Big Bang – Maybe Not?

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We thought we saw the mechanism that is thrusting all the galaxies away from each other, an effect we called the hubble expansion.  We thought it was because of a sudden explosion from a singularity that created space, matter and time.  We thought it would eventually slow down and then contract again.  Everything would come back together in a final Big Crunch and would return to a perfection that once was.  The Big Bang was a perfect theory.  

Then Dark Matter had shown it’s ugly face in the data, grinning like a mental patient, and throwing all our effort into question.  It screwed with us, because the totality of everything without Dark Matter was just the right amount of stuff to close the universe and bring it all together again.  Too little matter and the universe would expand forever, too much and it wouldn’t have a chance to form complex elements before being forced back to a point again.  Humanity could never be.  Dark Matter was something we didn’t want.  We didn’t order it, because it wasn’t even on the menu.  It took us completely by surprise.

But, we studied more, thought more, looked even further and even deeper, and what we found was Dark Energy.  A repulsive force that pushed everything away from everything else.  It is real.  It’s not an aberration in the data, and not an illusion.  Space is expanding at incredible speeds, taking all the galaxies with it, and it is accelerating.  Because nothing happens without energy, impossible levels must be powering it.  

This specifically messes with my head, because I’ve learned that you cannot have a net input of energy into a system (ie. law of the conservation of energy).  If the law is wrong then we’re dealing with the complete scrapping over two centuries of physics.  If the law isn’t wrong then the universe is not a closed system.  And if it isn’t a closed system, where is that extra energy coming from?




What Really Screws with My Head

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Don’t get me wrong I understand that it is, what it is.  What I mean by screws with my head is that it’s the kind of thing that grabs my attention in both hands and forces me to look because I tend to ignore it.  But I do know what it is.  It’s not the fact that there is light that has been in transit, non-stop for 13.6 billion years, and will be for 13.6 billion years more.  I can handle that.  Nor is it knowing that there is light that originated so far away that we will never see it in our lifetimes.  That isn’t a big deal for me either.  It’s not even that there are places in the universe so remote that they will forever be untouchable.  It’s a doozy, I admit, but not what does it for me.  It’s not even that light from there is being carried away, by accelerating space, faster than the speed of those photons.  That almost does it, but still falling a little short.  What really gets me, what really makes me pause, is that someone that far away looks around their universe and sees everything the exact same way I do.

Conspiracy Nutjobs in the Media

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I wrote a piece a little while back on detecting bullshit in the media.  Though that procedure still applies, there is another big issue that needs to be addressed.  Conspiracy/religious nutjobs, whose sole response to anyone declaring anything that is in opposition, or contrary to, their favourite idea with aggression.  These are the people who will post in a science forum anything that no reasonable scientist or scientific journal worth their salt would ever touch.  In fact, most of these people won’t get much past this sentence before replying to this very post with some sort of attack, lacking anything other than unbridled fervor of stupid.  It’s the same people who will reply to detractors by calling them sheep (or any derivative), losers, morons, etc.  They throw the whole spectrum of ad hominem attack at anyone who presents any decent, evidence based, argument.  These are the same kind of people who hang out on conspiracy/religious, nutjob, sites to find the most poorly researched, badly written, inane nonsense ever passed off as fact.  These are the same people who type in all capital letters.  It’s as if text-yelling could ever stand a hope in convincing us that our logic, reason, scientific method and scepticism could all be flawed.  

These people claim to have done their research, but fail miserably at bullshit detection.  They watch a show called “Ancient Aliens” and because they are in love with aliens see no need to look into the facts.  I could start a show called “Ancient Candy Corns”, create every single fact out of thin air and call it truth, while blaming mainstream science are a bunch of “sheeple”, and it will have the same element of believability for them.

Seriously, if we agreed with these guys, we’d all be wrong.  It’s as if these failed pseudoscientists can’t decide if we are all to die in apocalypse by Illuminati, aliens, the LHC, Nibiru, Nemesis, planetary alignment, photon ring, zombies, vampires, or any of the countless other theories one can dream up.  My favourite, ad-hoc end-of-the-world scenario involves an army of my own minions, made entirely of candy corn. And yes, I just made that up a few sentences ago, as I typed this, with just as much thought put into it as any of the other countless, illogical, lame-arsed crap I’ve read, heard, seen and smelled over the last 40 years.

Finally, not satisfied with getting their jollies on the conspiracy sites they have to share their wisdom with the rest of the world, on sites that are geared toward empirical evidence.  I’m not entirely certain whether these people are trolling or actually believe their trash and have been suckered in.  But one thing is certain… the resulting outrage is not worth the engagement.

Bill C-24 – the “I hate dual citizens” Bill

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After reading the CBA’s (Canadian Bar Association) assessment of dishonourable Minister Chris Alexander’s bill C-24, I find that my reading of the bill was very close (I fail at being humble, it was bang on) to their assessment.  I no longer have any doubt that the citizenship of many is now at risk.   

By shifting the responsibility to the Minister in charge, and taking the decision making process away from a Federal Court judge, except in a few cases (also up to the Minister’s discretion), they greatly reduce one’s chances to appeal.  According to the CBA the fundamental changes to the Canadian Citizenship Act are “unfair and discriminatory”.  The CBA goes further and states that Canada’s tradition of allowing dual citizenship is “undermined if dual citizens face the prospect of banishment”.  With broad grounds for citizenship revocation and a list of offenses, that can be added to (that are connected to loyalty to Canada) it seems obvious that dual citizens are being singled out.  The CBA acknowledges that terrorism is one of the offenses that can cause one to lose their citizenship. So, I want to clarify again – in case you missed it the last bunch of times I’ve mentioned it – that, in the Criminal Code of Canada, amended in bill C-51, any opposition to the oil industry can be considered terrorism.  By the vague wording of C-51, the Minister can declare me an enemy of the state just because I speak out against it, charge me as a terrorist, not give me a fair trial, revoke my citizenship and kick me out.  Do you see the big problem here?  I would become stateless; no country to go to, illegal worldwide.  

Yet, it doesn’t end there.  C-24 can also revoke a born Canadian citizenship if one of the parents are citizens of another country.  My younger sibling isn’t safe either just because he was born here.  He too can be arbitrarily found to be disloyal to Canada and have his citizenship revoked, without a trial/appeal.  It doesn’t matter to our CPC overlords that he and I haven’t sought to make any secondary citizenship official.  By the letter of C-24, we will be kicked out of Canada, anyway.  Pre C-24 citizenship laws, the Canadian Constitution, as well as the UN’s Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness (that Canada signed in 1978), stipulates that we cannot be allowed to become stateless.

There are far more details than have been mentioned here.  I won’t go into all of them.  The above are merely a few that sounds alarm bells, but I will share the CBA’s assessment, so you too can bone up on what our current government has gotten away with.  It’s no longer us non-born Canadians that are at risk… now we all are.  

Just vote ABC (anything but Conservative).

Seeking Refuge

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How can I help Syrian refugees?  Let’s see… how about I start with a full and proper condemnation of my own country for bombing Syria in the first place.  People we had no quarrel with have lost homes, friends, family and lives because we in the west can’t keep our greedy fingers off of their shit.  50 to 60 thousand refugees will be flooding a system already screwed over by the same man who bombed them out of their own country.  Ours is a nation that used to be able to pride itself on being peacekeepers.  We used to send our soldiers in to stand between two opposing forces, you know… to prevent them from killing each other.  Now we send them in to do the killing.  But not just on the ground, we’ll slaughter people from the air, and not just those we’ve decided are bad people, but those who actually have nothing to do with the conflict other than being the poor dumb bastards that ended up under a bomb.  This isn’t cartoon reality, where you end up black with soot and holding a tiny umbrella, bodies tear apart and people die.  Did you think that the places we’ve turned into craters just housed a few bad guys?  Where and what do you think the refugees are seeking refuge from?  
Let’s try something.  You are at home, having a quiet diner.  Suddenly, it’s no longer quiet, because the front of your house is gone and so is half your family. Those that are left are shattered pieces of what used to be.  Let’s also pretend that this same shit has happened to your neighbors.  Let’s go further and say that you decided to pick up what’s left of your life and sell everything in hopes that you will afford passage out of your country.  As luck would have it, you did have enough to send the only child you have left alive… but you cannot go with him/her.  To add a bit of realism, let’s just say that your hopes are dashed when you find out your child was beaten, even killed.  I don’t need to go further.  Those who could be swayed by empathy have been by now.  All the rest, cannot even be considered human.

Stupid People

Stupid people getting you down, making you angry, pissing you off?  Do you feel that just the presence of someone stupid infuriates you?  Do you find that no matter what you do you are always surrounded by stupid people and all they ever do is piss you off, like it’s some kind of conspiracy?  Well, I’m about to explain a few things that you won’t listen to.  Why?  Hope.  So, listen  up… if you’re still capable and not firmly entrenched in your current mindset.  You know, the one where you are the most important person on the planet?  

Here’s the real problem.  It has nothing to do with how uncontrollably stupid everyone else is.  It has less to do with how their stupidity affects you and more about you letting your own feelings of superiority fool you into reaching the conclusion that you really are the smartest person on the planet.  Sorry to break the news… you’re not.  You aren’t even in the top 1 billion.  I know, it’s hard to believe that you really don’t have your finger on the pulse of the intelligence of the entire human race.  But, if you are still reading this you are either a sucker for abuse (because I’m not done yet), or you are starting to realize I may have something valuable in the end, something that can make you laugh and/or feel even more superior.  More breaking bad news, not gonna happen.  

Still with me?  Wow, impressive.  Here’s the thing – I’ve seen three memes, by three different people, on three consecutive days, expressing the conviction that you (the collective you) don’t have to control your anger if stupid people won’t control their stupidity, or bring the asshole out, or any of the other excuses you use to be an asshole to other people.  This is just you reasoning out the onus that is on you to not be an asshole.  You use actions you deem stupid to condemn strangers you don’t even know.  I’ve mentioned this in a past post, but, you don’t realize how many stupid things you do that you filter out by way of cognitive dissonance.  That said, you also don’t know that stupid person, who did that stupid thing, and have no clue how many smart things he/she did.  You know nothing about them.

Stupid people make judgements based on minimal to no information.  But… that’s exactly what you do.  There we are.  Now you feel insulted by my words.  This is only because you now see the truth and your poor superior brain can’t deal with it.  If you are still with me, that hope I mentioned earlier has been validated.

Listen, there are almost 8 billion people on Earth.  You are always going to have a full range of intelligences no matter where you go.  How many people out of that 8 billion do you really know?  Several, if you’re lucky, usually less.  Last flash of news to leave you to think about: everyone does stupid things… yes, even you.  There is no reason to be an assole.  You are because you like it, and that makes you far less than superior.

What is passion? describes it as a strong, barely controllable emotion.  But, more specifically, what is a passion?  I’m talking about those things you do that makes you happy, satisfied, accomplished, successful.  These are the things you do whether you’re good at them or not.  You do them because there is this inner drive, buried deep within your personality, that keeps nagging at you until you give in and put everything else on hold.  You do them because you simply can’t stand not doing them.  You do these things, these projects, these activities, most others care nothing for, because for some reason it just feels right, natural.  You do them in spite of ridicule, in opposition to better judgement, and even when it’s supposed to be at the very bottom of your priority list.  You make time by putting off your housecleaning, yard work, that oil change you were supposed to do last week, but didn’t because you had an inspiration, dropped everything and just lost yourself to whatever it was.  Once in a while you may think that maybe you’re wasting time better used doing something important.  Then you shake your head and laugh because just the thought of giving it up is laughable… and what the hell could be more important, anyway?  Passion is that twitch that grows to overwhelming desire.  It is the one thing that makes us lose ourselves for hours at a time, until we look up at the clock and curse, “crap, I’m an hour late to pick up my son from soccer practice”.  A passion is a drive you can barely control, but don’t want to anyway.  You can barely understand why you have the need for it, but you do and that is all that’s important.  A passion is an addiction to an idea, activity or shameless pleasure.  Whatever your passion is one thing is certain, it is the purest expression of your soul and you can’t live without it.