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A well-known effect in breakfast cereal helps physicists understand the universe

Have you ever noticed how the last bits of cereal in the bowl always seem to cling to one another, making it easy to spoon up the remaining stragglers? Physicists have — and they’ve given it a name: the “Cheerios effect”.

But this effect isn’t exclusive to breakfast cereals. It also reveals itself in the way particles move in the air, pollen floats on the surface of water and galaxies cluster throughout the universe.

[  ]…In the case of your breakfast cereal, the Cheerios can be considered milk-philic because the O’s create a small depression in the milk’s surface, forcing them to fall in towards each other. Liquids can form similar features along the edges of a container and make the milk in your cereal bowl curve very slightly upward against the wall. Because Cheerios float, they will move up the curved surface of the milk and cause the O’s to clump against the edges of the bowl as well.

If your cereal bowel was clear and you used water – ick – instead of milk you could see the depression in the liquid, called the meniscus. The meniscus are not the cereal and it is not the liquid, it is the molecular tension created by the molecules.

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A columnist ( among many others) takes issue with Stephen Hawking’s recent statements about the universe and a god centric view of its creation. He repeats an often used logical fallacy,

The only problem, of course (besides Hawking’s arrogance), is that he’s wrong.

In one telling excerpt from his book, Hawking shows why science and philosophy really don’t mix: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.”

Huh? Does anyone else see the paradox here? Hawking tells us the universe just suddenly created itself from “nothing,” right after telling us the law of gravity exists.

Nothing, as any first-grader would tell you, is nothing. Zip. Zilch. Zero. It is an absolute. Nothing doesn’t simply mean the absence of matter. It means the absence of everything. Of energy. Of math. Of constants. Of concepts. Of physical laws.

And the age-old question Hawking seems to dismiss — or conveniently ignore — still is as prevalent as it ever was: Why is there something rather than nothing?

How old is that argument about creating something from nothing is from Gottfried Leibniz. he tried to prove logically that a supreme being exists and inadvertently found his argument pointed to the impossibility of such a being. Mr Stechschulte steps up to the conundrum and conveniently steps off to the questions of the reasons for existence. One is not logically connected to the other. If it is impossible some thing – a deity – to be the cause of themselves than it is impossible for it to exist. A god/the God would have had to create itself. Nothing we know of may be the efficient cause of itself. Dogma has zero ground to stand on in regards the cause argument for a creator. Brighter theologians usually demure to the leap of faith proposition. A reasonable route to take considering the burden of proof required. Hawking is on somewhat thin ground himself when he states,

That is not the answer of modern science. As recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.

Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow are proposing there was at least one event in which universes appeared from light and matter or light and matter appeared from nowhere. Even so that one event does not require the god in anyone of thousands of legends in thousands of religions. All of which have some supernatural aspect, but have real world counterparts – plants, animals, wind, water, fire and humans. The human based masculine deities are currently the most popular. Stechschulte’s capital G god is the one of the Sistine Chapel. This deity is always described as male. That would require it have secondary sexual characteristics like genitals and primary characteristics such as a X and Y chromosome. Why would an omnipotent being require genitals. Who would he mate with and why. Why would he have gender determining genes. Wouldn’t he exercise his omnipotent powers to determine genes rather than leave it to chance. Such a being is not required for the physical laws on which the universe operates. The mathematics that describes the universe and the laws that create life as we know it will not tolerate the insertion of a random g. Put another way, no astronauts will be going into space based on calculations in which an unknown supernatural operator is inserted.

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It’s important to stand for principles until they might spoil a good photo-op,  Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) On Health Clinic Funded By Stimulus He Opposed: ‘One Of The Core Pieces Of The Solution’ America Needs

5 Ways the Tea Party Agenda Screws Tea Party Supporters. In some ways the Cliff Notes version of historian Thomas Frank’s What’s the Matter with Kansas?

If people could be counted on to vote in their own best interests, there would be no Tea Party movement, for if the economic agenda embraced by Tea Partiers — a vastly pro-corporation, government-killing plan — Tea Partiers would find themselves among the people most hurt by it.

To hear Tea Party activists tell it, they seek to save future generations from the crushing demands of big government. Yet the agenda they advocate, dictated by the big-money players behind the muscular interest groups that keep the movement growing, will likely render the Tea Partiers themselves the economically squeezed subjects of a corporate state, one in which the elderly will be left to scrounge for crumbs, small businesses will be crushed by lack of capital, and their own ground-level online organizing supplanted by the networks built by giant, corporate-funded astroturf groups.