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Blue Lion's Lair

Hunting for Answers and Devouring the Issues

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Tag: dimensions

Welcome back.  I hope everyone is finding the book selections interesting and/or entertaining.  I hope my descriptions on why these books are important aren’t boring anyone.  If they are….well too bad.  It’s my blog and we only have 7 more books to go. :-)


In seventh place is a book that may be the most important one I’ve read over the last year or so.  It’s called Terrestrial Energy and it’s written by William Tucker.  What makes this book so important?  It posits the single best energy plan that I’ve seen to date.  It explains why we need to rethink the types of energy we are using mainly due to the relative energy densities of these technologies.  Mr. Tucker starts out with a detailed discussion of global warming.  He gives what is the most complete and fair discussion of the topic I’ve seen.  He talks about the scientific theory behind the arguments for and against man made global warming.  Although I don’t necessarily agree with his conclusions that man is definitely warming the planet and that this could progress to a runaway situation that would be disastrous, I at least feel that the entire subject was rationally addressed and while his arguments show some reason for concern, he doesn’t give weight to those who treat man made global warming as a new religion.

The rest of the book is just phenomenal.  He goes through the entire history of human energy use, from wood, to coal, to oil, to nuclear and everything else that is being tried.  He talks about the good and bad points of each type of energy.  He debunks the “green energy” crowd by showing that the impact to our environment would be larger due to them than due to the energy we have today.  He shows clearly where we went wrong by fearing nuclear energy and not working to make the technology safe for many years thanks to Jimmy Carter’s decision to stop reprossessing spent nuclear fuel and the hysteria created by the movie “The China Syndrome” and the Three Mile Island incident and the Chernobyl disaster. While the failure mode posited by the China Syndrome has never been physically possible in an American nuclear plant, it happened at Chernobyl due to poor reactor design.  Carter’s fear that plutonium from reprocessing could be used to create weapons is shown to be nonsensical since Carter, as a nuclear engineer for the Navy, should have known that no one could separate the 4 isotopes of plutonium resulting from reprocessing.  This decision creates a much larger nuclear waste problem than there needs to be.  If France can solve these problems, why can’t we?

In the final analysis, Tucker proposes that we convert our base energy generation to nuclear (including reprocessing) with solar energy to be used for “peaking power” as the only possible way to wean ourselves off of coal (eliminating the biggest contributor of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere) and oil (the reasons for this are obvious).  If you’re not sure this book would be of interest to you the at least read Mr. Tucker’s article entitled “There’s No Such Thing As Nuclear Waste” available in many places on the internet by searching Google, or by clicking the link I’ve so thoughtfully provided.


In sixth place we have an all time classic.  It’s Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends And Influence People.  This is the book that started the whole field of Human Relations.  Every single leadership, team building, team work or interpersonal skills training course I’ve taken over the years, and I’ve taken a rather large number of them, has used this book as it’s basis.  Mr. Carnegie was a genius at figuring out how to deal with people.  What’s interesting is that it all makes common sense when you look at it, but the lessons are not always intuitive.  Recently, one of my posters brought up the “Platinum Rule”.  Do unto others as they would want you to.  This pretty much sums up the tome in one sentence.  The main concepts discussed in the book are:

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six Ways to Make People Like You
1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
2. Smile.
3. Remember that a man’s Name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
5. Talk in the terms of the other man’s interest.
6. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.

Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
1. Avoid arguments.
2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never tell someone they are wrong.
3. If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
4. Begin in a friendly way.
5. Start with questions the other person will answer yes to.
6. Let the other person do the talking.
7. Let the other person feel the idea is his/hers.
8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
9. Sympathize with the other person.
10. Appeal to noble motives.
11. Dramatize your ideas.
12. Throw down a challenge.

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
2. Call attention to other people’s mistakes indirectly.
3. Talk about your own mistakes first.
4. Ask questions instead of directly giving orders.
5. Let the other person save face.
6. Praise every improvement.
7. Give them a fine reputation to live up to.
8. Encourage them by making their faults seem easy to correct.
9. Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.

I could try to explain how helpful this book can be, but years of success by the many people who have read this book speak louder than I can.  Just suffice it to say that if everyone read this book and implemented even half of the concepts, this would be a much more pleasant and productive world.



In fifth place I have a toss up.  Two books by the same author, either of which I could put in this spot.  The author is Brian Greene, a brilliant theoretical physicist from Columbia University.  The first book, The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory is the easiest read of the two books.  Of course, neither would be considered an easy read by the average person.  However, this book starts out by providing the single best explanation and visualization of the various Laws of Relativity I’ve ever heard of.  Mr. Greene has the ability to take concepts that are as complicated as the most accomplished scientists deal with, and make them somewhat understandable to readers with an interest in science.  I mean really.  While this book didn’t introduce me to a 10 dimensional universe, by the time I finished reading it, I felt that not only did I finally really grasp Einstein’s theories of General and Special Relativity, but I also could follow conversations about String Theory, Brane Theory, Calabi-Yau manifolds, and quantum gravity.  Now at one time in my life, I earned an engineering degree.  However, it has been some time since I did so my mathematical skills have atrophied.  This book provides an understanding of the basic concepts of theoretical physics without requiring a PhD. in mathematics.

The other book by Brian Greene that belongs here is The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space, Time, and the Texture of Reality.  This book is even more interesting than the first one, but much more mind bending.  Mr. Greene really takes on a challenge here discussing whether or not there is a true reality or not.  This book borders on philosophy, but uses actual physics theories to discuss the topic.  These theories were not available to the philosophers of the past and make for some very interesting comparisons.  The complexity is continually expanded to include the nature and direction of time, trying to apply string theory as a unifying Theory of Everything to finally unite the cosmological and quantum worlds, the origin of the universe and supersymmetry.  I’m aware that much of this will sound like gobbledygook to most people reading this, but this book is the one that really started me thinking about time, the nature of time and the possible purpose of time.  This directly led to my thinking about what being outside of time would have to mean to a Creator of the universe.

While these two books are near the top of my list of books everyone should read, I have to admit, they are not for everybody.  These books should be read by people with a basic understanding of scientific principles and theories.  Having an interest in understanding the ultimate nature of the Universe helps as well.  However, their importance to me in understanding enough of current theoretical thinking on the ultimate nature of the universe can’t be understated.  For this reason, I’m including them both here.

Next up we have some more entertaining entries in spots 4, 3 and 2.

OK.  So when I conceived doing a top ten books everyone should read article, I thought I could stop it at 10 books.  As I kept looking back at the books that have influenced my thinking, the list kept growing.  I kept finding books I wanted to recommend to everyone.  As it stands, the list is now up to 18 books.  So, I’m going to make this a Top 18 Books Everyone Should Read Article.  Well…..actually, it’s a lot more books than that.  Some of the entries are series of books.  I’ll have a final book count at the end.

So without further ado, here is the list starting from spot number 18.


In 18th place we have the Story of Philosophy by Will Durant.  This is a great introduction to the field of philosophy.  It starts out with the ancient Greek philosophers and winds its way through history and describes the lives and philosophic works of the major philosophers.  I very much enjoyed the first part of this book starting with Plato, Aristotle and the other Greeks.  I have to admit though, that once I got to Schopenhauer, Kant and some of the more “modern” philosophers, I started to lose interest and find the whole subject depressing.  The lack of morality and any meaningful existence that is discussed did not answer the questions I was looking for.

However, since the creation of Wikipedia, you can probably find much of the philosophic  information from the book there.  The book does a better job describing these men’s stories than Wiki.  For these reasons, I have this book at the end of my list, but I still recommend it to fill in your knowledge of this subject.


In 17th place we have Chaos, by James Gleick. I read an earlier edition of this book some years ago, when Chaos Theory was brand new and no one had heard of it, much less understood it.  The search of patterns in what previously had been thought to be completely random is extremely interesting and although we see it all around us, it takes a fairly large amount of computing power to crunch the numbers and repetitions involved.  This book was brought back into my memory by a recent Nova special on PBS called Hunting the Hidden Dimension.  This fascinating look into fractal mathamatics, Mandelbrot, and applications in nature brought me right back to reading this book.  Cool stuff for people interesting in how the world works “behind the curtains”.


In 16th place we have Hyperspace, by Michio Kaku.  This book is full of mind bending stuff.  However, this book provided me with the first description of higher dimensions that made sense to me.  If you ever see Kaku on TV, he has a great way of explaining things.  This book has been somewhat superseded for me by two books by my other favorite cosmologist, one of which is in my top ten.  However, Kaku’s description moving from a two dimensional world to a three dimensional world as an analogy for 4th dimensional space/time first got me interested in the subject and started the juices flowing in my brain on the dimensions of time and space.


Next up in 15th place is an odd sort of self-help book called Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz.  Many successful individuals have used the concepts in this book to reach their goals.  The main thrust of this book is that your brain is a fantastic goal reaching and problem solving machine.  You need to provide your mind with an accurate self image and set positive goals for your future.  Your brain will figure it out if you let it.  Basically, if you want to change who you are, change your mind.  Those who know me will recognize one small way I use what I’ve learned in this book.  I often find myself having an aphasia event, where I can’t remember the word I want to use or the name of someone I want to talk about.  I usually work around this by finding a synonym or trying to describe who the person is.  I know, however, that if I stop thinking about the word or name and let my mind work on it in the background, the answer will pop into my head in fairly short order.

Next time we’ll do number 14-11.  The books get better as we go deeper into the list.  What won’t change is the eclectic selection.  I’m nothing if not eclectic.

In the truly excellent science fiction TV show, Babylon 5, created by J. Micheal Straczynski (or Joe to those who know him) there is an episode dedicated to the question “Who are you?”.  This episode, entitled “Comes The Inquisitor” is available via Hulu.

There is a scene in the episode where one of the main characters, Delenn,  is asked over and over again in brutal fashion “Who are you?”  Delenn first answers with her name.  That, she is clearly shown, is not the right answer.   She is confused.  She doesn’t know what the “Inquisitor” is getting at.  In the end, she realizes the Inquisitor is asking “What is most important to you?”  “What do you stand for?”  “What values do you live your life by?”  It is only at this point that the testing ends.

So, who is the Blue Lion?  Clearly it’s not my name.  We can wear names like clothes.  Whether you call me Blue Lion, or Leo Blue, or Hey, you!!  Cranky guy.  It doesn’t matter.  It does not change who I am.  I guess the best answer I can give, is in what do I believe?  What are my values?  What would I be willing to die for?

Above all, I believe that life, everyone’s, life is unique and important.  If you’ve read my earlier posts you know that this is because I believe our lives are “God experiencing all there is to experience” or “the Universe figuring itself out (nod again to Joe Straczynski)” depending upon your view of a “Creator”.  Every person should have the right to seek out their own happiness as long as that does not impinge on the rights of others.  Since you need to be alive to pursue your happiness, I can state this as everyone has the “inalienable right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.”  The Founding Fathers of the Unites States got this exactly right.

I believe the most evil thing people can do, except under one circumstance, is to destroy another human life, as that is the ultimate abrogation of that person’s rights.  Strangely, maybe paradoxically, I also believe that you have not only the right, but the responsibility, to protect your life and the lives of those you love.  Those you love can, and often does, have a very broad definition in my book.  This leads to the one exception to the rule.  It is not evil to kill another if that other presents a credible threat to either your life or liberty, or the life and liberty of someone you love.  I wish I could say that you can wait to take action until after someone is being attacked, but by then it will often be too late and you’ll end of not saving the person who’s life you were trying to save.  I’m also not saying to kill everyone that threatens you.  It’s a judgment call that each person will have to make for themselves depending upon the situation at hand.

The Blue Lion puts a large amount of value on honesty.  Dealing with other people requires you to have credibility.  Always being honest accomplishes two things.  It cements your credibility and it keeps you from having to remember which lie you told to whom.  Trust me, as you get older the memory is one of the first things to go.  Don’t make it any harder on yourself than you need to.

I also believe that decisions need to be made on the basis of reason, not emotions, in almost all instances.  Emotional decisions, very often feel like the right thing to do, but more often than not end up making a mess of things, because they do not take the law of unintended consequences into account.  Welfare is a perfect example.  It feels right to help people who are struggling (the psychological basis for this is not as altruistic as most people think as it’s usually an ego boost to the helper), and in many cases it makes sense to do so to a limited point.  However, helping people for too long tends to make them dependent on that help.  This lessens that person’s liberty and even their dignity over the long haul.  Since the helpers (I’m talking about good people trying to help here, not those trying to take advantage) don’t intend this to happen, its an unintended consequence.  Help has to be temporary and people need to be made responsible for their own lives again as quickly as possible.

My studies of economics have shown me that capitalism is fairest way to distribute resources.  Read Basic Economics 3rd Ed: A Common Sense Guide to the Economy by Thomas Sowell to get an idea of why this is true. Capitalism, makes those who need a resource most pay the most for it.  It also takes into account human nature.  Now, while I understand that every regulation or tax put upon Capitalism in some way constrains the free will of people to do as they want and slows the growth of an economy (the rising tide does lift all boats, even if it doesn’t lift them evenly), I recognize that rules need to be agreed to and followed so that less evolved people do not take advantage of the more evolved ones.  I also recognize that governments, that need to exist to enforce the rules and protect the populace from outside harm, need funds to accomplish these tasks.

Last of my core beliefs is that representative democracy, in other words, the US system, is the best, most practical form of Government yet invented by humans, at least for humans.  It gives each person a say in running the country, which directly impacts their lives.  However, it is also workable from a practical standpoint.  Pure democracy would mean everyone voted on everything.  In the end, noting but the voting would get done.  The sad fact that our current leaders are out of control and driving this country into a hole, doesn’t mean the basic system is bad.  In fact, in the not too distant future, the system will probably work very well to change the current leadership.  If the leaders we had, actually followed the Consititution and didn’t make things up as they went, we’d be better off than we are now.

As you can see, the answers I have found to the question of “Why are we here?” has had a major impact on “Who am I?”.  I have hopefully explained how my answers to my questions about God, the Universe, and why we are here, rationally (again, hopefully) lead to who I am.  As we go forward, we’ll start to look at “Where am I going?” and “How do I get there?” from both a personal level and at the group levels.  These questions are more practical in nature, and not so esoteric as what I’ve discussed up until now  Until then, good hunting.

The other day I posited that there were at least 2 dimensions to time.  I’d like to explain myself a little more.  Most people, including physicists, believe there is only one time dimension.  In fact, current string theory, which physicists believe has the best chance of being a unifying Theory of Everything (TOE), can only work mathematically if there are 10 space dimensions and 1 time dimension.  What I don’t know is if string theory will work with multiple time dimensions.  I’m not well enough versed in the math to even think about figuring it out.  However, I believe someone needs to see if it works or not because I’m convinced there are more than one time dimension.

There are several ways to think about a time stream.  I’ve heard people talk about thinking of it as a river running past the banks of reality.  I don’t know how helpful that will be here.  I’ll use two analogies.  The first is this.  Try to imagine yourself on a really long ride at Disney World billions of years long.  Thinking of being on It’s a Small World five times in a row should get you in the ballpark.  In this analogy, you must go where the ride takes you.   You have very limited ways to alter the ride any any way.  Even if you appear to have a freedom of choice, you only have a choice in what you do sitting on the ride.  In the end, you will end up where the ride takes you.  You have no real freedom of choice.  Your experience is fixed and controlled by the fine folks at Disney.

Another way people think of moving through time is by imagining they are in a universe sized movie.  Each moment in time is another frame of the movie.  In this case, you have absolutely no freedom of choice.  You must do as the director and editor make you do.  Frame after frame of predetermined destiny.

Both of these scenarios describe a single dimension of time……only one possible future.  I think there’s a problem with that line of thinking.  If the universe only had one time line, then everything is predestined and we have no choices to make.  We might as well resign ourselves to enjoying the ride the Creator ( if there is no Creator than this conversation is even more meaningless) has laid out for us and not worry about anything.  Our lives are going to go the way they go and that’s all there is.  As previously discussed, the universe, either through design or anthropic principle, or just dumb luck, seems perfectly designed allow for the experience of things.  In fact, you could say that it maximizes the ways in which things can be experienced.  Why then, would this universe be limited by allowing only one history from it’s beginning to end to be experienced?  Why would it not allow for multiple possibilities and interactivity with whatever life forms are in it by allowing them to make choices?

I look around me and I don’t feel like I’m living a predetermined script in a cosmic movie.  I seem to have choices to make; those I must make to live and those I have an option of making.  Wow, I even seem to have a choice on whether or not to even make choices!  Remarkable.  Life seems to me much more like a 3D shooter video game.  No…..I’m not saying that I feel like I’m walking around shooting bad guys and zombies all the time.  I do however, seem to have the freedom to choose to go where I want, talk to other people, OK…yeah…even shoot some other creatures or objects, all within the confines of the game.  However, if we only have the illusion of free will, but not the reality, then there is no point in living.  Since our lives are the only thing that we truly have as our own, I therefore have to reject utterly that there is only one possible time line.

Time’s not so much like a river on a map as the entire map.  I can choose to go along the river using no physical or mental engery, or I can get out of the river and climb out of the valley the river is in.  It may take more work to do so, but I may be happy I did it in the end, especially if there’s a waterfall up ahead.  At each moment in time, we each have the choice to go directly in front of us to the next moment in time through a minimal expenditure of energy, or we can go in one of many different directions.  Some of those directions require the expediture of more energy than others.

Now, while it’s clear there must be more than one time dimension, what’s not so clear is how many more there are.  Is it possible there are only two time dimensions?  I think so.  Two time dimensions allows for infinite different possible directions for each point in time.  So instead of picturing us moving through time along a line on a piece of paper with only one choice of path, it’s more like being on the sheet of paper being able to go in any direction (apparently except backwards in any way) you want.

How does this work exactly?  Does reality split at each point in time annd create an infinite number of new time lines?  How the heck would convervation of mass/energy work in that framework? Are there an infinite number of universes many of which look alike up to a point where a different path can be taken?  Does it even matter if you take yourself out of time to look at it?  I just don’t know the answers to those questions.

However, the point is that we do have choices.  Those choices, in part, determine the life we lead.  That is the crux of where this coversation is going.  Notice that as of yet, I have not mentioned, except peripherally, the existence of a Creator or God.  Ironically, that will be the topic of my next post.