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Blue Lion's Lair

Hunting for Answers and Devouring the Issues

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Tag: relativity

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.

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.

Yesterday I wrote about how time is necessary to spread out all the possible things that can exist and make them “experience-able”.  Today we take that one step further.  While time separates one moment from another, space is the thing that separates one object from another.   In this, space performs a similar role as does time.  That of spreading the “everything” out so that it can be experienced.  Therefore, it can be said the the result of the existence of the space-time continuum, is that all the things that can possibly exist, in all the ways they can exist, are spread out so that each is discrete and distinct from all others.  If this weren’t true, then there would be no ability to experience anything.  Lucky for us that we happen to be properly designed/evolved to be able to experience the dimensions of time and space.  OK…..maybe luck doesn’t have a whole lot to do with it and that’s a subject I’ll get to.

For now, lets consider all the things that exist in our universe.  Not just the physical things, but the other aspects of reality as well.  I’m talking about things like temperature, lighting, color (related to lighting), abundance or lack thereof, and even emotions and our judgments of good and evil.  If you look at each one of these aspects, it turns out that they are all defined relatively.  In other words, in order for the definition or measurement of one of these aspects to have meaning, they must be compared or related to other values of that aspect.  Not only that, but each definition of measurement is on a continuum of some sort.  For instance.

  • Hot is relative to cold.  Yes, there is absolute zero, but all other temperatures are relative to it.
  • Light is relative to dark.  Again, very similar to the temperature relationship.
  • Up is relative to down, right is relative to left, forward is relative to backward
  • Speed is relative, at least up to the speed of light.
  • The future is relative to the past.
  • Blue is relative to Green, microwave is relative to infra-red
  • Even good is relative to evil.

In many of the above cases, one side of the aspect defines the other.  The best example of this is good and evil.  If evil didn’t exist, no one would know what good is.  Everything would just be.  Unfortunately, evil is necessary.  That doesn’t mean that there have to be evil people.  However, the experience or history of evil must remain in order for people to appreciate and fully experience what good is.

What does all this mean?  Well…this is truly the universe of the relative.  Everything is relative.  This relativity is what makes experience of more than time possible.  In fact, without the other relative aspects of the universe, time while it would exist, would be pretty meaningless.  I can’t think of a worse hell than having to exist through time with absolutely nothing else to experience.

I know that many people use the “Everything is relative” line to justify not believing that absolute good and evil exist and that the definitions are in the “eye of the beholder” so to speak.  This is just plain wrong.  There are rational definitions of good and evil.  I plan to lay them out in this forum.  But first we need to address a few more concepts before I can do that.

In any case, the definition of Blue Lion’s Theory of Relativity is this.  Everything is relative to something else.  Without this relativity, there would be nothing to experience and therefore no reason for life, or even the universe to exist.