The comedy community is busy congratulating Stephen Colbert, who has earned the coveted role of Late Show host. The news came Thursday afternoon, just one week after outgoing host David Letterman announced his plans to retire in 2015 — and just in time for other late-night hosts to send their regards during Thursday’s new episodes.
Jon Stewart offered the fondest farewell to his Comedy Central colleague, reminiscing about Colbert’s time on The Daily Show with a ridiculous old clip in which both comedians completely blow it because they’re making each other laugh so hard. But Stewart’s ensuing tribute to the man he calls “a very talented actor, writer, dancer, and improvisational comedian” was touching:
“Truly one of the great pleasures of doing this show has been trying to maintain professional composure whilst Mr. Colbert is making me laugh uncontrollably,” Stewart said on last night’s Daily Show. “So, the exciting news…
Wow… There are those moments in entertainment that can really make you pause for a moment to consider generations passed, and generations to come. The retirement of David Letterman was one of those moments for me. I have always enjoyed his show, mostly for the interviews that were so uncanny. Having had the chance to talk with him, and being on his show for a split second, he will be burned into my story ever so slightly. I posted about this when it happened, but I will be including the video and the post from when I was on his show for a moment in time.
With all of that said, there is not a more talented person in show business in my mind than Stephen Colbert. I understand that there exist people who like neither of these men for political reasons, but they are both enormously talented in their own ways. I can’t wait to see how this turns out! And I can’t wait for Stephen to shed his character for the new show, he will end up being one of the all time greats I think…
Morning Joe Discusses Letterman Retirement:
How David Letterman And I Became Best Friends… Ok, We Just Met.
If you’d like to see the whole post from right after I got to meet Dave, click the link RIGHT HERE.
The Vietnam War is, and was a highly controversial war because for the first time United States citizens were exposed to real images that of what it actually looked like to kill someone in war – and some of those images were of women, children, and the elderly. 46 years ago this week there was in extraordinary event by civilian standards, that would change the world and how wars would be faught from thence forth… After Americans, and citizens of the world saw these images the public opinion of the war shifted enormously, and the people like George Romney who had to disappear for changing their minds about the war would be somewhat vindicated, but their lives and careers would never be the same. Here is a video of that life/career changing decision to speak against what he’d seen in the war:
*This post is not meant to say that we were then, or are the “bad guys”, that is just not the case. However, it is meant to serve as a reminder, or informer that it’s not so simple. When we talk about going to war we need to look it in the face. I believe in our service members, and I believe in so much that they do. That doesn’t mean however that we should let ourselves forget our place in this world, and the realities of war.
For the last 6 years my very favorite book has been “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell. This book tells a story of modern man that resonates very deeply with me. He depicts the life stories of some very familiar cultural icons, and as a part of telling those stories he explains that these people had enormously unique opportunities, and then they took advantage of them. It wasn’t just that they were self-made people (he actually thinks that is a silly thing to say) because people need to have an opportunity to capitalize on. I have listened to this audiobook probably about 14 or 15 times at this point, and every time I think about some different, or other things just differently.
I wanted to post this first chapter because it describes something very important. Gladwell talks about the importance of interconnectedness, and the importance of having a civilly inclined community. My family has tried to use this as a model, some of us more than others, but this story of Roseto was very impactful to me. If you are from Oklahoma you might enjoy that the doctor being discussed in this 1950′s study is from the University of Oklahoma, so just a fun little heads up on that :-)
I hope that you enjoy the article, but I also decided to post the entire audiobook from YouTube, I dare you to listen to is, and please tell me what you think if you do!
1 : something that is situated away from or classed differently from a main or related body
2 : a statistical observation that is markedly different in value from the others of the sample
1. Roseto Valfortore lies one hundred miles southeast of Rome, in the Apennine foothills of the Italian province of Foggia. In the style of medieval villages, the town is organized around a large central square. Facing the square is the Palazzo Marchesale, the palace of the Saggese family, once the great landowner of those parts. An archway to one side leads to a church, the Madonna del Carmine — Our Lady of Mount Carmine. Narrow stone steps run up the hillside, flanked by closely-clustered two-story stone houses with red tile roofs.
For centuries, the paesani of Roseto worked in the marble quarries in the surrounding hills, or cultivated the fields in the terraced valley below, walking four and five miles down the mountain in the morning and then making the long journey back up the hill at night. It was a hard life. The townsfolk were barely literate and desperately poor and without much hope for economic betterment — until word reached Roseto at the end of the nineteenth century of the land of opportunity across the ocean.
In January of 1882, a group of eleven Rosetans — ten men and one boy — set sail for New York. They spent their first night in America sleeping on the floor of a tavern on Mulberry Street, in Manhattan’s Little Italy. Then they ventured west, ending up finding jobs in a slate quarry ninety miles west of the city in Bangor, Pennsylvania. The following year, fifteen Rosetans left Italy for America, and several members of that group ended up in Bangor as well, joining their compatriots in the slate quarry. Those immigrants, in turn, sent word back to Roseto about the promise of the New World, and soon one group of Rosetans after another packed up their bags and headed for Pennsylvania, until the initial stream of immigrants became a flood. In 1894 alone, some twelve hundred Rosetans applied for passports to America, leaving entire streets of their old village abandoned.
The Rosetans began buying land on a rocky hillside, connected to Bangor only by a steep, rutted wagon path. They built closely clustered two story stone houses, with slate roofs, on narrow streets running up and down the hillside. They built a church and called it Our Lady of Mount Carmel, and named the main street on which it stood Garibaldi Avenue, after the great hero of Italian unification. In the beginning, they called their town New Italy. But they soon changed it to something that seemed more appropriate, given that in the previous decade almost all of them had come from the same village in Italy. They called it Roseto.
In 1896, a dynamic young priest — Father Pasquale de Nisco — took over at Our Lady of Mount Carmel. De Nisco set up spiritual societies and organized festivals. He encouraged the townsfolk to clear the land, and plant onions, beans, potatoes, melons and fruit trees in the long backyards behind their houses. He gave out seeds and bulbs. The town came to life. The Rosetans began raising pigs in their backyard, and growing grapes for homemade wine. Schools, a park, a convent and a cemetery were built. Small shops and bakeries and restaurants and bars opened along Garibaldi Avenue. More than a dozen factories sprang up, making blouses for the garment trade. Neighboring Bangor was largely Welsh and English, and the next town over was overwhelmingly German, which meant — given the fractious relationships between the English and Germans and Italians, in those years — that Roseto stayed strictly for Rosetans: if you wandered up and down the streets of Roseto in Pennsylvania, in the first few decades after 1900, you would have heard only Italian spoken, and not just any Italian but the precise southern, Foggian dialect spoken back in the Italian Roseto. Roseto Pennsylvania was its own tiny, self-sufficient world — all but unknown by the society around it — and may well have remained so but for a man named Stewart Wolf.
Wolf was a physician. He studied digestion and the stomach, and taught in the medical school at the University of Oklahoma. He spent summers at a farm he’d bought in Pennsylvania. His house was not far from Roseto — but that, of course, didn’t mean much since Roseto was so much in its own world that you could live one town over and never know much about it. “One of the times when we were up there for the summer — this would have been in the late 1950′s, I was invited to give a talk at the local medical society,” Wolf said, years later, in an interview. “After the talk was over, one of the local doctors invited me to have a beer. And while we were having a drink he said, ‘You know, I’ve been practicing for seventeen years. I get patients from all over, and I rarely find anyone from Roseto under the age of sixty-five with heart disease.’”
Wolf was skeptical. This was the 1950′s, years before the advent of cholesterol lowering drugs, and aggressive prevention of heart disease. Heart attacks were an epidemic in the United States. They were the leading cause of death in men under the age of sixty-five. It was impossible to be a doctor, common sense said, and not see heart disease. But Wolf was also a man of deep curiosity. If somebody said that there were no heart attacks in Roseto, he wanted to find out whether that was true.
Wolf approached the mayor of Roseto and told him that his town represented a medical mystery. He enlisted the support of some of his students and colleagues from Oklahoma. They pored over the death certificates from residents of the town, going back as many years as they could. They analyzed physicians’ records. They took medical histories, and constructed family genealogies. “We got busy,” Wolf said. “We decided to do a preliminary study. We started in 1961. The mayor said — all my sisters are going to help you. He had four sisters. He said, ‘You can have the town council room.’ I said, ‘Where are you going to have council meetings?’ He said, ‘Well, we’ll postpone them for a while.’ The ladies would bring us lunch. We had little booths, where we could take blood, do EKGs. We were there for four weeks. Then I talked with the authorities. They gave us the school for the summer. We invited the entire population of Roseto to be tested.”
The results were astonishing. In Roseto, virtually no one under 55 died of a heart attack, or showed any signs of heart disease. For men over 65, the death rate from heart disease in Roseto was roughly half that of the United States as a whole. The death rate from all causes in Roseto, in fact, was something like thirty or thirty-five percent lower than it should have been.
Wolf brought in a friend of his, a sociologist from Oklahoma named John Bruhn, to help him. “I hired medical students and sociology grad students as interviewers, and in Roseto we went house to house and talked to every person aged twenty one and over,” Bruhn remembers. This had happened more than fifty years ago but Bruhn still had a sense of amazement in his voice as he remembered what they found. “There was no suicide, no alcoholism, no drug addiction, and very little crime. They didn’t have anyone on welfare. Then we looked at peptic ulcers. They didn’t have any of those either. These people were dying of old age. That’s it.”
Wolf’s profession had a name for a place like Roseto — a place that lay outside everyday experience, where the normal rules did not apply. Roseto was an outlier.
2. Wolf’s first thought was that the Rosetans must have held on to some dietary practices from the old world that left them healthier than other Americans. But he quickly realized that wasn’t true. The Rosetans were cooking with lard, instead of the much healthier olive oil they used back in Italy. Pizza in Italy was a thin crust with salt, oil, and perhaps some tomatoes, anchovies or onions. Pizza in Pennsylvania was bread dough plus sausage, pepperoni, salami, ham and sometimes eggs. Sweets like biscotti and taralli used to be reserved for Christmas and Easter; now they were eaten all year round. When Wolf had dieticians analyze the typical Rosetan’s eating habits, he found that a whopping 41 percent of their calories came from fat. Nor was this a town where people got up at dawn to do yoga and run a brisk six miles. The Pennsylvanian Rosetans smoked heavily, and many were struggling with obesity.
If it wasn’t diet and exercise, then, what about genetics? The Rosetans were a close knit group, from the same region of Italy, and Wolf next thought was whether they were of a particularly hardy stock that protected them from disease. So he tracked down relatives of the Rosetans who were living in other parts of the United States, to see if they shared the same remarkable good health as their cousins in Pennsylvania. They didn’t.
He then looked at the region where the Rosetans lived. Was it possible that there was something about living in the foothills of Eastern Pennsylvania that was good for your health? The two closest towns to Roseto were Bangor, which was just down the hill, and Nazareth, a few miles away. These were both about the same size as Roseto, and populated with the same kind of hard-working European immigrants. Wolf combed through both towns’ medical records. For men over 65, the death rates from heart disease in Nazareth and Bangor were something like three times that of Roseto. Another dead end.
What Wolf slowly realized was that the secret of Roseto wasn’t diet or exercise or genes or the region where Roseto was situated. It had to be the Roseto itself. As Bruhn and Wolf walked around the town, they began to realize why. They looked at how the Rosetans visited each other, stopping to chat with each other in Italian on the street, or cooking for each other in their backyards. They learned about the extended family clans that underlay the town’s social structure. They saw how many homes had three generations living under one roof, and how much respect grandparents commanded. They went to Mass at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church and saw the unifying and calming effect of the church. They counted twenty-two separate civic organizations in a town of just under 2000 people. They picked up on the particular egalitarian ethos of the town, that discouraged the wealthy from flaunting their success and helped the unsuccessful obscure their failures.
In transplanting the paesani culture of southern Italy to the hills of eastern Pennsylvania the Rosetans had created a powerful, protective social structure capable of insulating them from the pressures of the modern world. The Rosetans were healthy because of where they were from, because of the world they had created for themselves in their tiny little town in the hills.
“I remember going to Roseto for the first time, and you’d see three generational family meals, all the bakeries, the people walking up and down the street, sitting on their porches talking to each other, the blouse mills where the women worked during the day, while the men worked in the slate quarries,” Bruhn said. “It was magical.”
When Bruhn and Wolf first presented their findings to the medical community, you can imagine the kind of skepticism they faced. They went to conferences, where their peers were presenting long rows of data, arrayed in complex charts, and referring to this kind of gene or that kind of physiological process, and they talked instead about the mysterious and magical benefits of people stopping to talk to each other on the street and having three generations living under one roof. Living a long life, the conventional wisdom said at the time, depended to a great extent on who we were — that is, our genes. It depended on the decisions people made — on what they chose to eat, and how much they chose to exercise, and how effectively they were treated by the medical system. No one was used to thinking about health in terms of a place.
Wolf and Bruhn had to convince the medical establishment to think about health and heart attacks in an entirely new way: they had to get them to realize that you couldn’t understand why someone was healthy if all you did was think about their individual choices or actions in isolation. You had to look beyond the individual. You had to understand what culture they were a part of, and who their friends and families were, and what town in Italy their family came from. You had to appreciate the idea that community — the values of the world we inhabit and the people we surround ourselves with — has a profound effect on who we are. The value of an outlier was that it forced you to look a little harder and dig little deeper than you normally would to make sense of the world. And if you did, you could learn something from the outlier than could use to help everyone else.
In Outliers, I want to do for our understanding of success what Stewart Wolf did for our understanding of health.
We, the people of Earth, Love Buzzfeed… We love challenging information that doesn’t ask us to be too uncomfortable – at least that’s what I firmly believe. I have seen many things from this list before, but I am actually a big advocate of watching/hearing/reading things multiple times. I have listened to the Audiobook “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell at least a dozen times, and every time I’m challenged differently. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think people should consider reexamining information multiple times, and when they get worn out from it they should maybe consider why they don’t want to hear it anymore. Is it because they actually know it so well, or is it because of something inside of them that feels like their intelligence is being challenged for being made to hear something that they’ve already heard before… I think the latter is quite common, and it is one of the reasons why we can’t have kind political debates much of the time – people are know-it-alls. No Me Thought!!! Just kidding, I’m sure I am. Anyway, here’s a fun list!
77 Facts That Sound Like Huge Lies But Are Actually Completely True
Get ready to have your mind blown into a different time zone.posted on March 18, 2014 at 4:05pm EDT
1. If you put your finger in your ear and scratch, it sounds just like Pac-Man.
2. The YKK on your zipper stands for “Yoshida Kogyo Kabushikigaisha.”
3. Maine is the closest U.S. state to Africa.
4. Anne Frank, Martin Luther King Jr., and Barbara Walters were born in the same year, 1929.
5. The name Jessica was created by Shakespeare in the play Merchant of Venice.
6. Cashews grow like this:
8. Cleopatra lived closer to the invention of the iPhone than she did to the building of the Great Pyramid.
9. Russia has a larger surface area than Pluto.
10. Saudi Arabia imports camels from Australia.
11. Hippo milk is pink.
12. The toy Barbie’s full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
13. Woody from Toy Story has a full name too — it’s Woody Pride.
14. And while we’re at it, Mr. Clean’s full name is Veritably Clean.
15. Oh, and Cookie Monster’s real name is Sid.
16. Carrots were originally purple.
17. The heart of a blue whale is so big, a human can swim through the arteries.
18. Vending machines are twice as likely to kill you than a shark is.
19. Home Alone was released closer to the moon landing than it was to today.
20th Century Fox
20. Oxford University is older than the Aztec Empire.
21. Not once in the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme does it mention that he’s an egg.
22. France was still executing people with a guillotine when the first Star Warsfilm came out.
23. Armadillos nearly always give birth to identical quadruplets.
24. Betty White is actually older than sliced bread.
Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images for TV Land
25. The unicorn is the national animal of Scotland.
26. A strawberry isn’t a berry but a banana is.
27. So are avocados and watermelon.
28. New York City is further south than Rome, Italy.
29. North Korea and Finland are separated by one country.
30. Mammoths went extinct 1,000 years after the Egyptians finished building the Great Pyramid.
31. There are more fake flamingos in the world than real flamingos.
32. Nintendo was founded as a trading card company back in 1889.
33. The man who voiced Fry on Futurama, Billy West, also voiced Doug onDoug.
34. The last time the Chicago Cubs won the baseball World Series, the Ottoman Empire still existed.
35. And lollipops had not yet been invented.
36. And women did not have the right to vote in the United States.
37. If you shrunk the sun down to the size of a white blood cell and shrunk the Milky Way Galaxy down using the same scale, it would be the size of the continental United States.
38. John Tyler, the 10th president of the United States, has a grandson who’s alive today.
39. Will Smith is now older than Uncle Phil was at the beginning of The Fresh Prince.
40. The show the The Wonder Years aired from 1988–1993 and covered the years 1968–1973. Today, in 2014, if one were to make a similar show, it would cover the years 1994–1999.
41. Humans share 50% of their DNA with bananas.
42. Duck Hunt is a two-player game. Player two controls the ducks.
43. The difference in time between when Tyrannosaurus Rex and Stegosaurus lived is greater than the difference in time between Tyrannosaurus Rex and now.
44. One more fact about the Cubs: The last time they won the world series, Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, and New Mexico were not yet states.
45. Speaking of Alaska — it’s simultaneously the most northern, the most western, and the most eastern state in the U.S.
46. Pluto never made a full orbit around the sun from the time it was discovered to when it was declassified as a planet.
47. A thousand seconds is about 16 minutes.
48. A million seconds is about 11 days.
49. A billion seconds is about 32 years.
50. And one trillion seconds is about 32,000 years. A trillion is a lot.
51. But the good news is: Honey never spoils. You can eat 32,000-year-old honey.
54. There are more public libraries than McDonald’s in the U.S.
55. For every human on Earth there are approximately 1.6 million ants. The total weight of all those ants is approximately the same as the total weight of all the humans on Earth.
56. An octopus has three hearts.
57. Mario hits blocks with his hand, not his head.
58. The CEO of Food For The Poor is named Robin Mahfood.
59. One in every 5,000 babies is born with a condition known as “imperforate anus.”. This means the baby is born without an anus and has to have one created manually in the hospital.
60. You can’t hum while holding your nose.
61. It rains diamonds on Saturn and Jupiter.
62. Also, this is what Jupiter would look like if it were as close to us as the Moon is:
64. If a piece of paper were folded 42 times, it would reach to the moon.
65. The pyramids were as old to the Romans as the Romans are to us.
66. If you dug a hole to the center of the Earth and dropped a book down, it would take 42 minutes to reach the bottom.
67. There is 10 times more bacteria in your body than actual body cells.
68. And 90% of the cells that make us up of aren’t human but mostly fungi and bacteria.
69. Every two minutes, we take more pictures than all of humanity in the 19th century.
71. Turtles can breathe out of their butts.
72. The dot over an “i” is called a “tittle.”
73. There are more atoms in a glass of water than glasses of water in all the oceans on Earth.
74. The probability of you drinking a glass of water that contains a molecule of water that also passed through a dinosaur is almost 100%.
75. At the time the current oldest person on Earth was born, there was a completely different set of human beings on the planet.
76. And at the time you were born, you were briefly the youngest person in the entire world.
77. And, finally, “dog food lid” backwards is “dildo of God.”
So in the last couple weeks there has been a lot of talk about the resurrection of the show “Cosmos“, with Neil DeGrasse Tyson replacing Carl Sagan, who many still feel is irreplaceable. But Carl himself with his fascination with the universe would take offense with the notion that he is the best their will ever be, at least I would imagine. He was ever the optimist.
Well, with many people seeming to feel re-energized with the new beginning of the show it comes at a perfect time that there be a marvelous discovery of evidence for the existence of a Big Bang event. As I am no scientist I am just going to post an article about the discovery, a video about it, and also I am adding the first episode of “Cosmos” with Carl Sagan. I hope you enjoy.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — One night late in 1979, an itinerant young physicist named Alan Guth, with a new son and a year’s appointment at Stanford, stayed up late with his notebook and equations, venturing far beyond the world of known physics.
He was trying to understand why there was no trace of some exotic particles that should have been created in the Big Bang. Instead he discovered what might have made the universe bang to begin with. A potential hitch in the presumed course of cosmic evolution could have infused space itself with a special energy that exerted a repulsive force, causing the universe to swell faster than the speed of light for a prodigiously violent instant.
If true, the rapid engorgement would solve paradoxes like why the heavens look uniform from pole to pole and not like a jagged, warped mess. The enormous ballooning would iron out all the wrinkles and irregularities. Those particles were not missing, but would be diluted beyond detection, like spit in the ocean.
“SPECTACULAR REALIZATION,” Dr. Guth wrote across the top of the page and drew a double box around it.
On Monday, Dr. Guth’s starship came in. Radio astronomers reported that they had seen the beginning of the Big Bang, and that his hypothesis, known undramatically as inflation, looked right.
Reaching back across 13.8 billion years to the first sliver of cosmic time with telescopes at the South Pole, a team of astronomers led by John M. Kovac of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics detected ripples in the fabric of space-time — so-called gravitational waves — the signature of a universe being wrenched violently apart when it was roughly a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second old. They are the long-sought smoking-gun evidence of inflation, proof, Dr. Kovac and his colleagues say, that Dr. Guth was correct.
Inflation has been the workhorse of cosmology for 35 years, though many, including Dr. Guth, wondered whether it could ever be proved.
If corroborated, Dr. Kovac’s work will stand as a landmark in science comparable to the recent discovery of dark energy pushing the universe apart, or of the Big Bang itself. It would open vast realms of time and space and energy to science and speculation.
Confirming inflation would mean that the universe we see, extending 14 billion light-years in space with its hundreds of billions of galaxies, is only an infinitesimal patch in a larger cosmos whose extent, architecture and fate are unknowable. Moreover, beyond our own universe there might be an endless number of other universes bubbling into frothy eternity, like a pot of pasta water boiling over.
‘As Big as It Gets’
In our own universe, it would serve as a window into the forces operating at energies forever beyond the reach of particle accelerators on Earth and yield new insights into gravity itself. Dr. Kovac’s ripples would be the first direct observation of gravitational waves, which, according to Einstein’s theory of general relativity, should ruffle space-time.
Marc Kamionkowski of Johns Hopkins University, an early-universe expert who was not part of the team, said, “This is huge, as big as it gets.”
He continued, “This is a signal from the very earliest universe, sending a telegram encoded in gravitational waves.”
The ripples manifested themselves as faint spiral patterns in a bath of microwave radiation that permeates space and preserves a picture of the universe when it was 380,000 years old and as hot as the surface of the sun.
Dr. Kovac and his collaborators, working in an experiment known as Bicep, for Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization, reported their results in a scientific briefing at the Center for Astrophysics here on Monday and in a set of papers submitted to The Astrophysical Journal.
Dr. Kovac said the chance that the results were a fluke was only one in 10 million.
Dr. Guth, now 67, pronounced himself “bowled over,” saying he had not expected such a definite confirmation in his lifetime.
“With nature, you have to be lucky,” he said. “Apparently we have been lucky.”
The results are the closely guarded distillation of three years’ worth of observations and analysis. Eschewing email for fear of a leak, Dr. Kovac personally delivered drafts of his work to a select few, meeting with Dr. Guth, who is now a professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (as is his son, Larry, who was sleeping that night in 1979), in his office last week.
“It was a very special moment, and one we took very seriously as scientists,” said Dr. Kovac, who chose his words as carefully as he tended his radio telescopes.
Andrei Linde of Stanford, a prolific theorist who first described the most popular variant of inflation, known as chaotic inflation, in 1983, was about to go on vacation in the Caribbean last week when Chao-Lin Kuo, a Stanford colleague and a member of Dr. Kovac’s team, knocked on his door with a bottle of Champagne to tell him the news.
Confused, Dr. Linde called out to his wife, asking if she had ordered anything.
“And then I told him that in the beginning we thought that this was a delivery but we did not think that we ordered anything, but I simply forgot that actually I did order it, 30 years ago,” Dr. Linde wrote in an email.
Calling from Bonaire, the Dutch Caribbean island, Dr. Linde said he was still hyperventilating. “Having news like this is the best way of spoiling a vacation,” he said.
By last weekend, as social media was buzzing with rumors that inflation had been seen and news spread, astrophysicists responded with a mixture of jubilation and caution.
Max Tegmark, a cosmologist at M.I.T., wrote in an email, “I think that if this stays true, it will go down as one of the greatest discoveries in the history of science.”
John E. Carlstrom of the University of Chicago, Dr. Kovac’s mentor and head of a competing project called the South Pole Telescope, pronounced himself deeply impressed. “I think the results are beautiful and very convincing,” he said.
Paul J. Steinhardt of Princeton, author of a competitor to inflation that posits the clash of a pair of universes as the cause of genesis, said that if true, the Bicep result would eliminate his model, but he expressed reservations about inflation.
Lawrence M. Krauss of Arizona State and others also emphasized the need for confirmation, noting that the new results exceeded earlier estimates based on temperature maps of the cosmic background by the European Space Agency’s Planck satellite and other assumptions about the universe.
“So we will need to wait and see before we jump up and down,” Dr. Krauss said.
Corroboration might not be long in coming. The Planck spacecraft will report its own findings this year. At least a dozen other teams are trying similar measurements from balloons, mountaintops and space.
Spirals in the Sky
Gravity waves are the latest and deepest secret yet pried out of the cosmic microwaves, which were discovered accidentally by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson at Bell Labs 50 years ago. They won the Nobel Prize.
Dr. Kovac has spent his career trying to read the secrets of these waves. He is one of four leaders of Bicep, which has operated a series of increasingly sensitive radio telescopes at the South Pole, where the thin, dry air creates ideal observing conditions. The others are Clement Pryke of the University of Minnesota, Jamie Bock of the California Institute of Technology and Dr. Kuo of Stanford.
“The South Pole is the closest you can get to space and still be on the ground,” Dr. Kovac said. He has been there 23 times, he said, wintering over in 1994. “I’ve been hooked ever since,” he said.
In 2002, he was part of a team that discovered that the microwave radiation was polarized, meaning the light waves had a slight preference to vibrate in one direction rather than another.
This was a step toward the ultimate goal of detecting the gravitational waves from inflation. Such waves, squeezing space in one direction and stretching it in another as they go by, would twist the direction of polarization of the microwaves, theorists said. As a result, maps of the polarization in the sky should have little arrows going in spirals.
Detecting those spirals required measuring infinitesimally small differences in the temperature of the microwaves. The group’s telescope, Bicep2, is basically a giant superconducting thermometer.
“We had no expectations what we would see,” Dr. Kovac said.
The strength of the signal surprised the researchers, and they spent a year burning up time on a Harvard supercomputer, making sure they had things right and worrying that competitors might beat them to the breakthrough.
A Special Time
The data traced the onset of inflation to a time that physicists like Dr. Guth, staying up late in his Palo Alto house 35 years ago, suspected was a special break point in the evolution of the universe.
Physicists recognize four forces at work in the world today: gravity, electromagnetism, and strong and weak nuclear forces. But they have long suspected that those are simply different manifestations of a single unified force that ruled the universe in its earliest, hottest moments.
As the universe cooled, according to this theory, there was a fall from grace, like some old folk mythology of gods or brothers falling out with each other. The laws of physics evolved, with one force after another splitting away.
That was where Dr. Guth came in.
Under some circumstances, a glass of water can stay liquid as the temperature falls below 32 degrees, until it is disturbed, at which point it will rapidly freeze, releasing latent heat.
Similarly, the universe could “supercool” and stay in a unified state too long. In that case, space itself would become imbued with a mysterious latent energy.
Inserted into Einstein’s equations, the latent energy would act as a kind of antigravity, and the universe would blow itself up. Since it was space itself supplying the repulsive force, the more space was created, the harder it pushed apart.
What would become our observable universe mushroomed in size at least a trillion trillionfold — from a submicroscopic speck of primordial energy to the size of a grapefruit — in less than a cosmic eye-blink.
Almost as quickly, this pulse would subside, relaxing into ordinary particles and radiation. All of normal cosmic history was still ahead, resulting in today’s observable universe, a patch of sky and stars billions of light-years across. “It’s often said that there is no such thing as a free lunch,” Dr. Guth likes to say, “but the universe might be the ultimate free lunch.”
Make that free lunches. Most of the hundred or so models resulting from Dr. Guth’s original vision suggest that inflation, once started, is eternal. Even as our own universe settled down to a comfortable homey expansion, the rest of the cosmos will continue blowing up, spinning off other bubbles endlessly, a concept known as the multiverse.
So the future of the cosmos is perhaps bright and fecund, but do not bother asking about going any deeper into the past.
We might never know what happened before inflation, at the very beginning, because inflation erases everything that came before it. All the chaos and randomness of the primordial moment are swept away, forever out of our view.
“If you trace your cosmic roots,” said Abraham Loeb, a Harvard-Smithsonian astronomer who was not part of the team, “you wind up at inflation.”
Over the last few days I’ve been hearing people in central Oklahoma talk about a man building a 90,000 square foot (YES 90,000+) home in Edmond just North of Oklahoma City – which is being designed to be a literal castle. I am not saying that I think that he should not be able to do this, I think it’s fine, but it’s rather shocking… It is alarming in a couple of different ways, but hey, I’m not in his position, so I might do something like that too if I were, I just don’t know. The Lost Ogle (Oklahoma City’s progressive satirical political blog) is much needed, but not always on point. It’s a lot like The Daily Show in it’s imperfections, but necessary narrative. I just felt that this was interesting, and worth a share. And to be honest, I work in Real Estate, and there’s not way I couldn’t freak out imaging what this thing is going to be like after dealing with houses that are between 1 and 2 thousand square feet…
Last night, Channel 9 reported that the largest house in the US may soon be constructed in Northeast Edmond. It’s being built by the guy who owns The Key car dealerships. Or better yet, the Key chain of car dealerships. You know, like key chain? Get it? Haha!
There are plans to build the country’s largest single family residence in northeast Edmond.
Last year, the Edmond Planning Commission was asked to give approval to a mega mansion on the northwest corner of Sorghum Mill Road and Westminster Road.
“It’s truly a castle,” says Bob Schiermeyer, who saw the first renderings late last year and tells News 9 the plans call for a draw bridge and spires that reach 90 feet.
Schiermeyer says original plans called for a home that was around 75,000 square feet, but the home’s architect says the home has now grown to 92,650 square feet. That architect says, if completed, the castle home will be the largest single family residence in the U.S.
The City of Edmond says the home is the idea of David Frayer, the owner of the Key Auto Group.
Okay, I’m really sorry about the whole key chain thing above. It was awful, but keep in mind the guy is building a 92,650 square foot castle. I have enough enemies in town. The last thing I want to do is piss off a used car dealer who has a dungeon.
Also, since he likes to throw his money around on ridiculous extravagant things like fucking castles, maybe he’ll want to buy this website someday. Actually, that’s a weak excuse. You don’t have to be rich to buy The Lost Ogle. Hell, you don’t even need good credit. If you have a job and $99, we can get you in this website today. Come see us!
Here’s a rendering of the castle.
That’s pretty cool. Though, it’s weird that a car salesman overcompensates with a house and not a giant truck. I wonder how many Ford Fusions with 22% interest rate loans you could fit in that thing?
Anyway, a couple of other notes:
• Here’s a video of David Frayer at some used car salesman workshop. I think he also owns Express Super Credit Auto or Guaranteed Auto Credit Now or We’re Going To Put You In A Car You Can’t Afford Auto Credit. I don’t know, they all sounds the same to me.
• Most people remember The Key for those awful ads with Bizzaro Wayne Coyne that aired a year or two ago. Their whole gimmick was that they would give you free career and life counseling… while selling you a used car with a 60-month term at 22% interest.
• When he gets the castle built, I hope he doesn’t fall for the extended warranty. That’s how they get you.
Public debt is a very fiery issue in politics. I recently received in email from the great folks at No Labels about budget deficits, which led me to an article about budget deficits since the early 1900s. Feel free to sign up for the No Labels email updates with Mark McKinnon, but also have fun with this article, or whatever you call it when you read about budget deficits.
*And by the way, it’s important to note the difference between national debt, and national budget deficits – the deficit is the amount of debt accrued in the year of discussion, while the debt is about the aggregate.
*The following is from a No Labels Email
BUDGET DETAILS: “The White House has proposed a $3.9 trillion budget package with familiar proposals and almost $1 trillion in new taxes over the next 10 years. The budget for the year that begins Oct. 1, 2014 would be roughly $350 billion more than the federal government is projected to spend this fiscal year, and the increase comes almost entirely from parts of the budget that aren’t set by Congress (Social Security payments, for example). The White House said its budget would produce a $564 billion deficit for the year that ends Sept. 30, 2014, which represents 3.1% of gross domestic product –and expects the deficit to fall to precrisis levels by 2018,” writes The Wall Street Journal. Our lawmakers need to create shared goals and work together on a budget deal: The Wall Street Journal: 2015 Budget: Eight Highlights From the White House Budget
DIFFICULTY REACHING A DEAL: “President Obama’s fiscal 2015 budget was immediately dismissed by congressional Republicans as a ‘campaign brochure’ providing massive increases in spending for Democratic programs while offsetting the costs with tax-loophole closures that Republicans have repeatedly insisted they will not accept,” write Catherine Hollander and Sarah Mimms. We need our leaders in government to work across the aisle and agree to a national strategic agenda and a budget deal: Catherine Hollander and Sarah Mimms for National Journal: Don’t Expect to See Obama’s Gigantic Wish List Become Law
When President Obama took office in 2009 at the height of the recession, the annual budget deficit came in at 10.1 percent of gross domestic product — a level not seen since the end of World War II. In the five years since, the budget deficit has been sliced more than half. New figures in Obama’s just-released budget put it at only 3.7 percent of GDP in 2014. Explore 60 years of deficits – and the occasional surplus – in the interactive chart below.
As the chart shows, the recent reduction of the deficit has come primarily due to spending cuts instead of revenue increases. Spending has shrunk 4.1 percentage points from 2009 to today, while revenue has grown only 2.2 percentage points in the same period. To put it another way, there have been nearly $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in revenue increases. On the surface, it would appear that Republicans won the budget wars. But you wouldn’t get that impression listening to the rhetoric coming from some quarters of the Republican base after the recent debt-ceiling fights.
I considering myself a moderate, which more than anything means that new information can affect what I think. A while back Rachel Maddow produced a TV Documentary called “Hubris” which addressed the ‘so called” false pretenses that allowed our nation to go to war with Iraq – meaning that what was said about why we were going in was not in fact true. That documentary was posted on iTunes via the Rachel Maddow Show’s Podcast, and since she always asks people to post her show, and videos of it online I decided to post that entire documentary on my YouTube channel. It has since gotten about 100,000 views, and has filled my email with some incredibly angry YouTube comments from all kinds of people… I mean, angry stuff…
Anyway: I want to note that I am not a “Truther” (I don’t think that the United State Government was behind 9-11, so let’s just get that out of the way…), I do however think that this war was a war of choice, and that it was mismanaged, which I think is rather well voiced by documentaries like “No End In Sight” (posted at the bottom of this).
“Hubris” addresses the issue of WMD’s (weapons of mass destruction), and this new documentary goes into some of the reasons why the makers of the film believe our government wanted to go. I don’t can’t speak to it’s legitimacy, and I don’t think that Mrs. Maddow is unbiased. I do however really appreciate that she presents sources, and gives room for actual debate, rather than just pure ad hominem. If you’d like to give some feedback that would be great – but the reason why I decided to post this second video (Why We Did It) was to keep the videos tied together, and because it might help us hold a conversation about reasons why we might not want to be so quick to go to war again anytime soon without more checks and balances (i.e.: Iran, Syria, Ukraine). And if you’d like to check in on the conflict going on in Ukraine feel free to click anywhere on this sentence.