Daily Archives: March 6, 2013

Our energy origins, the power inside and a fanciful creation story

I was reading this silly article on the physics of the Hulk’s jump, when I came across this interesting passage:

“While I am talking about mass, there is something that always bothered me. Bruce Banner is a pretty normal-looking human, right? But then he turns into The Hulk (I guess The is his first name since it is always capitalized). So, if he goes from 70 kilograms as a human to almost 300 kg as The Hulk, where does the extra mass come from? What if this is conversion of energy to mass from Einstein’s E = mc2? This would take 2.7 x 1019 Joules of energy. Where does that come from? The total power output from the Sun is about 4 x 1026 Watts. However, only about 1.7 x 1017 Watts hits the Earth. If The Hulk used ALL of this solar energy, it would take over two and a half minutes in order to capture enough energy to “transform.” I guess this could be the “getting angry time.””

That really struck me. In order to create 230kg of mass from pure energy, you would need all of the sun’s energy hitting the Earth for two and a half minutes.

This is a huge amount of energy! As beings of matter, we really don’t think about how much energy is tied up in our teeny little bodies.

We would need 40 seconds of all the sun’s energy hitting the Earth to create the matter in your average 160lb human.

Conversely, our bodies hold unbelievable amounts of energy. If you liberated the energy in every atom from just one gram of your body, you’d release about 15 kilotons of explosive force. That’s the yield of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima.

If you converted all the mass in that average human into energy, the explosive force would be over 1 million kilotons, or over 1000 megatons.

The largest nuclear device ever detonated was the 57 megaton Tsar Bomba device exploded by the USSR in 1961. It created a fireball eight miles wide.

We carry around a tremendous amount of energy in our bodies. And this got me thinking…

Imagine a being made of energy, existing somewhere in a cold, low energy part of the universe. To these beings, we are fearsome machines. Huge, dense with energy, powerful…analogous to the Saturn V rockets which took man to the moon. We have a great advantage over the energy beings – we can exist and survive in areas of the universe that are grimy with all sorts of high energy.

If these beings wanted to explore warmer, more energetic areas of the universe, what better vessel than a capsule made of matter? A machine might work best, but how would an energy being construct a machine? This would require the manipulation of huge, dangerous energies and the exploration of technologies which might be beyond their abilities.

But they could manipulate matter at the molecular level. This involves relatively less energy and complexity. They could create forms of self-replicating matter infused with a code that demands replication and mutation. Over the millennia, these new forms of matter, life, evolve. Eventually these lifeforms develop the necessary complexity and intelligence to craft complex machines for the beings to inhabit.

Because they are made of energy and not subject to the mortalities of life, they can patiently wait for the lifeforms to build machines for them.

But perhaps mechanical vessels are not their end goal. Philosophers have speculated that we are spirits residing in material bodies. Could it be that the objective of the beings has already been met, and they reside in us, their material vessels? Like spacecraft, they pilot us around, utilizing us on their explorations.

This could explain the fundamental struggle of the human condition, the tension between our reptilian and primate instincts forged through thousands of generations of evolution, and the more noble spiritual aspirations of our creator(s)?

Looks to me like the spiritual beings are winning, but the reptilian and primate instincts are putting up one hell of a fight along the way. Progress, but slow progress.

Just a fanciful alternate creation story to lighten your day and get you thinking…

Apple doldrums…why?

I think what has people spooked is that Apple is no longer the coolest game in town. Tastes change. I and others have heard anecdotes about how high school kids who are the trend-setters don’t want iPhones because everyone, especially their parents, have them.

I really believe much of the AAPL doldrums are caused by memories of RIM, PALM, etc who dominated their markets for a time, but then were disrupted by others which destroyed their businesses. Samsung/android is doing this now.

Apple needs new products to re-set these expectations. The long rumored Apple TV isn’t going to cut it. They need a product.

The iPhone needs to innovate more in features and less in design. Fingerprint authentication, mobile payments, NFC, etc are critical to re-disrupt the market.

A friend told me he lost his iPhone on the ski slopes and someone found it 18 months later, plugged it in and it worked. I’ve seen an iPhone immersed in water, and it still worked while under water. That is amazing, but also speaks to overengineering. There is a balance between investing in quality product design and investing in the software on the product, especially when most people don’t keep their phones for more than a couple of years.

I also believe that long-term, android dominance is going to fracture. Windows is going to gain market share at its expense and Samsung is going to introduce a competitive OS. When android fractures, Apple’s ecosystem will prove dominant.