Archive for Science

Cataract Surgery Report

Lens ImplantIn August and then again in October, I had eye surgeries to replace aging lens element in my eyes with artificial implants designed to eliminate cataracts and to correct visual acuity.

Image: Lens Implant similar to those now in my eyes. Alcon© AcrySof™ Click to enlarge.

My guess is that millions have had their cataracts replaced but this is my story and observations. The surgery is quick and painless with perhaps a small amount of discomfort that quickly abates afterward.

In my case, as I grew older, I became nearsighted and had to wear glasses to fly, drive and do anything that required distance acuity. I removed the glasses to read and work with things close-up. Kind of a pain in the ass without bifocals, and I hated bifocals so I did without. This was before progressive lenses were available.

After a while I wore a contact lens in one eye only so I could see distance, but the uncorrected eye was perfect for reading and working on the computer at home and work. No glasses other than shades were involved. This technique is called “monovision” with one eye corrected for distance and the other used for close work.

Then, about 23 years ago, I had Lasik® surgery to fix my right eye only in order to eliminate the need for a contact lens. Still monovision, but now independent of corrective lenses. I had glasses made for driving where the correction fixed the nearsighted eye and corrected for astigmatism in both eyes. I eventually added progressive corrections so I could seamlessly switch between the distance view and the instrument panel or GPS. That was the status quo up to the surgeries this year.

The left eye surgery was a standard lens replacement while the right eye was a bit more complex, which I will describe below. After the left eye was fixed, one of the first things I noticed was a rather pronounced difference in color perception between the fixed eye and the unfixed eye. With the left eye, white looked white and with the right eye, white looked yellow-ish. Blues were vivid in the left eye and dull with the right eye. I guess I underestimated how big an effect that cataracts have on your vision.

I mentioned that the replacement surgery in the right eye was more complex. When I had Lasik® in that eye I had no idea that it would affect the cataract surgery in that the cornea became distorted. To correct the cornea problem, a second procedure was needed. Before the lens replacement process, they put me under a machine that made contact with the cornea and fired several laser blasts to reshape it. Immediately after that the lens replacement took place with an additional measurement to determine which lens power to use. The surgeon then selected the proper power and completed the surgery.

All the follow up appointments with the ophthalmologist went well. I was now seeing 20/20 with the right eye and the left eye was suitable for close work and reading. This month, I ordered two pairs of prescription glasses - one pair of shades with progressive lenses for driving and daytime outdoor use and another single-vision clear pair for watching TV and other night time use.

Damsel and I were out the last couple of evenings watching the ISS fly over. As a bonus, the crescent Moon, Jupiter and Saturn were gathering together in the southwestern sky in a gorgeous asterism. And Stars! So many Stars all now brightly focused and brilliant. I can SEE!

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Eastern Pacific Tropical Weather

TS Dora

A large part of the elements that contribute to our summer monsoons here in Sonoran Arizona is the influence of Eastern Pacific Ocean tropical activity. When storms form west of Mexico and move northwestward (as they usually do), they introduce a flow of tropical moist air across the southwest. The counter-clockwise circulation around the storms forces moist air northward in the lee of the storm’s movement.

Currently, Tropical Storm Dora, which is forecast to become a hurricane by tomorrow, is moving west-north westward into the Pacific Ocean. Dora, seen just to the north of the inter-tropical convergence zone (the horizontal string of clouds near the bottom of the image above), is already pumping large amounts of moisture across Honduras, the Yucatan and much of Southern Mexico. As the storm moves away from the land mass, it will probably start pumping some of that moisture northward.

In July of 2015, Tropical Storm Danielle was responsible for a northward flow of tropical moisture that resulted in a severe monsoon over our area that dropped over five inches of rain in less than two hours. The Casandro Dam catch basin filled to capacity, the washes and Hassayampa river were all in flood stage. Hopefully, Dora will drift westward and not be a problem for us.

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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

science.jpg

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

pie.jpg

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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