Interstellar Probes Now?
A number of billionaires who don’t pay enough tax have launched (they claim) a project to send tiny smart phones to the stars. Billionaire investor Yuri Milner announced Breakthrough Starshot, a $100 million initiative.
The brains and guts of a smartphone weigh a gram or so. The idea is to attach a laser resistant sail to a smartphone brain, and fire a bank of lasers at it. The momentum of the light will quickly accelerate the device at a fifth of the speed of light. Send a whole bunch of them.
Barring any encounter with a dust grain, such tiny machines would reach the Centaurus system in 20 years, and take pictures (don’t ask me how it will send them back, it seems they did not think about that one beyond mumbling some nonsense about laser communications which zero mathematical content). So this is feasible, but silly, and pointless, because:
Want To See Inhabitable Planets? Tax Tech Titans & Build a Hundred Meter Telescope!
The preceding scheme is interesting in that it poses several scientifico-technical challenges. Building a 100 meter telescope faces only financial challenges. And it would provide with a better view of whatever is happening in the Centaurus system. The largest telescope in the world under construction is 40 meters across (European, in Chili). It’s financed by European taxes.
To build a 100 meters telescope, plutocrats would need to pay taxes, though… A one hundred meters across telescope on the ground, let alone in orbit, would bring breakthrough guaranteed, and only technical details have to be figured out.
Not Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due:
Newton did not discover the universal attraction law, nor did he discover “his” first and second law (I don’t know about the third law, that action equals reaction, but I am sure it was well known to artillery officers for a few centuries). The second law implies the first, and was clearly asserted by Buridan, more than three centuries earlier.
Newton used his OWN version of calculus, which is highly valuable, although mostly ignored. He proves Kepler’s second law with a basic geometry reasoning, extremely beautiful, fast, and limpid.
I consider very important to teach Newton’s version of calculus. It should be rediscovered, and taught.
Hooke, himself a great scientist, claimed Newton did not discover the inverse square law. That was right, retorted Isaac Newton, who added that Bullialdus, a French astronomer, member of the Royal Society before Newton’s birth, did it.
Indeed. Bullialdus’ reasoning about gravitation may sound primitive, but we don’t have any better (Einstein’s gravity uses Bullialdus as its first order, ladies and gentlemen!)
Bullialdus, not being Anglo-Saxon is, of course, not worth remembering… Some Anglo-Saxon supremacists insist, as their superior pocket the profits from the tax-less and therefore immensely wealthy plutocrats.
The same supremacists conveniently forget that Emilie du Chatelet discovered the concept of energy. Hey, not Anglo-Saxon, and, moreover, a woman!
This has important consequences in the history of science.
My point is that the mind is a physical construction from the culture. There is nothing special about modern science, except greater power. Guesses are the fundamental engine of fundamental scientific discovery.
“Exercise” consists in pushing the limits. Pushing the limits is the very definition of humanity. Rest afterwards is all the more rewarding.
Studies have shown heavy exercisers average as much couch potato time as normal people. So what counts is developing the capability for heavy exercise. It is not as if heavy exercisers had a different metabolism all together.
Mimic Switzerland Says New German Right AfD:
In Germany, all traditional parties mostly lost in the last partial vote, March 13. A new right wing party AfD, led by a woman, Frauke Petry, gained spectacularly, becoming the second party in Saxony-Anhalt. She wants to make Germany closer to Switzerland, by introducing “Direct Democracy”.
No doubt some will now accuse me to be a follower of the extreme German right… As I have long advocated this. Another of my theme is gaining traction
New York Times Deplores the Death of “Liberal Democracy”:
Liberal democracy was neither liberal nor democratic. It was started as the egalitarian republic of 1945. When fighting the Nazi Reich, ten million American troops were told they were fighting for freedom, democracy. Real progress was made. At the beach head in Anzio, 40 kilometers south of Rome, several british and American divisions were bottled down, under constant bombardment. Suddenly fighter planes appeared, with superbly trained pilots, who promptly shot down 12 Nazi planes.
Those pilots were all “blacks”. 100,000 white soldiers witness this in awe.
Later democracy was manipulated to serve only a few, hiding that degeneracy under lofty discourses. The result was global plutocracy while the wealthiest people in the world were invited to violate local laws. Any crook, if he invests enough money, can become a resident of Canada, Britain, the USA. The New York Times observed Chinese teenagers driving 400,000 dollar cars in Vancouver. The parents are billionaires wary of Xi’s crackdown on corruption and organized crime.
After slow, debasing torture, We The People are finally revolting. Yet, not enough!
Real democracy is direct democracy, as the Athenians had it, and the Swiss have it, ever more. In real democracy, We The People decide the laws which will rule us.
The European Union has just recognized it loses one trillion dollars from tax FRAUD, every year. And much more than that in tax “optimization”.
Oxfam has come up with a much more modest evaluation of losses of US taxpayers to tax havens. After observing that the 1% are richer than the 99%, Oxfam declares that “Corporate tax dodging costs the US an estimated $100 billion each year, a gap that the average American taxpayer would have to shell out an extra $760 to cover,” that plutocratic grand theft, the report said. Oxfam analyzed the largest 50 US companies over a period of six years, comparing their reported profits, offshore holdings, and paid taxes…
And remember: most financial transactions in the world, nowadays, cannot be tracked, and we have to thanks Mr. President for that; it happened under his watch, and he still did not notice the problem. (Maybe he will, after he reads this!)
There is nothing wrong with plutocrats who want to go to the stars. We should encourage them. Better: we could show them stars right away, by voting for We The People Sanders, instead of the not so hilarious Pluto Hillary.