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Science as Religion

I would like to suggest a new way of considering the sciences.  Science, beyond a simple field of study, is most often thought of as a career or profession.  The scientist is simply considered the practitioner of a job, just like a fireman or a garbage man.

I don’t mean to suggest that the public trivializes the subject or to suggest that the public do not offer scientists the proper respect.  They do.  People are impressed and scientists are generally held in high regard.  Unfortunately film “stars”, pop singers and athletes are held in much higher esteem.

I simply would like to suggest that science can be thought of in a less practical and a more religious sense.  The society or movement that adopts such a view may thrive and far exceed those which do not.  In this strategy may lie our advantage.

First, it should be pointed out that the ancient religions and those practiced today are materialistic and practical in nature. Behind the myths is generally a desire to succeed in the real world, materially.  One appeals to gods in order to win favors from them.  Sacrifices and prayers have a practical goal in mind, to reap rewards in life and to avoid punishments or setbacks.  It is no coincidence that our religious holidays follow the harvest seasons of our rural ancestors.  Yule is at the winter solstice and Easter, named after the Anglo-Saxon goddess, is a fertility celebration set at the Spring equinox.  Our ancestors wanted good crops.  In today’s terms, more money.

It is for this reason, that the idea of sacralizing what is considered to be a mundane profession, should not be considered strange or novel.  The goal is in keeping with the goals of all past religions, to harness occult knowledge in the hopes that by mastering its forces you may gain advantage over competitors and over nature itself.

The scientist, the priest and senior monk have much in common.  They spend much time in solitude, have renounced much of life’s carnal pleasures in favor of a pensive and studious life and are often older males.  The mere fact of the sheer amount of study necessary makes this a reality whether or not it was the intended goal.

The study of science (or any subject) calms the spirit, breaks the chains of vice, and reduces carnal (physical) drives.  It is for this reason that religious devotion and reading the bible helps people to turn their lives around, releases people from drug addiction, etc.  It is not the arcane and often nonsensical stories, but the mere act of studying them.  How much more powerful are the effects if the material is true, up to date and practical!  Just as physical excercise strengthens the muscles, study of difficult subjects strengthens the brain.  With a stronger brain, one makes better decisions in every facet of life.  Life becomes easier and more rewarding as a result.

For those who seek mystery, one would not find any shortage in science, both at the micro and macro levels.  Study of the cosmos is replete with mystery and marvel.

It is not necessary to be a scientist by profession to reap the spiritual rewards which I have mentioned.  A society in which the layman was scientifically well practiced would form a solid bedrock for advanced civilization to prosper and from which the greatest minds would rise.

The society or movement which adopts this philosophy and practice will rule the world. 

Science is my religion; Study, my daily sacrament.

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Biology Lecture 1A: Lecture #4

March 28, 2012 3 comments

Lecture 4:

DNA Double-Helix:

Nucleotides: The components that make up a line of DNA code (Codon).

Adenine (A) always with Thymine (T),

Guanine (G) always with Cystonine (C)

Cytoskeleton:

A network of fibers that organises structures and activities in the cell. Maintains shape of cell.

Interacts with motor proteins which allow shape change, intra and inter-cellular transport.

Three components of molecular structure:

  1. Microtubules: Thickest component. Hollow tubes. 25nm diameter 200nm to 25microns long.
  • Shape cell
  • Separate cells in cell division
  • Guiding movement of organelles

Vesicles (membrane-encased transport) travel along it like a monorail. ATP-powered.

Tubulin: First structure and component of microtubules. A globular protein is comprised of an alpha tubulin and beta tubulin. These 2 come together and form tubulin.

Polymer of Tubulin:

have a positive end- Lot of action going on. Tubulin monomers adding to it, or depolymerising. Rapid on/off.

and a negative end-Slow on/off.

 

Centrosomes: Near nucleus, microtubule-organising center. Has a pair of Centrioles: Nine triplets of microtubules arranged in a ring perpendicular to each other. |  _

 

Clia and Flagella:  Locomotor appendages;Control movement of cell. Beating of these two controlled by microtubules. Clia are like ship oars. Epithelial-like.

Dynein is a motor protein that drives the bending movements of these two. Coil of proteins that are cross-linked between two microtubules. The bottoms of these motor proteins on the microtubule walk along the microtubules. This is fuelled by hydrolysis.

The picture shows the action of the Clia.

2. Microfilaments: Thinnest components. Solid rods of protein.

Built as a twisted double chain of actin subunits. Forms cortex inside plasma membrane.

These functions in cell motility, also contains the protein myosin.

Temporarily the muscle shrinks/contracts.

3. Intermediate Filaments: In-between. 8-12nm.

Support cell shape and keep organelles in place.

More permanent cytoskeleton fixture than 1. And 2.

Extracellular Components:

Most cells synthesis and excrete external materials.

Cell wall of plants:

Prevents too much of an uptake of water, contains cellulose fibers embedded in polysaccharides and proteins.  Hard to break down cellulose fibers

Primary cell wall

Middle lamella

Secondary cell wall(In some cells, i.e.: bark) between plasma membrane and primary cell wall.

Animal cells don’t have a cell wall, but have an Extracellular Matrix (ECM):

  • Important for cell communication and cell identification. (i.e. ECM of liver that identifies them as liver cells)
  • Support
  • Movement
  • Regulation
  • Made up of glycoproteins such as collagen, proteoglycans (long polysaccharides that have a piece of protein bound to it) and fibronectin.
  • ECM proteins bind to receptor proteins in the plasma membrane called integrins (span the plasma membrane and help communicate the outside environment to the cell).

Intercellular Junctions:

Interaction, direct physical contact, communication between cells.

Plasmodesmata in Plant cells: Channels that perforate plant cell walls

Animal cell junctions:

Tight junctions: Membranes of neighboring cells are pressed together to prevent leakage of extracellular fluid.

Desmosomes: Fasten cells together in strong sheets

Gap junction: Cytoplasmic channels between adjacent cells.

Chemistry 1A Lecture 16 Notes

February 23, 2012 1 comment

Overview

Today is another 50 minute lecture on molecular orbital or MO theory.  Probably you will not understand everything just by listening.  That’s alright.  MO theory requires practice and working many problems.  You could not learn math by osmosis; you will not learn chemistry that way either.  If just going to class guaranteed you an A, everyone would have a 4.0.  You learn by sitting down and doing. 

Details

Chirality

This is handedness in a molecule.  Our bodies have handedness.

All proteins in the body are left handed.  This goes for drugs as well.  It is cheaper to not purify both.  A cleaver drug company will let the racemic mix patent run out and then re-patent the L- form under a different name.

MO Theory

When atomic orbitals come together, they make a new orbital.  Two s orbitals make a sigma bond.  If out of phase, a sigma antibonding MO is made.  It’s all about energy and attempts to minimize energy to increase stability, decreasing reactivity. 

Bonding Order= bonding electrons – antibonding electrons/2

If BO = 0, the molecule is not real and there is no bond. 

Review

Why not?  We’re going to touch every chemical concept, that is clear.  I guarantee that you will not master everything you see here.  Same for the students in this class.  Earning a chemistry degree takes at least 2 years.  No one masters it in a month.  This is just to get your feet wet and to get used to some terminology.  If Neato continues to push MO theory I will add an actual set of exercises to do.

Pick a Problem

October 27, 2011 7 comments

There’s a common sin in science that alot of new scientists face and experienced ones as well:  being too generalized.  There is a tremendous amount of information in the world today.  The last I heard the information in the world doubles every 2 years.  That is a tremendous rate of change.

The best advice I could give any young scientist is to pick a problem early and to specialize in it.  As an example of this, there are no professional athletes who compete in Basketball, Baseball and Tennis.  They pick a sport, they pick a position and they spend all their attention on it.  Then one needs to invest the necessary 10 years or 10,ooo hours to become world-class.  It’s really the only way to become great at something today, in a world  of 7 billion people.  There’s too much competition and too many players to be a jack of all trades.

There are several big questions begging for answers today.  Anyone who solved these problems would become famous and if they played their cards right, rich.  Young scientists should think in terms of problems that they can devote their careers to rather than large “areas” which make one too generalized.  This will also help in graduate school as one will have a good idea on the thesis one would like to write walking in the door.  Here’s a few big problems begging to be solved:

Artificial Intelligence

Nitrogen Fixation and the Haber-Bosch Process

Senescence

Human Consciousness

Space Exploration

Molecular Computing

The Trifecta of Cancer, Multicellularity and Phenotypic Plasticity

These are only a few of them.  Each is rather large and could be further subdivided.  I know a scientist at MIT who’s studied how a particular species of plant fixes nitrogen using a molybdenum catalyst.  He’s published dozens of papers in this area and it’s a large part of how he’s made his living.  He’s the best in the world at that small area that would solve a big problem.  The Haber Bosch Process uses 5% of the world electricity to make ammonia, which is a fertilizer that is used to grow plants, which will eventually become people.  A more efficient catalyst would lower the activation energy of the reaction and require less energy in.  This would amount to a large savings almost immediately.

Specialize!  Narrow your interests down until you find an area small enough that you can dominate.  It’s not terribly hard.  To really explain and go deep in any subject will take 500 to 1000 pages of material if you are writing a paper.  A 50 page overview is not much.   The deep, inside knowledge is how the best gain an advantage over everyone else.  They specialize in order to dominate.  To succeed in science as a career, you must do likewise.

The Retreat to Primitivism

October 9, 2011 2 comments

Yesterday, I attended the “Occupy Los Angeles” protest, which is the west coast wing of “Occupy Wall Street” movement. I have a certain sympathy with anyone who recognizes the extreme disparity between rich and poor in our society. In the United States 10% of the population owns 71% of the nation’s wealth and the top 1% owns 38%. I’m all for hard working and intelligent people to earn more than those who don’t work as hard. However, that is not the case in the US. There are many ways in which the rich have extreme advantages over the rest. Also, there is a difference between a greater reward and lordship which is where we are today. We have guys driving around in submarines with helicopter pads while millions are sleeping on the sidewalks.

The rich like to claim that they made all of their money by themselves and owe nothing to society. How much money would they have made without low paid workers? How much without publicly funded roads? How much without buildings? How much without a publicly funded military in which low paid soldiers bring resources to America from throughout the world? How much without a publicly funded police force to protect their assets. How much without publicly educated employees? How much without publicly funded water, electrical, postal system and internet? The wealthy could not be wealthy if it were not for the support network which they receive in our society.

Let’s take the flipside. Let’s say that they do owe nothing to the rest of society. In that case we owe nothing to them. If it’s every man for himself, then we should simply march up to their homes and drag them out. He uses his wealth. I can use my muscle.

Among other things, this disparity of wealth, raising the rich to the status of nobility has caused the average man to question modernity itself. The average man has a very limited understanding of history. He does not know for example that the average life span in 1900 was 65. The average lifespan in 1800 was 55. The average lifespan before that was in the 20’s. Modernity is pretty fucking cool.

The problem today is that the average guy is made to feel like a loser. He sees people who are not a great deal smarter than himself driving expensive cars and living in mansions, while he works like hell just to keep a roof over his head. If he watches television, his psyche is in for a real bruising. Everyone on television, including the commercials, looks like a super model, drives several SUVs has a stable marriage (to a super model) and lives in a mansion. This is the average family in something as mundane as a soap commercial!

The reaction is that people are giving up. There are many revolutionary and alternative movements out there today. Some don’t recognize themselves as revolutionary. Almost all of these groups who believe that they are in opposition to one another are actually on the same side. It is the side of primitivism.

The largest primitivist group is the xian movement. The xians, with a few exceptions have maintained an anti-science stance. From their arson of the Alexandrian Library and murder of it’s librarian Hypatia to their opposition to heliocentrism, to their modern attacks on the teaching of evolution and their opposition to solving the global warming crisis. One xian on this very blog questioned the truth of mathematics! This is by far the largest and most dangerous of primitive reactions to modernity, because it enjoys sympathy among the general population. I believe that in the US this working class, primitivist, reactionary movement only needs difficult economic times and a popular military general to sweep us back to the middle ages.

Obviously communism and anarchism would swamp us with so many non-Whites that any hope for modernity would be lost, no matter what their official positions on science may be.

Neo-Paganism is also a primitivist movement. Although it is an Aryan movement and I do sympathize with their respect for our traditions, their wish to return to a glorious Germanic age which never existed, is not the path of modernity. One can see their glorification of the middle ages, just like the xtians. Aaah, life was simpler then. You died at birth. So did your mom. You didn’t need to study, just run around being glorious with your sword. Bullshit! The Germans used to sell their children as slaves to the Romans just for food.

I know several extremely intelligent followers of Asatru, but most of it is Hollywood movie Viking dress up and a wish to return to an age where they could be mentally lazy. Also, the advocacy of things which are simply untrue does not sit well with me, like guys flying around in the sky with eight legged horses and such. Just like the xians, the wannabe Viking neo-pagans, and superstitious “traditionalists” are primitivist movements guided by liberal arts adherents.

No! It is time to shape up and discipline ourselves. It is time to study hard, not what interests you, but what society demands. That is math and science. The future can be yours, but not by retreating to a fantasy vision of the middle ages. We must restore community spirit and a degree of socialism, but not at the expense of forward progress.

Mathematics – The Highest Form of Thought

September 25, 2011 14 comments

In the post “Going From Innumerate to Math Whiz in No Time Flat”, I introduced the concept of the “Knowledge Pyramid”. This is an important concept for a greater reason than simply to encourage mathematics. For the active mind, it is a pathway to a pure life.

The lower forms of existence are only helpful for raising one to the next level. When one gets stuck on a level, which is the normal human condition, the result is stagnation in the best case, and degeneracy in the worst.

Take for example the first level. Sex, drugs, and base beat-driven negro-inspired music. If one spends a great deal of time and energy geared toward sex, one will attempt many different sexual experiences. First, with one’s girlfriend, one might try all sorts of things in order to make this very simple process more interesting. Eventually it can get to become really disgusting and degenerate. After a time, one girl will not be enough. If it is continued through many different girls, perhaps even girls will not be enough of a thrill. I don’t need to describe how low and vile sexuality can become if too much time and energy are invested there. One should really move on.

In music those who enjoy nigger inspired rock music and spend too much time there, end up listening to industrial noise, black metal, and all sorts of degenerate musical forms which largely abandon the attempt to even sound good. After too much time is dedicated to this form, one often ends up listening to sheer noise, simply to keep this simple form interesting and new. Just like a drug addict chases “the dragon”, the great experience that he can never replicate or satisfy, so too does the obsessive music fan. 20th Century classical music and art even resort to the same thing. When music students get tired of listening to Beethoven and Puccini they start listening to random symphonic noise. When art students get tired of Monet they turn to Picasso. This can be seen as the musical and artistic equivalent of the excesses in the sexual realm.

Those who have run sex, music and drugs to an excessive level often find solace in religion, which is the next level on the pyramid. How many ex-drug addicts and musicians and perverts of various stripes thank the lord for saving them. For people who are extremely unintelligent, this really is the best they can do and it is often recognized as a positive step in their lives. If they can get lost in the bible and keep a nine to five job for the rest of their lives, then they have made a marked improvement. In fact, it is the process of reading and listening to lectures which has reduced the physical pull on their psyche, and not the actual message itself. If one spends time reading and thinking, even if it’s about nonsense, their physical desires will decrease. It is why both priests and professors are often celibate and ascetic even though they don’t subscribe to the same philosophy.

For the slightly higher intellect, religion is only a brief stopping point on the way to the next level. When he fails to take the next step up the pyramid, he becomes lost in a fog of super-naturalism. Just as with the sex addict and drug addict the religious addict simply absorbs more and more fantasy. He becomes steeped in all sorts of mystical nonsense. Catholicism is made to absorb such people for a lifetime. One can study church history, the lives of the saints, and fantastic stories as numerous as they are blatantly absurd.

For those of other backgrounds, Buddhism and Hinduism provide the same never ending fantasy world. Many protestants, for lack of a rich fantasy pool of their own, end up on one of these eastern paths or some Westernized new age plagiarism of them.

A good college education will usually put the religious mind in contact with enough superior minds to cure him of his religiosity, or at least make him ashamed to admit otherwise, and he will get stuck in the liberal arts realm.

Both the religious realm and the liberal arts realm create an interesting model. They both rely on words. In this way, the longer one spends in either of the two realms, if they are actively studying, will necessarily become skillful with the use of words. In fact, they will become more skillful wordsmiths than what is normal for a human being. They can thus appear to the less practiced as being more intelligent than they really are.

This is why a priest is able to dazzle the less educated, and even obtain undue respect in certain educational circles. You find the same condition among lawyers. Neither the priest nor the attorney may have learned anything really new, or exercised his brain in any meaningful way in decades. They have simply acquired more words with which to mystify and confuse their listener. Religious articles and the ironically named legal “brief” are often notable for their girth and wordiness. However, when one boils it down to the point, if one can ever find the point, which is buried like a needle in a haystack, one will often find that it is pure bullshit at base.

The liberal arts man does not move up in his thinking. He moves sideways. He simply collects more and more facts and ever more words. After a point, it all becomes redundant. They do not in fact get any smarter. They simply appear smarter because they can recount redundant facts with ever more elaboration. This passes for high intelligence, because most people cannot ever reach this level, let alone pass it to the next. There is a horizontal asymptote above the mind of the liberal artist. He will continue on infinitely in the horizontal direction but never reach upward. In fact, it is sometimes shocking the degenerate smut that is recommended by university literature professors, who just like the sex addict or music addict is looking to degenerate and confusing forms of literature just to keep it interesting. The liberal arts realm should only be a pit stop for the higher mind.

It is mathematics which can absorb the mind for an entire lifetime without ever turning to degeneracy. For one can never reach the end. One can only climb higher and higher or get stuck forever trying. The mind is occupied with problem solving rather than memorization and repetition. The mind is occupied with pure numbers and not the physical things of the world. In mathematics the mind is ever challenged, ever purified.

Why We Fight

August 29, 2011 2 comments

Why We Fight!

Certain questions have long puzzled me about the nature of human behavior.

For instance:

Why do people continue to marry, even though they see the odds of divorce are approximately 50% and the results are often disastrous?

Why do the wealthy continue to voraciously accrue capital and property when they already have far more than they could ever need?

Why do people believe in an afterlife when there is no evidence suggesting that any after life exists?

Why do people continue to vote year after year even though they get few or none of their demands met from the winning candidate?

Why do people gamble even though any mathematician can tell them that they are guaranteed to lose over time?

Why do people seem to need hope in order to be productive?

Why do people fight for an ideology that to an average person seems a lost cause?

Endorphines!

Studies in Rhesus monkeys reveal astounding facts about the mamalian brain.

Studies among these monkeys have shown that the mammalian brain gets a rush of endorphines, not upon winning a reward for their labor, but in the anticipation of the reward. Upon receiving the desired reward, the endorphine level actually goes down!

That explains why so many men are in love with a woman until after they’ve gotten them in bed.

Here’s another surprising factoid. When the reward is a certainty the endorphine level in the brain is far lower than when the reward is uncertain.

The magic number is 50%. Certainty causes an increase in endorphine release before receiving the reward. 50% possibility of reward sends endorphine levels through the roof. Any other level between 0% and 100%are somewhere in between these two extremes.

So, we are hard wired for the thrill of the chase and destined to be disappointed by even a positive outcome. The longer one can be led to believe that there is a chance of success, the longer and harder he’ll work toward the goal.

It calls to mind the famous quote of Simon Bolivar after leading successful rebellions against Spain, and becoming a hero to a liberated continent of South America. When describing his life’s accomplishments, he is reported to have summed it up disappointedly by saying “I have plowed the seas.”