Thursday, February 28, 2013

Mail Call Brane: Readers Seeking Answers

Further questions from Brane Space readers:

Q. I'm just wondering if there's any new information on the Amendment 64 (marijuana law) for your area and whether the lawmakers will accept it or impose restrictions. - Emily, Portland, Oregon

A. So far most lawmakers are accepting the vote on 64 as the will of the voters, and given 66% of Colorado voters pushed the lever in favor, they (CO communities)  need to be wary of inveighing against that will with NIMBY type limits.

They also want to make certain they don't veer off into extreme positions like some Colorado districts (see my previous blogs) which have even claimed MJ can't be transported by individuals on its city streets!

For my own area you can read in detail the opinions of lawmakers, council members here:

Q. In your blog on 'lots of snow but still global warming' (Feb. 23) you make a good case to show that all this snow (like I'm seeing now and having to shovel) isn't unusual. Okay, question, how much longer can it go on ...say before the first year of no seasons? And will that first year be that bad? - Reggie, Schenectady, NY

A. David Suzuki has forecast ('It's A Matter of Survival', Harvard Univ. Press, 1991 with Anita Gordon) the first year of no seasons as 2040. However, if global warming is accelerating (much higher CO2 concentrations added each year, hence higher solar insolation by about 2 W/m^2 per year) then that date could arrive as early as 2025, if not sooner. What it will mean is that an essential thermal equilibrium will be reached in our planetary  atmosphere so effectively, no more winters, summers or even intermediate (Spring, fall) seasons anywhere. That will also mark the emergence of much higher mean global temperatures, probably as high as 60-65F. Locally, we can expect to see highs of 115F- 120F and covering much larger areas for much longer (heat 'waves' will be more like heat seasons, lasting months.)  Relatively cooler breaks, say with highs of 85-90, will likely appear in what used to be northern winters.

With the much more consistent high temperatures, pests of all types will proliferate, so we can expect to see more worm -parasite infestations for example, as well as dengue fever rivaling what we have now with West Nile Fever. Cholera, c. diff. and amoebic dysentery will also not be unheard of as our water resources continue to be used up and polluted, i.e. by fracking.  All in all, it will be a world that few will enjoy living in, other than the very rich - who, unlike the rest of us- will be able to afford their own off the grid power stations, so won't be rendered too uncomfortable when the main grids crash from over use.

Be happy as long as you are getting snow, even 2' at a time, because it means that first year of no seasons is still a ways off!

Q. Your brother Mike looks like a real psycho (February 24 blog).  Beating people's heads in?! What is his main damage? Also, is there any way he can be cured or at least made halfway human, acting like one? - Marie S., Dover, Delaware

A. Mike has his issues, and perhaps most are psychological. As I am no therp (therapist) I can only conjecture but suspect a lot of them trace to his being born the youngest sib of 5 in our clan. I mean, he got the short end of the stick the longest, so got beat up on by the older sibs, pushed around a lot, left out of things, as well as having to accept hand me downs instead of new clothes. Needless to say, he'd have built up a lot of resentment over years and he harbors a lot of that today.

Once he can work out these past resentment issues he might be able to change a bit, though I still believe he would have to deal with the extreme religious issues. To me, after all, a Christian Fundamentalist bears lots of similarity to Jewish and Islamic fundamentalists. They tend not to accept any gray areas, or beliefs, and this means a stance of permanent absolutism. (See, e.g. )

Basically, Mike will never be able to find peace, with himself or others, until he can bring himself to acceptance, of himself and others. I can't see that occurring anytime soon, alas. (As a further note, I tend to agree somewhat with a commentator on a site attacking his Christian National Atheist Registry idea, that his truculent stance perhaps stems more from innate insecurity about his own faith than his anger at atheists.)

Q. I like your math blogs and am wondering if you might soon do one on residue calculus? - Matt M., Plainfield, NJ

A. I had thought about the calculus of residues for a long time, but always felt it might be a tad too ambitious for a blog, even one as eclectic as Brane Space. But, who knows? It may not be long before I put it out there in some form. After all, we've covered fractals and p-adic numbers, as well as Diophantine equations! Complex analysis also provides a path into some basic residue calc.

Q. Do you think the Dreamliner (Jan. 27) might be up and running again soon? I heard it might be by April. - Jason K., Tallahassee, FL

A. Personally, my take is the lithium battery problems are so complex and difficult that it will take a major design overhaul to fix them, and that means more than a few months. As I said, there's no way I'd fly on any Dreamliner now. I'd sooner take any alternative flight available. I could be wrong, but I suspect I am more probably correct.

Q. The stock market keeps going higher and higher, now with DOW past 14,000. Don't you regret not putting your money in it? - Allison, Miami, Fl

A. Not at all. I still maintain the DOW is rising because of cheap money, infused by the Fed  (via quantitative easing and absurdly low interest rates) and that translates into a speculative bubble. The only question is when the bubble bursts, and when it does I sure as hell don't want to have any money in it.

Q. I liked your blog on Vegas. Can you tell me the best place to stay, which you've experienced, and also the best casino?- Lyle D.,  Omaha, Neb.

A. The best place we've ever stayed was easily the Encore. Problem is, when you stay there everywhere else you go looks tawdry and run down.  The best casino for atmosphere is the Bellagio, but in terms of winning more often than losing, it was the Wynn. As I said in the blog, people ought to also go out and see a lot of the sights and shows which are free, including the Bellagio singing fountains, the Sirens of TI and the Mirage volcano going off. Also, if you go, don't miss a trip to the Hoover Dam!

Remember that to ask any questions (no comments) blog readers can reach me at:

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