Saturday, May 20, 2017

Caturday's Astrophenia | Return of the Whisperer of Diabolical Cats

My solo book and book collaborations with Sharmishtha Basu:

Fractal Shards: Two Tales of Relics from Bygone Eons

Also, I misspoke in the video update on the title of this next: I said Gehenna Chronicles when I really meant... Gehenna Parables: Part 1 – a serious error on my part!

And the final book thus far published, our second collaboration, due for an update soon is...

...Missives from the Chimerical!

All of these are available for Kindle on Amazon for a pittance!

The Astrognuz:

Mysterious Flashes from Earth that Puzzled Carl Sagan Finally Have an Explanation

My God, It's Full of Propellors

Big Picture Science Radio Show | 100% Invisible

"Warm" Neptune Has Unexpectedly Primitive Atmosphere

New Explanation for Dark Energy? Tiny Fluctuations of Space-Time

What Do We Do About the Onslaught of Attacks on Science?

NASA's SOFIA Confirms Planetary System Similar to Ours

Mars Rover Opportunity Begins Study of Valley's Origin

Dawn Probe Gets Between the Sun and Ceres to Take this Video

New Measles and Chickenpox Outbreaks in US Linked toVaccine Rejection

SETI Institute Scientist Jeffrey Coughlin to Become K2 Science Office Director

NASA Asks Scientific Community to Think on Possible Europa Lander Instruments

Comet V2 Johnson Takes Center Stage

Poli'Ahu: Time-Lapse of Telescopes and Stars Dancing Under Hawaiian Skies

Searching for Life on Mars in Chile

NASA's CPEX Tackles a Weather Fundamental

Ze Cats for Ze Caturday

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Ubi Dubium... | The Way to the Truth

I self-identify as a skeptic, and now and then fall short of the ideal — we all do — but like better and certainly more accomplished skeptics, I believe that, yes, Agent Mulder, the truth is out there…

…But also that the best way to the truth is through skilled, careful reasoning and systematically gathered evidence.

Skeptics tend to value logic and evidence as ways of knowing the natural and social worlds. Without claiming that skeptics “own” logical thinking, I can confidently say that some mix of solid reasoning and sound evaluation have been very reliable throughout human history, in any profession involving professional competence, whether a good mechanic, police detective, soldier, electrical engineer, landscaper, lab technician or astrophysicist.

It’s all a matter of using effective knowledge that one can reliably use in situations in the real world — without the universe thumbing its nose and saying “Nope, that won’t even get onto the airfield.”

It could even be said that there is a set of principles, ideas and values that while not identical with modern skepticism and its use of critical thinking skills underlies both, as with the process of science.

Let me get something straight: skepticism is a set of methods, not a doctrine, belief nor a system of belief advocating any particular position on the nature of reality, so it can’t possibly be true or false, formally valid or invalid either. It is not the sort of thing that can be those.

It’s a method of finding out what’s true or false, or likely to be, and of reliably showing it to be when there’s enough information to come to a reasonable conclusion.

When skeptics are generally agreed that such-and-such a claim is false, likely to be false, or at least highly suspect, it’s because a commonly shared set of methods was used to reach that conclusion, not a taboo about or disinterest in the paranormal or the unconventional.

Conclusions are provisional — good skeptics are willing to change their minds upon the satisfaction of a level of proof appropriate to the claim.

Is there any other, at least as reliable, even superior way of knowing the truth besides reason and empirical methods? If there are any, I don’t know of them, and I don’t know of anyone else who does and has been able to show it convincingly.

With no universally agreed-upon way to tell the true from the false, short of using other forms of evidence to corroborate them, some of claims based on these may occasionally turn out to be true or partly true as a lucky guess. But most have shown themselves highly unreliable as effective techniques despite their frequency of use by many cultures. If you put out enough random claims, some of them are bound to come true by chance alone, via the Law of Large numbers.

The problem is that most claims to knowledge based on unproven means of gaining input from esoteric sources (themselves unproven or even unprovable to exist) are unreliable, often true by chance alone, and sometimes even fraudulent, so care must be taken in evaluating them.

But care must be taken with any extraordinary claim to knowledge no matter the source and set of methods, any claim inconsistent with a well-supported body of established findings. And the more inconsistent the claim, the better and more copious the evidence needed to support it.

After all, claiming that I’ve read a book by a certain author is trivial when both book and author are well-known to exist and I can intelligently discuss the contents of the book with another, but to claim I had a twenty-foot tall eight-limbed radiation breathing alien dinosaur in my bedroom closet would be a claim requiring an enormous burden of proof on my part, since there is no proven knowledge that such beings exist, that any are on Earth if they do, much less the fact that the known dimensions of my closet are too small to contain such a being, and the fact that I show no signs of radiation exposure despite my claimed proximity to the alien.

And no ad hoc hypotheses would or should be permitted. Every link in my claim must hold and be capable of disproof if it is to be acceptable — no excuses!

At the very least, my obstinately persisting in that claim despite disproof would and rightly should raise questions of my honesty or my sanity, or perhaps what sort of joke I’m attempting to play and what the punchline is.

It would be interesting if there really were superior ways to the truth, but I know of none which currently exist. I suspect that any existing at a future date will most likely be a evolution, vastly improved, of current scientific methodology or something else like it and serving the same function, only better.

That, I think, may be something to look forward to, if not in my lifetime, then the lifetimes of those yet to come. Good or bad, we are living in interesting times indeed.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Tutorial: Build Your Own Hypershard!

Hypershards are curious things, slivers of hyperspatial matter created long ago that allow their users (also called hosts) to do all sorts of amazing things.

So I thought I'd put this together to show you how to make your own, so that you too can twist spacetime into knots, curling and uncurling its Kaluza-Kleinian eleven dimensions to muck around with physical laws and constants to do your bidding.

This is reality physics at its most insane.

First, you need the right tools if not a hyperdimensional being yourself. This especially applies to humans currently residing mostly in a four-dimensional spacetime manifold! Otherwise, the only way to get around this is to venture into hyperspace using a StarFold translation drive, and once there, start collecting hyper-crystal particulates in a state of forced wakefulness while dosed with mood-flattener pharmaceuticals to avoid going stark raving psychotic from the neurological effects of hyperspace on the waking brain. Remember: you must remain in hyperspace in order to smelt and forge the hyper-crystal into the parts you'll need. Hyper-crystal is nearly ghostlike in the three dimensions of ordinary space, and cannot be manipulated here without a top-of-the-line set of Gamentran Industries™ brand Kurtz-Dunar liminally stroboscopic field manipulator waldoes.

Once you have those, and have access to (and training with) a well-built transparachronic terawatt fabrication engine to smelt, forge, and shape the components to specifications (included in the operating software), complete the manufacturing process as directed, with a good-sized dimetronic plasmafluvian reactor to power it before assembling the parts using the waldoes.

All done with part fabrication? Now the fun begins. Remember, keep the waldoes handy once assembly is complete; you'll need them to place the finished product safely into your skull, where it will exist coterminously with your brain after clicking into place and receiving instructions from it for operation!

First, we assemble the whole: this uses a teledimensional cybertap fracticulator essential for powering the device; it taps into quantum-gravitic brane fields of other regions of the multiverse just bursting with huge, young, incredibly luminous stars that generate the tremendous power needed to twist reality like a pretzel, or maybe a gordian knot, depending on what you want to accomplish. It looks something like this from a three-space perspective, or maybe not, depending on which way it rotates into and out of three-dimensional space:

This has three major components, which absolutely must be put together in the correct sequence or the whole thing catastrophically explodes, vaporizing everything in a 300000 kilometer radius. Make sure you've paid the premiums on your planetary insurance policy!

There is the data core, which uses teledimensional quantum computing pathways defining the functioning parameters of the device. This determines the range, kind, and strength of the abilities granted. The data core is first, using subparachronomic welding equipment to exacting industry standards, generally at or slightly above the Planck-scale in precision.

Second, there is the morphic function transfiguration hardware, which alters its structure and functions according to the parameters of the data core's programming. This requires the same tools and standards as per the data core as does the next item below.

Finally, there is the power tap, the teledimensional cybertap fracticulator. This is added last, as when first in sequence, causes the previously mentioned catastrophic explosion.

There. You now have a fully assembled hypershard, ready to conquer world after world with, and the envy of most interstellar empires with only moderate military budgets.

Go forth, my Wavetouched, and let slip the chihuahuas of inconvenience for those who oppose you!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Caturday's Astrophenia | Back in Business for 2017

Good morning! I'm off my blogcation and posting again on the Collect Call for the foreseeable future. This time around, posts will pop up weekly, on weekdays of choice mostly. I'll have much more time to ready content before scheduling it for months at a time, with this entry, as usual, popping  up every two Caturdays with the occasional cat meme, and a video update from Yours Truly.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Blogging Hiatus: 20.04.17

vanakkam! namaskar!

I'm on blogging sabbatical until sometime next month. I've got something special in mind for all of my public blogs, even my old WordPress site at Yes, I'm returning to regular posting on all of my sites. I'm currently working out exactly how I'm going to execute this and synchronize it throughout all of them while I take care of work matters and personal projects, so stay tuned!

naan pooyittu varaenga.