Railgun Systems

I have thought over an idea I have had for some years now.  I first was able to come up with the general concept of a rail gun.  From that I have been thinking about the different uses of this technology.  The obvious application would be to use this technology as a weapon, both as a gun to large satellite delivery systems.  Finally, I think railguns could be use as propulsion systems for entire aircraft, bringing us even closer to the desired speed of light.  So, what is this railgun idea that I am speaking of?  It is quite simple actually.

There are two elongated and parallel electromagnets (the rail).  They are configured so the electromagnets have opposing magnetic fields.  There is a large capacitor system under the magnets that can be refilled with charge and provide the fuel to power these magnets.  Finally there is a projectile.  When the system is powered on, current from the capacitors would be pumped through the electromagnets.  When the projectile is introduced to these magnets and their magnetic fields, this will cause a current to flow through the projectile thus creating a magnetic field on the projectile itself.  The magnetic field on the projectile becomes on of the two magnetic fields being produced by the electromagnets.  This creates two things.  First, the repulsion and attraction between these two magnetic fields causes the projectile to spin.  Finally, with inertia from the initial introduction of the projectile and the repulsion of one of the electromagnetic fields shoots the projectile through the rail at insane speeds.  Four factors come to mind when influencing the speed of the projectile.  The first and obvious one would be the initial velocity of the projectile, the second the mass of the projectile, the third would be the length of the rails themselves, and the fourth would be the strength of the magnetic currents.

The obvious application of this would be to use this with handheld weapons.  Have a magazine of bullets hammered into the rail, which is powered by a capacitor system.  When the capacitors run low, design the gun so the capacitors could easily be replaced by another set.  Whenever the trigger is pulled, the bullet speeds through the rail with automatic riffling because of how the system works.  It would be insanely accurate and insanely powerful.  The capacitor systems could be recharged directly by the sun or indirectly by the sun through the grid.

A more powerful version is what makes me truly scared of this idea.  By creating a satellite that is a large rail.  People in power could fire projectiles of various masses at various targets around the globe.  Solar panels would charge the capacitors whereby once fired would unload charge into the rail.  Different masses of the projectile followed by different current flow from the capacitor systems would alter the energy output of the projectile.  People in power would be able to take out individual targets like tanks, to whole buildings, to whole blocks, to a certain square area, to an entire city.  The customization would be endless.  This system would have access to the entire globe.  And this is why I haven’t really talked about this idea openly with anybody.  There is no doubt in my mind that rail systems would be used as a weapon to kill people.

But while looking at history itself, I cannot help but look at nuclear technology.  We can make devastating weapons that threaten the very existence of the planet itself.  At the same time, it has been able to provide somewhat clean power to millions across the globe.  There is even uses of nuclear propulsion systems in space.  Which is where my true hope of this technology lies.

Imagine a very large railgun in space.  A insane capacitor system is designed to produce an insane amount of current through those electromagnets.  With power of the sun, this capacitor system could be recharged in a certain period of time.  The projectile:  a spaceship.  The spaceship would have to be spherical in shape.  The spin and current induced by the electromagnets accomplishes two important things.  First the spin could be used to simulate gravity in the space ship.  Second, the current created by these rails could not only help sustain the spacecraft but would also create an electromagnetic field.  This field sustained could be used to protect the ship from debris, which is extremely important when dealing with really high speeds.  Finally, if by examining this technology we can predict the behavior of the system, by building large enough rails, large enough capacitor systems, and a spacecraft that can withstand the stresses of launch through the railgun as well as entering the railgun at high speeds, I am inclined to think that maybe the speed of light is possible.  Unfortunately I don’t know enough math right now to crunch the numbers.  But if in my life time I can crunch them, I maybe able to predict or theorize if this method can take us to the speed of light or not.  That is the first step.  The second step, would be working out how to brake the projectile from those speeds.  Traveling the speed of light indefinitely is not sustainable.

So why did I share this idea of mine?

History has shown us that it is how humanity uses the technology and not the technology itself that is responsible for the slaughter of millions.

It is true that I do not want this technology to be developed to kill people.  There is so much power from the sun; this is just another manifestation of it.  But I feel that one day this would be discovered if it already hasn’t been.  And just as I have dread and hesitations about the weaponization of railgun technology, I have high hopes about the space exploration implications.  There is no doubt that humanity has to one day venture outside of our solar system.  With current technologies we might be able to leave or solar system, but the vastness of space would eventually kill any people remaining.  If we could harness technology from the sun to power our propulsion to other realms of space, and stop at targeted locations, we could colonize other planets and start our expedition of the stars.  With the ideas of a resource based economy, resources would be divided to all aspects of survivability and sustainability, including space exploration.  Humanity could have a fresh start.  Humanity could strive for a period where conflict is greatly minimized, and atrocities extinguished.

I guess I am a futurist.  After all, it is one of the few things I have to continue on.  I want an existence for fellow humans to be better than mine.  Better yet, I want the essence of what I have gone through to not ever be experienced again; to not even be possible.  Through innovations of human psychology, philosophy, and technology we could create a human domain that flourished both throughout the universe as well as emotionally and spiritually.  I read a summary of a study; it stated that people that generally witness nature are more empathetic, and are more prone to love and happiness compared to counterparts that live in cities.  The closer we put ourselves in concordance to the universe, the closer we will reach The Essence of Man, the essence of who we are.  If we alienate ourselves from that quest we are essentially removing ourselves from the quest of who we are, thus decreasing our quality of life.

I pray that one day humanity wouldn’t need to weaponize railgun delivery systems.  But I think it is an inevitable step as history has shown in introducing this technology for space exploration.  The true purpose of this concept:  to explore the cosmos beyond of what we dreamed.  By harnesses the power of the stars and therefore the universe, we guarantee the sustainability of the human race for eons to come.

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The Current State of Renewable Energy

Delucchi, Mark A., and Mark Z. Jacobson. "Meeting the World's Energy Needs Entirely with Wind, Water, and Solar Power." Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (2013): 30-40. Academic ONEFile Elite. Database. 28 Aug 2013.

This report confirms and reinforces my stance on renewable energy.  In my educated opinion there is absolutely no reason to not transition to renewable energy besides political and social reasons.  Obviously big interests do not want the transition to renewable energy because there is a lot of money to be made if there was still a demand for fossil fuel energy.  There is also a false belief that renewable energy with current standards would not be able to satisfy energy demands, while the cost to install and maintain such technology would be more expensive compared to currently installed systems.  There is no economical reason why we should not transition.  Regardless of the climate change debate (which there is none in my opinion), by switching our primary energy grid to renewables we could save fossil fuel resources for other uses.  The cost per watt of energy would be about half the cost of our current grid due to the low maintenance cost of this grid.  Wind, water, and solar power would not only satisfy current demand but access power would be generated.  This could be stored in a multitude of ways including the hydrolysis of water.  The remaining hydrogen could be used as fuel for other technologies, such as transportation systems.  The byproduct of heating hydrogen is only water vapor.

There is also another method being developed and that is space solar energy.  As I presently understand it, satellites in space capture the sun’s energy and then relay that energy to power stations on Earth.  This method by itself could completely satisfy energy demands of the planet.

With all of these ideas on renewable energy and the present trend of increased efficiencies of energy consuming items, we could provide energy to everyone at a fraction of the cost with zero planetary emissions.  The money is there.  The report talks about different incentives the government can put into place to promote the development of renewable energy.  Also, past human accomplishments like the space program in the 60’s, the interstate highway system in the 50’s, and insane production during World War II shows that it is easily possible for America to install a renewable power grid that is completely sustainable.  This could bypass risks of nuclear methods while providing energy at a fraction of the cost.  But false public perception coupled with power financial interests keeps Washington from doing extensive work on this plan.  Once again, it is apparent to me how lobbying has undermined the entire system.  However nothing is done about it.  Personally I have written to my representatives in Congress, but I do not think any action would be taken unless there is a huge public backing.  And once again I feel contentment with current life hinders people from caring and creating a better life for everyone.  This is the purpose of entertainment.

This to me is another failure of our system.  This is why I am so passionate about The Resource Based Economy.  There would be no bribery of governments simply because there is no money to deal with.  Resources would be allocated to sustain city states ranging from renewable energy to completely automated hydroponic farms.  Poverty would be eliminated reducing crime and various human aliments.  But this religious backing of how things are not only does not make sense, but hinders the possibilities of humanity.  Financial reasons must be the underlying factor of why change isn’t put into place.  This is why I think the collapse of our nation’s currency and thus economy would only bring the change that would clearly benefit all of humanity.

And as history has shown, the transition to renewables will only be fully pursued if we are running out of carbon based fuels.  It will probably be too late.  Feedback warming would get worse that inevitably results in a drastic dip in temperature.

But I guess making money is more important.

The Constructal Law

Bejan, Adrian, and Zane Peter.  Design in Nature.  First.  New York:  Doubleday, 2012.  Print.

This book is one of those books that will completely change and add to the perceivement of our world and universe at large.  Books like these reinforces the motivation for me to expand my knowledge and read, as the enlightenment that it can bring not only comforts me with the less uncertainties of life, but allows me to be more prepared to tackle large issues of our time.  It is one of those books that makes me feel somewhat more intuned with the world around me compared to the majority of people that have not read this book.  It makes me feel empowered; it puts me in awe with the world around me.

The book talk about a new law of physics that was recently discovered by the primary author of the book.  It is termed The Constructal Law.  The law itself is very simple to understand, but the implications of this law is very profound.  The evidence of this law is all around us because it is a law of reality.  Mathematical details of this law was discussed as well as different observations of flow systems themselves — the primary instance of The Constructal Law.

Put simply, The Constructal Law states that the universe consists of various flow systems.  These systems will evolve structure and design to further facilitate its flow.  Facilitates means that the efficiency of the flow systems and speed will increase due to the designs that naturally are implemented.  “Flow” is another term for the general concept of energy.  Movement of energy will continually evolve to further facilitate the flow of energy.  Therefore, flow systems can be about the flow of electricity, light, money, knowledge, education, ideas, water, air, food, and basically anything that you can think of that flows through the world around us.  And, you will find out that that can encompass almost anything, because the inanimate and animate world is a vast collection of flow systems.

The architecture of these flow systems distribute flow from a point to volume or volume to point configuration.  So let us examine a tree for example.  The root system takes moisture from the volume of the soil, and absorbed it to the point of the trunk.  The roots construct themselves so the flow of water is further facilitated, or in other words, the flow system becomes more efficient as the design is created.  Everything in nature evolves to move the most mass of their flow with the smallest unit of energy.  Then, the the leaves of the tree is responsible for absorbing carbon dioxide and photons in order to create nutrients for the tree which results in the discharge of oxygen and water because water is a catalyst for the reaction.  To take light from the volume of space around the tree to create nutrients that is pumped throughout the tree (sustaining the root system that provides water that is possible for photosynthesis to occur) another volume to point flow system is created to distribute the nutrients throughout the tree.  Also, an overall flow system of volume to point to volume is established to distribute water from the ground to the dry air.  (Energy goes from high to low due to the first law of thermodynamics)  The tree is a flow system of water and nutrients, and this configuration of vasculerization (volume to point or point to volume) is found everywhere in nature to maximize efficiency of flow systems.  Look at the structure of lightning, the structure of arteries and veins, the design of our respiratory system, rivers, cities and their streets, neurons, electricity, to the trajectory of air planes flying across the planet.  This weblike design is the result of further facilitating flow; which means more flow moves with the least amount of energy.

The implications of this is so profound.  The book first talks about how this affects the notion of intelligent design.  Many scholars and scientists observed that nature seemed to have a common design with a whole plathora of structures.  Many assumed this was evidence of some divine creator — the result of his divine engineering project of our universe.  But this law of physics shows that the overall design is due to a tendency of nature itself, which means that the divine did not have to design each system individually.  However, I must note that it does not disprove that existence of a creator.  It is very possible, that the creator enacted a reality that followed laws which had huge implications to the overall system.  In essence it is very possible that this universe was created, flipping the on switch so to speak.  The system evolved itself.  All the creator has to do is sit back and watch — influencing the system directly is a whole other debate.

In my view this reinforces the Platonian view of reality, or his metaphysical statements.  Plato believed that everything shared a life force, ranging to humans to rocks.  Of course this was questioned later in history.  Rocks don’t have organs, they don’t breathe and have blood.  So how could they be living?  But the constructal law shows that the different forms of energy flow from the big bang, to stars, to the earth, to the wind and rain, to lava flows, everything else.  Because of the laws of thermodynamics, high energy will always tend to transfer to systems of lower energy, equalizing the overall energy.  Energy tends to be released into a state of more disorder.  Eventually the energy of the big bang will cease to move; it will equalize and everything will cool.  There is an inevitable end to everything however long it maybe.  Life is movement.  The world around us is filled with various interlacing flow systems that produce The Earth around us.  This flow of energy is in everything, it is the life force that Plato was talking about.  Without the flow of the inanimate world, the flow of the animate world would decrease, meaning less energy would be moved; there would be lots of death.  Therefore, life is apart of nature as nature is a part of life.  They are not mutually exclusive.  (This is concept is strengthened by The Gaia Hypothesis which I will be reading next)  We have to respect nature, or else the flow of life will have increased resistance.  The slower flow of life will eventually evolve in a patter that will further facilitate the movement of energy — or life.  This will result in the overall movement of inanimate systems to increase.  Things would restabilize, however lots of living things would die initially.

Therefore, it is not in humanities best interest to disregard Earth.  Not only is that a obvious statement without knowing this law, but through understanding this LAW of physics, it can easily be predicted that hindering the flow of energy would affect the flow of energy in other places.

It is in my view that God created energy at the start.  Laws were put into place.  From this pure energy matter and anti matter were created.  The matter and anti-matter annihilated creating more energy, which was a feedback process.  This matter eventually created stars, which eventually created more elements.  This changed matter eventually forms planet and solar systems.  Stars created galaxies.  Elements from super novae would react with themselves forming compounds.  This matter would collect into planets having various chemical compositions.  Asteroids, or smaller collection of matter, would ram into these planets bringing various resources, most notably water.  When a planet ends up in a circular orbit inside a habitable zone liquid water is created.  “Life” is the further facilimate of energy.  It is eventually created because this further transfers energy.  More organisms evolve because mutations allow for the further movement of mass with the least amount of energy.  Humans are eventually created.  Through further facilitating movement and energy, knowledge and technology are developed.  The agricultural revolution mixed with the domestication of mammals led to the conditions to produce city states, a more efficient means to transfer energy or various forms.  Technology and knowledge advance.  And eventually we end up to our world today.

As the suns pours down more energy to Earth, this energy will drive life and the movement of the Earth’s systems.  But there is a catch.  Resistances, or imperfections are a requirement for this law to be true.  Otherwise flow segments would flow so quickly it would hinder the flow of other components, making the overall flow structure less efficient.  Therefore, resistances to energy actually make the flow of energy more efficient.  There is a limit to how much energy can be transferred at one time, especially if the initial energy pumped into the system is constant.  I am not saying evolution is done.  I am not saying that everything is the most efficient that it can be.  However, I am saying that there is a limit.  There is a limit to how efficient these flow systems can become because that is the very nature of flow systems themselves.

Using this law, designs of engineering can become vastly more efficient that the author mentions airports and transportation systems to name a few.  He goes into great detail of the mathematics of it all, to show the characteristics of these flow systems and their predictability.  This concept can be applied to the overall flow of money.  If more and more money is being removed from the flow of the system, eventually the system will change in a way to improve efficiency.  Either people will revolt or regulations would be put into place.  I will note, that people would make more money if the flow system would increase in the rate at which money is circulated as well as the amount.  If more and more rich people are hording money, this is a resistance to the flow structure of money.  Of course, there is always resistance.  But using this law, it can be predicted that if this money is circulated through the flow of the economy, improving on the transfer of flow to everyone, more money would be returned back to the people hording money.  If this is taken to an extreme, people that have no money, or too much resistance to the flow structure, will do actions to increase flow.  Am I making sense?  How we go about increasing that flow is a whole other debate.  It could be higher taxes, to higher incentives to spend money.  I would rather go with the latter.

As you can see, this is a read that has changed my life.  It was a very spiritual experience.  So much so, I am going to go to a park and pray for the first time in months.  Reality is beautiful and elegant, and quite simple.  From this simplicity, a plathora of complexity is created to facilitate flow.  Humanity has been studying the complexity, but refuse to step back and see the macro relationships to it all.  Until now.  I can not wait to read The Gaia Hypothesis because I am going to use this concept in my reading to see Truth.  It is a feeling that I can not describe, but one I will use to motivate me to learn more.  This is why I love reading.  And it is apparent to me that we have so much to learn.

The Human Spark: The Science of Human Development by Jerome Kagan

Again I have finished a very revealing book.  The Human Spark focuses on human development, ranging from the first months of life all the way to the development of moralities and emotions.  The actual writing of this book is superb.  He has actually taught me some things about grammar!  As usual authors of this caliber are very avid readers, citing countless studies on the issues that he is talking about.

The book starts with the first months of life.  Infants develop what are termed schema and semantic networks.  Schema as I understand it, is an occurrence or event that is anticipated by the infant.  So for example, a mother’s greeting with a smile after waking up or the excitement of the father seeing his child after a long day of work.  Semantic networks are formed by grouping words into various categories.  The earliest semantic networks tend to be more general compared to the semantic networks that are further developed later in life.  So for example, a semantic network of living things can include units such as people, bugs, birds, and fish.  As the child develop their specificity enhances.  So the birds semantic network would consist of bald eagle, raven, or hawk–and sub-networks can span multiple networks.  The point of this, is that the development of schema and semantic networks allows the brain to develop other regions of the brain.  Human development coincides with the biological changes in the brain.  A general trend is that when an individual ages, the connection of used circuits become strengthened and sensitized.  The connection between the two hemispheres, the corpus collosum, becomes strengthened as well as the connection between the prefrontal cortex and other regions of the brain.  This has to do with the construction and maturation of various cognitive processes as well as the brain’s ability to inhibit urges.  But more specifically, after the maturation of schema and semantic networks, three important processes are developed.  Inference, morality, and consciousness.  Inference entails that children are able to deal with the hypothetical and make conclusions based on previous knowledge.  Morality is growing a perception of what is right and wrong.  The factors of morality has to do with semantic networks, personal feelings of certain events, as well as the praise or punishment of certain actions (either by parents or society at large).  With these core factors, morality progresses.  Consciousness is the next component that emerges.  A child grows more aware of their feelings, thoughts, actions, or traits, and is able to inhibit actions and redirect their attention.  Again, this is due to more regions of the brain connecting with one another.  There is an interesting source of inhibition of these regions, and that has to do with social class.  As relative wealth decreases, the growth of these regions responsible to these traits decreases.  Admittedly, there is not much known as to why this happens, just theory backed with no empirical evidence.  In fact increased stimulation of the brain has a physical effect on neurons.  There are actually more “ribs” that are present on the dendrites of neurons, the section of the neuron that is responsible for receiving electrical impulses.

Another important concept that Kagan talks about is “temperamental biases.”  This basically means how infants biologically tend to react to stressors.  People can generally be placed into two groups:  high reactive and low reactive.  High reactive means that when an event conflicts with the child’s or infant’s schema, the baby or child cries, wales the arms, and basically has a loosely defined tantrum.  Low reactive means that the child is able to handle these stressors well.  These general reactions to events is the product of the child’s biology.  Kagan worked on a longitudinal study where these children were tracked over time.  Children that were highly reactive tend to be shy, timid, and socially anxious whereas low reactives we generally more successful in our society.  It was also found, that high reactives have a more sensitized amygdala which is responsible for certain emotions, most notably fear.  It is important to note however that this temperamental bias does not solely determine the individual’s outcome.  Environment, culture, and historic era also contribute to the development of the individual.  At the very beginning of the book, Kagan relived his experiences with longitudinal studies on a wide variety of cultures, ranging from the Western countries to remote villages in South America.  What he and his colleagues were studying was the growth of children in different cultures.  What he found was that humans can develop a seemingly limitless amounts of ways, but the culture inhibits other avenues, and guides the individual toward a certain path.  It seems, that Eric Fromm’s assertions about human development was backed by science!  These individuals had a different sense of morality, emotions, and the like.

Kagan talks a great deal about the problems and limits of the current science of human development.  What is moral?  Every person has a different sense and philosophers over the ages have had different definitions through the era of time.  One school of thought places what is right on actions of the majority of the community.  Western ideals says to follow individual morals regardless of society’s.  And, since there is no universal what is right and what is wrong, how do you measure morality?  The same situation can be applied to emotions.  The primary source of data with regards to emotions are questionnaires, which have their problems.  The main arguments that are construed against questionnaires has to do with the vocabulary used.  Usually, when psychologists and the like record their findings, they do not define key words–then let people figure it out themselves.

Mental illnesses can be broken down into four different categories:

  1. Compensation in logic, affect, or social behavior.
  2. Severe depression and/or anxiety due to biological factors.
  3. Impulse control problems that is due to biological factors.
  4. Groups two and three based on life life experience.

There is a great point he makes on the current state of psychiatry.  Psychiatry aims to treat the symptoms of an illness; not the cause of it.  There are known methods to deduce causes of symptoms but usually any two psychiatrists would conclude two different things.  So the general trend is to group symptoms into illnesses that can be treated through medication.  However, if doctors are refusing to heal at the source, there will always be a battle fought in the mind.  (I must add, drug companies love this school of thought)  If however the medical field worked on a more concrete and specific methodology in determining the cause of symptoms, actions could be taken in finding a treatment and possible cure of those symptoms.

The main theme I took from this book, is that there is actually different brains in people who live in different social class.  But why do some people live a life of success, where others do not?  Surprisingly, science knows very little for there hasn’t been many studies in this field.  Part of this has to do with financial reasons.  Longitudinal studies of this caliber could stretch in the millions of dollars.  The government is willing to sponsor studies of the physical world, but when it comes to the extremely fast pace of psychological concepts and ideas–with loose methods in measuring certain phenomena–psychologists in the field of human development have to take on problems of smaller scale.  If the field could come up with more concrete methods, then it would be possible to study why difference in class affects an individual to the extreme that it does.

Kagan is great in deducing what is wrong, but for the most part he does not propose a solution.  He puts that responsibility on the rest of the community.  It is true that finding out what is the source of discrepancy among scientist is the first step, but not taking the time to think of a solution regardless of the state of technology seems to be inconsistent.  It is true that technology needs time to develop, but it would not hurt to strategize what would need to be accomplished in order to be able to provide accurate measurements on concepts like emotions and moralities.

It was a good read.  Concepts and evidence in this book solidifies my current views on what a new society would do to the overall population.  Literally, different brains would be developed, and the core concepts of morality, emotions, and consciousness would be changed.  Considering that constructive stimulation of the mind physically changes the neuron, getting rid of poverty would create a humanity teeming with constructive ways to express themselves.  The clear and fair distribution of resources to all through a Resource Based Economy would bring about values of working for the greater good.  In fact, in forums on this concept if this concept were to be enacted people already would devote their time to huge projects that had to be constructed in order for this society to work.  And, as young people see the majority of society working together, they would value this trait as well.

If anything, this book has taught me that the mind is extremely malleable, that decrease in its plasticity the more you age.  And, as sites develop early in the brain, this emerges sites dependent upon the previous sites’ development.  This would create strikingly different brains.  Everything from a stronger connected prefrontal cortex to the rest of the brain to the desensitization of the flight or response system.  And, the environment would change the expression of the genome!  New proteins creating a new biological profile.  Therefore, I believe the argument that says, “Capitalism works because it is our human nature,” have not read into the world of human development.  Different cultures and historical eras breed different people.