31 January 2016

The Tenth Planet

It seems that Caltech may have discovered a TENTH planet in the solar system (Pluto is a planet and always will be*). Gravitational disturbances within the Kuiper Belt have led to a number of researchers hypothesising the existence of a massive planet very very far from the Sun. This planet, if it exists, is estimated to be 10 times as massive as the Earth and is at a distance of 700 AU, and it takes between 10,000 and 20,000 years to complete one orbit (90 times longer than Neptune). It may well be the long hypothesised fifth gas giant.

The planet has not yet been directly observed, only its gravitational effects on other bodies. This is exactly how Neptune was discovered.

[Mike] Brown notes that the putative ninth planet—at 5,000 times the mass of Pluto—is sufficiently large that there should be no debate about whether it is a true planet. Unlike the class of smaller objects now known as dwarf planets, Planet Nine gravitationally dominates its neighborhood of the solar system. In fact, it dominates a region larger than any of the other known planets—a fact that Brown says makes it "the most planet-y of the planets in the whole solar system." 

One key prediction of the planet hypothesis is that a group of Kuiper objects should be detected inclined perpendicular to the ecliptic, and five such objects were discovered. Unlike global warming, the computer models for the tenth planet actually match the observed data. This is how to do real science, not political science.

Making visual observations of this new planet, if it exists, will be difficult. It should be quite dim, and no one knows exactly how far away it is. It is not known where to look, but at least there is good evidence that there is something out there to look for.

* The International Astronomical Union, a good ol' boy's club for elite astronomers, decided to cancel Pluto's membership in the planet club. They took a vote. But a vote isn’t exactly a rigorous scientific argument, so to give its decision the flavor of science, the IAU came up with a definition of "planet" so convoluted it seemed entirely arbitrary.

To qualify as a planet, a body must orbit the sun and be large enough to be at least roughly spherical, two rules that make sense. But it must also have gravitationally "cleared its neighborhood" of other bodies, meaning it has its orbital traffic lane all to itself, which Pluto doesn’t, at least during the most remote portion of its journey around the sun. The rule seemed carefully crafted so that "dwarf planets" like Pluto, Eris and the asteroid Ceres didn’t make the cut.

But that's not the half of it. If the Earth were placed where Pluto is it would not have enough mass to "clear its neighborhood", and so the Earth would not be a planet! That's right. An earth-sized object situated between 30 and 40 AU from the Sun would not have enough mass to qualify as a planet. The farther from the Sun the more area must be dominated by the object's mass, so it gets harder and harder the farther away you get for a large spherical object to qualify as a planet.

But the Earth IS a planet where it is in space, meaning the third criterion doesn't signify anything intrinsic about the body itself! The definition of what is and is not a planet should not rest on some factor independent of the planet itself.

Until someone can come up with a compelling, intrinsic reason (a reason that would not disqualify the Earth!) why Pluto should not be a planet, then I am considering it a planet.

12 January 2016

Stuart Hameroff and Deepak Chopra

Did Stuart Hameroff just explain what is vibrating when spiritualists have spoken of spirits existing on different vibrations? At 18 minutes he discusses the different resonance frequencies of the microtubules of the brain. I've watched this four times now and I don't fully understand it, but the the different frequencies of the microtubules corresponds to something that has to do with quantum gravity, and that makes it possible to have different worlds (physical, etheric, astral, etc.) all superimposed in the same physical space. A mind vibrating at 80 hz would be aware of one world (ours), while a mind vibrating at 8000 hz would be aware of a different world, and a mind at 80,000 hz would be aware of a different world, but they would all be in the same place, just at different frequencies, and an observer in one would not be aware of any others. The smaller the scale, from our scale to the Planck scale, the lower the energy but the greater the information processing capacity. That means the higher planes described in channeled messages are actually microscopic in size!

Also in this dialogue is a discussion of zombies, near death experiences, reincarnation, and quantum holography. Runs 33 minutes.

09 January 2016

Ancient Versus Modern Views of Religion


Ancient people were not stupid. Did the Greeks really believe the gods were people who sat on Mount Olympos doing all the crazy stuff in the myths? Probably very few did, but most were smart enough to see the truth of the stories. They were written as a way to get a point across about very complicated subjects in way that was easy to assimilate and remember. The gods are so obviously anthropomorphized versions of abstract qualities. Aries is unchecked rage and Athena is the rational mind that takes over in warfare, the two primary ways in which people fight. These are psychological qualities that are represented as people as a form of shorthand.

It's just like, where did the idea that the Christian God is Zeus + Santa Claus come from? Maybe people, possibly idiots, would look at woodcuts from the middle ages and see images of a bearded God, but those are just a form of short hand. They're like using G to stand for the gravitational constant. When a physicist today writes G in an equation, or draws a diagram of electrons orbiting an atom like mini planets that's not meant to be taken literally, it's just an easy to remember reference. No physicist thinks electrons are little balls circling around the nucleus just like no medieval theologian thought God looked like an old man in the clouds (nor did the Bible writers). And where does the idea that God shoots lightning bolts come from?

Judaism and Islam both have strict prohibition against any depiction of God, and Christianity was like that for a long time too. Jesus had taken human form, so there's nothing wrong there, but God the Father is formless, and everybody knew that for a thousand years. At most artists would depict a hand reaching out from the clouds as a representation of God's interaction with the world, but no one believed God really had hands or lived in the clouds. It was not until much later that restrictions were relaxed and then a bunch of people who probably didn't believe in God all that strongly began experimenting with art and started to depict God in human form.

When losers and defeatists within the naytheist and the "new age" community always bring up the idea of God as Santa + Zeus living in the clouds, this is either a symptom of extreme laziness or is a deliberate malicious presentation of a cartoon version of God that no one believes in so as to mock religion. "I believe in 'god' (Gaia, The Force, whatever bullshit extremely watered-down abstraction "new age" people like to use) but I don't believe in 'god' as an old man in the clouds." Well, neither does anyone. Neither HAS anyone, ever, believed God was an old man in the clouds. It's an artistic representation, not meant to be taken as literal. Don't be stupid. The "new age" person implicitly continues in the original statement "I believe in a god that is my own ego, that permits me to do whatever I want and makes me happy without imposing any restrictions, because restrictions are meanness, not like recommendations from a doctor or a therapist 'if you want to improve X aspect of your life, here's a list of activities you should do. If you want to run a four minute mile, here's a workout regiment, if you want to know Truth, here's a method for looking into the deepest aspects of your mind.'"

Don't be stupid. The purpose of religion is not to stroke your ego, the purpose of religion is to completely and permanently destroy your ego. You're not supposed to like it. You're not supposed to like the restrictions placed on your animal nature. Religion is not a social club, it's not dancing or sticking your ass into the air on a vinyl mat or detoxing with green coffee enemas after a night of anonymous sex and heroin use.

That's why I can't stand the three main groups of people engaged in the whole religion issue, because they're all profoundly misinformed and anti-intellectual.

You have the naytheists who go to revival meetings where they bray about how they don't believe in God and worship "science" which makes as much sense as worshiping algebra. "Science" is nothing, can do nothing, has done nothing. Individual scientists - causal agents - are responsible for all the discoveries of "science". These people read the inner flap of Dick-to-the-Dawk-to-the-PhD's book and then know-it-all-ism takes place. They think a re-packaged argument that the Scholastics refuted a thousand years ago is the be all end all of religion and then they act like douchebag teenagers.

You have "new age" or "spiritual but not religious" people who are suffused with holier than thou mentality because they're not Christian and they worship the cultural zeitgeist of postmodern cultural marxism. That's what being "spiritual but not religious" means: Cultural Marxism + belief in The Force from Star Wars. If the TV comedian tells you to believe something about religion or politics or anything, that's what you believe in coupled with literal belief in The Force. You dare not say God, because that's masculinist. You'll worship gaya or divine vagina or midichlorians because it's softer and not judgmental of deviant behaviour, it's just super duper judgmental of the values that built Western culture and invented everything you use on a daily basis.

Then you have the super duper throwback Lutherians. I think they are called Evangelicals, but they worship the perversion of Christianity invented by Martin Luther, the most Devil obsessed man in the history of the world. The Catholic Church had, and still has, a tremendous intellectual tradition. Most of the great Western universities began as Catholic seminaries. The Church preserved the Graeco-Roman world while books were being burned everywhere else for firewood. Then Luther came along and decided to do the exact opposite of everything Jesus actually said and invented a religion out of it. If Jesus said sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and not to worry about life, God will provide for you, Luther believed to work from the moment you open your eyes until the moment you pass out at night, never have a moment of fun, and hoard all your money like a miser, never spending a cent. Poor? The poor don't deserve charity, they should start a business. Intellectual tradition? One book is sufficient. Read the Bible and throw everything else out, including the newspaper. These people worship ignorance. The more ignorant they are the prouder they are. It's the same worship of ignorance and reliance of a single book that makes Islam the scourge of God. These people are the anti-naytheists. Naytheists worship "science", Luther's followers don't believe science exists. It's witchcraft. The Church a thousand years ago said witches are fake and the world is not demon haunted. It was a much later development, of Luther's followers, who invented the idea of witches and demons having unlimited power. UFOs are demons! They want to challenge your ignorance of one book! Ghosts are demons! Never mind that the Bible mentions genuine encounter with deceased spirits and says they were who they said they were, with Saul contacting Samuel, not a demon impersonating Samuel, and Jesus brought Moses and Elijah's spirits on the mountain, not demons impersonating them to test your faith. That voice you hear on the telephone is a demon! Medicine is a trick by demons! These people are obsessed with demons. That's all they ever think about. Everything is a demon to them.

And that's very nearly all the people you'll find on the Internet, and probably in real life too. Douchebag teenagers who "know" God doesn't exist because Newton can predict the gravitational constant, Cultural Marxists who worship deviancy, and demon obsessed hillbilly Christians who are proud of ignorance. And how far have I deviated from the original topic?

05 January 2016

Sri Ramana Maharshi Full Life Story

A 17 minute biography of Ramana Maharshi, the greatest realised sage of the past thousand years.