The school of CAMIDRCS

(coalition against mysticism in defence of reason commonsense and science)

Parker solar probe to launch on 2018

by Negash Alamin

Formerly called Solar probe plus now designated Parker solar probe after Eugene N. parker professor at the University of Chicago is a probe designed to travel directly through the Sun’s atmosphere (solar wind) about 6,437,388.3515 km from the Sun’s surface. The data collected will augment our understanding of space weather and stellar function or how stars work.

According to NASA the probe is scheduled to launch on July 31, 2018 from Cape Canaveral Air force station, Florida. The probe was designed at John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. The probe will be exposed to severe heat from our star like no other probe; thus, possesses a heat shield or thermal protection system which is made of 11.43 centimeter thick carbon composite material that will reach 1,371 degree Celsius while in action in space.

The Sun is a 1,391,398.59 kilometer fire ball which has its own atmosphere called the heliosphere which encompasses the whole solar system. The Sun amazingly takes 99.8% of the entire mass of our solar system. The heliosphere is generated by the Sun’s constant outward expulsion of solar wind which can reach 20 billion miles long. The environment inside our solar system is thus different from the environment outside it or what is called the interstellar space. Generally, a solar wind consists of ionized atoms from the Sun’s corona outer layer and magnetic fields; the solar wind is ejected away from the sun in all directions at extreme supersonic speeds.

The temperatureinside the star is about 15 million degreesCelsius and the energy from thistemperature surfaces to the outer layer of the sun by convection andthis convection current is responsible for the magnetic fields of the star. The hot gas in the corona remains entangled in the magnetic fields of the Sun as you probably saw in a solar flare ejection video or picture which creates some sort of loop ring structure over the sun then bursts free to become the solar wind.

As the solar wind starts to reach interstellar space its velocity drops down and this point is called Termination shock; then this wind continually passes to what is called heliosheath and then to the heliopause.  Beyond our heliosphere or beyond the heliopause the interstellar space or the space between stars in our galaxy is filled with plasma and radiation from other stars which is more elevated than the Sun’s heliosphere.

In short, instruments like the Parker space probe will help us in understanding our astonishing and yet mysterious solar environment better and closer than before; which will aid us in planning other missions and most importantly to solve several questions which surround our metaphysical reality.

Pdf available




by  Prof. Michio Kaku


Is it possible to interface directly with the brain, to harness its fantastic capability?

Scientists are proceeding to explore this possibility with remarkable speed. The first step in attempting to exploit the human brain is to show that individual neurons can grow and thrive on silicon chips. Then the next step would be to connect silicon chips directly to a living neuron inside an animal, such as a worm.

One then has to show that human neurons can be connected to a silicon chip. Last (and this is by far the most difficult part), in order to interface directly with the brain, scientists would have to decode the millions of neurons which make up our spinal cord.

In 1995, a big step was taken by a team of biophysicists led by Peter Fromherz at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry just outside Munich. They announced that they had successfully created a juncture between a living leech neuron and a silicon chip. In a dramatic break-through, scientists have been able to weld “hardware” with “wetware.” Their remarkable research has demonstrated that a neuron can fire and send a signal to a silicon chip, and that a silicon chip can make the neuron fire. Their methods should work for human neurons as well.


Of course, neurons are frustratingly thin and delicate, much thinner than a human hair. And the voltages used in experiments would often damage or kill the neurons. To solve the first problem, Fromherz used the neurons from leech ganglia (nerve bundles), which are quite large, about 50 microns across (half the diameter of a human hair). To solve the voltage problem, he brought the leech neurons, using microscopes and computer-controlled micromanipulators, to within 30 microns of a transistor on a chip.

By doing so, he was able to induce signals across this 30 micron gap without exchanging any charges whatsoever. (For example, if you vigorously rub a balloon and place it next to running water, the stream of water will bend away from the balloon without ever touching it. Likewise, the neuron never touches the silicon.)

This has paved the way to developing silicon chips that can control the firing of neurons at will, which in turn could control muscle movements. So far, Fromherz has been able to make as many as sixteen contact points between a chip and a single neuron. His next step is to use the neurons from the hippocampus of rat brains. Although they are much thinner than leech neurons, they live for months, while leech neurons last only for a matter of weeks.

Another step in trying to grow neurons on silicon was achieved in 1996. Richard Potember at Johns Hopkins University succeeded in coaxing the neurons of baby rats to grow on a silicon surface which was painted with certain peptides. These neurons sprouted dendrites and axons, just like ordinary neurons.

The ultimate aim of his group is to grow neurons so their axons and dendrites follow predetermined paths that can create “living circuits” on the silicon surface. If successful, it might allow neurons to conform to the architecture of a logic circuit in a chip. The doctors at the Harvard Medical School’s Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary have already begun taking the next step: getting a team together to build the “bionic eye.” The group expects to conduct human studies with computer chips implanted into the human eye within five years. If successful, they may be able to restore vision for the blind in the twenty-first century.

“We have developed the electronics, we have learned how to put a device into the eye without hurting the eye, and we have demonstrated that the materials are biocompatible,” says Joseph Rizzo. They are designing an implant consisting of two chips, one of which contains a solar panel. Light striking the solar panel will start up a laser beam, which then hits the second panel and sends a message down the wire to the brain. A bionic eye would be of enormous help for the blind who have a damaged retina but whose connection to the brain is still intact. Ten million Americans, for example, suffer from macular degeneration, the most common form of blindness among the elderly. Retinitis pigmentosa, an inherited form of blindness, affects another 1.2 million.

Already, studies have shown that damaged cones and rods in animal retinas can be electrically stimulated, creating signals in the visual cortex of the animal’s brain. This means that, in principle, it may one day be possible to connect directly to the brain artificial eyes which have greater visual acuity and versatility than our own eye. Our eye is essentially the eye of an ape; it can see only certain colors that apes can see, and cannot see colors which are visible to other animals (for example, bees see ultraviolet radiation from the sun, which is used in their search for flowers). But an artificial eye could be constructed with superhuman capabilities, such as telescopic and microscopic vision, or the ability to see infrared and ultraviolet radiation. Thus at some point it may be possible to develop artificial eyesight that exceeds the capability of normal eyesight.

In the world beyond 2020, we may be able to connect silicon microprocessors with artificial arms, legs, and eyes directly to the human nervous system, which would be of enormous help in aiding people with disabilities. But although it may be possible to connect the human body to a powerful mechanical arm, the stunts we saw on the TV show The Six Million Dollar Man would place intolerable stresses on our

skeletal system, rendering most superhuman feats impossible. To have superhuman strength would require superhuman skeletal systems that can absorb the shock and stress of such feats.

Visions; 1999:112

Pdf available

From 2020 to 2050: Growing New Organs

by Prof. Michio Kaku


But even if age genes do exist and we can alter them, will we suffer the curse of Tithonus, who was doomed to live forever in a decrepit body? It is not clear that altering our age genes will reinvigorate our bodies. What is the use of living forever if we lack the mind and body to enjoy it?

A recent series of experiments show that it may one day be possible to “grow” new organs in our body to replace worn-out organs. A number of animals, such as lizards and amphibians, are able to regenerate a lost leg, arm, or tail. Mammals, unfortunately, do not posses this property, but the cells of our bodies, in principle, have, locked in their DNA, the genetic information to regenerate entire organs.

In the past, organ transplants in humans have faced a long list of problems, the most severe being rejection by our immune system. But, using bioengineering, scientists can now grow strains of a rare type of cell, called the “universal donor cells,” which do not trip our immune system into attacking them. This has made possible a promising new technology which can “grow” organ parts, as demonstrated by Joseph P. Vacanti of the Children’s Hospital in Boston and Robert S. Langer of MIT.

To grow organs, scientists first construct a complex plastic “scaffolding” which forms the outlines of the organ to be grown. Then these especially bioengineered cells are introduced into the scaffolding. As the cells grow into tissue, the scaffolding gradually dissolves, leaving healthy new tissue grown to proper specifications. What is remarkable is that the cells have the ability to grow and assume the correct position and function without a “foreman” to guide them. The “program” which enables them to assemble complete organs is apparently contained within their genes.

This technology has already been proven in growing artificial heart valves for lambs, using a biodegradable polymer, polyglycolic acid, as the scaffolding. The cells which seeded the scaffolding were taken from the animals’ blood vessels. The cells “took” to the scaffolding like children to a jungle gym.

In the past few years, this approach has been used to grow layers of human skin for use in skin grafts for burn patients, Skin cells grown on polymer substrates have been grafted onto burn patients, as well as the feet of diabetic patients, which must often be amputated for lack of circulation. This may eventually revolutionize the treatment of people with severe skin problems. As Marie Burk of Advanced Tissue Sciences says: “We can grow about six football fields from one neonatal foreskin.”

Human organs such as an ear have actually been grown inside animals as well. The scientists at MIT and the University of Massachusetts recently were able to overcome the rejection problem and (painlessly) grow a human ear inside a mouse. The scaffolding of a life-sized human ear was made of a porous, biodegradable polymer and then tucked under the skin of a specially bred mouse whose immune system was suppressed. The scaffolding was then seeded with human cartilage cells, which were then nourished by the blood of the mouse. Once the scaffolding dissolved, the mouse produced a human ear. Eventually, scientists should be able to grow this ear without the aid of the mouse. This could open up an entirely new area of “tissue engineering.”

Already other experiments have been done which show that noses can also be generated. Scientists have used computer-aided contour mapping to create the scaffolding and cartilage cells to seed the scaffolding.

Now that the technology has been shown to be effective on a small scale, the next step will be to grow entire organs, such as kidneys. Walter Gilbert predicts that within about ten years, growing organs like livers may become commonplace. One day, it may be possible to replace breasts removed in mastectomies with tissue grown from one’s own body.

Recently, a series of breakthroughs were made to grow bone, which is important since bone injuries are common among the elderly and there are more than two million serious fractures and cartilage injuries per year in the United States. Using molecular biology, scientists have isolated twenty different proteins which control bone growth. In many cases, both the genes and the proteins for bone growth have been identified. These proteins, called bone morphogenic proteins (BMP), instruct certain undifferentiated cells to become bone. In one experiment, twelve dental patients with severe bone loss in the upper jaw were successfully treated with BMP-2. (Normally, doctors would have to harvest bone from the patient’s own hip, a complicated procedure which requires surgery.)

The ultimate goal of this technology would be to grow a complex organ, such as the hand. Although this may still be decades away, it is within the realm of possibility. The step-by-step outline of such a complex process has already been mapped out.

First, the biodegradable scaffolding for the hand must be constructed, down to the microscopic details of the ligaments, muscles, and nerves. Then bioengineered cells which grow various forms of tissue would have to be introduced. As the cells grow, the scaffolding would gradually dissolve. Since blood is not yet circulating, mechanical pumps would have to provide nutrients and remove wastes during the growing process. Next, the nerve tissue would have to be grown. (Nerve cells are notoriously difficult to regenerate. However, in 1996 it was demonstrated that the severed nerve cells in mice’s spinal cords can actually regenerate across the cut.) Last, surgeons would have to connect the nerves, blood vessels, and lymph system. It is estimated that the time needed to grow such a complex organ as the hand may be as little as six months.

In the future, we may therefore expect to see a wide variety of human replacement parts becoming commercially available from now to 2020, but only those which do not involve more than just a few types of tissue or cells, such as skin, bone, valves, the ear, the nose, and perhaps even organs like livers and kidneys. Either they will be grown from scaffolding, or else from embryonic cells.

From the period 2020 to 2050, we may expect more complex organs and body parts containing a wide variety of tissue cells to be duplicated in the laboratory. These include, for example, hands, hearts, and other complex internal organs. Beyond 2050, perhaps every organ in the body will be replaceable, except the brain.

Of course, extending our life span is only one of many ancient dreams. Yet another, even more ambitious one is to control life itself, to make new organisms that have never before walked the earth. In this area, scientists are rapidly approaching the ability to create new life forms.

In summary, we may see ageing research growing in several phases. First, hormones and anti-oxidants may be able to retard the ageing process, but not stop it. Second, rapid advances in genetic research may unlock the secret of cell ageing itself. For example, in 1998, a breakthrough was made when telomerase, mentioned in Chapter 8, was shown to stop ageing in human skin cells in a petri dish. In this phase, many more age genes may be isolated and shown to control the rate of cell ageing. And lastly, human organ replacement may become standard therapy in the 21st century.

Visions; 1999: 217

Pdf available

Time Travel

by Prof. Michio Kaku

Not only was Einstein aware of the strange behavior of the Einstein-Rosen bridge, he also realized that his equations allowed for time travel. Because space and time are so intricately related, any wormhole that connects two distant regions of space can also connect two time eras.

To understand time travel, consider first that Newton thought that time was like an arrow. Once fired, it traveled in a straight line, never deviating from its path. Time never strayed in its uniform march throughout the heavens. One second on the earth equaled one second on the moon or Mars.

However, Einstein introduced the idea that time was more like a river. It meanders through the universe, speeding up and slowing as it encounters the gravitational field of a passing star or planet. One second on the earth is different from one second on the moon or Mars. (In fact, a clock on the moon beats slightly faster than a clock on earth.)

The new wrinkle on all of this which is generating intense interest is that the river of time can have whirlpools that close in on themselves or can fork into two rivers. In 1949, for example, mathematician Kurt Gödel, Einstein’s colleague at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, showed that if the universe were filled with a rotating fluid or gas, then anyone walking in such a universe could eventually come back to the original spot, but displaced backward in time. Time travel in the Gödel universe would be a fact of life.

Einstein was deeply troubled by the Einstein-Rosen bridge and the Gödel time machine, for it meant that there may be a flaw in his theory of gravity. Finally, he concluded that both could be eliminated on physical grounds i.e., anyone falling into the Einstein-Rosen bridge would be killed, and the universe does not rotate, it expands, as in the Big bang theory. Mathematically, wormholes and time machines were perfectly consistent. But physically, they were impossible.

However, after Einstein’s death, so many solutions of Einstein’s equations have been discovered that allow for time machines and wormholes that physicists are now taking them seriously. In addition to the rotating universe of Gödel and the spinning black hole of Kerr, other configurations that allow for time travel include an infinite rotating cylinder, colliding cosmic strings, and negative energy.

Time machines, of course, pose all sorts of delicate issues involving cause and effect i.e., time paradoxes. For example, if a hunter goes back in time to hunt dinosaurs and accidentally steps on a rodent like creature who happens to be the direct ancestor of all humans, does the hunter disappear? If you go back in time and shoot your parents before you are born, your existence is impossibility.

Another paradox occurs when you fulfill your past. Let’s say that you are a young inventor struggling to build a time machine. Suddenly, an elderly man appears before you and offers the secret of time travel.

He gives you the blueprints for a time machine on one condition: that when you become old, you will go back in time and give yourself the secret of time travel. Then the question is: where did the secret of time travel come from? The answer to all of these paradoxes ultimately may lie in the quantum theory.


 Problems with Wormholes and Time Machines 


Although time machines and wormholes are allowed by Einstein’s theory, this does not mean that they can be built. Several major hurdles would have to be crossed to build such a device. First, the energy scale at which these space-time anomalies can occur is far beyond anything attainable on earth. The amount of energy is on the order of the Planck energy, or 10 to the power of 19 billion electron volts, roughly a quadrillion times the energy of the now-canceled Superconducting Supercollider.

In other words, wormholes and time machines might be built by advanced Type I or more likely Type II civilizations, which can manipulate energy billions of times larger than what we can generate today. (Thinking about this, I could imagine how Newton must have felt three centuries ago. He could calculate how fast you had to leap to reach the moon. One had to attain an escape velocity of 25,000 miles per hour. But what kind of vehicles did Newton have back in the 1600s? Horses and carriages. Such a velocity must have seemed beyond imagination.

The situation is similar today. We physicists can calculate that all these distortions of space and time occur if you attain the Planck energy. But what do we have today? “Horses and carriages” called hydrogen bombs and rockets, far too puny to reach the Planck energy.)

Another possibility is to use “negative matter” (which is different from antimatter). This strange form of matter has never been seen. If enough negative matter could be concentrated in one place, then conceivably one might be able to open up a hole in space. Traditionally, negative energy and negative mass were thought to be physically possible. But recently the quantum theory has shown that negative energy is, in fact, possible. The quantum theory states that if we take two parallel uncharged metal plates separated by a space, the vacuum between them is not empty, but is actually frothing with virtual electron anti-electron annihilations. The net effect of all this quantum activity in the vacuum is to create the “Casimir effect” i.e., a net attraction between these uncharged plates. Such an attraction has been experimentally measured. If one can somehow magnify the Casimir effect, then one can conceivably create a crude time machine.

In one proposal, a wormhole could connect two sets of Casimir plates. If someone were to fall between one set of Casimir plates, he would be instantly transported to the other set. If the plates were displaced in space, then the system could be used as a warp drive system. If the plates were displaced in time, then the system would act as a time machine.

But the last hurdle faced by these theories is perhaps the most important: they may not be physically stable. It is believed by some physicists that quantum forces acting on the wormhole may destabilize it, so that the opening closes up. Or the radiation coming from the wormhole as we enter it may be so great that it either kills us or closes up the wormhole. The problem is that Einstein’s equations become useless at the instant when we enter the wormhole. Quantum effects overwhelm gravity.

To resolve this delicate question of quantum corrections to the wormhole takes us to an entirely new realm. Ultimately, solving the problem of warp drive, time machines, and quantum gravity may involve solving the “theory of everything.” So in order to determine whether wormholes are really stable, and to resolve the paradoxes of time machines, one must factor in the quantum theory. This requires an understanding of the four fundamental forces.

Visions; 1999: 342

Pdf available



Why Saturn has rings?

by Negash Alamin

Saturn has a fascinating visage. It is not the only planet with rings; but it has the brightest and the biggest of Uranus, Jupiter and Neptune. Galileo was the first person to identify it rings in 1610. Its rings are made of ice and rocks of different sizes. Their formation has something to do with its moons; these rings may have developed from the broken pieces of its moons or comets as well as asteroids. In close examination the planet looks like it has seven rings designated by alphabets. The rings revolve around the planet in high velocity; close examination reveals that  the bigger rings are made of smaller rings called ringlets.

The size of the planet is much bigger than our tiny home planet. The space craft sent to study the planet in 1997 called Cassini has provided an insight into the planet. The project was collaboration between Europe space agency, the Italian space agency and NASA to send a probe to study the planet and its system. This probe was the fourth space craft to visit the planet named after Astronomers Giovanni Cassini and Christiaan Hugens.



The densest parts of the Saturn’s ring structure are the A and B rings which are separated by the Cassini division (which is a gap 4800km in width between ring A and B discovered by G. Cassini) and the C ring. These rings are denserand contain large particles;other rings include the D ring extending into the planet; which makes it the inner most ring of the planet.The D, G, E rings are characterized to be fainter due to the small size particles that make them up. Remember that naming these rings is not exclusive there are several confusing numeral names even for a single ring like for example the D ring by scientists dividing it into three ringlets of D73,D72,D68 where D68 is the closest to the planet. We need to follow latest research and developments in these structures and the name given could change anytime as the planet evolves.

In general,Saturn’s ring system is the largest and conspicuous with a thickness of about 1 km or lessextending to about 282,000 kmhorizontally; which means that you can line up 22 earths in this ring system horizontally; that is how big the ring structure seems to be. Its rings as said above are named alphabetically according to their discoverygiving us the main rings C, B and A from the inside of the planet into the outside.There may be 500 to 1000 rings in the system with gaps inside it;where, tiny moons orbit and keep these gaps open. There is also what has been called the F ring which is a feature outside the outmost ring A and beyond that there are additional fainter rings called G and E. Their structure is related and intertwined with the gravitation of Saturn’s moons and other forces which are under study.

0ctober 6, 2017

Pdf available

The physics of advanced civilization

by  Prof. Michio Kaku

It is also possible to use physics to sketch out the outlines of possible civilizations in space. If we look at the rise of our own civilization over the past 100,000 years, since modern humans emerged in Africa, it can be seen as the story of rising energy consumption. Russian astrophysicist Nikolai Kardashev has conjectured that the stages in the development of extraterrestrial civilizations in the universe could also be ranked by energy consumption. Using the laws of physics, he grouped the possible civilizations into three types:

  1. Type I civilizations: those that harvest planetary power, utilizing all the sunlight that strikes their planet. They can, perhaps, harness the power of volcanoes, manipulate the weather, control earthquakes, and build cities on the ocean. All planetary power is within their control.
  2. Type II civilizations: those that can utilize the entire power of their sun, making them 10 billion times more powerful than a Type I civilization. The Federation of Planets in Star Trek is a Type II civilization. A Type II civilization, in a sense, is immortal; nothing known to science, such as ice ages, meteor impacts, or even supernovae, can destroy it. (In case their mother star is about to explode, these beings can move to another star system, or perhaps even move their home planet.)
  3. Type III civilizations: those that can utilize the power of an entire galaxy. They are 10 billion times more powerful than a Type II civilization. The Borg in Star Trek, the Empire in Star Wars, and the galactic civilization in Asimov’s Foundation series correspond to a Type III civilization. They have colonized billions of star systems and can exploit the power of the black hole at the center of their galaxy. They freely roam the space lanes of the galaxy.

Kardashev estimated that any civilization growing at a modest rate of a few percent per year in energy consumption will progress rapidly from one type to the next, within a matter of a few thousand years to tens of thousands of years.

As I’ve discussed in my previous books, our own civilization qualifies a Type 0 civilization (i.e., we use dead plants, oil and coal, to fuel our machines). We utilize only a tiny fraction of the sun’s energy that falls on our planet. But already we can see the beginnings of a Type I civilization emerging on the Earth. The Internet is the beginning of a Type I telephone system connecting the entire planet. The beginning of a Type I economy can be seen in the rise of the European Union, which in turn was created to compete with NAFTA. English is already the

number one second language on the Earth and the language of science, finance, and business. I imagine it may become the Type I language spoken by virtually everyone. Local cultures and customs will continue to thrive in thousands of varieties on the Earth, but superimposed on this mosaic of peoples will be a planetary culture, perhaps dominated by youth culture and commercialism.

The transition between one civilization and the next is far from guaranteed. The most dangerous transition, for example, may be between a Type 0 and a Type I civilization. A Type 0 civilization is still wracked with the sectarianism, fundamentalism, and racism that typified its rise, and it is not clear whether or not these tribal and religious passions will overwhelm the transition. (Perhaps one reason that we don’t see Type I civilizations in the galaxy is because they never made the transition, i.e., they self-destructed. One day, as we visit other star systems, we may find the remains of civilizations that killed themselves in one way or another, e.g., their atmospheres became radioactive or too hot to sustain life.)

By the time a civilization has reached Type III status it has the energy and know-how to travel freely throughout the galaxy and even reach the planet Earth. As in the movie 2001, such civilizations may well send self-replicating, robotic probes throughout the galaxy searching for intelligent life.

But a Type III civilization would likely not be inclined to visit us or conquer us, as in the movie Independence Day, where such a civilization spreads like a plague of locusts, swarming around planets to suck their resources dry. In reality, there are countless dead planets in outer space with vast mineral wealth they could harvest without the nuisance of coping with a restive native population. Their attitude toward us might resemble our own attitude toward an ant hill. Our inclination is not to bend down and offer the ants beads and trinkets, but simply to ignore them.

The main danger ants face is not that humans want to invade them or wipe them out. Instead it is simply that we will pave them over because they are in the way. Remember that the distance between a Type III civilization and our own Type 0 civilization is far more vast than the distance between us and the ants, in terms of energy usage.


Physics of the impossible; 2008:145

Pdf available


The Dangers of space travel

by  Prof. Michio Kaku

Of course, space travel is no Sunday picnic. Enormous dangers await manned flights traveling to Mars, or beyond. Life on Earth has been sheltered for millions of years: The planet’s ozone layer protects the Earth from ultraviolet rays, its magnetic field protects against solar flares and cosmic rays, and its thick atmosphere protects against meteors that burn up on entry. We take for granted the mild temperatures and air pressures found on the Earth. But in deep space, we must face the reality that most of the universe is in turmoil, with lethal radiation belts and swarms of deadly meteors.

The first problem to solve in extended space travel is that of weightlessness. Long-term studies of weightlessness by the Russians have shown that the body loses precious minerals and chemicals in space much faster than expected. Even with a rigorous exercise program, after a year on the space station, the bones and muscles of Russian cosmonauts are so atrophied that they can barely crawl like babies when they first return to Earth. Muscle atrophy, deterioration of the skeletal system, lower production of red blood cells, lower immune response, and a reduced functioning of the cardiovascular system seem to be the inevitable consequences of prolonged weightlessness in space.

Missions to Mars, which may take several months to a year, will push the very limits of the endurance of our astronauts. For long-term missions to the nearby stars, this problem could be fatal. The starships of the future may have to spin, creating an artificial gravity via centrifugal forces in order to sustain human life. This adjustment would greatly increase the cost and complexity of future spaceships.

Second, the presence of micrometeorites in space traveling at many tens of thousands of miles per hour may require that spaceships be equipped with extra shielding. Close examination of the hull of the Space Shuttle has revealed evidence of several tiny but potentially deadly impacts from tiny meteorites. In the future, spaceships may have to contain a special doubly reinforced chamber for the crew.

Radiation levels in deep space are much higher than previously thought. During the eleven-year sunspot cycle, for example, solar flares can send enormous quantities of deadly plasma racing toward Earth. In the past, this phenomenon has forced the astronauts on the space station to seek special protection against the potentially lethal barrage of subatomic particles. Space walks during such solar eruptions would be fatal. (Even taking a simple transatlantic trip from L.A.

to New York, for example, exposes us to about a millirem of radiation per hour of flight. Over the course of our trip we are exposed to almost a dental X-ray of radiation.) In deep space, where the atmosphere and magnetic field of the Earth no longer protect us, radiation exposure could be a serious problem.


Physics of the impossible; 2008:172

Pdf available



Are they [robots] conscious?

by Prof. Michio Kaku

There is no universal consensus as to whether machines can be conscious, or even a consensus as to what consciousness means. No one has come up with a suitable definition of consciousness.

Marvin Minsky describes consciousness as more of a “society of minds,” that is, the thinking process in our brain is not localized but spread out, with different centers competing with one another at any given time. Consciousness may then be viewed as a sequence of thoughts and images issuing from these different, smaller “minds,” each one grabbing and competing for our attention.

If this is true, perhaps “consciousness” has been overblown, perhaps there have been too many papers devoted to a subject that has been over mystified by philosophers and psychologists. Maybe defining consciousness is not so hard. As Sydney Brenner of the Salk Institute

in La Jolla says, “I predict that by 2020 the year of good vision consciousness will have disappeared as a scientific problem….Our successors will be amazed by the amount of scientific rubbish discussed today that is, if they have the patience to trawl through the electronic archives of obsolete journals.”

AI research has been suffering from “physics envy,” according to Marvin Minsky. In physics the holy grail has been to find a simple equation that will unify the physical forces of the universe into a single theory, creating a “theory of everything.” AI researchers, overly influenced by this idea, have tried to find a single paradigm that would explain consciousness. But such a simple paradigm may not exist, according to Minsky.

(Those in the “constructionist” school, like myself, believe that instead of endlessly debating whether thinking machines can be created or not, one should instead try to build one. Regarding consciousness, there is probably a continuum of consciousness, from a lowly thermostat that monitors the temperature in a room to the self-aware organisms that we are today. Animals may be conscious, but they do not possess the level of consciousness of a human being. One should try, therefore, to categorize all the various types and levels of consciousness rather than debate philosophical questions about the meaning of consciousness. Robots may eventually attain a “silicon consciousness.” Robots, in fact, may one day embody an architecture for thinking and processing information that is different from ours. In the future, advanced robots might blur the difference between syntax and semantics, so that their responses will be indistinguishable from the responses of a human. If so, the question of whether they really “understand” the question will be largely irrelevant. A robot that has perfect mastery of syntax, for all practical purposes, understands what is being said. In other words, a perfect mastery of syntax is understanding.)


Physics of the impossible; 2008:121

Pdf available




1- What is this website/blog about?

Answer: CAMIDRCS; which promotes Freethought, Logic and Science.

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Answer:  Amystology

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