zenpundit.com » science

Archive for the ‘science’ Category

Hearts and minds connected

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — shd be obvious, but useful to know in the battle for hearts and minds, buddhism! ]
.

Hearts and minds, hearts and brains — tell me, heart, are minds and brains the same?

**

Sources:

  • The National, Pat Kane: To stop terror we must look into the hearts of Jihadis
  • Lion’s Roar, Buddhist researchers find actual link between heart, mind
  • Sunday surprise: Paul Ryan

    Sunday, May 7th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — Paul Ryan and friends, plus dogs, pants, tardigrades, and the quantum cat ]
    .

    Kyle Matthews provides his Twitter followers with a fine example of a visual DoubleQuote, which I’m reproducing here with the two images at the best magnification for Zenpundit:

    If Paul Ryan and company were performing a re-enactment, they could scarcely have done a better job!

    **

    On a more serious note.. Paul Ryan gave a presentation of his health care plan, which CNN brings you complete, thus:

    **

    Less seriously again though, as Time reports, The Internet Is Having a Field Day Turning Paul Ryan’s Health Care PowerPoint Into Hilarious Memes. This one in particular caught my eye:

    **

    Take a closer look at that slide. It’s amost a koan do dogs have pant-nature?

    Sometimes imagining yourself into the scene helps solve the conundrum:

    Or applying it to another koan:

    Or applying it to the lovely but somewhat complex tardigrade..

    Hey, you could always reduce it to the quantum level..

    — probably — but not once the wave-form collapses..

    Canadians, however, got all practical and entrepreneurial, with a company called Muddy Mutts:

    Oh, and cute:

    **

    With any luck, I took your mind off politics for a moment there..

    Sunday surprise — naval biology, the sad fact of the matter

    Monday, March 20th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — hilarious, with a hat-tip to Dr Farls — thundering herds of battleships, eh? ]
    .

    The phrase ‘time crystals’ is mental clickbait, well nigh irresistible

    Thursday, March 9th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — science fiction & science fact meet — JG Ballard, Kurt Vonnegut, strange matter and a sacramental world ]
    .

    Ooh and aah! From Researchers create ‘time crystals’ envisioned by Princeton scientists, Phys Org News, yesterday:

    Time crystals may sound like something from science fiction, having more to do with time travel or Dr. Who. These strange materials — in which atoms and molecules are arranged across space and time — are in fact quite real, and are opening up entirely new ways to think about the nature of matter. They also eventually may help protect information in futuristic devices known as quantum computers.

    **

    A system in equilibrium cannot be a time crystal, but non-equilibrium systems can be created by periodically poking, or “driving,” a crystal by shining a laser on its atoms.

    **

    Two groups of researchers based at Harvard University and the University of Maryland report March 9 in the journal Nature that they have successfully created time crystals using theories developed at Princeton University. The Harvard-based team included scientists from Princeton who played fundamental roles in working out the theoretical understanding that led to the creation of these exotic crystals.

    What’s in a name?

    If they’d called these whatevers “chronosynclastic infundibula” there’s be less excitement, less funding — but fans of Kurt Vonnegut would have had a quiet chuckle.

    **

    But no, they called them “time crystals”. Brilliant, from a PR perspective.

    And me? It reminds me of JG Ballard‘s brilliant 1964 short story, The Illuminated Man, which I here juxtapose to the Princeton / Harvard science, in another effort to stitch together the arts and sciences at one of the high arch- points in the nave of what Hermann Hesse called “the hundred-gated cathedral of Mind.”

    Some choice quotes:

    ‘Here in this forest everything is transfigured and illuminated, joined together in the last marriage of time and space.’

    **

    Something glittered in the dusk behind me. I turned to see a brilliant chimera, a man with incandescent arms and chest, race past among the trees, a cascade of particles diffusing in the air behind him. I flinched back behind the cross, but he vanished as suddenly as he had appeared, whirling himself away among the crystal vaults. As his luminous wake faded I heard his voice echoing across the frosted air, the plaintive words jewelled and ornamented like everything else in that transmogrified world.

    **

    There in the Everglades the transfiguration of all living and inanimate forms occurs before our eyes, the gift of immortality a direct consequence of the surrender by each of us of our own physical and temporal identity. However apostate we may be in this world, there perforce we become apostles of the prismatic sun.

    **

    I shall return to the solitary church in that enchanted world, where by day fantastic birds fly through the petrified forest and jewelled alligators glitter like heraldic salamanders on the banks of the crystalline rivers, and where by night the illuminated man races among the trees, his arms like golden cartwheels and his head like a spectral crown.

    **

    Kurt Vonnegut:

    These places are where all the different kinds of truths fit together as nicely as the parts in your Daddy’s solar watch. We call these places chrono-synclastic infundibula.

    JG Ballard:

    Here in this forest everything is transfigured and illuminated, joined together in the last marriage of time and space.

    And that brief quote —

    There in the Everglades the transfiguration of all living and inanimate forms occurs before our eyes, the gift of immortality a direct consequence of the surrender by each of us of our own physical and temporal identity. However apostate we may be in this world, there perforce we become apostles of the prismatic sun

    — that in turn calls to mind Patriarch Ignatius IV of Antioch’s A Theology of Creation, from which I quoted yesterday in On riding a rapidly accelerating world.. in slower motion:

    Absolute personal existence, the Lord as a divine Person, “One of the Holy Trinity,” as our Liturgy says, not only lets himself be contained by the universe at one particular point in space and time, but by realizing at last the vocation of the person, he contains the universe hidden in himself. He does not want, like us, to take possession of the world; he takes it up and offers it in an attitude which is constantly eucharistic. He makes of it a body of unity, the language and flesh of communion.

    In him fallen matter no longer imposes its limitations and determinisms; in him the world, frozen by our downfall, melts in the fire of the Spirit and rediscovers its vocation of transparency.

    US and Israel, a double ouroboros

    Saturday, January 21st, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — Netanyahu, Trump, and their interchangeable ambassadorships? — also fake news and truth ]
    .

    Two versions of two serpents biting each others’ tails to form a loop

    On the left, we have a western, alchemical version of the two-serpent ourobouros, and on the right an “Infinite Wealth Sacred Buang Nak Bat Amulet” from Thailand. The accompanying text on the Billionmore Rare Thai Buddhist amulets and Talismans site reads:

    Naga is the great snake of wealth in Buddhist belief when two Naga connect into a circle, it means wealth will never end..

    That’s right, infinite wealth is yours for only $26.90.

    **

    In today’s New Yorker, we see the same secondary form of the ouroboros: two serpents, biting each others’ tails, to form a loop:

    In recent years, ascendant political currents in America and Israel had already begun to merge. We have now reached the point where envoys from one country to the other could almost switch places: the Israeli Ambassador in Washington, Ron Dermer, who grew up in Florida, could just as easily be the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, while Donald Trump’s Ambassador-designate to Israel, David Friedman, who has intimate ties to the Israeli settler movement, would make a fine Ambassador in Washington for the pro-settler government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

    As you may know, I’m generally disinclined to support one side in a conflict when it appears to me that conflict itself is the basic conundrum we should be examining. Accordingly, it’s the form here — the two serpents, the two ambassadorships working together as an integrated system, that I’d call your attention to.

    **

    While we’re on the subject of twin serpents…

    Sometime back in the last century I suggested the utility of a Tarot-like pack of cards showing the great archetypal images that have populated the imaginations of so many cuotures across the globe and centuries.

    Thus both the caduceus of western medicine and the kundalini of eastern yoga show twinned serpents spiraling up a central pole – and if Linus Pauling had seen that double serpent image when he was chasing the structure of DNA, he might have spent less time on the triple and more time on the double helix, and beaten Crick and Watson to the punch.


    Left, an image of the kundalini; right, the caduceus or rod of Aesculapius — see also the two linked wikipedia pages for a flaw in this portion of my argument

    A similar case can be made for Kekule’s realization that the form of the benzene molecule was a ring, supposedly triggered by a reverie of the ouroboros or serpent biting it’s tail.


    diagram of ouroboros and benzene molecule from ChemDoodle

    It’s worth noting, however, that this appears to be an old wives’ tale, perhaps fashioned by Kekule himself, as detailed by JH Wotiz and S Rudofsky in Kekulé’s dream: Fact or fiction?” Chemistry in Britain, 20, 720–723 (1954).

    Now, are the debunking stories better stories than their respective archetypal insight stories? And what’s the truth in story, in any case? In the psyche, story and fact are both story, tiny molecular weavings of the imagination.

    And how does this tie in with “news” — fake and true?


    Switch to our mobile site