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About BaalChatzaf

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Currently residing in New Jersey, the Bad-a-Bing State.
  • Interests
    mathematics, physics, alternative energy sources.

    I am also involved in preparing recorded books for blind and dyslexic folks.

Previous Fields

  • Full Name
    Robert J. Kolker
  • Description
    I am retired, but far from inactive. A day without a twenty mile bicycle ride is a day without joy.
  • Favorite Music, Artworks, Movies, Shows, etc.
    Music: Mozart, Bethoven. Movie: Casablanca. Favorite Philsopher: David Hume
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    not looking

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  1. BaalChatzaf

    It's Time to Abandon Earth Day

    "Earth is, of course, of tremendous value to human beings...." Earth is of supreme value to human beings. It is (right now) the only place in the cosmos where we can exist.
  2. BaalChatzaf

    Book Review "Anti Piketty: Capital for the 21st Century"

    Because they assume that if A has more than B, A must have taken something from B or A has denied B an opportunity to be better off. This position is a variation of the Zero Sum Lie.
  3. John Harrison (1683-1776) invented the first chronometer accurate enough to determine longitude. His best chronometer would loose a second a month, which for its time was fantastically accurate. Latitude had been known and accurately measured in ancient China, ancient Egypt and ancient Greece. The tilt of the earth as a function of time could be determined by measuring the length of the shadow produced by a vertical rod on the day of Spring or Autumn. On the day of the equinox the Sun is directly over the equator at noon. Latitude could also be measured at night in the Northern Hemisphere by measuring the angle to the North Star. For daytime measurement the angle to the Sun at noon is measured and the measurement is adjusted by looking up the tilt of the Earth in a table, for that day of the year. So latitude was fairly easy to measure and compute. It is a matter of geometry and trigonometry. Magellan might not have known exactly where he was at all times but one he got hias latitude eventually he could work has way back to Spain. Magellan himself died mid voyage but his navigators brought his ship home after circumnavigating the Earth (1519 - 1522 ce). That was about 30 after Columbus. The ability to measure one's position on the vast oceans of the world gave Britain a major advantage in domination of the seas and in exploration. BTW the fact that latitude was well known around 1000 bce buries the the canard that the spherical shape of the earth was not known in ancient times. It was and around 250 bce Eratosthenes, the director of the Library at Alexandria, determined the circumference of the Earth to within 5 percent of its modern value. All he needed was a stick, some paper and writing instrument and his very fine brain. The idea that the spherical shape of the earth was not known in the time of Columbus was a literary fiction produced by Washington Irving as part of his highly inaccurate biography of Christopher Columbus. Every educated person, in those days (the 15 th century) knew the Earth was an oblate spheroid to within a very small error.
  4. Once of the earliest books on persuasion techniques was written by Aristotle. He called it rhetoric. The earliest practitioners of persuasion techniques were the Greek Sophists. The made a living teaching young men of means the art of swaying public opinion in places where democracy existed. The Sophists flourished in Athens and were not welcomed in Sparta.
  5. BaalChatzaf

    An aurora named Steve.

    I am just stating the facts. The more that cosmic rays reach the ground the higher the cancer rate from cosmic radiation will be. Statistically it will a very small increment in the probability of getting cancer from radiation. There are plenty of other causes of cancer which will not be affected by increased cosmic ray influx. Cosmic rays are part and parcel of of existence on earth. It is almost certain that cosmic rays have caused genetic mutations so cosmic radiation is one of the drivers of evolution. Basically nature is not our friend. The physical universe is full of hazards and impediments to living beings. That is just the way it is. The raw forces of nature make life a bit of a crap-shoot. We evolved in such a way to blunt some of these forces but not all. Life is hazardous. And no matter how successful we are at "dodging the bullets" we will eventually die. Entropy will have its way with us. In the long run the Cosmos itself will become cold and dark, all life anywhere will cease. But soft!. That will happen very long from now and our species will be dead and gone long before that.
  6. BaalChatzaf

    An aurora named Steve.

    We are just about due for a polar flip. The process is not instantaneous. It could take centuries. However we shall start to see aurora over unlikely places such as central America and Hawaii and the magnetic compass deviations will increase much more rapidly than they have in the past. The magnet field will never really go to zero, but there will be a period when more cosmic rays reach the ground. That could have some agricultural and medical consequences. For example when the cosmic ray bombardment is maximus there may be more cases of cancer do to the DNA damage that cosmic ray cause. The polar flip will have little or no influence on our orbit around the Sun. Mars will still be going as it has for the past billions of years as will the Earth. Cosmic rays have no influence on gravitation. However cosmic rays and charge particle infusion from the sun will affect our over the air transmission of signals. It will also play hob with our satellites. Many of them may be fried. This will affect the quality of GPS reckoning. It may also mean more Carrington type events. In 1859 we got hit by the Mother of Solar Storms. The Carrington Event burned out telegraph lines and caused some of the batteries that powered the telegraph to explode. There were reports of telegraphers being shocked and burned by their telegraph keys. Had we been dependent on electric power networks at the time, we would have been in deep kimchi. We did not have AC and transformers then but if we had transformers would have been exploding and burning all over the world and there would have been major power failures. We can expect more of such woe in the future as the polar flip progresses.
  7. There has not been a dull moment since Our Donald took the helm.
  8. The night before I expected the Donald to lose. When I found out he won, the next morning, I was surprise, but pleased. I did vote for him. Not for the usual reasons. I regarded Trump as my personal Political I.E.D., an explosive device planted in the middle of government.
  9. I thought you might some of Victor D. Hanson's views of Donald Trump and his victory interest. Have a listen and perhaps state your reactions.
  10. BaalChatzaf

    The Great Math Mystery

    Yes. Please see: Vigner could not fully answer his own question -- Why is mathematics so effective in physics? It is a bit of a mystery. It gives Plato's spookiness some credibility.
  11. BaalChatzaf

    An aurora named Steve.

    Since it is an aurora it has to do with the earth's magnetic field interacting which charged particles from the Sun. My guess is that this odd aurora is an indication of the earth's magnetic field beginning to shift. The poles of the earth have shifted many times in the past ten's and hundreds of millions of years. Polar magnetism has been weakening steadily for the past century and we are overdue for a polar shift. Have a look at this: and this
  12. BaalChatzaf

    Here we go again on perfection

    Genetically determined modes of operation --- as opposed to learned modes of operation. If we had to learn everything needed for our survival we would not survive.
  13. BaalChatzaf

    Donald Trump

    In the meantime Trump said one thing and did another.
  14. BaalChatzaf

    Here we go again on perfection

    Rand erred when she insisted that humans were totally devoid of instinct. Not so. Humans have "wired in" (i.e. genetically conditioned) modes of operation. We are all -born- blabber mouths (almost all of us) and that is why speech exists in every human culture all the way back to the emergence of anatomically modern humans (about 100,000 - 150,000 ybp) and that is why cultural artifacts can be found dating 50,000 ybp. Humans are wired to do language which means spoken language primarily. Writing did not appear as a consistent language modality until about 10,000 ybp. Writing includes marking days on bone and wood etc. It is true that once past childhood humans are mostly regulated by learned rules and modes. But we are bootstrapped by genetically "wired in" ways of operating.
  15. Is there a URL with the melody available. I would like to hear the song.