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Archive for May, 2011

I was excited to see this article yesterday on a long-planned experiment conducted in space, called “Gravity Probe B”. According to the article, the results confirm predictions made by Einstein’s theory of General Relativity. The experiment made extremely precise measurements of the Earth’s gravity well. The results comport with the idea that space-time is warped by the mass of the Earth. They also match a prediction made by Einstein’s theory that the Earth’s spin produces a swirling gravity well, with a shape analogous to that of a whirlpool drawing water into itself, in this case drawing space into itself. The space-time distortion caused by the Earth appears to move as a result of Earth’s rotation, though the rates of spin are not anywhere close to each other. The rate of spin of the gravity well is much slower. What has interested the scientists on this project in this effect is it helps explain the jets of charged particles that are generated by massive black holes in space, as the whirling distortions around them are probably more extreme, spinning much faster than here on Earth.

If you’re interested in getting into the history and the details of the theory that inspired this experiment, click on the first graphic embedded in the linked article. This will take you to another page, which also includes some video clips that provide easy to understand illustrations of what was observed. I particularly liked Kip Thorne’s “missing inch” model demonstration. He provided an easy to understand 2D model, which he transforms into a 3D model, of how they were able to show with Gravity Probe B’s instruments that the space around Earth is indeed warped.

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I saw this from Star Parker today, and I think she makes an excellent point about the role of government:

There is no way around the fact that freedom and prosperity only exist when government protects property, and this includes our money.

I would add to this, “protects the lives of individuals, and respects contracts,” as well as property, but she is on to something. Since the financial crash of 2008 our government has taken on the role of the protector of our economy, even if the majority of Americans has not wanted it to do this. It has propped up companies, at best providing a cushion to tide them through their restructuring, and at worst given them a false sense of value. It has been focused for too long on the conceit that it can produce favorable outcomes, and when I say this in particular, I mean it far beyond this discussion. It goes above and beyond protecting property. Protecting property means protecting it from harm inflicted by fraud, thieves, saboteurs, and vandals–external threats, not harm that is self-inflicted. What the government has been presuming is that it can save us from ourselves.

Even though the Federal Reserve has wanted to deny that it is devaluing the Dollar, it has been doing so by creating money and then exchanging it for Treasuries, to finance our dramatically expanding public debt, and/or toxic mortgage securities. We haven’t been feeling the effects of this so much, because banks have not been lending that much into the private economy, but someday this will change. This policy has had effects abroad, which we have been feeling indirectly. Nevertheless, this is not protecting our property–specifically, our money!

What I’ve been increasingly realizing is that if we are to get back to prosperity, our government should stop trying to save us from ourselves, stop trying to manage the economy, and get back to its raison d’etre, and the Fed should adopt a new policy of protecting the value of the Dollar. If both were to do this, it would likely cause some scary and unpleasant results in the short term, but if people can see where the real problems are in the economy, then they are more likely to be resolved.

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