Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy NY, blinkered monkeys and good times!!

Good afternoon interweb, well here we are on New Years Eve 2011. I'm off to work shortly so decided to drop by and wish you a happy New Year and the same to anybody who actually reads my ramblings.
All the best for 2012 and I fear you will need as much luck in 2012 as possible. It does not appear that it will go very well for Mankind as a whole if 2011 is anything to go by.
I fear there are dark days ahead and predict that tensions in the middle east and North Korea may well boil over which does not bode well.
On a brighter note I think that the advancement of our technological studies will bring yet more useful discoveries to the table which could be used to solve many of our problems as a race if only the bloody hypocritical half blind blinkered monkeys that pass as scientists would stop thinking about their grant money and actually did stuff that produced good science despite the results. 

I'm fairly sure that most of the economies across Europe will collapse and this will lead to ever more problems and I'm also pretty damn sure that I will go back to the Maldives and try to find my Manta mates for another swim.
You see despite all the doom and gloom in world at the minute we can all have something to aim for and have something, even if it is just a memory that can make us smile. Good times will come around again, they always do....... eventually.
And so after my very short New Years greeting to you all I would like to leave you with Arthur C. Clarke’s First Law.
When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right.
 When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
Peace out y'all, THE BAGSTAXX

Friday, 30 December 2011

Science, Suns and light waves!!!

Good afternoon interweb, it is still pissing it down with rain and cold and generally a pale shade if shite outside and so it is with no great surprise that I am not venturing out there.
Today I would like to look at some more science type things and also a bit of backup information regarding a post I made earlier in the year about the expansion of the universe and it’s inevitable eventual collapse.
Now then the sun, or big bright thing in the sky is on average 150.000.000 KM away from the earth, I say on average because the earth’s orbit is an elliptical one and so the distance will vary. This means that by looking towards the sun we are in effect looking directly into the past as it takes sunlight 8 minutes to reach earth. So if the sun suddenly went out we would be none the wiser for 8 minutes. 

Another fact about the sun would be the fact that you can actually see the sun before sunrise and after sunset, you see Sunrise is defined as the moment that the Sun first appears over the horizon. So, by definition, you can't see the Sun before it appears. But you're right that we can see the Sun even when it is *geometrically* just below the horizon, at both sunrise and sunset. This is because of the refraction of the light from the Sun by the Earth's atmosphere--the Earth's atmosphere bends the path of the light so that we see the Sun in a position slightly different from where it really is. The magnitude of this effect varies with latitude, but it's strongest at the equator, where the Sun rises 2 minutes earlier than it would if the Earth had no atmosphere, and sets 2 minutes after it would if the Earth had no atmosphere. However, that light has still taken about 8 minues to get here so think about that and make your head hurt a bit.
Looking further out into space the light from many distant stars that we are now viewing could well have been travelling for billions of years, longer than the age of the Earth itself.
Recent images gathered from very powerful telescopes has captured imagery of some of these distant stars and galaxies and they are all red in hue.

 This takes me back to an earlier post about the expansion of the universe.which can be found here.
To explain what these far off images being red means is a basic understanding of light and waves. As light is stretched it’s wavelength becomes longer and hence its colour moves towards the red end of the colour spectrum. But the only way light would do this is if it is being stretched and therefore for this light at the far end of our viewable universe to be stretched the universe must then be actually expanding.
If the universe were actually collapsing then again like the sun switching itself off we would be none the wiser for quite some considerable time as the light from a collapsing universe would still take many light years to reach us and to be honest the chance of you or I still been around are very very small.
And so to parting words for the day,
Until you've lost your reputation, you never realise what a burden it was, so speak the truth but leave immediately after and always remember that in a team of one, you are always captain.
Peace out y'all, THE BAGSTAXXX

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

A year in the life of Bagsta, a brief review ;)

Hello interweb, well that’s Christmas out of the way for another year, Hurrah. Just got new years eve to go and Im working till midnight so a none event for me this year. Never mind I'm sure ill have a glass or two of Moet after picking Fi up from the pub and giving a lift home to whoever needs one.
I'm currently listening to the dulcet tones of Melody Gardot  “my one and only thrill” whilst sipping a very frothy cappuccino and dropping crumbs on my keyboard from a very nice mince pie.
I went to the gym this morning and for the first time in over a month I actually managed to do a bit more of a workout than looking at the pretty ladies. 30K in 60 minutes on the bike, I would usually follow this up with a run but I'm breaking myself back in gently so called it a session at that. This mince pie really is very good.
OK, so new year is on the horizon and so in a traditional way I will take a look back at the year past. Well at least some of my year past.
February brought the start of my blog and my ranting and raving about numerous things that would generally annoy me. It was in the hope that by putting it all down here I would channel my irritable self after stopping smoking. Well the jury is still out on that one but I still havn’t had a cigarette since Feb 12th.
We went to the Maldives in May and I got to swim with Manta Rays which was possibly the most amazing thing I have ever done in my 42 years on this planet.
I took up going to the gym in an effort to shed a few pounds and lower my blood pressure which it did but at times it was not the most comfortable of ventures,
I have had a go at the tree hugging greenies out there on more than one occasion and have yet to find out how ice can melt at minus 32 degrees, “a bit”
I have discussed vain attempts to reach the speed of light in order to travel to other planets, Charity, Warlords, Famine, War, Genocide, Whales, frogs, bullying, ramblers, conversational hypnosis, Dugong, reincarnation and even challenged Darwin's theories of evolution amongst many other subjects.
And so now to take a look at some of the past years favourite photographs from my point of view, the ones I like the best. 
Sunset in the Maldives.
Manta Ray, off Manta Point in the Indian Ocean

Pelicans at Druif Beach in Aruba

Closed shop at Baby Beach SE Aruba

The adorable Candy Dulfer.

And as a parting shot for the day remember that everything you've learned in school as "obvious" becomes less and less obvious as you begin to study the universe. For example, there are no solids in the universe. There's not even a suggestion of a solid. There are no absolute continuums. There are no surfaces. There are no straight lines.
Peace out y'all, THE BAGSTAXXX

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Work, Christmas and new ps3!!!

Hello interweb, well here we are on Christmas day. I'm at work at the moment and visiting poorly people with a doctor who is endevouring to make them better. Fi and myself kind of passed each other this morning as she finished work I headed off to work, oh well I'm sure it will be a nice dinner when we eventually get round to it. It's a very windy Christmas day up here in Yorkshire and wet as well. 
Was playing mw3 last night with Bev n blazing till about midnight, good laugh till ps3 overheated again, started up again which was good and today my old fatty will be replaced with a slim model.  
Right then, four and a half hours left to over indulgence begins, oh and I've still got a bloody cold, that's four frikkin weeks now.
Merry Christmas and peace out y'all

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Why is the night sky black?

Good evening interweb, today I wish to bring a little bit of science into your life and give you something to chat about over Christmas dinner that will make you sound really clever, lol, that is if interwebs have Christmas dinner.
Why is space black?

There are two things to think about here. Let's take the easy one first and ask "why is the daytime sky blue here on Earth?" That is a question we can answer. The daytime sky is blue because light from the nearby Sun hits molecules in the Earth's atmosphere and scatters off in all directions. The blue color of the sky is a result of this scattering process. At night, when that part of Earth is facing away from the Sun, space looks black because there is no nearby bright source of light, like the Sun, to be scattered. If you were on the Moon, which has no atmosphere, the sky would be black both night and day. You can see this in photographs taken during the Apollo Moon landings.

So, now on to the harder part - if the universe is full of stars, why doesn't the light from all of them add up to make the whole sky bright all the time? It turns out that if the universe was infinitely large and infinitely old, then we would expect the night sky to be bright from the light of all those stars. Every direction you looked in space you would be looking at a star. Yet we know from experience that space is black! This paradox is known as Olbers' Paradox, and regular readers will know i love a paradox:) It is a paradox because of the apparent contradiction between our expectation that the night sky be bright and our experience that it is black.

Many different explanations have been put forward to resolve Olbers' Paradox. The best solution at present is that the universe is not infinitely old; it is somewhere around 15 billion years old. That means we can only see objects as far away as the distance light can travel in 15 billion years. The light from stars farther away than that has not yet had time to reach us and so can't contribute to making the sky bright.

Another reason and the one i tend to lean more in favour of is that the sky may not be bright with the visible light of all the stars is because when a source of light is moving away from you, the wavelength of that light is made longer (which for light means more red.) This means that the light from stars that are moving away from us will become shifted towards red, and may shift so far that it is no longer visible at all. (Note: You hear the same effect when an ambulance passes you, and the pitch of the siren gets lower as the ambulance travels away from you; this effect is called the Doppler Effect).
Peace out y'all and merry Christmas

Friday, 23 December 2011

Busy, paradox and merry festives!!!!

Good afternoon interweb, a short stop today to say hello and then Im afraid im busy as a thing that is really busy on a busy day. So just incase I don't make it back to you in time which is a bit of a paradox really, Merry Christmas interweb, oh and thinking of the word paradox, “Music is a chain forged half of silences and half of sound, love is nothing without longing and loss, and were time not to have at its end the absence of time, and the absence of time not to have been preceded by time, neither would be of any consequence.”

Merry festives yall, THE BAGSTAXXX
P.S. I love the liar paradox.

If "this sentence is false" is true, then the sentence is false, which would in turn mean that it is actually true, but this would mean that it is false, 
Similarly, if "this sentence is false" is false, then the sentence is true, which would in turn mean that it is actually false, but this would mean that it is true,

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Christmas, Suffering and Charity!!!!

Good afternoon interweb, Well here we are on the final furlong into Christmas. I don’t feel very Christmassy to be honest with you, I never do. I think that it is because I think too much and too often.
 The whole forced celebration of Christmas makes me want to vomit at times. People sit in their homes stuffing themselves stupid and exchanging gifts, most not even remembering why we actually celebrate Christmas in the first place.
Many people thinking of themselves and their respective immediate family without a second thought for other people in the world that are not so lucky, the battered wife who gets another black eye and kidney punch for Christmas, the abused children and elderly folk, the homeless or the 21.000 children that die every day around the world due to poverty, hunger, lack of clean water, easily preventable diseases and illnesses, and other related causes.
Thinking about the last group there that is the equivalent to,
 1 child dying every 4 seconds
14 children dying every minute
 A 2011 Libya conflict-scale death toll every day
 A 2010 Haiti earthquake occurring every 10 days
A 2004 Asian Tsunami occurring every 11 days
An Iraq-scale death toll every 19–46 days
Just under 7.6 million children dying every year
Some 92 million children dying between 2000 and 2010 not including 2011.
A Unicef report tried to put these figures into some sort of perspective back in the year 2000,
 “The continuation of this suffering and loss of life contravenes the natural human instinct to help in times of disaster. Imagine the horror of the world if a major earthquake were to occur and people stood by and watched without assisting the survivors! Yet every day, the equivalent of a major earthquake killing over 30,000 young children occurs to a disturbingly muted response. They die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”
And so back to why we celebrate Christmas, The birth of Jesus Christ, God’s son. A miracle, well look around you at some of God’s other miracles.

Whilst I am very aware that the world is in the grip of an economic crisis the likes of which we have not seen in my lifetime I am absolutely certain that every single person reading this blog post could afford to put there fat fingered hand in their pocket and pull out a fiver and donate it to a charity. It does not matter which one, Help for Heroes, Cancer care, Oxfam, Help the Aged, the list is endless but the support and help for the people who are suffering need not be.
Right then lecture over,
We try to grab pieces of our lives as they speed past us. Photographs freeze those pieces and help us remember how we were. We don't know these lost people but if you look around, you'll find someone just like them.


Monday, 19 December 2011

Weather, North Korea and moderation!!!!

Hello again interweb, I trust you are better than the weather, Which whilst a little warmer than recent days is still piss wet through and grey, dull and uninteresting.
It has not gone unnoticed that Kim Jong-il has passed away leaving a space to be filled by his son Kim Jong –Un. Now what do we know about him?
also known as Kim Jong-Eun, formerly Kim Jung-Woon, he was born 1983 or early 1984, is the third and youngest son of Kim Jong-il with his late consort Ko Young-hee.
It is reported that he attended the English-language International School of Berne in Berne, Switzerland until 1998 under a pseudonym, although this is disputed. He speaks his native Korean, and is fluent in English and knows some German, Bernese German, and French.
He is a four-star general in the Korean People’s Army and the presumed heir to the leadership of North Korea. Kim Jong-un is in his 20s, he seems too young to lead the nuclear armed country.
But North Korea expert Kim Yong-hyun of Dongguk University, Seoul, said his promotion was "the starting point for his formal succession".
The first official image of him as an adult was a group photograph released on 30 September 2010 at the end of the party conference that effectively anointed him, in which he is seated in the front row, two places from his father. This was followed by newsreel footage of him attending the conference.

Kim Jong-un was made a Daejang, the equivalent to an American Four-Star General, on 27 September 2010, a day ahead of a rare Workers’ Party of Korea conference in Pyongyang, the first time North Korean media had mentioned him by name and despite his having no previous military experience. Despite the promotion, no further details, including verifiable portraits of Jong-un were released.
On 28 September 2010 he was named vice chairman of the Central Military Commission and appointed to the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party, in an apparent nod to become the successor to Kim Jong-il.
North Korea is not a place I would like to live if I'm honest, I don’t think that I would last 5 minutes before being shot.
You see it is not exactly a free society which by definition is a society where it is safe to be unpopular and lets face it, I'm quite unpopular at times and make no excuse for it.
It took me about 35 years to work out two of the most fundamental things to a happy life and they are, “not everybody is going to like you, get over it. That and the fact that it is OK to say NO sometimes.”.
You see I don’t believe that North Korea’s new leader will understand the word moderation. I have been told that  a little more moderation would be good for me. Of course, my life hasn't exactly been one of moderation but then I don’t get to put my finger on the launch button of a nuclear weapon. (more’s the pity).
The amount of power that will be in the hands of this young man is a very real and very scary threat to humanity.
Ive said it before and I will say it again, “The possession of unlimited power will make a despot of almost any man.” and I fear that Kim Jong-Un is no exception.
I think that we have a very interesting 2012 to come and if we look at all the omens and the fact the it will be the end of the Mayan calendar I'm gonna get me a massive bowl of pop corn, sit back and munch away while I watch the world and humanity destroy itself all from the comfort of my living room. That is assuming that North Korea don’t take out the satellite that sends Sky TV to my home, they wouldn’t would they? That has to be against the Geneva convention.
And so interweb we come to a close of today’s ramblings and with it yet more wise words. “Forgiveness is the healing of wounds caused by another. You choose to let go of a past wrong and no longer be hurt by it. Forgiveness is a strong move to make, like turning your shoulders sideways to walk quickly on a crowded street. It's your move. Forgive..........but never forget.

Peace out y'all, THE BAGSTAXXX

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Ovens, Quantum Mechanics and acceptance!!!!!!

Good afternoon interweb, I trust I find you well today. I currently have fish fingers in the oven and will shortly be making them into a sandwich with tomato sauce because I can.
My influenza appears to have gone only to be replaced with a common cold so I still am not firing on all cylinders yet.
The whole fish fingers in the oven thing is quite a big thing for me as we have been without an oven for about two weeks now but Kevin the Racing Snake very kindly wired us a new one in yesterday. We still only have one working gas ring but hopefully we will manage to get the new hob plumbed in before Christmas day. Well we can hope anyway.
There is television show on tomorrow night which I have been really looking forward to watching but I will be working so will have to watch the re run on BBC iplayer when I get home around 01.300 hours Monday morning. It is about quantum mechanics and so today I thought I would share with you my very small knowledge on the subject.
Quantum mechanics is the body of scientific principles that explains the behaviour of matter and its interactions with energy on the scale of atoms and atomic particles.
Physics helps us understand matter and energy on a macroscopic level that we can see at work every day, and also how things such as planets and lots of other stuff out there in the universe works. 

It was some time towards the end of the nineteenth century that stuff on the macro and micro levels was observed that physics could not explain and this started to baffle people a bit. Because scientists could not use physics to explain what was going on a whole new science was born and this was quantum mechanics.
Some bloke called Richard Feynman summed up quantum mechanics beautifully when he said “quantum mechanics deals with "nature as she is — absurd.”
quantum mechanics theory ordains that the more closely one pins down one measure (such as the position of a particle), the less precise another measurement pertaining to the same particle (such as its momentum) must become. Put another way, measuring position first and then measuring momentum does not have the same outcome as measuring momentum first and then measuring position; the act of measuring the first property necessarily introduces additional energy into the micro-system being studied, thereby perturbing that system.
Even more disconcerting, pairs of particles can be created as entangled twins — which means that a measurement which pins down one property of one of the particles will instantaneously pin down the same or another property of its entangled twin, regardless of the distance separating them — though this may be regarded as merely a mathematical anomaly, rather than a real one.
As you can see quantum mechanics can get very complicated and there are a very great many rules and probabilities that must be taken into consideration when using it. Below are a few notes that may well help anybody who has actually read this far before watching the programme, I'm sure that Prof Cox will explain things a lot better than most people and lets face it, he makes a better scientist than he ever did a pop star in the band D-Ream or whatever they were called.
 Classical physics also does not accurately describe the universe on the largest scales or at speeds close to that of light. An accurate description requires general relativity.
 The word "quantum" comes from the Latin word for "how much" (as does "quantity"). Something which is "quantized," like the energy of Planck's harmonic oscillators, can only take specific values. For example, in most countries money is effectively quantized, with the "quantum of money" being the lowest-value coin in circulation.
"Mechanics" is the branch of science that deals with the action of forces on objects, so "quantum mechanics" is the part of mechanics that deals with objects for which particular properties are quantized.
 Actually there can be intensity-dependent effects, but at intensities achievable with non-laser sources these effects are unobservable.
 Einstein's photoelectric effect equation can be derived and explained without requiring the concept of "photons". That is, the electromagnetic radiation can be treated as a classical electromagnetic wave, as long as the electrons in the material are treated by the laws of quantum mechanics. The results are quantitatively correct for thermal light sources (the sun, incandescent lamps, etc) both for the rate of electron emission as well as their angular distribution
The classical model of the atom is called the planetary model, or sometimes the Rutherford model after Ernest Rutherford who proposed it in 1911, based on the Geiger-Marsden gold foil experiment which first demonstrated the existence of the nucleus.
 In this case, the energy of the electron is the sum of its kinetic and potential energies. The electron has kinetic energy by virtue of its actual motion around the nucleus, and potential energy because of its electromagnetic interaction with the nucleus.
The model can be easily modified to account of the emission spectrum of any system consisting of a nucleus and a single electron (that is, ions such as He+ or O7+ which contain only one electron).
For a somewhat more sophisticated look at how Heisenberg transitioned from the old quantum theory and classical physics to the new quantum mechanics, see Heisenberg's entryway to matrix mechanics.

Anyway interweb it is about this time that I turn to pearls of wisdom and today will be no exception.
“Acceptance is not a state of passivity or inaction. I am not saying you can't change the world, right wrongs, or replace evil with good. Acceptance is, in fact, the first step to successful action. If you don't fully accept a situation precisely the way it is, you will have difficulty changing it. Moreover, if you don't fully accept the situation, you will never really know if the situation should be changed.”
Peace out y'all, THE BAGSTAXXX

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Gym's, slaughter and Christmas Dinner!!!

Good afternoon interweb, And how are we today? I am a great deal better than I have been for some weeks but feel as though there is still fluid around my lungs and still have a slight fever.
I did despite still been a trifle ill manage to go to the gym this morning for the first time in about two and a half weeks.
Ouch, was quite a shock to the system how quickly one can get out of shape. I only managed  12K on the bike followed by a 1.5K run. This is a massive drop from the 30K on the bike followed by a 5K run and weight training thrown in as well which is what I was doing. Maybe when I'm fully recovered things will be easier, I guess my diet hasn’t exactly been helping either. Oh well, never mind.
The situation at the moment over in the middle east is not getting any easier which is making getting permits to enter Kurdistan controlled Iraq very difficult.
Taking a brief look at Syria for a moment it is my belief that this will be the next country where all hell will break loose if you don’t think that it hasn’t already.
Just like in Iraq under Soddin insane, the wall of fear that has been in place for years has been breached and the rest of the world is watching.
 President Assad didn’t really come out of his interview the other day with an American reporter smelling of roses.

He basically claimed that the United Nations were not really an organisation that should be taken seriously and that they lie.
He claims that Syria is stable despite thousands of people been killed in recent weeks.
Does the fact that peaceful protests against the regime permeated in the city of Daraa in the south of Syria after the security authorities arrested and tortured a group of children who wrote anti-regime slogans on walls, sound stable? because it doesn’t to me.
Murder, torture and arrests increase with each protest and over 5000 people have been slaughtered, and many more thousands of men, women and children have been imprisoned.
The international response to the situation in Syria has differed from the reaction to revolutions in other Arab countries.
There was clear hesitation and confusion in the West, where some leaders described Assad as a reformer, some as a friend, and still others remained silent until eventually there were calls for Assad to step down.
The Syrian case was raised at UN Security Council and was vetoed by Russia and China. They anticipated a repeat of the process that lead to the overthrowing of the regime in Libya, however Russia’s support for Syria is part of its strategy to maintain its own international position.
All I see is yet further proof that the middle-east will destroy itself in time. I sometimes wonder whether it is our place to intervene against these dictators, these people who remove their subjects basic human rights and torture and murder men, women and children on a daily basis.  Then I remember that I am not a softy softy ice cream seller middle of the road liberal and think, HELL YEAH, lets rock. What the alternative is does not bear thinking about and people in our country would do well to have a think about what the consequences would be if countries like ours failed to act.
In other news, we now have a brand new gas hob and electric oven gracing our kitchen, gracing it they may be but fitted and working they ain't. DOH!
Kevin the racing snake will be calling round tomorrow to fit the oven and sort out the electrics as he is a bit of a whizz at that sort of thing and then we will just need to find a gas safe fitter to plumb in the gas hob. Huzzah.
 At this rate we may get to cook a Christmas dinner after all.

And so to today’s pearls of wisdom.
 “Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.”
Peace out y'all, THE BAGSTAXXX