Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year's Eve! ROCK OUT !!!

Holiday, by Green Day.

Helter Skelter, by The Beatles (really, Paul McCartney, greatest Musician, ever)

Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except for Me and My Monkey, by The Beatles (really, John Lennon)

And as an extra special bonus, here's Chris Farley's interview with Paul McCartney, on Saturday Night Live, for sheer amusement purposes:

Bart Simpson performs Green Day's American Idiot lolz zomg

The great Bruce Dickinson, that's right THE Bruce Dickinson has got a fever, and the one and only cure for it, apparently, is MORE COWBELL !!!!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Privileged Character of 3+1 Spacetime

There are two kinds of dimensions, spatial (bidirectional) and temporal (unidirectional). Let the number of spatial dimensions be N and the number of temporal dimensions be T. That N = 3 and T = 1, setting aside the compactified dimensions invoked by string theory and undetectable to date, can be explained by appealing to the physical consequences of letting N differ from 3 and T differ from 1. The argument is often of ananthropic character.
Immanuel Kant argued that 3-dimensional space was a consequence of the inverse square law of universal gravitation. While Kant's argument is historically important, John D. Barrow says that it "...gets the punch-line back to front: it is the three-dimensionality of space that explains why we see inverse-square force laws in Nature, not vice-versa." (Barrow 2002: 204). This is because the law of gravitation (or any other inverse-square law) follows from the concept of flux and the proportional relationship of flux density and the strength of field. If N = 3, then 3-dimensional solid objects have surface areas proportional to the square of their size in any selected spatial dimension. In particular, a sphere of radius r has area of 4πr ². More generally, in a space of N dimensions, the strength of the gravitational attraction between two bodies separated by a distance of r would be inversely proportional to rN−1.
In 1920, Paul Ehrenfest showed that if we fix T = 1 and let N > 3, the orbit of a planet about its sun cannot remain stable. The same is true of a star's orbit around the center of its galaxy.[13] Ehrenfest also showed that if N is even, then the different parts of a wave impulse will travel at different speeds. If N > 3 and odd, then wave impulses become distorted. Only when N = 3 or 1 are both problems avoided. In 1922, Hermann Weyl showed that Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism works only when N = 3 and T = 1, writing that this fact "...not only leads to a deeper understanding of Maxwell's theory, but also of the fact that the world is four dimensional, which has hitherto always been accepted as merely 'accidental,' become intelligible through it."[14] Finally, Tangherlini[15] showed in 1963 that when N > 3, electron orbitals around nuclei cannot be stable; electrons would either fall into the nucleus or disperse.
Properties of n+m-dimensional spacetimes
Max Tegmark[16] expands on the preceding argument in the following anthropic manner. If T differs from 1, the behavior of physical systems could not be predicted reliably from knowledge of the relevant partial differential equations. In such a universe, intelligent life capable of manipulating technology could not emerge. Moreover, if T > 1, Tegmark maintains that protons and electrons would be unstable and could decay into particles having greater mass than themselves. (This is not a problem if the particles have a sufficiently low temperature.) If N > 3, Ehrenfest's argument above holds; atoms as we know them (and probably more complex structures as well) could not exist. If N < 3, gravitation of any kind becomes problematic, and the universe is probably too simple to contain observers. For example, when N < 3, nerves cannot cross without intersecting.
In general, it is not clear how physical law could function if T differed from 1. If T > 1, subatomic particles which decay after a fixed period would not behave predictably, because time-like geodesics would not be necessarily maximal.[17] N = 1 and T = 3 has the peculiar property that the speed of light in a vacuum is a lower bound on the velocity of matter; all matter consists of tachyons.[16]
Hence anthropic and other arguments rule out all cases except N = 3 and T = 1—which happens to describe the world about us. Curiously, the cases N = 3 or 4 have the richest and most difficult geometry and topology. There are, for example, geometric statements whose truth or falsity is known for all N except one or both of 3 and 4.[citation needed] N = 3 was the last case of the Poincaré conjecture to be proved.
For an elementary treatment of the privileged status of N = 3 and T = 1, see chpt. 10 (esp. Fig. 10.12) of Barrow;[18] for deeper treatments, see §4.8 of Barrow and Tipler (1986) and Tegmark.[16] Barrow has repeatedly cited the work of Whitrow.[19]
String theory hypothesizes that matter and energy are composed of tiny vibrating strings of various types, most of which are embedded in dimensions that exist only on a scale no larger than the Planck length. Hence N = 3 and T = 1 do not characterize string theory, which embeds vibrating strings in coordinate grids having 10, or even 26, dimensions.
The Causal dynamical triangulation (CDT) theory is a background independent theory which derives the observed 3+1 spacetime from a minimal set of assumptions, and needs no adjusting factors. It does not assume any pre-existing arena (dimensional space), but rather attempts to show how the spacetime fabric itself evolves. It shows spacetime to be 2-d near the Planck scale, and reveals a fractal structure on slices of constant time, but spacetime becomes 3+1-d in scales significantly larger than Planck. So, CDT may become the first theory which doesn't postulate but really explains observed number of spacetime dimensions.[20]

from Wikipedia's article on "Spacetime." For the full entry click HERE

I discovered this from reading a comment at Peter Woit's "Not Even Wrong" blog, here, which deconstructs the ridiculous Japanese hype that a computer simulation has "proven" Super String Theory. 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

With Love From Finland - Evil Santa Claus?! Oh, no!

Each year, Sweden gives us the Nobel Prizes, except the one for Peace.

Norway awards the Nobel Peace Prize, sometimes pre-emptively, sometimes to terrorists like Yassar Arafat, and sometimes just to piss off The People's Republic of China, like this year.

But what of Finland, the forgotten Scandinavian country? Can they play too?

Well fret no more, boys and girls! The Finns are back, especially this year, with "Rare Exports", a new film from Finland, in which Santa Claus is revealed to be an old demon (he eats children, so in a way you can say sure, he "likes" them), imprisoned in a mountain long ago, in Russia just across the Finnish border. And guess who breaks him out? Yup, the Americans. Why not? Who ya gonna call?  :-)

Here's the trailer:

You better watch out.
You better not cry.
If you meet up with Santa,
You surely will die!

Please Santa, please don't eat little Timmy!

Well, I but that up as a background on our computer, but my family thought Santa to be TOO evil looking, so I was forced to replace it, with this:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Amazon's Top 10 Science Books of 2011, and other stuff

We build too many walls and not enough bridges.
... Isaac Newton has the Top Science books of 2011 up, and you can see them here. I haven't read any of them, and haven't heard of half of them, but enjoy.

If you're on Facebook, there is a cool page called Physics Page. This is the link:

The actual orbit of the Moon around the sun may surprise you. Thanks to Sabine Hossenfelder for turning me on to the solution at this page:

Here is the holiday classic: An Engineer's Christmas. Thanks to Ulla Mattfolk for making me aware of it.

‎"The lead pair of reindeer would adsorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each."

An Engineer's Christmas

Only an Engineer would spent the time coming up with all this.

There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish or Buddhist (except maybe in Japan) religions, this reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378 million (according to the population reference bureau). At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming there is at least one good child in each.

Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 967.7 visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stocking, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get onto the next house.

Assuming that each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth (which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks.

This means Santa’s sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second--3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.

The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium sized LEGO set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousands tons, not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the "flying" reindeer can pull 10 times the normal amount, the job can’t be done with eight or even nine of them---Santa would need 360,000 of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).

600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance—this would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would adsorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip.

Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 m.p.s. in .001 seconds, would be subjected to acceleration forces of 17,000 g’s. A 250 pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo.

Therefore, if Santa did exist, he’s dead now.

Submitted by Dave, Bolder, Co.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hurricane Higgs Makes Landfall - Record Hypefall Ensues

Fact : The Higgs Boson has NOT been found, in spite of what you will hear this week. What HAS happened is a pair of anomalies at the Large Hadron Collider in CERN, possibly the Higgs boson, possibly and much more likely: experimental screwup.

The endless whirl of science "reportage" this week, however, will be in full bloom.

For an experiment to give quantifiable results such that the community accepts it as gospel, two things have to happen:

1) The experiment must be verified by independent sources, and at the very least:

2) The experimental data have to be presented with at least 5-sigma confidence level. The press conference today shows two sets of experimental results, one at less than
 3-sigma, and another at just more than 3-sigma, so no, No new Science, sorry.

These are not the droids you're looking for. Move along.

ONE good thing to come out of this though is, there will be MUCH more attention paid by the media to Science this week, and that's never bad IMO.

But there is nothing new here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Happy 84th Birthday Robert Noyce, R.I.P.

Robert Norton Noyce
 (December 12, 1927 – June 3, 1990), nicknamed "the Mayor of Silicon Valley", co-founded Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957 and Intel in 1968. He is also credited (along with Jack Kilby) with the invention of the integrated circuit or microchip which fueled the personal computer revolution and gave Silicon Valleyits name.[1][nb 1] Noyce was also a mentor and father-figure to an entire generation of entrepreneurs.


Early life

Noyce was born on December 12, 1927, in Burlington, Iowa.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] He was the third of four sons[4][5] of the Rev. Ralph Brewster Noyce.[9][10] His father was a 1915 graduate of Doane College, a 1920 graduate of Oberlin College, and a 1923 graduate of Chicago Theological Seminary. The Reverend Noyce was a Congregationalclergyman and the associate superintendent of the Iowa Conference of Congregational Churches in the 1930s and 1940s. His mother, Harriet May Norton, a 1921 graduate of Oberlin College, was the daughter of the Rev. Milton J. Norton, a Congregational clergyman, and Louise Hill. She has been described as an intelligent woman with a commanding will.[11]
His earliest childhood memory involves beating his father at ping pong and feeling absolutely devastated when his mother's reaction to this thrilling news was a distracted "Wasn't that nice of Daddy to let you win?" Even at the age of five, Noyce was offended by the notion of intentionally losing at anything. "That's not the game," he sulked to his mother. "If you're going to play, play to win!"[12]
In the summer of 1940, when he was 12, he built a boy-sized aircraft with his brother, which they used to fly from the roof of the Grinnell College stables. Later he built a radio from scratch and motorized his sled by welding a propeller and an engine from an old washing machine to the back of it.[13]


He grew up in Grinnell, Iowa and attended the local schools. He exhibited a talent for mathematics and science while in high school and took the Grinnell College freshman physics course in his senior year. He graduated from Grinnell High School in 1945 and entered Grinnell College in the fall of that year. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in physics and mathematics from Grinnell College in 1949. He also received a signal honor from his classmates: the Brown Derby Prize, which recognized "the senior man who earned the best grades with the least amount of work". He received his doctorate in physics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1953.
While an undergraduate, Noyce attended a physics course of the professor Grant Gale and was fascinated by the physics. Gale got hold of two of the very first transistors ever to come out of Bell Labs and showed them off to his class and Noyce was hooked.[11][14][15] Grant Gale suggested that he apply to the doctoral program in physics at MIT, which he did.[16] He had a mind so quick that his graduate school friends called him "Rapid Robert".[17]


After graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1953, he took his first job as a research engineer at the Philco Corporation in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He left in 1956 for the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory in Mountain View, California.
He joined William Shockley at the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory,[18] a division of Beckman Instruments, but left with the "Traitorous Eight"[19] in 1957, upon having issues with respect to the quality of its management, and co-founded the influential Fairchild Semiconductor corporation. According to Sherman Fairchild, Noyce's impassioned presentation of his vision was the reason Fairchild had agreed to create the semiconductor division for the Traitorous Eight.[19]
Noyce and Gordon E. Moore founded Intel in 1968 when they left Fairchild Semiconductor.[17][20] Arthur Rock, the chairman of Intel's board and a major investor in the company said that for Intel to succeed, Intel needed Noyce, Moore and Andrew Grove. And it needed them in that order. Noyce: the visionary, born to inspire; Moore: the virtuoso of technology; and Grove: the technologist turned management scientist.[21] The relaxed culture that Noyce brought to Intel was a carry-over from his style at Fairchild Semiconductor. He treated employees as family, rewarding and encouraging team work. His follow-your-bliss management style set the tone for many Valley success stories. Noyce's management style could be called a "roll up your sleeves" style. He shunned fancy corporate cars, reserved parking spaces, private jets, offices, and furnishings in favor of a less-structured, relaxed working environment in which everyone contributed and no one benefited from lavish perquisites. By declining the usual executive perks he stood as a model for future generations of Intel CEOs. At Intel, he oversaw Ted Hoff's invention of the microprocessor, which was his second revolution.[22][23][24]
In his last interview, Noyce was asked what he would do if he were "emperor" of the United States. He said that he would, among other things, "make sure we are preparing our next generation to flourish in a high-tech age. And that means education of the lowest and the poorest, as well as at the graduate school level."[25]


He married Elizabeth Bottomley[26] in 1953 and divorced in 1974. They had four children together. On November 27, 1974 Noyce married Ann Schmeltz Bowers. Bowers was the first Director of Personnel for Intel Corporation and the first Vice President of Human Resources for Apple Inc. She now serves as Chair of the Board and the founding trustee of the Noyce Foundation. Active all his life, Noyce enjoyed reading Hemingway, flying his own airplane, hang gliding, and scuba diving.
He believed that microelectronics would continue to advance in complexity and sophistication well beyond its current state, leading to the question of what use society would make of the technology.
Noyce suffered a heart attack at home on June 3, 1990 and later died at the Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas.[27]
At the time of his death, he was the president and chief executive officer of Sematech Inc, a non-profit consortium that performs basic research into semiconductor manufacturing. It was organized as a partnership between the United States government and 14 corporations in an attempt to help the American computer industry catch up with the Japanese in semiconductor manufacturing technology.

Awards and honors

In July, 1959, he filed for U.S. Patent 2,981,877 "Semiconductor Device and Lead Structure", a type of integrated circuit. This independent effort was recorded only a few months after the key findings of inventorJack Kilby. For his co-invention of the integrated circuit and its world-transforming impact, three presidents of the United States honored him.
Noyce was a holder of many honors and awards. President Ronald Reagan awarded him the National Medal of Technology in 1987. Two years later, he was inducted into the U.S. Business Hall of Fame. PresidentGeorge H. W. Bush presented the award, sponsored by the National Academy of Engineering,[citation needed] in a black tie ceremony held at the State Department. In 1990 Noyce – along with, among others, Jack Kilby and transistor inventor John Bardeen – received a "Lifetime Achievement Medal" during the bicentennial celebration of the Patent Act.
Noyce received the Franklin Institute’s Stuart Ballantine Medal in 1966.[28] He was awarded the IEEE Medal of Honor in 1978 "for his contributions to the silicon integrated circuit, a cornerstone of modern electronics."[29][30] In 1979, he was awarded the National Medal of Science. Noyce was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1980.[31] The National Academy of Engineering awarded him its 1989 Charles Stark Draper Prize.[32]
The science building at his alma mater, Grinnell College, is named after him.


The Noyce Foundation was founded in 1991 by his family. The foundation is dedicated to improving public education in mathematics and science in grades K-12. On the occasion of Robert Noyce's 84th Birthday, Google designed a special logo to honor the co-founder of Intel.[33]


Noyce was granted 15 patents.
  • U.S. Patent 2,875,141 Method and apparatus for forming semiconductor structures, filed August 1954, issued February 1959, assigned to Philco Corporation
  • U.S. Patent 2,929,753 Transistor structure and method, filed April 1957, issued March 1960, assigned to Beckmann Instruments
  • U.S. Patent 2,959,681 Semiconductor scanning device, filed June 1959, issued November 1960, assigned to Fairchild Semiconductor
  • U.S. Patent 2,968,750 Transistor structure and method of making the same, filed March 1957, issued January 1961, assigned to Clevite Corporation
  • U.S. Patent 2,971,139 Semiconductor switching device, filed June 1959, issued February 1961, assigned to Fairchild Semiconductor
  • U.S. Patent 2,981,877 Semiconductor Device and Lead Structure, filed July 1959, issued April 1961, assigned to Fairchild Semiconductor
  • U.S. Patent 3,010,033 Field effect transistor, filed January 1958, issued November 1961, assigned to Clevite Corporation
  • U.S. Patent 3,098,160 Field controlled avalanche semiconductive device, filed February 1958, issued July 1963, assigned to Clevite Corporation
  • U.S. Patent 3,108,359 Method for fabricating transistors, filed June 1959, issued October 1963, assigned to Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp.
  • U.S. Patent 3,111,590 Transistor structure controlled by an avalanche barrier, filed June 1958, issued November 1963, assigned to Clevite Corporation
  • U.S. Patent 3,140,206 Method of making a transistor structure (coinventor William Shockley), filed April 1957, issued July 1964, assigned to Clevite Corporation
  • U.S. Patent 3,150,299 Semiconductor circuit complex having isolation means, filed September 1959, issued September 1964, assigned to Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp.
  • U.S. Patent 3,183,129 Method of forming a semiconductor, filed July 1963, issued May 1965, assigned to Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp.
  • U.S. Patent 3,199,002 Solid state circuit with crossing leads, filed April 1961, issued August 1965, assigned to Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp.
  • U.S. Patent 3,325,787 Trainable system, filed October 1964, issued June 1967, assigned to Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corp.


  1. ^ While Kilby's invention was six months earlier, neither man rejected the title of co-inventor.


  1. ^ Lécuyer, p. 129
  2. ^ Jones, 86
  3. ^ Jones, 142
  4. a b Berlin, p. 10
  5. a b Berlin, p. 11
  6. ^ Burt, 71
  7. ^ Berlin, p. 14
  8. ^ Welles Gaylord, p. 130
  9. ^ Jones, p. 625
  10. ^ Jones, p. 626
  11. a b Wolfe, Tom (December 1983)."The Tinkerings of Robert Noyce". Esquire Magazine. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
  12. ^ Berlin, p. 12
  13. ^ Berlin, p. 7
  14. ^ Berlin, p. 22
  15. ^ Berlin, p. 24
  16. ^ Berlin, p. 106
  17. a b Berlin, p. 1
  18. ^ Shurkin, p. 170
  19. a b Shurkin, p. 181
  20. ^ Shurkin, p. 184
  21. ^ Tedlow, p. 405
  22. ^ One-time Intel CEO Andy Grove on the other hand, believed in maximizing the productivity of his employees, and he and the company became known for his guiding motto: "Only the paranoid survive". He was notorious for his directness in finding fault and would question his colleagues so intensely as occasionally to border on intimidation.
  23. ^ Garten, Jeffrey E. (April 11, 2005)."Andy Grove Made The Elephant Dance". Business Week. Retrieved 2010-05-07.
  24. ^ Grove considered Noyce to be a "nice guy" but ineffectual. Noyce was, in Grove's estimation, essentially anti-competitive. This difference in styles reputedly caused some degree of friction between Noyce and Grove.
  25. ^ K. Krishna Murty (2005), Spice In Science, Pustak Mahal, p. 192,ISBN 9788122309003, retrieved 2011-12-12
  26. ^ "Elizabeth B. Noyce, 65, Benefactor of Maine With Vast Settlement From Her Divorce"The New York Times. September 20, 1996. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  27. ^ Hays, Constance L. (June 4, 1990). "An Inventor of the Microchip, Robert N. Noyce, Dies at 62"The New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2010.
  28. ^ "Franklin Laureate Database - Stuart Ballantine Medal 1966 Laureates"Franklin Institute. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  29. ^ "IEEE Medal of Honor Recipients"IEEE. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  30. ^ "Robert Noyce"IEEE Global History Network. IEEE. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
  31. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter N". American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
  32. ^ "Recipients of The Charles Stark Draper Prize"National Academy of Engineering. Retrieved December 6, 2011.
  33. ^ "Google celebrates Robert Noyce birthday, Silicon Valley’s birth" December 11, 2011. Retrieved December 11, 2011.


  • Berlin, Leslie The man behind the microchip: Robert Noyce and the invention of Silicon Valley Publisher Oxford University Press US, 2005 ISBN 0195163435
  • Burt, Daniel S. The chronology of American literature: America's literary achievements from the colonial era to modern times Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004. ISBN 0618168214
  • Jones, Emma C. Brewster. The Brewster Genealogy, 1566-1907: a Record of the Descendants of William Brewster of the "Mayflower," ruling elder of the Pilgrim church which founded Plymouth Colony in 1620. New York: Grafton Press, 1908.
  • Lécuyer, Christophe. Making Silicon Valley: Innovation and the Growth of High Tech, 1930-1970 Published by MIT Press, 2006.ISBN 0262122812
  • Shurkin, Joel N.. Broken Genius: The Rise and Fall of William Shockley, Creator of the Electronic Age Publisher Palgrave Macmillan, 2007 ISBN 0230551920
  • Tedlow, Richard S. Giants of enterprise: seven business innovators and the empires they built Publisher Harper Collins, 2003 ISBN 0066620368

Further reading

External links