World Food Day .. 1/8 officially hungry today how many tomorrow?

On the occasion of the so called world food day
BBC has some interesting articles about our suicidal culture 
 
 

Fast food facts

  • One third of all food goes to waste
  • Consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa
  • We will need to produce 70% more food by 2050 to feed the world’s expanding population
  • Global corn stocks have halved since 1998
  • More than 100 million more people across the world suffer from hunger due to recent food price rises
  • Globally, one in eight people do not have enough food.
 
and still scientist exist who say that we need to make more fuel from biomass..
and only tiny minorities dare to speak out 
 
isn’t this a shame for our profession ..
 

Michael 

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After the RIO+ 20 Disaster Reflections about the unavoidable transition to a sustainable way

All details about our recent conCERNed colloq. can be found here:

https://indico.cern.ch/conferenceDisplay.py?confId=198162

The very fruitful discussion following the presentation invites for more discussions on our blog. Just a few quick questions/answers to add and start perhaps a new round of exchanges.

J.:  “What do you propose now?”

A (M.D.)

but basically my talk gave the answer
just look at the last slides
about what we can do..
you might have other ideas and try them that is perfect
or you might disagree with my conclusions etc
but my(the?) answer was in the talk
learn and teach about the basics, preserve and increase bio-diversity around you.
and don’t forget about the fights for disarmaments and defending human rights
and defend the few remaining sustainably living people
(with more time i would do more for survival.. but this is my personal choice!)
you must make your choice
but in any case and if you are an activist you are perfectly busy with this already
and all the other ways to teach people into action
Q (D.J): what are the examples you mentioned about “doing things differently”
A:

here are the two impressive and short video documents
here is the thing about china and greening the desert
and another impressive one

Q (S): Are we really close to peak oil, recently many studies appeared claiming the opposite?

 A(M): I think one needs to go deeper into this entire research field to come to a rational answer.
For me, i only have to look on how quickly UK and Norway oil fields are being declining.
What more do i need to know that in Europe we are in deep trouble any time soon?
but here is more to this
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Climate change: an increasingly hot topic

Imai Jen-La Plante reports on conCERNed activity before the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, coming up on June 20 – 22.

The Globe of Science and Innovation: a symbol of sustainability (Photo: Jiri Kvita)

The Globe of Science and Innovation: a symbol of sustainability (Photo: Jiri Kvita)

Looking forward to the Rio+20 summit? So are we.

The conference could deliver major progress on global environmental policy, if delegates get enough encouragement to produce results. There are ways to energize the discussion from around the world, saving the carbon emissions of a flight to Brazil. One such initiative challenged people to connect the dots between extreme weather events and climate change.

Dots (colliding and otherwise) are plentiful at CERN. Joel Jones identified a big one: the Globe of Science and Innovation. With photos contributed by conCERNed members, he and Claire David designed the poster shown above, which was featured among European activities for Climate Impact Day.

Also in Geneva, participants from such far-flung locations as Fribourg and Nyon gathered around another dot, the Rond-Point de Plainpalais. This video captures the action as climate enthusiasts freeze for 350 seconds in the midst of rain and busy Saturday shoppers. A return to the indicated atmospheric CO2 level of 350 parts per million, often discussed as a safe threshold, is increasingly elusive.

In other climate news, a recent CERN colloquium highlighted challenges in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These examples illustrate the important role of scientists as communicators. If you agree that “positive feedback” is not always a good thing, it is time to spread the word.

Feeling the heat and ready to contribute? Join the conCERNed mailing list to hear about future activities and check out 350.org.

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Whatever Happened to Acid Rain?

This is a guest post by Valentin Burov. It is the transcript of the presentation he gave on Wednesday 11th January at CERN during a discussion on this topic in which he showed the premiere of his video, Acid Rain

Good  evening!

The title my talk: What happened to acid rain in 3D animation? is confusing for the obvious reasons. 3D Animation and Acid Rain don’t have much interaction between each other. This specific issue is what I’m here to address:

The magical place of the intersection of art and science. Where are we now? How did we get here?

R&D on technology for special effects for entertainment is a very recent phenomenon, and the foundation, which originated in the late 80’s – was things like nuclear physics, fluid mechanics and car collisions.

I’ll bring up an example since this after all a nuclear research organization.

Ray Tracing!

The study of ray tracing came from research of Evgeniy Troubetzkoy on nuclear shielding, which followed neutrons that originated either from a nuclear reactor or from an atomic bomb and calculating the effects..The similarity then is that instead of following neutrons we can follow photons, from the camera to the scene. It’s a rendering technique that simulates the way light really works except it’s in reverse. Rays are fired from the camera and intersections are calculated with the geometry. Then the normal is computed and based on material characteristics and location of light sources, a calculation is made how much light is coming from that object.

However, Evgeniy Troubetrzkoy has long left nuclear research and is now the founder of a company called Blue Sky – a major animation studios responsible for films such as Ice Age. He was still doing Nuclear Research, however, when he was at MAGI (Mathematical Applications Group, Inc. ), a predecessor to Blue Sky.

In one of my college classes, we had one of the computer scientists from ILM come in to show us briefly how they made solvers to calculate cloth – cloth is any deformable object of connected links between vertices – this can be anything from skin tissue to an air balloon to actual clothes. A solver on the other hand solves complex equations to get a result in dynamics – rigid bodies, fluid simulation, inverse dynamics, etc. ILM is a very old studio that was conceived by George Lucas for Star Wars, and is still the most prominent VFX house – he (the CS) was the one who was responsible for writing a solver for Neo’s cape from the Matrix when he’s in a brawl with an infinitude of agent smiths. His study for the cloth solver, however, was originally an attempt to recreate car collisions, to see how a certain car would deform if you applied the right properties to the “cloth”. He then tried to apply this to the court of law – which eventually ruled that you cannot use computer simulations to reflect real life.

When I asked, however, how 3D was being applied to Science and Education, the answers I got that 90% of 3D is made for entertainment, and they assumed that I was doing something with medical of pharmocopeia – which seems to be the impression that most people get since that is a real remainder of the effects industry. So we have a strange outcome – no one makes 3D for science because no one makes it. But it doesn’t mean that it can’t be done.

As it turns out to be, of course, we’re not the first ones that started doing it. Even before I went to school I saw this animation that is now, like 5 years old, and I was so captivated that it reinforced my belief that science did not have to be drawn schematically, nor did it have to lose it’s beauty and aesthetic. But this idea is lurking within a Jungian collective unconsciousness – and it’s starting to emerge. As we are stepping further and further into new technologies, smaller studios are emerging partly because that now we have processing power that before was only feasible to very large studos. A frame that could take us 3 hours to render, before could have taken 3 days. And on top of it, all of it can be made with software that can be downloaded for free. Open Source! So something like this could really only have emerged now, and not just because of the monopoly of the entertainment industry in CG art.

Another association that sometimes people make is that because there’s visuals and imagery, the animation should then be for children, but when I attended Berkeley I found nothing but the contrary. Professors continuously mentioned the limitations of textbooks, the iconic representation of objects, no expression of scale or magnitude. The students I talked to expressed similar dissatisfaction.

So…whatever happened to acid rain?

Back in the 80s everyone seemed to talk about acid rain, but it is hardly again mentioned. Is the issue still of concern, or just a symptom of media hyperbole? A successful implementation of an emissions trading cap-and-trade system was made in the United States, which was launched when Congress amended the Clean Air Act in 1990. It successfully contained the emissions that contributed to pollution by acid rain. The Program, however, collapsed in 2010 when federal courts ruled that the EPA had overstepped their boundaries and expanded the market including emissions that were not specifically mentioned in the amendment. Policy for broadening energy policy that will expand the cap and trade market to other pollutants has not yet challenged the court’s ruling.

The European Union passed more stringent regulations on emissions of power plants, thus reducing the pollution that contributed to acid rain (There are several acting trading programs for air pollutants, the largest being the European Union Emission Trading Scheme, whose purpose is to avoid dangerous climate change).

So it’s not such a hyperbole, but rather a good example of government regulation.

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our objective: A SUSTAINABLE WORLD FOR THE PEOPLE.

Below you find the latest version of the petition proposed by the

“Geneva Movement for Sustainability”
and presented a few weeks ago by Juan
Please add your comments here! michael

After thousands of years of civilization, we have developed a socio-economic model worldwide that is not sustainable, “a machine” which runs us over the cliff. The question is: can we still control democratically this machine and deviate its path, or is the machine that controls us?
PREAMBLE

Our present economic system, based on “economic growth” rather than human welfare, is not sustainable: it comes with an expiration date… in a violent an abrupt way. We know this intuitively: we cannot keep going with this rhythm of consumption indefinitely. One of the most apparent manifestations of our system’s weaknesses is the disastrous economic crisis that we are experiencing now, but this is just a symptom of a more profound disease. On top of this problem there are others, of even more severe and far-reaching consequences: pollution, loss of biodiversity and iconic natural spaces, access to clean fresh water and, notably, the worrying issue of climate change. We suffer from an environmental crisis and we are heading towards an announced catastrophe within few decades –years perhaps–, which will affect all aspects of our lives.

We care about the natural environment and our planet, about our children and the people that will follow in our footsteps. We thus want to take responsibility and confront this problem now. The fact is that there exist feasible solutions(*link) to transition to a sustainable green economy, but these involve that we stand united worldwide. This is for two big reasons. First, we need to coordinate internationally in order for these solutions to be effective. Second, we need to come together in a massive movement to overcome the political obstacles towards the true expression of our democratic will. Some big powerful corporations are opposed to this “global change”, because of a (temporary) economic profit. They raise doubts around this inconvenient issue, and prevent action very effectively. Ours is a movement for people, real people. We invented structures such as firms or corporations, we allow them to exist, and we can thus impose rules on them so that they live up for our same human values.

Our governments have to take the lead to solve the environmental crisis, but they will only do it if we force them to, by means of a massive petition. It is the time now. So far, we have heard talk and talk but nothing is done. What we need from them is first, information, what is the real cost for each of us if we face this problem all together “in the same boat”?… then, we the people will decide responsibly.

(Note: the preamble is user-customizable)

PETITION

Our goal is to have our governments study, develop and perfect an international plan of action to transition to a sustainable green economy. An economy which restores human values as the guiding principle, and which addresses without delay the problems of environmental degradation and climate change. We want this proposal to be publicly announced so that we as a people can responsibly choose a course of action for our societies in a referendum.
For my part, I will make the commitment to inspire at least two people to join this cause so that we may have the power of numbers to achieve our objective: A SUSTAINABLE WORLD FOR THE PEOPLE.

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Spiritual dimensions of scientific cognition by Alexey Burov

This is a guest post from Alexey Burov summarizing his seminar given to our club on Monday 12 of September 2011

inviting discussions with him about the talk on our blog

the link to the audio file
It is http://fermiru.org/fireflect/CERN%20talks/Spiritual%20Dimensions_tr.mp3

and to the talk

https://indico.cern.ch/conferenceDisplay.py?confId=154336

Spiritual dimensions of scientific cognition

 

Alexey Burov

 

Abstract

 

By its content, scientific knowledge is universal, impersonal, and thus value-free. However, being a hard human adventure, science requires certain values and sacraments, faith in them. From another perspective, the scientific worldview makes its own imprint on the entire human culture, destroying some sacraments, and elevating others. Due to that duality in science-faith  relations, self-negation of the scientific cognition happened. As a result, we are living in a split world of internally hostile Duoverse of Macrocosm and Microcosm. Is this split state dictated by rational thinking? Is there any way to return to the Universe, rescuing all the noble values, scientific values included?

 

 “Ethics and psychology are grounded in metaphysics. When it comes to saving man’s essential nature, psychology – whether as such, or in the form of psychotherapy – is helpless; ethics as a mere doctrine or imperative is helpless unless man first comes to have different fundamental relation to Being – unless man of his own accord, so far as in him lies, begins at last to hold his nature open for the essential relation toward Being…”

      

“The most thought-provoking thing in our thought-provoking time is that we are still not thinking.”

Martin Heidegger, “What is Called Thinking?”, 1954

Science Definition

Science can be defined as the cognition of universal or pure reason. Both theoretical concepts and scientific facts must be independent of personal, cultural and biological properties of theorists and observers. Science is a sort of knowledge, designed to be maximally transferable to any sufficiently developed extraterrestrial reasonable beings.

“The kernel of the scientific outlook is the refusal to regard our own desires, tastes, and interests as affording a key to the understanding of the world.”,

Bertrand Russel, “The place of Science in A Liberal Education”

Thus, the spiritual sphere is a priory excluded from science. Humans, seen through scientific glasses, cannot be distinguished from animals. This is not a drawback of science – it is just its limit, other side of its power. Due to this limit, only our bodies can be scientifically seen. Man as a spiritual being is neither observable, nor thinkable scientifically. The same is true for any real or imaginary personalities – for God, in particular.

Scientific Doubt and Scientific Faith

 

Doubt in the existing scientific knowledge is absolute – this is a necessary condition for this knowledge to stay open. From another side, science is based on its values, on the strong faith in its values – as any big and difficult human affair. Since the very essence of faith contradicts to global scientific doubt, this faith requires certain out-of-science ground. It is ethics, which gives us values and motivations. Thus, ethics plays a fundamental role to the scientific cognition.

A. Einstein on the scientific faith

“ I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research. Only those who realize the immense efforts and, above all, the devotion without which pioneer work in theoretical science cannot be achieved, are able to grasp the strength of the emotion out of which alone such work, remote as it is from the immediate realities of life, can issue. What a deep conviction of the rationality of the universe and what a yearning to understand, were it but a feeble reflection of the mind revealed in this world, Kepler and Newton must have had to enable them to spend years of solitary labor in disentangling the principles of celestial mechanics!

Those whose acquaintance with scientific research is derived chiefly from its practical results easily develop a completely false notion of the mentality of the men who, surrounded by a skeptical world, have shown the way to kindred spirits scattered wide through the world and through the centuries. Only one who has devoted his life to similar ends can have a vivid realization of what has inspired these men and given them the strength to remain true to their purpose in spite of countless failures. It is cosmic religious feeling that gives a man such strength. A contemporary has said, not unjustly, that in this materialistic age of ours the serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people.”

Religion and Science”, 1930.

 

 

Cosmic religious feeling as the Scientific Credo

 

–    There is the Rationality – Logos behind all phenomena.

–     The Logos kingdom is all-scale and total – from tiniest particles to the entire Universe.

–     The Logos is beautiful.

–     The Logos can be visible to human minds – it is the scientific cognition.

–     Science, as a human communion with the Logos, is one of the noblest ways of life.

–     Quantum Mechanics: The Cosmos is a product of not only Logos, but also of Chaos.

Brief History of “Logos”

 

Plato and platonics: Cosmos resulted from the primordial Chaos, formed by Creator, through His emanation of Logos and Soul. Human soul and reason have the same divine origin.

John 1:1-1:18 “Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ λόγος, καὶ ὁ λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν θεόν, καὶ θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος” – “In the beginning it was Logos and Logos was with God and Logos was God…

Christianity essentially inherited Platonic metaphysics, with its consequences

–    World is created as rational. Platonic God loves theories.

–    Human ability to see this rationality has the same divine source.

For R. Descartes, trust in God was a precondition to trust our ability to think and observe.

I. Newton: “It is the perfection of God’s works that they are all done with the greatest simplicity. He is the God of order and not of confusion.”  After his life, success of his physics worked against his belief in personal God.

It was Benedict Spinoza who first clearly proclaimed religion of the totally ruling Software – impersonal Substance – instead of personal God. His Substance was omnipotent and omnipresent, leading to total determinism and refutation of the free will. All the values lost their power when the old God was killed and impersonal Substance was enthroned instead. Spinoza at some moment of his life started to believe that there must be only one explanatory principle of the World. He saw that there were two of them: Reason and Person. Thus, one of them had to be sacrificed. “The reason and will which constitute God’s essence must differ by the breadth of all heaven from our reason and will and have nothing in common with them except the name; as little, in fact, as the dog-constellation has in common with the dog, the barking animal.” – Spinoza, 1677.

“We may regard the present state of the universe as the effect of its past and the cause of its future. An intellect which at a certain moment would know all forces that set nature in motion, and all positions of all items of which nature is composed, if this intellect were also vast enough to submit these data to analysis, it would embrace in a single formula the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the tiniest atom; for such an intellect nothing would be uncertain and the future just like the past would be present before its eyes.” – Laplace on his “demon”, 1814.

After the Darwinian exclusion of God from life and human reason (1859), Nietzsche coined his diagnosis: “God is dead”. Saying this, Nietzsche actually meant more than death of God. He also meant death of all big values: Truth, Justice, Love, Beauty, and yes – Reason. Thus self-negation of Reason was spoken. Dehumanization of the Universe was finished. Metaphysically, man lost his divinity and fell down into a world of objects among objects. Any resistance to that became either obscurantism, “wishful thinking” or a white lie.

If man is an object among objects, the society is a machine to be optimized.

Some old details have to be eliminated, of course….   Evil is probably eternal. But in this new kingdom of Reason the very concept of sin was abolished. Scientific communism and national socialism were consequences.

Scientific worldview as a self-negation of Reason

Negating all the values, scientific worldview negates the scientific credo as well, i. e. we see a self-negation of Reason as a consequence of its idolization.

With empty heavens under his head, man is running to collectivistic cults, Dionysian madness, drugs, suicide, or just degrades in a meaningless shallow life.  In the Spinozian world, all the values are contingent nonentities, as man is. Cognition is not excluded. A soap bubble, even one reflecting sunlight, is still just a bubble. In the Spinozian world, there is no difference between humans and bubbles.

The Duoverse

When God was killed, cosmos got a face of daemon, a single look on whom ruins all the values, turning people into stones.

To save our human world, a theme of cosmic hostility is actually tabooed. We have to pretend that the king is wonderfully dressed. We have to lie to each other for the sake of our life and civilization.

It does not help though. Our values are fatally humiliated by the scientific cosmos. True values cannot be accepted out of fear, even if it is a fear for the humankind. Values, accepted under a gun, can neither inspire nor give strength at the face of tragedy.

In fact, the current Worldview shows not one, but two worlds, hostile to each other: the scientific world, negating a person with its values – and the human world, trying to keep all its values – heroically and illegitimately. It is not a Universe, but a Duoverse.

Witness of B. Russell

“Brief and powerless is Man’s life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way; for Man, condemned today to lose his dearest, to-morrow himself to pass through the gate of darkness, it remains only to cherish, ere yet the blow falls, the lofty thoughts that ennoble his little day; disdaining the coward terrors of the slave of Fate, to worship at the shrine that his own hands have built; undismayed by the empire of chance, to preserve a mind free from the wanton tyranny that rules his outward life; proudly defiant of the irresistible forces that tolerate, for a moment, his knowledge and his condemnation, to sustain alone, a weary but unyielding Atlas, the world that his own ideals have fashioned despite the trampling march of unconscious power.”  “A Free Man’s Worship”, 1903

Back to the Universe

 

We are doomed to live in that internally hostile Duoverse, unless personality will return its cosmic position. To return a meaning to my life, I have to return the Person as a highest cosmic principle. It means I have to resurrect the killed God, and restore our true connection, true re-ligion: the religion of love.  The God’s acceptance is not “wishful thinking”, and is not science negation. On the contrary – it is reconciliation of the human world, Microcosm, with the scientific world, Macrocosm, saving us from a poor split state, where all the noble values, including reason, are indeed nothing else but “wishful thinking”.

References

 

Plato, “Timaeus”

Plotinus, “Enneads”

Gospel of John

Descartes, “Meditations on First Philosophy”

Heidegger, Martin. “The Word of Nietzsche: ‘God Is Dead'”

Lev Shestov, “In Job Balances”, http://shestov.by.ru/ijb/jb_0.html

Talk given in CERN, Sep. 12, 2011

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Fracking is not good in GasLand

For those of use who know nothing about “fracking” and its connection to gas extraction and energy problems the vision of GasLand (http://www.gaslandthemovie.com/)  is a crucial point.

This is also available on the web at http://www.deleaudanslegaz.com/

A summary on the matter with some recent updates on tehe situation in various countries is in 20110719_fracking_GP.

Now should we not search and see if in our country there is a “fracking” enterprise to extract natural gas?

 

 

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