When the Stars Threw Down their Spears

June 15, 2010

We should all recognize this line from Blake’s poem “The Tyger” written just before 1800’s when England’s influence was beginning to dominate and control India and the mysterious Indian tiger evoked images of  fear and fascination.

The simplicity of the verse in the poem could allegorically describe a great discovery in the field of physics called cosmic rays. (but I seriously doubt Blake knew about cosmic rays 🙂 )

Why are they important?  Because in the field of Astrophysics they become the exception to theoretical rules.  Or they down right smash them!

First; what are cosmic rays?

They are atomic nuclei (mostly hydrogen or helium elements ) stripped of their electron shells, shooting through space at extreme  high velocity.

Are you getting the right image of what i am saying?
All right then let me put it another way.
If the nuclei of a hydrogen atom were the size of a basketball, the outer electron shell would be 8,000 miles away!  That’s the approximate distance from San Diego, California to Bangkok, Thailand.  Does that help?

This is why cosmic rays (particles ,”ray” being a misnomer at the time of discovery) mostly pass right  through us and additionally right through the earth!  The chances of hitting another nuclei are very slim but when they do WHOA !

Now for the “extreme high velocity” mental illumination.

These ultimately smallest of particles are clocked at speeds 248.5 miles (400km) a second and greater but the most shocking to all scientists was the OH MY GOD PARTICLE  discovered on the night of October 15, 1991 by the University of Utah’s cosmic ray detector.

Remember what you were taught in school; that nothing can travel at the speed of light or even approach that speed?  Why?  Because the closer matter approaches light speed the greater it’s mass increases thus slowing it down. The problem is this particle didn’t go to the same school we did nor did the source that sent it!

How fast was this infinitesimal proton going? 2.9999999999999999999999853×108 metres per second !  You are probably wondering why the speed is just not given as 3×108 BECAUSE 3×108 metres per second IS THE SPEED OF LIGHT !  This little mighty mouse after traveling across space for one year would be only 45 nano meters behind the photon (light particle) that left with him.
Remember a nanometer is only three to five atoms wide, while a human hair is about 60000 nanometers in diameter.
Was it’s mass increased?  Oh Yeah!
When this infinitesimal sub atomic particle was detected the instruments indicated a mass and force of a baseball moving at 60 miles an hour!

Let’s take a nuclei of an atom of an element in one molecule of water, within one of our cells, and shoot it through with one of these cosmic bullets.  What would happen?  Not only would that element change but also the molecule and that molecule would be removed from the body.
But whoa that is a different thing when your computer processor gets hit!

The processors are becoming more like molecules than pieces of equipment. Every two years they shrink the components of the processor chip to where they are nanometers apart; just like in a complex molecule. What happens when a nucleus of one of the atoms of the processors’ transistors gate gets nailed by a OH MY GOD PARTICLE  what then? Imagine  seeing a rising mushroom cloud coming out of your computer and the temperature rising to a 1000 degrees… just kidding 🙂

It wouldn’t be any different from what a power spike or static discharge would do.

Would it still work?  Possibly, but not very well depending on where the hole is.  It’s hard to believe that a computer would not function with holes blown through it’s processor but trust me on this 🙂

Has there ever been any computer damage attributed to cosmic rays?  Yes.  Especially at high altitudes above the protection of the atmosphere and the denser part of the earth’s magnetic field. For the IBM research on cosmic ray damage to computers and memory click HERE

Is there anything we can do to stop cosmic rays from destroying our computers?  Don’t use your computer while in orbit around the earth or outside the protection of the atmosphere 🙂  Seriously, the odds are you will more likely destroy your computer by voltage spikes and transient voltages, rather than by cosmic rays.  Unless you’re an astronaut!

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb, make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

If you have questions about using a UPS to protect your computer give us a call at IBEX or place a comment on this article.

by  R. Frank Tulak

Further reading:

The Domino Effect

Most Lethal #6

Where You From?

February 24, 2010

 No I am not just talking about where you were born, but where those things that you are made of came from.

What things am I talking about?  The hydrogen and oxygen that make up the water in your body.  The carbon and nitrogen  that makes your genes and proteins.  The phosphorus that give life to the individual cells and allows you to take a breath and give you movement.  The sulfur that makes up the amino acids that constructs every cell in your body.  The potassium that makes up your nervous system and brain.  The calcium for your bones and the iron that makes the hemoglobin for your blood.

Where did they come from?

The first element that existed 13.5 billion years ago was hydrogen which formed into gigantic spheres, which due to their mass and pressure ignited. These spheres of super heated plasma began the a fusion of the nucleus’  of the hydrogen in the core of the massive giants.  Stripping away the electrons and forcing the protons to combine forming helium.  If these giant stars were only the size of our sun then the fusion would have stopped when all the hydrogen had been converted to helium, forcing the star to die in a super nova.   But these giants had to be a minimum of 8 times the size of our sun to continue the fusion process toward the other elements.  (Nuclear fission is what man does with a bomb which is destructive.  Nuclear fusion is what happens in a star which is creative releasing heat and light.)  Now in the core of these blue white giants the fusion continues stripping away the electrons of helium and hydrogen and forcing the nucleus’ to combine forming carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. Then it begins the fusion of sodium,magnesium, aluminum and silicon.  After the silicon has been forged then begins the fusion of the nucleus of silicon with the nucleus of helium to produce phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, potassium,calcium and manganese.  This process requires tremendous forces of heat and gravity which exist only in the cores of stellar giants.

This process continues until an atom of iron is forged, now the process begins in reverse!  The fusion of iron takes energy and gives none in return. Acting like a fire extinguisher cooling the core.  As more and more iron is made the temperature of the super star is forced to rise creating a similar process to thermal runaway.  As the temperature rises more iron is forged forcing the temperature higher forging more iron.  At a certain point the super star hits critical mass and explodes creating temperatures and forces exponentially greater than was in it’s core.

These extreme forces from that gargantuan explosion, which is called a super nova, forged the heavier elements nickle, copper, zinc, silver, gold, mercury, lead and uranium.

Just think of it, parts of you are over 13.5 billion years old!

You are made from the very heart of giant stars!

Without those giant stars dying we would not be here and neither would there be any computers!

I know what your thinking, where did the first hydrogen come from?

I don’t know nor does anyone else…… you’ll just have to ask GOD 🙂


by R. Frank Tulak

When the Earth Gets Slapped

January 18, 2010

If you have ever been slapped you have noticed that it only hurts where you have been hit the other parts of your body feel fine except maybe your ego.

Solar flares and “Coronal Mass Ejections” are a part of our Sun’s existence it’s what it does. It’s nothing personal. There are 11 year cycles where our Sun goes through a period that it is reasonably peaceful and at other periods is extremely violent.

Our little Earth orbits the massive Sun at about 67,000 miles an hour and we are 93,000,000 miles away from it.  Usually it takes 3 to 4 days for a Coronal Mass Ejection to collide with our Earth’s orbiting path.

What is the difference between a solar flare, solar wind and a Coronal Mass Ejection?

The surface of the Sun does not radiate uniformly over it’s surface. Rather the surface is turbulant and violent; more like a furious storm of supper heated plasma, with pockets thousands of degrees different in temperature. Picture in your mind sitting at your fireplace with a roaring fire and feeling the waves of heat coming from the fire. Well constantly the Sun is emitting charged particles with it’s radiation; where these particles concentrate is called a solar wind.  Now imagine looking at the flames leaping from the logs, well just like the flames,  solar flares are localized explosions on the Sun where hot plasma will get shot out from the Sun. Now imagine while you sit at the fire and somewhere within the burning wood there is a loud bang and a piece of flaming wood and charcoal come flying out of the fire-place at you!  Well with the Sun when mammoth mountains of the solar surface is thrown out into space, that would be a Coronal Mass Ejection. The video below is the SOHO satellite’s images of the Sun’s surface for the last 48 hours where you can detect the differences between solar wind, solar flare and a coronal mass ejection. (The solar disk is blocked simulating an eclipse to facilitate viewing)
Do Sun spots have anything to do with solar flares and coronal mass ejections?  Sun spots occasionally are the cause of solar flares but they are definitely the cause of coronal mass ejections!  Because, unlike the Earth,  the magnetic poles of the Sun are in constant motion and the massive electromagnetic fields create whirlpools, vortexes in the plasma that may extend miles below the Sun’s surface (picture in your mind a sling shot being pulled all the way back).  This vortex or whirlpool in the plasma is that sun spot. Then, in an instant, the magnetic fields shift and then the slingshot is released!

A sun spot is the barrel of a gargantuan plasma cannon!

Millions of tons of super heated plasma from below the Sun’s surface is shot from the Sun at over 2 million miles an hour! If we are in its path it will not be a good thing. 🙂

The Earth is always hit with solar wind and solar flares but a Coronal Mass Ejection is a whole other thing!

This image show the first moments of the Sun slapping the Earth with a Coronal Mass Ejection.  The faint blue line represents the ionosphere while the turquoise lines represent the earth’s magnetic field that supports the Ionosphere. Depending on the force and mass of the Coronal Mass Ejection the ionosphere and magnetic fields will buckle and bend compressing the Ionosphere closer to earth.  Now we have to stop and think about something.  Why are the contact poles on your car battery the distance they are, why are they not closer?  Because the electricity in the battery will arc if they are closer. Okay, now lets look at this situation as the Coronal Mass Ejection which is superheated and supercharged electrically to the tune of trillions of volts negative; strikes our Earth which is electrically positive it compresses the Ionosphere shortening the distance between the Coronal Mass Ejection (extremely negative) and the Earth (positive) until ARC !  Can this be seen?  No, but the effects will be everywhere!  Why can’t it be seen?  Because the air of the atmosphere  you are breathing is the conductive material!  What will it feel like?  Some say it’s like ants crawling on your skin, others say it’s like wearing a wool sweater, while others notice nothing at all!  What are the effects? Depending on the dispersal field and the mass of the coronal ejection; everything that conducts electricity will have had thousands of volts pass through it!

Will this be the end of the earth?  NO!

Just the end of anything electrical for that city, state or country on Earth that was facing the Coronal Mass Ejection when it hit.

The biggest recorded Coronal Mass Ejection hitting the Earth was September 1st through 2nd 1859  at the speed of over 5.2 million miles an hour.  The coronal mass had traveled 93,000,000 miles in 17 hours and 40 min.  The bombardment continued as the Earth rotated so that Europe and the United States had every telegraph line ( it was the only electrical appliance at the time) shorted out or melted causing fires everywhere.  The Aurora Borealis filled the night sky as  far south as Rome, Havana and Hawaii.

(There have been Coronal Mass Ejections 100 times more powerful recorded but they did not hit Earth.)

The second biggest Coronal Mass Ejection to hit Earth was on May 15th 1921 which started also in Europe and finished in California.  All Telegraph wires and everything connected to them became fried or burnt.  Aurora Borealis was reported in Mexico and Cuba.

The third one and smallest of the three was in March 1989.  You can probably guess which city was facing the Sun when the Coronal Mass hit and melted the main transformer at Hydro-Quebec (Canada) causing the power grid to go down for over nine hours.

Back in March 2009  NASA-funded a study by the National Academy of Sciences entitled “Severe Space Weather Events-Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts” that you can buy for $31.00.  The premiss of the book evaluates total damage directly and collateral from a Coronal Mass Ejection hitting the United States of the same magnitude of the 1859 event or the 1921 event.  How far in detail does it go? It even tells you how long your toilet will be inoperable!  For a quick review of the report click here.

Ever wanted to go back to the days of  the novel “Gone With the Wind” or the days of Sherlock Holmes?  Well when these events happen again, you’re there, back before the time of electricity!

Will your computer work?  Not until power has come back on (which will be many months later). But when it does, if you didn’t have a good UPS that gave up its life “taking the bullet” to protect your computer all the insides of the computer will be charcoal!  Was your computer backup device plugged into the electricity when the Coronal Mass hit?  Then it too is toast!


This is a good idea whether we get slapped by the sun or not and it saves our ego from being hurt! 🙂

Life is the gift, electricity is only the gift wrapping and bow.


by R. Frank Tulak

Did You Feel It?

January 9, 2010

February 28, 1999 Astronomers at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia stared with bone chilling shock at the resent photos taken of the sky.  They were comparing the objects in each photograph for size and velocity. One faint object was growing in size but was not  moving in any direction. Measuring the change in size with the time of each photograph, the speed of the object was calculated at over 43,000 miles an hour. Within hours other observatories searched and verified the objects size at 100 feet long with a trajectory that crossed our orbit putting it on a collision course with earth in less than 36 hours. Within 24 hours, with all observation positions around the globe tracking the asteroids course,  the  final calculation showed the asteroid would pass between the earth and moon on March 2nd at 13:44 universal time (8:44 a.m. ET)  Everyone who knew about it could not sleep that night, if their calculations were wrong it could be a disaster similar to a nuclear explosion. I believe everyone one held their breath the last seconds from the 43rd minute to the 44th minute of what was either going to be a miraculous flyby or a deadly,  devastating impact.  On March 2nd at 13:44 universal time (8:44 a.m. ET) asteroid 2009 DD45 at 43200 miles an hour, like a monstrous bullet,  shot between the earth and  moon. Many gave silent prayers, others hugged their children and loved ones while no one else really noticed nor did the news agencies give it any attention.

Did you feel it?  Did you feel the impending doom when the asteroid was approaching?

If not you will be given another opportunity.

In 2004 an asteroid 1150 feet long ( the size of the rosebowl stadium!) and weighing 23,0000 ton was discovered and unlike the afore mentioned asteroid there has been enough time to properly assess it’s threat potential and with great precision project it’s path, because it has a collision course with earth in 2029 (not 2012).  When will our orbit and the asteroid collide?  Are your ready for this?  In April.  What day?  On the 13th day and what day of the week is that?  It’s a Friday.  With that knowledge they named the asteroid “marshmallow” 🙂 (no! just kidding) They gave it the name of Apophis, the Egyptian God of death.  If this asteroid hits the earth it is going to be very bad!  How bad?  All the dinosaurs will be become extinct!  Wait, they are already extinct.  Well then if it hits the earth it will really ruin everyones day!  The good news is its not going to hit the earth!  How close will it come?  It will shoot between the earth and our communications satellites.  Do you know how close that is?  (Your Dish TV and cell phone will probably not work and it will not be wise for any aircraft to be flying that day either!) What is the bad news?   Well our earth’s gravity is going to drastically change the course of that asteroid when it flies that close to the earth, so much so that it might change it’s course and hit our earth 7 years later 2036.  Where would it hit?  More than likely it will hit in the Pacific ocean between Hawaii and Los Angeles, which will cause 5 consecutive tsunami waves radiating from the impact area; the first one being 3 MILES HIGH ( This is not a good thing! )  If this asteroid hits it will ruin everyone’s day and cause some very major life style changes for everyone who lives on the Pacific coastline!

The technical tsunami

On 27 July 1993 the requirement for EMS and a door through 1 meg memory limit in 16 bit computers was unlocked and opened with the ability to write more complex and intelligent programs with the arrival of the 32 bit Windows NT.  The impact created a technical tsunami wave that changed every computer. The ripples are still felt today with the advanced graphics editing programs using Microsoft XP and our graphic intense cell phone!  The advanced 32 bit programs allowed photo quality image capture and printing.  Where did the corner overnight photo developer and printer shops go?  Where did the public telephones and phonebooths go?  Swept away by 32 bit programing  tsunami!

Did you feel it? The twinge of unfamiliarity with the world?  The need to relearn how to make a simple phone call.  To relearn how to take a photograph with a digital camera.  To learn how to modify the image and print it out on a printer.  Where is the typewriter?  What is happening to the fax machine?  What is a website or a blog?  Have you learned to tweet and do your tweets link to your Facebook?

If you missed it you have another opportunity.

The 64 bit operating system now has the engines to really run it.  Four years ago the two-in-one processor came out.  Two years ago the four-in-one processors came on line. Now with the 32 bit operating system reaching it’s maximum limt  and the demand to do more than the 32 bit operating system can perform the technical tsunami has begun!  64 bit programs will change everyone’s day and cause some very major life style changes for everyone!

by R. Frank Tulak

OMG! The earth is NOT FLAT but the Universe IS!

September 8, 2009


Another chapter of history has been written with the compilation of the data gathered by the WMAP team in 2008. All the data confirms that the universe is flat! 

Ah! you will say but mankind before Columbus believed the earth was flat too.

That is not true!

Let’s review the facts.

With extraordinary few exceptions no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the earth was flat.   

A round earth appears at least as early as the sixth century BC with Pythagoras, who was followed by Aristotle, Euclid, and Aristarchus, among others in observing that the earth was a sphere. Although there were a few dissenters–Leukippos and Demokritos for example–by the time of Eratosthenes (3 c. BC), followed by Crates(2 c. BC), Strabo (3 c. BC), and Ptolemy (first c. AD), the sphericity (ball shape) of the earth was accepted by all educated Greeks and Romans.

Ah but you will say Christianity changed that.  That is not true.  A few–at least two and at most five–early Christian fathers denied the sphericity of earth by mistakenly taking passages such as Ps. 104:2-3 as geographical rather than metaphorical statements. On the other side tens of thousands of Christian theologians, poets, artists, and scientists took the spherical view as described in Isaiah 40:22 which discribes the earth as a circle dwelling in the heavens as a man dwells in a tent; throughout the early, medieval, and modern church. The point is that no educated person believed otherwise. Historians of science have been proving this point for at least 80 years (most recently Edward Grant, David Lindberg, Daniel Woodward, and Robert S. Westman), without making notable headway against the error. Schoolchildren in the US, Europe, and Japan are for the most part being taught the same old nonsense.

I know what you’re thinking. What about Copernicus or Galileo or their followers? Their challenge was not that the earth was spherical but  had to demonstrate the superiority of a heliocentric (sun centered) system over a geocentric (earth centered) system. NO EDUCATED MAN OF HISTORY BELIEVED THE EARTH WAS FLAT!

Well if no one in history believed the earth was flat then why do we believe they did?

It began with the writings of two men.

657px-Jean_Antoine_LetronneOne a Frenchman Antoine-Jean Letronne whose book On the Cosmographical Ideas of the Church Fathers  printed in 1834 said the church fathers believed in a flat earth.


Irving-Washington-LOCThe other an American who is no other than our beloved storyteller Washington Irving (1783-1859), who loved to write historical fiction under the guise of history. His misrepresentations of the history of early New York City and of the life of Washington were topped by his history of Christopher Columbus  printed in 1828. It was he who invented the indelible picture of the young Columbus, a “simple mariner,” appearing before a dark crowd of benighted inquisitors and hooded theologians at a council of Salamanca, all of whom believed, according to Irving, that the earth was flat like a plate. Well, yes, there was a meeting at Salamanca in 1491, but Irving’s version of it, to quote the distinguished modern historian of Columbus, Samuel Eliot Morison, was “pure moonshine. Washington Irving, scenting his opportunity for a picturesque and moving scene,” created a fictitious account of this “nonexistent university council” and “let his imagination go completely…the whole story is misleading and mischievous nonsense.

What does this have to do with computers? absolutely nothing! I have other interests, my world isn’t flat. 🙂

Does Dark Matter?

August 30, 2009

dark-matter_bigThis is a very delicate subject to astrophysicists. Why? Because it forces them to believe in something that just can not be proven and probably never will.

Let me explain Dark Matter is nothing but has density, weight and gravity.

I know the brain goes Whoa! Then it is something, right ? No because there is no substance.

Let me illustrate the problem with a metaphor of an elephant for the universe.


Picture an elephant (Loxodonta Africana) that normally weighs about 12 tons. But when you weigh that elephant, that acts and behaves like an elephant, you find he weighs only 1,104 pounds, about half a ton. The elephant should not be able to move or act or have the strength to do what he does unless he weighed 12 tons.  But every time you weigh him he is about half a ton.  Where is the other 11.5 tons?  That is the problem!

In our universe we watch the most amazing things  and weigh the observations but what should be there and what is there doesn’t make sense. 

Here is the break down: Results from the WMAP team in 2008, which combined data from the CMB and other sources, indicate that the universe today is 72% dark energy, 23% dark matter, 4.6% regular matter and less than 1% neutrinos.

Wow 23 % dark matter and 72% dark energy that’s a lot of nothing!

Now you understand that nothing has to be there or the universe can’t be doing what its’ doing.

Now I understand why computers just will not work no matter what you do to them.

It’s Dark Matter in the computer! 🙂