Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Creation: life and the impossibility of evolution

Two aspects lead me to reason the impossibility of evolution and the very real existence of a creator, God.

The improbable and impossible spontaneous generation of life, at first, proposed by evolution theory, and perhaps more compelling, the real and non-material components of life. Inspiration and creativity, to mention two - conscience, reason and so many extraordinarily unique properties of life.

Love, hate, peace and joy, delight and dissapointment. These beautiful expressions of non-physical information so intertwined with our physical being - consciousness aside from physical presence. I know that I am, aside from any other observation… therefore God must be…

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Richard Dawkins: an angry man at war with his Creator

I went in search of a name, the name of a scientist, and happened upon Richard Dawkins site; the Dawkins of evolutionary fame, with a very poor view of creationists. In-fact, Richard’s blog was nothing more than a nasty tirade about several Phds, who happen to believe in creation. Without guessing Richard’s motives, this particularly venomous vilification reveals something of Richard that goes beyond his insistence on evolution.

Now Richard is likely to scoff at such things, and while contemplating a response, it became clear that he is not unlike a batsman who has been bowled out. He stands, wildly swinging his bat, protesting the umpires call. Was it LBW? Or has the batsman been caught out! Demolishing all oncomers until someone says, “your out, mate - times up.”

The bat is driven into the turf with a downward flurry, a final gesture of disgust, the batsman storming off in a rage, arms waving madly in the air - a humiliating, public defeat, and unsportsman like behaviour revealed to all in sundry - not very impressive, really… and likely wont be asked to play again - not at that club anyway…

In view of informed and authoritative evidence refuting evolution, Richard predictably resorts to ad hominem - in plain language, admission of defeat… it’s all over, bar the shouting. And, Richard will have no choice, eventually, but to concede, likely enduring the shame and the taunts of his evolutionary peers, to the saving of his soul.

Richard rages not against Men, but against his Creator, as all Men have and do, his learning providing more formidable arms than many Yet! He has no concept of his opponent, whose love is boundless. But there’s plenty of room on the way to Damascus… and many have been that way. Time has a way of catching up with all of us…

Friday, December 4, 2015

DSLR Cooling Systems: design considerations

If you are intending to or have thought about designing and building a thermoelectric cooling system (TECS) to cool your digital camera, you may have spent some time reading about the grand designs of others.

In a discussion on one of the astronomy forums about developing a TECS to be attached to the base of a digital camera, the thread originator felt it was possible to miniaturise the components and get away from the big heatsink examples that proliferate the world of digital camera cooling. At first glance the idea was attractive, and the discussion provided the impetus to write this short summary about TECS, based on my own experience and the volume of authoritative, and otherwise, information available on the net.

I should add that prior to commencing this journey into the wotld of TECS most of the technology was irrelevant to my day-to-day experience and needs, and consequently, there was a lot to learn.

The first place to start is the Wikipedia entry about thermoelectric cooling, which provides an explanation of the Peltier / Seebeck effect. In simple terms a current passing through dissimilar metals causes electrons to flow from one side of a TEC to the other. One side gets hot and the other cold. By sandwhiching a TEC between a heatsink (the hot side) and the object to be cooled (the cold side) and passing a current through the TEC one has a thermoelectric cooling system.

It would be nice if that’s all their is to it. A common misapprehension, and one which was at the centre of the discussion thread mentioned above, is that TEC devices are simply energy in, energy out. This conventional thinking has so many real life examples, but TEC devices are different - welcome to the dark side.

In very simple terms, it takes energy to power a TEC to produce the Peltier/Seebeck effect, however, and this is a big however, the TEC in contact with a surface changes the energy state of that surface, one cooling the other heating. To put it another way, current flowing through the TEC has the effect of changing the energy state of the adjoining surfaces. The changed energy state of the adjoining surfaces creates a differential hot to cold. And providing there is not too much resistance, energy flows through the TEC.

To look at this another way, it takes current to produce the Peltier effect while thermal energy also flows through the system. But how much energy is moving from one side of the TEC to the other and what must we do with that energy to achieve the desired degree of cooling (no pun intended). In simple terms the current supplied by the power supply and the thermal energy moving through the TECS are equivalent; that is, for practical design purposes it is safe to say the total energy moving through the TECS is twice the supply power.

As we know, power in Watts, produced by a power supply is derived by the current in amps multiplied by the potential difference in volts; that is;

W = I*V where I is current and V is volts - however, the power passing through the TECS is approximately 2*(I*V) for sensible design purposes.

And so, our heatsink must be capable of dissipating twice the energy supplied by the power supply, if we are to cool effectively. This is not necessarily an intuitive concept, but thinking it through using a similar analogy may help.

An ice cube eventually melts if it is exposed to a surrounding air mass which is above freezing temperature. The energy state of the ice cube at its surface is increased by the higher energy state of surrounding warmer air and eventually becomes liquid. However, if we reverse the effect to freeze water we need a power source to decrease the energy state of the air around the water sufficiently to decrease the energy of the water, until it freezes - sure, the colder air causes the water to freeze, but it took a source of power to lower the temperature of the air, and, the change in state of water from liquid to solid also involves an exchange of energy between the cold air and the water.

In the world of TECS, it takes power to produce the Peltier effect, but there must also be a transfer of energy to produce the cooling effect. Again, for practical design purposes our heatsink must be capable of dissipating all that energy which finishes up as volumes of heat on the hot side of the TEC.

The heat generated by these systems must be dissipated for the system to work efficiently, as well as reducing the risk of burns, particularly in the event that the heatsink fan fails or becomes jammed. An inadequate heatsink is both inefficient and dangerous.

There are however, less intuitive concepts to embrace. Let’s run an experiment using a heatsink which is underrated for the power supply and the TEC in use. For example, the TEC is rated at 12V and 3A, while the heatsink is also rated at 36W. A supply of 3A at 12V to our TEC promotes a potential throughput of 72W. Our heatsink is doing its best to handle twice its capacity and gets very hot. The small heatsink presents significant thermal resistance - the energy must go somewhere and invariably the system warms through conduction and limits its cooling ability.

At this point the unwary attempt to either increase the power supply or fit a bigger TEC. If the above discussion has been effective, it should be easy to anticipate that a reduction in power will improve the cooling performance of our system. Some systems can be so effective that increases in power have a marginal effect on cooling and simply waste energy for very little gain or slight reductions in cooling performance.

Summarising - an efficient TECS will use a heatsink capable of moving twice the energy provided by the power supply. If the heatsink is not capable because of size or design better cooling will be achieved with less power supplied to the TEC. A bigger TEC or an increase in power will heat the system, increase thermal resistance and reduce cooling.

Invariably, a TECS will be a hefty piece of equipment, reduced only by careful selection of materials and design - particularly heatsink design. Other factors to consider include condensation and frosting of the sensor face - there are different methods of managing these issues, such as electronic heating solutions and Argon bags. Depending on climate, in particular humidity, cooling down to 5 - 6C may keep temperatures above dew point. Although, I have seen dew forming at 16C on a humid 24C night.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Lady in The Park: a New Age Encounter

I estimated the lady in the park to be in her sixties. Intent on engaging me in conversation, the dialogue moved from small talk about the dogs to grave concerns she held for the world nearing the end of the Mayan calendar. The world didn’t end, and predictably so! Extinction, at the hands of the Conquistadors, put an end to the Mayan calendar. This somewhat permanent and obvious fact, absent.

There was more to this dear lady than conversation. Her style of dress and preoccupation with New Age Pantheism was an odd but familiar persona. She reminded me of a past acquaintance taken up with the philosophy of the Age - crystals, talismans and all the paraphernalia - possessed of an all embracing outlook, frequently a source of conscious self-contradiction.

Far from demonstrating a shade of consistency to their thoughts and conversation, the lady in the park was graceful, quirky and apparently genuine in her concern. The other, possessed of a vengeful, and oftentimes, duplicitous spirit, mildly disturbing, if not nutty and demonstrably dysfunctional.

“The Universe,” I came to understand, is that oddly indefinite source of New Age consciousness, presumably guiding the human soul on life’s journey. An indefinable path to higher expression - reincarnation - or whatever else hopeful hearts conjure up, seeking the promise of better things, though determined to have their way in the present.

Having shared the same world-view, at a time long gone, I am reminded that the age-old-expression of self-determination, wishing unfettered independence - the desire to be perfect in one’s own right - is merely another expression of human independence - to be one’s own God, apart from God.

This diverges from the lady in the park, quite apart from the other intent on including all in her personal chaos. Nonetheless, and despite her good and kindly ways, the desire for self-determination, no less motivated, and no less virulent, within this seemingly gentle soul.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

New Horizons: more than a fly by!

Findings of the New Horizons probe, as it flew by Pluto and its moons, has surprised some and confirmed the predictions of others.

This wonderful feat of engineering, a vehicle of discovery, is a remote messenger contributing to the inevitable debate about origins.

As some seek to prove the universe old, and say “no God,” its youth becomes more apparent, and the probability of a happenstance realised for what it is - wishful thinking.