Author Archives: Troythulu

MetaCognitions: 2014.11.27


Troythulu 5`I think that it’s necessary that we question within reason those claims extraordinary or important to us, and especially when those claims unfairly support our own or others’ ideology and belief-systems, however ill-suited we may feel at the time to bother with it.

Given the power and pervasiveness of human bias (my own included), we should not be too credulous or too obstinate regarding what we accept as true when our personal affirmation or denial of a claim speaks too clearly to our own prejudices and inner narrative and not to evidence and reason or the lack of such for the claim.

Carl Sagan popularized the phrase “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” and Christopher Hitchens is credited with his dictum, “What may be asserted without evidence may be dismissed without evidence,” both noting that the burden of proof for a claim lies always with the one making it.

This is because it is rationally impossible to definitively prove a particular claim false with a limited data set. There is always going to be data we don’t currently have available to us, as we simply cannot gather infinite data in a finite span of time.

There is a balance that must be struck in effectively arriving at more reliable knowledge claims, and so we must satisfy ourselves with the best evidence we can get at the moment, recognizing that we shall always overlook much of what data can possibly exist no matter how diligent we are.

What do I mean by questioning within reason? Nothing arcane or obscurely philosophical; merely that when it’s brought to our attention that there exist good or poor reasons to accept or reject a claim, to consider those reasons, and to weigh them in balance with the claims they are intended to support and, to paraphrase David Hume, “…proportion our belief to that evidence.”

It’s something I struggle with daily, as my own…psychology…makes me somewhat impressionable despite seven years of identification and development as a skeptic. I don’t always win these struggles, but even if perfect, consistent skepticism is unattainable in practice, I think it’s an ideal worth striving for and approaching ever closer.

What’s at the end of the journey? When should I laud myself for finally arriving at it?

Never…

…Never, because there is no final destination, just a road that winds ever onward. But things have gone far better than I’d have expected in late 2006 through mid-2007, and that’s something to be thankful for.

I don’t need magic. I don’t need to supplement reality with anything outside of it to make it “better.” There is magic enough in the real world.

I have that real word, no, a universe, perhaps even a multiverse, and all of you to be thankful for as well, and that resonates deeply with me, the part of me which stirred our species’ ancestors on the plains of Africa millions of years ago, the part which survives in our species still.

It is the spirit I believe in(…and the only one I may partake of, without medical complications! ;-) ): the human spirit.

Thank you, my friends and readers, whatever you believe.

So very, very much!

Cat Thursday: A Limerick for Gorgeous


cat thursday 2

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It’s all for the love of cats! Enjoy!

This week, I give you a limerick on our fluffy girl, Gorgeous, or Gracious, take your pick, in all her catitudinous cutitudinosity…

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Fractals of the Week: Strange Worlds, Strange Lands…


Here are a couple of images I’ve created during last weekend from a customized parameter set. I’ve had a lot of fun time generating both of these. Double-click for full embiggenation!

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MB3D3675754757557374

All JPEG, PNG & GIF images in this post are original works by the author, created via Mandelbulber, Fractal Domains, Ultra Fractal , Frax, and Mandelbulb 3D and unless otherwise stated are copyright 2014 by Troy Loy.

Caturday’s Astrophenia: 2014.11.22


Well, it’s back. With this entry, the far-too-long long hiatus of this installment is over.

I’ve mentioned before that I won’t be online as much as I used to, and so won’t be posting live on any of my sites save for emergencies. I will, however, schedule entries when I can get the free time to do so, and set them to post as needed and whenever material is at hand. That may mean that they pop up online more or less frequently than currently, preferably more frequently once I’m up to my old pace again.

I took so long between the last edition of this series and this one as I needed to bring myself up to speed on blogging after my WordPress break from late August to early October of this year, and this entry depends partly on use of time-sensitive, datable material difficult to set up for posting on a busy daily schedule without getting reaccustomed to it.  The same applies to the Weekly Gnuz & Lynx Roundup, which will be alternating with this entry once I finalize how I’ll organize it, on Saturdays. One, or the other, possibly, but rarely both for the same day.

My language lessons are coming along nicely, though not as quickly as I’d like. But then, I’m alternating time between three languages, and reason dictates that that’s to be expected. I’m surprised it isn’t taking longer given my dislike of multitasking when I don’t have to. At current estimate, I should have a basic understanding of grammar, vocabulary, and effective use of script for all three languages sometime around the early part of 2015.

I now plan on this entry being specific to this site, as with the Weekly Roundup, and will follow a similar guideline for other more blog-specific entries on my other sites. I want each blog to have its own feel, and that, I think, is the best way to make that happen. Let me know in the comments for this entry if there is anything that you would like to see changed about this series or added, but please keep things civilized and constructive. My cats and I will appreciate it :-)

Thank you.

Leonids Above Torre de la Guaita

The Double Dust Disks of HD 95086

Star Formation in the Tadpole Nebula

Bright Spiral Galaxy M81

LDN 988: Dark Nebula in Cygnus

M1: The Crab Nebula

Solar Flare from a Sharper Sun

Images of the Week:

Weekly Astrognuz:

Distant Horizons: Mosaic of worlds humanity has set upon

Warm, Flowing Water on Mars was Episodic, Study Suggests

Philae Spotted: Lander actually seen in comet photo

No “Rubber Duckie!” Rosetta’s Comet Looks Weird in Decade-Old Hubble Model 

Casual Sexism: When a shirt is more than a shirt

Philae Lander Early Science Results: Ice, Organic Molecules, and Half a Foot of Dust

SDO and sunspot 2192: Amazing hi-def video

Elektro-L: Video of the Earth from Space

Subaru Telescope Spots Galaxies From The Early Universe

NASA’s Swift: Ten Years in Space

The Cosmos in Video:

Ze Cats for Ze Caturday:

 

Mr. Eccles Presents: Neil deGrasse Tyson responds to a six-year-old: “How can first graders help the Earth?”


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