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This blog is intended for rational audiences. Its contents are the personal opinions of its author. If you quote from this blog, which you
may do with attribution, please assume personal accountability for any consequences of mischaracterizing these expressed intentions.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Anastasia Shcheglova

Rule #5: Beautiful Woman


Anastasiya by Daria Klepikova on 500px.com
Anastasiya by Daria Klepikova on 500px.com


Post 3,773 Anastasia Shcheglova

Colorful Iceland

Rule #6: Everybody loves a spectacular view!


United colors of Iceland by wim denijs on 500px.com
United colors of Iceland by wim denijs on 500px.com


Post 3,772 Colorful Iceland

Анастасия Щеглова

Rule #5: Beautiful Woman


DEEP by Ivan Gorokhov on 500px.com
DEEP by Ivan Gorokhov on 500px.com


Post 3,771 Анастасия Щеглова

"Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'"

Rule #6: Everybody loves a spectacular view!

"Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'"


peaceful morning by Tiger Seo on 500px.com
peaceful morning by Tiger Seo on 500px.com


Post 3,770 Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'

Алиса Тарасенко

Rule #5: Beautiful Woman


А Л И С А by АЛЕКСАНДР САВИЧЕВ on 500px.com
А Л И С А by АЛЕКСАНДР САВИЧЕВ on 500px.com


Post 3,769 Алиса Тарасенко

Corona in the Sky with Magnificence

[Title riffs on "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"]

Rule #3: Cosmological Art


The Big Corona, Alson Wong on APOD


Post 3,768 Corona in the Sky with Magnificence

Monday, September 18, 2017

The Essence of My Minimalist Religion

Moses Breaking the Tablets of the Law
In order to distinguish ourselves from the rest of the animal kingdom, I believe humanity needs a socio-ethical contract. For most people, such a contract is one of the major organized religions, which people traditionally inherit at birth from one or both of their parents. Mine was Judaism. But Judaism, as most other religions, comprises much more than a socio-ethical contract. It demands, as is the case with other major world religions: the worship of a singular deity; the adherence to an intricate set of behavioral rules; and, the observance of obligations that can be obscure and confusing.

Over the years, I have concluded that my own version of a socio-ethical contract serves me well without mention of a demanding all-powerful God and all the intricacies that this entails. My minimalist belief doesn't, however, rule out some sort of organizing principal. It simply de-emphasizes it, making it an optional feature.

Thus, my religion is a drastically scaled-down version of Judaism. More to the point, it is a scaled-down version of the Decalogue. It encompasses two broad guidelines: one proactive rule and one rule of prohibition.

Here is how I arrived at my religion.

When Moses "transcribed" the Decalogue, he realized he was dealing with a mob of former slaves who were largely undifferentiated from wild animals. So he knew they required stern pronouncements and lots of repetition. Hence, he presented them with Ten Commandments, and the rabbis followed up in the ensuing millennia with much more repetition and elaboration.

The first thing I did was to eliminate the leading stern Commandments having to do with scaring the bejeezus out of the ignorant: "If you do not worship Me like I tell you, I will pulverize you!" Personally, I do not need that sort of coercion. My next step was to recognize that all those trailing Commandments, namely the obvious (to any sane person) "Don'ts" — murder, steal, "covet" your neighbor's wife, etc. — are subsumed by Judaism's version of the Golden Rule: "Do not do to others that which you wouldn't want others to do to you". This then is my prohibition guideline.

That leaves me with choosing an appropriate proactive guideline. As luck would have it, that is the only Commandment left after my distillation of the Decalogue. It is the one that reminds you that you haven't made this journey on your own. In order to be a decent human being, not just another wild animal, you need to acknowledge other humans who have helped you, especially the two who gave you life: "Honor your mother and your father." And by extension, acknowledge any help received from other individuals.

So the essence of my minimalist religion is, "Try not to be a schmuck."

Post 3,767 The Essence of My Minimalist Religion

Beautiful Woman

Rule #5: Beautiful Woman


Today last Discount for Presets! by Ivan Gorokhov on 500px
Today last Discount for Presets! by Ivan Gorokhov on 500px.com


Post 3,766 Beautiful Woman

Juliette

Rule #5: Beautiful Woman


Juliette by Peter Coulson on 500px.com
Juliette by Peter Coulson on 500px.com


Post 3,765 Juliette

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Anastasiya Scheglova

Rule #5: Beautiful Woman


Anastasia by Tatiana Mertsalova on 500px.com
Anastasia by Tatiana Mertsalova on 500px.com


Post 3,760 Anastasiya Scheglova

The Metric of Our Universe

Entropy: The Metric of Our Universe


Credit: Wikipedia
In the beginning was the event known as the Big Bang. At that initial event of infinitesimal spacetime, the entropy of our universe was at its minimum, corresponding to its maximum organization — at a point in space and at the beginning of time.

Ever since that initial event, our evolving universe (or its current cycle of evolution) has had its overall entropy increasing monotonically, albeit its rate of increase has been nonmonotonic. The nonmonotonic rate of increase has been due to the counter effects of gravity, the emergence (and evolution) of organizational phenomena that create pockets of decreasing entropy in spacetime, as well as the observed (though not yet understood) effects of dark energy.

Thus, we have traversed a chronology of cosmic spacetime-epochs, including the Planck epoch, the cosmic inflation, the Quark epoch, the Photon epoch, the "Dark Ages" (during which the universe was transparent but no large-scale structures had yet formed). Then followed the period of large-scale structure formation, including stellar evolution, galaxy formation (and evolution) and the formation of galaxy clusters and superclusters. The latter period has been characterized by local reductions of entropy corresponding to all the large-scale structure formation, all of which qualified as reductions in the disarray of matter.

The thin disk of our galaxy began to form at about 5 billion years ago. The solar system formed at about 4.6 billion years ago, with the earliest traces of life on Earth emerging by about 3.5 billion years ago. These epochs, up to and including the present time have been characterized by the emergence and evolution of (self) organizations with the concomitant localized decreases of entropy.

That universal metric, entropy, or, what is more nearly correct, its local decrease (called "negentropy" by Erwin Schrödinger), may be viewed as the lifeblood of our existence. As this lifeblood waxes, our existence flourishes. As it wanes, we hurtle towards heat death.

Nevertheless, there may be an ultimate reversal to the expansion of the universe (the "Big 180"), in which the universe (at least its current cycle) will end in a Big Crunch, after which a Big Bounce might initiate another new cycle, in endless repetition ...

It could happen.

Post 3,758 The Metric of Our Universe

Lofoten

Rule #6: Everybody loves a spectacular view!


Polar day by Adnan Bubalo on 500px.com
Polar day by Adnan Bubalo on 500px.com


Post 3,758 Lofoten

Olya Pushkina

Rule #5: Beautiful Woman


Olya (@ola.pushkina) by Георгий Чернядьев (Georgy Chernyadyev) on 500px.com
Olya (@ola.pushkina) by Георгий  Чернядьев (Georgy Chernyadyev) on 500px.com


Post 3,756 Olya Pushkina

Friday, September 15, 2017