Of Light Matters, (that may not be matter, but are light)

Alright, for those of you who don’t know it yet, I am one of that merry group of people who love to read away messages. It just so happens that one of my classmates from UConn had an away message up today describing how Einstein’s Theory was a means that transformed the theoretical concept of time-travel into a reality. I disagreed, so naturally I had to take issue with it. Theoretical physics debates inspire great things within the brain of Sir Justin, so I decided to blog about it. What I have to say may not be revolutionary, and somebody else out there has probably already figured this one out, but I have decided of my own accord that light does not move at the speed of light! Yes, I know it sounds ludicrous on the surface, but at least I have your attention now, so hear me out.

A result of the Theory of Relativity results in time dilation: Einstein theorized that it was impossible for any matter to move at the speed of light. As any particle(s) approach the speed of light two things occur: the particle(s) increase in mass exponentially, and they slow down in time compared to the surrounding space. Once they reach the speed of light, time stops for them all together.

This means, that given any object of matter with mass, as it approaches the speed of light, it also approaches infinite mass. In order to move this infinite mass up to the speed of light, an infinite amount of energy is required. Therefore the only thing that can move at the speed of light must be massless.

The inherent flaw with this concept is that light is at times expressed as a particle (a photon). And yet light DOES move at the speed of light. To put it better: as far as we can tell, light moves at the speed that we measure it to move at. If it has mass, then in order for it to reach the speed that it is measured to move at, it must be given infinite energy, and all know that we don’t need to do that: particles can be excited into a state of creating light with something as lower in power as a AAA battery (not an infinite amount of energy, unless Energizer got a lot better since last I checked :-P). Therefore there must be a flaw in the theory.

This is where the Justin Corrollary comes in: given that light is a particle, and it appears to us to be moving at the speed of light, but cannot be, I have but one explanation: namely that it ISN’T. The photon is moving at significantly less than the speed of light. However, because of the time dilation caused by this movement, the particle appears to us to be moving at much faster than it really is: namely at the measured speed. As the photon slows down in time, we are still viewing time from our point of view: this means that relatively from our point of view the particle is moving much faster!

That’s where my brain fried for a bit, but I’ll come back to that later -_-.

Peace out and happy brain twisting.

A Terrible Decision

Okay, this is just too big not to blog about. I was browsing slashdot and found this discussion with a link to this article. There is a follow up on CNN now here.

Here is a brief synopsis. This is not a technology article, but it is exteremely important. There was an incident in New London, CT (not so very far away from where I used to live) where the city officials decided to use the power of eminent domain (the constitutional ability of the government to seize a piece of property for “public use” while providing the property holder with just compensation) in order to take over a parcel of land. Now if this land was to be used to build a highway or a school, then there would be little complaint and most likely very few people would have heard about it. However, this time, the city was taking over the land to turn it over to a commercial enterprise!

The appeal made it all the way up to the Supreme Court of the US (SCOTUS) and they backed the city and the commercial enterprise!!! There are no further courts to appeal this ruling to. There is no way left to overturn this ruling except by a stand from we the people.

Needless to say, this has caused a lot of upset across the country. It is now a set precedent that a city can seize any private property under the grounds of eminent domain and turn it over to another private party that they believe will make better use of it for the “public good”; the good being anything from paying more taxes, to whatever else they decide it should be.

This opens the doors for many, many kinds of abuse. It is already obvious that this ruling is going to be exploited. The second CNN article I linked to at the top of this article is telling businesses to use the power of eminent domain as a “last resort”. THEY ARE TELLING LARGE BUSINESSES THAT IT IS OKAY FOR THEM TO USE GOVERNMENT POWER TO KICK OUT PRIVATE CITIZENS!! Luring small-town governments to use this power is easy: bribery is still alive and well in the world.

Another way to abuse this power is for the removal of dissenters. City council members now have the ability to essentially remove anybody who will vote them out next election by turning their property over to any private enterprise that wants in and will back them. And anyone naive to think that this won’t happen doesn’t deserve the title of American citizen. Government has been corrupt and bought for ages. They now have just given themselves more power to control the people.

My biggest fear right now is that the American people have become so complacent that they will just roll over and let this happen. Thankfully I have not heard any private citizens backing this ruling yet (although it is obvious from the media that large enterprises are ecstatic about it). If people still want the freedom they have believed themselves to be living with, then they are going to have to fight for it. It may not be a war of violence yet, although from what I have seen many people are calling for violent reactions to this, but if it ends up that violence is the only way to remove corrupt leaders from power, then I hope that the Fourth Amendment is alive and well. The right to own and bear arms was written for events just such as this. If the government becomes too powerful and controlling, the people will need them to force them to give up their power.

Viva la Revolucion, and let the “In Soviet America” jokes ensue!

Solar Sails

Yay, ’tis my birthday! One more year of teenage-hood left.

Okay, enough with the public service announcements, back to the show. For anybody who has been following the solar sail launch project, you probably know what’s going on right now: aka, nobody knows whats going on. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention to it, here is a brief synopsis: a [planetary.org] private space company has been working on a “hairline budget” of 4 million dollars to try and produce a space craft. Their concept is for a solar sail; much like a sail on a sail boat, except that instead of being pushed by the wind, it is pushed by solar particles (for a better explanation, check out Wikipedia’s Article. Anyway, yesterday was launch day. They were putting the craft into orbit by launching it from a Russian submarine on a modified Russian ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile). However, 83 seconds after launch, the rocket shut down. Some sources are saying that the entire device crashed, but mission controls are still receiving faint signals from the vehicle, suggesting that it may be in a low orbit. Anyway, the search is on.

I sort of expected something like this would happen, but I’m a died in the whool conspiracy theorist, so of course I think it happened on purpose. There are two possible scenarios for why the mission would be sabotaged: one, some government (most likely US or Russia) already knows that the sail will work properly, perhaps better than expected and it will remove government domination of space. On the other hand, they may wish for the largest private space advocacy group to continue pursuing a course that they know to fail to keep them away from a real solution. Either way ensures the continuation of government control of space.

Why would the governments want to keep control of space to themselves? For a number of reasons, actually, but here are a few:

  • Plain Old Fashioned Power – the more they can control the stronger they can be. Politicians and governments in general have always been power hungry, and those that have felt very strong power (the US and Russia are both good examples, especially considering that many officials in both governments can still taste the Cold War).
  • Defense Projects – Anything from the [wikipedia.org] Strategic Defense Initiative (aka, the Star Wars Project), to an all out missile launch platform from space would ensure the power of any government that attains it, both from a defense perspective and from an offensive prospective (complete with large amounts of propaganda, of course).
  • Any Government Secrets in space – this may seem like a bit more of a reach, but it is difficult to believe that some of the governments black-budget projects (ones not listed on the budget for the public to know about) are not involved with or located in space. If commercial craft become feasible and then widely used in space, many of the governments projects would most likely be discovered. No matter what these projects are, the government would like to protect their secrecy if they exist, so something as simple as sabotaging a launch from a private company and making it appear like the company made a mistake would be the simplest defense mechanism to protect these projects.

Who knows, I could be completely off the nail here, but somehow something as simple as “oops, the rocket shut down early!” doesn’t seem like a good explanation either, especially not on such a carefully planned and controlled project.

Just my $.02. Peace out.

Mirada & Python

Well the final decision is in on the Dodge Mirada: I’m keeping her :-D. I reinstalled my stereo (sounds woonderful again!) so I can have some good quality sound on my cross country trip. We cleaned off the gauge next to the fly wheel for the timing belt and get her timing back in the right spot using a handy dandy Timing Light.

If you have never seen or used one before, check it out, it’s an awesome example of basic electronics: you connect it to the first spark plug wire and to your battery. Whenever the first plug fires, the fluorescent bulb in the gun flashes, hilighting the timing mark on the fly wheel. Next to the fly wheel is a gauge showing top-dead-center (TDC) and a number of degrees in each direction. Then you can adjust the timing to the correct position (for my Mirada it’s 16 degrees before TDC) by rotating the distributor cap. The coolest part to me is the sensor on the gun that detects the signal in the spark plug wire.

Anyway, so yes, the beast baby will be coming to Maine with me when my family moves and I’ll probably store it in Maine until I get parking all straightened out at UConn. So that’s the car update of the day. On a computer front, I’ve been reading a book on Python and am becoming familiar with it. It seems to be a cool, straight forward language that has some power. Most of what I’d do with it is probably better done with Perl or C, but for something quick and dirty, python seems to be able to get it done. I’ll put up a bunch of Python programs that I write up on our Projects Page as I go on. Who knows, maybe I’ll come with something useful!

Alright, the Justin is tired, peace out and happy hacking.

Quick Microsoft Rant

I’ve been reading the book World War 3.0 by Ken Auletta recently. It’s the story of the Microsoft vs. United States legal battle concerning whether Microsoft was a monopoly or not. If you don’t understand the case, I highly recommend you read this book. Ken does an awesome job of wording it so you can understand the case without having to understand massive legal or technical jargon. (No, they didn’t pay me to say that, but if one of “they” is reading this and wants to pay me, I gladly accept it! Preferably 50’s and 100’s please!).

Anyway, there was one thing that caught my eye and inspired this blog. One of the primary pillars of the case was that Microsoft had acted in a monopolistic fashion by packaging Internet Explorer along with it’s operating system for no charge. This damaged Netscape Navigator in two ways: first, Netscape charged for their browser, because the browser was their sole product and the only source of income for the company. Secondly, since computers came with Internet Explorer on them, and no Netscape, users were exposed to IE first, and did not have the option of using Netscape right off the bat, resulting in an increase in the IE browser with entry-level computer users and a major hit to Netscape.

Anyway, the part of this that hit me as ironic is that Microsoft killed a charge-for product (Netscape) by releasing a freeware alternative (Internet Explorer)!! Now that Linux seems to be maturing and approaching a more new-user and converted-user friendly state they may yet have the chance to over take Microsoft and do to them what they did to Netscape.

This is true not only Linux, but for the entire FOSS (Free Open Source Software) movement. In the ongoing browser wars, Mozilla Firefox, a freeware web browser, has been gaining ground against Microsoft’s IE because it is free and because it is viewed by some as a better product. I have run into a large number of fairly ordinary computer users (your average non-techy type) who are running Firefox just for this fact!! If the average consumer is capable of moving away from Microsoft’s (percieved?) monopoly and toward alternative products simply for the QOS and because the price is right (hey, what’s better than free?!), then there is yet hope for the FOSS movement and the downfall of the corporate giant

(Some of you may note that I am declining calling Microsoft the “evil empire” or any other such phrase. This is intentional. I enjoy Linux and FOSS movement, but I don’t view Microsoft as any evil entitity. It is my personal belief that Bill Gates is a very shrewd business man who ended up having a product that lead the standardization of computers and obtained a market position that is difficult to beat. His use of his power is his own business, I believe in true Laissez-faire and the idea that the better product for the better deal will win out. Microsoft had it, and might still, but eventually something else will come along that can and will replace it, as technology marches on. In the words of Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems: he supports the governments case, but he hopes that one day he’ll be so successful that the government might be all over Sun. That’s how he’d know he was successful.

On that note, peace out and happy hacking. Don’t let your brains get stale!

Progress and the Mirada

Well, I’ve been a bit busy recently, so not much progress has been made on this site :-/. Anyway, I’m putting a little time into it today, and I’ll keep moving forward. For today’s cool link of the day, Steve brings you an amazing dude who built his own computer from scratch. No, this isn’t a “from scratch” as in he bought the different cards, etc, and put it all together. No no no, that is cool, but not hackerly. A TRUE hacker designs his own computer from COMPLETE SCRATCH using TTL gates!!! Then comes up with an instruction set, compilers, etc. This amazing guy’s website is here: http://www.homebrewcpu.com/.

Speaking of Steve, he’s terribly busy also, at the moment with no time to learn phpMyAdmin basics, so he won’t be posting on his blog until he either gets the time to learn about phpMyAdmin or else I write a completely intuitive posting / editting system. So I guess II’ll work on that some today….

For anybody interested in looking at my Dodge Mirada, the old site is available here for your viewing pleasure. I’ll transport it over to Fugitive Thought as soon as I get a quick chance.

Enough for today. Peace out and happy hacking!

First Blog Entry

[Migrated from FugitiveThought.com]

Well, here is the very beginning of my blogging system. I get involved in a ton of projects, but it appears that this website is my current main project. I’m a bit out of practice with my web coding, but I shall get back up to par. I would like to thank Steve for his wonderful help with the color scheming. He’s going to fix my messy shadows and other stuff as soon as he finishes one of his other projects with a deadline, but I think I can live with my rudimentary design until then ;).

The cool thing about this site is that I am writing it completely from scratch (aka, no editors any better than vi!! (okay, so maybe I’m using eclipse a little bit too….), but basically it means I’m writing all the code by hand, the old school way ^)_(^. And I’m doing it from inside my two LinuxFromScratch boxes that have been put together completely by me (and of course the OS is customized, I’ll get the details on my own version of LFS up in theĀ Projects Section as soon as I get the time). So I guess you can say I’m doing things from the ground up here ;). Too bad my two comps aren’t custom built…. I cheaped out and got an eMachine’s desktop a while back (good deal on it tho!) and a nice Toshiba lappy. I’ll customize the hardware later :-P.

As some of you may notice from the changelog, I am currently living on the west coast (Washington State to be exact). But it appears my family is moving (yet again!) back to the east coast (to Maine). So there may be a lull in my connectivity and work on this site, but I promise I soon as I get back to a good ‘net connection, and definitely by the time I get back to school on August 18th, I’ll get right back to work on it! My own car project (the Dodge Mirada) is currently up for sale. If I can get the price I want for it I’ll be happy, and I really don’t think I’ll be too desperate for a car around here, or when I get back to school…. we shall see what time brings.

Alright, I guess that’s long enough for a first post! Oh, and since Steve’s blog isn’t up yet, I’ll post a link he sent me. For you technically inclined people, or even the not-so-technically-inclined who still care about your privacy rights, here is an interesting read: http://www.prisonplanet.com/022904rfidtagsexplode.html.

Peace, and happy hacking!!