Friday, May 31, 2013

First Draft of Paper Completed- And a Whirlwind Trip in Central Europe

Well, the first draft of my solar physics research paper has been completed, actually after about the first week. It now needs to be gone over carefully and proof-checked before putting it up on the Physics Arxiv. But interestingly, as the paper 1st draft was completed, wifey and I received an unexpected shout out from our long time German friend, Reinhart - who invited us to spend time with wife Elli and himself in the beautiful Bavarian village of Garmisch- Partenkirchen.

Truth be told, we've only just now arrived back in the States after a 17+ hour sojourn that began in a damp, cold and rainy Munich at 9.20 a.m. and concluded at 3.30 a.m. Munich time or 7.30 p.m. Colorado Springs time- when our United Air Express touched down.  Needless to say, wifey and I are both beat, this post will be quite short.

But over the next few blog posts I plan to share what we learned in Germany, including of an emergent Nazi threat embodied in the "NSU process" - which has led putatively to what is likely to be the largest post-war trial of Nazis, neo-Nazis in German history.  Much of the background appeared in the Munich papers when we arrived, but it took a lengthy session with Reinhart to spell it out and have it make sense. (Reinhart can be seen in this earlier blog post, using a photo from the 40th anniversary of the end of WWII, taken in 1985. He acted as interpreter between two former Wehrmacht soldiers (also shown) and yours truly)

Also, to share: our experience at Zugspitze- the highest peak in Germany (and a peak which is shared with Austria) and the unsettling resonance of the Third Reich detected in the twin German towns (Garmisch and Partenkirchen) that were actually forced together (by Hitler) in order so sponsor the 1936 Winter Olympics- for which the signs and symbols are still evident.  The '36 Winter Olympics set the stage for the massive 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin - which Hitler and the Third Reich attempted to use as a propaganda showcase.

I will also share some of our experiences in Austria, including in Innsbruck and Salzburg.

Right now it's time to sign off!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Three Week 'Relative' Blog Hiatus to Complete Research Paper

I will be working on completing a solar physics research paper for the next 3 weeks, so this is to announce a 'relative' blog hiatus, meaning that if I can squeeze a blog in here and there I will do so. The objective of my paper is to tie in the occurrence (and possible forecast) of CMEs (coronal mass ejections) with preceding active region evolution and solar flares.

As I had noted in an earlier blog (Sept. 21): some advances on the CME quantitative front have revolved around the rate of increase of the poloidal magnetic flux associated with a flux "rope", e.g.

dΦp(t )/dt

where the numerator denotes the increase in rope magnetic flux and the derivative indicates it's taken instantaneously as a function of time. In a simple flux rope model, think of taking a 6-7 cm section of thin rope and twisting it. As you twist it the rope 'humps up'. In real solar cases the magnetic counterpart 'humps up' through the solar surface. It is the increase in the poloidal (as opposed to vertical or longitudinal) component which allows this.

For a predictive basis, one requires the related function be adjusted for each CME to obtain a solution that best fits the observed time-height data. The function is usually given in terms of the electromotive force so that:

E(t ) ≡ −(1/c)dΦp(t )/dt

My primary aim is to tie this into the emf developed over time when solar double layers become unstable within coronal loops.  It is already known that the evolving-increasing emf  (V(b)) in a twisting solar active region can be computed from:

V(b) =  ò (v X B) ds

Where v is the fluid velocity and B the magnetic intensity.

We can also obtain an independent estimate of V(b)  from:

V(b) = L(dI/dt) + RI

where R is the ambient resistance of the active region, I is the current for the equivalent circuit  and  the inductance L is estimated from the characteristic timescale of electric current dissipation in the associated equivalent circuit. Meanwhile, in the presence of a collisionless, high temperature current sheet,

E  »  vo Bo/ c   »  1- 10 V cm –1

To achieve 1 V/cm the typical distance affected would have to be 1.6 x 10 8 m. In fact, this represents about 0.17 of typical total observed length for coronal  loops. In alternative terms, it represents roughly 10 separators ({E1/ Q1/2} of minimal length, say to trigger a solar flare where  E1 is the cutoff or threshold energy for the region, for which the shortest separator is: ℓ1 =  {E1/ Q1/2} 

In more detailed form, the acquisition of free magnetic energy is given by:

E m /   t =

1/m  òS [(v  X B) X B] dS  -   òv  { | J |2 / s  }dx dy dz

where the first term on the right side embodies footpoint motion, and the second joule (heat)dissipation. It is also known the flare distribution corresponds to a Poisson process of the form :

P(t) =   exp (- l)   lt  / t!

  More recently, Wheatland and Craig (Astrophysical J., Vol. 595, p. 458, 2003)  have argued that the waiting time distribution (WTD) in individual active regions is consistent with a Poisson process in time, which would conform to: P(t) =   l exp (-lt)  where l is the mean rate of flaring.

The work entails reconciling all these different facets as well as possible paradigms (double layer vs. twisted rope and increasing MFE).  

Anyway, I'm sure there are plenty of blog posts still to be read (including from past years)  and also problems to work! In the interest of spurring readers on to solutions, namely for the blogs on DE word problems, I provided a jump starter in the previous post pertaining to the solution of the ship problem (Applications of DEs, Pt. 3, Problem No. 1) .

Applications of Differential Equations (4): More Word Problems

First let me give a jump start assist for Problem No. 1 in Application of DEs (3). The Ship Problem. With this jump start most math mavens ought to be able to finish the solution!

We show:  Thrust = ma = 200,000 lbs. = kv at outset

Afterward with velocity v:    200,000 lb. = 10,000 v

So: v = 200,000 lbs./ 10,000 ft-lbs./sec = 20 ft/sec

We now need a function of time, so first write:

mg – ma = kvn

Or: m(g – a) =  kvn

Then:  (g – a) = (k/ m) vn

Let a = dv/dt and let (k/m) = a

Then write the differential eqn.: (g – dv/dt) =  a vn

Separate variables to get:

dv/ (g -  a vn)  = dt  

The relation is linear (constant propeller thrust) so take exponent n = 1:

Þ     dv/ (g -  a v)  = dt  

Integrate the above to obtain:

 ln (g -  a v)    = -at + C   

(Further Hint: You will need to obtain the value of  a  to get the integrating factor in terms of exp (-at))

Answers to problems (2) and (3):

(2) T =   p/4 s  and f =  4/ p s-1

(3) 177.7 lbs.

Additional Differential equation word problems:

1. A ball weighing ¾ lb. is thrown vertically upward from a point 6 feet above the surface of the earth with an initial velocity of 20 feet per second. As it rises it is acted upon by air resistance which is numerically equal to (1/64) v in pounds, where v is the velocity in ft /sec. How high will the ball rise?

2. The rate at which radioactive nuclei decay is proportional to the number of such nuclei that are present in a given sample. Half of the original number of radioactive nuclei have undergone disintegration after 1500 years.

a) What percentage of the original sample will remain after 4500 years?

b) In how many years will only one tenth of the original number remain?

(Hint: see )

3. The population of a city increases at a rate proportional to the number of its inhabitants present at any time t. If the city’s population was 30,000 in 1950  and 35,000 in 1960, what would its population be in 1970? What would it be in 2020?

4. In a certain bacteria culture the rate of increase in the number of bacteria is proportional to the number present.

a) If the number triples in three hours, how many will be present in 10 hours?

b) When will the number be ten time the number initially present?

5. Newton’s law of cooling states that the rate at which a body cools is proportional to the difference between the temperature of the body and that of the medium in which it is situated. Assume a body at temperature T = 80F is placed at time t = 0 in a medium which has a temperature maintained at 50F. At the end of five minutes the temperature of the body has cooled to 70F.

a) Find the temperature of the body at the end of 10 minutes?

b) When will the temperature of the body be 60F?

-----Answer Key to Selected Problems :

1.Rises 55.08 ft, or 55.08 ft + 6 ft = 61.08 ft. relative to ground

2. (a) One-eighth or 12.5% of the original number remains after 4500 yrs.

(b) t = 4985 yrs.

3. 40, 833 by 1970

5. (a) 63.33 F  

(b)  13.55 mins.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Mail Call Brane: Readers Seeking Answers

Just curious as to the latest on Colorado’s MJ laws, and Implementing them.- Allan, Montreal, Quebec

A. The latest news is that on Wednesday the Colorado legislature made history, becoming the first in the nation to pass laws regulating recreational marijuana use. This now makes 4 major bills passed this year on marijuana legalization, and now the legislature awaits Gov. Hickenlooper to sign them. If he does sign them, and as a Dem Governor presiding over a D-legislature he ought to, then we will see the following (Denver Post, Thurs. May 9, p. 1A):

1-Marijuana will be sold in specially licensed stores that can also sell pot-related items such as pipes. However, only Colorado residents can own and invest in the stores, and only current medical marijuana dispensary owners can apply to open recreational pot shops for the first nine months. The first stores will open on Jan, 1, 2014.

2- Colorado residents will be able to buy up to an ounce of marijuana, the maximum legal amount for non-medical needs. Out of staters will be able to purchase only a quarter ounce at a time. The pot must also be sold in child-resistant packages, with labels that specify potency.

3- Voters will have the option of imposing heavy taxes on pot sales. A ballot measure set for November will ask voters to approve a 15 % excise tax and an additional 10 percent sales tax on marijuana. The excise tax will fund school construction while the sales tax will fund MJ regulation. Hickenlooper has already advised voters to pass the bills, and one wonders given his past MJ opposition, whether he will postpone signing the passed bills until November. And also, if the tax ballots don’t pass, then vetoing the four already passed MJ bills. I wouldn’t put this past a guy that once drank fracked water and claimed it was fine.

4- Incorporated marijuana collectives will be banned, so will MJ coffee shops, MJ-smoking in bars and gov’t run MJ stores. Though Colo. will have the most liberal MJ laws in the country – it will have the most restrictive laws in the country for MJ-themed magazines. These, like pornography, will have to be kept under the counter. (Publications such as 'High Times' have vowed to sue.)

5-Colorado drivers for the first time will be subject to a “stoned driving limit” (which is still being worked out). Juries will be allowed to presume that anyone testing above the limit was too high to drive.

Q. Were you aware that Sally Jewel, President Barack Obama's newest appointed Secretary of the Interior, is a pro-fracking hireling? Having read your blogs on fracking I wonder what you make of this appointment?
- Cheryl T., Wauwatosa, Wisc.

A. Okay, what Jewell actually said is: “ We must develop our domestic energy resources armed with the best available science, and this unbiased, objective information will help private, nonprofit and government decision makers at all levels make informed decisions about the responsible development of these resources. “ And yes, a number of right wing papers (i.e. The Washington Examiner) have taken this to be a strong endorsement of fracking. But as the Examiner puts it:

"Jewell was referring to hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking, ' the process by which a pressurized mixture of (mostly) water and chemicals is injected into shale rock formations deep underground. The process provides access to natural gas deposits that would otherwise be impossible to reach. The technology has been in use for 60 years in Texas and Oklahoma, but its phenomenally successful use more recently in Pennsylvania to develop the Marcellus Shale and in North Dakota to develop the Bakken formation has sparked an energy revolution in this country.  Environmentalists oppose fracking, claiming it threatens groundwater even though the evidence for this claim is all but nonexistent.”

Of course, assuming this is so, then it would be an unmitigated disaster. Anyone who has read my prior blogs on fracking would see why, e.g.

The facts are substantial so that appeal to scientific basis must mean not going forward with fracking and applying the precautionary principle: the frackers must prove their methods aren’t harmful to ground water supplies, not the converse- that potential victims must prove the harm. Already there have been more than 1,000 documented cases of water contamination while methane leaks associated with hydraulic fracturing have caused houses and wells to explode.  Moreover, fracking doesn’t just contaminate water but air as well. Residents in Dish, TX have repeatedly complained of illness since frackers arrived. Air quality tests have revealed high levels of benzene in the air.

The notion of natural gas as “clean energy” is also a myth. While it emits half as much carbon as coal and 70% as much as oil, it still imposes a carbon burden. In addition, it emits large quantities of methane gas which is 30 times more potent than CO2.  These figures, though smaller than the coal and oil carbon burdens ought not be ignored given that we have now hit 400 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere, a threshold not reached for nearly 3 million years (Denver Post, today, p. 1B). What the new threshold means is that we have far less margin for error. Do we really want to conduct an aberrant experiment to turn our planet into another Venus, with a runaway Greenhouse effect - making it uninhabitable for future generations?

The production of this fuel also isn’t “clean” as it damages water, air and infrastructure. It is, in reality, no different from fouling our own nest to get a temporary solution to an energy problem –which is really spawned by too high a global population and too concentrated energy use.

Here are 5 other facts on fracking that ought to cause alarm and get the attention of our politicos who are too often hostage to special (read 'monied') interests:

1- Fracking a single well requires more than a million gallons of water. Here in COS, a number of wells have consumed over 3 million gallons, and many have come up empty. This insanity is occurring in an arid region in which we’ve had severe drought the past three years. The wastewater produced by fracking also contains high levels of radioactivity that wastewater treatment plants aren’t equipped to deal with.

2- Dangerous fracking chemicals are kept secret. In many states, the drilling companies won’t disclose the chemicals used in the fracking fluid, claiming the mixture is a “trade secret”. But independent analysts have identified 41 known chemicals most highly toxic carcinogens.

3- There exists a “Halliburton Loophole” with respect to most laws and oversight applied to fracking. This means the effluent generate by the frackers as well as their shale driller cohorts is exempt the Clean Air Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act So, E coli, is controlled in your water but it’s A-ok if carcinogenic benzene piles up.  Pardon me, but this selective regulation shows the paws of big, I mean BIG, lobby money!

4- The number of fracking wells is now growing at an exponential rate, in 28 states.

5- Turning on your tap (see image in previous links) liberates water accompanied by methane which can catch fire.

Fracking is unacceptable as an energy extraction process, since it imposes severe long term health costs to extract a temporary energy fix.

Q. In your April 13 blog on Bird Flu you mentioned the reported mortality rate of highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza and that “studies of the levels of cytokines in humans infected by the H5N1 flu virus show elevated levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha a protein associated with tissue destruction at sites of infection and increased production of other cytokines” What does this mean for getting sick? How sick can you get? - Delores, Bellingham, WA

A. Pretty damned sick! So sick in fact, that even if you don't die you will likely want to. The tumor necrosis factor-alpha a protein is implicated in severe inflammation and also potential degeneration of organs affected, including kidneys and lungs. Similar effects were reported during the Spanish Flu pandemic but of course the micro-biological, genetic marker tie- ins weren’t then available. However, doctors who performed the autopsies of some patients reported lungs turned to jelly as well as other organs. Basically, with the cytokine storm and tumor necrosis factor-alpha a protein, your whole body is sent into a death spiral of organ shutdown, shock,coma from immune system over-stimulation.

The closest I came to this was in December, 1968 when I got the Hong Kong Flu. I vomited for days, could barely breathe as I coughed up bloody mucus with each spasm, and felt like I had burst at least one lung. It was a god-awful experience I never want to repeat, and that flu barely killed 1 m around the world. The H5N1 will likely be 100 to 500 times more lethal and brutal.  I took more than 2 months to recuperate.

Q. I got a kick out of your brother Mike’s comments in your April 21 blog on the biblical exegesis test. He claimed that “the Jesuits themselves are the “storm troopers” of the RCC, and their purpose is propagation of the RC faith by any means possible? (i.e., SATAN!)”

What is he some kind of a crackpot? I couldn’t believe this guy couldn’t take the bible test or even answer one little question. And he claims to read the good book! It seems to me he’s got a lot of talk but little to show for it. I notice that since April 30 you have totally ignored him. Is this intentional? Alice K, Joliet, IL

It is. I think I mentioned in my blog on Colorado MJ issues and Mike's onerous errors (‘Reefer Madness Redux’, April 30) that since it's useless to try to argue or debate him (since he’s totally ignorant of the basic parameters that apply to the content of any worthwhile argument) . there'd be no further exchanges. At least not until he could pass a basic test in logic, for which I provided a link at the end of the blog.

Up to now, he’s not taken the test - which indicates to me he has no logic to demonstrate, nor is he the least interested in using logic in his arguments. This being the case, he's all about making noise and nothing more.

Therefore,  it’s a waste of time to engage him on any issue. He can believe whatever he wants to believe, but I don't have to give any heed to what I regard as noise.  If then he chooses to come to this blog (which he probably does to dredge for new material since he can’t think of any on his own) that’s his choice. As far as I am concerned his blog exists only as background noise in the blogosphere. It merits no more attention than noise, and certainly not being considered as any signal.  And if it is noise, then none of his harangues or "issues"  merit being dignified by any response.

Q. My husband of 44 just had his lab test come back and his PSA has tripled in 2 yrs. from 1.8 to 5.5.  I have pleaded with him to get a biopsy but he's terrified of sepsis as he read that this occurs in any cases with these biopsies. He also fears, after reading your own blog of July 19 last year (Notes on a prostate biopsy) having a young female physician assistant doing the procedure and not the actual urologist. He also fears the type of pain you described. Is there any way to get him to change? I fear he might have an aggressive cancer that might kill him!- Genevieve R.,  Los Angeles, CA

A. Your husband is actually quite right to be concerned, as the incidence of deaths, infections (including from sepsis, or massive blood poisoning via infection) have risen sharply, see e.g.

As the article notes:

"....the research team found that having a prostate biopsy resulted in men being more than twice as likely to need hospitalization in the immediate post-procedure period. And once hospitalized, the men were at an increased risk of serious complications including bleeding and infection, flare-ups of underlying medical conditions (such as heart failure or breathing disorders) and death.

The researchers emphasized in their paper that their new data should remind doctors to carefully consider the risks and benefits of biopsy for individual patients before performing biopsies to look for cancer in the prostate"

See also:

So what to do?  The best advice is to discuss the problem with one's personal physician, and this includes a cost -benefits assessment. In my case, the biopsy was done after PSA doubling, and then after the free PSA test, which also yielded a high probability of cancer. (The free PSA may actually be the most sensible next step. It measures the concentration of free prostate specific antigen, i.e. in the blood, relative to the bound form. The result comes back as a percentage. If it is 25% or higher then the chances are more than 90% the problem is enlargement of the prostate, not cancer. If the result is 5% or less, then the odds switch in the other direction: 77% that it's cancer and not benign hypertrophy.)

My biopsy, done after the free PSA,  then found an aggressive adenocarcinoma in two cores (Gleason socre 4+3) , and cancer present in five (lowest score Gleason 3+3). I was told by the urologist that watchful waiting could not be an option, so elected to have high dose radiotherapy. 

The infection risk from prostate biopsies can be contained with scrupulous cleanliness, and that means a thorough enema before hand. Also, the biopsy patient  takes a ciproflaxin  pill just before. Another alternative is to have the biopsy performed via the trans-perineal route (through the perineum) which carries vastly less risk of infection because the rectum wall isn't being penetrated by the tissue extracting needles. The problem is that this trans-perineal procedure is usually more costly, since in general the patient has to be put under (general anesthesia) and more staff are needed to be present.

Re: the physician assistant, I don't think the sex ought to matter - but whether the person is competent. A good way to find out is to become a temporary member of 'Angie's List' and then look up urologists and see what the reviews say.  The fact is that more and more physician assistants are now doing these procedures, and if they have the proper training - which most do - then the expertise should not be an issue.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Grade Inflation Continues to Render Most College Scholastic Honors, Achievement Meaningless

The depressing recent study by Stuart Rojstaczer and Christopher Healy, and published in the prestigious Teachers College Record is enough to make any educator shake his or her head in despondent resignation. Their finding: About three-fourths of all grades awarded at university level are “A”s or “B”s.

Of course, this makes those As and Bs next to useless precisely become of the very commonality. An 'A' used to stand for academic excellence, but it can't if so many are getting them! It also renders the achievements of truly exceptional students ho-hum. How in the world can they truly stand out if middling or loser students get the same grades they do? It's preposterous!

There is NO way in a real universe, there can be such a preponderance of high grades! Go back now to the 1960s, before the emergence of the surreptitious blackmail device known as "teacher evaluations". What did one find, say at Loyola University, or the University of South Florida?  Well, the As were at about 10 percent, with Bs at 20 percent, and 'gentleman's Cs' right at around 40 percent where they ought to be - if conforming to the standard Gaussian distribution or normal curve. Similarly, at the other end of the curve Ds would make up 20 percent and Fs 10 percent. But what do we find today? Barely 5 percent Ds and Fs and Cs marginally higher because college kids consider those failing grades!  This is nuts!

Essentially, college teachers today - tenured profs as well as adjuncts- have given away the grade store and sold out.  And it's irrespective of whether we're talking about State U. or Harvard. Intimidated by little wet behind -the -ears punks delivering solemn, negative judgments via teacher evaluations, they've decided timidity and wussing out are the better parts of valor.  But in the process they've essentially wrecked all academic credentials, judicious comparisons and objective assessement.

Oh, make no mistake, it was done with the best of intentions. College administrations sought a cheap, expeditious way to evaluate their staffs, and 'Voila!' Some genius thought of a teacher's evaluation. Just hand out a little one page eval form to little Missy or Sonny and let them have at it. What they obviously didn't consider is that neither Missy or Sonny had the maturity to do a proper, objective assessment. No, by the time they received the forms they were already grating at low marks they'd received during the year and now, and NOW....this was the time for payback! And payback is always a bitch!

So, for the few curmudgeons who continued to demand standards as opposed to giving out A and B freebies, it was game over. For those profs who insisted that their students EARN their As instead of expecting them for just showing up, well, it was 'hasta la vista'. The college administration had to inform the uncooperative fool that this was the end of the line.

Meanwhile, for those timid souls that capitulated, the majority, the sky was the limit - not only were they popular, oh so popular, especially for the easiest, 'crib' courses like media, or deconstruction of films by Steven Spielberg. They were the ones that most often notched promotions and even got tenure. But at what cost? Well, at turning our university grading system into a global laughing stock. Because no where else in the world do kids get rewarded merely for turning in labs or papers half done.

Make no mistake, because of grade inflation, students avoid professors who believe the grade of “C” is the average grade and who set up standards that require students to do more than show up, read a couple of hundred pages, and answer a few questions. This then translates into fewer students in physics classes, say, and usually results in questions from administrators who may claim they believe in academic rigor and integrity, but whose slavish devotion to teacher evaluations refutes it.

Now, it's true some departments traditionally grade tougher than others, say like science and engineering departments. In my experience and at least through 1985, all tended to have lower overall grade averages than those in social sciences and humanities. The reason is that they adhered to rigorous Gaussian curve models for each test and homework grades.. If then 50 people took a class, say in complex algebra, and the grades ranged from a maximum of 80-85%  - which 5 got, and a minimum of 40 -45% which another 5 received, then those limits defined the extent of As and Fs, respectively.  The large central tendency bunch (say 28 in number)  that scored between 50% and 70% would ALL receive Cs,  no question. All the rest would get Bs and Ds, depending on whether they fell between 70 and 79 or below 50.

This sort of distribution was consistently applied.

By contrast to the above, we've learned that Education programs tend to have the highest grade averages. It’s not unusual for the average grade in elementary education courses to be an A-minus, and in secondary education to be a B-plus. That means either our future teachers are brighter than a supernova—or that their profs don’t know there are more than just two letters in the alphabet. More likely, it means very sub-average or average students are taking relatively easy courses. The proof of this? Looking at years of GRE  test scores taken by Ed majors vs. those of science majors. In year after year, Ed.  major grads' GRE averages seldom crack the 950 total for both math and verbal, while science grads routinely crack 1200-1250. Case closed!

Lastly, one has to factor in the role of parental expectations and pressure into the ongoing inflation of grades. Because every parent believes his kid will either be another Fortune 500 CEO, or a Billionaire hedge fund owner, he mandates to every university staff member that Jr. is expected to get As. Not to perform to the highest standards, but ...get those As. And woe betide the sorry butt of any prof who doesn't cooperate. He will be beseiged by angry emails or phone calls.

Administrators play into this absurd game, because they are the ones who've made the sine qua non index for their universities attaining a critical mass of students who consistently garner high enough grades to remain - to keep the money pumping in from Mommy, Daddy or more often now, the private lender. Better this critical inflated grade mass of lazy ass students than that they actual develop critical thinking skills, and oh yes...knowledge.

Sadly, there's no sign the trend is going to reverse any time soon. Too many, including colleges, students, profs and the parents, are addicted to the phony exaggerated grade system- just like coke.

So, as we approach the period of standard commencements across the nation....let's give three cheers for more bogus Summa Cum Laude's and oh.......Magnas too!

Heritage Foundation Exposes its Racist Underbelly With "Paper" from a HahVahd Numbnut

The Heritage Foundation, a conservo think tank (and I use that term liberally)  has always harbored an odious brew of vile crypto-facsists, Libertarian assholes and right wing screw jobs. They are also known for concocting refuse published in assorted academic "papers" - which term I also use loosely.  Most people of sense and acumen knew that once Jim DeMint - Demented Tea Bagger got the top job there- the place would slide down at an accelerated rate.

Well, we didn't have long to wait. As Rachel Maddow exposed last night, this bunch of troglydytes are now at the center of a storm that threatens to engulf them. It concerns an academic paper to do with the intelligence of immigrants. It claims, and I shit you not, that their I.Q.s are substantially lower than whites and moreover they will add $6.3 trillion to the deficit if wide-open immigration legislation is passed.

All of this is based on the numbers "crunching" of a former Harvard Ph.D. grad - a Jason Redwine-  who actually wrote in his dissertation (making one wonder how the quality of Harvard Ph.D. dissertations has descended):

"The average I.Q. of Immigrants in the United States is substantially lower than that of the white native population. And the difference is likely to persist over several generations."

In other words, this bozo with three letters after his name (which don't mean diddly) is claiming that "immigrants" (no distinctions, just one general category) will become poverty-stricken "takers" that will have to go on whatever dole is available, and their year-by-year taking (from gov't) will bring us all much further into debt.

Well, it doesn't take much exposure to his claptrap (and btw, ANY thesis adviser at Harvard that allowed the quoted rot to pass muster  for a Ph.D. ought to be fired forthwith.) to see the similarities to bollocks produced by another Heritage alumnus, Charles Murray. Readers may recall Murray was the author of The Bell Curve in which he attempted to tie IQ to racial genetics, with African-Americans and Latinos at the lower end of "the Bell Curve"- a Gaussian distribution.

Murray followed this up with a knock-off  book, (Coming Apart)  that extended his poverty -taker paradigm to poor whites. He basically took 300 odd pages to "document" how working class whites were detaching from the "four founding virtues of industriousness, honesty, marriage and religion".  Because of this profound moral laxity, these poor whites were damaging the white brand, and also ramping up deficits because of their entitlement mentality. They ranged from middle age working whites just fired from white collar jobs, who refused to flip burgers, to younger Gen Y types who refused to respect "the Man" and put their asses to work without whining. HIs worst diatribes were reserved for those who grabbed benefits, whether Social Security or Veterans disability, and these were tagged as "parasites".

 In any case, he attributed the Whiteys' grafting ways and laziness to their collective failure to hold up the four props as explaining why they are perhaps now embracing government "entitlements" and in the process reducing their collective IQ. For example, we learn that in blue-collar America (in contrast to the white upper class in which divorce rates hav declined) divorce has soared since the 1980s, and nonmarital child-bering is skyrocketing Worse and worse, 40% of white females with just a high school diploma have children outside of marriage, compared to 5% with college degrees.

Murray's suggestion? That the poor white's wealthier class betters teach them morals!

Now, anyone who's read Murrary's codswallop cannot fail to see the extension of the same statistical errors and nonsense to Jason Redwine's pseudo-science. (Btw, where do these crackpot "Jasons" come from anyway? Recall my earlier exposure of the Ph.D. moron Jason Lisle, e.g. )

In the case of Redwine, statistical errors are evident merely from reading his statement-quote above from his dissertation, using the catch all "immigrants". Has he never observed or studied Asian immigrants, for example, who have some of the most industrious habits and actually display higher I.Q. s than Caucasians? Obviously not!   This means he's using the blanket term "immigrants" to pin the blame mainly on Mexican immigrants. But this doesn't wash nor are his skewed numbers worth much.

Right now, for example, the census figures show net zero immigration between the U.S. and Mexico. That means the numbers coming and going are balanced at about 1.4 million each way. This hardly can be used to make the case that we will see milions more Mexican Takers and then they're ramping up deficits by another $6.3 trillion. Where does he get that figure anyway?

That's another case of bogus use of stats, which we call selection effect. In this case, Redwine never bothered to factor in the immigrants' contributions, via their labor and paid tax dollars (amounting to $11.2 billion a year). In other words, Redwine - genius that he is- left out one whole side of the ledger projected over a generation (40 yrs.). 

This is as bad as not distinguishing between the economics of the assorted immigrant groups, or their educations, etc. Worse, he makes a typical error of many naifs in not appreciating several things about I.Q. itself: 1) that I.Q. can change over time, it's not some fixed number that follows you the rest of your life, and 2) I.Q. measurements and tests themselves vary and are highly subjective relative to a population's aptitude and skill set.

I mean really! Does this turkey believe that an I.Q. test - say devised in by Pygmies in Africa- would be expected to be the same as one for the U.S. and Canada?  Does he think a related rates  math item  or vocabulary item - like 'write the synonymn for derelict' would appear on a Pygmy I.Q. test.?

Is he even aware of the fact that the SAT, for example, has not been used by Mensa since the mid-90s as an alternative I.Q. entry determinant? (Only the SATs taken before about 1994 qualify, else one must sit Mensa's own test). Why the change? Because the College Board that administers it no longer was convinced the SATs met the basic requirements of an I.Q. format aptitude test.  This means that if Redwine used SAT scores, say, to assess Mexican or any immigrants' I.Q. scores, he'd be off base. They results would have to be tossed into the dumpster.

While Redwine and Heritage seek to clean themselves up from this fiasco, one thing is clear: The Repukes still haven't learned - even after the last election- that when they spit on immigrants (especially including all those who are also naturalized citizens) they will never get their votes.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Solutions to Quantum 'Box' Problems

Inside the box the potential V = 0 and outside, V =  ¥

The particle cannot be at locations, x > L or less than 0, else it would have infinite energy.

Therefore, outside the interval (0,L) one has the quantum wave form: y*y = 0

The Schrodinger equation to solve is: dy2/dx2  + K2 y = 0

where K =  Ö [2mE] / ħ

And this second order differential equation has the solution:

y = C sin Kx + D cos Kx

(C, D constants)

We set boundary conditions thus:
At x = 0+, y (0+) = D (since sin(0) = 0)

At x = 0, y (0) = 0

The wave function must be continuous (since we want y*y to represent something physically observable).

So: y (0+) = y (0-) therefore D = 0

y = C sin Kx

Now, at x = L+, y (L+) = 0

At x = L-, y (L-) = C sin K(L)

For continuity: y (L+) = y

Therefore: C sin K(L-) = 0    but C can't = 0, or no particle!

Therefore: sin K(L-) = 0 Þ  sin (Ö[2mE] / ħ) L = 0,

((Ö[2mE] / ħ) L = n π
Therefore:   L = nπ /K and n = + 1, + 2, ..etc.

2mE = n2 π2 ħ2     Then   E = { n2 π2 ħ2 } / 2mL2

From which we obtain the energy eigenvalues for the levels n = 1 and n=2.

For n = 1:      En=1 =    π2 ħ2/ 2mL2,

For energy level n = 2:   En=2 =   4 π2 ħ2/ 2mL2
Now m = 9.1 x 10-31 kg (mass of electron) and L = 0.2nm = 2 x 10-10 m
Also:  ħ  = h/ 2 π  = 6.62 x 10-34 J-s/  2 π   = 1.054 x 10-34 J-s
Then the actual energy at the first level (n= 1) is:
π2 ħ2/ 2mL2  =   (3.1416)2 (1.054 x 10-34 J-s)2 / 2(9.1 x 10-31 kg) (2 x 10-10 m)
  =  1.43 x 10  16 J

  Then the actual energy at the 2nd level (n= 2) is:

4 En=1 =    4( 1.43 x 10  16 J) =   5.72 x 10  16 J

(2)  What is the probability the particle will be found between x = 0 and x = L/4.

A particle confined in a box of length L has a wave function that can be expressed in simplest form as:

y = Ö2/ ÖL   [sin (2npx/L)]

Note that if: y = C sin Kx  then normalization requires we do the following:

ò Lo   y2  dx = 

 ò Lo   ‖C‖2  sin 2Kx  dx =  ‖C‖2   L/ 2 = 1

So that:  ‖C‖2     = 2/L   and C = Ö2/ ÖL  

Consider the simplest energy level : n = 1

Then: P ab  =     òL/4 0   (Ö2/ ÖL )2   sin2 (2px/L) dx

Let q = 2px/L  and use the trig identity:  sin2 q= ½ (1 – cos 2q)

P ab  =     2/ L òL/4 0    ½ [1 - cos (4px/L)] dx

P ab  =     2/ L [½  òL/4 0    dx  - ò L/4 0   cos (4px/L)] dx

And: P ab  =     x/ L  -  1/2p  sin (4px/L)] L/4 0   

P ab  =      ¼ - 0 = 0.25