Wednesday, May 24, 2017

"... there is a problem with Islam..."

Trump is feeling some heat over "...there is a problem with Islam..."

So, lets put it into context by starting with something less controversial, "There is a problem with Christianity."

Somehow, one statement is judged (by US judges) as an obvious fact, and the other is judged (by the same US judges) as racist. When someone says there is a problem with Christianity, most think of decades of Popes hiding the child-molesting priests in their midst, instead of turning them over and pushing for the maximum penalty under the law (after all, the victims of the priests were Christians too).

So, hiding child molesters and providing them with easy access to more victims is a serious problem, and when decades of Popes ignored it and tried to hide it from the public, it only made it worse and tainted the religion. The number of priests molesting children is tiny, likely inline with molesters in any other occupation, but by ignoring it and hiding it and providing the molesters with cover, the church appeared to endorse it, and their shroud of secrecy around it made it seem much more wide-spread than it was.

But what's worse is what's happening in Islam. It's preachers, or imams, are actively recruiting for ISIS. Yes, ISIS members were talked into it by Islam's version of a preacher. Almost all were recruited through Islamic places of worship. Almost all of ISIS fighters are convinced that they are fighting a religious war against non-believers. Now, the numbers of these preacher/recruiters are small, but what's being ignored and hidden and forbidden from being discussed is the elephant in the room, and it is orders of magnitude a bigger problem than some children being molested... and shielding child molesters was nearly big enough to destroy the church.

"...There is a problem in Islam..."

Its preachers and scholars are powerful recruiters of terrorists and, just like with Christianity, their main victims are their fellow believers. It should be repeated here that, just like with the child-molesting priests, the number of imams that are ISIS recruiters here is 'small', but the deaths they cause are disproportionately large.

Shias are too often taught by their imams that killing a Sunni or Kurd or Christian or Jew is the best way to serve God. Too often, Sunnis are taught almost the same thing. Palestinian children are taught that the greatest gift to God is to murder a Jew. The level of 'Islamic' sponsored/endorsed murder strictly on the basis of religion is the main problem in Islam, and it causes the deaths of tens of thousands of mostly fellow Muslims every year. That's orders of magnitude worse than a few hundred molestations and it's made far worse by ignoring it. Taking a life for any reason by almost every other religion is considered a sin.

When gays are thrown off the roof of buildings, those doing the shoving believe they are following the will of their God, because their religious leaders said so. When a suicide bomber blows up a school for girls, they do it to honor their God because a religious leader told them that girls being taught is a blasphemy before God. There's video of them quoting the Koran as justification before blowing themselves up. The terrorists clearly believe they are doing God's will and they clearly believe they are the true voice of Islam. They are not picking targets for military advantages, but religious ones. When a school full of Christian girls is taken hostage and they are given out or sold as sex slaves, there is a religious ruling by religious leaders legitimizing it on the basis of the religious beliefs of the girls and sections of the Koran are quoted as proof of its legality.

In all of the 'banned' countries, polling suggest well over 70 percent consider the use of suicide bombings against civilians of any 'other' religion or sect 'justified' by the Koran. This isn't something they came up with on their own after hours of deep thought, it was taught to them from a young age and vomited up out of reflex like others memorize the ten commandments. That is a real problem that will not simply go away by ignoring it and pretending it doesn't exist. It can only be fixed by addressing it often, addressing it repeatedly, and addressing it publicly. Like a nail, it has to be pounded on the head as often as it takes to drive it in, there's no polite, PC way to do it. The church had to be humiliated and shamed into halting their practice of protecting molesters. The same, unfortunately, may be required with Islam.

It should be noted that it used to be legal in the US to murder Mormons just because of their religion, so the problem with Islam is not unique and it is not exclusive to Islam. In fact, most religions were like this hundreds of years ago, in The Dark Ages. But Islam is the last major religion to hold onto and condone the murder of other religions or sects based entirely on their beliefs. Condoning, in this case, may be rightly implied by the complete lack of outrage over suicide bombers, honor killings, stoning women, or gays being tossed off roofs, contrasted against the literal burning down of towns over a cartoon and the murder of entire Christian families over rumors that they 'might' have insulted the Koran.

This is the kind of problem that is made much much worse when ignored.

Ignoring child-molesting priests made it look like the Pope endorsed it, and that code of silence made a simple law enforcement problem into a religious coverup. Ignoring the fact that ('some') imams and religious scholars are the primary recruiters for terrorists is making it look, sound, and feel like Islam endorses and condones terrorists, and Islam's continued refusal to turn over and evict these recruiters from their ranks can and will be used as evidence that 'the pope endorses child-molesting preachers' and 'Islam endorses terrorism in the name of Islam'.

The world is waiting for the day that murdering gays because they are gay will engender the same level of outrage in Islam that the publishing of a cartoon currently does, but we all know that day is decades away ... if it comes at all. And we're not even touching on honor killings yet.

There is a problem with Islam that only Islam can solve, and Islam MUST solve it soon. Muslims must address it loudly, often, and repeatedly, it must stop making excuses and stop blindly ignoring what the rest of the world sees. It must decide to hold all life sacred, not just their particular sect. Because it is dangerously out of hand right now and, if allowed to persist, all the solutions available from outside Islam look a lot like WWIII, and nobody really wants that.

This 'God wants you to murder unbelievers' has been dropped by all other major religions and, for the most part, has been dropped by Islam inside the US. There is a path here for Islam to follow, but time is running out.

Calling people racist for pointing this out is as stupid and counter-productive as the Pope calling people racists for daring to suggest that even one priest ever raped a child.

We have given Islam a pass for 15 years, we have walked around on egg shells for fear of offending. We have pretended that there is no problem in the hopes that ignoring it will make it go away. And like a Pope that never felt any criticism over child-molestation, the leaders in Islam decided to ignore it too.

That let AlQuida become ISIS and a caliphate was born.

It may be time for some shaming.

It may be time to paint all Christian preachers as molesters, and all imams as ISIS recruiters until such time as they are shamed into getting a grip on the problem they are so desperate to ignore.

It may be time for some humiliating and some verbal bullying and a lot of uncomfortable, politically incorrect words.

It may be time to let Trump be Trump and put the bully back in the pulpit. More coddling and ignoring and pretending that their isn't a problem simply isn't going to work. And being afraid to offend Islam... well, Islam NEEDS to be offended by what ISIS is doing in its name, but it doesn't seem to be. Islam NEEDS to be offended when gays are tossed off roofs in its name, but few imams preach against it. Islam needs to be offended by stoning women for walking home with a man not related to them, in its name, but so far nothing. Islam needs to be offended every time a suicide bomber quotes the Koran before murdering, but instead statues and portraits go up in the bomber's honor. Islam need to be offended by things done in its name instead of by the names it gets called.

...there is a problem with Islam...

Friday, May 5, 2017

out on an e=mc^2 limb

Out on a limb...

No, this is not a review of a Mathew Brodrick movie.

I'm about to commit credibility suicide as a scifi author, perhaps even more suicidal than trying to review a ?three? decade old movie (a fun movie, by the way, about evil twins, crazy brothers, and a pinch of a quirky romance).


It has profound implications that reach far beyond Iran and North Korea.

For those that believe in God, the equation looks something like this.

If God created the universe, then the power of God is greater than or equal to all the energy in the universe (orbiting planets, burning suns, orbiting electrons...) plus the mass of the entire universe (from black holes to every speck of dust between the stars) times the speed of light squared.

God >= EofUniverse + MofUniverse * C^2.

A very big number, but acceptable if you believe in an all powerful God.

But if you believe only in science, then it gets a little bumpy from here.

The big bang bumpy.

According to E=MC^2, the energy that existed before the big bang is the same equation that lets you estimate the minimum power of God.

That's still a really really really big number, but this time without a good source. It's so big that it can't possibly be a 'rounding error' and looks an awful lot like a mistake big enough to prove a theory wrong. The big bang answers nothing, in other words, because it can't account for even one percent of where any of this energy came from, all it can answer is what happened to all that power after it was created.

Enter vacuum energy.

In the space between stars, that vacuum averages an atom or two every few feet. That's not exactly what anyone is really calling the source of vacuum energy. That's a vacuum in the same way that what we use to clean the floors is a vacuum. It's figurative, not literal. Vacuum energy is theoretical, namely because it doesn't exist in practice, but it's popular because it solves the God-level math error in the Big bang problem. The theory goes that true nothingness is the source of near infinite energy. Well, maybe, but I'm skeptical.

Vacuum energy

Imagine nothing, absolutely nothing for billions of light years in every direction. No energy. No heat. No mass. No nothing. (As an aside, what is the max speed of nothingness, and how would you know, and if it had speed would it still be nothingness? :)

If you dropped a particle into that much nothingness, vacuum energy would, in theory, rip it apart like a reverse black hole... much like a deep-sea fish might explode if you pulled it up onto the boat, or an astronaut might explode if he did a space walk without a suit. Or, best analogy, a helium party balloon will stretch until it explodes, usually long before it gets high enough to touch clouds. One can argue, convincingly, that the energy is not in the vacuum itself, but in the astronaut, fish, or balloon instead. Explode vs ripped apart. Exploding comes from forces within, where ripped apart are forces acting from outside. To the observer, they look the same.

So, for me, vacuum energy doesn't work, but because it solves the big bang energy problem nicely, many are deeply invested in it. But even a vacuum of one atom per cubic yard is impossible to produce here on Earth, let alone a vacuum at absolute zero, so any real answer one way or the other is unlikely to ever happen. (If you had a container that you could pump every atom out of, the container itself would be made of countless atoms, making the size of the container bigger than the sun in order to average less than an atom per foot, assuming no atoms fell off the walls of the container, which is equally unlikely)


It's so simple and elegant a formula that really the only wiggle room left in the equation is in C^2.

C, or the speed of light is a constant. But maybe not. If we could make it equal zero then we could create all the mass (m) we want and it would take (M*zero^2=0) no energy. In an absolute vacuum, the speed of light might actually be zero.

Consider, if light is a particle, then it may well be ripped to shreds in a pure vacuum. Light can't escape a black hole, so other things having a similar property are possible, if unlikely. Being instantly destroyed would give it a speed of zero. And if it was a wave, it could not pass through a medium of absolute nothingness for the same reason that sound stops traveling at the edge of space. By the way, this idea of even light particles being shredded by a pure vacuum would also give you a 'background radiation' type noise along the lines of the 'proof' of the big bang. The edges of our universe that touch into nothingness would be slowly shredded (evaporated or sublimated may be more accurate a visual representation), with some of that feeding back into the universe as background noise.

The math here works... sort of... but fuzzy.

But the instant that mass is created, the vacuum is destroyed and the speed of light gets insanely big again. And as for the instant mass, it is either put all in one place (maximum-gravity black-hole-of-all-black-holes, maximum 'vacuum energy' too) in which case it is likely big-bang exploded and the speed of light increases along a curve at the rate of the explosion... Or the mass is everywhere all at once, in which case the speed of light is instantly big and not much of a bang happens until much later. By the way, this 'dust cloud' model is how we see stars and solar systems being born, so, IF it is one of these, it's more likely a dust cloud of an atom every foot all at once (which we have billions of examples of) instead of a singularity 'big bang' that hasn't happened once outside a computer model.

An argument can be made that light would travel as a particle through a pure vacuum at the speed of light, since it would presumably enter with that speed and encounter nothing to destroy it or slow it down. Semantically, once a particle is in a vacuum it is no longer 'pure' and hence no longer exists. Put another way, if the particle exists then the vacuum can not, and if the vacuum exists then the particle can not. They are mutually exclusive, like dark or light. I buy that, but it destroys the theory of 'vacuum energy' entirely (I believe vacuum energy is wrong, but it's impossible to 'prove' it).

And some might be thinking... if mass or energy can be created 'on the cheap' wherever light has a speed of zero, then suns and black holes can make infinite mass and energy... but they don't seem to. Most explain this away by saying that the speed of light inside these super massive bodies isn't being slowed but more accurately time dilated. In other words, TIME has slowed for the photons inside such high gravity bodies and only appears slow or stopped to us outsiders; inside the black hole, from the photon's perspective, light is still screaming along, it's just time that has stopped for it instead. I kinda buy that, though it makes my head hurt.

Another 'flaw' is there's likely a zone around black holes where not only the speed of light it 'time dilated' to zero, but pure vacuums also exist, after all, black holes are considered to 'vacuum' up stars. If vacuum energy exists it should be there... but it doesn't seem to be.

So, to recap, about the only way (if you take God out of the equation) that you can create the entire universe using zero energy (because if you used any energy at all you have to then answer the 'well, where did that original energy/mass come from') is if you can somehow make the speed of light equal zero for at least a fraction of a second. Otherwise it violates E=MC^2 and you have to come up with where the mass of the universe or an even C-squared bigger amount of energy came from....

The 'flaw' of the big bang theory is the 'where did the exploding stuff come from,' and it's a God-level amount of energy/mass to explain away.

That is...Unless E=MC^2 is wrong....

Or, at the very least, it's incomplete. :)

I think there's more to that equation... and just perhaps a scifi author found it, but more on that a little later. I'm still weighing the credibility suicide of rewriting the world's most famous equation just so the ending of my book will work. I'm leaning towards it may be worth it.

the low bp fog is lifting

And the fog is lifting... but I don't want to jinx it.

For at least the last year, but most likely the last two years or more, I've had low blood pressure. By low, I mean a few times a year I would actually faint and land on the floor. Once a month a wall would hold me up.

Ideal BP is anything from 90/60 to 120/80. Average for me was in the 80s / 50s, which is well inside the fainting zone low. But fainting is not the only side effect, it also made me very lethargic and unable to focus, mentally.

Once I knew what was wrong, or more accurately the symptom of what was wrong, I did what every writer with a writer's insurance does, looked for cheap fixes on the Internet.

Salt. Check, tried it but it doesn't work well enough and comes with side effects too.

Lemon. Check, it works a little, no side effects, but doesn't keep me in the right zone.

Coffee. Check. Been doing that all along, but drinking even more coffee than I already was can't possibly be good for anyone. Any doctor in the world would say I'm taking an unhealthy or even a lethal dose of coffee already. If anything, I need to cut back on that addictive muddy water, not double up on it.

Basil. My first experiment with basil was a nightmare. I used too much and I went right past normal and into hypertension and stayed there for two days. I've never in my life experienced hypertension. It was Terrifying, but clearly this was my 'silver bullet' because it lasted for two days and a little went a long way.

I just had to get the dose right.

Because I had such a powerful reaction and it stayed in my system so long, this meant I would have to start extremely low, keep with it for a week, then increase a tiny bit and test for another week. Time consuming, but the safe approach.

I don't want to jinx it, but I think I've done just that and found the right dose.

For an entire week (since last Friday) I've been in the 90s/60s, right where I want to be.

The dose, 3/10ths a tsp per day. It sounded metric so I was pretty sure it had to be wrong :) , but that seems to do the trick and the fog that has clouded my head for the last two years is lifting.

Now, I still don't know, and probably will never find out, what the underlying problem was, but basil is covered by my insurance (10 cent seed pack at the dollar tree with my insurance card).

Oddly, after spending the last two years in a lethargic fog, returning to my real normal feels like I'm lacing my coffee with speed.