Bob Kolker

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About Bob Kolker

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  • Birthday 08/24/1936

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  • Gender Male
  • Location New Jersey, The Bad-a-Bing State
  • Interests mathematics, science, bicycling, schadenfreude
  1. Poland Decapitated

    I am surprised that the entire executive branch of the Polish government flew on the same plane. That sounds like very bad management. Here are the facts: one Polish pilot + one over age Tupelov jet + one very foggy day at Smolensk = one disaster. The news accounts that I read indicated that the pilot was instructed to seek an alternate landing site but he came in anyway. The first impression is pilot error. But further investigation must be made. Question: is there going to be a neutral participant in the crash investigation? They should get in some experts from Canada or Britain to join in. Bob Kolker
  2. Effective and non-fatal. Good choice. Bob Kolker
  3. Lindzen on Global Warming, once again

    Actually I don't know what you know. I only know what I read that you have written here and I respond accordingly. I have no way of reading your mind. I am genetically mind-blind (one of the benefits of Asperger's Syndrome). Now to the point: Every scientific hypothesis requires experimental or observational verification or corroberation. And it ain't reality that does it. It is people sweating blood and shedding tears to construct apparatus and design experiments. To get reality to talk you have to shine a strong light in its face and beat it bloody with a club (in a manner of speaking, of course). Reality does not reveal. It is people who find out. Nature reveals nothing to those who just sit and stare. To find out what Nature has to say, one must think, seek and work hard. Nature hides, people find. The root word of experiment is Latin for try. Every hypothesis has to be put on trial. Bob Kolker
  4. So...what's the answer?

    Quite so. It is belief in God, god, the gods or supernatural powers that must be justified. Bob Kolker
  5. Lindzen on Global Warming, once again

    Charles Darwin was not the only scientist working on the problem of species formation. Lamarck and others also had theories of how species arose. In fact, Darwin himself, invoked the theory of use and disuse in his famous -Origin of Species-. In addition, Darwin was not the only one who came upon variation and natural selection. Alfered Wallace formulated a nearly identical theory. In fact it was Wallace's presentation that finally moved Darwin to publish his -Origin of Species-. Darwin did not want to be "scooped" by Wallace in 1858 and they agreed to a joint presentation of their common theory in 1859. Without Wallace, Darwin, most likely, would have delayed publication until his death and we would have had -Origin of Species- much later on. Darwin's approach was not nailed down until his hypothesis of variation and natural selection was bonded with rigorous biochemistry and genetics. It was the confluence of genetic science with natural selection that finally eliminated the other theories of species formation. This required the work of hundreds of top scientists. Very few scientific theories are the work of a single man (or woman). Even Newton said that if he saw further than others it was because he stood on the shoulders of giants. Without Galileo, Kepler and Descartes there would have been no -Principia Mathematica- by Newton. It was an antagonist of Newton, Robert Hooke who suggested to Newton that the motion of the planets was not merely the balance between centrifugal force and gravity, rather it was the vector resultant of centripital acceleration and the tangential inertia of a massive body. Newton never claimed to be the "lone genius". Bob Kolker
  6. Reading Atlas Shrugged Again

    While The Speech might have been a good condensation of her philosophical ideas, from an stylistic point of view, it spoiled the action flow of the novel. During Dagny's stay in the Valley, Galt plainly stated his goal and strategy. It was to go on strike and to convince the producers to do the same. That was the basis of Galt's actions. It explains what he did during the preceding twelve years. Galt's speech could be skipped entirely without spoiling the action and character structure of the novel. Frankly, I thought Galt's Speech was boring. All of the philosophical principle had been stated and restated both in the forms of soliloquies (for example, Franscisco's Money Speech) and in the actions of the protagonists. It was simply not good style to insert sixty pages of monologue in the middle of an action novel. Ayn Rand might have thought the Speech important to her, but it was bad novel writing. I have two comparative novels to -Atlas Shrugged-. One is -The Dispossessed- by Ursula K. LaGuinn which is to anarchism, what -Atlas Shrugged- is to capitalism -The Dispossessed- is a much shorter and better flowing novel. The other novel is -The Lord of the Rings- by J. R. R. Tolkien. Tolkien manages to make his moral point without the overburden of monolithic prose soliloquies. In place of soliloquies he inserts songs and poems. They are easier to take. As much as I like -Atlas Shrugged- (which I read as alternative history fiction), I prefer the writing of LaGuinn and Tolkien. Bob Kolker
  7. Is Beauty Quantifiable ?

    When you consider how cumbersome the Greek numbering system was (they used their alphabet to represent numbers based on a linear tally - just like Roman numerals or the Hebrew number system) this was a breakthrough. Unfortunately Archimedes did not have the zero. If he had, he very well might have (re)invented the positional number system (the Chinese had it at the time of Archimedes as did the mathematicians of India). Bob Kolker
  8. Is Beauty Quantifiable ?

    The Sand Reckoner had nothing to do with figures drawn in the sand. It had to do with estimating the number of grains of sand that would fill the universe (as was known to Greek astronomers). Archimedes developed an exponential system for expressing very large numbers. Here is the blurb from the Wiki article on -The Sand Reckoner-.; "The Sand Reckoner (Greek: Αρχιμήδης Ψαµµίτης, Archimedes Psammites) is a work by Archimedes in which he set out to determine an upper bound for the number of grains of sand that fit into the universe. In order to do this, he had to estimate the size of the universe according to the then-current model, and invent a way to talk about extremely large numbers. The work, also known in Latin as Archimedis Syracusani Arenarius & Dimensio Circuli, is about 8 pages long in translation, is addressed to the Syracusan king Gelo II (son of Hiero II), and is probably the most accessible work of Archimedes; in some sense, it is the first research-expository paper." Bob Kolker
  9. Famous Pikes Peak Short Film

    Bates stood at what is now called Inspiration Point which is 11,000 feet m.s.l.. It is a intermediate stop on the cog railway that runs up the mountain. The view from the top is even better. On a very clear day one can just make out the curvature of the earth. The best way to get to the top is on foot up the Barr Trail which gives one the chance to ascend 7700 feet vertical from the base of the mountain at Manitou Springs. Bob Kolker
  10. Is Beauty Quantifiable ?

    Incorrect. An integer is rational. The square of an integer is rational. The sum of rational numbers is rational. Therefore the square root of two is not the sum of two rational numbers. Proofs: Let n be an integer then n = n/1 Let n/m be a rational number where n, m integers. (n/m)^2 = n^2/m^2. but n^2 and m^2 are integers. So (n/m)^2 is rational by definition of rational. Let n/m and j/k be rational numbers. n/m + j/k = (n*k + m*j)/m*k but the numerator is the sum of integers which is an integer and m*k is an integer so n/m + j/k is rational. Q.E.D. Has Dr. Binswanger ever published a mathematical article in any refereed mathematical journal? Bob Kolker
  11. You don't really want Civil War II

    The Civil War settled that question. States cannot secede on their own initiative. Bob Kolker
  12. Just an afterword. I believe that people who eat crappy food, do not get enough exercise and who have bad habits such as smoking and excessive consumption of alcohol are going to get sick in large numbers, and probably have a shorter life span. One does not have to be a genius in forensic physiology to see that. One can simply observe modern folk who do not live a healthy life. The Kitava sutdy was performed on contemporary humans, not people who lived ten thousand years ago and it pretty well squares with simple observation of ill fed and none exercising people who live today. I believe, that to get near the full potential life span one needs to get plenty of fiber, vegetables and eat a diet that is not overloaded with fat, particularly non-saturated fats. I think exercise is required to maintain health and that avoiding destructive habits like inhaling the noxious fumes of cigarettes or drinking too much booze. Also staying away from soft drinks would be quite helpful. I base this conclusion on my own personal experience and what I see in people who eating and exercising habits I am familiar with. I get antsy when people make definite statements about cardiovascular disease and cardiopulminary disease in people who died thousands of years ago. I have already stated my reservations about such claims. It is clear that out long ago ancestors did not have many of the rotten things that moderns ruin their health with, but even so, we do not know what diseases ravaged the Long Ago Folks and we have only a rough idea based on the bones we have found, which is a small sample of those who lived thousands of years ago. While bones last, they have to be fossilized or buried in a dry place. That does not happen too often. None of us were around ten thousand years ago and there is barely any tissue remaining on which to base such definite conclusions. I doubt such positive conclusions. And on this matter I will say no more. Bob Kolker
  13. What evidence? There is not a single vein, artery, gut, vital organ intact from the folks who lived 10,000 years ago. All there is are bones. Bones are the only part of human bodies that last, with the possible exception of very dried mummies from Egypt or the Land of the Incas. The tissue that a modern forensic analyst would use to determine cardiovascular damage simply no longer exists for those who died thousands of years ago. Anything that was moist has rotted, had been decomposed into elements by bacteria and other micro-organisms and worms in the soil. What is left to use to draw a conclusion? I would find any "evidence" which was not based on soft tissue rather questionable. I just don't believe the conclusion is justified by sound evidence. Bob Kolker
  14. The "Health Care" bill passes

    It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness. Bob Kolker
  15. How is it possible to determine that our long-ago ancestors did not suffer from cardiovascular and cardiopulminary diseases? All that is left of their bodies (if anything) is bone. No connective tissue, no skin, no traces of the veins, arteries or gut. We could say if our ancestors had arthritis or broken bones, but heart disease? Bob Kolker