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A "recycled teenager" learning to blog.

Dec 31, 2011

The End of the Year

Alfred E. Neuman is the fictional mascot and cover boy of Mad magazine. In November 1954, the phrase was rendered "What? Me worry?" "It was a face that didn't have a care in the world, except mischief."

Today on 31st December, 2011 is the end of the year.

Tomorrow is the beginning of an ending, another year.

What is the TIME?
Writer and physicist Paul Davies has called "time" Einstein’s unfinished revolution. There are many questions about the nature of time. What is time? What causes time? Why time slows in gravity? Why time slows in motion? Is time a dimension? Aristotle had speculated that time may be motion. He however added that motion could be slower or faster but not time.

Aristotle did not have the privilege of knowing about Einstein’s relativity in which time also becomes amenable to change. Similarly when Einstein was working to develop theory of general relativity and proposed the revolutionary idea that mass curves space he did not know that the universe was expanding.

Tick, tock, where’s your brain’s clock?

Our understanding of how people’s minds perceive time is still rudimentary.

Our perception of time is something we take for granted. It drags. It goes too fast. It’s always there in the background, ticking away.

But the means by which we measure, interpret and remember the flow of events in time is a difficult problem for neuroscientists.

While we understand much of the ways in which the brain is involved in the perception of objects in space, our understanding of the mechanisms of temporal awareness remain crude, to say the least.

While time may sometimes seem to stall or disappear, most of us instinctively feel we’re living in the moment.

But sometimes people can feel dislocated from time, a symptom known as temporal dissociation.


The International Date Line (IDL) is an imaginary line on the surface of the earth opposite the prime meridian where the date will change as one travels east or west across it. Roughly along 180° longitude, the anti meridian, with diversions to pass around some territories and island groups, it mostly corresponds to the time zone boundary separating +12 and -12 hours of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) also known as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). Crossing the IDL traveling east results in a day or approximately 24 hours being subtracted, and crossing towards west results in a day being added. The exact number of hours depends on the time zones.

If you cross the International Date Line travelling west you instantly jump forward one day in time.

John Ellis McTaggart (1908) and many other philosophers have proposed that the passage of time is an illusion suggesting that only the present is real. McTaggart is famous for his A, B and C series analysis of time. A brief review is as follows:

The earlier and later aspect of time is basically the same as the arrow of time. The birth of a person always comes before their death even as these events become part of the distant past. This is a fixed relationship so McTaggart asserts it must be more fundamental to time.

The past the present and the future aspect of time is constantly changing, future events are moving to the present and then into the past and then further back into the past. This aspect deals with the feeling of flow of time. This constantly changing relationship is also essential to the description of time. McTaggart felt that time is unreal because distinction of past present and future (a changing relationship) is more essential to time then the fixed relationship of earlier and later.

TIME AS MEMORY

McTaggart's most interesting observation however is that historical events have same time characteristic as made up stories. For example made up stories, as well as past historical events have in them, the earlier and the later as well as the past the present and the future, thus suggesting that past really is more like memory of events and does not exist any more than imagination of a writer.

The meaning of "Time" is quoted from Time Physic Blog .

Live one day at a time!

Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, died peacefully on 5 October, 2011, age 56. The news was announced by Apple in a brief tribute on the company’s home page: “Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius and the world has lost an amazing human being. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Steve have lost a dear friend and an inspiring mentor. Steve leaves behind a company that only he could have built, and his spirit will forever be the foundation of Apple.”

Rest in Peace, Steve. The angels are waiting for their iPad presents from him (just kidding!)

The human brain is complicated and complex. Please take a look at the brain scan image.

‘Focused Distraction’ by Dan Lehr.
The next generation of attenders, the so-called “net-gen” or “digital natives,” kids who’ve grown up with the Internet and other time-slicing technologies.

There’s been lots of hand-wringing about all the skills they might lack, mainly the ability to concentrate on a complex task from beginning to end, but surely they can already do things their elders can’t—like conduct 34 conversations simultaneously across six different media, or pay attention to switching between attentional targets in a way that’s been considered impossible. More than any other organ, the brain is designed to change based on experience, a feature called neuroplasticity. London taxi drivers, for instance, have enlarged hippocampi (the brain region for memory and spatial processing)—a neural reward for paying attention to the tangle of the city’s streets.

As we become more skilled at the 21st-century task Meyer calls “flitting,” the wiring of the brain will inevitably change to deal more efficiently with more information.

The neuroscientist Gary Small speculates that the human brain might be changing faster today than it has since the prehistoric discovery of tools. Research suggests we’re already picking up new skills: better peripheral vision, the ability to sift information rapidly. We recently elected the first-ever BlackBerry president, able to flit between sixteen national crises while focusing at a world-class level.

Kids growing up now might have an associative genius we don’t—a sense of the way ten projects all dovetail into something totally new. They might be able to engage in seeming contradictions: mindful web-surfing, mindful Twittering. Maybe, in flights of irresponsible responsibility, they’ll even manage to attain the paradoxical, Zenlike state of focused distraction.”
Here's why!

Please do not quote me on this blog about "The End of the World"!

A NASA Scientist Answers the Top 20 Questions About 2012.

PUBLIC CONCERN ABOUT DOOMSDAY IN December 2012 has blossomed into a major new presence on the Internet. This fear has begun to invade cable TV and Hollywood, and it is rapidly spreading internationally. The hoax originally concerned a return of the fictitious planet Nibiru in 2012, but it received a big boost when conspiracy theory websites began to link it to the end of the Mayan calendar long count at the winter solstice (December 21) of 2012. Over the past year, many unrelated groups have joined the doomsday chorus, including Nostradamus advocates, a wide variety of eschatological Christian, Native American, and spiritualist sects, and those who fear comet and asteroid impacts or violent solar storms. At the time of this writing there are more than 175 books listed on Amazon.com dealing with the 2012 doomsday. The most popular topics are the Mayan calendar and spiritual predictions that the disaster in 2012 will usher in a new age of happiness and spiritual growth. Quite a few authors are cashing in with manuals on how to survive 2012.

There is only a year left before December 21, 2012, when some believe the Mayans predicted the end of the world here .

Is it sci-fi or real?

Nancy Lieder, a self-declared psychic who claims she is channeling aliens, wrote on her website Zetatalk that the inhabitants of a fictional planet around the star Zeta Reticuli warned her that the Earth was in danger from Planet X or Nibiru. This catastrophe was initially predicted for May 2003, but when nothing happened the doomsday date was recalculated (a standard procedure for doomsdayers) and moved forward to December 2012. Only recently have these two fables been linked to the end of the Mayan long-count at the winter solstice in 2012—hence the predicted doomsday date of December 21, 2012.

If Nibiru were real, it would be tracked by thousands of astronomers, amateurs as well as professionals. These astronomers are spread all over the world. I know the astronomy community, and these scientists would not keep a secret even if ordered to. You just can’t hide a planet on its way into the inner solar system!

The “dark rift” is a popular name for the broad and diffuse dust clouds in the inner arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, which block our view of the galactic center. The entire “galactic alignment” scare is ridiculous. Late in December the Sun is always approximately in the direction of the center of the Galaxy as seen from the Earth, but so what? Apparently the scaremongers have decided to use these meaningless phrases about “alignments” and the “dark rift” and “photon belt” precisely because they are not understood by the public. As far as the safety of the Earth is concerned, the important threats are from global warming and loss of biological diversity, and perhaps someday from collision with an asteroid or comet, not the pseudoscientific claims about 2012.

NASA is pleased with the National Research Council report on heliophysics. As noted, this report includes a worst-case analysis of what could happen today if there were a repetition of the biggest solar storm ever recorded (in 1859). The problem is the way such information can be used out of context. There is no reason to expect such a large solar storm in the near future, certainly not in 2012 specifically. The reference to “the event in 2012” illustrates this problem. There is no prediction of an “event in 2012.” We don’t even know if the next solar maximum will take place in that year. The whole 2012 disaster scenario is a hoax, fueled by ads for the Hollywood science-fiction disaster film 2012. I can only hope that most people are able to distinguish Hollywood film plots from reality.

A disclaimer on this flippant, controversial blog topic: "Getting worried unnecessarily about "Doomsday on 21 December 2012" is at our own risk".

"Back to Basics" when life was simpler... to "Bark to Express".

Many "Doomsday" predictions have passed by through us in this world in my lifetime, speaking only for myself. Just with figments of imaginations about the happiness index of Martians , for people who needs people.

Join me, sit back and relax to listen to my favorite evergreen song:
"The End of the World" , and then reminisce "Yesterday Once More after 21 December, 2012 is over, another uneventful day for the world.

Happy New Year 2012!

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7 Comments:

Blogger Ipohgal said...

Hi James,

Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy 2012 ahead.

And keep on blogging my friend!

December 31, 2011 at 5:42 PM  
Blogger Ipohgal said...

Hi James,

Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy 2012 ahead.

And keep on blogging!

December 31, 2011 at 5:43 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thanks to Hui Hwang for her encouragement and kind comments which are posted on her behalf below:

Dear James
Happy New Year and we look forward to reading your well-written posts. I have wanted to leave a comment on your blog but it couldn't be done, as it brought me back to my email. Hence, I will just leave my comment here.

Dear James
Thank you for your well-written post on the passing of time. The cartoons are very interesting and funny.

Thank you for the Carpenters' songs. I have enjoyed both songs tremendously. They made me recall the time when I was still in school. Fond memories indeed.

Wishing you and your family a very Happy and Joyous New Year. Wishing that every one is healthy and hearty at home too.

Yes, I agree with Ipohgal, that you should continue to blog and share your thoughts with us, your readers. Looking forward to more interesting insights from you, James!

With warmest wishes and regards
hui hwang

December 31, 2011 at 8:03 PM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Best wishes for a healthy and Happy New Year 2012, Ipohgal.

I appreciate your encouragement and friendship very much. Thank you.

December 31, 2011 at 8:07 PM  
Blogger oceanskies79 said...

Uncles James, thanks for the post. Your enthusiasm to share through your writing is inspiring.

Wishing you continued joy in writing and sharing.

December 31, 2011 at 9:25 PM  
Blogger Andy Lim* said...

Interesting read, James. Good for you. I like Mad magazine.

January 2, 2012 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Thimbuktu said...

Thank you, Andy.

The MAD magazines I read during my schooldays were loaned to me by my classmates after his father had read them. It was not cheap at that time.

It would be good to read through the back issues.

There were lots of crazy ideas which are not MAD ideas at all. I remember that over 30 years ago, an issue of MAD featured about phone-photo which is now found in iPhone 4G function. The advanced concepts and ideas in MAD were introduced before our times and invented in these cellphone technology.

Thank you for sharing nostalgic memories of MAD.

January 2, 2012 at 1:15 PM  

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