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Brett Vollert – Page 2 – MatterUnderMind

About Brett Vollert

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So far Brett Vollert has created 63 blog entries.

Why Medical Devices are not for Kids but should be

By | 2016-03-03T06:00:16+00:00 November 2nd, 2015|Biology, Featured, Politics, Science, Technology|

There is a scary fact about our medical system.  It is not equipped to serve children; at least not unilaterally and with the latest technology.  Barring specialized childrens' hospitals (like the one seen in the above video) that are few and far between, most hospitals are specifically geared to deal with the ailments of the adult population. The area of weakness that is most troublesome is Medical Devices.  As a medical device specialist myself, I have seen multiple cases where doctors were forced to use a device off-label and left to there own devices to jury-rig a solution for their pediatric [...]

Mysteries: The Voynich Manuscript

By | 2016-03-03T06:01:23+00:00 September 24th, 2015|Biology, Featured, Science|

  Also known as "the book that cant be read," the Voynich Manuscript is by far the creepiest ancient book ever discovered.  Within the manuscript are images of ominous plants, astronomical diagrams and scenes of communal bathing in a dense green liquid. And if that is not mysterious enough, the diagrams are surrounded by text in a indecipherable language even too difficult to decode by the modern worlds best cryptographers.   Theorized to be a manual on alchemy, a medical journal, or even a hoax designed to make money; this book has been obsessed over by many brilliant minds.  Linguists and [...]

The Language that Shapes Us

By | 2016-11-15T10:01:11+00:00 August 28th, 2015|Biology, Featured, Philosophy, Science|

It is so easy to let language shape you, much harder to shape language around yourself. The great communicators never concede to the boundaries of language.  Yes, language can set you free but it can also hold you in because language has rules...a few of which I aim to break; for the human mind should wander and rules are meant to be broken. Language can shape the way we think.  It can box us in or leave us wanting.  Giving stigmas to words that it shouldn't or masking stigmas that are deserved. The world is not made of words but [...]

Time Traveling Crime Fighters

By | 2016-03-22T04:52:26+00:00 August 17th, 2015|Featured, Philosophy, Physics, Science, Technology|

  "So this is how freedom dies...with thunderous applause." - George Lucas Thousand of miles above crime ridden Mexico City flew the fabled "eye in the sky."  A demo by Persistant Survalence Systems is nothing but a dot in the clouds to those below but up above, an aircraft equipped with high tech cameras is watching every citizen's move. These wide angle cameras can see a huge area of land in high enough definition to track the movement of cars and even people.  All the law enforcement had to do was wait for a crime to be reported. Once a call [...]

Dark Energy Epicycles

By | 2015-11-11T07:24:39+00:00 July 23rd, 2015|Astronomy, Featured, Philosophy, Physics, Science|

  There is a world hidden from sight.  A world that we cannot touch, see or hear.  It is hidden behind every point of space and every moment of our lives; a dark world that surrounds us.  Or so most scientists believe. Graphic showing how the measured speeds of stars as they get further from the center of their galaxies does not decrease to match calculations. Why do scientists believe in this hidden world?  Because galaxies should simply not exist based on our understanding of gravity and the laws of physics.  These massive collections of stars spin so [...]

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A Random Life

By | 2015-11-06T07:14:06+00:00 April 2nd, 2015|Biology, Philosophy, Science|

Life may just be an anomaly brought about by random chance.  From the primordial ooze we climbed through natural processes governed by unconscious arithmetic.  And so here we are.  A collection of biological machines staring into the abyss and straining to find some sign of purpose. It makes one wonder.  If we did run into an alien species, would they chuckle at our desire for purpose?  Would they scoff at our need for belief? Perhaps...but perhaps instead this deep seeded desire for meaning is just another biological adaptation that gives species motivation to improve their surroundings and proliferate.  If this is [...]

“You Can’t Patent the Sun” – Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine

By | 2015-12-01T22:59:23+00:00 October 28th, 2014|Biology, Featured, Politics, Science|

Post-WWII, 1950's America was aware of the dangers in the world.  The atom bomb displayed its destructive power and it's design had slipped across the iron curtain.  But the most terrifying, immediate threat to American might have been polio. By 1952, almost 60,000 cases had been reported in the US with over 3,000 dead and another 20,000 suffering from paralysis.  In a time when the United States population was half what it is today these numbers were much more shocking than the mild Ebola outbreak we are currently experiencing. Today google honors Dr. Jonas Salk's 100 year birthday.     Dr. Jonas [...]

Man and Machine

By | 2015-11-11T07:25:00+00:00 October 28th, 2014|Biology, Philosophy, Science, Technology|

Could it be that mankind is no more than biological machines?   Are we simply products of complex chemistry that produce complex results; hardwired and mechanical? Science answers this question with a resounding "yes" followed by a rebuking, "get over it"  because the truth is that world is made of matter and we are no different.  We are governed by the laws of nature and our behaviors reflect of these laws.  We are simply more complex. (In fact, studying behavioral biology at the University of Oregon.  I was repetitively assured that man follows the same evolutionary and behavior rules as do all organisms. [...]

Humanity Obsolete

By | 2016-03-03T06:06:10+00:00 August 16th, 2014|Biology, Science, Technology|

Mankind is becoming obsolete and it is nothing new. Mechanical innovations have long out-worked mankind but now these machines can also out-think mankind.  And it seems that no profession is safe.  Machines are becoming better at recognizing patterns, analyzing data, conveying information, and even displaying creativity. Although many scary movies have been made to strike fear into humanity over a robot uprising, the truth is that these robots work for us and generally have made the world a better place for humanity. So sit back, kick your feet up and tell your personal robot to grab you a beer.  

Whale Cult Suicide

By | 2015-11-06T07:50:07+00:00 January 30th, 2014|Biology, Featured|

  835 false killer whales swam ashore under their own power in Argentina in 1946 and became the largest mass stranding of any single whale species in recorded history.  What could cause so many whales to voluntarily commit suicide in this way? Harsh weather, disease, geomagnetic field misalignment, and even sonar interference have all been proposed causes of these strandings but none of these are seen in every case and in many cases none of them are observed.  It is almost as if these animals are partaking in some cult-like mass suicide as they are often so adamant about dying [...]

A Something Called Nothing

By | 2016-03-03T06:08:06+00:00 January 27th, 2014|Physics, Science|

  Does "nothing" exist? Here are some DEEPS thoughts about the something we call nothing: 1. The understanding of the zero by ancient cultures such as the Egyptians and Greeks was crucial in the development of trade and economy.  Although, the Greeks still despised the zero integer because of philosophical reasons. 2. Even in an absolute vacuum, theoretical physicists suggest that "virtual particles" are popping in and our of existence and theories argue that there is a positive energy of empty space. 3. Matter in its most simple form, subatomic particles, is best described as only mathematical values in wave [...]

The Problem of Scale

By | 2016-05-16T22:39:09+00:00 January 16th, 2014|Astronomy, Physics, Science|

  This image is referred to as the "Hubble Deep Field" and it is the single most astonishing picture ever taken.  It is the product of Hubble astronomers' dumb luck as they whimsically aimed the Hubble Telescope at what they thought was an empty space in the sky.  But instead of darkness they found galaxies; billions and billions of hidden galaxies, ghosts caught on film. Patiently, the Hubble Telescope steadily aimed at this dark spot and exposed over 300 images for 10 days.  When the images were merged into one, the black spot was revealed to not be black at [...]

LFTR’s: Why the future of nuclear energy might never be realized

By | 2016-03-03T06:10:21+00:00 December 5th, 2013|Featured, Physics, Politics, Technology|

Our nation's nuclear reactors are doubling as weapons grade uranium manufacturers. These remnants of the cold war were once designed to not only give our nation energy, but to also produce enough weapons grade uranium to strike fear across the steel curtain. To make things worse, the very common Light Water Reactor (LWR) is inefficient, dangerous, and expensive.

Death of a Know-it-all

By | 2015-11-06T07:51:56+00:00 November 23rd, 2013|Biology, Technology|

  There are no more know-it-alls today; they've all died off.  There was simply TOO MUCH INFORMATION for them to absorb.  But it was not a violent death or a sudden tragedy.  Instead, it was a slow dilution as they were spread too thin.  Stretching to reach the extending boundaries of human knowledge, they found that knowledge was expanding too fast for their studying to keep up. They were always one step behind.  There was a lag between their knowledge and the world's, and the gap was growing exponentially. These know-it-alls had once prided themselves on having all the answers [...]

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop

By | 2016-03-03T06:27:37+00:00 August 17th, 2013|Physics, Politics, Technology|

With the unveiling of his Hyperloop plans, Elon Musk has once again excited tech nerds everywhere with what he proclaims to be the 5th form of transportation joining cars, planes, boats, and trains.  The grandiose design is reminiscent of pneumatic tubes that were once used to send mail (and in one rare case, a cat) across city blocks. The Hyperloop is essentially a large tube connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco with passenger "pods" that would zip around the circular track at record-breaking speeds.  Mr. Musk compares the Hyperloop to an air hockey table, as the passenger pods will be levitated by air currents while they are propelled by [...]

Citizen Science: Get Involved!

By | 2015-11-11T07:26:44+00:00 August 1st, 2013|Astronomy, Biology, Physics, Politics, Science, Technology|

  Science seeks to harness the brain power of the human population with citizen science projects.  Utilizing the internet, research groups have gamified research for the scientifically curious citizen to help play a role in the advancement of science.  Online programs have been designed to catalog craters on the moon, search for asteroids headed towards earth and identify the creatures of our seas. Clearly, the every day citizen isn't the prefered source for scientific data analysis but there are only so many graduate students to go around.  Because of this, some studies have turned to the average joe to [...]

The Magic of Science: Is science describing something indescribable?

By | 2015-11-11T07:26:55+00:00 July 16th, 2013|Featured, Physics, Science|

  "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" - Arthur C. Clarke What is the difference between science and magic?  UNDERSTANDING.  A lack of this understanding can wrap us in fear and yet full of wonder.   If science is characterized by an understanding of the laws of nature, then magic must be characterized by a deviation from this natural law. Today's scientific frontier of particle physics sits on this border of science and magic.  As scientists peel away the layers of the atom, they are revealing a very strange reality; a reality more magical than mechanical.  With the emergence of quantum mechanics the [...]

The God of The Gaps And The Science of Uncertainty: What are we so sure of?

By | 2015-11-06T07:55:04+00:00 June 26th, 2013|Biology, Politics|

  The "God of the gaps" argument has one distinct advantage; there are a lot of gaps.  The philosophy suggests that God must exist because we cannot explain every gap in scientific understanding.  However, the term is more often referred to as a logical fallacy by the opponents to intelligent design rather than a consciously employed argument by creationists.  In fact, those that begrudgingly invoke the argument would most likely resent its label.  But still the thinking persists. According to this theological perspective, the moments of controversy that science cannot explain are proof of a divine being.  Essentially, our lack of natural understanding is [...]

Patenting People: Should we be able to patent genes?

By | 2015-11-06T07:55:42+00:00 June 18th, 2013|Biology, Featured|

As the human genome has become better understood, we have uncovered pieces of DNA that are incredibly valuable for human health.  That value has in turn been monetized, which is expected from any good capitalist society.  But is human DNA fair game for capitalistic gain?  Perhaps it is because, at this point in time, there are over 10,000 genes of the human genome that have been patented.  That means that nearly half of the human genes that we know to code for proteins are "owned" by a cooperation. Does this give you a sinking feeling?... One specific example of this genetic monopolization is seen in the diagnosis [...]

Evolution Myths: Could Mermaids Have Evolved?

By | 2015-11-13T17:51:27+00:00 June 10th, 2013|Biology|

A recent mockumentary put out by Animal Planet, "Mermaids: The Body Found", sent the social media marketplace buzzing with tweets from ill-informed mermaid enthusiasts who thought that the mythical creature had finally been discovered. The program began with a disclaimer that the events were completely fictional, but as prime time TV viewers surfed the channels and happened upon the mockumentary after the opening disclaimer, they wrongly concluded that the world had at last found our elusive aquatic cousin, the mermaid (and in the words of Ben Stiller, "MERMAN!") . While this assumption seems irrational, the program was filled with convincing interviews and dramatic reenactments  that (while completely fabricated) did spark some genuine [...]