A New Era

For better or for worse Donald J. Trump is not going away.
Much to the chagrin of the Democratic party and half the country, it is unlikely Trump will be impeached or somehow replaced before the end of his term in office. The era of Trump has begun. The world has changed. Much.
Yes, we all know the President has made outrageous statements and unverified claims before, during and after the election campaign, and he will obviously continue to do so into the foreseeable future. That’s not going to stop. Neither will his conservative agenda.
HandsHoldingWorldGold_MedTrump is making progress toward fulfilling many if not most of his campaign promises. To his supporters he is a dream-come-true President that is standing up for what many Americans have wanted all along. On the other side, to those who will be negatively impacted, he is a nightmare.
Be prepared. The dark side of the Force has awakened.

Newton's Cannon

The Earth is falling into the sun and the moon is falling from the sky.

Once upon a time, Sir Isaac Newton had a cannon. Noisy thing that. Orbitologists call the figurative device “Newton’s cannon.”
I managed to borrow one of these cannons from the National Museum of Orbitology and Conjecturism, and am standing next to a large pile of cannonballs (see image).
Depending on all sorts of factors, like how much gunpowder, how big the cannonball, etcetera, I’ve discovered the cannonball leaves the cannon around 1440 feet per second. Alas, after leaving the cannon, the speeding cannonball gets affected by wind, gravity and distance it has to travel.
The first factor is the wind resistance. At 1440 feet per second on a calm day, the spherical ball of lead immediately encounters 1440 feet per second wind resistance in the opposite direction of flight. The cannonball’s gonna slow down.
The second factor is gravity. No matter how fast that thing travels through the air, it’s still going to fall toward the ground for the same reason we plant our feet here. Gravity.
A third factor, I suppose, is if we’re shooting at a target or just an open space to see how far the ball will travel. Since I want to see how far the ball will go, I’m in an open field.
A fourth factor is trajectory. Am I shooting level to the ground, or in a big arc? Obviously it’s going to travel farther if I angle the barrel of the cannon up and shoot the ball in a big arc. So what to do? Let’s just put a level on the barrel and shoot it parallel to the ground to see how far the projectile is going to travel before wind resistance and gravity pull that hurdling ball of metal down to the unyielding ground below and then it bounces and rolls until it comes to a halt.
Now that we’ve fired the cannonball, let’s take a tape measure and see how far it went before it hit the ground. Surprising distance it seems for such a big heavy object. I wonder if we could make it go any farther?newtgun
This is the example of Newton’s Cannon. Given a condition of no atmosphere, and enough speed, that ball would travel around the curve of the earth, hitting further and further away from us. Speed it up even more and it will never hit the ground (see illustration).
That’s an orbit.
Umm….wait. Something’s seriously wrong here. My brain puts up red flags. I’m a layman, not a real scientist, so what do I really know about physics and all that stuff. I’m a buff isn’t it enough? Seems to me that a falling object should accelerate, not just fall at a constant speed. Seems to me the rate of acceleration of a falling object is (Googling it now) 9.8 m/s/s.
“Free-falling objects are in a state of acceleration. Specifically, they are accelerating at a rate of 9.8 m/s/s. This is to say that the velocity of a free-falling object is changing by 9.8 m/s every second.”physicsclassroom.com
So the cannonball should not just curve around with the curve of the earth, but accelerate downward as it falls, thus never achieving orbit and always hitting the ground. Therefore nothing can orbit anything and the moon can’t stay in the sky and the Earth is going to fall into the sun. The International Space Station is doomed tomorrow and all the GPS satellites are going to fall down. Forget about Dish Network, DirectTV, SeriusXM Radio, weather satellites and Google Earth. It’s all coming down.
Right?
Well, obviously wrong, but why wrong? This is a question this layman has pondered over many an hour sitting in pondering places at various pondering moments in this pondering life. I suppose I’m going to have to just ponder up another Google search. I will ask this question another way posted here, and after you read that one you can read here and then here!

Can time travel happen, even if it's a century from now?

I have written a few answers about this topic already and this one might end up TL;DR but what the heck, Here goes.

By Chris Craddock

I originally wrote: “No. Nobody can convince you that time travel can happen because it really can’t happen. Not in the sci-fi sense everybody seems to long for.
We are all “traveling” forwards into the future at an eye popping rate of 1 second per second. We can’t go forwards any faster than that and we can’t EVER go backwards in time. Bottom line, time travel isn’t possible.
Then David Chidakel asked “I would like to hear your reasoning”. I started to answer David in the comment section but my answer got quite long, so I decided to edit my original post instead. I have written a few answers about this topic already and this one might end up TL;DR but what the heck, Here goes.
Time’s arrow…
Some physics equations seem not to care about the sign of the time variable, or in many cases not to care about time at all. If you suspend disbelief for a moment, they seem to allow for “closed time-like curves” and quantum entanglements which is geek code for “time travel”. But those are only hypothetical quantum scale effects. They probably don’t work out when considered in conjunction with other known physical laws and certainly don’t work for massive objects like people and time machines.
First of all, let’s dispose with time travel into the past… that is ruled out by thermodynamics.
First (law): just for grins and giggles let’s assume a time lord has invented a blue box that somehow instantaneously leaps the traveler back to some particular time and place in the past (relative to the traveler’s rest frame yada yada) where/when the travelers step out of the box and start interacting with the universe and alien creatures as they were back then.
But atoms/subatomic particles and their constituent energy fields are pretty tough things. They might get smashed in an accelerator or reactor, or be fused inside a star or have their electrons torn off inside a 9v battery along the way, but for the most part they are eternal and indestructible. Certainly within your own lifetime your atoms belong to you and only to you.
The problem then is that  instantly upon arrival all of the atoms making up the traveler and his/her time machine would suddenly have to exist in two places at the same time: Inside the traveler (obviously) and ALSO inside  whatever those same atoms happened to be contained within at that exact moment in the past. That can’t happen. If it could the whole edifice of physical laws would fall apart. So strike one.
Second (law): a.k.a. “entropy always wins”. The universe is made up of atoms/energy fields each more or less randomly going about its business. At any given moment we can’t even know everything there is to know (position, momentum etc) about a single atom (according to Heisenberg and half a dozen other quantum laws) -AND EVEN WORSE- a moment later even that information is lost.
So no matter how much energy you’re willing to expend, there is simply NO way to rearrange all of the particles in the universe back to some prior state. The information about that state doesn’t I have written a few answers about this topic already and this one might end up TL;DR but what the heck, Here goes.I have written a few answers about this topic already and this one might end up TL;DR but what the heck, Here goes.exist. Fried eggs can’t become fresh unbroken eggs no matter what you do. So even if you can decide “when” to go back to, there is no “there” to go back to. Strike two.
Third (admittedly just a thought experiment): While we know that time and space are entangled from a relativistic point of view, they are not the same thing. If time was just another dimension that you could (somehow) independently move along like a bead on a wire, then perhaps you could just pop out of the blue box and the universe would be sitting there exactly as it was “before”.
But whose version of “before” are we talking about? There is no universal time reference. That line of reasoning leads to grandfather paradoxes and infinite regression. If we supposed for a moment that it could happen, how could you ever tell? Aside from the violent anti-matter annihilation of the travelers atoms 🙂 I imagine the rest of the universe would simply carry on exactly the way it did last time. So logically it can’t happen. Strike three.

Now let’s think about time travel to the future. This also fails the thought experiment above.

The Future
Now let’s think about time travel to the future. This also fails the thought experiment above. In gross details if we look at (say) a tennis ball in motion right now and we know its position and velocity and mass and angular momentum and air density etc, we can predict its future position quite accurately for a short time O(seconds). Beyond that, we just can’t predict its future. What happens to the ball next week, or in a hundred years from now? How about the position and momentum of every atom in a nearby star or the couple of hundred billion of its cousins in our galaxy?
Time travel to the future isn’t possible because the future has not happened yet. Which future would be traveling to? Our blue box can’t slide the travelers time bead along the wire of the time axis because we just proved (above) that there IS no wire. And the blue box can’t rearrange the entire universe’s atoms into some as yet unseen future state because it can’t predict what that state will be, even if it had the means to rearrange them to its desired state.

Can Going to Mars Fix Earth?

Mars is cool. Isn’t it? Well, spoiler alert: neither you nor I are going to settle on Mars.
It’s inhospitable and has no benefit. It’s not a safe haven if we screw up Earth. Why? Because Mars lost its hot core billions of years ago. Without a hot core Mars lost the magnetic field shielding it from the sun. The atmosphere blew away, the volcanos dried up, and there’s nothing protecting any people there from the dangerous rays of the sun. It has no value for humans to go there, what to speak live there, and NASA has a whole department dedicated to making sure we don’t bring germs to other planets or from other planets back to Earth. That means we’ll never terraform Mars. We will never grow stuff there, and we will never survive there. Mars is useless except, maybe, for rovers to rove.
Same goes for the moon. No point in going back to the moon. Anything you want to do there you can do without human hands. That’s what robots are for, and if a robot dies it costs money but no lives.
We were born on this Earth. We will die on it. We’ve got stuff in orbit, and robots on Mars and in space, but that’s it. Maybe SpaceX or somebody will put some poor souls on the surface of Mars, but they will either die or have to come back to the safety of Earth.
There will be no Star Trek Enterprise. There will never be a spaceship that can go “warp” speed. There will never be a Federation of Planets. Get real. Sorry if it’s upsetting. Great TV, great movies, but it’s science fiction.
We won’t be able to visit those 7 “earthlike planets” recently discovered over 40 light years away, 10 times further than our closest stellar neighbor.
We’ve got one place to live. Earth. Screw it up, and the future’s screwed. We have the science to sustain it, but greediness and politics, international conflicts and third world governments, big industry and you and me in our cozy environment choking homes, will not allow us to save it. Gradually a wide variety of species will go extinct, both plants and animals. Gradually the food chain will be disrupted. Not for you, probably not for your kids, but down the line it’s coming.
Sometimes Earth people go “green” – reducing their “environmental footprint.” Yeah, you can try. You can even succeed if you try really hard. You can live off the grid, by candlelight or self generated electricity, don’t buy any food in containers or wrapped in plastic, make compost and grow food.
I know people who live like that and it’s great for them.
However, let’s get real here. Out of billions of people, if a few people leave less of an environmental footprint than most of the others, it might make them feel good but will it really save the world? No it won’t, because at the core of the problem is humanity itself. We are the polluters of our own planet. We are not likely to stop as a whole. We are not one world government, one people and one culture. We are diverse and dream of going to other planets if this one gets screwed up.
Is this a pessimistic view? Probably. I’m going to be 64 years old in a few months. This is the world the boomers and those before us are leaving behind. See if you can fix it.

How fast is "Now?"

Somewhere a distant star went supernova and we haven’t seen it yet because the light has yet to reach Earth.
The question is: does “now” happen instantly but we won’t know it until light and energy arrive at the speed of light, or does “now” also travel at the speed of light, implying it happens when we see it?
How fast is “now?”
Is it like that age-old question if a tree falls in a forest and nobody’s there to hear it, does it make any sound?
So does “now” travel at the speed of light or is it instant?
The question can be rephrased. Does time travel at the speed of light?
The answer isn’t simple and to address it would require us to delve into Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity. Let it suffice to say that time and space are intertwined and Einstein called it spacetime.
Why bother? A star a long way off goes supernova. It takes years for the light to reach us. When it does reach us we look in telescopes and say “ooo, ahhh” and try to discern something that benefits our understanding of the universe.
Good enough for me.

Bullied Kid Seek Revenge?

What if I told you scientists don’t know how life started on Earth? Well they don’t. Demoralizing I suppose.
Scientists do not know how life began on Earth. They do know that the early Earth’s atmosphere was very different from the atmosphere now.  -Las Cumbres Observatory website
Then there’s these curious comments made here and there. In 2015 Science magazine said: “Researchers may have solved origin-of-life conundrum”  (they didn’t). In Wikipedia: “The origin of life is a scientific problem which is not yet solved. There are plenty of ideas, but few clear facts.”
Theories abound. Lightning. Storms. Even pass it on to somebody else’s problem, like it began elsewhere and came here on a rock from space.
Scientists will be the first people to tell you they don’t know everything. They never claimed they did. They’ve got lots of areas where more research and scientific research is needed and is inevitable.
Combine this with trying to find life on other planets and I see a great unspoken bullied kid grows up syndrome. Scientists have been bullied, and now they’d love to punch back.
For centuries, indeed even in today’s political field, science itself and those that are trained in it’s methods, are politicized and bullied. In the past the Church called them heretics. Nowadays politicians suggest the government has no business funding any scientific research at all!  For example, the respected journal Scientific American, once wrote an article “Battle over Science Funding Gets Fiercer in U.S. Congress … Research agency critics, such as Sen. Ted Cruz, have new positions with power to control money and priorities.”
How things would change if we could just somehow prove that life exists on other planets, and that it evolved from chemicals here on earth! It would mean the Earth isn’t the center of the Universe. It would give a scientific explanation for life other than Creationism. It would mean the bullied kid could grow up and take on the bully.
That’s why the category of this article is called “The Way I See it.” Because it is.