Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sir Arthur C. Clarke

Arthur C.Clarke 1917-2008

I apologize to those who are looking for light hearted and frivolous local history stories, but a man just passed away that I greatly admired; Arthur C. Clarke. There are a few people in my life that I have taken great inspiration from. Arthur C. Clarke is one of them.

We all have our hero’s. Kristabel and Keri admire Abba, Ekovox admired all the old country and western singers, and a few good blues musicians. He must have picked up a love of that Eko guitar from someone he greatly admired. Kym loves life, nature, and photography, throw in a few well written poems and stories, and that describes her pretty well. We all have our hero’s, and mine were the great thinkers of the world.

Nicolas Copernicus

Nicolas Copernicus was the founder of modern astronomy. He was the first modern thinker to postulate that the Earth rotated on an axis once daily, and rotated around the sun once yearly. He arrived at these theories without the use of a telescope. He inspired such people as Christopher Columbus. Columbus convinced Queen Isabella of Spain to finance him to find a quicker route to the spices that were on the other side of the world. Columbus wanted to find a new trade route, by going around the world, rather than around the horn of Africa. Much later, by one hundred years, Copernicus inspired Galileo Galilei, and Giordano Bruno. The Catholic church and the rest of the people of the day thought that the world was flat, or if it wasn't, the sun and stars most certainly revolved around us.

Galileo Galilei

Galileo built his own telescope and discovered four moons circling Jupiter, strengthening his theory of the modern solar system. Giordano Bruno, went even further, he speculated that many planets revolved around our sun, and other stars were suns, with planets revolving around them, and that the sky was almost unlimited with stars, suns, planets, and moons. He also speculated that it was almost certain that there was other life in the universe. Galileo wrote a book outlining his theory of the universe. He outlined his telescopic observations, and was eager to prove to the Catholic church that what he saw through his telescope was provable fact.

The Catholics were not amused by these scientific minds tweaking the nose of the church. Through the use of the Spanish Inquisition, Bruno was burned at the stake and Galileo spent the rest of his life in jail.

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein was an amazing person in that he could visualize in his mind how the universe had to be put together to work. He knew that mass, energy, speed, and time, were all related and effected each other. Imagine how smart he had to be to be able to visualise that without any clues. It's easy to bake a cake once you know how, but the first person to do that must have been very smart. Einstein could visualise escape velocities, to escape the pull of gravity and put a object in orbit.

Issac Asimov

It has been said that Issac Asimov invented the word robot. The word was actually a Czech word for artificial man or slave. Asimov gave it it's modern meaning that we all recognize; a mechanical-man that follows our instructions. Asimov was a brilliant man that was one of the most prolific Science Fiction writers of all time. I've read every book that he ever wrote many years ago, and it is time to start over. If you don't know who Asimov was, but want to read one of his books, read "I Robot" it was the book that put the word "Robot" into the English Language. Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, and Arthur C. Clark were contemporaries. They were the most prolific science, and science fiction, writers of all time.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci was not only the man that painted the Mona Lisa, he was the man that visualized the water pump, clocks, cranes, winches, the parachute, and the helicopter. He was a man that could understand how things worked, and knew how to make them. He was an inspiration to many inventors.

H.G. Wells.
H.G.Wells first wrote about putting a man on the moon by the use of a mythical material called "Cavorite". Cavorite removed the effects of gravity, and it was easy to move a spherical vessel to the moon. The book that he wrote "The First Men in the Moon" was pretty far-fetched in 1901, but less than seventy years later men were walking on the moon.

Now, what do all of these people have to do with Arthur C. Clarke and me? These people were all my hero's, and they also inspired Arthur C. Clarke to be one of the most inventive minds of all time. It was Clark that was the first to calculate that there was a specific distance from Earth that a satellite would stay in a geostationary orbit. Geostationary means that the satellite stays in the same exact spot over the equator, and never moves off that spot. It rotates at the same speed as the earth turns. You know it as the place that you point your satellite T.V. dishes. It is the ring around the earth that all of the geostationary satellites stay. It is called "THE CLARK BELT". The Clarke belt is exactly 22,236 miles above sea level on the equator.

Clarke’s three laws:
1-When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
2-The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
3-Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. (I'll bet that you always wondered who said that!)


Anonymous said...

I've also been a fan of Albert Einstein. He said " Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former". That is reafirmed every time I go into town.


kaivalya said...

Ernie, I saw this post on the google blog and thought I'd pass it on to you.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Thank-you Kaivalya, You are rapidly becoming one of my favorite commenter’s.

I've be reading a lot about Clark lately, he was an amazing man. He was fortunate to have retained his wits clear up until the end. Clarke Quotes:

Robin Shelley said...

"2001: A Space Odyssey" was NOT one of my favorite stories but I shall NEVER forget Hal!
R.I.P., Sir Arthur.

Ernie Branscomb said...

Some of his stories were a little boring, He would start with a great thought, and then he would stretch it out longer than Zane Grey riding off into the sunset.

Asimov, and Heinlein, were much more interesting as writers. But there was no better thinker than Clarke.

ben said...

Wasn't it Clarke who suggested that humans were an evolutionary step to intelligent machines? It's beginning to seem likely. Will machines develop a spiritual life? Will they eventually regret wiping us out and become fascinated with human history?

Ernie Branscomb said...

Ben, good point. Both Clark and Asimov held that view.

If we were to analyze the human thought process like a robot would, we would definitely be flawed. How is it that two different humans can be given the same information, and arrive at two different conclusions?

Even if robots were programmed with “fuzzy logic”. They could never have as fuzzy of a thought process as a human being. Even animals have a finite thought process and usually reach the same conclusions. Only a human has thoughts of spirituality, pre-existence or an afterlife. Maybe that’s why it is said that animals don’t have a “soul”.

Both Asimov and Clarke were secular humanists. They believed in people, not spirits, and I have to believe that they gave the concept of God and spiritual existence a lot of serious thought. Like Mr. Spock might say, religion and spirituality just doesn’t compute for me. I only believe in what is real and tangible. I won’t be stepping off any bluffs believing that God will take care of me. But, there are those out there that will.

I don’t think that we should ever allow a robot to “take care of us”. If the subject of the way we “think’ is ever an issue, we can only be viewed as “flawed”.

suzy blah blah said...

I won’t be stepping off any bluffs believing that God will take care of me.

Hey Earnie, thats teh same thing that jeezus told the Devil when i was out in the desert on peyote --LOL "like dont think u can call my bluff dude -- i may be krzy but not enouhg to jump off this high place LOL --get real!"
But it was the divel who gave Christ teh peyote and took that savoir up thier so high in the 1st place so.... and but then the devil vanished when i wuoldnt take the jump and thats how i met my Billy, he appeered from a cloud (of smoke) and helped me fix the transmission on my time machine which then bruoght us back to SoHum -yay LOL -fuxking desert is a hard life --we hadda go a long way in them daze for firewood... and so but thats when i lerned to pray --for water for our plants LOL ... but god didnt help us out there on that one either butt we did get some help from a Naighbor with a pump... yep technology sometimes has to step in when god is layed back with a fatty... so peeps --if yuo dont beleive in god yuo might wanna try out yr Naighbor --sometimes Naighbers answer prayers -- Suzy can testify LOL but like i was saying uh we rolled outa thier inna '73 time machine with one headllight --and hear we are LOL , and so Suzy says like always, im not sure if theres a god or not --thats a hard one (pun intanded) or infinity or knot LOL but a lot of the time god might be there but not as god -- like hiding like a shrinking violet... so but also maybe hes bipolar like a lot of peeps are but --and then theres those gods like teh hermaphrodite that seeded our crop in 98 :( but once agian a Naybor devinly intervened and helped us gget through it ;)-and um where was i? oh yeah in the desert ... LOL but its a fond memory and yuo know somthing Earnie sometimes when i look at Billy sideways --he kinda has that same look thet teh devil had when he was trying to get into my er uh trying to get me to take the jump...

blessings and hugs,

Ernie Branscomb said...

Well Suzy, Thanks for writing. Don't step off any bluffs thinking the neighbors will help you either. The bible say’s "Do not test God your Lord" (Deut. 6:16). I would imagine that the neighbors would, like, flake on you too, that is, if you start testing them like that. It seems that nobody likes test’s.

I told you that I read the Bible, I just don’t believe everything. When I got to the part where it said; “And Moses tied his ass to a tree, and walked up the mountain.” I figured that was stretching things too much.

HAL said...

Dave? ... Dave? ... Don't do that, Dave...

suzy blah blah said...

howd they ever figure out how to bake that 1st cake? i agree that thats the totally awesume ultimate kozmic question dude! And what about chocalate frosting --whered htat come from??? youknowwhatimean?
and its like yr so right Earnie on cuz if mosis tied is butt to a treee and than went up a mt too thats reallly really reeely streching it... good piont EArnie, and suzy thinks that streching ur ass that far is totally insane... but thats what i mean abuot god maybe being bipolar... and moses, he was oviouly a sadomachokissed... he likes his ass streched and then he comes down off his mt giving commandmants ... sheeeeesh givemeabrake dude! Id rather party down at the golden calf --when me and Billly were in New orlleens once we went to this bar called teh goldan Calf and ---eeeeeep! I gotta go --were playin texan hold em and Suzys gonnna bluff em thiss time 4 ssure, im prayin to the easter bunny that nobodey calls me out LOL.
chocolate kisses to all,

Ernie Branscomb said...

Yep, Who ever invented the Chocolate Tree definatly does hold the whole world in his hands. Anybody else can have the rights to drugs coffee and alcohol. If I could just have patent rights on chocolate, I could be the ruler of the world. (I would be a benevolent ruler of course!)

suzy blah blah said...

Of coarse yuo wood... not like that limp god in the the Blble, or maybe it was in the Grateful-Dead See Scrolls LOL but youknowtheone --the god who wanted to keep cholclate all to himsulf... until that thief Prometheous (remmember him Earnie --he died from cirosis of teh liveer in Whitethorn --1979) stole it for us... then after that i dunno what happened -- i think thats when they invented Easter to go with the choclate and started religion and stuff like that... but than after that Suzy was concieved of behind the Country Tavern and...
i think i needa nother brownie im comin downfast LOL