated with water? Why do we not have fires going on inside of us all the time?”. Well, that’s kind of what is happening – on a micro-scale. Sodium is a key element in regulating cell permeability. Cells need to absorb and excrete. They also need to guard against foreign particles. The cell wall performs these functions but is regulated by the “sodium channel”. Without boring you to death and going into too much detail, sodium is the bouncer at the “club” that keeps good things moving in and out and stops bad things from doing the same. Without sodium, our cells cannot function. It is so essential to our bodily functions that in ancient times, blocks of salt (Sodium Chloride) were used as currency.

3. Star Dust – When stars reach maturity, they tend to explode. Well, that’s most stars anyway. When they explode, they eject a massive amount of rock and dust. As this cools down and gravity takes hold, then another star is sometimes formed and planets as well. Welcome to Earth, one such lucky planet. On Earth, creatures have evolved through the millenia to eventually create humans. Humans, and other mammals, need Oxygen to breathe and have metabolism. Where did O2 come from? Current scientific theory suggests that O2 was started by simple cell organisms that “breathed” CO2 and “exhaled” O2. Today we would call these organisms “algae”. But if we look further, we notice that CO2 is simply a carbon atom attached to two oxygen atoms. So where did C and O2 come from in the first place? Stars. Yep, stars. So when Crosby, Stills, and Nash says that “We are stardust”. They are absolutely right. It is the stuff that was formed in stars millions of years ago that makes our tiny brains that can grasp at this.

4. Bacteria – 90%+ of the cells in your body are bacteria, not your actual biological cells. This is a bit misleading, because it takes account of whole body genetic material. But with that in mind, it is still surprising that there are that many bacterial dna traces in our systems. Why is that? Well, that’s a long explanation, but it has to do with evolution. I suspect that medical science will eventually figure this out and start treating people with something other than antibiotics. (anti-life)

Hopefully this didn’t freak you out. If you have comments or questions, please reply in the form below.

My Blueprint for SEO: Part II

In the last installment, I focused on the number one starting point for any SEO project: Keyword Research.

In the second part of the SEO revellation I will present the second thing that every SEO should be focusing on.

My Blueprint for SEO Part 2:

Meta Tags

Any website that you visit is basically a series of codes that describe to your browser how to display the information. An important part of this, with consideration for SEO, is the meta tags that appear at the top of nearly every website. If you are using Firefox, you can right-click on nearly any spot on any website and choose “View Page Source” to see the website code.

Meta tags are essentially meta data that describes what the page is about. One example of a meta tag is the meta title tag. When you do a search on Google, the Blue links are the title. This is normally what you would click on to get to the website.

Below the title, you have the description. This is another meta tag that needs to be optimized as part of on-site SEO.

Typically, you want the description to be very targeted and accurate (use your results from your keyword research in part 1). If the web page content matches the description, then Google and other search engines will recognize this and rank your web page higher in the search results.

In the next installment, I will outline the essentials of offsite SEO, which is basically creating backlinks to show authority to all search engines. If Google does not think that you are an authority in your field, then your phone will not ring. Metatags are essential for your website SEO.

Thanks for all the Nucleotides

Your DNA is now pwned!

A study from the scientific journal, Genome Medicine, evaluated the current patents on genomes and came to a surprising conclusion. Nearly all of the human genome has been patented!

Humans don’t “own” their own genes, the cellular chemicals that define who they are and what diseases they might be at risk for. Through more than 40,000 patents on DNA molecules, companies have essentially claimed the entire human genome for profit, report two researchers who analyzed the patents on human DNA. Their study, published March 25 in the journal Genome Medicine, raises an alarm about the loss of individual “genomic liberty.”

In their new analysis, the research team examined two types of patented DNA sequences: long and short fragments. They discovered that 41 percent of the human genome is covered by longer DNA patents that often cover whole genes. They also found that, because many genes share similar sequences within their genetic structure, if all of the “short sequence” patents were allowed in aggregate, they could account for 100 percent of the genome.

Furthermore, the study’s lead author, Dr. Christopher E. Mason of Weill Cornell Medical College, and the study’s co-author, Dr. Jeffrey Rosenfeld, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey and a member of the High Performance and Research Computing Group, found that short sequences from patents also cover virtually the entire genome — even outside of genes.

“If these patents are enforced, our genomic liberty is lost,” says Dr. Mason, an assistant professor of physiology and biophysics and computational genomics in computational biomedicine at the Institute for Computational Biomedicine at Weill Cornell. “Just as we enter the era of personalized medicine, we are ironically living in the most restrictive age of genomics. You have to ask, how is it possible that my doctor cannot look at my DNA without being concerned about patent infringement?”

Source: Cornell Medical College

The implications of these findings are outstanding. How will this affect patient care in the future? Should we be ahead of the curve on this legislatively? What does this mean, if anything, for personal freedom?

Personally, I think it is atrocious that: a) companies are trying to patent the building bricks of human life and b) that the judicial system and patenet office let’s it continue without much thought.

Lots of things scare me these days. This, folks, is one of those things that really scares me.