On Fear

On Fear

 

Everyday, around the world, every human feels fear. Every human experiences fear, as it is an inevitable consequence of human existence. Fear does not have a specific form in which it must come in, instead manifesting itself in a plethora of different forms. Anxiety, terror, horror, worry, all of these are forms of the same thing. Today, I will be talking about fear, and how society has twisted our view of fear into something that should be avoided at all costs.

 

Take, for example, the definition of fear. It is defined as “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” Yet is this necessarily true? Does fear have to be something to negative in connotation? Or can we find a way to take fear, and not only normalize it, but reveal it as the positive thing that it really is? This may seem like a large step to take, so let’s start out the process with a simple analogy. Fight or flight, everyone has heard the words, and everyone knows what it means. The feeling of whether or not you should stay and fight to protect yourself and others, or flee for your life. This is a primal instinct, one which we cannot control. This phenomenon is based off of a flood of cortisone entering the body, and overtaking the emotions with a flood of adrenaline, therefore causing the fight or flight response. This is a classical form of fear.

 

In society, we have taken the idea of fight or flight, and applied it to the overall idea of fear, therefore twisting it into a feeling that should be avoided at all costs. When I was younger, I was told that fear was the feeling that kept us from doing things that would make us get hurt. But what about a fear of heights? Or a fear of monsters? Surely someone who is afraid of monsters is not being protected by that fear. Instead, it is better to stand face to face with your fears, and prove to them that they have no power over you. Embracing your fears gives you power over them, and once you have the power, you can use them however you want.

 

It is fear that has propelled us forward throughout history. A fear of the dark was solved with fire. A fear of being attacked was solved with weapons. Fear is not what we say it is. It is not the horrifying thing that we have made it out to be. Instead of seeing it as a roadblock, instead we should see it as a way to push ourselves beyond what we previously thought possible. Take our fear, and convert it into fuel, and we will find ourselves beyond what we thought was possible, and beyond what we could ever imagine.

 

Fear is a constant, something that will persist in your life, regardless of who you are, or what you’ve done. No matter how much we try, we can never get rid of the feeling of fear. What we can do is capitalize on it, and use it as a way to motivate ourselves to an extent that was once unthinkable. We must no longer treat fear as an unwanted guest, but instead an invited friend, one who wishes to help, not hurt. This is the ultimate choice that all humans must make, whether to give in, or push on. In the spite of overwhelming odds, we must make the right choice. To feel fear is the human experience, but to overcome it is the human expertise.

 

~Zane

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Unlocking the Secrets of The Standard Model Part 1: Quarks

After a long hiatus, I am back, and ready to entertain and inform my readers with a new series. This one pertains to the Quantum Physics, a subatomic hobby of mine. Each piece will be explaining a different piece of Quantum Physics, starting with the very first series: Unlock the Secrets of The Standard Model. I’m hoping that after I’m done, I’ll be able to compile all the information into a short book. So here is Part 1: Quarks.

In high school, we all learned about the “basic building blocks of matter.” We always assumed that things like protons, neutrons, and electrons were the end all be all of what composes matter. We learned about things like elements, covalent bonds, electron interactions, and even a little bit of quantum chemistry, but that was the end of it. We never stopped to research, or even consider the fact that there may be something beyond these 3 basic particles. Luckily for the entire scientific community, there is something beyond these 3 particles. The true basic building blocks of almost all of the matter in the universe. These infinitesimal particles are known as quarks.

 

Before we delve into the definition of a quark, we must first talk about the different classifications of something called “elementary particles.” An elementary particle is a subatomic particle that helps to comprise the most essential pieces of matter in the universe. To help us keep track of all these different particles, we have something called the “Standard Model of Particle Physics.” This standard model separates different forms of matter into the proper categories. The 4 categories that exist within the Standard Model are: Quarks, Leptons, Gauge Bosons, and Scalar Bosons. These 4 categories include all of the different types of KNOWN elementary particles. What has not yet been discovered is so heavily beyond our comprehension, that we simply cannot begin to guess at what it would look like. We like to leave these things to the visionaries, like Feynman or Einstein.

 

In this post, I will be covering the first piece of the puzzle that is the Standard Model, quarks. Before we can understand what a quark is, we have to understand what a baryon is. A baryon is a specific denomination of matter, which is comprised of protons and neutrons. Anything that contains a proton or a neutron is classified as baryonic, including protons and neutrons themselves. Simply put, anything we can touch is baryonic matter. There are other types of matter, but for the moment, we’ll just be talking about baryonic matter. It is a common misconception that protons and neutrons are the most basic particle building blocks. In fact, I’m willing to guess it’s one of the most common scientific inaccuracies. The true building block of all baryonic matter is the quark. Within all baryons is 3 quarks, which comprise that baryonic particle.

Now that we have established important vocabulary concepts, we can now move on to the nitty gritty. Quarks are a little intimidating to those who are unfamiliar, but I’ll try my best to explain them in a way that makes sense. Quarks are governed by 3 different forces. The first of which is known as “color.” Color has nothing to do with the actual color of the particle, but, rather, the force that the particle is experiencing. The 3 different levels of color force are Red, Green, and Blue. Each color corresponds to a specific level of force that each particle is experiencing. This allows multiple types of the same quark to exist within a particle. The second force is known as spin. Each quark has a spin of ½, which is determined by some extremely confusing math. If you have a solid grasp on calculus, you can check out some resources on h-bar and spin vectors, but otherwise, don’t bother.

 

The third and final property is its mass. This is where things get truly complicated. Before we talk about the mass of quarks, we must talk about another particle: a gluon. A gluon field surrounds every quark, helping it to stay in place, and allowing it to interact with other quarks without repelling each other. The gluons help the quarks hold different color charges, which allow them to overpower certain quantum elements, such as the Pauli Exclusion Principle, which states that no two particles can occupy the same quantum level. Since each quark is surrounded by a gluon field, we have to take into account two different kinds of mass. The first is known as the current quark mass, which is the mass of the quark itself. The second is called the constituent quark mass, which is the sum of both the quarks mass, and the mass of the gluon field that surrounds it. These 3 properties are the basic constituents of the most fundamental particles every discovered.

 

The final vocabulary term used when defining quarks is “flavor.” Flavor refers to the type of quark that is being observed. There are 6 known flavors of quarks, and they each come in pairs. The first pair is Up and Down, which are the types that form protons and neutrons. The second pair is Strange and Charm, which are used in heavier particles, such as hadrons. The final pair is the most massive. It includes the Bottom and Top quarks. These 3 pairs of quarks are known as generations.

 

The world of quantum physics is a beautiful place, and it will only become more so as we find out more about the universe that we live in. Until next time.

 

~Zane

Philosophy Rant

Hey guys! I’ve been thinking a lot about philosophy lately, and I wanted to give some of you an idea of what I’ve been pondering.

 

One of my favorite philosophical concepts is that of the “Golden Mean.” This theory was developed by first by Aristotle, who stated an objection to the original idea of good and evil being opposites. In almost every aspect of our culture, it is made apparent that there is good, which is moral and correct, and evil, which is immoral and wrong. Even ancient literature states this, most notably the bible, stating that God and Satan are opposites, one standing for all thing moral, and the other all things immoral, respectively. This is a simple fact of culture, with the only deviation being that of a moral “gray area,” which does not necessarily lean one way or the other.

 

Aristotle decided that he objected to that idea, and instead came up with the Golden Mean. He stated that good and evil were not opposites, but rather a spectrum. If one were to imagine a sandwich (yum), one could picture evil as two pieces of bread on either side, and good being the Golden Mean in the middle. On one side, we have the idea of deficiency, one of the evils of the world. One the other side, we have excess, another one of the evils manifested in the world. Of course, in the center, we have a balance of the two, creating a Golden Mean, which combines both aspects.

 

A way to create an example of this spectrum is to pick a positive, balanced virtue, and scale it accordingly, first to deficiency, then to excess. For this example, we will choose an inherently good virtue: generosity. In a balanced form, generosity includes ideas that pertain to giving to the needy, sharing with others, etc. When one deficient of generosity, they become stingy, and unwilling to share with others. Yet in excess, generosity becomes extravagance, and wastefulness. This is true of any virtue that is moral and righteous. Since good and evil is a subjective ideal, it is impossible to determine a single theory to be true. Such is the nature of philosophy.

 

I hope this at least somewhat interested you guys. This post was really fun to write, so it was pretty easy for me to rant about it, especially with the subject being so interesting. Stay tuned for more philosophy stuff, and maybe I can even make it into a running series.

 

~Zane

Random Astrophysics Theory Idea

Today, I have an interesting post idea, one that will hopefully make up for my long silence. Today, I will be presenting a theory that I have been working one. I may only be 17 years old, and relatively ill-informed when it comes to astrophysics, but I want my readers to try to take me seriously for a moment, as I present a theory that I have come up with.

 

The formation of a neutron star, and even stellar black holes is common knowledge in the scientific world. Yet one thing is still unknown: how a supermassive black hole forms, and what it takes for a star to become one. When it comes to stellar black holes, the common theory is that the star runs out of fuel, and its own gravity causes it to collapse in on itself. But could it be possible that something entirely different happens in the formation of supermassive black hole? Something that was previously thought to be impossible?

 

My theory states that supermassive black holes form from the same thing that most stellar black holes form from: a massive star. As a star ages, it begins to use larger and larger elements as its fuel, until it eventually runs out, or can no longer burn what it needs to without outside energy, causing it to collapse on itself. I believe that the same thing happens in a supermassive black hole, except for one small change. Instead of trying to fuse something like iron, the core undergoes some kind of drastic change, causing it to begin trying to fuse a much more massive element.

 

Currently, 118 different elements have been discovered, the heaviest of which only being created in super-colliders and laboratories. Yet could it be possible for a star to undergo some kind of strange event, causing its core to begin to form some kind of unknown or exotic element, one which is too large and unstable to created on earth? If this were possible, the star would surely collapse in on itself, the sheer mass of the super large elements causing the star to give off insane amounts of gravitational pull. In turn, this would create an enormous black hole, one which would consume surrounding stellar nebulae, and other stars, resulting in a supermassive black hole.

 

I doubt that this theory is even possible, but it’s been on my mind for quite a while, and I wanted to put it down on paper. The fact that the core of a star would have to undergo such a massive change to convert itself from iron to some other exotic, massive element makes it extremely implausible, but still possible. I’ll try to do more research, but the math required sets quite a few limits on my ability to comprehend anything having to do with this subject. Stay tuned for more info.

 

~Zane

Autistic Point Of View – Logical Fallacies

Two posts in one day? Oh heck yeah! One of the most interesting things known to man is the idea of philosophy, and that of logical analysis. As someone who is autistic, it comes naturally to me to think logically, therefore, philosophy is extremely fun! One of my favorite philosophical concepts is that of logical fallacies. There are a ton of logical fallacies, and each one has a unique form. Without further adieu, here are my favorites!

 

The Monte Carlo Fallacy: The “Monte Carlo Fallacy” is a fallacy that is often used in gambling. The idea of the Monte Carlo Fallacy is described in the following story. Joe the gambler has been playing roulette all day, and has had no luck. After 9 spins, Joe realizes that the past 8 have landed on red, so he must be due for a black! Joe, being the incredible logician he is, put everything down on black, only for it to land on red. Too bad Joe didn’t realize that the chances were the same the whole time! Even though the past 8 spins had been on red, that doesn’t change the probability of the next one.

 

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc Fallacy: The “post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy”, literally means “after, therefore because.” This fallacy is the idea that because something happened after a certain event, it must have been caused by that event. An example is the idea of vaccines causing Autism. Many people assume that since there have been more cases of autism diagnosed after the popularization of vaccinations, some people draw the conclusion that vaccines cause autism. In some cases, this reasoning is not a fallacy, such as the fact that tsunamis often happen after earthquakes. Yet it is usually illogical, like saying that my grandmother died after David Bowie died, so that means her death was caused by David Bowie’s death. Overall, it’s a very common fallacy, but it’s pretty stupid to use it.

 

No True Scotsman Fallacy: The “No True Scotsman” fallacy is one where the user shifts the goalposts every time their opponent tries to rationalize something so it doesn’t apply to a “true” example. Example: Angus said that no scotsman puts sugar in his coffee. Angrily, Roghnall exclaims that he is a scotsman and puts sugar in his coffee. Enraged by his comment, Angus exclaims that no “true” scotsman would put sugar in his coffee. This is my alltime favorite fallacy.

 

Overall, fallacies are gross, and you shouldn’t use them. Avoid them at all costs. See y’all next time!

~Zane

Autistic Point of View – Astrophysics Rant #1

Man, the universe is weird. Being an astrophysics buff, just about everything in the universe (teehee) interests me. I feel like ranting about General Relativity today, so here goes a bit of a rant session. General Relativity is a theory created by Albert Einstein. Einstein proposed that the very fabric of the universe is made up of something called “space-time”, and everything else in the universe exists on top of that fabric. The two different concepts of space and time interweave to create a cosmic blanket that is the basis for everything in the known universe. Einstein spent his entire life postulating about how gravity could exist and be proven, and General Relativity was the outcome. General Relativity is the idea that gravity occurs because celestial objects of considerable mass warp the fabric of space-time, and cause a kind of divot. If one were to imagine a blanket being pulled tight at all 4 corners, it would be an accurate representation of space-time. Now imagine dropping as bowling ball in the middle. The blanket would stretch downward, and a divot in the blanket would be created by the mass of the bowling ball. If one were to roll a golf ball around the divot, the golf ball would roll around the bowling ball, and either fall in if it was too close, or fly away if it was too far. General Relativity works the same way, and is the most accepted theory of gravity. An example of General Relativity in action is our sun. Since the sun is so massive, it warps space-time around it, causing all of the planets in our solar system to revolve around it. If the sun were to magically disappear, all of the planets would go flying away in multiple directions. If the sun were to get bigger, all of the planets would fall into it slowly, and be burned away. This is Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity.

 

Hope you enjoyed!

~Zane