Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Nope, micro black holes still not a threat

A while back, I attempted to allay your fears by explaining why the Large Hadron Collider is not a threat to humanity, because even if scientists did create micro black holes, they would evaporate before they could grow to devour the Earth.

Now a group of physicists is claiming that black holes may not evaporate as quickly as we thought (via FoxNews.com)

"We conclude that ... the growth of black holes to catastrophic size does not seem possible. Nonetheless, it remains true that the expected decay times are much longer (and possibly >> 1 second) than is typically predicted by other models," the three state in a brief paper posted at the scientific discussion Web site ArXiv.org.
First, a check on journalistic integrity. Compare the bolded statement with the FoxNews.com headline:
"Scientists Not So Sure 'Doomsday Machine' Won't Destroy World"
I think it's just Reporters who are Not So Sure.
FoxNews.com can think of a few other things that didn't seem possible once — the theory of continental drift, the fact that rocks fall from the sky, the notion that the Earth revolves around the sun, the idea that scientists could be horribly wrong.

It's happened before, that scientists have been dead wrong about something, and I'll grant that the physicists' article is very difficult reading for a layman (and not exactly light reading for someone with a Ph.D. either), however, unless all of our current understanding about physics is completely wrong, here's why we're still not in trouble.

The rate at which a black hole grows depends on its mass. (Kind of like how a 200-lb man can eat a lot more than a 20-lb kid.) The growth rate is therefore exponential, and I've already done the figurin' for a very simplified model so you'll just have to trust me that the expression is something like:

M = e7.06x10-17t - 10.8 (grams per second)

where M is the mass of the black hole in grams, t is the elapsed time in seconds, and the initial mass is the smallest mass theoretically possible for a black hole, 2 x 10-5 g (about 1019 times the mass of a heavy particle like a proton), and assuming accretion at 100% efficiency. Again, this is a very simplified picture of black hole accretion, but it gets the point across.

If scientists are able to create a micro black hole with an initial mass of approximately 2 x 10-5 g, let's take a look at the micro black hole's mass (up to 10 decimal places) after different increments of time:

t = 1 second
M = 2.0399503411 x 10-5 g

t = 1 minute
M = 2.0399503411 x 10-5 g

t = 1 hour
M = 2.0399503411 x 10-5 g

t = 1 day
M = 2.0399503411 x 10-5 g

t = 1 year
M = 2.0399503457 x 10-5 g (starting to change more noticeably)

t = 100 years
M = 2.0399507948 x 10-5 g

t = 1000 years
M = 2.0399548778 x 10-5 g

t = 1 million years
M = 2.0444920349 x 10-5 g

t = 1 billion years
M = 1.8855892509 x 10-4 g (now, we're cookin')

t = 5 billion years
M = 1.3764393726 g

Assuming no evaporation, by the time the Earth is incinerated by our dying Sun, the micro black hole will have grown to a mass of only 1.38 grams.

The physicists claim in their article that a black hole's mass would have to exceed 108 grams before its growth rate would overcome the evaporation rate, but even if they're completely wrong about black hole lifetimes, the micro black hole would still be less than 2 grams in mass by the time life on Earth is extinguished.

Must be a slow news day.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sounds familiar, somehow

Suddenly another voice spoke, low and melodious, its very sound an enchantment. Those who listened unwarily to that voice could seldom report the words that they heard; and if they did, they wondered, for little power remained in them. Mostly they remembered only that it was a delight to hear the voice speaking, all that it said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire awoke in them by swift agreement to seem wise themselves. When others spoke they seemed harsh and uncouth by contrast; and if they gainsaid the voice, anger was kindled in the hearts of those under the spell.
Maybe Saruman was hiding a TelePrompter in Orthanc.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Here's some photos of my new KT-68 based AR. Great rifle, shoots MOA easily. Went to the range with Phil at Random Nuclear Strikes, and had a great time. Brought the .300wsm as well and sucked balls with it. I was flinching all over the place. Lame.

Back to the AR - the rifle is built on a Mega lower with RRA parts, and a YHM upper with mostly YHM accessories. The scope is a cheap Simmons that I pulled off of my Savage hunting rifle package. I wonder how it'd shoot if I had a match trigger and quality optics...

The muzzle device is my own home made thing that I had on my last AR. It has no baffles and is not a sound suppressor. At some point in the future, however, I may get my SOT so that I can start selling YHM suppressors.

Things are looking good, and the upper on this rifle is an example of what you'll be able to get from Bison Armory, in addition to barrels and parts. For now, send me an email at bisonarmory@gmail.com listing the individual parts you want from YHM or Midway USA and whether or not you want me to assemble the parts or do it yourself, and I'll put a quote together for you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Quote of the day from a post by Doug TenNapel at Big Hollywood*:
"It’s not hateful or intolerant to vote that marriage should remain between a man and a woman. Tolerant isn’t a position, it’s how you treat people who hold positions you hate."
[* Entertainment blogger Dirty Harry has closed down his old site and is now the editor of BH. You should add this to your list of daily reads if you're at all interested in popular culture.]

Friday, January 09, 2009

Fisking Brady Got Tiresome A Long Time Ago

From Uncle we have this from Brady. The Brady memo was translated into English for us here. I'd like to only address one section of the memo, the one that addresses "Assault Weapons." From Brady we have the following:
We agree with President-elect Obama that we can uphold the Second Amendment “while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.”
And how are they going to uphold the second amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals? Why, they're going to keep them out of the hands of everybody.
Assault weapons are semiautomatic versions of fully automatic guns designed for military use.
They just made that up. I guess they can create a term and then define it themselves. I prefer to call them "fluffy bunny guns." Here's my own definition: A fluffy bunny gun is a gun that makes me feel all warm and fluffy, like a fluffy bunny, on the inside because it has many desirable features for sport, hunting, and home and homeland defense.
Semiautomatic assault weapons unleash extraordinary firepower. ATF has concluded that assault weapons “are not generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes” and instead “are attractive to certain criminals.”
This is a lie of omission. The Department of the Treasury study to which they refer was about the usefulness of certain importable firearms for "sporting purposes." The study itself was flawed in that the Treasury Dept. determined that a rifle considered for import was not particularly suited for sporting if it could accept a detachable magazine of unlimited capacity. Where does this determination come from? Well, first they use this test:
...we determined sporting purposes should be given a narrow reading, incorporating only the traditional sports of hunting and organized competitive target shooting (rather than a broader interpretation that could include virtually any lawful activity or competition.)
Stupid as that definition is, they also noted that
Certain matches require U.S. military service rifles, and none of the LCMM rifles fall into this category.
And there lies the lie of omission: That certain traditional (part of the sporting test) target shooting sports in the United States require the use of "assault weapons," which by the Treasury Dept.'s own definition makes them "generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes." The Treasury Dept. also makes claims about the suitability of such weapons for hunting, but I don't have time to address that here, except to write that AR-15s are commonly used for hunting. The study in question refers to rifles for import and so there is a gray area here between Brady's insinuations and the work of the Treasury Dept. Blerg.

OK, moving on...
ATF’s analysis of guns traced to crime showed that assault weapons “are preferred by criminals over law abiding citizens eight to one... Access to them shifts the balance of power to the lawless.”
I for one cannot find a copy of the ATF analysis in question. However, I am certain that the "eight to one" statistic is completely bogus. I'd like to see how they got that number. Here are some numbers that I have found. Notice that rifles are used much less often than handguns for murder. And yet the Bradys want us to believe that "Assault Weapons" are being used for mass murder. The problem here is that, at the best, they are associating "Assault Weapons" like the Tec-9 with "Assault Weapons" like the AR-15, which cannot be reasonably compared except that they are both black and military looking.

The last thing I'll mention is this claim by the Brady memo:
Since the federal assault weapon law expired in 2004, police in major cities report a resurgence of assault weapon use in crime, with hundreds of people killed on our streets with these weapons of war since late 2004.
Their source for this information? Why, their own study. Here's what that study says:
In the four years since the federal ban expired, hundreds of people have been killed in this country with military-style assault weapons. This report lists incidents in which at least 163 people have been killed and 185 wounded in with assault weapons, including at least 38 police officers killed or wounded by them.
That's a "resurgence"? How many people were murdered with firearms in the United States in the last four years? Approximately 40,000. So "Assault Weapons" were responsible for less than one half of one percent! OMG! Resurgence! And the number of police killed? Well, more police were killed in traffic accidents alone in 2004 (72) than in four years with "assault weapons" (38, supposedly).

I wish I had the time and resources to do a more thorough debunking, but that's all I've got. No deep pockets Joyce Foundation for me!

Saturday, January 03, 2009


Christmas is over, it's the new year, and it's time for me to lose 10 pounds of blubber. I hate running, I like biking, but not in the cold and rain, and working out at a gym sucks. It's been a while... since my kids were born, but it's time to play hockey! Fun game, pace similar to basketball, but with the ever-so-fun gearing-up phase (us gunnies/hunters know all about the fun of the gearing-up phase, which is why most action movies have them).

Well now I'm geared up and I've hit the ice for one pick up game, and one "stick-and-puck" session. Boy do I suck, but boy is it fun! The guys on the ice were nice to the old idiot, and I figure if I keep at it I'll be ok in a few months.

So there it is. If you need gear at the right price, either go to Canada, or head to Hockey Giant. You can't go wrong either way.