Archive for the ‘Cosmos’ Category

Quote note (#298)

Cixin Liu (op. cit.), p.558:

“… It’s very possible that every law of physic has been weaponized. It’s possible that in some parts of the universe, even … Forget it, I don’t even believe that.”
“What were you going to say?”
“The foundation of mathematics.”
Cheng Xin tried to imagine it, but it was simply impossible. “That’s … madness.” Then she asked, “Will the universe turn into a war ruin? Or, maybe it’s more accurate to ask: Will the laws of physics turn into war ruins?”
“Maybe they already are …”

(All ellipsis after the first in original.)

Among the points here, the (Herakleitean) thesis: Cosmology does not transcend war. Strategy belongs to the infrastructure.

October 31, 2016admin 19 Comments »
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Dark Energy

The occult force of cosmic disintegration accounts for roughly 70% of everything that is strongly suspected to exist. Breaking things up pleases Gnon at least twice as much as holding them together. The party of unity has a steep slope to climb.

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(Nova does dark energy.)

September 26, 2016admin 31 Comments »
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The Dark Forest

Volume two of Cixin Liu’s science fiction trilogy.

The universe had once been bright, too. For a short time after the big bang, all matter existed in the, and only after the universe turned to burnt ash did heavy elements precipitate out of the darkness and form planets and life. Darkness was the mother of life and civilization.

The dark forest is the universe, but to get there — with insight — takes a path through Cosmic Sociology:

“See how the stars are points? The factors of chaos and randomness in the complex makeups of every civilized society in the universe get filtered out by distance, so those civilizations can act as reference points that are relatively easy to manipulate mathematically.”
“But there’s nothing concrete to study in your cosmic sociology, Dr. Ye. Surveys and experiments aren’t really possible.”
“That means your ultimate result will be purely theoretical. Like Euclid’s geometry, you’ll set up a few simple axioms at first, then derive an overall theoretic system using those axioms as a foundation.”
“It’s all fascinating, but what would the axioms of cosmic sociology be?”
“First: Survuival is the primary need of civilization. Second: Civilization continuously grows and expands, but the total matter in the universe remains constant.”

“Those two axioms are solid enough from a sociological perspective … but you rattled them off so quickly, like you’d already worked them out,” Luo Ji said, a little surprised.
“I’ve been thinking about this for most of my life, but I’ve never spoken about it with anyone before. I don’t know why, really. … One more thing: To derive a basic picture of cosmic sociology from these two axioms, you need two other important concepts: chains of suspicion, and the technological explosion.”

Continue Reading

October 1, 2015admin 34 Comments »
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The Harshness

There has been a self-propelling gore-meme building here about the cosmic butcher’s yard. It might be necessary to scrub that (or perhaps hose it down). Until we’re discussing a nuked butcher’s yard, we’re not approaching a topic Gnonologists should be ready to get out of bed for.

‘Extinction Events Can Accelerate Evolution’ argue Joel Lehman and Risto Miikkulainen (at the link cited). Their abstract:

Extinction events impact the trajectory of biological evolution significantly. They are often viewed as upheavals to the evolutionary process. In contrast, this paper supports the hypothesis that although they are unpredictably destructive, extinction events may in the long term accelerate evolution by increasing evolvability. In particular, if extinction events extinguish indiscriminately many ways of life, indirectly they may select for the ability to expand rapidly through vacated niches. Lineages with such an ability are more likely to persist through multiple extinctions. Lending computational support for this hypothesis, this paper shows how increased evolvability will result from simulated extinction events in two computational models of evolved behavior. The conclusion is that although they are destructive in the short term, extinction events may make evolution more prolific in the long term.

(The computer dimension catches Kurzweil’s attention, but that’s a distraction right now.)

Chronic cosmic holocaust, it seems, is just for the tweaks. It’s mostly conservative, preventing deterioriation in mutational load, through quasi-continuous culling of nature’s minor freakeries. In order to actually up the game, nothing quite substitutes for a super-compressed catastrophe (or mass extinction) which cranks evolution to the meta-level of superior ‘evolvability’. By gnawing-off and burning entire branches of life, crises plowing deep into the X-risk zone stimulate plasticity in the biosphere’s phyletic foundations. As Kurzweil glosses the finding: “… some evolutionary biologists hypothesize that extinction events actually accelerate evolution by promoting those lineages that are the most evolvable, meaning ones that can quickly create useful new features and abilities.”

Continue Reading

September 1, 2015admin 16 Comments »
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Pluto II

Pluto01

“Pluto is something much cooler than a mere planet,” argues Mika McKinnon. “It’s the largest dwarf planet we know, and one half of the first binary planet system. Pluto didn’t get demoted, it got promoted.”

When it comes to stars, any time the barycenter of two stars’ orbit is beyond the surface of the primary object, and is instead out in space somewhere, that’s enough to declare them a binary star system. The same is true for asteroids — we’ve found asteroid pairs with barycenters outside both rocks, and declared them binary asteroid systems. Since the barycenter of Pluto and Charon is an empty point in space, surely that means that Pluto-Charon a binary planetary system. This would make Pluto and Charon not only the first binary planet system in our solar system, but the first one we’ve found among the literally hundreds of Kepler exoplanet worlds. […] One final argument in favor of listing Pluto and Charon as a binary dwarf planet system is that they are the undeniable pair dominating all the little moons. Nix and Hydra are the larger of the remaining moons, but are just a tiny fraction of a percent of the size of Charon. Styx and Kerberos are even smaller yet. This family of tiny moons doesn’t even orbit Pluto directly: they all orbit the barycenter between Charon and Pluto.

(Here‘s some Wikipedia background to the double planet issue.)

July 25, 2015admin 7 Comments »
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Pluto

Just cos I'm small … Pluto, several billion miles from where you're sitting.

There’s some serious upgrading going on. Alan Stern (in safe black shirt) just called Charon a planet.

July 14, 2015admin 16 Comments »
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Still Greater

The Great Filter is the most conspicuous absence in the universe (from an anthropic perspective, naturally). The cosmic reality visible to us is characterized by an intense, efficient aversion to the existence of advanced civilizations. The pattern looks consistent across super-galactic scales:

… the galaxy seems to be a very quiet, rather lonely place. […] Now, new results suggest this loneliness may extend out into the universe far beyond our galaxy or, instead, that some of our preconceptions about the behaviors of alien civilizations are deeply flawed. After examining some 100,000 nearby large galaxies a team of researchers lead by The Pennsylvania State University astronomer Jason Wright has concluded that none of them contain any obvious signs of highly advanced technological civilizations. Published in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, it is by far the largest of study of its kind to date — earlier research had only cursorily investigated about a hundred galaxies. […] Unlike traditional SETI surveys, Wright and his team did not seek messages from the stars. Instead, they looked for the thermodynamic consequences of galactic-scale colonization, based on an idea put forth in 1960 by the physicist Freeman Dyson. …

(Article spoiler: The aliens are out there, but we can’t see them because they’re druids. Cathedralization of the Fermi Paradox into a re-twisted green ideology in sight …)

April 18, 2015admin 22 Comments »
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Rhizomes

After the counter-revolution, when the most ludicrous Lysenkoists have been cast down from power, it will be necessary to undertake a scrupulous examination of horizontal genetic transfer. Among the stream of data received from Existoon on the topic, this line of inquiry is definitely notable. The phenomenon in question is introduced well here:

Within our bodies resides a dynamic population of microbes forming a symbiotic super-organism with whom we have co-evolved. Recent investigations indicate that these microbes majorly impact on cognitive function and fundamental behavior patterns, such as social interaction and stress management. The collective microbiome comprises a myriad of bacteria of approximately 10^14 cells, containing 100 times the number of genes of the human genome. Despite evolution of this microbiome for 500 million years, only recent advances in sequencing technology have allowed us to appreciate the full complexity of the host–microbe interrelationship. The gut microbiota is a highly developed organ of immense metabolic complexity and has approximately the same weight as the human brain. It is now clear that the gut microbiota plays a key role in the life and health of the host by protecting against pathogens, metabolizing dietary nutrients and drugs, and influencing the absorption and distribution of dietary fat. However, the influence of the microbiota extends beyond the gastrointestinal tract, playing a major role in the development and functioning of the central nervous system (CNS). Among the many substances produced by the gut microbiota are key central neurotransmitters whose influence extends beyond the enteric nervous system to the brain. [See original for references.]

Under present cultural conditions, in which the imperatives for wishful thinking — and even raw, institutionally mandated dishonesty — are so extraordinary, I doubt that significant cognitive resources can be spared from the primary task of defending basic Darwinism against the aggressions of Cathedral religious ideology. That does not mean the rhizomatic (lateral-reticulated) model has been addressed with any detailed adequacy, but only that, in a ruined culture, its time has not yet come. Perhaps the Chinese can get on with it in the interim …

ADDED: Contagious insanity (via).

April 17, 2015admin 7 Comments »
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Nemesis II

Less than a year after surrendering corporate governance to SJWs, this happens. There’s plenty of room for arguments about the tangles of causality here. Nevertheless, as a dramatic exemplification of harsh Cosmic Law it’s going to be difficult to beat.

ADDED: Mr. Archenemy recommends a link far superior to those given above. Eric Raymond writes: “… all I can think is “They brought the fate they deserved on themselves.” Because principles matter – and in 2014 the Mozilla Foundation abandoned and betrayed one of the core covenants of open source. […] I refer, of course, to the Foundation’s disgraceful failure to defend its newly promoted Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich against a political mob.”

March 9, 2015admin 32 Comments »
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Yuggoth

The state of play:

TNOs00

Despite its demotion from ninth-planet status (in 2006), Pluto is a special nexus of discovery, with no less than five moons now identified. Insofar as names tell us anything, it has horroristic Outer-NRx stamped all over it.

February 24, 2015admin 7 Comments »
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