Archive for July, 2006

Matt Jones Photography is Back!

July 31st, 2006 No comments

It has been a three and a half month hiatus over at Matt Jones Photography but I have finally gotten off my butt and posted again! The new post, An Oregon Sunset was taken during my family vacation (additional photos at Flickr here). I hope to start out updating it every week or so… we will see how that goes! So please feel free to visit my photoblog or its archives and say hi! :)

Categories: Photoblog Tags:

Space Saturday XXI

July 29th, 2006 2 comments

I am back with another Space Saturday. This week I bring you Space Saturday XXI: The NASA edition. On this day, July 29th, back in 1958 the National Aeronautics and Space Administration was created. To celebrate that anniversary I wanted to share a few photos from the most recent shuttle lift off which occured on the 4th of July.

NASA’s STS-121 Shuttle Lift off (Credit: NASA)

Space Shuttle Discovery as part of NASA’s mission STS-121 launched on July 4th from Cape Canaveral, Florida and headed to the International Space Station. The lift off was a beautiful sight and I hope I can see one in person some day. Nasa has a great video clip of the take off that you should also check out. You can also check out their Space Shuttle multimedia section for additional pictures and video clips. Great stuff, eh?

Be sure to stop by Tom’s Astronomy Blog for great astronomy info. Also, visit my Space Saturday Archive for my previous Space Saturday editions.

Categories: Science Tags:

Family Birthdays in Sequim

July 28th, 2006 3 comments

Originally uploaded by mattithyahu.

Well I think I am finally caught up with picture postings… for now I suppose. Two weekends ago the fam and I drove around to the Olympic Penninsula to John and Nancy’s property in Sequim for a family get together and birthday celebration! It was a lot of fun to see family again that I hadn’t seen in a while. It was a beautiful day worthy of relaxing, enjoying the scenery and good company.

The pictures that I took (along with some of Nancy’s [you got much better ones than I did!]) are posted at my Flickr set: Birthdays in Sequim. Emily was, of course, the star of the day. :) Head over there to check the day out.

Categories: Daily Life, Photoblog Tags:

World Jump Day

July 25th, 2006 15 comments

Whilst blog browsing, I came across a post from last week: Stop World Jump Day Before It’s Too Late. I must be out of the loop or something because I had never heard of this. Reading that post made me think two things: either 1) people are complete idiots, or 2) it is a hoax. So I went to the World Jump Day website. There isn’t much info up there now as the “event” has already happened (July 20th). The just of the “event” was that if they could get 600,000,000 people in the Western hemisphere to all jump at the exact time they could change the orbit of the earth so as to reduce the effects of global warming. For those that don’t understand physics (or the sheer impossibility of cooridinating the precise movements of 600,000,000 people), this is impossible. And seeing that the website pointed to lambda omega lambda, a german techie/computer science student orginzation, I figured this must be a hoax because nerds like that wouldn’t actually believe this would work. Then I went to Wikipedia, as I often do, to see what it had to say. Their article states that it is apparently an art installation by some German guy. I also found this pretty funny:

The counter for the site, measuring registered jumpers, was also inaccurate. The number of registered jumpers would go both up and down. For a point of reference, at 21:37 on 18th July 2006, it was at 598,196,296 but just 15 minutes later it had dropped to around 598,106,000. Less than 12 hours before the event the site’s counter read that there were 600,256,820 registered jumpers, over 50% of all internet users.

Heh. This is an awesome hoax because I have no doubt that there are plenty of people willing to believe this (just like the number of people willing to blame global warming on us…). I am curious as to how many people believe this. Has anyone come across this and believed it?

Does anyone want me to explain why the science of this is bad?

UPDATE: Physics!

So here is the deal, two objects with mass will always have a gravitational force between them (F = G*m(1)*m(2)/r^2 where G is the gravitational constant, m(1) and m(2) are the masses of the two objects, and r is the distance between the two points). The center of gravity (also called the center of mass) lies between the two points. If we have two equal masses separated by 2 meters, the center of mass will be at 1 meter away from each of them. If one mass is 99kg and the second is 1kg, the center of mass will be 1/50th of a meter away from the larger object because that object as much more mass (see here for how I calculated that). In that example, the center of mass was 99% closer to the heavy body and yet there was only a 98kg difference in mass. So if we move the scale up to me and Earth size, we will see that, for all purposes, the center of mass is in the middle of the Earth (the Earth is 10^23 times more massive that a person is, that’s a 1 with 23 zeroes). This means that if I jump a meter in the air (which is a huge jump) I am not going to change the center or gravity (1 meter is only .00000784% of the radius). If I can’t change the center of gravity, I can’t change the earth’s orbit. Not only that, but because the force of gravity is attractive, I just fall towards the earth again (and according to Newton’s 3rd law, the Earth falls towards me). So even if I could move the center of gravity during my jump, it would go back to exactly the same place when I reach the ground again. So here is the just of what I am saying: The earth’s own mass (including us) cannot be used to change its center of gravity.

The idea is to change the Earth’s orbit by changing its center of mass. The center of mass of the Earth-Sun system cannot be changed by us jumping on it because us jumping on it does not even change the center of mass of the Earth-me system. The only way to change the center of mass of the Earth-Sun system would be to change our mass somehow. Even if it was possible for the supposed 600,000,000 people to leave the Earth (and therefore reduce its mass and therefore the center of mass of the Earth-Sun system), it would not be enough! Let’s assume that the average person has a mass of 70kg (I have no idea of this is correct). That means that the total mass of the 600,000,000 people would be 42 billion kg (4.2*10^10 kg). The Earth has a mass of 5.97*10^24 kg. So all of those people leaving the Earth entirely would only reduce the mass of the earth by .0000000000007035%!! This is NOT a substantial amount!

It comes to this: people jumping will not cause a change in the center of mass of the Earth so the center of mass of the Earth-Sun system will not change so the orbit will not change. Even having those people leave the earth will not cause a significant change in the mass of the Earth so that will not even change the center of gravity (by a significant amount) of the Earth. I probably made this too long and confused things more… but I hope it helped!

Categories: Science, Social Commentary Tags:

Hiking Heliotrope Ridge Trail on Mount Baker

July 24th, 2006 2 comments

Me @ Mount Baker
Originally uploaded by mattithyahu.

Kevin and Hermann Gunkel
Hermann Gunkel (the squirrel,
not the German theologian)
followed us around all day.
Originally uploaded by mattithyahu.

The week after I got back to Bellingham Katie was still around and invited me to go hiking with her and the Goldsberrys up Heliotrope Ridge Trail to see Coleman glacier and Mount Baker. It was a gorgeous day for a trek up the mountain. I had never gone up Baker (aside from some snowshoeing) so that was a lot of fun for me. Once again, to make it a bit easier on me, the pictures from the day have been put on my Flickr page so see my Flickr set: Hiking Mt. Baker for some shots from the day (various sizes can, of course, be seen there).

Also, as a side note: Nancy, and anyone else down in Tacoma, Late Tuesday (see their site or my Late Tuesday page for more info and some music) will be headlining at Jazzbones (located here) (with Korby Lenker opening) on Thursday, July 27th. The show starts at 8pm and costs $5. I hope you can make it, it should be a wonderful show!

Categories: Daily Life, Photoblog Tags:

Out of the Silent Planet

July 21st, 2006 7 comments

I finally picked up a book by C.S. Lewis that I have been wanting to read for a number of years. It is the first in his Space Trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet. Lewis’ imagination was obviously apparent in his Chronicles of Narnia but I think is more fully expressed in his creation as described in Silent Planet.

But Ransom, as time wore on, became aware of another and more spiritual cause for his progressive lightening and exultation of heart. A nightmare, long engendered in the modern mind by the mythology that follows in the wake of science, was falling off him. He had read of ‘Space’: at the back of his thinking for years had lurked the dismal fancy of the black, cold vacuity, the utter deadness, which was supposed to separate the worlds. He had not known how much it affected him till now - now that the very name ‘Space’ seemed a blasphemous libel for this empyrean ocean of radiance in which they swam. He could not call it ‘dead’; he felt life puring into him from it every moment. How indeed should it be otherwise, since out of this ocean the worlds and all their life had come? He had thought it barren: he saw now that it was the womb of worlds, whose blazing and innumerable offspring looked down nightly even upon the earth with so many eyes - and here, with how many more! No: Space was the wrong name. Older thinkers had been wiser when they named it simply the heavens - the heavens which declared the glory - the

‘happy climes that ly
Where day never shuts his eye
Up in the broad fields of the sky.’

He quoted Milton’s words to himself lovingly, at this time and often.

Good Lord, what a creative mind! This first in the series introduces us to different possibilities in our own solar system. New creatures and ways of life and beliefs. An adventure Dr. Ransom is thrust upon where he is both taught and teacher.

He [Ransom] had decided from the outset that he would be quite frank, for he now felt that it would be not hnau, and also that it would be unavailing, to do otherwise. They were astonished at what he had to tell them of human history - of war, slavery and prostitution.

‘It is because they have no Oyarsa,’ said one of the pupils.

‘It is because every one of them wants to be a little Oyrasa himself,’ said Augray.

‘They cannot help it,’ said the old sorn. ‘There must be rule, yet how can creatures rule themselves? Beasts must be ruled by hnau and hnau by eldila and eldila by Maleldil. These creatures have no eldila. They are like one trying to lift himself by his own hair - or one trying to see over a whole country when he is one a level with it - like a female trying to beget young on herself.’

Interesting, eh? The book is a quick read and very well worth it as Clive never dissapoints! I am looking forward to the second in the series, Perelandra. Check it out! [Edit: you can now see my post on Perelandra or That Hideous Strength.]

Categories: Literature Tags: