The Anti-Zen Dictionary

A dictionary/glossary/lexicon as sort of a cosmic, meeting of the minds, collaboration of the likes of Dan Webster, Sam Johnson, Ambrose Bierce, Hunter S. Thompson, Wm. F. Buckley, Grouch Marx, W. C. Fields and many more... even though its editors are obscure unknowns with dreadfully dangerous senses of humor. WARNING: This website may contain some slightly adult content - get parental viewing approval if you are 18 or under!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Imminent Threat

Imminent threat

The current buzzword going around in politics and the media regarding the US Administration Use of Lethal Drone Force Legal Review (imprimatur: NBC News).

Apparently none of the sources cited in our posting "Are Drone Strikes a Form of Extrajudicial Killing?" searched their legal dictionaries or other sources for that phrase.

Our blog did that and found possibly two applicable definitions.

The first one comes to us from The Law Dictionary - Imminent Danger.

The other comes from The Free Dictionary - Imminent Threat (via public international law).

Regarding the first definition - you can guess that it concerns incidences 'where a person or persons may be called upon to defend themselves against homicide without protection from the law or other persons'. The intended victim must be "reasonable" and "prudent". A few court decisions are cited with the brief description.

It, of course, mentions nothing about drone strikes and persons perceived to be terrorists. Innocent collateral victims of drone strikes are not mentioned - even though politicos have been seen defending said drone strike practice and policy. For more on that perspective please see the report by Micah Zenko, Council on Foreign Relations. (For just the summary and recommendations go to pp. 22+.)

The implication is that the US Policy requires some oversight by Congress - perhaps even transparency. Also, there could be consequences with our foreign counterparts if the policy does not conform to expectations.

The second definition (Imminent Threat) is defined as a criterion - which makes it, too, somewhat vague as the pundits have been complaining. Criteria like this can make for irreversible consequences and innocent collateral casualties and fatalities.

And some folks don't have a problem with that - and that makes the rest of us weep.

Please note this posting appears in our sister blog:

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

An invisibility cloak (DIY, sort of)

CreditLawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, US Government Work, Public Domain

  If everybody could have an invisibility cloak then we would all be invisible.  We don't "see" an advantage to that.  But building a "room temperature full optical wavelength" invisibility cloak (that presumably runs on DC power) would be challenging to build!  Not the sort of thing we would expect from the folks at Apple but perhaps the Fraunhofer Institute/s?  We suggest you look at the ("pay $") entry in Applied Physics Letters*:  A better source may be the related article in Phys.Org: "Nearly perfect, ultra-thin invisibility cloak could have wide practical applications".

The invisibility cloak appears to have the shape of a "true cloak" or more like a "poncho shape".  It's thickness/thinness is explained by the researchers as being made of a homogeneous construction of resistors. The secret/s of its invisibility property is said to be due to permittivity and permeability.  It is not known which wavelengths or frequencies in which it is "invisible".  For a "non-action video" - that may have technical issues - one was developed by TechNetworkNews.  You may have to look into the ALP* article for a demonstration, if possible.

The "prior art" of the invisibility cloak was being developed on the basis of metamaterials.  However that last link (from the Wikipedia) is current up to only 2010.  But the prior art does date back to 2005/2006.  For a good working development (based on nanomaterials) see the YouTube video from/by Ali Aliev.  For more on that development see our article.  If you read the article you should see that that invisibility device - as is - might be impractical for your room temperature full optical wavelength invisibility cloak.  But, it is apparently invisible in the optical range of light visible to human eyes.

For more on the recent (November 2012) invisibility cloak/device from Duke University see our other article.  Like some invisibility devices it does not cover the optical range and works only in the microwave range.  However, it does give a working demonstration that the next advance to the optical range cloak could be possible.

The prior art to that work was the research and development of metamaterials (earlier, more) for "fishnet" invisibility cloaking - a design which was in favor.  See the articles "Low-loss negative-index metamaterial at telecommunication wavelengths" and "Development of bulk optical negative index fishnet metamaterials: Achieving a Low Loss and Broadband Response Through Coupling".  The thinking at the time was the development of a "layered, pierced metamaterial" with a negative refractive index.

The layers of materials might be nano-scale coatings of silver sandwiching a dielectric (like Magnesium fluoride).  The advantage/s of silver being it's high reflectivity and "damping" properties.  Magnesium fluoride was seen to have an advantage in its relative clarity, we surmise.  Other dielectrics might be worth reviewing at a later time.  A superconductor might also replace silver due to it's high permeability.  However, superconductors (at this writing) have disadvantages like a very low operating temperature and lack of optical clarity.  Would elemental Niobium work in this case?  We can't say.

Silicon - combined with metallics - was also a research topic in 2009.  However, the cloak developed by the Berkeley Lab was said to be invisible only in the near infrared wavelength - slightly outside the range of human optical visibility.  However, it too, was something of a "fishnet" material.  (See also the video at top of the post.)

Credit: Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, US Government Work, Public Domain

For more information you may wish to search Google Books.  If we may point out one it might be "Structured surfaces as optical materials".  We'll have to get back to you next time there is another advance towards a "room temperature full optical" invisibility cloak.

© Copyright 2013 and Patent Pending

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Thursday, January 17, 2013


Nightmareliner -

(Updated Sunday, 1_20_2013 see below.  And again 1_30_2013.)

The VERY unfortunate and unfunny conflation of "Dreamliner" with nightmare/s or nightmarish events seen with the Dreamliner (Boeing's 787 airliner).

We'll go to the latest press release from the NTSB: "Second Investigative Update of Boston Boeing 787 Battery Fire".  Yes, you read that right, 'battery fire'.  Seems that the Lithium-ion batteries for the jets are catching fire (for "unknown reasons") with leaks of the lithium electrolyte fluid a possibility?  An electrolyte leak could make fire spread and fire conditions even worse - fortunately one of the incidents required only "just about one half hour of extinguishing by the emergency staff".

The NTSB release almost occurred simultaneously with the FAA Dreamliner grounding announcement.

Credit: NTSB, US Government Work, Public Domain

As you can see posted above, the NTSB posted photos of burned 787 batteries with its PR.  Well, shouldn't they have fire-tested those batteries before?  Well, yes and no, we found a PowerPoint presentation from the FAA regarding the fire testing of smaller commercial lithium ion batteries - but nothing yet on the full-scale commercial airline format.  At least nothing related to the full-scale battery was found in our search.

Presumably, GS Yuasa was awarded the *contract to supply the full-scale 787 aviation batteries.  Link to the (presumed) spec sheet here.  The spec sheet (as of this writing) states that the battery has a "Prismatic Shape" - which doesn't appear to resemble the photo/s supplied by the NTSBWhat shape exactly is the battery form supposed to be?

If we read further down the spec sheet (under "Safety and Handling") we see that the "cell design details and specification are subject to change without notice."  We sincerely hope that that verbiage wasn't approved in the *original contract.

The "Safety and Handling" section goes on to read: "Inappropriate handling or application...can result...even in the possibility of smoke generation or fire".

Yes, that is a known safety/hazard factor in Lithium ion batteries!  See the link to the above PDF.  Also, see the reports from the Consumer Product Safety Commission dating back to 2006.  Of course, the GSY contract award for the specified batteries pre-dates those 2006 incidents.

We also saw proposed safety labeling for the Lithium ion batteries in the Federal Register (2010). 

Credit: Federal Register, U. S. Government Work, Public Domain

Further safety and hazard precautions are found for Lithium ion batteries in what appears to be a sample military grade battery Material Safety Data SheetPlease note: the manufacturer of the battery for our sample MSDS is not involved or implicated in the current Dreamliner battery fires!

And the Wikimedia Foundation has an Ebook available on Google Books - and it also contains similar recommendations and precautions.

The element Lithium, itself, is rated as non-flammable but has some other safety issues on its own.  The problems appear to arise in the Lithium battery - and its electrolyte (when leaked) - in certain applications like the Nightmareliner.   Er, sorry, we mean the "Dreamliner".  To be fair in the end, Boeing has also posted their own PR statement on the incidents (FAA 787 Action).

Update 1_20_2013 The FAA #designated Boeing to generate LiIon battery data #Nightmareliner Via @WSJ  Most of the video reported by Andy Pasztor, LA WSJ Sr. Correspondent.

Update 1_30_2013 Boeing's Batteries Draw Criticism as Dreamliner Probe Continues | Autopia |

Update 2_05_2013

Boeing Asks FAA to Lift Grounding of Dreamliners for Test Flights Via CNBC

Update 2_10_2013

Expect Dreamliner delays, Boeing tells airlines via @reuters
Update 3_06_2013
Analytical theory may bring improvements to lithium-ion batteries
 via @physorg_com
How lithium electrochemical research might save the Boeing Dreamliner
via @examinercom

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Huge LQG

The Huge LQG or The Penultimate LQG -

The news about the Huge LQG is still posted on Reuters/News Daily as of this writing and may still be found on Science Daily and even in the Wikipedia.  The discoverers posted their findings in the Arxiv paper "A structure in the early universe at z* ~ 1.3 that exceeds the homogeneity scale of the R-W concordance cosmology" by Roger G. Clowes, Luis E. Campusano, et. al..

This penultimate structure (LQG) is mind-bendingly large and even distorts our concepts of relativity and the cosmological principle.  In "classical cosmology" it was thought that the CP limited universal structure sizes to about ~ 370 Mega-parsecs (Mpc).  The newly discovered Huge LQG has an estimated size of ~ 500 Mpc - which is stupendous.  Even greater is it's estimated longest dimension: ~ 1240 Mpc.

We also refer to it as the Penultimate LQG as nature is full of surprises.  That is we expect an even larger LQG structure or hyper-structure may yet be discovered and described - an Ultimate LQG.  The red-shift* ("z") implies that the Huge LQG lies far in the past and a long, long way away.  The same may apply for the hypothetical Ultimate LQG.

This appears to upset the old (1977) documentary (and book) "Powers of Ten" and the orders of magnitude described.  The book was written by the late great Philip Morrison and late wife Phylis Morrison.  The office of Ray and Charles Eames (designers) was deeply involved with both projects.  The previous high limit on order of magnitude (according to these good folks) was 100 million light years (~ 3E x 7 Mpc) or 10E x 24 meters.

The 7 Mpc order of magnitude (and the previous limit of approximately 150 Mpc) has long since been toppled apparently by the discovery of the Huge LQG.  This begs a question - how does the Huge LQG compare in size with other large "structures" and "voids" in the known universe?  How do they compare with the size of the universe?

CreditNotOnTwtr and a variety of sources.

Assuming that the numbers we were about to play with were best estimates and best measurements available we put the data together in a graphic and a table.

Our own Solar System is at too small a scale to give a relative comparison.  The same goes for our own Milky Way.  The Universe (estimated size - which is likely quite wrong!) would cover the whole chart and obscure the available comparisons!

Our own Local Group of galaxies "disappears" in the graphic due to it's relatively small size/volume.

The Great Wall refers to the Sloan Great Wall and is roughly equal in size to the "average" LQG.

The Huge LQG is slightly "larger" than the estimated size of the Giant Void.

The size comparisons with the Huge LQG suggest non-randomness.  However, we invite you to make your own conclusions.  Until the discovery of a larger structure (like the hypothetical Ultimate LQG) our universe may be seen as "expanding" - but is a non-random structure itself.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012


Derivative work: NASA Hurricane Sandy (10/31/2012) with NASA GOES-13 Project

Blurricane - The extremely unfortunate portmanteau of blizzard and hurricane.  Late last month (October ~ 29th, 2012) the Atlantic spawned a tropical cyclone that became the almost 1000 mile wide storm known as Hurricane Sandy.  Blurricane now seems to be trending on Twitter

Blurricane is the preferred definition in this instance as it blurred the line between cyclone,
hurricane and a blizzard.  Other suggested names
would have been: blizzacane or hizzicane or huzzicane.  All extremely unfortunate. 

For more: NASA orbiting earth satellite observing Sandy: ; Climate Scientist - Sandy just a taste of things to come (CNN):
Sandy death toll keeps rising (BBC News):

Hurricane Sandy from Birth to Landfall latest NASA video Credit: U. S. Government Work;

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Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Lionfish Cookbook

Image licensed under Creative Commons by BONGURI

The Lionfish Cookbook: No, we're not kidding.  Just see the link to the News Daily article below.  Seems that the Lionfish invasion of the waters off Florida have become a problem.  So much so that they actually wrote a cook book with 45 recipes for these beauties.  They claim the delicacy is safe (except for the spines) and delicious.  We expect a good export business to Japanese fish markets...

And, yes, you can purchase The Lionfish Cookbook from the Amazon Carousel below...  Thank You,

FOM: "Eat 'Em" Stratagem for Lionfish Invasion in Florida (REUTERS), Lionfish (Wikipedia), Pterois volitans (Wikipedia), Pterois volitans (FishBase), Pterois volitans in the Encyclopedia of Life, Pterois volitans information page from the Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Good Riddance Day

Good Riddance Day: Unfortunately, not a term of our creation plus we are a day behind on this one.  December 28 was the officially designated day to rid ourselves of a bad memory, experience and or so on from the year.  2010 was an especially unfortunate year for us as our Senior Editor's father became very sick for the last three months of the year and then passed away on December 19.  His brother and his wife lost her mother on Columbus Day due to end-stage cancer.  Also, supposed to be named after the Green Day song "Good Riddance" (The Time of Your Life).  GOOD RIDDANCE 2010!

FOM: Times Square Alliance for Official Good Riddance Day and Link to YouTube Video Performance of Good Riddance by Green Day

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Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Image licensed under Creative Commons by fdecomite

Escherite: Predicted/Suggested name for an artificial material reminiscent of some of the recursive surfaces famously and popularly depicted in some of the works of M. C. Escher.  Such a material would have no "inside" nor "outside" at the molecular level.  The name is the suggested conflation of Escher and the suffix -ite sometimes applied to minerals, chemicals and so on...

FOM: Strange New Twist: Researchers Discover Möbius Symmetry in Metamaterials (from Science Daily), Möbius Strip, Metamaterial and M. C. Escher

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The Passage of our Editor's Father

Image MRSA Culture licensed under Creative Commons by Simon Goldenberg

The Passage of our Senior Editor's Father: Though not a true dictionary entry, we thought we should make note of the passage of our Senior Editor's father.  George James passed away on Sunday December 19, 2010 (though the COD says Monday December 20, 2010) and he was just 76 years young.  Though an autopsy would have been requested by our editor, the rest of his family passed on it without asking his opinion (!). 

At the time, GJ had been suffering from two pneumonias (Serratia and Pseudomonas) as well as the now dreaded MRSA!  Although Dad seemed to have responded successfully to treatments with massive doses of Vancomycin and 5 days treatment with Tobramycin.  He was eventually discharged from his 4th hospital stay and housed in a very good medical facility.  Unfortunately, the MRSA must have entered his bloodstream on or about the 19th as our editor found GJ foaming badly at the mouth - which appears to have meant that his organs were shutting down. 

His father responded positively to a request for an ambulance (which he never does!) and the ambulance came and took him away on a portable ventilator.  GJ was placed on a CPAP Ventilator once in the trauma room and remained so in the ICU.  No amount of 'pressors' could have preserved him as he appeared to be in complete shutdown - though our editor hoped desperately and tearfully otherwise.  He probably had no conscious mind nor spirit during this time and passed on probably that day.  Which is why an autopsy may have been helpful (or not).  Perhaps it could have positively identified MRSA in the bloodstream at that time - or not...

Looking back over the previous events, two of GJ's doctors at two of his previous hospital stays had predicted his death within a short while - possibly months.  Which came true just before this Christmas...

FOM: Medical Odyssey/Hospital Nomad

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Hospital Nomad / Medical Odyssey

Image licensed under Creative Commons by TCDC Media

Hospital Nomad / Medical Odyssey:  It is hoped that this posting/definition will give you some insight as to where we have been just over the past 2 months. Our Senior Editor's 70+ years young father took very sick in early September and had to be whisked away to an emergency room.  He was having severe nausea and chronic vomiting (guess who got to clean the bucket?...) for a period of over 24+ hours.  Having suffered this way, he finally asked for medical care - and got it that day. 

Our Senior Editor and his father found out that he had a partial bowel obstruction - along with several other chronic medical conditions.  A naso-gastric tube was installed & removed about 1500 ml. of dark bile over a period of 30+ hours - thus avoiding surgery.  The recovery in the hospital took about 6 days.  Plus, we also found that Dad had lost his core/trunk strength (he had displayed some kyphosis earlier in April), leg strength, became dysphagic and was declared NPO.  Dad has basically been a bed-bound invalid, unable to swallow, since this time.  We will refer to this hospital as HSJ.

A swallow evaluation/study was done on Dad in their fluoroscopy dept. which determined that he aspirated when swallowing.  Even worse, he displayed no symptoms (asymptomatic).  Thus, he might have been dysphagic for a long time without even knowing it.  He has the possibility of contracting aspiration pneumonia if he attempts to swallow anything - which could even be lethal.

Thus was the beginning of Dad's medical odyssey.  Our Senior Editor and his brother being so concerned (this is their last living parent) that our Editor slept over many, many nights in more than one hospital with his father.  Thus giving rise to the term Hospital Nomad.  In the periods between hospitalization, Dad has spent three separate occasions in Medical Skilled Care Rehabilitation Centers as required by Medicare.  The long and short of it is that our Senior Editor has spent 63 of the last 65 days or so in the hospitals and Rehab Centers with his sick, invalid father during this medical odyssey.  His father is currently staying at his fourth hospital in this time.

A special warning to all who may have a similar situation existing or arising with a loved one.  If you see your elders in decline you may wish to visit their primary care physician with them and discuss the option of in-home rehabilitation before you reach this state of affairs.  One of the undiscussed (?) issues with Rehabilitation Centers and similar communities is the potential for infection by communicable organisms/pathogens/microbes shared by that community.  Each time Dad was sent to one of these centers he developed pneumonia or MRSA

Early in November/late October, he developed pneumonia due to a species of Serratia.  Fortunately our senior editor was present when he began to sink and kept requesting an ambulance.  When Dad stopped talking, they finally called for Rapid Response.  When in hospital, you can usually request Rapid Response by dialling 141.  See your hospital staff for instructions before you panic and need this service - it can be a life saver

As it turned out, Dad 'coded' in the emergency room at a different, nearby hospital ('HSM').  There appeared to be only respiratory arrest - no cardiac arrest - but stopped breathing all the same.  Dad was then intubated, heavily sedated and put on a ventilator.  The ER team at HSM basically saved his life - for which our Editor nominated them for a recognition award.  The Rapid Response team remained in the ER room during the entire revival.  It was quite a moving experience.  But, our Senior Editor's father looked like one of those horrible rubber dummies in a horror movie and our Editor was about to freak out. 

He was eventually transferred to Intensive Care where he remained on the ventilator for about a day.  He coded again the next day and had to be placed on a ventilator again.  The IC team was excellent and they were also nominated for a recognition award.  Dad was eventually transferred to the hospital - for 13 days

He qualified for a specialty rehabilitation hospital where he may receive constant hospital care along with therapy for as long as they feel fit.  He is visited almost daily by the doctor, an RN and other professional staff.  Unfortunately, he acquired MRSA in his sputum and lungs at the start of this go-round.   Which is quite fearsome, as MRSA can then enter the bloodstream in this fashion.  But the antibiotics appear to have it under control.  Hopefully, Dad is coming to the end of his medical odyssey in a positive way and may be released to sub-acute care.  And our Senior Editor is hoping that he does not have to be a Hospital Nomad much longer - again in a positive way. 

Revised/Updated: 11/23/2010

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