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New Certificate

Posted: September 27, 2016 (2:07 PM) by CalvinDude
Regular readers will have already noticed, but the SSL certificate (which makes this site secure) had expired. It took a bit longer than I'd like from my tech support, but it's finally been updated. I hope to be able to resume some more writing in the next few days.

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Another Observation

Posted: September 20, 2016 (11:35 AM) by CalvinDude
Don't worry, worriers. I'm not converting this blog into a weight loss blog. But I did have one other observation to make about Intermittent Fasting. And, of course, the disclaimer that I'm not a medical professional and you should always check with your doctor before doing any health changes, yadda yadda yadda.

My observation is based on a concern I had before I started IF. Namely, the concern of hunger. That is to say when I got up in the morning, I always wanted breakfast. And then lunch and dinner at the appropriate times. As well as snacks, of course.

But in IF you don't eat for 16 hours (or 20 hours, or sometimes 24 depending on what you decide to do). That means that you'll be really, really hungry by the time you eat, right? And that means that you'll gorge yourself on food because you're famished!

That's why most other diets just have smaller portions but you still end up with your three squares a day. Or sometimes it's broken into six really small meals, or various combinations of that.

Now here's my observation. When I eat a tiny, little meal...I get hungry. In fact, I get more hungry than I did before I ate anything at all. And what that means is that if I eat a small meal, then pretty soon I've eaten a large meal, for it is the case that I sorely lack willpower when it comes to resisting hunger.

If I don't eat anything, sure I stay hungry. But not as hungry as I get when I first start eating. The difference here is that when I do start eating after the fasting period is done, it's a full, regular-sized meal. So when I'm done eating, I'm not hungry anymore.

Eating small meals, therefore, actually ends up with me feeling hungry for longer periods of time because I'm never not hungry under that method. I'm just putting in small amounts of food--just enough to get my appetite roaring--and then having to cut if off while feeling ravenous.

I'm guessing I'm not alone in that. So I would say that, ironically enough, fasting to lose weight will probably leave you feeling less hungry than eating small meals throughout the day would. The hunger is less intense during the fasting period, and it's satisfied during the feeding period.

Naturally, your mileage may vary on this. But one other thing I've noticed is that while it was definitely the case at the beginning that my meals after breaking fast were a bit larger than when I was eating at every schedule mealtime, a) two slightly larger meals still have fewer calories than three normal-sized meal do, and b) as I've adjusted to this method the meals have been getting smaller so they're pretty much just normal-sized now. But the meals got smaller on their own, I'm assuming because my stomach actually is decreasing during the fasting stage so I feel fuller quicker during the feeding stage. The point is, I didn't force myself to eat smaller portions. I ate until I was full, but just made sure that I did it at a specific time rather than throughout the whole day, and now the meals have shrunk on their own.

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Kent McDonald Rating: 0
OFF TOPIC SORRY! but necessary. Your Security Certificate EXPIRED on 9/22/2016. My browser tried to prevent me from entering your DANGEROUS site because you had a NON-CONFORMING security certificate. I had to record an exception for your site in order to proceed. FYI
Kent McDonald Rating: 0
ON TOPIC PORTION. When I was in the military (50 years ago!) I went through survival school. Part of this was a trek through the wilderness on the edge of the Rockies for 6 days. We could eat anything we wanted as long as we killed it or picked it off a tree or bush. The only water available was to be had by eating snow. After 3 days your hunger pains totally disappear, because your body starts getting its energy from stored fat reserves instead. I lost 11 pounds in 6 days but ONLY because I was also under extreme distress of walking and climbing miles through the snow while trying to evade capture 24 hours a day. I don't recommend survival school as a method for losing weight, (although effective), just to note that hunger pains go away naturally as your body switches to fat burning.
CalvinDude Rating: 0
Hello Kent :-)

Yes, I know about the security certificate expiring, which is somewhat frustrating because I've already paid for the renewal and am just waiting for the host to finish it up. Part of the problem was that the payment went through on the weekend, so I'm hoping it gets wrapped up today. If not, I will be needing to have words with them since it doesn't help my site at all!

As for your on topic portion--THANK YOU for your service :-) I mean that from the bottom of my heart. And you are correct that the survival school diet is not really a good one to recommend. The nice thing is that the difference between that and intermittent fasting is that IF is designed to give you full meals.

Essentially, if you restrict your calories, say by dropping from 2000 calories per day to 1500, then your body adjusts over time and your metabolism slows. So you were burning 2000 calories per day before (assuming you were stable weight), and yeah you drop some weight when you first drop calories, but soon your body compensates so that if you eat 1500 calories you're also only burning 1500 calories.

In IF, it appears that your body does NOT adjust, as long as you do eat full meals. In other words, if you eat 2000 calories one day, then 0 the next, then 2000 the next, etc. then your body never shifts from burning 2000 per day. This method means you're eating 2000 calories every 2 days. But if you cut to 1000 calories every day, while you would still be burning 2000 calories every 2 days your metabolism will slow significantly.

In any case, it has thus far been working for me, although I have no desire to do that survival school diet :-D

Again, thank you so much for your service to our country. God bless you! :-)

Losing Weight

Posted: September 19, 2016 (11:03 AM) by CalvinDude
I've been thinking. I know, it happens about three times a year. But still, I've been thinking and since I mentioned in a blog post recently that I've lost over fifty pounds from my max weight that I would talk a bit about my weight loss. The first thing I want to mention, though, is that I think that "losing weight" is a really bad term. That makes it sound like you misplaced it. "Where did that weight go? It was here just a minute ago. Where, oh where, did I put it?" So I think it's more accurate to describe it as "getting rid of weight." But I don't get to invent the rules of English.

Oh well. Just to give a few of the details, at my largest I wore 44" waist pants and was up to 338 lbs. This was back in 2010. Today, I'm wearing 38" pants which are lose enough on me that I could probably wear 36s without discomfort, although it might not look that great to others. I also weighed in this morning at 281.

My goal is to become disappointed! Yeah, I'll go unrealistic but will be happy with anything that approaches it. So, basically, I want to be around a 32" waist and around 200 when I'm done.

So, how am I losing weight right now? I'm glad you asked, self! I'm basically doing two things. More exercise and less food. I know, who would have thought that combination could work? But, seriously now, it's really not that easy.

First of all, when I work out I tend to work out. I push myself as hard as I can. In the past, I would run up to two hours on elliptical machines, for example. Now, however, not so much. These days, I work out in the morning on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (except when I'm not feeling well). This means that I have a limit on how long I can go since I have to get to work. Thus, I now can only do a maximum of 20 minutes of cardio if I do any lifting. I won't be pushing it further than that, and yes, limiting my workout has actually helped. There is a point of not just diminishing returns, but actually going backwards in a workout if you push it too long.

Secondly, diet probably is a good 90% of the issue. I am eating less, yes, and I am eating healthier too (thanks to Skarlet's awesome cooking). But one of the techniques that I think has had the best results for me is that I'm basically doing intermittent fasting (IF).

What is IF? Well, it might be useful to start off with what IF is not. It is not starving yourself. You are eating the same number of calories every day (unless you're doing a full 24 hour fast, which I have not been doing). Basically, IF is just about timing. You want to eat all of your calories within an 8-hour window (or some people lower it to 6-hours or even 4-hours). The rest of the day, you're fasting.

Now, this is actually easier than you might think. If you get 8 hours of sleep during the night, then you could do this by just not eating for four hours before you go to sleep and not eating again for four hours after you get up. So, say you sleep from 10pm - 6. This means you stop eating at 6 PM, and then you eat again at 10 AM. And from 10 AM to 6 PM, you eat your full day's worth of calories.

The benefit for this is that you will burn off most of the carbs in your system before you start eating again, which can put you into ketosis (the same state the Atkins diet is designed to get you into). That does also mean that if you're going to do this and you're a diabetic, then you must talk with your doctor first! Diabetics can actually slip into ketoacidosis, which can be fatal.

For me, I actually have not really been too strict with the 8-hour window. I usually have a 10-hour window, mostly because mealtimes can get rather unpredictable with a toddler running around the house. I'd probably do better if I pushed it to 8-hours, but for now I am still making gains in my health so I'm not overly concerned yet. I'll probably push it further when I plateau.

One of the big questions I would assume people would ask (mainly because it was one that I had on my mind before I started) is: Aren't you going to get hungry if you're fasting? How can you wait that long without food and not feel exhausted? This is partly why I recommend putting the extra hours around your sleep time. If you're getting a full night's sleep, then that's already half of your fasting time and you're unconscious for it. As for the rest, when you do fast for around 12 hours or so, you actually start to increase energy.

And that makes sense when you think about it. Imagine you are hunting for your meals and you hadn't eaten for a while. If your body had no way to give you that burst of energy, then you'd not be able to hunt your food any longer and you'd starve because your food would get away. So, God's built into our bodies the ability to get that energy boost so we can keep going even when our body is "out of fuel". Fast long enough (like several days) and yeah, you'll lose energy; but IF is designed to get you to that energy burst and then get you food during that burst.

And for me, at least, that also answers the question about hunger, since I've found that if I have lots of energy I don't feel hungry. Your mileage may vary though. Either way, it was tough to start but after about 4 or 5 days then I was fine with it.

Again, it's not for everyone--especially if you're diabetic, in which case you need to ensure your medications are balanced and you're doing everything with your doctor's care. But if you're looking to be healthier, then give it a shot. IF helps with blood sugar levels, burning off carbs, energy through the day, and ultimately helps you lose weight.

For an interesting video on it, check this out:

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Entropy in the Cards

Posted: September 14, 2016 (12:07 PM) by CalvinDude
While I continue through The Collapse of Chaos by Cohen and Stewart, I have recently gone through a chapter where they discussed the oft-used example of shuffled cards as an analogy of entropy. Entropy, as many of my readers may already know, is the amount of disorder in a system. The idea is that due to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, in any closed system entropy will increase. That is to say that the amount of disorder rises.

One of the ways this is illustrated is by thinking of a deck of cards. There is only one way that the deck could be ordered "correctly" (new deck order), but there are countless ways that it could be ordered incorrectly. Indeed, if you're wondering, there are a total of 52! (that's fifty-two factorial) ways that a deck can be arranged. 52! is a huge number. In fact, that number is: 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766,975,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000.

That means that there is 1 way to have the correctly ordered deck, and there are 80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766,975,289,505,440,883,277,823,999,999,999,999 ways to get it in the incorrect order. Therefore, the conclusion is that it's much easier to get the wrong order than the right order. Thus, entropy will increase.

This example has been shared in several physics books I've read, including works by Brian Green. Green uses the example of pages of a book instead of cards, but the principle is the same. There is only one correct ordering for the pages of a book, and many ways to get the pages out of order. Thus, if you leave the pages loose and scoop them up, entropy will have increased because the pages will be more likely to be out of order than to be in order.

Cohen and Stewart challenge this analogy of entropy, and in the process bring up some great points. They thankfully use a much simpler system to demonstrate this: just 8 cards, numbered 1 through 8. But the principal is scaleable and useful here.

If you were to take an ordered deck of these eight cards and riffle shuffle them, what do you end up with? Well, let's just start by taking cards 1234 in one hand and 5678 in the other. When we mix them, the 5 falls, then the 1. Then the 6 and the 2, etc. So we end up with: 51627384.

Now it is certainly true that 51627384 looks more "random" than 12345678, but is it really? The pattern is easy to see. The cards in the odd numbers of the sequence are 5678 and the even numbers of the sequence are going 1234. If you ran across that in "nature" you would say that it is certainly not random.

So let's give it another riffle shuffle. This time, riffling 5162 and 7384 gives us: 75318642. Now certainly 75318642 looks more random than 12345678, and we might perhaps say that it is more random than 51627384 too. But then we notice that 75318642 is just the odd numbers in decreasing value (7531) followed by the even numbers in decreasing value (8642). This, in fact, does not actually look any more random at all.

So we shuffle 7531 and 8642, and we get: 87654321.

Wait. 87654321 is just 12345678 backwards. Definitely not more random at all. As you can guess, the next riffle shuffle gives us 48372615, which has odd numbers of 4321 and even numbers running 8765. Clearly not random. Next we get 24681357, which is 2468 followed by 1357. And, not to be outdone, our final shuffle gives us 12345678 once more and we're back to where we started.

So this riffle shuffle, in fact, yields no results that actually look random, and the fact that doing six perfect riffle shuffles gets us back to our original state means that the cycle of perfect riffle shuffles is giving us absolutely no entropy. How can entropy be increasing if we end up where we started?

Naturally, Cohen and Stewart point out that most of the time we are not expecting perfect riffle shuffles, but rather we are thinking of random shuffles. But if that is the case, is 73481625 any more or less random than 15483726? If we begin with one and randomly convert it to the other, has entropy increased?

Put it this way: the very fact that you could randomly go from either number to the other number means that entropy has not increased between them. The fact that it could go either way shows that they are equal, in the eyes of randomness. And, for that manner, even starting from 15483726 you could theoretically shuffle the deck a few times and have 12345678 again. The fact that it's not likely to be there for any one particular shuffle doesn't mean it's not possible to be there; and the fact that it's possible to be there--indeed, it will necessarily be there given enough shuffles--means that this system is not increasing in entropy whatsoever.

Furthermore, since the arrangement of cards has no inherent meaning at all, but rather looks more or less random depending on what we want, then whether it makes sense or not depends on us, not the cards. That is, you could have an arrangement of playing cards that looks random but which really is a sequence that would give a full house to player 1, and two pair to player three, in a game of Texas Hold 'em when you have four players. That means that arrangement is meaningful in the context of a Texas Hold 'em game, even if not just looking at them in a list. Furthermore, every ordering of a deck can be viewed as "Player 1 wins a game of War" or "Player 2 wins a game of War" or "This will end in a tie in a game of War."

The context of what the cards are being used for very much determines whether or not the data in the cards is "random".

For all these reasons, card shuffles turn out not to be a very good way of describing entropy at all...

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God of the Gaps

Posted: September 12, 2016 (11:44 AM) by CalvinDude
Here's a great point from Rocking With Hawking regarding the fallacy of atheists complaining about the "God of the gaps" argument:
It's like if scientists discovered a sophisticated alien spacecraft. After years of studying it, scientists have figured out how the alien spaceship works. They know how to turn it on, how to fly it, how to use its navigation and weapons systems, how to land it. They know how its engine and other internal mechanics work. They know its energy source for fuel. They know what material it is built out of. And so on. Basically, scientists know everything there is to know about the alien spacecraft.

But now that scientists understand all this, would it make any sense if they then said, "Welp, now that we understand everything about this spacecraft, no need to posit that it was built by an intelligent alien species, for that would be superfluous"?
Great points indeed, RWH :-)

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Junk DNA

Posted: September 8, 2016 (12:56 PM) by CalvinDude
While it is becoming more in vogue to refer to the sections of DNA that "don't appear to do anything" as "noncoding DNA", I'm still young enough to remember the claim that it was "junk DNA." We've moved away from the term "junk" recently because it turns out that a whole lot of "junk" DNA happens to be important DNA that really does do stuff.

But I want to look at this from another aspect. Darwinists often claim that junk DNA is evidence that evolution must be true, and even more specifically that evolution cannot have been guided by an intelligent being. After all, if God was designing DNA, why would He have made so much of it into junk DNA that does nothing?

This is especially impactful given that the actual genes in DNA that encode DNA accounts for only approximately 1.2% of the human genome. The other 98.8% encodes the pirates who don't do anything. (Yes, my daughter watches VeggieTales. All the time. Every day. How did you know?)

So why would God, if He was designing the human genome, make 98.8% of it worthless? Well, as we mentioned above, scientists are actually discovering some uses for lots of DNA that was previously considered junk DNA. But even with those discoveries, there's a lot of it that still appears to do nothing. Is that evidence that there is no intelligence involved here?

Or, conversely, does this indicate intelligence after all?

Consider computer programmers for a moment. When writing code, programmers often put things into comments. Comments are not read by compilers; they are ignored. These programming comments give information to the programmers who can understand the code, but if your only understanding of computer programming was looking at input in and the results given, then you would soon conclude that the majority of programs out there contain massive amounts of "junk code" that literally does nothing. Ironically, it is programs that are well-commented that tend to run the most smoothly; those with no comments whatsoever, despite having no "junk code", are those that run into the most problems because people cannot troubleshoot errors easily.

But of course the argument can be made that God doesn't need to put comments in His DNA code. He's smart enough to know better than that. But my above argument is only to demonstrate that the existence of non-coding DNA does not automatically mean we can assume that there is no intelligence involved in the formatting of it.

But I will go ahead and take it a step further here too. The job of DNA is, at its most basic, to control the structure of organisms so they can develop, grow, and reproduce. During its lifetime, an organism is in an environment that can, and often does, cause damage to parts of DNA. Where it becomes most relevant in evolutionary theory is during the reproduction phase, since that's what supposedly drives the diversification of species (after which, Natural Selection can then act upon the organisms to winnow out the less-fit species). But the fact is that mutations occur all the time. When your skin cells get bombarded with the sun's radiation, it can cause mutations inside individual skin cells. This could even be the way certain forms of skin cancer begin. Our diets also can impact cells in our digestive tract, etc.

The point is, there are many ways that a mutation could be introduced into DNA. Now the thing with programming is that all it takes to crash a computer is a simple error in the code. A single incorrect punctuation mark caused Mariner 1 to veer off course so badly it had to be destroyed less than 5 minutes after launching in 1962, leading Arthur C. Clarke to describe it as "the most expensive hyphen in history" in The Promise of Space. The same is true with DNA, in that a single mutation can cause a protein to not be formed, which could easily result in the death of the organism. In fact, nearly all mutations are going to be bad for any organism.

So suppose you were trying to transmit a program from Earth to, say, Jupiter. And you knew that there was some sort of anomaly in Jupiter's atmosphere that would randomly corrupt single bits of data here and there during your transmission. One technique that you could use to mitigate your chances of corrupting useful data is to put a ton of data in the comments of your program, so that the corrupted data will end up being in a section that doesn't impact the functionality of the program itself. In point of fact, if you have a far larger amount of "noncoding" data, the odds are much more likely that the corruption will occur there rather than in a useful part of code. In fact, if you were to, say, make 98.8% of your code be "non-useful", then you only have a 1.2% chance that a mutation would hit something vital in your code.

Naturally, one could say that the code is "junk" but in reality, such code is protecting the vital nature of the rest of the useful code--the parts that are needed for the program to work.

In the same way, someone designing DNA and wanting to ensure humans survived could easily have padded out DNA with "junk" solely to ensure that fewer individuals get hit with horrific mutations during their lifetime. It still happens from time to time, of course; and we see people with genetic disorders or who develop problems from mutated genes and such. But they are relatively rare, precisely because the vast majority of mutations that could impact us do so in "junk" areas where nothing gets hurt.

Suddenly, "junk" DNA doesn't seem so stupid after all, does it?

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Where Does Weight Go?

Posted: September 7, 2016 (10:23 AM) by CalvinDude
Carrying along with my discussion yesterday about the book The Collapse of Chaos, I've been thinking a bit about chemistry today. I was also thinking about weight loss, since I'm actually down 55 lbs from my heaviest weight (which was about six years ago). I've actually lost about 20 lbs just this summer, which is nice.

But that does bring to mind a question. What happens to all the weight that's lost? I think most people when asked, "When you exercise and lose weight, where does the weight go?" would probably respond with "It gets turned into energy." After all, we have a kind of knowledge of the conservation of mass that we recall from high school days, which tells us that the total amount of mass and energy in a system must be conserved so that while mass can be converted into energy and back, the total amount will be constant. We also remember Einstein's famous equation: E = mc2. And thus we conclude that energy is the same as mass multiplied by the square of c.

The problem with that is that c is the speed of light which happens to be an extremely huge number! This means that a lot of energy can come from a very small amount of mass. How small? Well, let's look at one gram of mass. This gives us the energy in ergs of 1 x 30,000,000,0002 cm/sec. That's the same as 900,000,000,000,000,000,000 ergs.

For reference let us consider that a one Joule (also equal to one watt) is equal to 10 million ergs per second. This means that one gram of mass can be converted into 90,000,000,000,000 watts or Joules. To put that in perspective, a 100 watt light bulb would take 900,000,000,000 seconds to burn all that energy. That would take nearly 28,520 years.

In other words, while there is some mass converted to energy, it's definitely not going to be accounting for weight loss. So where does the weight go?

Well, it turns out that fat is an organic compound (organic meaning that it's carbon-based). In fact, like sugars, alcohols, and the like, fat is composed of just three elements: Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen. There are some variations, but let's use this for fat: C55H104O6. When fat is burned, it's combined with oxygen. For the chemistry to work with the above, we add: 78O2 (that is, 78 oxygen molecules, which exist naturally as O2). This will yield 55CO2 and 52H2O molecules, plus a tiny bit of energy (used by the body). So after burning a molecule of fat you'll end up with 55 carbon dioxide and 52 water molecules.

Now what's really cool is that you can look up the atomic mass of these elements and figure out where the weight goes.

Hydrogen has an atomic mass of 1.00794. Carbon is 12.0107. Oxygen is 15.9994. So what this means is that we can substitute in the weights and see that 55 CO2 molecules have an atomic mass of 55 x [(12.0107) + (15.9994 x 2)] = 2420.5225. We can then substitute in for water: 52 x [(1.00794 x 2) + 15.9994] = 936.7946 (note, due to the rules of precision, this can only go out to 4 decimal places) . As you can see, the water molecules have a lot less mass than a carbon dioxide molecules here. In fact, the total mass is 3357.3171. This means that carbon dioxide is responsible for 2420.5225/3357.3171, or 73%, of the mass.

Ultimately what this means is that when you burn fat, some 27% of it is converted to water and is expelled in sweat, urine, and through moisture while exhaling, but 73% of it is converted into carbon dioxide and exhaled. So, quite literally, the vast majority of weight loss is because the weight is literally breathed out of the body.

Who would have thought?

More importantly, what this means is that as you lose weight, you increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the world, thus contributing to global warming. Ergo, fat Americans are saving the environment. Q.E.D.

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Brain Candy

Posted: September 6, 2016 (1:58 PM) by CalvinDude
I’ve been reading a book on simplicity and complexity in the world. It delves into the chaos theory and the mathematics of fractals amongst other things. As both of my constant readers know, this suits me to a T. The book is called The Collapse of Chaos by Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen.

What is great about this book is that it discusses far more than just math and chaos. Indeed, Stewart and Cohen begin by discussing chemistry and physics, then moving into biology. Along the way, there are little tid-bits of information that are gleaned that are not commonly discussed.

For example, even before we were able to measure things more precisely, getting down toward the subatomic level, how is it that mankind was able to discover the existence of atoms, as well as the properties of compounds? That is to say, without having a microscope that could zoom in far enough to view the atomic structure, how do we know that, say, table salt consists of one part sodium and one part chlorine? Or that water consists of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen?

I don’t just mean, “How do we know that table salt is sodium and chlorine?” That can easily be determined by mixing sodium and chlorine together and looking at the result. But how do we know that the formula is NaCl and not, say, Na2Cl? Likewise, mixing hydrogen gas and oxygen gas together and providing energy (usually from a spark) gives us water vapor that condenses. But how do we know that it’s H2O and not HO2?

It turns out that even before we could do more advanced techniques, it was possible for people to actually measure compounds that were being mixed together, and they were able to determine that (in the case of table salt, for instance) there was a fixed whole number ratio between sodium and chlorine such that if you had one “chunk” of sodium and one “chunk” of chlorine, you’d get one “chunk” of salt. On the other hand, if you had two “chunks” of sodium and one “chunk” of chlorine, you’d get one “chunk” of salt with one “chunk” of sodium left over. Here, I use the word “chunk” because it doesn’t matter what the precise measurement was—only the ratio between the amount of sodium and the amount of chlorine matters. Thus, because there’s a whole number ratio between it, we can conclude that the ratio extends down to the most basic elemental compound. All table salt is a combination of sodium and chlorine, and the ratio of measurements is 1:1, therefore it’s NaCl and not Na2Cl or any other combination.

Now what’s interesting about all this to me isn’t just the “coolness” factor of learning about the nature of reality, but ultimately I think it also shows us some insight into who God is. God created this universe from what appear to be basic, interchangeable particles. To explain it with a slight simplification, the difference between a hydrogen atom and a helium atom is just an extra proton and electron, plus some variation of neutrons (depending on the particular isotypes involved). As far as we know, all electrons are self-similar, as are all protons and neutrons. They can be interchanged at will with no change in the resulting chemical compound.

Viewed in a different way, at this level of reality, all that exists is essentially a soup of particles which are glomping (that’s totally a real word) together in patterns that follow specific rules. Similar to looking at a bunch of Legos that you can put together by putting a peg into a socket. But if you zoom out, what you get are widely different elements of sodium, hydrogen, copper, and the like. Then, combining elements together yields radically different results, like sodium with chlorine making salt. And the compounds seem to have no bearing to the elements that make them up. Sodium is explosive in water; chlorine is a poisonous gas; together, they make a crystal that is essential for life.

So basically, what you have is on one level of reality, a soup where all the particles are interchangeable and identical. But at another level of reality, the resulting formations are particular and distinct and, indeed, can be the difference between life and death. In one sense, the atoms exist as “cogs in a wheel”—indistinguishable from each other. In another sense, the differences are paramount and, in fact, essential.

And this doesn’t even get into things like scale.

This is definite brain candy for me. I am in my zone.

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Contemplation

Posted: September 2, 2016 (9:31 AM) by CalvinDude
Today I'm contemplating a verse.
Enjoy life with the wife whom you love, all the days of your vain life that he has given you under the sun, because that is your portion in life and in your toil at which you toil under the sun.

--Ecclesiastes 9:9 (ESV)
I have no real thoughts on it as of yet. It's just interesting. But then, Ecclesiastes is interesting so it's par for the course.

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Pages and Pages

Posted: August 31, 2016 (1:31 PM) by CalvinDude
If there's one good thing I've been able to do the past few weeks while I'm not blogging much, it's that I've gotten to read more. In fact, according to Goodreads, I now have read 8766 pages in 20 books so far this year. Of course, it doesn't count the books I'm in the middle of and haven't yet finished.

It's been a while since I did a lot of reading. It's good for the brain.

Also good for the brain: I've somehow managed to lose more than 20lbs this summer, without even really trying. I blame Bush for this.

And with my blaming of Bush, perhaps things will return to normal! We shall see.

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