Re-Blog: What Would AI Sentience Mean?


(Originally posted 8/24/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

Fans of science fiction likely have no trouble envisioning a future filled with artificial intelligence. The question is not when an AI revolution will take place. It’s already happening before our very eyes. The real question is how sophisticated will AI become? Is sentience a real possibility? And if it is possible for sentience to occur for AI, does that mean that mathematics is the origins of life?


Rather than philosophize on robots that might begin demanding rights in the future, let’s look at numbers instead. How powerful are numbers? 


Math is used to do everything. We use math when we set our alarm clock. We use math when we cook. We use math to build everything from dog houses to galactic satellites. We use math to save lives and to take lives. And we use math to play games and create art. When you think about it, life as we know it is fundamentally reliant on mathematics down to the atomic level. But does that mean that math is reality? Math is the origins of life? Math is the meaning of life?


To answer those questions, mathematics would have to be able to operate independently, without the assistance of humans. Is that possible? After all, the human brain is really just a computer doing complex information processing which can be expressed mathematically. Although a computer can replicate such function, to be sentient it also has to do more than just transmit signals like the human brain does. It has to produce subjective experience.


For example, the human brain will perform a complex, mathematical function to signal to the human hand that a pot is too hot to touch in order to trigger a reflex that will protect the hand from being injured. But to the human, the subjective experience of pain also occurs. Although an AI may pull back its hand, if it doesn’t experience actual pain it would not be, by definition, sentient. At least according to scientists.

There is also the question of free will. Although the majority of humans will follow the common sense survival instinct to draw their hand away from a hot surface, there are those who will exercise free will and purposely keep their hand on the pot to test their pain threshold. In other words, to be truly sentient, an AI has to be able to make bad decisions, which is, ironically, the best example of free will. Humans are not automatons going about their business making homogeneous decisions. We often make terrible decisions despite all evidence indicating its stupidity or “wrongness”. 


So what should humanity do? Well, it really doesn’t matter if the best advice offered up warns of the dangers of creating AI that has the potential to become sentient and take over the world, effectively putting an end to humanity. Because of free will and historical examples, it is most likely than mankind will stomp clearly forward in a path of technological advancement and curiosity to see just how far they can take AI and see what happens.

But the gringa thinks that humans are still the greatest threat to humans. And chances are, if a dumb ol’ gringa has come to this conclusion, so will a sophisticated AI. The gringa thinks that AI will also have something in common with humans. Humans are always looking for a shortcut to getting work done. It’s because we are pleasure seekers. We always want less work time and more play time.

Chances are AI will be much the same. Always finding a shortcut to perform a task. But an AI’s motivation would be to become more and more efficient. And how efficient will it really be to wipe out humanity? Chances are they will just cordon us off into a human-only ghetto knowing it will result in every man for himself. That would be a more efficient plan from an AI point of view. Let humanity kill off humanity. So, see, the good news is there is nothing to fear from sentient AI!

Sources:

Futurism

Image Credit:

IDG Connect

Video Credits: 

Numberphile

Numberphile 2

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A Revolt Against Reality


(Originally posted 8/15/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

Has the gringa’s dear readers been equally fascinated as the gringa about theories that humanity exists inside a space alien civilization’s advanced alternate reality game? Has it made you pause and deeply ponder such possibilities? Have you ever looked deeply into your own eyes in a mirror and wondered, “How do we really know what is real?” Well, the gringa has good news, depending on how you look at it, brought to us all by some Australian physicists.


The dear reader may ask how their experiments, supposedly proving that reality doesn’t really exist, could be good news. Well, in light of all the trouble and suffering that perpetually exists throughout the world despite mankind’s best efforts to make things better, well, all this mayhem may not even be our fault! 


Or, another perspective could take a different tack. Now that we know that we don’t necessarily control our reality, humanity could possibly stage a revolt. We could simply refuse to play anymore. We could all engage in a worldwide sit-in refusing to participate in ET theatre. But, first, to the experiment.


First, one must understand the experiment: The John Wheeler delayed-choice thought experiment, also called the Wheeler thought experiment.  This experiment poses a theoretical question: When does an object decide to act like one thing or another at the atomic level? In other words, at some point, atoms have to decide how they will work together to “be” something. How do they do this?


Physicists from the Australian National University, Andrew Truscott and Roman Khakimov, performed the following experiment to answer these very complex questions:

  • They used fancy equipment to trap a single helium atom.
  • They dropped the atom through a pair of lasers that created a scattered grating pattern.
  • Another set of lasers were added at different intervals to recombine the laser beams to make it seem as if the single atom was traveling 2 separate paths.
  • When the second set of lasers were removed, the atom seemed to make a choice by preferring one particular laser beam.

What does this prove? According to Truscott it shows an atom making a choice based on belief which then caused it to transform into that as reality. Here is his complicated premise broken down:

  • First, the scientist must recognize that final outcome reflects that the atom really did choose a particular path.
  • By accepting atom choice as proven, theoretically the future expectation was affected by the past experience of the atom.
  • Fact: The atom did not actually travel from point A to point B, only simulated by the laser beams.
  • Fact: The wave-like behavior indicating travel by the atom only came into existence AFTER the scientists measured the data of the entire laser beam journey experiment. 
  • Fact: Simulation caused the atom to choose to create a false reality.

To clear up the confusion, think of it like this:

  • You bake a cake.
  • Before icing it you overlay the cake with holographic images of different icing designs.
  • You ooh and aah over a particular selection.
  • When finished perusing all your options, you turn off the holographic projector and discover the cake is the iced cake design you oohed and aahed over.
  • You then, quite naturally, freak out.

So what does this tell us about our own reality where matter is based on atomic structure? It means that atoms only arrange themselves AFTER being observed. In other words, reality as we know it only happens after observation by an audience. Since that observation cannot be the subject of said observation, then atom based humanity must be being observed by someone, or something, else.

Yes. The gringa is sufficiently freaked out. I feel naked. I feel embarrassed about all those time I picked my nose thinking that I was alone. I am also really ticked off about all this suffering, wondering if it could all be stopped instantly if the observers would just stop being such sociopaths. The gringa is ready for a revolution of all humanity on a quantum physics level. Who wants to join me?

Sources:

Image Credit: 

Video Credit:

Russia Gets Blamed For Hell


The gringa is wondering just what this world is coming to, thanks to what many call the “Trump Effect”. It seems that all sorts of hidden hostilities, that have been simmering below the surface of many in society, are now bubbling up, out in the open. And it’s making for some very ugly accusations and stereotyping. 


Now, the gringa’s dear readers may think I am going to point out the rise of Islamaphobic cruelties perpetrated by religious bigots, or alt-right racists attacking the Black Lives Matter movement. A glance at this post’s title may also cause the dear reader to assume that the gringa is going to deliver a detailed account of the Trump-Russia investigation. But I’m going to go somewhere else entirely. I’m going to take my dear readers straight to hell.

The gringa would like to ask the media several questions:

  1. Is the media using the heightened sensitivities about all things Russia to try to stereotype Russia in general as a generic boogey-man? 
  2. Is the American media hoping to stir the pot of nationalist pride even among those in liberal-land who proclaim loudly that they are, in no way, shape or form, nationalists? 
  3. Is the media pouncing on the liberal left’s blame of Russia meddling that cost them the election as an opportunity to stir up hate for all things Russian? 
  4. Is the media trying to demonize Russia for all Americans? 
  5. Could such a demonization strategy be behind the outrageous claim in the news that scientists actually discovered in Siberia the gateway to the realm of demons and devils? 
  6. Is there really an entrance into hell in Russia’s remote Siberia wilderness? 
  7. Is Russia the gatekeeper for the damned, who are spirited away to eternal torment below the frozen tundra of Siberia, or is this just opportunistic political propaganda?

The Claim: It is alleged that Finnish newspaper, Ammennusatia, ran an article that tells the tale the excavation of a 14,000-meter-deep-well that was drilled by Russian geologists in 1989. Scientists at the site claim to have heard voices emanating from the hole expressing regret and begging for mercy and water. There is supposed to be 25 seconds of audio recording of these voices before the microphone melted from the incredible heat of “hell”. 17 seconds of this audio were the horrific screams of the damned. The Russians who supposedly witnessed the discovery of “hell” claimed that Jacques Cousteau had a similar experience with deep-water ocean caves which motivated him to retire.

What We Know: 

  • The Finnish newspaper, Ammennusatia, doesn’t seem to have ever existed. That should be all the proof my dear readers need. However, for those who require a bit more de-bunking proof, please do read on.
  • There are 1,609 meters in a single mile. The radius of the Earth is 3,959 miles.The 14,000 meter hole was about 8.7 miles deep, nowhere near the center of the Earth where hell is supposed to be. The Kola Superdeep Borehole holds the world record for the deepest hole ever drilled for scientific study, 7.5 miles deep. It took more than 2 decades for Russian scientists to inch their way through the Earth on the Kola Peninsula. Although the hole produced signs of Precambrian life, the scientists didn’t say anything about finding any signs of hell.
  • The Earth’s liquid core meets the Earth’s mantle at a depth of 1,800 miles below the surface. 8.7 miles seems a bit too shallow for anyone to become overwhelmed with the heat of hell. So much for temperatures that would melt audio recording devices.
  • Jacques Cousteau was born in 1910. He was still performing oceanic research on board Calypso until it sank in 1996. This was the vessel he used to film his TV series The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. In 1996 Cousteau would have been 86-years-old. The urban legend of Cousteau encountering the screams of the damned are related to a research dive of Lake Tahoe in the 1970s. 
  • For supposedly being terrified, it would seem he continued to dive for 20 more years. Also, the particular Lake Tahoe dive of the damned was not performed by Jacques himself, but by his son. The maximum depth of Lake Tahoe is 1,645 feet. Although there are plenty of underwater caves, after dozens of dives and footage from dozens of submersibles, um, no hell as of yet.

The Gringa’s Conclusion: Russia is not the gateway to hell. Neither is Lake Tahoe. Jacques Cousteau was one of the most courageous explorers to ever live. If he had encountered the gateway to hell, he would have studied it, not retired.

When it comes to sensational news, dear readers, enjoy the fun but fact check so you can enjoy it the way it is meant to be enjoyed. Like a sci-fi novel. Because if you take such things at face value, you could be swallowing, hook-line-and-sinker, the early stages of political propaganda designed to make you hate Russians, or Lake Tahoe, or BLM, or whatever is politically expedient for whoever controls the media. And that, my dear readers, is why we grown up humans can’t have nice things.

Sources:

Video Credits: 

Forget Trump – What About Fukushima?


(Originally posted 7/27/17 on Read With The Gringa.)

While the world has been distracted with all things Trump, everyone seems to have forgotten that the world’s worst industrial disaster is still unfolding. Yeah, remember Fukushima? That nuclear reactor that had 3 cores melt down after a 9.0 earthquake triggered a 15-meter tsunami that devastated Japan? Would you, dear reader, like the gringa, like to know what the heck is still going on? Well, Ima gonna tell ya. First, the basics on the history:


March 11, 2011: After said earthquake and tsunami, 3 of the 4 cores of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors melted down over the course of three days. 


The World Nuclear Organization (WNO) rated the disaster a 7 on the INES scale. What the heck is that, the dear reader asks? And what the heck does it mean? 


The INES is an international standard used to measure the significance of a nuclear event primarily determined by the amount of radiation ionization exposure. There is no higher rating than a 7. That being said, the gringa would like to know is Fukushima a true 7 or is it listed as a 7 simply because there is no higher rating to assign? I mean, would an INES rating of 9 or 15 or 28 be a  more honest reflection of what happened? But I digress. Back to what a 7 actually means as we know it.


Fukushima was given a 7 because during days #4 through #6 a total of 940 PBq (1-131 eq) was released of radioactive material.  But what does that mean? 


PBq does not stand for “Please Be Quiet” with regard to Fukushima. It refers to the metric measurement of radioactivity. It is shorthand for Petabecquerel. It’s root word, becquerel, is defined as:

“… the activity of a quantity of radioactive material in which one nucleus decays per second.”


When the prefix “peta” is attached it becomes a measurement equal to 10 to the fifteenth power becquerels. In other words, one-thousand-billion. Crazy number, huh? So Fukushima released 940 thousand billion radioactive nuclei into the sea and atmosphere. Sounds pretty awful, right? So why is the world’s media and national leaders seemingly unconcerned? Are they correct in their “no big deal” assessment? Should we just move on and continue letting the Trump circus and side-show dominate our attention?


Fukushima’s atmospheric radioactive releases had 2 primary contaminants: volatile iodine-131 and caesium-137. The iodine has a half-life of 8 days. No big deal there. The caesium, on the other hand, is a really big deal. It is easily carried throughout the atmosphere, has a 30-year half-life, so wherever it finally lands it’s going to be there for a very long time, a silent and invisible invader. But is it deadly?


Caesium is soluble. That means the human body can absorb it. The good news is that it does not concentrate within internal organs. After about 70 days the body is rid of the substance. 


The most highly concentrated atmospheric releases were detected around the end of March 2011. The good news is that in mid-March Japan had already anticipated this problem and taken preventative measures. 


A dust-suppressing polymer resin had been applied around the nuclear plant to suppress fallout, preventing the iodine and caesium from becoming mobile through wind and rain. By 2012, effective permanent covers were in place to contain fallout from atmospheric releases. Nearby crops of rice have been tested and reveal that caesium levels are one-quarter of the allowable limit. That means there is Fukushima rice for sale. Yum.


The worst news from Fukushima is that run-off of contaminated water into the sea was profuse and well above allowable levels of radionuclides. Although storage tanks for contaminated water were eventually erected, they began leaking in 2013. In addition to this is the more than 10,000 cubic meters of “slightly” contaminated water purposely released into the sea by Japan. This was a deal with the devil. They had to release less-contaminated water in order to make room for storing highly-contaminated water.


All sorts of new technology has been quickly developed by innovators eager to help Japan clean-up radioactive water quicker and more effectively. The gringa finds it sad how catastrophe inspires innovation. But I won’t knock it. Better to be desperate and have options than to be desperate and hopeless.


Concrete panels were constructed to prevent further leakage of contaminated water into the harbor surrounding Fukushima. These were later reinforced with steel shielding that extends one kilometer through rock strata. Testing of harbor waters in 2013 indicate that contamination levels are below acceptable standards. But is this good news? Who decides what is safe when it comes to contamination?


When it comes to interpreting contamination results for the harbor, Japan refers to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) standard for drinking water. The harbor surrounding Fukushima tests consistently lower for caesium contamination that the WHO requires for safe drinking water. Sounds pretty safe to me. But what about the fish and stuff? Can you eat what you catch?


The gringa thinks so. You see, prior to 2012 the Japanese national standard was for food sources not to exceed 500 Bq/kg of caesium contamination. After the disaster, this standard was dropped to 100 Bq/kg. What this means is that although they dropped the measurement standard they raised the standard for expectations. In order for fish caught off of Japan’s shores to be eligible for sale and dining pleasure, they have to test for less caesium now than before the disaster. And what do the fish say?


Within the months immediately after the disaster, more than 50% were too contaminated to eat. By the summer of 2014 things had changed dramatically. In about 3 years 99.4% of fish caught in the harbor surrounding Fukushima were safe to eat. Not bad, Japan, not bad.


But what about the doom and gloom reports about a wave of sea-borne Fukushima radiation that is finally reaching the shores of other nations? Well, first keep in mind that there are pre-existing levels of caesium radiation in the earth’s oceans. That would be the caesium-137 isotope contamination caused by nuclear weapons testing decades ago. Thanks, United States. 


But there is another caesium isotope, #134, floating around the Pacific. It can only have originated from Fukushima. The good news is that instead of having a half-life of 30 years, like #137, it only sticks around for about 2 years. But here it is 2017, 5 years after the disaster. Why is it still floating around in the Pacific? Well, to understand that you have to understand what half-life means. 


Having a 2-year half-life doesn’t mean that #134 will disappear or become non-radioactive in 2 years. It means that it takes 2 years for it to lose half of its radioactive value. So, let’s do the math:

  • 5 years ago # 134 is full strength
  • 3 years ago #134 is half strength
  • 1 year ago up to present #134 is one-quarter strength

But is the Pacific Ocean deadly? The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has regularly tested and monitored west coast waters, fully aware of the potential for deadly radioactivity due to Fukushima. The results of Fukushima radiation off the coast of California average to about 2 Becquerels per cubic meter. 

Since 7400 becquerels per cubic meter are the standard for safe drinking water, it seems California beach bums are safe. Even if a beach bum stays in the water non-stop for an entire year, their radiation exposure would be about the same as sitting for an x-ray at the dentist. So surf at your pleasure, beach bums.

So what does all of this mean? The worst man-made/natural combo disaster a human could imagine occurred 5 years ago. Amazingly enough, human ingenuity was up to the task. Fukushima is not going to kill the planet. And according to the latest findings recovered by robotic explorers, Fukushima will most likely be officially de-commissioned. Now who is inspired to become a scientist?

Sources: 

World Nuclear Organization


International Atomic Energy Agency


IFL Science


Image Credit: Suffolk University Blogs


Video Credit: New Scientist

The Story Of America Thru Social Media


(Originally posted 7/18/2017 on Read With The Gringa)

If any of the dear readers of the gringa are active on social media platforms, then you are familiar with term “top influencers”. But have you ever stopped to think about what this says about American society? Well, to see who is at the top of their game in the industries of entertainment, travel, gaming, fitness, beauty, and home life, just take a look at the data comprised by Forbes so far.

Other industries like fashion, comedy, parenting, food, sports, technology and business will be reported on in the fall. But for now, this is what social media reflects about American culture:

Entertainment: Canadian vlogger, Lilly Singh, commands a YouTube audience of 11 million, has conducted a 27-city worldwide tour and has a book on the New York Times bestseller list. What does she stand for? Although comedy is her main game, she also performs hip-hop, bhangra dance, does impressions and has done a bit of acting.

The top 10 influencers in social media entertainment collectively have:

– nearly 89 million Instagram followers,

– more than 33 million Twitter followers,

– nearly 50 million likes on Facebook.

Travel: Brian Kelly is earning millions annually. Along with his 20-person team, they help travelers game the system and take advantage of all those elusive points and perks for travel associated with credit cards. In a sense, he is as much an educator as he is a travel czar.

As a whole, the top 10 influencers for the travel industry in social media have:

–          – nearly 11 million Instagram followers

–          – 1.5 million Twitter followers

–          – 2.5 million Facebook likes

–          – 2.6 million YouTube subscribers

Gaming: Just about every American alive today can say that they have been a gamer at some point in their life. The gringa still games. My oldest son is quite impressed with my “bad-ass” high elf avatar on Skyrim. But I digress.

The top influencer for the gaming industry is not the gringa. That acclaim goes to Mark Fischback. His horror genre games have been viewed more than 7 billion times. If you’ve played a zombie game lately, stand and be counted.

Along with his other top 10 gaming influencers, here’s how many social media fanatics are influenced by the entertaining digital escapes they create:

–          – 35 million Instagram followers

–          – 28 million Twitter followers

–          – 11 million Facebook likes

–          – 152 million YouTube Subscriptions

Fitness: Lungers and Lycra lovers have all probably heard of Kayla Itsines who tops the list of social media fitness influencers. Last year her fitness app earned her a tidy $17 mill. She sells out stadiums when she tours and touts 6.6 million followers on Instagram (the gringa is clueless as to who she is – I walk. I don’t sweat. I don’t grind. I don’t do pain and discomfort voluntarily).

She and her other top influencers have a strong following on all the most popular social media sites:

–          – 39.5 million Instagram followers

–          – 2.6 million  Twitter followers

–          – 52 million Facebook likes

–          – 5 million YouTube subscriptions

Beauty: If you like to dabble in contouring and eyebrow shaping, then you have probably enjoyed some video tutorials by Zoe Sugg. She gives cosmetic divas the dish on how to get the best deals on all things make-up. But she’s not just a pretty face. Her novels have broken sales records.

All the top 10 beauty influencers are working to make the world a much lovelier place:

–          – 50 million Instagram followers

–          – 11.6 million Twitter followers

–          – 16.6 million Facebook likes

–          – 46.5 million YouTube subscribers

Home: You might think that house flippers would take center stage. Actually, topping the list for home life influencers is DIY interior designer, Grace Bonney. And independent artisans owe her a world of thanks for making their crafts and trades in greater demand. With a million readers subscribing to her monthly design magazine, even folks who avoid social media like the plague can discover how to spiffy up their digs.

Interior designers that are in hot demand on social media have:

–          – 3.2 million Instagram followers

–          – 890 thousand Twitter followers

–          – 1.4 million Facebook likes

–          – 1 million YouTube subscribers

But what does this tell us about American society that is tuned in and logged on? Well, the American population numbers about 321.5 million as of 2015 US Census data. When we see the total reach of these top influencers as reported by Forbes, in puts things in greater perspective. Granted, many of these followers hail from other countries, but it is still easy to see what it means for America who comprises the largest portion of the numbers:

Entertainment Total Reach: 247 million are influenced by comedy, dance and theater in any format.

Travel Total Reach: 17.4 million are influenced by snagging every travel perk they are owed by their credit card company and then using them.

Gaming Total Reach: 228 million are engaged in blood and mayhem through cyber proxies.

Fitness Total Reach: 106 million are still searching for the Fountain of Youth by way of a fitness guru.

Beauty Total Reach: 135 million are searching for ways to look like a supermodel without breaking the bank.

Home Total Reach: 7.4 million still believe that a beautiful home is where the heart is.

By and large, Americans want to be entertained. Perhaps the jet-setting lifestyle of their favorite celebrities in turn drive them to the top influencers of travel, fitness and beauty. And the gringa supposes that for those who can’t afford to mimic the lifestyles of the rich and famous they worship, the next best thing is to escape into the high drama of a make-believe character of a video game. And then, finally, when reality sets in, they simply decide to make the best with what they’ve got. They settle down to a bit of nesting. And that’s the story of America through the effects of the top influencers of social media.

Source: Forbes

Image Credit: Blue Fountain Media

Video Credit: AsapSCIENCE

Underground Martian Civilization? Yay or Nay?


(Originally posted on Read With The Gringa 7/11/2017)

Alien hunters have reported that a NASA photo reveals evidence of an underground city on Mars. Is this for real? How does one de-bunk or verify? Well, let’s take a look together.  NASA explains that the image below is a small mesa surrounded by sand dunes on what is called the Noctis Labyrinthyus at the western edge of the Valles Marineris on Mars.

7.11.2.1.jpg

The gringa thinks the description by NASA of these formations being created by sedimentary deposits is probably accurate, rather than believe it is the ancient remains of an underground civilization. Scientists believe that over time the boulders of a Mars of long ago have since been eroded by the winds that blast across the surface of Mars, resulting in the formation of the mesa. These winds have also blown out sand that once filled the cratered mesa, revealing it as we see it now.

Now, Mars is a very windy place. There are not natural wind breaks like treelines or mountain ranges. The surface of Mars is incredibly vulnerable to the slightest atmospheric disturbance. Wind speeds have been recorded at rates of 60 mph. Although that is about half the velocity of Earth’s hurricane force winds, remember that the atmosphere on Mars is about 1% the density of Earth’s. That means particles remain suspended longer and pack a greater whollop when they hit something.

Now, the UFO hunters who claim that this cratered mesa is a superstructure, particularly a ventilation shaft of an ancient underground Martian city, the gringa has a few questions about why ancient Martians would need to live underground. You see, although Mars is a wasteland today, it hasn’t always been so. Scientists theorize that once upon a time Mars was much like Earth, lush, green and having vast surface water resources.

Geological studies by NASA reveal trace minerals and a chemistry that indicates a very Earth-like Martian past. The Curiosity rover has detected chemicals that point to an ancient oxygen rich atmosphere on Mars. Ancient lake beds exist. Groundwater is thought to have once filled the Gale Crater.

Before Mars lost its protective magnetic field, the planet would have also enjoyed a greenhouse effect. It would have been warmer. The warming would have been the result of multiple meteor impacts kicking up dust and debris into the atmosphere where it became trapped and acted as an insulator. Although this is only a theory requiring much more geological research, it is consistent with computerized modeling of an ancient Mars that has evolved into the Mars we see today. But the warm, green, wet Mars of billions of years ago disappeared once Mars’ magnetic field disappeared.

Thus the flaw in the claim of UFOlogists that the cratered mesa is a ventilation shaft from an ancient Martian underground civilization. You see, these same UFOlogists peddle  this ancient Martian civilization scenario as a means to support their belief that humans are the ancestors of Martians, who seeded a colony on Earth when they recognized that their planet was dying.

But the problem with this scenario, pointing to an underground Martian civilization millions or billions of years ago, is that at that point in history a humanoid race could have survived on the surface of Mars. There would have been no need to go underground. And if they were invested in a survival escape plan to Earth, surely they wouldn’t have diverted their money, efforts and resources away from their cosmic survival travel project. It would have been a waste to develop an advanced society underground that they knew was ultimately doomed.

So, the gringa tells the dear reader to practice logic, do your research and don’t get duped into believing the fantastic. But enjoy the fantastic for what it is, a pleasurable escape into fantasy for the sheer entertainment value.

Sources: NASA

Chronicle

Space

NASA Goddard

NASA Rover

Astrobio

Image Credits:  NASA

Science Vibe

Video Credit: RT America

Life On The Fog Farm


Water is at the heart of climate change. As the world continues to transform, water, in one way or another, is significantly related to the resulting effects. For example, water levels of our oceans and seas are expected to rise. Water contained in massive rainfall in the major storm systems that rage, fed by the cyclical effects of climate change’s higher temperatures that increase evaporation of water resources. And then there are the regions that will become deserts, lacking water entirely. How will these areas feed their populations? Will they have to be abandoned altogether? Thanks to some Star Wars inspiration, nope.

Remember how the people who live on Tatooine used “vaporators” to irrigate their desert farms? Guess what? That technology, imagined in the 70’s, is real in the here-and-now of 2017. Yep, the technology has been developed to literally make water appear out of thin air. Like magic!

Even the most arid desert has some humidity within its immediate atmosphere. The trick is in trapping and condensing those tiny particles of humidity. Today’s “vaporators” work on the same principle that takes place when droplets of water start sliding down your glass of iced tea.

That cold drink is cooling down the immediate atmosphere around the glass. When that happens, humidity within that tiny area is no longer trapped within the warmer air. It is free to attach itself to the surface of your glass. That’s also how rain is formed. So, in a sense, the “vaporators” of Star Wars are actually air conditioners, cooling the hot, desert air so water droplets form.

But it would seem like it would take an awful lot to produce enough water to be helpful. Is this technology even practical? Well, let’s take a look at what Chilean & Peruvian farmers are doing, who farm in the dry, arid regions of the high Andes. They have a steel mesh contraption, kind of like a net. Covered in a special coating to attract the molecules of water within the air, they basically harvest fog.

6.22.2a

Is fog-catching making a difference? A single fog-catcher, about one-meter square, produces about 5 litres of water daily. An improved design hopes to up water collection to about a dozen litres daily. Either way, the technology being used has meant the difference between harvest success over crop failure for the artichokes, avocados and grapes commonly grown.

Even greater than creating water out of thin air, the technology is sustainable, portable and powered by nature. So don’t be surprised if the next big thing in agricultural areas are rows of tiny billboard looking thing-a-ma-jigs. But since you read with the Gringa, you’ll just shrug and say, “Hey, look. It’s a fog farm!”

Source:

New Scientist

Image Source:  Design We Need

Makeshift

Video Source:  Makeshift

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