Archive for Science

Happy PI Day

pi1.gifThe date 3/14 has lately become known as “PI Day.” For those of us that have worked in science and engineering disciplines, the constant relating to the ratio of the circumference to the diameter of a circle is ubiquitous and indispensable in a variety of applications.

The little animation above is a clever method of showing how the ratio π works. I found the graphic in the Wikipedia page on PI. Here’s some more interesting things about it:

Because its definition relates to the circle, π is found in many formulae in trigonometry and geometry, especially those concerning circles, ellipses, and spheres. Because of its special role as an eigenvalue, π appears in areas of mathematics and the sciences having little to do with the geometry of circles, such as number theory and statistics. It is also found in cosmology, thermodynamics, mechanics, and electromagnetism. The ubiquity of π makes it one of the most widely known mathematical constants both inside and outside the scientific community; several books devoted to it have been published, the number is celebrated on Pi Day, and record-setting calculations of the digits of π often result in news headlines. Attempts to memorize the value of π with increasing precision have led to records of over 70,000 digits.

Happy PI Day.

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The Degeneration of Scientific Processes

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I found this graphic over at Ace of Spades the other day. Sadly it depicts yet another degeneration in processes as a result of being constantly under attack by progressives and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself).

I do remember from 8th grade science the process for advancing a hypothesis through observation, experimentation and finalizing a theory and then retesting the theory via modifications to the original hypothesis. Those fundamentals have, sadly, been abandoned by many of those in the scientific community in favor of political payoffs in the form of grants to obfuscate facts and formulate fake results.

The graphic above is signed @BiffSpackle, who, as far as I can tell, is on the correct side of the political spectrum according to the linked Twitter® feed.

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Pie Are Round

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Only us nerds will understand this. More significant digits are shown above than a double precision 64 bit IEEE-754 Floating-Point give for this constant. ;)

Image found on FecesBook™.

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The Earth is Warm Now - So What?

Climate Trend

The chart above shows mean world-wide air temperature since the last glacial period. Other than the Ice Age 13,000 years ago, the trends above and below the average of 15°C have been slight, seldom exceeding one degree variation in either direction. Moreover, the vertical scale is confined between 10 and 17°C which tends to exaggerate the excursions from normal. If the vertical scale were to be set such that the maximum (maybe 55°C) and minimum (perhaps -40°C) observed surface air temperatures were at the top and bottom of the chart, one would be hard pressed to see a ripple in the average temperature curve being plotted.

Looking at the chart, we observe that the current trend is above the average line by a fraction of a degree. We also observe warm and cool periods taking place way before men had fossil fuel-burning machines. What caused the warm periods roughly 2, 4 and 7 thousand years ago? All three of those plus the medieval warm period meet or exceed the current warming trend being blamed on anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

The logical conclusion from all of this is that the climate and air temperatures do change over time, but there is no connection between anthropogenic activity and temperature trends. I guess that makes us who apply logic to the argument to be considered “Climate Change Deniers” even though we admit that the climate does change.

I read a post by Joe Bastardi in which he presents what he calls a “Short Summation of My Climate Position.” I am quoting his assessment of this chart and the labels being assigned by the lefties when referring to us “deniers.”

In fact, it’s quite evident that not only does the climate change naturally, but the warmer it is, the better. See the chart above. Earlier warm periods, which dwarf today’s warmth, were climate optimums. How is it that previous warmer times were referred to as climate optimums? Let’s look at the definition of optimum.

Used as an adjective, optimum means this: most conducive to a favorable outcome; best.

As a noun, this: the most favorable conditions or level for growth, reproduction, or success.

Will the term “optimum” have to be adjusted, or will the temperature need to be adjusted down to fit the current missive of impending disaster?

The “climate change denier” label is a straw man argument that is designed to isolate, demonize and destroy people with false labels.

The whole argument as to what is best for us going forward is simple.

1.) How much is man responsible for variances that were previously exclusively natural?

In my opinion, most of the warmth today is likely natural given the tiny amounts of CO2 relative to the entire system, of which the oceans have 1000x the heat capacity and are the great thermostat of the planet, taking centuries of action and reaction to reach where they are now.

2.) Is this worth the draconian reactions that will handcuff the greatest experiment in freedom and prosperity in history, the United States of America?

3.) This question may arise, if one wants: Would not the cost of adaptation to such things, rather than trying to correct what has always happened in the past anyway, be a sounder fiscal response?

Let’s remember, our own EPA administrator said all this would save .01 degrees Celsius in 30 years, and that it was mostly an example for the rest of the world. Color me skeptical that the rest of the world is going to follow; instead, it will take advantage of repercussions on the American way of life that this causes. Not every nation is our friend, after all, if you actually look at the real world. No one is against any form of clean, safe, cheap energy. I am against economic suicide like we have seen in Europe, which will then handcuff generations for the chance of economic peace and prosperity.

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Last Great Sunspot for a While?

AR 2529

According to several on line resources, we are probably headed toward the minimum end of the current eleven-year solar activity cycle. Giant sunspot AR 2529 looming toward the right limb of the sun may be the last large spot for a while as solar activity diminishes.

I took my Canon EOS Rebel SL1 out to the courtyard equipped with the 75-300 mm telephoto lens and an inexpensive solar filter to capture this image of AR 2529 before it fades as it circles out of view. Camera settings: 1/3200 sec., F5.6, ISO 6400, 300 mm focal length.

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New Horizons Glitch

Pluto Charon Animation

The New Horizons Space Probe is approaching planet Pluto with the closest approach taking place next week. Over the holiday weekend, however, the spacecraft computer detected a problem and switched to “safe” mode.

The spacecraft took a series of images last week that were combined into the animated image above. Click on the image to enlarge.

The problem the spacecraft had, occurred after the images were taken. The New Horizons Team reports that a recovery is underway and that the spacecraft, otherwise, appears healthy:

During that time the autonomous autopilot on board the spacecraft recognized a problem and – as it’s programmed to do in such a situation - switched from the main to the backup computer. The autopilot placed the spacecraft in “safe mode,” and commanded the backup computer to reinitiate communication with Earth. New Horizons then began to transmit telemetry to help engineers diagnose the problem.

A New Horizons Anomaly Review Board (ARB) was convened at 4 p.m. EDT to gather information on the problem and initiate a recovery plan. The team is now working to return New Horizons to its original flight plan. Due to the 9-hour, round trip communication delay that results from operating a spacecraft almost 3 billion miles (4.9 billion kilometers) from Earth, full recovery is expected to take from one to several days; New Horizons will be temporarily unable to collect science data during that time.

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Seeing Spots

400 Years of Sunspot Numbers

Over eight years ago, we posted a chart similar to the above in a write-up about Correlating Sunspots to Global Climate. The conclusions from that post still hold true today given the lack of ocean levels rising and icecaps melting that the Greenbats would have had you believe. At this point in time, we’re way past the supposed deadline of doom that the Greenbats, UN loonies and Algorians foresaw back then.

I was reading the March 2015 issue of QST Magazine, the publication of the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), when I saw the graphic above. The associated discussion with the sunspot graphic spoke about predicting sunspots for the next solar cycles. The author mentioned that the current cycle may lead to another period of minimum activity as the sun has previously exhibited.

Ham radio operators have known for a century that radio propagation is greatly affected by sunspot activity. The more spots, the merrier for long-distance communication on certain frequencies. Solar flux causes the atmosphere to ionize, thus refracting radio waves over the horizon and even around the entire planet.

If, as the writer of the QST article fears, another sunspot minimum is in the works, then ham operators that depend on ionospheric propagation for their hobby will be out of luck. The rest of the world, in that event, should prepare for the bitter cold that a new minimum will likely bring.

Click on the image to enlarge.

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