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The Universe is Spooky

"Spooky action at a distance" means that at some fundamental level the universe is not working as one might expect... or even believe. Newton must have realized that if gravity works instantly on objects over vast distances that something spooky is going on. Albert Einstein signed on to a quantum mechanics explanation in principle, but despite what relativity was telling him, he was uncomfortable with the spookier aspects of the universe. For example, Einstein's equations predict wormholes and black holes, but these are places in the universe where suddenly you are somewhere else... or nowhere else. Spooky. Werner Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle has proven that you can measure the position of a quantum particle, but not the momentum and vice versa. And this year, Edwin Hubble measures the rate of expansion of the universe. He observes a certain type of variable star, and compares its absolute brightness to its measured brightness. But if the universe is growing larger, doesn't that mean that it was once very small... uh... in the beginning? In later years the phrase "Big Bang Theory" will be used to mock the idea of an expanding universe (and the TV series will mock more than that), but the phrase "The Big Bang Theory" will be embraced by those it was meant to mock. The Universe is expanding, People will debate how fast, or how much, but it is not expanding INTO anything. It IS the thing, and in time it will get bigger. (I think I made a cosmology pun there, but I'm uncertain.) [1] [2] [3] [4]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
In Star Trek science, a transporter makes a copy of an object, and reassembles it without loss of data... which is impossible under the current understanding of physics. It is not because we don't know how to do it yet. WE CANNOT KNOW. Star Trek science claims that the transporter copies an object "at the quantum level." Thus Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle must be temporarily suspended using the fantasy device called the "Heisenberg Compensator". It's BS (Bad Science) but they can avoid those expensive shuttle take-off and landing scenes. I wish we lived in a Universe that made more sense. If it is any compensation, pretending that the Universe DOES make sense usually doesn't cause much harm... that is... unless you want your GPS device to work... or transistors... or your LED flashlight. Crap! I'm going back to bed. Call me when the apocalypse gets here. [5] [6]

Your Stockbroker Has Stepped Out for a Moment

The ticker still clattered. I was staring at an inch of the tape which bore the inscription XYZ-32. It had been 52 that morning. I was finished and so were many friends. The papers reported men jumping to death from the towers of High Finance. That disgusted me. I would not jump. I went back to the bar.
-- Bill's Story, from the book Alcoholics Anonymous, page 4. [7]

Unemployment is 3% (a REAL 3%). The New York Stock Exchange has hit record highs, but there are signs of trouble. Two years ago the German Stock Exchange crashed after fears of an economic crash were expressed by their national bank. The US Federal Reserve has expressed similar fears early this year, causing a slide in stock prices. National City Bank is able to stop the slide by offering short-term loans. But in September, a British investor is convicted of fraud, so the London Exchange crashes. This causes more instability in the New York Stock Exchange, so some investors decide to get out. It is now October. Like a flock of geese in autumn, the Market suddenly goes south. Stock prices drop, margins are called, but without enough money to cover the account, more stocks are sold at bargain prices. Stock prices tumble and stockbrokers accidentally fall out of windows. Perhaps their wives will benefit from the life insurance, but these men are done. At this time optimists believe that the Market will come back soon, but it will be another 7 years of "We're back! We're not. We're back! We're not." In the meantime, the money supply will contract, deflation will make buying goods more attractive... if you have a job. But your employer's costs will jump. Unemployment will soar to 25% (a REAL 25%). Can government fix this? This is the age of economic reconstruction known as socialism. Investors will wait for government to fix this. So begins the Great Depression. [8] [9] [10]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
After stocks have tumbled and investors are still licking their wounds, what the government does next determines how long the pain will last. There are things that government could do to help in an economic recovery, but it is useless to talk about them. Dropping money from helicopters sounds funny, but the key to that strategy is that it is not repeated... thus not expected the next time and there is always a "next time." When President Reagan was faced with a similar stock market crash, the media asked him what he was going to do to heal the country. Apparently, not a darn thing. When business saw that Reagan wasn't going to fix it, they got off their duffs, and fixed it themselves... reasonably quickly as I recall.

Notable Births

  • Martin Luther King Jr.: Baptist minister and advocate of passive resistance within the Civil Rights movement. [11]
  • Yasser Arafat: Leader of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and all around pain-in-the-neck. [12]
  • Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: First Lady and later the wife of Aristotle Onassis. [13]
  • Gaston Glock (Living): Manufacturer of curtain rods, the Austrian Glock 17 and later models. [14]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Grace Kelly: "To Catch a Thief" and later to become the Princess of Monaco. [15]
  • -- Audrey Hepburn: Wait Until Dark, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and My Fair Lady. [16]
  • -- Gerry Anderson: "Thunderbirds are go!" Producer, writer and voice actor for futuristic TV shows. [17]
  • -- Ed Asner (Living): Voice of "Carl" in the animated film Up, narrator of Tax the Rich: An Animated Fairy Tale, and "Mr. Grant" on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. [18]

**Note: (Living) means they were alive when I checked on 2017-Jan-10.

In Other News

  • Vatican City is now an independent state. Until now, the various Popes avoided the question, so the relationship with Italy had been up in the air. [19]
  • Germany, France and the USA agree not to declare war on each other.. Well... that's done it then. We can move on. Right? [20]
  • The Geneva Convention is signed. World War 1 revealed flaws in previous agreements, over prisoners of war and the treatment of civilians during war so this will fix it. (shudder!) [21]
  • The Hebron Massacre. Arabs are killing Jews in Palestine. This is just the start of decades of fighting to come.

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1929, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Big Bang - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 11 January 2017. “English astronomer Fred Hoyle is credited with coining the term 'Big Bang' during a 1949 BBC radio broadcast. It is popularly reported that Hoyle, who favored an alternative 'steady state' cosmological model, intended this to be pejorative, but Hoyle explicitly denied this and said it was just a striking image meant to highlight the difference between the two models.”
  2. Black hole - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 11 January 2017. “In 1915, Albert Einstein developed his theory of general relativity, having earlier shown that gravity does influence light's motion. Only a few months later, Karl Schwarzschild found a solution to the Einstein field equations, which describes the gravitational field of a point mass and a spherical mass.[12] A few months after Schwarzschild, Johannes Droste, a student of Hendrik Lorentz, independently gave the same solution for the point mass and wrote more extensively about its properties.[13][14] This solution had a peculiar behaviour at what is now called the Schwarzschild radius, where it became singular, meaning that some of the terms in the Einstein equations became infinite. The nature of this surface was not quite understood at the time. In 1924, Arthur Eddington showed that the singularity disappeared after a change of coordinates (see Eddington–Finkelstein coordinates), although it took until 1933 for Georges Lemaître to realize that this meant the singularity at the Schwarzschild radius was an unphysical coordinate singularity.”
  3. Hubble's law - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 11 January 2017. “Edwin Hubble did most of his professional astronomical observing work at Mount Wilson Observatory, home to the world's most powerful telescope at the time. His observations of Cepheid variable stars in spiral nebulae enabled him to calculate the distances to these objects. Surprisingly, these objects were discovered to be at distances which placed them well outside the Milky Way. They continued to be called 'nebulae' and it was only gradually that the term 'galaxies' took over.”
  4. Alex Shrugged notes: Do I understand how Hubble was making his measurements? Yes I do. Do I agree with how he was doing it, and the assumptions he was making? His basic idea was sound, but later measurements were required to refine his numbers. There are a number of issues he did not take into account, but basically, he has hooked this marlin for us. We will have to reel it in.
  5. Transporter (Star Trek) - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 11 January 2017. “The television series and films do not go into great detail about transporter technology. The Star Trek: The Next Generation Technical Manual claims that the devices transport objects in real time, accurate to the quantum level. The episode 'Realm of Fear' specifies the length of a transport under unusual circumstances would last '... four or five seconds; about twice the normal time'. This calculates the length of a typical transport as between 2 and 2.5 seconds and possibly less. Heisenberg compensators remove uncertainty from the subatomic measurements, making transporter travel feasible.”
  6. Heisenberg compensator - Memory Alpha - Fandom powered by Wikia. memory-alpha.wikia.com (2017). Retrieved on 11 January 2017. “The compensator worked around the problems caused by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, allowing the transporter sensors to compensate for their inability to determine both the position and momentum of the target particles to the same degree of accuracy. This ensured the matter stream remained coherent during transport, and no data was lost.”
  7. Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. ISBN 9780916856182. “Abruptly in October 1929 hell broke loose on the New York stock exchange. After one of those days of inferno, I wobbled from a hotel bar to a brokerage office. It was eight o’clock five hours after the market closed. The ticker still clattered. I was staring at an inch of the tape which bore the inscription XYZ-32. It had been 52 that morning. I was finished and so were many friends. The papers reported men jumping to death from the towers of High Finance. That disgusted me. I would not jump. I went back to the bar. My friends had dropped several million since ten o’clock so what? Tomorrow was another day. As I drank, the old fierce determination to win came back.
    Next morning I telephoned a friend in Montreal. He had plenty of money left and thought I had better go to Canada. By the following spring we were living in our accustomed style. I felt like Napoleon returning from Elba. No St. Helena for me! But drinking caught up with me again and my generous friend had to let me go. This time we stayed broke.”
  8. Margin (finance) - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 11 January 2017. “If a margin call occurs unexpectedly, it can cause a domino effect of selling which will lead to other margin calls and so forth, effectively crashing an asset class or group of asset classes. The 'Bunker Hunt Day' crash of the silver market on Silver Thursday, March 27, 1980 is one such example. This situation most frequently happens as a result of an adverse change in the market value of the leveraged asset or contract. It could also happen when the margin requirement is raised, either due to increased volatility or due to legislation. In extreme cases, certain securities may cease to qualify for margin trading; in such a case, the brokerage will require the trader to either fully fund their position, or to liquidate it.”
  9. Sowell, Thomas. Basic Economics: A Citizen's Guide to the Economy. Basic Books. ISBN 9780465081387. “Not only was there less money in circulation during the downturn in the economy from 1929 to 1932, what money there was circulated more slowly, which further reduced demand for goods and services. That in turn reduced demand for the labor to produce them, creating mass unemployment.” 
  10. Rickards, James. Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System, The. Portfolio/Penguin. ISBN 9781591846703. “Once the panic phase of a financially induced depression is over, the greatest impediment to capital investment is uncertainty about policy regimes related to matters such as taxes, health care, regulation, and other costs of doing business.” 
  11. Martin Luther King Jr. - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights using nonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs.”
  12. Yasser Arafat - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “He was Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), and leader of the Fatah political party and former paramilitary group, which he founded in 1959. Originally opposed to Israel's existence, he modified his position in 1988 when he accepted UN Security Council Resolution 242.”
  13. Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “After Robert Kennedy's death, Kennedy reportedly suffered a relapse of the depression she had experienced in the days following her husband's assassination nearly five years prior. She came to fear for her life and those of her children, saying: 'If they're killing Kennedys, then my children are targets ... I want to get out of this country'. On October 20, 1968, Kennedy married her long-time friend Aristotle Onassis, a wealthy Greek shipping magnate who was able to provide the privacy and security she sought for herself and her children.”
  14. Gaston Glock - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “Glock began as a manufacturer of curtain rods and knives for the Austrian military. He had not designed or manufactured a firearm until he was 52 years old. He was already an expert in polymers as a result of his previous business ventures.”
  15. Grace Kelly - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “American actress who became Princess of Monaco after marrying Prince Rainier III, in April 1956.”
  16. Audrey Hepburn - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “Following minor appearances in several films, Hepburn starred in the 1951 Broadway play Gigi after being spotted by French novelist Colette, on whose work the play was based. She shot to stardom for playing the lead role in Roman Holiday (1953), for which she was the first actress to win an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award for a single performance. The same year Hepburn won a Tony Award for Best Lead Actress in a Play for her performance in Ondine. She went on to star in a number of successful films, such as Sabrina (1954), The Nun's Story (1959), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), Charade (1963), My Fair Lady (1964) and Wait Until Dark (1967), for which she received Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations.”
  17. Gerry Anderson - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “an English television and film producer, director, writer and occasional voice artist. He was known for his futuristic television programmes, especially his 1960s productions filmed with 'Supermarionation' (marionette puppets containing electric moving parts).”
  18. Ed Asner - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “an American actor, voice actor and a former president of the Screen Actors Guild. He is primarily known for his role as Lou Grant during the 1970s and early 1980s, on both The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its spin-off series Lou Grant, making him one of the few television actors to portray the same leading character in both a comedy and a drama. He is also known for portraying Santa Claus in the comedy film Elf (2003) and its animated remake Elf: Buddy's Musical Christmas (2014).”
  19. Roman Question - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “The Roman Question was a dispute regarding the temporal power of the popes as rulers of a civil territory in the context of the Italian Risorgimento. It ended with the Lateran Pacts between King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy and Pope Pius XI in 1929.”
  20. Kellogg–Briand Pact - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 10 January 2017. “The Kellogg–Briand Pact (or Pact of Paris, officially General Treaty for Renunciation of War as an Instrument of National Policy) is a 1928 international agreement in which signatory states promised not to use war to resolve 'disputes or conflicts of whatever nature or of whatever origin they may be, which may arise among them.' Parties failing to abide by this promise 'should be denied of the benefits furnished by this treaty.' It was signed by Germany, France, and the United States on 27 August 1928, and by most other nations soon after. Sponsored by France and the U.S., the Pact renounces the use of war and calls for the peaceful settlement of disputes.”
  21. Treaties, States parties, and Commentaries - States Parties - Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War. Geneva, 27 July 1929.. ihl-databases.icrc.org (2017). Retrieved on 10 January 2017.

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