Thursday, February 28, 2008


The other day, I was in such a hurry. On my way, there were firetrucks and ambulances blocking the road and causing a delay. My initial remark was, why would this happen at such a perfect moment when I am in such a hurry? Then I thought, someone might have been hurt, perhaps a heart attack or an accident. And it could happen to me too. Then I realized that it was not only me that was stuck in traffic. There's a multitude of people whose lives are nudged a bit by what happened to another person.

Interconnectedness. Its simple fact - we are all interconnected. What happens to one person affects the lives of others. Moreso the actions of each person, impacts others directly. And the effect propagates like a wave of connected cause-and-effect. This wave of effect even surpasses the six-degrees of separation between people, and even outlives the person causing the effect. As an example, think of all the people written in history and their contributions to mankind. Their passions, ideas, songs and life resonates even to this very day, affecting lives of millions and spanning hundreds of years.

They are just examples. You don't have to be written in history to make a legacy. You are already leaving your legacy each day. Your footprints in life may not be prominent, but it is still significant. Your tracks may seem irrelevant today, but may probably have long-lasting effects tomorrow.

We each have a say in this universe, whether we like it or not. There might be more to it than the brief life of a simple human being in this world.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mathematica Training Online by O'Reilly

Opening the eyes of young minds to be receptive to nature's patterns is a challenging task. In the realm of Mathematics and Science, where it can sometimes get boring when one can't initially perceive inner beauty, it is even harder to cultivate interest. In our age of technology and connectivity, it is great that the O'Reilly Publishing company recently announced a wonderful endeavor:
Their school of technology will soon be providing a browser-based version of Wolfram's Mathematica, a powerful technical computing and education software which will be used to teach math and science topics online.
Honing skills to detect patterns in nature is best done with actual hands-on and brains-on tinkering. Via ajax-based web technologies, O'Reilly will deliver the power of Mathematica to let students to do real interactive work in math and science, giving a genuine educational experience for students around the world.


Thursday, February 21, 2008

Everyone is an Archetyper!

The article on nature news is interesting but it was the "theories" entered by readers in the 'comments' section that caught my attention, and made me smile, because some of them were quite funny.
It was noticed that a number - 10^122 kept popping up in conjunction with several constants of nature, and the numerical plays to explain 10^122 was quite creative and infotaining. It even included 42!
I just realized that so many people out there are pattern-hunters! The innate zest to make sense of the world is definitely embedded inside humanity's psyche. The search for Meaning is everybody's concern. Everyone is an Archetyper!

Source: Nature News

Archetyper: To know the Program and the Programmer of Everything

I have just come across another definition of an Archetype from this site:

"An archetype is an unlearned tendency to experience things in a certain way. The archetype has no form of its own, but it acts as an "organising principle" on the things we see or do."

How could something that has no form act as an organizing principle? A formless function?

Surely there is something very elusive here. If its some kind of "algorithm" or function that runs the universe, then I want to know the "programmer" as much as I want to know the "program".

As you can see, the Archetyper Blog is an account of the search for that primal essence, that fabric of truth behind the universe we experience.
This is an adventure of the mind. Join me in the journey. We might just get there!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Eureka: It Fits The Pattern!

Eureka! I just can't help but get intrigued by the news title of this discovery in exoplanetology: 2 Planets Seem to Fit Our Pattern. The discovery of these two planets that are similar to Saturn and Jupiter would seem to imply that they belong to Solar System similar to ours. Other interesting similarities are listed below:

—The ratio between the masses of the two worlds is about 3:1, similar to the Jupiter/Saturn ratio.

—The smaller planet is about twice as far from its star as the larger one, just as Saturn is roughly twice as far away from the sun as Jupiter.

—The two worlds orbit their star in 5 and 14 years, similar to the 2:5 orbit ratio of Jupiter and Saturn.

Another article mentions that the newly-found Solar System could be a "true analog".
As a pattern-hunter, news like these are music to my ears, specially that this discovery comes after I recently blogged that the Laws of the Universe are inherently life-friendly.

It only gets us closer and closer to an impending verification of this idea that if the configuration of our Solar System is not unique, then a rocky Earth-like exoplanet must be in the habitable zone of a similar Solar System. And once this particular habitable exoplanet is detected soon, we all know what's next - There Could Be Life!

We are at the fringes of a very exciting point in history, a turning point in human thought perhaps as great as the Copernican revolution when humanity realized that the earth is not the center of the world. This time however, it will even be a bigger realization: Humanity is not the center of the Universe.

When the actual discovery of life in other parts of the universe finally comes, humanity will be shaken to the core. The best is yet to come.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Relativistic Effects on Galactic Civilizations

Relativity's Effects on Extra-Terrestrial CivilizationsThis post is a speculation on relativistic effects on the pace of evolution of Life and Civilizations in outer space.
A simple illustration is provided to show the effect of varying gravitational fields in different regions of space and their implications on the speed of the development of Galactic Civilizations (chart).
Since all physical process that occur in a region with lower gravity proceed faster relative to a region within a high-gravity zone (such as near a black hole), then Life that develops in a region with a weaker gravity will evolve faster and develop technology quicker relative to Life in a region with a more intense gravity - where time runs 'slower'.
The idea is simple: Processes and metabolisms run "faster" in a place where there is less gravity as compared to another place with greater gravity.
An example of a region which has low gravity (and where the clock ticks faster) is a galaxy with a moderately-massive blackhole at its center. Another example of low-gravity regions is in the outer edges of spiral galaxies.
We can also consider the relativistic effects of the velocity of stars that lie above or below the plane of the galaxy's spin. They would not be moving as fast as other stars who are within the plane and closer to the center of the galaxy. (Remember the whirlpool in your tub? Your toy boat accelerates as it gets closer to the drain hole).
In those regions described above where gravity and velocity is low, processes are faster, biochemical reactions will occur quicker, life will develop earlier, and evolve much faster. They will develop technology sooner and spread out into other solar systems.
Given the ratio of 1:10, for every 1,000 years on Region B, life in Region C would have advanced 10,000 years. This has massive implications specially when you think of the runaway exponential curve of technology once it takes hold. Remember the Singularity?
Since our sun lies somewhere in Region B of the Milky Way, it would make sense to point our SETI instruments and exoplanetology telescopes towards the outer fringes of The Milky Way's spiral arms.
As write this post, I am wondering why Relativity was not taken into account when the famous Drake Equation was formulated. Also, I am wondering why Fermi had not thought of this clue when he asked where the other civilizations are. Part of the answer, I believe, is that these advanced civilizations must be in a region where time flows faster relative to us.
Relativistic Effects on Galactic Civilizations

Monday, February 4, 2008

Both The Ghost and The Machine

I have come across a wonderful article by Jonah Lehrer (editor of Seed Magazine) about the mind and reductionism.
The article calls for a new method to understand Consciousness, and to move beyond reductionism.
The other points of the article are extracted and shown below:

- Reductionism alone cannot answer the question of where the self or the mind comes from.
- The whole is best understood in terms of the whole
- You and I are "epiphenomenon"

Now, we come to the Archetyper's classic extraction of 'archetypes' from this article:

"Look at a Beethoven symphony. If the music is reduced to wavelengths of vibrating air -- the simple sum of its physics -- we actually understand less about the music."

"The mind is like music."

"Our consciousness...feels like more than the sum of its cells...we feel like the ghost, not like the machine."

"Neuroscience has effectively investigated the sound waves, but it has missed the music."

"How does our pale gray matter become the Technicolor cinema of consciousness? What transforms the water of the brain into the wine of the mind? Where does the self come from?"

Now what does the Archetyper say in response to the article itself? Well, its simply that the Mind is The Ghost and The Machine entwined together. The Mind, like Light, is both a wave and a particle. It is not Mind-Body Duality, rather it is Mind-Body Singularity - The Mind and Body is One.
As such, simultaneous research innovations in BOTH the science of machine "deconstruction" or reductionism, as well as unconventional "wholistic" analysis of emergent entities like the mind is necessary to truly understand Consciousness. Balance is the key. Like Yin and Yang, the clue is both the brain itself and the mind; its the form and the function together. Both the analytic prowess of the Left hemisphere and the creative genius of the right hemisphere must both be employed and put to work together to understand the enigma of the mind.