The Existence Code
Does matter really exist as separate entities in space-time or does everything have an intimate connection outside the confines of space and time?
A collection of some lectures I did.
The Latest Science News
Science daily is a vast source of science news on a wide range of exciting topics.
Monday, July 6, 2015
Sperm from stem cells
Eggs from stem cells
Genes that prevent sex reversals:
Cases of sex reversals
SRY may have evolved from SOX3
Homologues of the human reproductive system
It seems many people have the following religious notions:
1) Doubting or questioning what others in your church teach you is evil.
2) Knowledge can be acquired simply by believing. Even if there is nothing logically linking that belief to reality it is true simply because it is your faith.
However being born and raised a physicist I have always believed these notions instead:
1) You should question everything. Even if there is reason to belief it. Even if there is evidence to believe it. Even if there is convincing proof to believe it you must still question it and not only ask the question, "Is there a way this can be true?" but the question, "Is there a way this can NOT be true?"
2) There is always a certain degree of uncertainty (and flexibility) in our knowledge. Knowledge is never 100% concrete but is derived objectively from analyzing evidence and testing ideas. While I do believe that belief or faith can lead us to discover what we must to do acquire knowledge or even convey to us directly ideas that after examining the evidence ring true, I do not believe that simply believing is a way to acquire knowledge.
Faith without scientific inquiry leads to believing that the earth is flat and the center of the universe, or that heaven is up in the sky somewhere. It leads to believing that a man named Noah put millions of species of prehistoric animals on his arc (which according to the bible wasn't big enough to hold a small fraction of even the animals that exist on Earth today), or that the dinosaurs died in the flood because they wouldn't fit on the arc.... and that dinosaurs and people somehow coexisted or that dinosaurs came from a different planet (because that's the only way we can twist the evidence to fit our beliefs).
'Faith' leads people to believe that the hominid skeletons found in Africa are just fakes contrived by followers of Satan to deceive others. It leads people to believe that mater cannot be created or destroyed (but particle physicists do both on a daily basis--it is energy that endures--not mater). It leads people to believe that the earth is only about 6000 years old.
Empty faith leads people to criticize the Big Bang theory because they don't even bother looking into what the theory actually is. They just belief what others of their faith told them (i.e. that the Big Bang theory says that everything came from nothing and that God doesn't exist) when in reality the Big Bang theory was largely derived from a paper written by a Catholic Priest (Monsignor Georges Lemaître) about the origin of atoms (The theory was originally criticized for being too religious because the idea of matter and our entire universe coming from light seemed to fit the description in Genesis a bit too well--especially if you look at the Hebrew meanings of the words that have been inaccurately translated to waters, expanse and firmament).
If you look at the evidence contrary to these false 'faith'-based beliefs you will discover that there is absolutely no relation to these false beliefs and reality.
Perhaps my religion is an uncommon one because my religion does not use faith and belief as a reason to blind myself to reality. My religion is one where faith guides me to discover reality. It guides me to search, to seek, to study, to discover evidence, to question everything, to examine my own beliefs periodically and eliminate those beliefs that don't match up with the evidence and replace them with ones that do.
For me there is no difference between true science and true religion. The truth is the truth whether you believe in it or not, but it is my religion to seek out the truth and to continue to keep seeking for a better truth until perhaps some day after all is said and done and this life is over I will no longer see through a glass darkly (with uncertainty) but we see and know as God knows and be known as God knows me.
For in death we do not die, but our light returns to that LIGHT which governs all things. For light there is no uncertainty, there is no time, there is no space, there is only an exact and beautifully elegant eternal organization, but in this life light is exactly what we are uncertain about--it governs time, it defines space, it is the birth and death of material existence.
I thank God that every once in a while I am guided to see a glimpse of the light of eternity, and I thank God because physics makes those glimpses ever clearer.
Thursday, February 5, 2015
Global warming is a huge topic of debate and has been for decades, but what is the real problem here? Pollution. What causes pollution? Humans.
Lets just look at some figures here:
There are just over 7 billion people on earth.
As of 2010 human beings were generating in access of 33 billion metric tonnes of carbon emissions per year.
This means that per capita humans generate at least 4.7 metric tonnes of carbon emissions--that's over 10 trillion pounds of carbon per year per person!!!
That's more CO_2 per person per year than the entire human race produces per year through respiration (breathing)!
So, this is only a tiny fraction of the pollution human beings cause. We also produce so much garbage we make new islands and mountains out of it (literally). We contribute to ecological pollution as well by destroying or altering natural habitats and over exploiting plant and animal life.
The fact of the matter is our current rate of pollution is quickly killing our planet and will lead to the eventually demise of humanity by one simple principle: if we can't eat, breath or drink then we will die.
Now let's consider the fact that human beings are reproducing far beyond any other species of mammal at an exponential rate that simply has no comparison:
In studying population growth in my calculus classes I've learnt an extremely important principal: in order to establish a stable population there must be predation. The sad fact of the matter is human population growth alone is enough to ensure the untimely demise of our little green planet. Therefore I must conclude that the only way to save the Earth and the human race is to control human population growth. Sure we could institute reproduction limiting laws like in China, but that leads to so many tragic stories of abandoned baby girls. Sure we could educate our teens about safe sex and hand out condoms at school, but it's not going to help because guys think "it just feels better" without one. Sure we could do any number of things to try to limit population growth but even the 11 million Mormons out there are more than enough to keep the human race growing out of control and ensure our destruction.
I must conclude that there is only one solution to the Global warming problem:
Predation! Yes Predation! Humans simply need a worthy predator. Yes, the key to our human survival is to be eaten by something else! The only way to limit human consumption is to be consumed. Well, unfortunately there don't seem to be predators out there that like to snack on humans at least not at a rate that would even put a dent in our population growth. Maybe we could genetically engineer some monstrous creature that eats people, but I doubt that could work--we'd just kill it before it had the chance to grow.
Perhaps in the future our race will survive as a result of an alien invasion where the aliens like to eat people and our survival will be ensured much like we humans have ensured the survival of cattle because we love to eat them. Nah, never going to happen unless they come from another dimension or have somehow mastered light speed travel or something better.
Fortunately for us there are already predators that feed on humans and kill millions of us per year. The most powerful predators against humans are often overlooked because they are so dang small: bacteria and viruses.
In all of recorded human history the only thing that has ever put a dent in the human population growth chart was the Plague: a simple bacteria. Even with all the death it caused we managed to overcome it, but could the future of humanity actually depend on bacterial or viral population control? I mean, it seems like it's either going to be something like that or a Soilent Green sort of thing and I'd personally rather be eaten by genetically engineered super bacteria than other humans....
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
What Determines Human Sex?
- Genital Sex (vagina, penus, intersex, neither)
- Gonadal Sex (ovaries, testes, ovotestis, neither)
- Genetic Sex (XX/XY, SRY+ or SRY-, SOX9/FOXL2, etc.)
- Brain Sex (determined by brain structure, function and identity: male, female, in between, or neither)
- Synthetic germ cells (made from skin cells altered into stem cells)
- Other gender/sex related genetic markers lie outside X and Y Chromosomes
- Male to female transsexuals have a female sized BSTc (an area of the brain that is essential for sexual behavior): http://depot.knaw.nl/821/1/15106_285_swaab.pdf
- Male to female transsexuals have neuron numbers closer to women: http://press.endocrine.org/doi/abs/10.1210/jcem.85.5.6564
- Genetic males with Cloacal Exstrophy are usually assigned to female at birth because they are missing male genitalia. In this case study the gender identities of several of these individuals are studied showing that many of them identify as female and several of them as male (even though they now have female external genitailia): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1421517/
- The story of David Reimer is famous for disproving the idea that boys and girls simply are what we raise them to be. David was born a normal boy, but due to a circumcision accident he lost his penus. The doctor and his parents decided to have David surgically altered so he would have female genitailia. Despite David’s parents doing their best to raise him as a normal girl he grew up knowing from the start that he was a boy. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Reimer).
- In this case study a 17 year old girl with Complete Androgen Insensitivity has full external female genitailia, only female secondary sex characteristics, identifies as female and has two testicles: http://jcpsp.pk/archive/2008/Jul2008/14.pdf
- In this case study XY CAIS women were compared to XX women and men and perfectly mirror the female controls physically and psychologically demonstrating that both gonads and genetics do not determine gender: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1022492106974#page-1
- In this case study a phenotypically normal male (having full male genitalia and identifying as male) was tested to be genetically female according to all known DNA tests for genetic sex. He was sterile only because the Y chromosome is nessessary for sperm production: http://molehr.oxfordjournals.org/content/12/5/341.short
- In this case study of an XX/XY tetragametic chimera she was completely phenotypically female (see looked completely female) and had only female reproductive organs and 99% XY DNA (i.e. she was 99% genetically male). She idetifies as female and was also able to bear children: http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/16/1/56.short
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Here's an easy science experiment for young children ages 2 and up. All you need is a container of water, a pan to catch the water that spills out, a towel to wipe up and dry hands, a paper and pen, and five objects you are willing to get wet that fit comfortably inside the container.
This simple experiment helps kids learn how to perform and experiment, hypothesis and document their results (no writing required).
Make sure you help your child through each of the following steps:
- Have your child find five objects that can safely get wet that they do not know if they will float or not.
- Have your child draw a picture of each object in the first row.
- In the middle column have them form a hypothesis of whether the object will float in water or sink. If they think it will float have them draw an up arrow. If they think it will sink have them draw a down arrow.
- Have your child test each object one at a time and record their results with up and down arrows in the last column.
- Have you child circle each pair of arrows that does not match up and discuss with them why they think things didn't turn out how they thought.
After the experiment you can talk with your child about density. (Density is the ratio of mass to volume or mass/volume). In other words the heavier an object is and the smaller the space it takes up the denser the object is. Objects that are denser than water sink. Objects that are less dense than water float.
Wednesday, January 2, 2013
So, I just came across this thing above on facebook and I just felt like commenting on one thing it says: "Human beings have 46 chromosomes, 2 less than the common potato."
Yes it is true that potatoes usually (but not always) have 48 chromosomes, but what is the point of this statement? It seems to be using this statement among others in an attempt to make our being human seem insignificant in the vast scheme of things.
This facebook post implies the following:
Human beings have less chromosomes than potatoes and are therefore less genetically complex and less important than potatoes.
This however is completely absurd and completely false!
Let's look at another example: a carp has 104 chromosomes, but is a carp really more than twice as capable or twice as important as a human?
Actually chromosome numbers vary extensively from species to species. The Adders-tongue (a type of fern) has the highest number of chromosomes of any known life form at 1440 (see wikipedia article).
The number of chromosomes is not a reflection of the genetic complexity of a species. As far as DNA goes it's about quality not quantity. Just as the computers of 1969 might have been the biggest baddest computers of all, a cheep cellphone of today has several thousands times the computing ability.
Yeah, it just kind of bugs me when people appeal to science to draw illogical conclusions.