July 07, 2008

From Marty (ma rtyle e200@g mail.com)

Re: Study finds lasting benefit in banned mushroom drug (July 1, 2008): Dr. Timothy Leary, while teaching at Harvard University, did a study with psilocybin where he paired off students with inmates to “trip” with. For whatever reasons (perhaps the unique bonding experience inherent to hallucinogens) there was a dramatic reduction in the recidivism of those inmates who participated as compared to the norms.

From David D McClelland:

Re: Secret of the great violins? The wood, study suggests (July 1): My hobby at this time is fixing old stringed instruments. I have run across 3 different Strad copies, the oldest being somewhere at the beginning of the 18th century (looks like 1717). Not only is the wood more closely grained and even, it is much more pliable due to a secret (to me anyhow)chemical treatment. It has been suggested to me that it was treated with a leather tanning solution. Who knows??? Density and uniformity, yes, but there is much more to it than that I suspect.

From Don L. Jewett:

Re: Atoms found to interact unexpectedly (July 2): The tug-of-war at the atomic level could very well be the effects of gravity.

Recall the inverse square law-- so at close distances the magnitude might be enough. Also-- note that Newtonian Gravity is static.

See the books by Jefimenko on deriving gravi-dynamics from Maxwell’s equations. In a dynamic system there are more forces-- which might be detected in these experiments.

Dr. Don L. Jewett
Research Director
Abratech Corp.
dlj {"at" sign} abratech.com
Emeritus Prof.
Univ. of CA, San Francisco

From Betty Rodman:

Re: Tit-for-tat: birds found to repay wartime help (July 6): The only thing surprising about the story concerning the way birds band together for a common purpose is that it is being put forth as something newly discovered. In actuality it’s been around the block a few times. Early animated cartoons always depicted birds banding together sounding the alarm to chase off an enemy. I have seen it in nature many times myself including birds calling each other to some food source. This was always true among songbirds. I think the study is interesting, because I enjoy birds tremendously.

From Jacob Silver:

Re: Tit-for-tat: birds found to repay wartime help (July 6): These findings indicate the comprexity of species interaction, in this case, of birds. If you think about it, survival for these tiny dinosaur descendents is not a simple thing, what with preditors evolving along with them. In retrospect to the research findings, reciprocity among small birds is a logical response. Of course this reciprocity requires that individual birds recognize each other and themselves. Why would anyone think they didn’t? And it is nice to learn the complexity of bird behavior before we clear cut and kill them all out.

From Herbert Gintis:

Re: Tit-for-tat: birds found to repay wartime help (July 6): you say that reciprocal altruism had previously been found in nonhuman species. This is incorrect, I think. It probably has not been seen prior to these studies.

See Peter Hammerstein, “Why Is Reciprocity So Rare in Social Animals?”, in Peter Hammerstein (eds.) Genetic and Cultural Evolution of Cooperation (Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 2003):83-93; and Kevin C. Clements and David W. Stephens, “Testing Models of Non-kin Cooperation: Mutualism and the Prisoner’s Dilemma”, Animal Behaviour 50 (1995):527-535; and W. Stephens, C. M. McLinn and J. R. Stevens, “Discounting and Reciprocity in an Iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma”, Science 298 [13 December] (2002):2216 2218.

Herbert Gintis
Santa Fe Institute and
Central European University
15 Forbes Avenue, Northampton, MA

From Taylor Gillespie:

Re: In mice, “youth” drug prolongs vigor but not life: report (July 3): The article on Resveratrol is brilliant news.

I personally do not want to live to be 150 (never having won the lottery), but would like to think that if I did live to a good old age then I would have all my bodily and mental functions working properly and not be a silly old vegetable for my family to look after.

This has to be one of the most amazing breakthroughs for many years and will give us all something to look forward to really soon I will be on transmax or bioforte right away, too hell with waiting on the rats.

From Clark M. Thomas:

Re: Sunless but livable planets may be detectable (Sept. 10): Your recent article regarding life on dark planets has a major error/omission.

It cites a 1999 article as being the original study on this topic: “The real likelihood of detecting orphaned, habitable worlds is better than these estimates suggest, they continued, partly because the estimates omit two types of systems that could include such objects. One type is a planet-moon pair whose planet is a gas giant. The other is a planet with no partner; the original study [sic] seven years ago suggested such an abode could be habitable even without a moon.

“In that study, published the July 1, 1999 issue of the journal Nature, Dave Stevenson of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. , laid out the basic reasons why a sunless planet might harbor life.” Actually, there is a 1997 essay on the topic -- two years before the Stevenson essay. Here is that original essay’s URL: here.


There are additional key discoveries that will be announced years hence. Some of these “future discoveries” are already published in clear English -- not in prestigious old school publications such as Nature, but nevertheless accessible on the Web from a Google search. Your publication would be wise to consider what is already there to read. Here are three examples:


Clark M. Thomas

From Roger Moore:

Re: Secret of the great violins? The wood, study suggests (July 1): I also have been interested in the woodworking skills that have produced the great violins for many years.

I have been a woodworker for close to forty years. I have studied with many great technicians incl. the likes of James Kernov and Monroe Robinson.

We also own and have rights to large old growth tracts of land. We only log the down trees. We have our own sawmill. Old growth redwood on the Mendocino Coast of California is in the 800-1400 year old range. I have used thousands of board feet in the cabinet shop.

Years ago while logging we accidental discovered by dropping a metal pilling bar on a log that it had very nice sound qualities. Since that time we “tap” our logs to listen to the sound. I have had several musicians in the shop and in the forest do this very thing. About tens years ago we ran across a log that had sound qualities far beyond anything that any other log ever produced by our discoveries. The log had unique growing and drying conditions. There is no way, in my opinion that uniform, very dense wood; over 1000 year old logs produce the same sound qualities. I think logs like the tree we discovered was known about long ago, that wood was treasured and used only for the very best use. I have several hundred feet from this log just for that purpose.

I think there is a lot more to knowing about sound quality than can be discovered by a cat scan. I would like to have this logs wood analyzed I am positive it would be very different than any other old growth redwood here on the Coast.

From Felice Vinci:

Re: Is The Odyssey astronomically accurate? (June 23): The idea of a solar eclipse is based on a statement by Theoclymenus to the Suitors: “eelios de ouranou exapolole” “The sun went out in the sky” (Od. XX, 356). However, if we examine Teoclymenus’s previous statements: “The walls and the fine architraves are bleeding, the porch and the court are full of ghosts moving to the darkness of Erebus” (XX, 354-355) we realize that the whole image is only metaphorical, oneiric. This is corroborated by what Homer says about this image: “He said this, everybody laughed at him” (XX, 358), and by Eurimachus answer: “Our guest is insane! Hi friends, see please him out of this house to the square, because he thinks that it is night here!” (XX, 360-362). Therefore, Teoclymenus has a sort of “apocalyptic” vision of the incoming slaughter, but his image is only dreamlike, since the walls were not bleeding and the sun did not go out.

There is not any real solar eclipse in the Odyssey, otherwise Homer would have embroidered the story in a very different way. (I am the author of the book “The Baltic Origins of Homer’s Epic Tales”, published by Inner Traditions, which was adopted as a textbook for the High Studies on Homer by the Bard College, NY. For more info on the topic of my book, see please here).

July 01, 2008

From Barry Dennis:

Re: Penguin populations falling steeply: biologist (July 1): The author studiously addressed the appearance of falling penguin populations of virtually all penguin species.

She rightly noted human competition for food as a result of ever-rapidly-expanding human population as a contributor.

It may be worthwhile to note than humans compete for just about every item in the food chain, somewhere on earth. Human overpopulation is, and will be addressed if allowed to, by nature’s typical solution-species crash or die-off. But, not before perhaps irreparable damage to the earth’s ecology and environment through species extermination due to resource demands, including food, resulting from overpopulation.

Many, and count me as one, feel that we should spend as much or more time teaching rational population control methods side-by-side with modern agricultural techniques.

Shoreline population growth is the scariest, because it leads to “first use” of a dwindling food resource, the world’s fisheries.

Our nearsighted political policies regarding food, particular offshore U.S.fisheries, which allow millions of tons of U.S.fishery resources to be caught and exported to other countries makes no sense. The Chesapeake Bay is crashing, and has accelerated it’s decline. Offshore New England, and Pacific states are crashing, as well as southern U.S.Atlantic and Pacific coastal stocks. Similar crashes have already occurred in Japan, European North Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia and India.

I am not intending to be politically or ecologically “correct” when I note these problems. I do intend however, to try to encourage all writers, editors and authors to note the effects of human overpopulation when writing about this type of problem, and to encourage solutions-based exploration of this type of discussion.

If world leaders are ever to pay attention to scientific thought regarding overpopulation, it must be presented rationally, and frequently.

In point of fact, we may or may not have reached the “tipping point” in utilization of the world’s food and other resources.

But for sure, recognizing that 20%+ of the world’s population exists on less than minimum standards of daily food allowances must indicate that population control must be combined with providing self-sustaining agricultural production methodology to the areas where continuing food problems occur.

“Feed a man for a day, and he is happy, but hungry again tomorrow. Teach a man to feed himself and he will prosper.” (I’m paraphrasing).

There is some point where earth’s population and resources are self-sustaining; we may have passed it, or technology may allow a population base of seven, eight, even twelve billion or more. It is hard to imagine that level of population approaching any reasonable standard of living, given the scarcity of natural and other resources. We would be much better off stabilizing the world’s population at today’s levels, and planning on providing resources that allow raising the standard of living for all.

But even today, the match between resource needs and population is awry. Food resources in particular aren’t available to those who need them, except through huge charitable contributions from the U.S.and others. And the process of supporting over-populated areas has continued for two generations, and only promises to grow, without some sustained effort by the world community to assist those areas in developing food resources, along with population control, so that they may live and prosper.

The only recreation for hundreds of millions of the world’s poor is sex, and maybe music. Take away the sex, and you better have a lot of musical instruments to offer, or, and here’s a novel idea; birth control methods.

Politics aside, birth control and farming assistance offer the best combination approach to addressing this problem. Otherwise, war and disease will step in and do the job for us.

Oh, and after we teach and feed them, we need to show how to develop whatever other categories of mineral and natural resources they may have.

Population control must be at the top of any priority list which attempts to balance the world’s resources and the needs of various populations.

From Mike Pickett:

Re: Epic crash may explain Mars’ two faces (June 25): Actually there has been a paper addressing the “two sides of Mars.” I wrote a paper entitled “Evidence for a Pre-Adamic Catastrophe” and addressed a rather obvious scenario to explain the peculiar “faces of Mars.” My paper was presented in-absentia to a Symposium in Southern California back in 1976. In that paper I used available NASA data from the Library at the University of Alaska, Anchorage, to show that not only was only ONE side of Mars hit by debris, but the craterization data could be used to estimate the amount of debris that had impacted Mars.

I then used some rather simple physical mathematics to determine the size of a planetary object that would have produced that debris, under the assumption that the planet predicted by the Titius-Bode law had exploded. My calculations were startling in that even with only the early NASA figures about craterization, one could extrapolate to a planet about 2. 5 times the mass of Jupiter having enough material to impact Mars in one sudden pass, then settle into the asteroid belts.

My paper raised quite a stir at the time, and some scientists from Scandinavia requested a copy, but nothing further was ever heard about the project. Needless to say, my not having an advanced degree, even though I had been a competent participant in the early stages of the aerospace program working for North American Aviation, would have brought suspicion about my ability to do research. The fact that North American hired me in the capacity of “Research Engineer” was probably not enough to impress scientists. I probably did not have enough “Pedigree” to warrant any great curiosity in my work, and other speculations in the paper were a bit embarrassing as I look back on them now. Here is the thing, though, like David Archibald said of his recent paper about Solar Cooling, any High School Student could to the math and science I did. They just needed access to the U of A library and its incredible body of NASA documents.

If anyone is interested in my work, I think I could open the paper, scan the essay and references (this was back when IBM typewriters were about all we had), and submit it for further study. I might even re-type the project. I could easily submit all the Symposium paperwork proving it was presented at the time claimed.

Of course the conclusion begs the question as to why Planet 2. 8 might have detonated, but that is the nature of the Universe. Questions usually lead to answers and further questions. I personally think one could do some serious work with planetary alignment ephemeredes and the principles of resonance applied to solar systems.

Mike Pickett
Math Department
Institute for Extended Learning
Colville, WA