Friday, February 28, 2014

Skyscrapers - Vertical Challenges

Skyscrapers are growing like weeds to the sky. As they grow, they present some interesting challenges.

One of them is, how do we move people efficiently from floor to floor, without taking up too much space for elevator shafts? Also, what when the building needs to be evacuated because of an emergency?

Imagine if you will… 

Skytropolis is a super skyscraper that soars 5 miles into the air and uses over 100 acres of land. It’s built entirely from the super construction material carbon, without the use of structural steel or concrete.

For transportation, Skytropolis has its own airport. In addition, Skytropolis has an ingenious elevator system. This system is based on our familiar highway system. There is a parking lane, a slow lane and a fast lane.

In order to keep the elevator cars running fast, a maximum of five stops are listed for each trip.

The whole system is computer controlled. For security reasons, the computer is isolated from the network. Service people use dedicated terminals in order to maintain the system.

The computer decides on the most efficient way to reach the desired floors based on which buttons are pressed. Every time a car reaches a stop, it adds a new stop to the list. That means it takes a maximum of 5 stops to get to your destination.

Imagine being a visitor to Skytropolis. You press the elevator button and in seconds, the doors open and people enter and exit. You are about to step in but realize the car is not going to your floor. You wait a minute and finally the car going to your floor arrives.

The car checks if the way is clear and starts to move upwards and to the right, where the slow lane is located. Here the car speeds up. At this point, the elevator merges with the fast lane. When it comes close to its destination, it merges with the slow lane, and then finally moves left to its destination. If there is a car at the destination, it waits one floor away until that car moves.


For security, the city has two attack helicopters and a military jet to ensure only approved craft enters Skytropolis’ airspace.

Skytropolis also has fire-fighting helicopters and ambulances that can rescue people from any floor. They dock at specifically designed locations on the building.


In addition, Skytropolis also has lifeboats for emergency use. The lifeboats are air vehicles designed to move people to the nearest landing area. In the case of an emergency, people enter the boat. When the boat is full, you press a button. The boat automatically launches and flies itself to a predetermined safe location.

On September 11, 2001, commercial aircraft collided with the twin towers of the World Trade Center. Both towers collapsed. Can you imagine if the World Trade Center in New York had such lifeboats or at least landing pads?

Lifeboats are required for all skyscrapers over 50 stories high. In addition, landing pads are required so Emergency vehicles can land on retractable landing pads, allowing easy evacuation of the building. They are similar to the above people ramps, except they are bigger and are only required on every 30th floor.

The introduction of affordable sky cars will compel sky scrapper owners to add garages for the use of tenants and guests. This would serve as natural emergency exits.

The interior of Skytropolis contains space for industry. Here are located the factories, recycling centers, and communication systems needed to operate the city. Power comes from wind, sun and geothermal energy.

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The Space-Time Continuum Doesn’t Exist

According to Einstein, the universe is a static thing. All past, present, and future states of the universe exist simultaneously as the 4-dimensional space-time continuum.

An analogy for this theory is the movie. Each frame of a movie represents one moment in time.

The theory makes an excellent plot for science-fiction, but does it exist?

Here are a few questions that the theory can’t answer…

1. The Existence of the Observer

Einstein once said, “People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."*

Einstein also said, “Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”

If reality is an illusion, then who is viewing the illusion? After all, an illusion only exists in respect to an observer. Without an observer, there can be no illusion.

If reality were the movie, then where is the projector?

2. The Evolutionary Universe

Another problem with the Space-Time Continuum theory is that the universe is just too complex.

If you look around you, you will see that the universe is incredibly complex. Did that complexity just pop into existence like magic?

We live in an evolutionary universe.

From astrological observations, we can observe the universe evolving from simple structures to more complicated structures. First, at the Big Bang, the universe was completely uniform. Then because of quantum fluctuations or whatever, hydrogen and helium clumped into stars and then galaxies.

Each state of the universe came about as a result of the previous state of the universe. A static universe doesn’t need to obey this constraint. One event need not follow another in a casual manner.

Even on earth we see that the world is a flowing process and not some static thing. When we bake a cake, the batter gradually changes its state in a definite process that depends on its previous state. A static universe wouldn’t need this constraint.

3. Time Isn’t Space

If you read any books on physics, you will discover one important thing. Time is not space. Physicists treat time very differently than space.

You can move back and forth in space, but you can’t move back and forth in time.

The only reason we believe in time as a separate entity is because we perceive movement and observe our memories and because of the evolutionary nature of the world.

4. Time at a Standstill

Clocks slow down as we travel closer to the speed of light. This is a fact. Our GPS devices are designed to take this fact into consideration, otherwise they wouldn’t work.

The common way of thinking of this slowing down process is to think of time as slowing. A natural consequence is that time can stop and then reverse. This would allow time travel. (Of course, time travel is impossible, if you believe in the space-time continuum. If everything is frozen and cast in stone, then there is nothing that can jump from future to past.)

Instead of thinking of things moving through time, what if you thought of everything as process?

Physical processes slow down as you travel closer to the speed of light.

The (possible) reason is that subatomic matter always moves at the speed of light. As we accelerate the object, we have less speed available to maintain internal processes. As a result all processes slow down. As a result, exceeding the speed of light is impossible.

Here are some thought experiments:

The Chicken and the Egg

What would happen if you put a chicken in in a ten-year-old rocket and accelerated that rocket close to the speed of light?

Based on observations, the physical processes of both chicken and rocket will slow down.

Imagine by some impossible process we can accelerate the rocket faster than the speed of light. What would happen?

The traditional answer is that time would slow down, stop and then reverse. In other words the rocket would travel to a time before it was launched into space.

The result would be different if we view the world as process instead of time.

In a world of process, the physical processes of both rocket and chicken would slow down and then stop. The physical processes would then reverse.

Both chicken and rocket would become younger. Being ten-years-old when launched, the rocket would be relatively unaffected. However the chicken would turn into an egg.

As the paint mixes (un-mixes)

Time can be described as the mixing of paint.

Place a drop of pigment on the surface of a can of white paint. Place a stirrer in the paint and slowly stir. Eventually the pigment will be stirred into the paint. This is the passage of time into the future.

Now stir in the exact opposite direction. If you do it correctly, the paint will un-mix and you will get white paint with a drop of pigment in the center.

For a real life example, see:

Time Travel – un-mixing the world

Using the above analogy, we could simulate time travel, but only for the earth.

Imagine a device that can reverse entropy. You use it and everything on earth goes into reverse. People move backwards, rain falls upward and so on.

Eventually you reset the world where the clocks in the world say January 6, 1687.

If an alien were to do it, we can be reasonable sure that the end result was how the world was when the calendar read January 6, 1687.

However, what if we ourselves wanted to do it? We take as space ship to earth orbit and press the button.

We press the button and the time-machine un-mixes the world. Unfortunately, we have altered the dynamics of the world by leaving.

This is the same as removing some paint from the can after we stirred it. What we get will be different than what originally existed.

The very act of travelling back into the past forever changes the past in an unpredictable way.

Imagine this: We could even kill our parents before we were born for the fun of it and then let the world mix again. We would then end up in a world which never remembered you existed. There is no time paradox since we never actually traveled back into time.

5. The Frequency-based World

Based on experiment, we know that subatomic particles can be viewed as particles like billiard balls. However, because of the two-slit experiment, we also know that thing like electrons also behave like waves.

I believe the wave nature of the universe is the key to understanding time.

Because of the wave nature of the universe, we can perceive the position, velocity and acceleration of things and events. We experience movement.

The present state of the universe evolved from the past state of the universe. Therefore we can know the past from the present and also predict the future.

Everything is happening now, in the dynamically changing present.

Occam's Razor

A driving principle in science is called Occam's Razor. This principle states that we should favor the simplest theory that fits the facts.

The only thing that can be proven to exist is the evolutionary universe we live in. We live in a dynamic universe and not the static one Einstein envisioned.

* Science is not something you should either believe in or not believe in. Science is just a bunch of tools we use to explore the the universe. It only deals with what we can observe.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Collective

The Danger

“Extra, Extra. Read all about it. Terminator robots are on the rampage, killing all humans.”

Is this a real danger? How about being assimilated by the Borg on Star Trek?

Some people fear we will lose control of all technology when it becomes smarter than us. Should we worry about this? Are we all doomed?

I think the future is safe for these reasons…

There is a fundamental difference between machines and humans: Procreation

A great deal of human behavior is driven by the need to procreate. We need to pass on our genes to the next generation.

Evolution has given us behaviors that ensure we procreate. One of these behaviors is our instinct to survive long enough to procreate.

Another instinct is our need to control the environment, thereby increasing our individual reproductive success.

Machines don’t have this need to procreate, since factories make machines. They also don’t fear death, since they have nothing to lose.

Why should they possibly want to take over the world? What’s the point?

Likewise, the concept of evolution is meaningless to machines…Remember, the evolution of machines is driven by human need. It is for humans alone that machines evolve.


I like to compare machines to ants.

Worker ants don’t reproduce. Their only purpose in life is to serve the colony.

It doesn’t matter to the ant if it dies. An ant’s value comes from how well it serves the colony.

In the same way, machines exist only to serve society.

However, the ants in the colony will do whatever it takes to protect the colony. They will attack and kill all intruders. They also hunt to feed the colony.

It is possible that the Internet will become conscious and self aware in the future. Is this a danger? I don’t think so.

The reason is because the Internet is composed of billions of machines and connections. A key component of the Internet is humans. The Internet is an extension of and an integral part of human society. Therefore, the Internet will not harm humans, because by doing so it will only harm itself.

The Internet will however act to protect itself from all perceived treats. This is good news because now we are dealing with treats to the environment.

Also, the Internet will protect us from Terminator style robots because we are it and it is us.

The real “danger” is that we will no longer be permitted to harm the harm the environment or others.

The Collective

Another real danger is assimilation into the Borg Collective.

People, such as me, are already melding with technology.

There is a fundamental difference between this Collective and that that found on Star Trek. On Star Trek, those who are assimilated lose all humanity and turn into machines. That is, they are expendable.

In the real world, the Collective will have an infinite capacity for diversity. There is space for any version of you that you want to turn yourself into and only you have the choice of what you will become.

In any case, some will still consider this a loss of our humanity. After all, can a person with altered DNA or cyborg implants be considered to be human? Is that guy with the cochlear implant or artificial heart still human? How about that lady who had gene therapy?

Human Reserves

However, assimilation is optional.

Just as we have nature reserves, places will be set aside for those who want to keep their traditions and refuse to take part in the great changes taking place.

Take the Zoë tribe of the Amazon as an example. In order to protect their culture, the Brazilian government made the Zoë’s territory into a natural preserve and forbade anyone from entering it.

You have a choice:

  1. Embrace the Internet and evolve into Human 2.0
  2. Spend the rest of your life in a human reserve

There is no other choice because Human 1.0 will never be able to keep up with the rapidly evolving technology of the future. Only Human 2.0 will be able to steer, guide and understand the evolving technology of the future.

People in the human reserve will never know there is anything beyond them. They will, like the Zoë, be trapped forever in a moment in history. They will be happy and without any needs, but they will always be dependent on forces beyond their understanding and control.

I could never live like this. Becoming Human 2.0 means letting go of the past, and embracing infinite possibilities.

Either way, the world as we know it will soon cease to exist, and there is nothing anyone can do to stop it. I just hope this doesn’t cause World War 3.

Evolution is Contagious

Viruses have the ability to swap genes with host organisms. Is it possible that viruses are the driving force behind evolution?

Natural selection cannot create new species. It can only change the distribution of traits within a breeding population. This is microevolution.

At best, microevolution can only reduce the number of traits expressed within a species. By species I mean, a group of organisms that can reproduce when the male of the species joins with the female of the species to produce fertile offspring. This is a breeding population.

Some life forms can reproduce asexually by various means, such as sporing and cell division. Normally we think of species and breeding population as being the same thing. However, when it comes to asexual reproduction, this doesn’t apply. Each member of these “species” is a member of their own breeding population. We refer to them as members of the same species in order to properly classify them.

Scientists have proposed mutation as a means of creating new species. Unfortunately this will not work. Here’s why.

Let’s say a mutation creates a creature that belongs to its very own breeding population. Who will it breed with to perpetuate the new species? It cannot breed with its own species because it’s the only one. It cannot breed with its parent’s species because of the newly formed species barrier.

Some species can overcome this problem by self-fertilization. When enough members of the new species are born, regular sexual reproduction can continue. Some animal species produce hundreds of eggs at a time. This can bypass the above problem since the hatched creatures can reproduce among themselves.

What the mutation process can do is increase the genetic diversity of a species.

Unfortunately, the mutation rate of a single species is almost zero. If you rely on this mechanism alone, the genetic diversity around us would never come into existence.

Fortunately, there is a way out. It also explains why we share more genes with other species than would be expected otherwise.

On The Farm

Imagine a pig and chicken farm. A common virus infects the chickens.

Like all viruses, the little bugs swap genes with their hosts. In this case, the viruses obtain the genes that code for feathers.

The viruses then proceed to infect the sperm and egg cells of the pigs.

The pigs show no outward signs of infection and the farmer does nothing.

While in the new host, the virus starts swapping genes between itself and the host organism. The genes swapped are the genes that code for feathers.

Unfortunately, this has rendered the eggs and sperm incompatible with the eggs and sperm of non-infected pigs.

The farmer then breeds the pigs with each other without any problems, since all the sperm and eggs of the pigs have the same genetic alteration and are therefore compatible. The hundreds of piglets produced now have the unique genes. They can breed with each other but not with regular pigs.

This makes them members of their own species.

Genetic Diversity

It probably takes billions of generations for new non-harmful genes to come into existence for a single species. Let’s call this the mutation rate of a species.

But what if you multiply the mutation rate of that species with the mutation rate of all the plants in the world plus all the animals in the world plus all the viruses and bacteria in the world?

The generation of new genes throughout the world should be relatively common. Through the agency of viruses, the new gene slowly spreads throughout the ecosystem, like ink spreading across a pond. The species that can take advantage of these genes will do so with the result that a new trait has come into existence within that species.

This way a species can benefit from genetic mutation without the normal risks associated with it. Some genes have a radical effect on the appearance of plants and animals. This is what causes the Doberman to look so different from a poodle.

A newly acquired gene could cause a new species to take on characteristics that are radically different from its parent species.

Might evolution to work this way?

When pigs fly, I guess. Smile

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Curved Space? – Baloney

According to Einstein, matter causes space to curve. According to this theory, gravity is the curvature of space and not a physical force like magnetism.

1. ModelThis is modeled using a marble on a sheet of rubber. The marble deforms the sheet, forming the curve.

Curved Space-Time

If you place another marble on the rubber sheet, both marbles will eventually come together. If you roll a second marble, it will curve around the first marble.

Moon Attracted to Earth

Additionally, light bends around celestial bodies because of the curvature of space.

Light Bending

Observation and Expectation
Experiments have shown that light does indeed curve around celestial bodies. During an eclipse, it was shown that light from distant stars was bending around the sun from.

According to theory, light has no mass, which is why the only way for light to curve is because space is curved.

A Critical Flaw
This model seems to explain everything, but it is fundamentally flawed - It only works on Earth.

If you take the model into outer space, it stops working. Objects still bend when travelling on the surface, but they no longer attract each other.

This can mean one of two things: either the model is incorrect, or there is a force external to the universe and affecting the universe. Either way, we haven’t yet discovered the true nature of gravity.

A force is acting perpendicularly to our Universe.
This force pushes mass downwards, curving space.
A second mass then curves around the first when rolled, as expected.

Rainbow Gravity
Recently an interesting theory has appeared. It's called Rainbow Gravity. According to the theory gravity affects different wavelengths of light, like a prism. Large scale experiments are currently under way to see if the theory is valid.

If the only reason light curves is because space is curved, then clearly Rainbow Gravity is wrong.

But what if Rainbow Gravity is correct?

Energy as Mass


  • Newton's law of universal gravitation states that any two bodies in the universe attract each other with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.

Mass of Earth: 5,973,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg
Diameter of Earth at equator12,750 km

6.673×10−11 × M× s

Force at surface of

Inertia Fields

What are inertia fields and do they exist? This article attempts to answer that question by comparing an electric system with a gravitational system. The inertia field can explain where the energy of a gravitational system is stored when the energy is no longer stored in the gravitational field.

A gravitational capacitor (Fig. 1A) is made of a neutral massive ring with a neutral mass-less tube in the center. At the top of the tube is a neutral massive ball. When the ball is at the top of the tube, there is a gravitational potential between the ring and the ball, just as there is an electrical potential between the plates of a charged electrical capacitor (Fig 1B). The gravitational capacitor has all its energy stored initially in the gravitational field, just as a charged electrical capacitor has all its energy stored in the electrical field.

Releasing the ball from rest from the top of the gravitational capacitor is like shorting a charged electric capacitor. When we short out the charged electric capacitor, the negative charge on one plate of the capacitor accelerates under the influence of the electric field towards the other plate of the capacitor. When we release the ball in the gravitational capacitor from rest, it accelerates toward the ring.

When the ball is in the center of the ring of the gravitational capacitor, gravity loses its effect since it can no longer bring the masses any closer together (Fig 2A). At this point, the ball has its greatest velocity, since the gravitational potential is zero.

When enough electric charge moves to the other plate of the electric capacitor, the voltage between the two plates goes to zero (Fig. 2B). At this point, the current flowing between the plates is it its maximum. The current continues to flow even though there’s no electric field. We explain this by saying that the current generates a magnetic field. When electric charges accelerate, energy is stored in a magnetic field. In the electric capacitor, the electric current is at its maximum when the voltage difference goes to zero. At this point, all the energy of the system is stored in the magnetic field. Negative charge starts to accumulate on the plate that was previously positive (Fig. 3B). The current decreases and the energy stored in the magnetic field are transfers to the electric field.

In the gravitational capacitor, when the ball is in the center of the ring, the ball’s velocity is at its maximum. The ball’s momentum causes it to move away from the ring. As the ball moves away from the ring, it decelerates because of gravity. The ball comes to a stop on the other side of the ring with all the energy of the system again stored as gravitational potential (Fig. 3A). When the ball is in the center of the ring, where is the energy of the system stored if it is not stored in the gravitational field? Just as in an electric system where the energy of the moving charge is stored in the magnetic field, the energy of a moving mass could be stored in an inertia field. In the gravitational field capacitor, when the ball is in the center of the ring and its velocity is greatest, all the energy of the system is stored in the inertia field. As the ball slows down after it moves away from the ring, the energy stored in the inertia field transfers to the gravitational field until the ball comes to a rest. Then all the energy of the system is again stored in the gravitational field.

An inertia field would explain why an object at rest stays at rest and an object in constant uniform motion doesn’t change its velocity, unless acted upon by an external force. Just like a magnetic field, inertial fields store energy, and so in order for an object to change its velocity, energy must be either added to or taken from the inertia field. Another similarity between magnetic fields and inertia fields is that just as a moving electric charge creates a magnetic field, a moving mass creates an inertia field. Just as an electric charge moving in a magnetic field experiences a force perpendicular to the magnetic field and the direction of motion of the charge, a mass moving in an inertia field should experience a force perpendicular to the inertia field and the direction of the moving mass. Just as magnetic lines of force around a current carrying wire can be seen by sprinkling metal filing on a piece of paper next to the wire, inertial lines of force around a fluid carrying pipe, such as the Alaska Pipeline, should be able to be seen by sprinkling dust on a flat surface next to the pipe.

We should be able to measure the force exerted on a moving mass in an inertia field by measuring the torque exerted on a spinning gyroscope next to a pipeline that contains a fast moving liquid. Since the gravitational force is so much weaker than the electrical force the force felt by a moving mass in an inertia field should be correspondingly weaker than the force felt by a moving electric charge in a magnetic field. This may be why no one detected inertia fields before.

Super Carbon

Carbon can form many structures. Some structures include Bucky Balls, Carbon Nanotubes, graphite and diamond. However, here’s a structure I’ve never seen, perhaps because it doesn’t form in nature.

Consider a 3-D structure of carbon atoms forming sheets. Carbon atoms in the middle connect the sheets. (Carbon has 4 valence electrons that potentially can form connections with 4 different atoms.)

All together, they form the structure below. Such a structure will probably need to be formed one atom at a time.

This should form a super strong building material superior to current carbon fiber material.