World climate is changing

Earth’s climate has been changing for many decades. Now, the world is threatened by three effects of the change.

By the time today’s children have become the adults in authority, they will face a world unbelievably different from ours, today. These changes will fundamentally affect where we will live and how we will survive and interact with each other.

The world is changing. If we are lucky, the change might require 60 or 70 more years. If unlucky, if the change is too rapid, the environment could be pushed into a chaotic jump … a sudden change into a much warmer, more violent reality.  As our first sentence indicates, this challenging scenario feels unbelievable. Some people alive now will never accept it –  their babies today, grown into adults tomorrow, are the ones forced to cope.

Here, we discuss the 3 effects actually happening due to change. In another post, we will discuss human response to all this.

  • The global mean temperature will rise, some places much hotter, others perhaps cooler. || For example, destroy the Atlantic circulation and Europe could lose its winter warmth.
  • Global mean sea level will rise, and ocean shore lines will retreat. Expect a sea level rise of between 30 cm (1 foot) and 7 meters (23 ft).  || LESSER effect with smooth temperature growth to less than 2 ºC; GREATER effect with collapse of the West Antarctic ice shelf and melt of the Greenland glaciers (probably with temperature change exceeding 2º C).
  • Storms will become much more violent, though probably not more frequent. || Rate of rise for ‘storms-per-year’ will be much lower than the damage-per-storm rate.

The question ought to be about how the people of the Earth work with the results, but we will discuss here : what is happening now?

The changes have started, now

Those “will” words in the bullets sound dogmatic; but the change is happening – not the  “just-you-wait, you’ll be sorry” soon, but in current now. World temperatures are going up;  local air temperatures are rising, which puts into question the survival of the local residents.  Water temperatures are rising, have risen for decades. This is making ocean storms more energetic and shore life miserable. Heating is penetrating deeper below ocean surfaces, and is causing grounded icebergs everywhere to melt at the bottom where they rest on land.  This melt at the base has accelerated the rise in the sea levels for as long as reliable records have existed (back to the mid 1800s).

Temperature ( T ) extremes are growing

T changes make up the easiest effect to notice.  But, Who cares? It was awfully hot when I was young. Fact: as a boy in Kentucky I vividly recall summer time highs of 104º F or 40º C. (We will abbreviate that as 104F/\40C .) But projections now say that if we do nothing, it could reach 122F/\50C. Continue reading

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Flint water crisis cries racism

‘Flint’, an artist’s summary of the Flint water crisis, has visceral impact on the viewer.

This image won an award.  Flint Michigan is an old automotive manufacturing town in Michigan, about 45 miles north of my town, Ann Arbor. The Flint population is predominantly african-american.

The picture below shows the condition of the water provided by the Flint water system.  Every part of this image is a compelling statement about our past and about our very present issues with what is happening in America today.

Picture from Eclectablog web

‘ ‘Flint’ – an award winning work by artist Ti-Rock Moore. Click it to go to the Eclectablog website with full discussion

The image clicks to the original Eclectablog posting of the artwork, if you have any problem reaching it, here is the site link: .

For the past 5 years Flint Michigan has been horribly mismanaged by the Republican controlled State government. Governor Snyder ordered city management to be taken over by direct State control; horrible decisions were promptly made.  They disconnected Flint from the clean Detroit water supply that had been used (way too expensive), and substituted water from the local polluted supply, which was much cheaper but was known to be dangerous.  Flint children began to show effects of poisoning in 2014.  The water is still not clear today.

All this must have been way preferable to the original water contract.  It is very difficult to say that the governor and his advisers made decisions were not race based.

I believe that the “Colored” sign overtly refers to the color of the water being delivered to Flint homes.  This is another one of the denotes vs connotes things because it has strong evocation of the U.S. white supremacist laws that were overturned by a Supreme Court decision (60 years ago). That decision began our painful approach toward racial equality. Clearly, we are yet a long way from achieving that goal.


Charles J. Armentrout, Ann Arbor
2017 Oct 11
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Gun rights vs hard data

Right winger David Brooks published an op ed column in the 2017 Oct 7 New York Times (print edition) on gun control.  His comments have a vital point, and they should be required reading.  If you quote hard data that demonstrates a mistake in an attitude, you will not change anyone’s opinion, instead you might strengthen their attachment to anti-real viewpoints.

Brooks with new wife

Fig 1  David Brooks with wife Anne

History is full of examples of this, from the spherical vs flat earth argument, the germ theory vs will of the gods arguments, or the current gun rights vs gun control struggle. Logical arguments are as effective as jerking a hook in a fish’s mouth.  This does not remove fishhook, it just makes it sink in deeper.

We made a similar point when we highlighted Katharine Hayhoe’s climate-change presentation – hard facts do not convince true believers who think that all that stuff is false. This is becoming a recurrent theme for us.

Img Tali Sharot

Fig 2  Tali Sharot, Princ. Invest. Affective Brain Lab

Brooks made excellent points, included a link to the book  The Influential Mind  by Tali Sharot (Director of the Affective Brain Lab, University College London).

Her point:  If you offer evidence that is opposite to  deeply held beliefs and you will not change any minds.  True believers will work hard to paint over the objections, even it if requires simply ignoring the data points.  The brighter the person, the faster and deeper the rationalizations.

Brooks’ topic is gun control.  When horrors like last week’s Las Vegas massacre happen state legislators move to weaken whatever gun control rules that were in place.  He quotes a study that indicates that when a single mass shooting occurs, there is a 15% increase in bills to state legislatures to strengthen gun ownership rights. Continue reading

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Shifts and jumps in chaotic systems – USA

We had a chaotic change in our politics. What does that mean?

The United States appears to be experiencing an historic shift in its social order. No need for a bullet list of changes, the  election of Donald Trump is sufficient to show that people are willing for (actually want?) the change. But, what kind of change are we in for?

At the time of this writing, no one can predict where we will be taken by a leader so self centered that he can not recognize the reality of others. We might go anywhere on the political map – from a successful impeachment followed by Republican rewiring of government, to the establishment of a strong-man dictator with the full restructuring of American politics. Trump could not have been elected 30 years ago. But it happened last year.

This is not a post about Trump.  We will examine chaotic changes and how they happen. This is an expansion of the chaos part of an earlier post, President Trump, Triumph of Chaos.

Equilibrium changes and chaotic shifts

We want to explore what can cause a nearly stable social state of affairs to change. “Nearly” because society’s “state” is only neutrally stable at best; small external forces can dislodge it, and the average central conditions do actually drift over time.  You know that any social order is pretty chaotic due to its many interacting and competing factors – any clear and firm position today could change, maybe suddenly.

tugs guide huge boats

Fig 1  Tiny tugs guide large ships

Ocean Ship Strategy – Small tug boats (Fig 1) can bring a huge ship to dock. Their low thrust push will move even mighty aircraft carriers up to the dock – but it takes time; tug captains need patience.

To get a ship to change course, you must expend a certain total effort. Why not get it over with faster with a bundle of TNT sticks? Same total energy involved.

Answer: Bombs yield energy too fast – the idea is to redirect the thing, not sink it. Use a soft push, maintain a controlled speed.

Ocean ship strategy results are predictable. If the tug stops pushing, friction with water slows the ship. This provides a stabilizing negative feedback, and the docking process is smooth and gradual.

Gradualism allows changes to be predictable. Ought to, at least. How do you know an initial gradual start will stay smooth and gradual?

Avalanches grow fast

Fig 2  Avalanches start small, grow fast

Avalanche Strategy – Avalanches (Fig 2) begin with a tiny bit of snow rolling down a hill. The core picks up volume, excite other snow/ice bits to move, until the ensemble is a moving mass that cannot be stopped.

No one knows exactly what the end effects are.  How will the hill and valley be changed?

Rule: do not use an avalanche for landscape architecture.

Results from the avalanche strategy cannot be predicted exactly. This is unlike the ocean ship strategy. There is no similar resistance to growth for a rolling/sliding chip of ice, and results are not gradual.  If the temperature, slope and other factors are correct, and if the initial material in motion can pick up enough momentum, the result will be roaring growth to the slide – chaotic change.

Here, change means a tumultuous jump from before – the smooth slope with rocks and trees; to after – the final jumbled and torn landscape. Continue reading

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ITER-2 Machine is being built – will it work?

Fusion waste disposal is an issue that may limit ITER’s success

The long awaited fusion test bed, ITER, is under construction.  The facility buildings are well on the way towards completion and machine assembly should begin in the last months of 2018.      We discussed the ITER machine structure and various fusion concepts in our  ITER-1 post – we will not repeat them here.

Iter Timeline

Comment 1  ITER Timeline

But note– ITER is not an acronym anymore. It is okay to write it ITER or Iter or iter

Comment 1 is the currently expected schedule for ITER operations. The official timeline is reasonable – The 2025 and 2035 targets allow for a reasonable break-in with this new machine.

Assumptions behind the personal estimates – No operating issues arise during start up trials.

(1) Operation schedules base on impatience – Pushing boundaries without checking. In the 1980s, the fusion flagship, TFTR, powered up its TF coils too high and too soon; one of their big coils broke … issues.

(2) Hoping without testing. ITER is a major jump in capabilities. What if long-lived, fusion-hot plasma is operates somewhat differently from short-pulse hot plasma?

Bad events are issues

Comment 2   issues

This post is based on an issue that might violate assumption (2)plasma operates as anticipated.  (See Comment 2)

Our question – Do the techniques chosen to remove waste heat (power) and particles form a basic issue that is a background worry to the physics staff? Maybe.

The technique to remove the waste heat and particles that flow from the fusion region relies on an array of divertors, that is, on the material surfaces that the plasma strikes first.

Will divertor operation become an functional issue? This is what we discuss.

ITER has a potentially serious divertor issue

ITER field and plasma

Fig 1 ITER cross section, with field lines

Waste heat  The intense heat from the fusion core will conduct out to its edge (the separatrix) and will cross into the unconfined field volume called the scrape-off-layer (SOL).

In Fig 1, the separatrix is the green field line with the sharp × point, it separates the confined plasma from the unconfined. The SOL is the dark (brown) much cooler plasma outside the separatrix.  See ITER-1 for a more complete description of the tokamak.

Most of the heat flows along the separatrix and out through its × point but some will enter the SOL to cause wall erosion.

Wall atoms can/will •diffuse into the plasma, •absorb energy, •radiate “like mad,”  •cool the plasma, and •quench the fusion.

Waste ash  What is left over from a fusion reaction is a neutron which has four fifths (80%) of the energy, The other one fifth (20%) of fusion energy is very high energy helium nucleus (called an alpha particle, usually written α). Continue reading

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ITER-1 – The international fusion test facility

ITER will begin fusion tests within a decade. We discuss this huge machine.

The long awaited fusion test bed, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, is under construction in Cadarache, France.  ITER is an hour (70 km) North of Marseilles (South-Eastern France, not far from the Mediterranean).  The facility construction is on-going in France and the machine components are being assembled all around the world.

The ITER team has ambitious goals.  This is to be the first magnetic fusion machine to hold a stable plasma for 10 minutes. (They plan to extend operations to 1000 seconds, abut 16 minutes.)  The fuel will be deuterium (D) and tritium (T); D is a stable type of hydrogen (H), twice as heavy as H. Fusion techniques are discussed toward the end of Stirring The Pot.

Fusion terms

Comment 1 Fusion terms

It will reach fusion temperatures (about 150 M° C … 300 M° F) and ignite.  Their goal is to use their ignited plasma to generate 500 MW of output power with a device efficiency of Q = Poutput/Pinput = 10.  See Comment 1.

This exceeds the previous record set (1997) at the JET tokamak:
JET: Poutput = 16 MW, Q =0.67 .

This is hotter than any welding torch in any shop anywhere.  Hotter than the center of the sun.  Good thing, too, since the sun has to last tens of billions of years. If the sun had ITER temperatues, it would last only a small fraction of that.

In this post, we describe the ITER tokamak.

In our next ITER post we will use this discussion to describe a potential design feature that may limit the success of the program, though not until  they have tried to reach their goals of fusion temperature; efficiency, Q; and burn times (15-20 years from now).

ITER logoITER – Overview

ITER, the pronunciation   Most people in the business say eat-er.   You are allowed to say it anyway you want, just be consistent.

ITER, the acronym  The program started up in 1988 as the  International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor.  It was an English abbreviation and the central words were thermonuclear and experimental.  Although pretty good, the word nuclear had to go.

Torus shape

Sketch A   Torus – donut shape

  • The T stands for thermonuclear and could have been changeable to tokamak; its shape is a torus – Sketch A. (Looks like a bagel, a donut, or a car tire).
  • The E is the important part.  This machine is truly an experiment to test out ideas, not a prototype for a mass produced product like a car. But… after 120 years of building automobiles, companies that release a new model require thousands of prototype parts and vehicles for destructive testing. Thousands(?) – not going to happen.  Definitely not a prototype.

ITER, the history  It started in 1988 as a joint venture of 4 countries. The U.S. pulled out maybe a decade ago, then rejoined; nearly withdrew during the Obama days; our DOE just lost significant funding – want to make a bet on our presence 4 years from now? BREXIT may remove the last English speaking country.  The countries currently on its guiding council are shown in the logo.

Soon, there might be no English speaking countries left, so disconnect the name from a living language. Voilá – ITER is no longer an acronym!  It is okay to write it “Iter,” or “iter.”

ITER is the chosen name because it is dead Latin for The Way.

ITER, the tokamak  ITER’s goal is to generate 500 MW of fusion power; support a fusion burn that lasts for 10 minutes (they will try for 1000 seconds, about 16 min); and produce 10 times more power than used by the facility (Q=10). The machine to ultimately perform these is shown in Fig 1.  The left side shows its interior lined with its protective first-wall blanket.  The right side depicts the blanket being installed.

ITER cutaway diagram

Fig 1  ITER cutaway, man lower left

ITER key features

Fig 2 Thin slice through ITER, showing the key features

Click any figure, to see a full sized image. The colors are for identification; unless someone uses a paintbrush, the actual ITER will be metal toned, from dull to shiny gray.

Unless otherwise stated the source of the figures originate with  We have modified and colorized most, but the basic drawings for the  images are from ITER organization.

Fig 2 is a thin slice out of Fig 1. Continue reading

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If I explain, they will accept. Uh, umm

Today’s has a link to one of Katharine Hayhoe’s latest videos.

Facts don’t convince.  This video (Fig 1) is a very solid description on why you cannot come up to someone, just explain the technical facts about something, then expect them to change their ideas – change their acceptances, their beliefs, their feelings of happiness or anger.

Hayhoe - facts don't convince

Fig 1  Opening screen, to a very grown-up presentation

This is very true, and the person becomes less amenable to facts, the more technical training they have.   She uses global warming as her topic, but it is true throughout all experience.  Her reasons are _ well, watch it for yourself.

Global weirding series

Fig 2  Global Weirding start screen

Katharine is one sharp person, who has been the topic two of LastTechAge posts – she is an evangelical Christian and an important Climate Scientist . (I think I have her correct order-of-importance, though I have never met her, nor had any kind of communication.)

Oh, brother, do I agree with her discussion!  Our last two Global Warming posts were not to change anyone’s attitude; but to explain to those who want to accept the inevitable that it is okay to say that climate change destruction is new, horrible and is our doings.

postscript —————
I refer to her here as “Katharine” because normal Americans are uncomfortable with Dr. WhatsTheName.  Same kind of reason I sign off as Charles, although I actually go by either Charlie or Dr. Armentrout.  (More people than imagined by my younger self have an uncomfortable, even hostile response to my preferred personal name!)

Charles J. Armentrout, Ann Arbor
2017 Aug 9
This is listed under Natural Resources in the >Global Warming thread
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Climate shift denialists 2 – Religious

Trump and his religious followers deny climate change.  Why?

On June 1 (2017), Pres. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the international Paris Agreement On Climate Change.  This is a major action that will haunt our grandchildren’s grandchildren. It also has the support of many leaders, religious as well as political, in this country.

Our discussion began in Climate Shift Denialists 1, which discussed climate change denialists in business and politics. Religious denialists are possibly more important.

Climate shift is real  (D) Religious denialists

Third Rail definition

Fig 3   Meaning of “third rail”

A “third rail” issue in discussions is the discussion of religion … here, this would be the why and how of religious support in politics. (See Fig 3; Figs 1 and 2 are in our postscript)

Most of the religious people to whom I have spoken and who also deny that climate change is an issue, describe themselves as evangelical Christians. They have 2 categories for denial.

First Denial: the religious leaders and TV personalities they respect say that it is a misunderstanding at best and a horrid lie at worst.

Second Denial: they say that even if it starts to happen, God will take care of it, will protect the righteous.  The world will survive and the blessed will be left to enjoy its beauty.   Frequently, both assertions are made. Continue reading

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Climate shift denialists 1 – Business and politics

Trump and other denialists reject climate change.  Why?

On June 1, Pres. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the international Paris Agreement On Climate Change and pushed climate change into one of the major stories of the year. This has opened many more questions than can be covered in any single post.

We consider only that small facet of the climate change argument about why many business and political leaders deny it is happening. This is the first of two discussions on why leaders deny that Earth’s climate is changing at an unnatural rate. In Climate shift denialists 2, we will discuss why some religious leaders might become denialists.

Climate shift is real  (A) Prologue

Human-caused climate change is happening right now, and we will start with that.  It is a “feature” of chaos shift events that effects, once done, can never be reversed.  The sea level is rising now. Example: islands, coastal towns, bays and bayous are being swallowed by the ocean  and scoured with its currents and tides. Even if the level drops in a century or so, these features will never be same again. Weather is becoming fiercer; all who die because of extended day temperatures of 120° to 140° F (50°-60° C) will be lost forever.  Although real and currently happening, it is strongly disputed (in the US). We start with the fact of its existence  Definitions …

  • Weather – what happens every day. It is like a snapshot across the your street. Today your image shows part of a bakery, a white panel truck and a blue SUV. Tomorrow you see a different part of the bakery, a florist shop, bicyclists, and a pickup.
  • Climate – the long average of the weather. It is like adding together a series of snaps of your street scene. If you average a large number of pictures, the incidental traffic, no matter how large, will be removed and all the shops become apparent.
The Climate Escalator

Fig 1 Climate Escalator. World average temperature rose 0.18 C (0.324 F) every decade since 1970

Skeptical Science features the world temperature graph by Dana Nuccitelli. Fig 1 is from the author’s YouTube presentation. Click the image for a readable version.

World weather is the jagged green line.
World climate is the straight red line.

Temperature changes are just one of the indicators of our shifting climate. Others such as desertification and rising sea coasts may have more impact on us (as a species).

Check the Skeptical Science website for the 10 top alt facts used by denialists.

Katharine Hayhoe

Fig 2  Katharine Hayhoe, Environmental Scientist

Dr. Katharine Hayhoe (Fig 2) of Texas Tech University is one of the many scientists who talk about the climate-shift problem. Watch as she discusses various climate facts, false and true to a group of interested people.

It is climate that is shifting, the weather will just grow more violent as the change continues.  So…

Q: Why do Americans doubt climate change?
A: Their leaders and TV talking heads tell them to.

Q: Why do people in authority deny what is happening?
A: Motives of  business execs and politicians are easy.  Religious leaders?
     The second post will be my very personal answer to Christians in denial.

Climate shift is real  (B) Why are business leaders climate denialists?

Business resistance is totally understandable – Check the relation between stock prices and executive compensation.

This an issue is about how people work. The people who run large businesses are among the highest compensated in the world, many fought their way up to extreme wealth, many were born to it.  If stock goes down in the short term, terrible things happen, so corporate planning strategies usually have a 3-6 month timeline.

Continue reading

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Donald Trump is Man-child – Maybe

Is Donald Trump a child in a man’s body?  … or something more disturbing.

This question has been discussed a lot.  How would you interpret all the public aspects of Donald Trump (fig 1)?

Trump in 6 facits

Fig 1  6 faces of President Trump

Trump is a Man-Child

In recent weeks, this interpretation has been discussed a lot. Here are a couple examples:

David Brooks

Fig 2  David Brooks, OpEd columnist, New York Times

Columnist David Brooks (fig 2) wrote When The World is Led By A Child (2017 May 15) and lists 3 issues that challenge Donald Trump, but which most people solve by the end of puberty.  This is an informative read.

  • Control and focus of attention.  Trump’s attention span is controlled by his short-term impulsive shifts.  His churning thoughts can jumble together threads of thought into any statement.  “Trump is still a 7-year-old boy who is bouncing around the classroom.” My comment – He appears unable to actually study anything.
  • Sense of Self  Most adults achieve some understanding of themselves. “But Trump … need[s] perpetual outside approval to stabilize his sense of self, so he …[tells]… fabulist tales about himself”  My comment –people who doubt their own adequacy need  continuous reinforcement.  These are symptoms of deep feelings of inferiority.
  • Theory of Mind  Most people develop a bit of empathy or some at least some understanding of how others respond to events.  It appears Donald Trump never generated a model of how the rest of us think.

Continue reading

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President Trump, Triumph of Chaos

Against all reasonable odds, Donald Trump rose from a discounted Republican candidate to take the President’s oath of office. “How did this happen?”  How is because Trump is the product of self-focused personal ambition and pushed himself forward at exactly the right time. The real puzzlement is why did it happen against all expectations and so quickly, too?

Maybe Trump’s election is no big deal. After all, the sky has not yet fallen – conditions have not actually changed all that much. Nice idea – but… You cannot immediately identify what happened to our stability, nor even that a stability change occurred.  You can see the event clearly, but only after the passage of time.  The issue – we live in a chaotic world where present reality emerges when the tangle of uncountable things that could happen condenses into those that actually do.

Donald Trump - President

Fig 1  Swearing in 2017 Jan 20

The 20th century lifestyle ended in 2016 Nov 08, not 2000 Jan 01.  But the new 21st Century paradigm may well have begun 2017 Jan 20. (Fig 1).

Trump happened because we were ripe for chaotic social change.

We are experiencing a societal chaos-shift

First, a techno-break to discuss what we mean by chaotic orbits, and shifts in our social life patterns.  Next section –  the Donald Trump phenomena. You may skip to there, if you wish.

Think of our social structure as a basically stable system with gentle shifts among its interconnected parts.  For example, our states of inequality and economic opportunity were essentially stable in American (US) society from WW-II until a bit after 1981.

One key feature of chaotic stability is the ‘pendulum swing’ effect.  You can see it in the voting records.  Voters first want  (slightly) conservative leaders, then (slightly) liberal leaders; then again, then again.  You could think of this as the occasional but almost regular oscillation about an average center. With more than one kind of political influence thread, you get a quasi-stable orbit (rather than an oscillation) about a conceptual center for our political stability.

Visualize Chaotic Orbits   Suppose there were only 3 activity threads that influence the state of society. Each of these would be independent of the others except for cause-and-effect interactions between the results from each thread.

We visualize this as the concept graph in Fig 2.  Each of the three influence threads is an axis direction (vector).

Orbits about fixed point Attractor

Fig 2  NOW moves in a chaotic orbit about (+), the fixed point attractor.

The blue swirling line is the path of the net effect due the ‘pendulum’ swings  in each thread.  This path through the concept graph is like a jet airplane’s contrail.  Our current location (NOW) is the round yellow endpoint.

Notice the fixed point ( + ) as the apparent center of the motion.

Choose 3 conceptually independent influence threads that show pendulum swinging:

  • Influence 1 – Anxiety   (over living conditions)
  • Influence 2 – Ethnicity   (for inclusion in social acceptance; includes biases in race, religion – even wealth)
  • Influence 3 – Inequality   (economic gain or loss of earnings potential compared to other segments of society – other kinds of inequality exist, too)

These are LastTechAge names for markers recently identified by Yascha Mounk and Roberto Foa as The Signs of Deconsolidation of democracy in world politics. Foa and Mounk’s ideas have been discussed by, for example, Amanda Taub (New York Times), and Jonathan Rauch (Atlantic Monthly).

Although  Anxiety, Ethnicity and Inequality seem to be useful to trace Donald Trump’s rise, there are certainly many thousands of such threads that influence the direction of social change.  For simple visualization, the choice of any three does not matter.

In a world of 7 billion people, there may be thousands of millions of mutually interacting, independently swinging threads affecting social stability.

If there is a forcing function at work on some of the the influences (dimensions), the “fixed point” ( + ) will move. Small pushing forces usually cause small drifts in a system’s fixed point, and Fig 1 does display a slight drift in its center as the NOW point moves in its orbit.

A Chaos-Shift can happen if the push is strong enough   If the pushing influences are too large, the direction of the motion of NOW (through concept space) may abruptly shift the “fixed-point” attractor ( + ) to an unpredictable location. Fig 3 shows a such a chaos-shift with our diagram.  An observer must wait at least one full orbit to estimate the position the new ‘fixed’ attractor point.

Chaos shift to new attractor

Fig 3  A strong push of the influences causes shift to new indeterminate attractor

An unpredictable jump in the orbit’s fixed point is much more likely than a minor shift in its position if the active NOW value has drifted too far from its attractor, or if the forcing function is too large or too abrupt. But chaotic systems are not predictable (not causal) so a chaos-shift might just happen.

Chaotic orbit effects happen for almost every system you can image, not just politics. For any system, plot each influence as in Fig 1; the system average will show some type of chaotic orbit.  See James Gleick’s 1987 bestselling popular discussion Chaos; or Melanie Mitchell’s 2009 Complexity, A Guided Tour – one of the best popularized discussions of chaos and complexity theory.

Donald Trump’s election is a chaos-shiftand is still in process

President Trump 2017

Fig 4  President Trump 2017

Today, we still have people saying the Trump presidency (Fig 4) is not a disaster in progress. We do not see any parts of the sky falling, so government will end up as it always does. After all “the best predictors of the future are the past trends.”

Well, not in our chaotic world where myriad probabilities converge to form reality. But the current state must orbit its quasi-fixed point at least once before its details can be identified. Continue reading

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Trump invites Brit Theresa May over for tea

Breaking new just from Politico, “President-elect Trump invites British prime minister for a visit”.

Donald Trump President USA

Donald Trump (b 1948) President-to-be, United States of America

Ass or arse?Ms May is an attractive woman.  Think about what The Donald said … about the most important quality for a woman to have is her “good ass.”

My main advice would be for her to step over to the British Museum and borrow an old suit of knight’s armor.  Its just the thing to wear for this meeting.

Theresa May Prime Minister UK

Theresa May (b 1956) Prime Minister, United Kingdom. Leader of the Conservative Party

Trump sets difficult stardardsThink about it… The Donald says he always grabs a woman’s “pussy” because he can.  This indicates the dire need for armored suits to avoid an international incident.  I would hate to have a war with our British Allies!


Charles J. Armentrout, Ann Arbor
2016 November 10
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Quench the Bern? … yet the fires rage

Bernie Sanders has been quenched, but populist passions still burn – in both parties.

By June 2016, Bernie Sanders appeared to have lost in his push for the Democratic nomination, and in early July, he formally backed the heir apparent, Hillary Clinton.

And HC is the nominee. This is due   –to the fact of Super Delegates, chosen by the party leadership, and  –to the coordinated efforts by the party and the “liberal” media to reject him and his issues.

2016 Bernie-Sanders

Fig 1: Sen. Bernie Sanders, 2016

Bernie Sanders campaigned to end the inequality that has grown in the American experience like a metastasized cancer spreading throughout the body politic leaving necrotic waste where once healthy industry flourished.

Inequality in opportunity and income is the basis of unrest that permeates American political reality.  In these days following the BREXIT vote, it is apparent that such unrest underlies much of the developed world.

The social fires are not extinguished. When Sanders made his endorsement speech (2016 Jul 12), a large block of his supporters stood and walked out of the hall.

This spring and summer we has seen the populist rise of Bernie Sanders, the numerous deaths of black people by the police, the killing of the police on our city streets, and the apparent populist rise of Donald Trump (Il Duce wanna-be?) to presidential nominee for our very rightist Republican Party.  Are these events related?  Our viewpoint– probably yes.  Certainly they bubble out of the same nasty brew that is our past history.

Of course the various events are not directly related, but the experiences of our present are correlated by common past happenings.  Re-phrase this:  The events that formed our reality during the past several generations are the preconditions that guide the determination of Now;  current events become the prior events that shape the cloud of probability from which future reality precipitates. Past events create the conditions for future events.

With all that is happening, it is clear is that the leadership in both our parties “just don’t get it.”  Social/Political elite do not understand why Sanders and Trump  resonate with the population – young and old alike.  But they had better learn! Continue reading

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Piketty on the U.S. Presidential race

Piketty makes upbeat comments on Bernie Sanders and what he implies about US inequality trends.

Just to pass on a very optimistic comment from Thomas Piketty, on our on-going struggle against the American convergence to a government controlled by an emerging aristocracy.

Thomas Piketty 2015 The Guardian

Fig 1 Thomas Piketty published an Opinion piece in The Guardian

In the 2016 Feb 14 on-line edition of The Guardian,  Piketty published an opinion piece on the U.S. election. He is shown in Fig 1, picture from here.   He discussed the phenomenon of Bernie Sanders having anything more than a tiny token part of the process we use here to get candidates nominated by the parties.

He reviews the position America had as the world leader in the growth of equality, right up to the end of the 1970s, and our horrible decent since then.  He discusses Bernie Sanders and what he might mean.  His final sentence…

However, new forms of political mobilization and crowdfunding can prevail and push America into a new political cycle. We are far from gloomy prophecies about the end of history.

Hugely positive, considering Piketty’s comment in his book C21 (Capital in the twenty first century).  He ends his book observing that the convergence to total inequality is not deterministic, which is  nice way of saying this is where the momentum from the recent past is pushing our Ship Of State.  His current upbeat tone became even clearer when compared another one of his comments – the world does not have to regress to an aristocratic feudal state, although he thought it very unlikely that we, the people of the world, would change this future end result (my rephrasing).

We now resume our annual blog pause for Autumn and Winter.

Charles J. Armentrout, Ann Arbor
2016 Feb 20
This is listed under Politics … a post in the Politics > 2016 thread
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Of Time and Physics

Physics and Timepath are compatible views – the past is real; the future – messy probability; the Now separates them.

Well-trained, reputable physicists have published claims that the past is fixed, the future is just like the past but stretches in the other direction, and that the present Now is the point that joins the two. Some even publish that it is possible to travel through time.  Are such positions sensible, or, as we believe, are they ideological beliefs supported by wishful thinking?

This is our concluding post in the 4 part series that introduces our Timepath picture of reality.  Timepath is not yet a model with new predictions ready for physics testing. It is a pre-hypothesis; a suggestion of how to view world processes to remove the feelings of strangeness generated by (for example) quantum ideas. We begin by discussing the three physics worldviews (paradigms) and compare how they mutually interact. The Timepath description follows, along with a discussion of how the quantum paradigm and Timepath views can work together.   Click any image for full resolution 

Overview:  The Three Paradigms of Physics 

This section is a quick summary of the three distinct physics worldviews.

  • The Newtonian view of the classically famous 3 laws of motion.
  • The Relativistic view with its ‘Special’ description and its cosmological ‘General’ extension.
  • The Quantum view that accounts well for the atomic world of the ultra small.

A more complete description for non-technical general audiences can be found in our Physics In 3 Paradigms.pdf.

Newtonian Paradigm (NP)

Isaac Newton’s Laws form the oldest paradigm in physics that that actually works.  NP was developed in the mid 1660s. It was released several decades later as the 3 famous laws that students learn in their first classes in physics. NP is deductive and causal in that current interactions cause subsequent motion.  NP is also called deterministic.  It described and explained activities in ways not possible before.

Sydney Harbor - Newton's Laws

Fig 1  Australia’s Sydney Harbor.

Nearly every object in the Sidney Harbor view (Fig 1) owes its existence to the success of NP analysis.  All the constructed things we use today – bridges, complex buildings, vehicles, lighting, aircraft, etc.  show Newton’s success.

They connect the beginnings of NP (accurate descriptions of planetary orbits) to modern explorations of our local environments (underseas, ground-to-atmosphere, and near-Earth space).

NP is our foundation paradigm to understand the world. For this reason it is called Classical Physics.

Relativistic Paradigm (RP)

Relativistic Inertial FrameSpecial Relativity (SR), the initial form of RP, was released in 1905 and extended NP to high velocities, and accelerations in inertial reference frames only. SR is the attempt to find the form of physics ‘laws’ that can be expressed exactly the same way in all inertial frames, independent of any relative velocity (valid laws must be covariant).  It assumes that the speed of light has the same numeric value in each reference.  These two requirements – covariant laws and invariant light speed – led to startling predictions.

  • Relativistic Proper ValueThe length of a moving object is always less than its proper length.
  • The duration of a time interval (like the time between successive clock ticks) is always longer than the proper duration.
  • If there is in inertial frame where two events are detected to occurring simultaneously, they will not occur simultaneously in any other moving frame.

SR has been strenuously examined through extremely detailed tests.   Because it has passed every one of these test, SR now is generally accepted.  But to the old NP physicists, it did not “feel like” physics – sure, it made new predictions, but it seemed closer to a philosophical discussion.

General Relativity (GR) is the upgrade to SR and is its natural successor.  GR combines the speed of light and simultaneity with gravitational mass to describe the universe as a whole. GR predicted that accumulations of mass will warp straight lines through space and was immediately used to explain the classical anomaly in the precession of Mercury’s orbit as well as the bending of star light around our sun.  In its GR form, RP has passed the myriad tests of its predictions.

Physicist John Wheeler (1911-2008) is often quoted to have said

Mass tells space-time how to curve, and
space-time tells mass how to move

Andromeda galaxy and general relativity

Fig 2 The Andromeda galaxy, M31

About 20 years ago, the structure and behavior of the Andromeda galaxy (Fig 2) was found to differ a bit from GR calculations, a fact that led to the proposal of dark matter.

So far, no one has observed “dark matter” – does this invalidate GR?

Think about this – neutrinos started as a math tool to let quantum relations work. But. If neutrinos were only a math contrivance, Quantum mechanics would be as acceptable as epicycles or phlogiston.  Twenty six years after being proposed, Cowen and Reins (link) detected their very real existence.

Frankly, I am not worried about dark matter – our understanding of galactic dynamics and the universe as a whole is based on the success of GR theory.

Although the SR subset of the RP is accepted by nearly everyone, its GR generalization still makes some physicists squirm, even though it has passed every challenge during the past 100 years. It is in continuous daily use: the GPS location devices use GR calculations in every measurement. Without GR, GPS could not work.

As with its NP predecessor, RP provides accurate deductive predictions from causal relationships. Both are deterministic world views – If you can specify something’s initial state and keep it fully isolated from everything else, you can know with perfect precision what will be happening at any time after the starting point.

Quantum Paradigm (QP)

The physics discipline that underlies the QP is Quantum Mechanics (QM), which describes an atom as a tiny positive central nucleus surrounded by a definitely shaped though diffuse cloud of negative electrons.  Since you cannot distinguish between identical electrons, no prediction can be made for any particular one.  This means that QP can not provide deterministically predictive descriptions – only most likely ones.

Orbital dz2 probability distribution

Fig 3 Artist’s image of the calculated dz2 atomic orbital

QM‘s “diffuse but definite” cloud is the density of the probability in which the various states that the collection of electrons could exist. The gaseously diffuse  probability is called the state’s wave function, and has required decades to understand (assuming we actually do so, now).

Wave function calculations proved precise explanations for what we observe, and accurate predictions about what we should expect.  We can picture these as in Fig 3, our artistic conception of the dz2 wave function for the orbital electron distribution in an atom. It shows a distinct though blurry solid against a background of all the general probabilities in the atom’s environment.

Continue reading

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We have moved!

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This location is now dormant but will stay open for the foreseeable near future.

For current posts and comments, please go to what will appear as an identical site

… ALL our new post, .pdf files, and updates will appear at this new and active site.

The new site should look exactly like the one you are currently linked into, except for updates and any new work.

If you detect any other differences between this and the new site, please send an email!!

Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoy your stay.

Charles J. Armentrout – Ann Arbor
2015 Nov 26


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Obama Decides On Keystone XL

Obama announced at 11:00 Nov 6 in 2015 that the contentious Keystone XL program has been rejected.

This is written minutes after President Obama publicly announced his administration’s rejection of the Keystone upgrade project. LastTechAge has been following this since the original Keystone pipeline was approved, built and immediately called obsolete.

The President gave 3 justifications for his rejection of the project

  • Obama rejected the hype from both the far right, far left and shadings in between.

He rejected Right-wing claim that KXL would generate huge job opportunities for the foreseeable future. He is right.  There would be construction jobs, but no long range possibilities of new jobs. The 2010 Keystone line generated few long term jobs, the KXL would probably have generated fewer yet. Obama has already have achieved 5% unemployment in the face of congressional opposition and Congress appears unwilling to pass his legislation to generate job increases as much as 30 times higher than KXL would have.
No worry about true job loss.

He rejected the Left-wing claim that KXL would by itself cause devastating climate catastrophe by encouraging more raping of the Alberta wildlife.  He is right.  The U.S. does not have the power over the Canadian Athabasca fields. We would not even influence the Canadian population, always suspicious of U.S. motives.  Canadians must take care of the Alberta ecological disaster, themselves.  It will be really interesting to watch Trudeau with his new policies.
There will be no test of the climate disaster hypothesis – thank goodness. Continue reading

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Time Path – Probability Begins It

The probables in the Potential Future use Bayesian hooks into the events of Now to continuously form Reality

We continue discussing the Time Path, with a closer look at what must be happening when potential events become real events. We examine the natural flow of probable uncertainties that seem to be at play.   In a sense, we try to “clarify” by emphasizing probability, a topic most people find hard to visualize.

Future Now int Past

Fig 1  Time Path visualization. Dots indicate events,

Fig 1 is a visualization image meant to focus the discussion on the structure of time.  Activity flows like this  from right to left in the image.   Click any image for full resolution

  • the Future  is an undetermined swirl of potential actions converging toward events.  Probability is the only reality.
  • the Now  is the focus of where things happen.  Now is the coalescence of probabilities into actualized events or vanished alternatives, the occurrence point where things possible become things actual.
  • the Past  is the record of actual events that have happened.  Happening events push realized ones out of the becoming Now and into the actualized past.
click for a list of our discussions about the Time-path

The Time Path is a  speculative view, developed from my own and many other viewpoints. This is a  post in the Time Path Ontology chain.  I suspect that you should read the previous Time Path posts to get the full visualization.  I am solely responsible for any errors or misstatements.

Is time really like the flight of an arrow?

It certainly feels like we are rushing forwards toward something in the future. Really? Why not backwards into the past, instead?  This is a reasonable question if events truly are “flowing toward the future,” because basic physics allows actions to work equally well forwards or backwards.  We grew up with the imagery of flowing time that it is hard to discard. Continue reading

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Time Path – Exploring the past

How can we know that this Which caused that What?  It depends on how we use the timepath.

We continue where we stopped our discussion in  Time Path – The Flow of Time. and discuss how we identify what happened in the past. The timepath visualization of Fig 1 helps us understand the past.    (Click any figure for full resolution.)

Time path Slice

Fig 1 A vertical slice across the timepath establishes an instant for examination

Our timepath is formed out of the the Past (the unchanging record of events that have occurred) the Now (where possible actions are actualized to the events that form reality), and the Future (the open possibilities for potential actions that could become realized in the Now).

The horizontal direction ( ) is time direction leading from the Now, when such things started, into the Past.   A vertical slice ( | ) separates the timepath into left and right regions.  The perfectly thin slice is an instantaneous 3 dimensional  image of the entire universe.  The moment Now is an example of such a slice.

We start with a quick summary of what the timepath means, then examine how use slices and look at our Past to discover activity patterns.  We will reach 3 conclusions:

  1.  A timepath slice should be an instantaneous view of the universe, but – because every event loses contrast as it moves deeper into the fog of the past – the width along the timepath must increase as we move into the deeper past. Such a 3D separator marks an interval about a specific time in the past so we can label events as before and after.  Our choice of a boundary will effect our judgement of cause and effect.
  1. We cannot identify every last thing that happened on any chosen boundary, so differences in interpretations are inevitable.
  1. Since Now is the beginning of the timepath, it is NOT a “boundary” – it does not divide realized events into before and afterNow is one-sided, having only the entire Past before.

Continue reading

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Time path – the flow of time

What are the Past and Future? What is Now? The time path is interesting

Our experience of time is focused around what we describe as Now.  Before Now, there is no time containing any realized structure, just interconnected potential actions each with variably possible chances that coalesce into becoming the actualized events that are finalized Now.  After Now there are no probabilities for new things to occur.  There is just the past, as a record of events that have already happened.

I hope you are still with me after the twisted language in that paragraph, I have been working on the concept of time for many years.  Human words were not designed to discuss the structure of time, itself, so we will begin exploring what words imply.
Click any image for full resolution.

The path of time

Fig 1:  The time path. Activity flows from future probabilities to realization Now and into the past

Fig 1 is our picture to help focus the discussion.  The flow of an activity is from right to left in the picture, with Now being the focus of where things happen.

3 states of reality

  • Future (or potential), the assembly of all the possible ways potential events could happen. Reality happens when the amorphous ensemble of possibilities converge into actual events.  So the future is the potential for all that could happen,not a tangible, real condition.
  • Now (or becoming), the location where all the myriad possibilities solidify into real and unchangeable events.  This coalescing of all possible actions into real events has been called the ‘glowing,’ or ‘burning’ edge of time. It is where new actions form and our awareness happens. The flow of time does not stop because there is no firm paved path to walk along.  Time flow occurs because there newly crystallized events that becomes the new Now.
  • Past (or being), the location of fixed reality. The newly forming events push the ones that have firmly happened out of Now. This action generates the sequence we call the time path and forms the “past.”

This picture means that the future is not predestined, that it is the myriad formless ways that things could happen. Continue reading

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