Day: January 9, 2018

15 Paradoxes That Will Make Your Head Explode – IFLScience (blog)

One of the underlying assumptions in astronomy is that Earth is a pretty common planet in a pretty common solar system in a pretty common galaxy, and that there is nothing cosmically unique about us. NASA’s Kepler satellite has found evidence that there are probably 11 billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy. Given this, life somewhat like us should have evolved somewhere not overly far away from us (at least on a cosmic scale).

Time travel, if possible, could result in some extremely strange situations.

A physicist working on inventing the time machine is visited by an older version of himself. The older version gives him the plans for a time machine, and the younger version uses those plans to build the time machine, eventually going back in time as the older version of himself.

The bootstrap paradox is the opposite of the classic grandfather paradox: Rather than going back in time and preventing oneself from going back in time, some information or object is brought back in time, becoming a “younger” version of itself, and enabling itself later to travel back in time. One then has to ask: How did that information or object come into being in the first place?

The bootstrap paradox is common in science fiction and takes its name from a short story by Robert Heinlein. 

But despite developing ever-more-powerful telescopes, we have had no evidence of technological civilizations anywhere else in the universe. Civilizations are noisy: Humanity broadcasts TV and radio signals that are unmistakably artificial. A civilization like ours should leave evidence that we would find.

Furthermore, a civilization that evolved millions of years ago (pretty recent from a cosmic perspective) would have had plenty of time to at least begin colonizing the galaxy, meaning there should be even more evidence of their existence. Indeed, given enough time, a colonizing civilization would be able to colonize the entire galaxy over the course of millions of years.

Texas takes early steps to repair or replace its aged mental hospitals – Texas Tribune

The news comes just five months after the Texas Health and Human Services Commission released a report looking at the state’s long-term mental health system needs. Officials noted in the report that some of the 10 state hospitals were built as early as the 1850s. Outdated building design and deterioration has led to reduced capacity, the report said. It also found that as of August 2017, 70 beds across the state were not in use due to needed repairs or deferred maintenance issues.

It also includes developing plans for reimagining the Austin State Hospital and San Antonio State Hospital, which were serving about 530 people combined during a 2016 review. The state is estimating it’ll cost $235 million to build new facilities in Austin and an estimated $270 million for a new San Antonio hospital. 

Read related Tribune coverage:

State legislators pushed for funding to remodel and renovate the state hospitals throughout the 2017 legislative session. A select committee of lawmakers reported just before the session convened that some issues of hospital maintenance were irreparable. But the committee called on lawmakers to increase the number of beds available in state hospitals, create early intervention for schoolchildren with behavioral health issues, invest in jail diversion programs and increase the state’s mental health workforce.

Part of the first phase of improvements includes remodeling projects to expand capacity at the Kerrville and San Antonio state hospitals, adding beds to the Rusk State Hospital and planning for a new hospital in Houston.

Supreme Court justices wade into Florida-Georgia water fight – Washington Post

Florida has sued to impose consumption caps on Georgia, saying the reduced flow of the water, especially during droughts, has harmed its ecosystem.

Justice Elena Kagan told Florida’s lawyer, Gregory G. Garre of Washington, that “you have common sense on your side.” But she added “there seems to be a real dearth of record evidence specifically quantifying how much more water you would have gotten, exactly what benefits would have followed from that.”

The two rivers converge at the state border to become the Apalachicola, which runs for 106 miles to the bay. Its wide flood plain through the Florida Panhandle serves as a spawning ground for crabs and Gulf fish, and the famed bay once accounted for 90 percent of the oysters produced in Florida.

The case is Florida v. ­Georgia.

Kneedler said the Corps has gone through the process of deciding how the water should be allocated to carry out the obligations it has been given by Congress. But those are not completely in sync with what Florida says it needs.

Lancaster, of Maine, reasoned that when the water is most needed — during drought conditions — the Corps would be more likely to store the water in its reservoirs than to send it down to Florida.