Nut Mines & Global Warming

My previous comment about predicting anything with models is based on this Dilbert series. (And real results, which varied.)

The Official Dilbert Website featuring Scott Adams Dilbert strips, animations and more

I want to point out that I have nothing against modeling… I do it for a living. Normal people say things like “If a scientist modeled it, then it must have a grain of truth.” Look, I can model the beach all day, but it doesn’t produce a surfer. Modeling is about explaining what you already know to be true. If you really don’t know it, models can help you “Perry Mason” out the testable details. If the testable details turn out to give negative response. 

example A: Evolution – we should find monkeys that look a lot like people (Ok, kinda raw, but you get the concept.) Exhibit A: Lucy. Lucy may or may not be an ancestor or related to humans, but the mental model predicted her, she showed up. Doesn’t make Evolution TRUE. But it does make it tested.

example B: If Anthropogenic Global Warming is true, we should see increased heating in the tropics, especially at high altitudes. (I think it was 10 – 12 km, I don’t really remember the paper all that well.) The paper didn’t show the heating. Doesn’t make AGW FALSE, But it does make it elements of the model falsified.

Models are like power point presentations with math added. The math is so other people can see your thinking, as well as your pretty pictures at the end. If you don’t release your models (Extremely common practice, probably the most common practice among scientists) then nobody knows what switches and levers your are pulling to produce your results. Having someone do all your thinking for you might be good on a blind date, but we are more than 10 years into this relationship, I want some explanations that fit experimental data. So far, nothing does.

Empire of Earth looks for new planets to Conquer

St├ęphane Udry: Evidence of billions of rocky, habitable planets in our galaxy

So, the picture the article used was terrible. Dwarf stars are dim little fellows, so the planets have to be orbiting in a fairly close band. The real question is “How long do they have?” The planets that close will get tidal locked and should be suffering from some significant drag effects from magnetic, tidal, and atmospheric interactions with the Dwarf Star. Do they have a few billion years to develop life? If not, can we use them as way-stations in the future. Turn their little dirt balls into Edens for our colonists pleasure?

Heck, we have a neighbor – Proxmima Centauri, which is only 3 light years from us. Does it have a planet? Could we use that planet if it has one? And last but not least, how long a trip is 3 light years anyway?

Last one first: Given the proper propulsion system – combined cycle nuclear magnetic – we could get a ship to 0.1 light speed in about 10 years of acceleration. 28 years later, it turns around and decelerates for 10 years into planetary orbit. Roughly, 50 years. Proxima is the closest likely planet by about 90 years, as Draconis is about 12 lights out, I’m not bothering to check my math. We could accelerate faster using some home field tricks, but deceleration is going to be slow or rough, take your pick.

So, if Proxima has a warm, wet, dirt ball. What does that matter to us? With proper basics, we could “start life” from zero fairly quickly. Lichen, simple grasses and mosses, trees. Start fish, plankton, bugs, … and then we forward with the cute and cuddly wildlife. Yeah, it would take thousands of years, but hey, I’m immortal, I’ll tell you all how it comes out.

Which leads me to this article from the Onion:
Intelligent, Condescending Life Discovered In Distant Galaxy

yeah, thats what bugs me. All them space aliens are so “Yeah, what have you invented lately.” Makes me want to experimentally verify the EMP hardening technology of their forward facilities, ya know what I mean?

Picture of Superior Life Form

I are Rocket SCIENTIST!
Ok, there are superiour life forms on this planet. Yes, she is also a rocket scientist. Looks a good bit better than I do when I wear that outfit.

I do have a Job!

For those who were unaware – the reason I missed Gulf Wars, Christmas, etc. – I was unemployed. This has ceased to be true. In the meantime, I have written a novel, three times. (It is a lot harder than it looks.) I also work with RE-Labs and Sablehawk Test Group. I’ve been pushing the envelope for six months trying to find a new source of funding for my hobbies – like eating – when Northrop Grummon came through with a job offer. I don’t know much about the job at this time, so we’ll be figuring that out as we go forward. I’ll keep updating, and hopefully I can get an update schedule here that makes sense.

Thanks for your support!