Michael R. Krozer's Blog

September 9, 2013

 



The world around us is miraculous.


In our collective hubris, we sometime fail to recognize that there are answers right in front of us to questions we haven’t even thought to ask yet.  In our collective hubris, we sometimes dismiss the loss of natural habitat or the extinction of a species as unimportant.  In our collective hubris, we sometimes think that we will endure.  As a species our folly is boundless, and is the one thing at which we are truly unmatched.


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Published on September 09, 2013 11:10 • 101 views

August 21, 2013


Everything is impossible…until it isn’t.


Every area of human endeavor, be it intellectual, technological, or biological, has its share of outcomes that were once thought to be impossible.  And at every step along the way to achieving the impossible stand pundits and critics and gatekeepers who purportedly know better and state their pronouncements with gravitas and warning.  In fact, in the world they live in, illuminated by the light of what is, they may be correct in their assessments.


Visionaries, on the other hand, see the world in a light that illuminates what can be.  Their intellectual and physical struggle is to evolve what is into new realms or via the rare burst of insight, create something entirely new.


Most people do just fine living in the world of what is.  In fact, being fully aware of the world we live in is a vital survival skill.  But you may agree that the real thrill, the real WOW moments, are presented to us by those adventurers who live in the world of what can be.  Let us have the courage to celebrate these people, and the courage to maybe not laugh quite so loud at something we fear or don’t yet understand.


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Published on August 21, 2013 07:10 • 44 views

August 15, 2013

 



Nature is full of examples of “sameness”, I’ll call it.


To the casual observer, the gene pool for mice creates mice that appear the same, along with beetles of the same species, and crows, robins, inchworms, humpback whales, butterflies…the list is long.  Even inanimate things like the diamond on your finger or necklace have a “sameness” quality to them.


Individuality is achieved when perfect duplication is compromised.  The diamond has pieces of carbon embedded in its structure rendering it a one-of-a-kind.  A beetle might be missing a leg.  The whale, part of its fin.  The butterfly, part of its wing.


The imperfections sustained by living creatures mark a life path traveled and experience gained.  Sometimes the cost is great, and sometimes it is trivial.  But in the end, the purpose of life is not to end it the way you started it.  Be proud of what makes you different and respectful of differences in others.


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Published on August 15, 2013 12:11 • 50 views

July 8, 2013

 



Physical, intellectual and emotional walls all serve the same purpose…


In my previous post, Coexistence & The Great Divide, I wrote that separation maintains harmony, albeit temporarily, and infuses everything in the universe from the sub-atomic scale to the galactic.  Separation forms the framework of our reality, of who we are, and of how we think.  It is one of the forces that drives the drama of our lives.


My proposition is that even with the intervention of our intelligence, the fundamental forces of the universe always prevail.  One of these forces is the need for separation.  The other is need to reach equilibrium.  These two forces are polar opposites designed to create tension and drive movement.  For example, if you strip away all the drama from human history, what is left is a story about the interplay between the force of separation and the force equilibrium.


Think about it.  Human migration is driven by the need to go from where jobs are scarce to where they are abundant; from where there is no food to where there is.  Human attainment of knowledge is driven by curiosity, the term used to describe the tension between not understanding and the need to understand.  This is really no different than from a drop of food coloring disbursing itself in a cup of water.  The same forces are at play, it just looks different.


Throughout the millennia, we humans have alternately built physical walls and then tore them down in response to migratory pressures of all types.  Monumental examples include the Berlin Wall, the Great Wall of China, and the US-Mexican Security Fence.  The force of equilibrium has rendered the Berlin Wall a historical curiosity, and the Great Wall of China a major tourist attraction.  The US-Mexican Security Fence will inevitability follow a similar track through history.



Everything in the universe, from the inert to the sentient, is driven towards equilibrium.  Even the ant in the photo above figured out a way to get around the chemical fence designed to prevent it from meeting its needs.  Humans are no less smart but we tend to favor the folly of the temporary over the perspective of history.


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Published on July 08, 2013 11:39 • 36 views

July 2, 2013


The distance between all things ensures survival.


There is a great tidal surge of thought that stakes the future on the ideal that we will all benefit if we could “just” put aside our differences so we may share in the problem solving synergy created by coming together.  The caveat I would like to add is that we must first become mature enough as individual collectives and cultures to recognize the possibility of synergistic benefits.  If our technical ability to cross a divide is utilized before we are mature enough, disaster will be the likely immediate outcome.


The world and universe we live in is designed around the concept of separation at all scales.  The cat and the fish peacefully coexist because of separation.  If a bridge was suddenly created between their worlds, conflict would be the immediate first result.


On a global scale, the historic conflict that exists between the counties bordering the East China Sea, the Yellow Sea, and the Sea of Japan is because these countries have the technical means to bridge the water divide that would otherwise ensure coexistence.  Almost any snapshot of our planet on the scale shown above would yield a similar history.


There is no escaping the result when the distance between separate and dislike entities collapses.  Strategic separation is part of the structure of the universe from the atomic scale to the galactic scale.  The Hubble photo above shows Interacting Galaxies Art 147.  The center of the galaxy on the top right was annihilated when the galaxy to its left passed through it…the result a collapse of separation.  No one knows how many worlds were lost.  SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) researchers usually bank on the idea that any stellar civilization with the technology to reach Earth would also have a peace loving culture…an idea that is perhaps an extrapolation of human hubris that intelligence can rise above Nature.  Very little in our short history as a species supports this idea.


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Published on July 02, 2013 09:14 • 44 views

April 2, 2013


We are sentient beings and the miracle of our consciousness relies upon unique patterns of “dead” matter.  The belief held by billions of humans that the spirit energizes this dead matter does not diminish how amazing the formation of our physical vessel (body) really is.


Science has taken the first small steps towards an understanding of our DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), the biological computer, if you will, that controls how we are made.  The critical discovery was that DNA is basically layers of patterns built up from 3 atomic scale particles: electrons, protons, and neutrons.  These particles combine in various patterns to create 3 specific elements: carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen.  These 3 elements combine in various patterns to create 4 molecules (nucleotides): adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine.  Our DNA has 6.4 billion of these nucleotides attached to a carbon/oxygen framework and organized into 20,000 to 25,000 discrete patterns called genes.  These genes, which comprise about 1.5% of the 6.4 billion nucleotides, are the code for the production of about 2 million proteins.  These proteins guide cell differentiation into all tissue types, and the processes that, with the input of food, grows, maintains, and controls our body.  The remaining 6.3 billion nucleotides are thought to be associated with various biochemical activity, gene expression, chromosome architecture, and epigenetic inheritance.


So, what does all this have to do with the vertebra in the picture above?  Well, everything.  Humans are now smart enough to write a program (code) that can guide a machine to replicate this shape.  However, the program and machine are not guiding the synthesis of the calcium bone matrix from digested food, or integrating nerves, tendons, and ligaments.  In addition, the program and machine are not providing a vertebra that grows in proportion the developing body.  And as complex as all this is, bones are simple structures.


Here is another thought.  Our 25,000 genes are made out of 50 million nucleotide pairs.  If a nucleotide pair is considered equivalent to 1 line of computer code, all of our genes together would contain about half the amount of code that control the computers in a modern, premium car.  Although we apply all of our smarts to these programs, cars are primitive compared to our body, and definitely not sentient.


At a philosophical level, this begs the question:  How could a randomized, unguided, trial and error assembly of 3 elements become such a beautifully elegant and efficient atomic level, life creating machine?


Despite all the knowledge we have accumulated, we are still profoundly ignorant about such things, about everything in fact.  This is not a bad thing and nothing to be ashamed of.  It merely tells us that there is infinitely more to learn.  At this point in our technological evolution, we are like a child who touched a hot stove and learned a profound lesson.


At the very core of our being is a pattern of 4 nucleotides that drive us to question, to explore, and to understand.  All we need is to do is to look within us without intellectual prejudice and predetermination, and then have the courage to embrace what we learn.


C2013 Michael Krozer

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Published on April 02, 2013 08:48 • 64 views

March 27, 2013

 



Technology prognosticators think that they can see the future.  They like to tell us with gravitas that as computer interfaces get smarter and artificial intelligence gets better, humankind will become very comfortable verbally interacting with their machines.  Responding with impatience and escalating hatred to the type of computerized voice prompts we now find on telephone response trees will be a thing of the past.  Oh joy, if I only live to see the day.


What the tech gurus miss is that we joyfully interact with all manner of inanimate things, all that time.  Some of these things don’t contain a single transistor, computer chip, or bit of code.  Their being so completely stupid is the very thing that makes them so beautiful and endearing to us, or at least to me.


Take my pressure cooker for example.  It is an elegant, shiny piece of formed stainless steel and plastic that does one thing perfectly, and I love it for that.  Sure, like all of our relationships, the Cooker, I’ll call her, requires attention and maintenance.  Her valves need to be cleaned, her seals need to be checked and lubricated, and care must be taken not to lose the little giggler weight because if you do, all is lost.


Several times a week, I take Cooker out of the bottom cabinet, say, “Hi there beautiful”, rinse her off, rub her down, and load her up with a bit of water, potatoes, beets, squash, or whatever, that I need cooked I in a hurry.  I slide her onto the stove, lock down her top, and turn the gas burner on high.  In no time she starts to hiss and spit, her way of showing delight in doing what she was created to do.  But sometimes Cooker gets cranky and refuses to snap into pressure mode.  To get her back into the mood, I cajole her, ask her what’s wrong, shake her a little, tweak her relief valve a bit, and turn up the heat.  This combination brings her around every time.  When she’s happy, I’m happy.


So there you have it you tech gurus.  We don’t need to wait for no stinkin’ smart computers.  We are pleasantly interacting with all kinds of things that have absolutely no brains and end our encounters feeling oddly, fulfilled.


C 2013 Michael Krozer

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Published on March 27, 2013 13:10 • 44 views

February 25, 2013


Here are some lessons from my furry friend worth emulating.  She has the uncanny gift of knowing what to do and when to do it in order to get the humans in her life to give her what she needs.  No small feat for a half-wild outdoor cat.  She learned well from her father who was the supreme master of the following strategies.


FIRST, look confident.  Look like you deserve what you are going to ask for.  If you appear unsure, the “giver” will doubt your worthiness and deny you.


TWO, always be punctual.  Make sure that you are around if and when the goodies are being offered.  How many times has we missed an opportunity because our face was not there to be seen?


THIRD, develop a good “poor me” expression that you can use strategically to get something extra.  If done right, this tactic will not show weakness.  Your goal is to set up a “sympathy” response in the giver.


FORTH, be clever.  Remember what works and what doesn’t, and what tactic you used and when.


FIFTH, always have more than one benefactor.  Just don’t make this obvious , especially to your carefully cultivated, primary benefactor.   For example, it is okay to have a second job, just keep this private.


 


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Published on February 25, 2013 08:19 • 48 views

August 20, 2012


It is worth remembering that Nature is neither good nor bad, harsh nor kind, deterministic nor capricious.  Nature just is.  For example, instead of becoming a beautiful butterfly, this caterpillar has become a host to the larva feeding off its body fluids.  Is it right to deny the parasites life in favor of the butterfly?  Gaia, the spirit of the earth according to some, does not see life or death, dwell on something beautiful, or rail against the horrible.


Destruction and renewal are exactly the same forces.  But humans have come to shun the former and rely on the latter, building a civilization dependent upon the notion of stability and continuity in Nature.  This is a fundamental error that we are paying the price for.


Considering recent calamitous events, it would seem as though human civilization is under attack:  Earthquakes, forest fires, tsunamis, hurricanes, tornadoes, drought, and excessive heat.  Human civilization can no longer be adaptive to these forces.  We are planted where we are, sucking resources to support our growth despite the shifting natural environment around us.  This creates a shifting social environment of civil unrest, poverty and war.  Over time, the host of the present in this world will be destroyed to feed the renewal of something else.  Archaeological, paleontological, and geological records prove this.


While it may be argued that human understanding and technology have never been more advanced, what we have learned so far is how formidable the challenge to stay the current course is and will continue to be.


 


C 2012 Michael Krozer

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Published on August 20, 2012 08:03 • 56 views

August 7, 2012


Pure blue sky,


Perfection to some.


But I’ll take the clouds,


Their mystery and world unseen.


 


Between heaven and earth,


There stands a landscape of majesty.


Higher than any earthly mountain,


Scalable only by those with wings.


 


Massive and bold and powerful is this  landscape.


Created by air, and vanishing into air.


 


C 2012 Michael Krozer

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Published on August 07, 2012 06:19 • 31 views