Argumentative foul: The Straw Man

Hi,
I decided to make some post about argumentation, this is partial because of what happened today (which was quite interesting though I will write about it a bit later) and also because argumentation is so important to me. Probably the first argumentative foul that has ever been known to me was the “straw man”.


I heard about straw man for the first time when my brother showed me some meme and there were those two words.

So I asked: “What does straw man means?”

“Imagine debating with me about God, I would be an atheist and you the one who believed in God. We would make some arguments and then I would say: Imagine old man sitting on a cloud with shiny thing around his head looking down and letting people do wars.”

This is nice example of straw man, in this situation I believe in God and the other person does not even need to know what I exactly mean by God but he says this. Creating an argument which I do not even need to believe in, making it ironic or so. This is the building of straw man, now he burns this straw man down by saying: “Could you really imagine it? This is so stupid, old man on cloud -_-.”

This is of course argumentative foul because I never said something about old man sitting on cloud, plus the person is acting ignorant. Of course you can not always see it so easily but once you know that it exists you can detect when this straw man is being build so dont let yourself be thrown down by such a thing.

Dragallur

2nd foul: Emphasis on unknown authority

 

 

How it blows

Hi,
tommorow I am writing test on geography, it will be on pedosphere, hydrosphere and atmosphere and since I forgot to learn atmosphere I decided that I will make post about winds and how air circulates on Earth so I can remember it.


The most important thing is that air wants to go from area of high pressure to area with low pressure, this is practicly the key thing in weather forecast because wind also takes rainfall with it and it is key when forming storms.

So it is important to know where are those areas of high and low pressure.

Low pressure areas create when there is warm air which expands thus lowering the pressure and then it rises. This of course happens on equator so there is low pressure always moving just a little bit north and south during year as the angle towards Sun changes.

On poles on the other side is high pressure because cold air falls down and its density increases because it is heavy.

Whole process is not so simple there is no gradient between equator and poles because there are lot other things that change this.

Key picture of winds on Earth

The picture above shows how air travels on Earth, I will start with the area of equator. So there is low pressure because of hot air. It raises and as anti trade wind (in Czech we call it anti-pasát) it goes north or south because the air is pushed by the new air coming. At about 40° the air loses all its humidity and temperature so it goes down. Because it is so dry at those areas deserts tend to create. This is area of high pressure compared to equator so the air goes south as trade wind. It is called like this because it helped sailors when they wanted to trade something. Around equator those winds are weaker and weaker and the air goes up because it is warmer. This area is called doldrums. It is famous for leaving boats powered by wind for weeks on same place, sometimes even killing whole crews since they can not move without wind.

This process described above is called Hadley cell.

Same thing happens around poles except the high pressure area is around poles so winds blow from there. This for example creates what is called tornado valley which is area in USA where hot air from south and cold air from Canada meet to create winds moving spiraly on small area: tornadoes.

It gets much more complicated on what is called Ferrel’s cell which is area between Hadley and Polar cell. Here lot of difference is also made by area above oceans and above land.

Because of Coriolis effect (Earth rotating), trade winds are turned towards west because of their inertia, Earth rotates from west to east.

Dragallur

Check out those two video for coriolis effect and how water turns in toilet:

 

One year in space

Hi,
today I will write about the one year mission on International Space Station.

Journey to Mars

What needs to be done for mission on Mars. (Source)


Usually when there are astronauts on ISS they are there for half a year, conducting experiments and so on. The problem is that we do not have much data about what happens when the astronaut is away for longer time. This is a problem for long term missions on Mars and so on.

We know that bones weaken over longer periods of time because body adjust their strength to how much they are used which is not much when you are in microgravity.

Of course muscles weaken too, both of those problems are almost balanced by 2 hour workout everyday, it is not enough and the astronauts need to do some rehabilitation afterwards.


Now there is this mission called One Year in Space. There were actually people from Russia who were longer time in space their condition was not studied much. In 1st March astronauts Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko will return after one year in Space. Both of them were observed already one year before the mission and they will be observed one year after it. Scott Kelly even has a twin who is too astronaut so they will get even more information from that because they can compare their condition.

It may take a long time to get all the results since scientists have a lot of data and their saliva will still remain frozen on the board of ISS before we are able to bring it back.

Dragallur

I already mentioned one year mission in this post.

 

 

There is no centrifugal force

Hi,
why do you feel the push in carousel? Or when you are in car turning and you feel pushed on some person which can feel pretty awkward. This is all because of centrifugal force right?


YOU have been living in a lie

Your whole life was lie if you ever thought that there is something like centrifugal force.

So where is the problem? What causes us to fly from circle? There are three forces acting on you on carousel, gravity of Earth, the bench up so you do not fall through it and also towards the middle so you do not fly away. But still you feel the push from the circle, why if there is no force?

Your body wants to stay in the movement (it has some inertia) which is straight in direction and also in speed. This is Newton’s first law. But it does not because the bench goes in circle and you hold it so you go in circle too but your body does not want to do it so it would rather fly away in straight line which would be tangent to the movement. 

Above you can see that the line TP is what your movement would actually look like relative to the circle which is the carousel.

At every point of the movement you want to go tangent to the circle but you are holded by the force which has the tag of centripetal force. This is just a tag, all kinds of forces can be centripetal, gravity for orbits, friction of wheels for car in turn, ball on string or the bench of the carousel on which you are sitting.

Lesson: do not use the word centrifugal force anymore, it is not there and laws of physics would not work if it would be there.

Check out the video below showing when the speed gets way too big and the centripetal force simply is not able to hold it together anymore (here the centripetal force are the bonds holding the CD together):

Dragallur

Thanks my physics teacher!

My exchange program to Germany

Hi,
today I will write about my exchange visit to Germany with the organisation called YFU (Youth For Understanding).


I signed to YFU few months ago. After I was in our capital city for talk with their people I got message that I am accepted, cool! Next school year I will be in Germany living with some family which they will find for me. I am really looking forward to it. Mostly I want to learn German because I do not think that in our school the classes are so good.

I hope that I will not only learn some of their language but I will meet so many new people! There is so much stuff to learn and I am really happy they chose me. Otherwise right now I am filling in some forms so they can find me the family.

If some person is right now reading this and she or he is in the age when they should decide if to go or not to go for such a program, definitely say yes, while I did not attend to it yet, I was one year already in USA and it is something you will never ever regret, there is nothing to loose, really.

Dragallur

 

Creationism vs Science: The concept of God

Hi,
today I want to write about the concept of God. While this has really really long history and I can not even imagine how many people already thought about this, I am going to write about it from my point of view. Mostly what I learned from the conversation which I mentioned earlier.


So what is going on here? Why God exists in human minds in the first place?

Religious person would say that it is because of God that we think about Him. I mean, it would be a great coincidence that most people throughtout the history would belive in God/Gods even if they never heard about the other culture. There are actually so many religions and all of them (as far as I know, which may not be so far) have some higher being who controls everything.

So either I must admit that there is God because it would be too random otherwise, or think of another argument, why would somebody invent religion and God?

I talked about this with my mum and she said that she thinks that religions appear because people need solution to their problems. With this I agree, take some person 2,500 years back. There are so many things in his life that she or he does not understand. The person is probably some kind of farmer as it usually happened back then and life runs for them while maybe even something interesting happens during those years, something they can not explain with their knowledge which is anyway basicly zero. Well but something actually can explain anything, it is the God. Such a farmer can say that God did it, suddenly he has no more troubles because if something he does not understand happens, he says that God did it and there is no problem with that because God is able to do anything. When some trouble comes then it is easily explained by God and you can pray so that it does not happen again, so religious people actually know so much more than the rest of us do, they have answers to anything.


While this is completely illogical from modern point of view, it seems to me to be a good reason for religions to exist and there are people who still believe in this concept of God, because anything can be explained by it. Take for example my argument against recent creation of Earth:

The fact that there are stars in various stages (proto stars, young stars, stars old as Sun, red giants and supernovas) proves that Universe is much older than 6,000 years old because all of those stages took at least tens of millions years to get to.

Simple as that, this argument seems to me really really strong but actually creationists are able to throw it down in particular way.

What they say to you is that some things were created by God in mature state. What this means is that 6,000 years back there was created: supernova, red giant and new stars as if they never needed to go through all those phases. There is no problem with this because God is ultimately powerful and He is able to do such thing.


What is wrong with this?

This is where falsifiability and testability comes.

When you say that there is God who created supernova so it did not need to “evolve” you will solve it but is it testable? No. You can not test such a thing and what should you think? Think that processes work as we see them now for all the time or that processes worked differently in the past and could even be created from nowhere. When we believe such a thing we add piece that is completely unncesary and it is based only on one ancient book called Bible in which it is written to be truth. So how do we know that it was not 1,000 years or 5 years or that even Universe could have been created last Thursday (this is called last thursdayism) we do not but if we believe in such a thing we wont get anywhere, again I am returning to what I wrote about in last post and that if we teach creationism as truth in schools (while I think that we should at least mention its concepts), we wont get anywhere.


So does God exist? We do not know, it is simple as that. We know that creationism is wrong as I will probably proof in some future posts but science just can not say anything about God. Maybe He exists but right now it does not really seem that He has some real effect on our life, if the effect is that we have a Bible than He is being pretty manipulative.

I will also get to arguments by people who say that God is true because they can feel His existence and also near death experiences, though it will probably take me some time since I do not want to have a lot of such stuff on my blog and I will return to some astronomy and a real science.

Dragallur

 

 

 

 

 

Serious problem of reciprocity

Hi,
today I would like to write about giving presents, doing favors, blogging and twitter, all of those things have something special in common.


This is called reciprocity. It’s synonyms could also be mutuality or intercommunity, let me give an example.

When somebody gives you some present, it may even be unexpected or the present is really, really great, you feel like you should give it back to them to equal the values of both sides to erase some kind of “debt”. This does not need to be materialistic, I can even imagine when it could be even emotional or so. Or somebody helps you so you feel that you should do the same to him. This is reciprocity and it seems to me that it is simply everywhere.


Reciprocity does not always work in this way but it can also work like revenge. When somebody does you something bad, you will feel that you want to return it to them, to make revenge. And well revenge seems like a bad thing, so is reciprocity bad? Should we feel it and behive like it says to us?

I mean when somebody does something nice to you, you should not feel that you should do the same thing. I am not saying that you should not be grateful or so, but do not get manipulated by someones behavior even if it is in a nice manner. You should not be in debt because somebody did something you did not even ask for, imagine getting money but having to pay it back with interest without somebody asking you if you need it.

Reciprocity is a great manipulating tool and it works perfectly because we are so deeply used to it.

When I wrote that reciprocity has to do a lot with blogging and twitter I meant this:
I feel that this happens to me a lot, especially on Twitter where lot of people simply hunt down new followers to get higher numbers on their twitter. I even found an account with 25,000 followers which is not a bad number at all when I consider mine: 16.. but at the same time, the person had 24,500 people who they followed. Now if you have never been on twitter you can not imagine how it looks like but I follow 70 people, those are mostly some famous people, organizations as NASA and so on so they are very active. I get hundreds of tweets every day but if I look at it thrice a day I can get through it and look on everything they posted, most is not so important to me, so it is pretty fast. Imagine what a tide of new tweets you must get when you have 24,500 follows, you are totally flooded and every time you refresh page there are tens of new tweets.

Why those people have so many of them? Reciprocity. They give a follow to you and wait day or two, if you follow them, sometimes under the effect of reciprocity you will keep their follow but if you do not you will lose their interest. This is a clear example of reciprocity because you feel as though you should look on their account and check out their work and even give them follow while otherwise without the effect you would most probably skip them because they are too boring.


Now I was just throwing it whole down but actually it may have a normal use, even the “golden rule” in ethics is a kind of reciprocity:

One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself

Or also in international politics this is used frequently. When one state gives the other some benefits it is usually followed by the other state doing the same, because it is just fair on the international level. Or this of course may be used in negative way with sanctions.

So I am not saying that you should not follow reciprocity at all, I am just saying that you should not feel disappointed in somebody when she or he does not return your favor because you have done it in free will and they also have a free will to decide if they will return it. At last:

You will never know all the details, but you have to count on all of them

This was kind of strange post for my blog but I have been thinking about this for some time already so I decided to share it with you, thanks for reading.

Dragallur

 

 

 

 

Telescope of this generation

Hi,
this title is kind of weak, I know that, but I did not want to write “rusty, old piece of metal”. First because rusty could be a little bit misleading, rust only occurs when there is oxygen and there is only little of that in space, more accurately there is 1% of all the atoms in the Universe which is quite few tons but at the same time Hubble Space Telescope is flying in near vacuum when there are just a couple of hydrogen atoms per cubic meter, maybe in his lifespan he even touched few oxygen atoms. Second because he just does not deserve it. (Check out the post about James Webb Space Telescope)


His lifespan? Well it has been a long for such an instrument which are usually meant to work for much less years. For now the telescope has been working for 25 years, 9 months and 29 days. It is assumed that it might work for another 20 years or so, it could be even longer but it is slowing down and as I explained in post about orbits, it will eventually fall down and burn up in atmosphere. Not that this space telescope would be half immortal or so, but it was able to work for so many years because there were actually missions to repair some of its tools and power systems, otherwise it would not work by now [1].

When Hubble was launched and first images sent to NASA they were good, but not good enough which was because of the mirror. It was polished to a little bit wrong shape so they had to repair that. Before they did it NASA used some complicated image processing to get the best out of those pictures.

The repair itself was very complicated since replacing mirror was simply impossible and to bring the telescope back was too expensive. They solved it by making the same mistake but “of opposite direction” on another part of the telescope so it was totally canceled out, you can check out on the next picture to see how much it made a difference:

 

One of the images taken during the misson for some repair.

Pillars of creation, by Hubble

NASA even decided to borrow some of Hubble’s time for amateur astronomers, of course it was not easy to get that time but it was definitely worth it I am sure.

Hubble is not justing taking those beautiful pictures but it also helped to measure Hubbles constant on whole next level and also through his data we found out that the expansion of Universe is actually increasing, phenomenon which is not well understood but most people think that it is because of dark energy.

This is monstrosity, almost all of those bright points are galaxies, galaxies which we will most probably be never able to search through.

Hubble also helped with some observations of black holes and also as you can see above, Hubble made a whole new picture of the youngest parts of Universe, so extremely far away.

Depiction of progress in the detection of the early Universe

How far can we actually see?[2]

Dragallur

[1]Actually it is the first such thing in space that was repaired by humans which is actually pretty cool.

[2]Check out this post to read about red shift, the x axis on the picture.

All pictures from here and here

 

Telescope of new generation

Hi,
today I would like to mention new kind of telescope which is right now being build. It is quite amazing piece of human technology, The James Webb Sp Telescope.


Named after James E. Webb who was leading NASA about 50 years back. First they wanted this telescope to name Next Generation Space Telescope but then they decided to give James Webb the honor.

Labeled Spacecraft

Above you can see how it should look like when we will launch it. It is telescope which should work instead of Hubble’s Space Telescope which even that it did great work, is not good enough right now. James Webb Space Telescope should have even better view in the vastness of Universe. Also more details which means that for example, we could get much more information about exoplanets, we could even start to analyze more of their atmosphere and learn more about stars and so on.

Still Hubble’s telescope has some time since James will be launched in 2018 in French Guiana. Here you can browse some pictures for sun shield testing, this is the part that is turned towards Sun and protects all the fragile tools that are on the telescope because in space, radiation could easily destroy transistors and other equipment.

https://i1.wp.com/jwst.nasa.gov/images/JWST-HST-primary-mirrors.jpg

The most kind of shocking part, which you can see above is the primary mirror. You can see that James Webb has upgraded a lot from Hubble. This mirror is actually too big so it had to be made from separate pieces, hexagons. It was quite fun to watch as they for months placed those plates on the structure. The mirror is made from beryllium because it is strong and light element and the top is covered in gold for protection from radiation. This kind of mirror is used on optical telescope and the bigger the mirror is the better the image which is formed. This is why they must be so polished, it is also important to have the working area clean so this is how the engineers usually look like:

JWST Team Photo with Completed Flight Instrument moduleThere are few more instruments that collect the light in various spectrums. For now we must wait before they finish whole work, and there is nothing more to do than admire the work that Hubble has done for us (and is still doing (actually the work of engineers and scientists)).

Dragallur

Pictures from here here and here.

Chemical bonds, part 2

Hi,
it has been more than month since I wrote about chemical bonds. It was easy post just an explanation to all kinds of bonds: covalent, coordinate, ionic, two days back I updated it so there are even polar and nonpolar bonds but what I want to look on right now are sigma, pi and whole other kinds of bonds. This is a different perspective, it is more kind of from inside. Again like few other chemistry posts I made this because our teacher in school as I found out did not learn us what I would say is interesting and maybe important.


So from the last post we know that atoms that are bonded together are bonded in different ways, usually this is just dependent on the electronegativity, or if it is metal or not. But then you can look in these bonds and sort them in other groups:

σ bond

σ is a sigma bond. This is the most basic kind. Bonds create when there is enough energy and the atoms are turned toward each other in right way. Always when there is bond, double or triple there will always be one sigma bond and it will be the first bond to create. This bond is also the strongest one. Sigma can form between s orbitals or two p orbitals or s and p or even two d’s. There are some more conditions about axis and so on but if you have a single bond between two atoms it always going to be sigma.

π bond

π is a pi bond. This is the second most common one and you can have more of them between two atoms. For example triple bond will be usually made up of one sigma and two pi bonds. They are not so strong, when you know this you know that when you will break them up, pi bonds will be the first ones destroyed. 

Because pi bond looks like the one above, the orbitals do not overlap so much, the force is not so strong. Second picture shows where is probability cloud strongest. The combination of sigma and pi bond is actually very efficient since it contracts the length of the bond making it stronger.

δ bond

δ is a delta bond. Actually I have never heard about this one before, but it is the bond that first appears when you have quadruple bond. This is very rare but some atoms can have even quintuple bonds between each other. When there is such a quadruple bond there is also one sigma bond and two pi bonds with delta bond. It creates by overlaping of two d orbitals, that is why it is called delta bond. Metals as rhenium, molybdenum or chromium can have such a bond.

On left you can see how this overlap should look like, this particular one is for two molybden atoms. But I can not really imagine how those look like really..

 

φ bond

φ is a phy bond. This last one is kind of only for fun since we were able to observe it only between two uranium atoms because they need two f orbitals which are found only in really heavy elements which are usually either radioactive or made only by human and usually both.

On the right you can see two f orbitals that could touch each other and maybe create this crazy bond.


 

So how is this related to covalent bonds and so on again? You can sort bonds between atoms into groups. For example bond between two carbon atoms will always be covalent bond because there is 0 difference in their electronegativity. It does not matter if there are two or three bonds inside. Then you can look on them and sort them if they are sigma, pi or even delta bonds which depends on their orbitals.

Dragallur