September 12, 2018
It's Past Time that bullies take notice of The Big Picture.
We think that the personality flaws of our planet's inhabitants are limited to this planet.
What a crock.
Science fiction writers have hammered THAT into our heads since...well, since science fiction began. Space aliens are depicted as kindly and helpful...occasionally... but the majority of sci-fi writing portrays them as laden with most of, all of, or more than, the panoply of human failings.
Well, sure. What kind of threat would they be if they weren't?
The ruling deity of fiction writing groans in despair.
There are even sci-fi tales in which every character-- humans AND space aliens-- has nothing but the best intentions, but things go awry anyway.
Sure, because WE write our sci-fi.
Many blogs ago, I wrote of an interferometer that spotted an increase in size that was evident on Oregon's Middle Sister. Which is in a group of volcanoes. This interferometer was letting vulcanologists know that the Middle Sister might be... shall we say...Planning Something.
This is one of the drawbacks of letting volcanoes move into your recreational areas.
Sure, they ACT like good neighbors...
Anyway, Science Alert has seen fit to inform us that :
“... Scientists have used artificial intelligence (AI) and satellite images of US cities to map that link – in effect, detecting obesity from space.
"We propose a method for comprehensively assessing the association between adult obesity prevalence and the built environment that involves extracting neighbourhood physical features from high-resolution satellite imagery...
“The researchers, from the University of Washington, fed some 150,000 high-resolution satellite images sourced from Google Maps into a convolutional neural network (CNN) – a kind of AI that uses deep learning to independently analyse and identify patterns within the dataset.
“The data covered 1,695 census tracts in six different cities: Bellevue, Seattle, Tacoma, Los Angeles, Memphis, and San Antonio.”
OK. So my first reaction is...”WHO THE FINAGLE asked the University of Washington to butt its big nose into this stuff?
Do We the Public need to know that our donation dollars and tax dollars are going into the bandying around of a load of low-life gossip?
It's one thing to feel the outrage of using an interferometer to spy on a lady volcano's weight gain.
It's another thing entirely when they start using some Convolutional Neural Network to fat-shame six innocent American cities. I say Bellevue, Seattle, and their cohorts should immediately demand their tax and donor dollars back. Sheesh!
Well, here comes AI....
“...the researchers used estimates of obesity prevalence from the 500 Cities project to create a model that assessed the association between those features”...
Meaning roads, buildings, trees, water, and land...
“ ... plus points of interest like gas stations, shopping malls, parks, and pet stores...and obesity prevalence in the studied areas.”
(Notice how they pussyfoot around words like Dunkin Donuts and Taco Time.)
Sounds like some big-time AI guesswork in there, dunnit?
Besides, who NEEDS this mode of gathering information? Surely a simple monitoring of clothing sales would be just as informative.
Any fool can tell you that when the sales of sizes XL through 6X Hawaii shirts and muu muus go up...increasing obesity has to be in the picture someplace.
Or you could park in the shade at any American mall and note how many obese people struggle past you on a hot day. Shuffling in their run-down sandals.
Wearing muu-muus we ourselves donated to local thrift stores.
Trying to keep up with the less-weighty people they brought with them.
(I say, BLESS these people! What courage, what grit! Hey, she made it halfway so far! Hey, she looks better in that XXL muu muu than I did!)
So... Increasing Our Scientific Knowledge is NOT the motive for this kind of snooping. No, Boomers and Seniors... the motive for THIS kind of snooping is.... good old American Fat Shaming.
Otherwise known as...BULLYING.
And does bullying confine itself to just OUR planet?
'Course not. Check out Science Alert. Because, you know, you gotta keep an eye on ALL your 'hoods, not just the one with your residence in it.
You guessed it.
Turns out that big-boy planets Jupiter and Saturn have been throwing THEIR weight around!-- by abusing Uranus, AND Neptune, AND their puny neighbors in the nearby asteroid belt:
(Before we go deep, a little background...a “binary asteroid” is an asteroid with another asteroid bonded to it.)
"Observations of today's Kuiper (asteroid) Belt show that binaries ...were quite common in ancient times," says one of the researchers, William Bottke.
(Ancient times, to him, means, the first 100 million years of our solar system.)
Wikipedia says the solar system is 4,568 BILLION years old.
"Only a few of them now exist within the orbit of Neptune. The question is how to interpret the survivors."
How, indeed! You'd have to be Quite the Asteroid to survive all the jostling for placement when the four Planetary Giants were settling on their favored orbits.
Some TRINARY asteroid formations also survived.
Survival at all is a miracle. Not among just the musical-chairs of the four biggest planets, but among lots of other celestial bodies passing through the asteroid belts, doing their own errands. They could capture you or smash into you or whack your co-binary off you like a billiard ball.
The leagues these binaries are playing in?
Here's a comparison of planetary diameter sizes :
Jupiter (69,911 km / 43,441 miles) – 1,120% the size of Earth Saturn (58,232 km / 36,184 miles) – 945% the size of Earth
Uranus (25,362 km / 15,759 miles) – 400% the size of Earth Neptune (24,622 km / 15,299 miles) – 388% the size of Earth
Earth (6,371 km / 3,959 miles)
Venus (6,052 km / 3,761 miles) – 95% the size of Earth Mars (3,390 km / 2,460 miles) – 53% the size of Earth Mercury (2,440 km / 1,516 miles) – 38% the size of Earth
Here's the size of (each of the) two asteroids in the rare, surviving binary pair Patroclus-Menoetius:
62 miles. But a pair of true celestial GIANTS. Standing up to bullies for around 4500 billion years.
I know I am.