Amazon and Washington Post – It isn’t rocket science

April 3, 2018


 

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Europe has to decide – immigration or tax incentives for having children

April 1, 2018

The latest fertility statistics in Europe present an unsustainable picture. Nowhere is the fertility rate at or higher than the replenishment rate of 2.1 live births per women. The average for Europe is under 1.6 with a mean age of 29 for a woman having her first child. France and Ireland have the highest rates but still less than 2.0 followed by Sweden, the UK and Iceland (all between 1.8 and 1.9). The lowest rates are in Poland, Portugal, Greece, Spain and Italy (all less than 1.4).

These levels are unsustainable.

A declining population if left to itself would lead to a catastrophic population implosion. The Black Death in England (1348-1350) reduced the population by over 30% and it took the country almost 100 years to recover. Europe today is relying on immigration to compensate for the low fertility. Initially, immigrants have a higher fertility rate than the society they move in to but within one generation they too display the prevailing fertility rates. Just relying on immigration creates social stresses and is also unsustainable.

Within the next twenty years most European countries will have no choice but to introduce tax incentives for having more children. In fact it is necessary now.


 

The speed of time (2)

April 1, 2018

The magical speed of an inconstant time (1).

Once upon a time (till about the 15th century) timeless meant badly timed. Since the 16th century it has been used almost exclusively to mean eternal and untimely is now used for badly timed. What puzzles me is that a time period – however measured – is not – and cannot be – time itself. A time period is to distance as time is to length. Time periods are all measured by observing a change which is assumed to be regular. We once thought the length of a day to be unchanging and took the day to be a period of time. We made the second fixed part of an unchanging day. Then we found that the rotation of the earth around its own axis was not regular. The period called a day was not an absolute measure. We have now shifted to the assumed regular frequency of vibration of a caesium atom in a particular state. This frequency is itself a time derivative – a change assumed to be regular (constant over time). But the regularity is an assumption. But even if this frequency eventually decays, and a second becomes longer than it is today, what is it that actually passes?

Does time flow? If it does, something called time must flow with respect to something else and it must therefore have a speed (a derivative).  Modern cosmology would have us believe that space and time are inextricably intertwined to make up a continuum – a la Einstein. Before the Big Bang there was no space and there was no time. And then came the Big Bang Singularity and both space and time were created (which is remarkably like a Creation Event). Time began to pass and there was space for the universe to expand into. But if time was not flowing, and then began to flow, it follows that it accelerated from a zero speed to whatever speed it flows at now. If the speed of time changed once, it can change again. It could go negative. In some other universe the omelette would give rise to the egg. But this brings us no closer to what time is.

We have to distinguish between the consequences of the flow of time (duration) and time itself. Without the flow of time there is no change, there is no motion. There is no life without the flow of time. It could be that if no change occurs, then time has not flowed, that the flow of the thing called time is necessary for change to occur. But change and motion are not themselves time. If the postulated space time continuum exists then there is no flow of time without space. If time does not flow there is only stasis. For matter of any kind to exist, even a fundamental particle, time must flow. For energy to exist, time must flow. And even if the wave theory prevails, the flow of time is required. Causality depends upon the flow of time. Not time, but the flow of time, is necessary for before and after and cause and effect.

Whether time is an intrinsic property of the universe or an emerging property it would seem to be a quantity that is unknowable within the dimensional constraints of the human mind. Perhaps the flow of time we observe is merely the shadow cast by something from a higher, unknowable dimension. But there is nothing that requires the flow of time to be constant or regular. As the universe and space expand perhaps the speed of time slows down.

It’s just magic.


 

 

Another fundamental human right?

March 26, 2018

This could be added as the 31st Article in the UN Declaration of Universal Human Rights but would probably need to be placed between the current Articles 18 and 19.

Freedom of identity choice:

Everyone has the right to freedom of choice of identity regarding race, colour or gender regardless of actual race, colour or gender. This right includes the freedom to change his/her/its identity of choice and the freedom to manifest his/her/its chosen identity in all his/her/its actions, behaviour, thought and observance.

A new fundamental human right?


 

Dwarf planets demand full planetary rights and an end to discrimination

March 26, 2018

The five dwarf planets (Ceres in the asteroid belt, and the trans-Neptunian planets led by Pluto)) have demanded that discrimination against them  cease immediately and that they be afforded full planetary rights along with the “Big 8”. Over 150 bodies are trans-Neptunian planets (TNPs) but only four are recognised as dwarf planets (Pluto, Eris, Haumea, and Makemake).

A spokesman for the TNP’s complained that the International Astronomical Union was being blatantly unfair against the “small and the distant” and was guilty of violating the fundamental, God-given rights of every planetary body. “The members of the IAU are all earthlings and small-minded and biased”, he said. “It is a travesty that even a planet as near the Sun as Ceres could be treated with such disdain”, he continued. He claimed that actually there were over 250 TNP’s but many had yet to be contacted. He accused the IAU of gross geocentrism. “It is morally unacceptable to deny these ancient planets their full rights and to stigmatise them by calling them dwarfs”. “Do we not all orbit the same Sun?”, he asked. ”

The International Astronomical Union denied any discrimination. A spokesman angrily refused to comment when accused of being geocentric. He denied that the IAU was steeped in dwarfism.


 

Real rights are dependent upon behaviour (part 4)

March 20, 2018

My behaviour strongly influences the behaviour of others towards me.

Any “right” I may have can only exist if the behaviour of others is, at worst, not opposed to my exercise of the right.

Therefore,

Any “rights” I may have are dependent upon my behaviour.


 

Stephen Hawking 1942 – 2018

March 14, 2018

It was Fred Hoyle who first used the term “Big Bang” but it is difficult not to associate Stephen Hawking with the Big Bang Theory.

But for me Stephen Hawking will forever be my inspiration for considering the ultimate question — What is time?

The magical speed of an inconstant time


 

Gendered aspects of the universe

March 12, 2018

The Canadian Environment Minister (how stupid can you get?) recently expressed concern for the “gendered aspects of climate change”.

I am no doubt incorrigibly sexist but I thought I would try and look at the gendered aspects of the Universe.

Mother Earth must be female and Father Sun must be male. Hydrogen must be male so that makes oxygen female in a polygamous relationship. I put Fire and Air as male which leaves Earth and Water to be female. Summer is male and so is Winter. Spring and Autumn are obviously female. Trees are male and grass is female. Weeds are male and Flowers are female. Beef, potatoes, asparagus and onions are male while chicken, cheese, tomatoes and cauliflower are female. Mushrooms are transgender.

Of the planets it is apparent that Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Neptune and Saturn are male. Which leaves Venus, the Earth and Uranus (sort of) as female. Pluto has been neutered. Comets are male but galaxies are female. Double stars are gay. H, Li, Na, K, Rb, Ca and Fr are obviously male. It follows that He, Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe and Rn are all female. The rest of the periodic table falls in line. (Elements with odd atomic numbers are male and those with even atomic numbers are female).

If Physics is male then Chemistry is female. Metallurgy is male and Biology is female. Mathematics must be transgender. Sociology must be deviant.


 

More mothers than fathers in the world

March 12, 2018

Just playing with the numbers.

Population trivia.

A very crude estimate suggests that about 1,000 million of the world’s 7,500 million are “only” children and have no siblings.


 

The New Eugenics

March 11, 2018

Eugenics, because of the way it was practised by the Nazis, has become a bit of a taboo word. But it has been practised in silence and by default for some time now.

ktwop (2013):

The trends I think are fairly clear. The proportion of “artificial births” is increasing and the element of genetic selection by screening for desired charateristics in such cases is on the increase. The number of abortions after conception would seem to be on its way to some “stable” level of perhaps 25% of all conceptions. The genetic content of the decision to abort however is also increasing and it is likely that the frequency of births where genetic disorders exist or where the propensity for debilitating disease is high will decrease sharply as genetic screening techniques develop further.

It is still a long way off to humans breeding for specific charateristics but even what is being practised now is the start of eugenics in all but name. And it is not difficult to imagine that eugenics – without any hint of coercion – but where parents or the mothers-to-be select for certain characteristics or deselect (by abortion) to avoid others in their children-to-be will be de rigueur.

As neonatal screening techniques improve, eugenics is no longer just by default but is increasingly due to an active choice being made. Down syndrome is already well on the way to being eradicated.


 


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