Konspiracy Korner: Kontact
Dr. D finally admits he's a square


No baseball in this post.  You've been warned.  The Counselor says,


If the Mariners continue to be uninspiring, I move that the blog addresses topics that are more worthy of finely delved shtick,  such as underground oceans on Titan or Donald Trump.

  Konspiracy Korner lives! 

- See more at: http://seattlesportsinsider.com/comment/108812#comment-108812


As you know, we live to serve.  :- )  This following bit of whimsy might not be as interesting as The Donald, but it is one of my faves.  As most of you know, I'm a spiritual guy.  I'm not spiritual because of "good dreams," as C.S. Lewis called this type of thing, but enjoy them more since becoming so.

Putting this in context, the day after the Seahawks beat the Packers in the NFC Championship, Field Gulls (that bastion of classic spirituality) ran a front-page poll asking whether they thought the win was an act of God.  YES got 42%, NO got 36%, NOT SURE got 22%.  The following is massively more improbable than an onside kick.  ;- )

Putting it in context - context, the irreligious Carl Sagan's masterpiece was a "first contact" novel called, um, Contact.  In it, he provided what he would consider "extraordinary proof" of an "extraordinary claim," that the Universe is designed.  Sagan's proof:  that the number Pi (3.1416...) after about a billion digits formed a repeating pattern that inscribed a circle.  In other words, that the universe's designer wove a message into the geometry of the universe:  that the shape of a circle itself contained a coded message.

Would you call that a fairly high bar, Counselor?  To weave a message into the inherent shape of a soap bubble?  :- )


Oddly enough, there is a geometry phenomenon quite similar to Sagan's demand.  In terms of area, the ratio of a square to its (inscribed) circle is 1.273, and the number 273 is echo'ed in the fabric of our solar system and human biorhythms.

1.  The sidereal month is 27.3 days.  This is how long it takes the moon to return to its position as observed from Earth.

2.  The earth's orbit around the Sun takes 10000/27.3 days.

3.  The diameter of the Moon measures 0.273 Earth diameters.

4.  The acceleration of the Moon in its orbit is 0.273 cm/s2.

5.  (The reciprocals of the Earth's and Moon's orbits correspond:  1/27.32 = 0.366 and 1/366 = 0.002732).

5a.  (The moon is 400 times smaller in diameter than the Sun and it's 400 times closer, so it's the same size in the sky.  400x precisely, to two decimal places.)

6.  Absolute zero is ... -273 C.  All motion stops at the number 273 Celsius.

7.  Gasses expand by 1/273 of their volume with every degree on this scale.

8.  The area of our galaxy is 273 decillion square miles.

9.  The cosmic background radiation is given as 2.73 K.

10.  'Joedubs' has additional reading at this link.  He's probably got ten more things like the above.  Made you look!


In other words, the Earth's orbit "states" how much larger a square is than a circle.  So do the Moon's/Earth's diameters, and the Moon's acceleration, and the value of absolute zero, and the other things above.

If you wanted Dr. D to play devil's advocate and (sigh) 'debunk' the above, well, no problemo to call coincidence.  Or to say that the real number of item X is 272.93, not 273.  Here is a good summary of objections and answers to the objections.  But they're Sagan's rules.  He's the one who has to play by them :- )

For me, a sense of proportion is necessary; a step back is more important than decimal points are.  Just taking the isolated fact that the moon and Sun are the same size in the sky -- this has caused great minds to seize up for 1000's of years.  It's a question of taste whether to dismiss it or ponder it.  But a sequence of relationships like the above, with such a fundamental basis as the circle/square .. for me, that's fun.  Like we said, it's not necessarily the right basis for spirituality.  But cool?  Who would deny that?


More for fun.  The below you'll have to check yourself; the above we got from Peter Plichta and the New World Encyclopedia, but the below we just got from some "Facts About Numbers" website.  All numbers have a couple of distinctive properties, of course, but try and find stuff like this for the number 37.  

a.  273 is notated "333" in base 9.

b.  It's notated "111" in base 16.

c.  It's notated "DD" or "13 13" in base 20.  Nice symmetry all around.

d.  It's "77" in base 38.

e.  It's "33" in base 90.

f.  And 273 is notated as 100010001 in binary.





Jason Frasor's expected HR/9 this year (per ZIPS) was 0.73 :- ) .... shockingly, his age is the palindrome 37.0!

More seriously, hitters with lifetime AVG's of .273 include Sammy Sosa, Gil Hodges, Justin Upton, Frank Howard, Danny Tartabull, and ... drumroll ... Peanuts Lowrey.

Maybe everybody should have to present a baseball 273 for admission at the SSI door?


Read it four times, before and after coffee, and began wondering about the ratio of the Moon's gravitational effect on the the Earth against the Sun's gravitational Effect on the earth. 

The Sun's gravitational pull on the Earth is 46 percent of the Moon's which doesn't seem to correspond to anything 27.3 related.  Oh well.  Some interesting stuff: While the Earth has a diameter 3.67 times that of the moon, and a volume 50 times that of the moon, it is also denser.  The Earth is 1.66 times denser than the Moon which makes it 83 times heavier than the moon. 

Also, the Sun, despite being made (we're told) of hydrogen and helium, is 25 percent as dense as the Earth.  The density of the sun is 1408 kg per cubic meter.  This is roughly the density of crushed slate or some types of cement, or zinc salt.  So what is in the middle of the sun counteracting the light weight of all that helium?  Kryptonite to be sure. 

What is strange is that the 27.3 number shows up in the orbits and diameter ratios of the Earth, Moon and Sun, (the moon goes around the earth in 27.3 days, and has a radius 2.73 times smaller than the earth.  The orbits and diameter ratios should be competely unrelated, because the Earth, Moon and Sun all have different densities and weights, and gravity, which determines orbits goes by weight and not size. 

That is, if the Earth, Moon and Sun were made up of the same stuff, and had the same densities, it would be expected that the same numbers would show up in both the geometry and the physics of the two objects.  Instead, they are all made of different stuff, and the same numbers show up in the physics and the geometry.

Many animals and fish have biorhythms that coincide with the moon's phases, so it is not surprising that the human menstrual cycle and a birth cycle would coincide with the lunar calendar.  I'm told that sooty grouse only start hooting on the first full moon after the snow melts.


Is it just me, or is the wicked Greek god of the dead an inappropriate name for a dwarf planet with a giant heart on it?


Very logical.  +1


Couldn't agree more that the Moon's gravitational pull could be *causal* as to biorhythms, gestation etc.  That data point is not nearly so interesting to me as that the 273's are rooted in the relationship of a square to a circle .... 

Get a chance to read any of the other 273's?  There are several interesting doc's nesting from the link provided.  At any rate, it's a fun number


and find one number to groove on at a time.  I've never heard of this stuff before, and it takes a while to absorb.  There seems to be no reason that the earth moon diameter ratio should be the same as the area ratio between a square and an inscribed circle.  That's just weird.  Its probably for the better that the moon is so much smaller than the Earth.  If it were much bigger, it would tide lock the earth, resulting in month long days and nights, and corresponding horrible weather. 

Fun talk.


regarding the Earth/Moon situation.  But these are still really cool info-bits.  I love how the Egyptians figured this out and left the evidence in the Great Pyramid(s).  "They were just a bunch of clueless sun-worshipper, though!"  Any civilization that can reliably perform brain surgery of any type deserves respect; how much more if they were doing it in the Bronze Age?!

It is fun to think that maybe, just maybe, we're a vanity project left here by some kind of intelligence which found this particular corner in the universe and declared that its 'feng shui' was perfectly conducive to serving as a cradle of life.

"Ooh, Harold -- look!  This one is perfect for growing our rudimentary intelligence garden!  Just look at the symmetry; it's incredibly balanced."

"Yes, Harriet, it does look nice...but we'll need to make sure they end up with ten fingers and toes, otherwise it might be a little trick for them to figure out the math." *chuckles* "Vertebrates have such difficulty conceptualizing numerical sequences based on things they can't count up on their bodies, after all."

"Oh, can we, Harold?  Pleeeeease, can we?!" *bats eyelashes*

*sigh* "Ok, dear; if this is where you want to do it then I'll go get the chemistry set."

"Oh goodie!  I can't wait to see how long it takes them to discover the universal hailing frequency using the number we've hidden all around them."

"It's a long shot, dear, but no longer than ours was." *splashes a drop of Insta-Life in the primordial ooze*

"Oh, Harold...I feel like we've just done something truly wonderful."

"We'll have to wait a few hundred millions years to find out for sure.  In the meantime; are you hungry, dear?  I brought take-out."


It is inappropriate to demand proof of something in the way that you specify.  Stating that you require a morse code message in pi for proof of created design is like saying that if there is a God, he should strike so and so with lightning at such and such a time. This is not a legal standard for evidence.  Sagan should weigh what evidence there is of created design and determine whether that is sufficient, rather than dictating what the evidence should be.  

Sagan's requirement is like being a juror on a DWI case who decides that he isn't going to convict unless there is overhead footage from a police helicopter.  "But we have witnesses, breath results, a confession and a police car camera" the DA protests.  No helicopter, no crime.  Next case. 

I'm sure Sagan's point was much more reasonable than that, but the point is that a person should not dictate what he expects a message from God to look like and then say that he won't be convinced unless the message looks like what he expected.


It rolls off the tongue so sweet, but as you corroborate from the courtroom, real people don't bet two cents on anything based on such pseudo-logic.

Ever read skeptiko.com?  Spiritual-but-not-religious site.  Tsakiris has filed suit against advocates of this standard of proof about 50 times, winning just about each debate though he's usually outgunned.  His skeptic opponents will allow that (say) The Sense of Being Stared At would have been proven scientifically if we were talking about radio waves, but "here's an issue I deem to be extraordinary and so I'm going to move the goal posts."  And if you hit those goal posts, guess what happens next ...

Most gratifying, every time that you relay the legal perspective on KK shtick.  Thanks for taking the time bro :- )


I used to be a devoted anti-religious type, but during my most fervent moments I always realized that a 51% argument (not a 99.999999999999% argument) made the practical choice obvious.  :- )

If there are two doors and you have to walk through one, and there's a tiger lurking behind one or the other, an 80% chance is fine by me.  And 80% is about where the purely intellectual evidence took me.

Could talk about standards of proof all day, especially when you relate it Mojo to the way juries work in real life.


that we remind each other of, regarding 51% vs. 60% vs. 99.999999999999999%, on whether or not the choice is automatic.  Suffice to say: we agree with you, Doc.

Look at Presidential elections, for heaven's sake.  'Landslides' are 55%-45%, and some of the most popular Presidents were elected with horrendously low numbers (like Lincoln, who didn't even garner 40% during his first bid).  60%-40% is Reagan/Mondale territory -- that's how obvious a 60% option looks to a reasonable person.  Most of the time, you're happy if you get 53%-47% since the +/-3% margin can do no worse than force a draw ;-)

This is, I think, an underappreciated aspect of decision-making.  I think most people want things to be so glaringly obvious before they act that the only question left to anyone is: why didn't they take action in that direction earler?  I just wanted to chime in and support a peripheral point of the conversation.


... and you command a ton of respect and affection in it.


Had not thought to apply the Presidential Election context.  Much better than the two tigers.  Totally convincing.  

In baseball terms, you have Craig Wright's observation that anyone scoring 60% is leading the field - 


You're right.  This whole topic is a major philosophical area, and underappreciated (except by Mojo we're sure!).  Where is the tipping point for a decision?  How many of us have thought that through?

When studying with people about the validity of the New Testament, I've encouraged them to monitor the 80-90% threshhold.  But as you point out, that's got to be far too liberal a target.

:: daps ::


how incredibly odd I find it that the best space of which I am aware, where reasonable idea exchange can occur with minimal friction, is on a fringe-y baseball blog like SSI (and before anyone gets annoyed by my use of the term 'fringe-y,' understand that I use it with great respect since I have never known great change to occur from the center of anything.  The fringes have ever driven, and will ever drive, radical shifts in human thought, philosophy, and values.)

It is interesting just how few of us have thought about thresholds for decision-making -- or how often we apply the principle even after we've successfully incorporated it into our individual consciousness.

My discussions on the subject have led me to the conclusion that this threshold isn't really all that far from the 53%-47% mark for most things because, as I suggested, there is a margin for error involved due to our inability to incorporate all factors.  But as a responsible adult member of the species, it does seem like once you've satisfied your own intellctual curiosity on the constituent factors of the topic then you're obligated to follow that logic.

The only place where we think the bar should be set higher is in changing an approach that clearly works, and the bar should go even higher when dealing with core, fundamental aspects of the societal fabric.

I know it might not be the best example, but I'll use spanking to outline what I mean.  Thousands of generations of humans have refined practices over the last hundred thousand years in the effort of providing their progeny with a competitive advantage in the world.  Discipline is a big part of that advantage (just ask the Persians who fought the Greeks, or the native Britains who got slaughtered by the Romans when they (the natives) outnumbered the Romans 50:1), and one institution is mild corporal punishment of children.

I'm not suggesting that spanking children is The Way, and must forever remain unmodified (I quite prefer whenever I can discipline my children without the use of physical coercion of *any* stripe), but I am saying that one should feel compelled to abandon a clearly functional institution (the traditional family unit, spanking, free market economics, religion, etc..) simply because there exists, on paper, a possibly superior alternative.  We should always try to do better than our ancestors, of course, but we should also respect the fact that the vast majority of them were reasonable people just like we are, and they didn't like spanking their children any more than we might.

The threshold for making fundamental changes to the traditions and practices which got us where we are, as a species, should never be taken lightly -- especially when those changes directly contradict the traditions and practices that got us where we are. 

When the suggestion of such radical reform appears, I think it is eminently reasonable to demand a significantly higher 'burden of proof' on the reformers than there is on the traditionalists.  If you aren't convinced that the Old Way is a good way, of course you're more likely to try something new.  But if you are convinced that the Old Way was, at least in part, responsible for how we got where we are then it behooves you to be far more skeptical of radical reforms.  53%-47% might be enough for me to change from 'I don't want a credit card because of the financial liability involved' to 'A credit card can, if used correctly, actually lower my financial liability, so I'm applying for one now.'

But for more basic and broad-sweeping ideas and principles?  I'd be demanding Reagan-Mondale numbers before I'd even consider a change -- and I think this is a common point where people start talking past each other in many current political debates.


I paddled my kids.  At ages 24 and 25 I can't shove them out of my house.  :- )

Spanking needs to be done in love, to help a child, and not to express frustration.  The kids know which is which.  But that said ... you cannot reason with a 3-year-old.  It is unfair to a 3-year-old to ask him to.


the rest of it ... I'll probably poach your comments as cut-and-pastes to make freebie Dr. D articles :- )


And 99% of the parents who did paddle their kids out of love (like we did) will tell you the same thing, they can't keep their adult kids (and THEIR spouses) out of their house.

As parents we have to realize that sometimes an appropriate, necessary paddling is an early-warning substitute for far greater real-life dangers. To draw an obvious example, a toddler who persists in climbing up and touching the top of a stove risks something far worse than a paddling if they ever do it when a burner is on. Equivalent examples in the lives of children and teenagers can be multiplied. Parents (should) discilpline their own children out of love, not exasperation, seeking to prevent greater harm by buildling trust with their children that what they do is for their own good.

We were fortunate. We had to do a few spankings when our kids were little, but I cannot remember that we ever HAD to after age eight or so. That doesn't mean our kids were perfect little angels after that, but the underlying discipline when they were young supported more mature discipline when they were older. Our kids as adults now genuinely love us from the heart, not out of fear, because they know we loved them enough to raise them in a disciplined manner.

Overbearing disciipline, of course, is a different thing, and leads to bitterness and resentment in the heart of a child.


As I read this the next morning I realize I implied that we paddled away at our kids when they were toddlers. Not so. We found appropriate, lighter ways to "spank" them at those ages, a light swat to the hand. The idea was not to inflict pain. It was to get their attention and let them know we were serious when we said "no." Doing this very early in life made them so aware of discipline that in 999 out of 1000 instances afterwards a firm voice and a firm look was sufficient to deter and train them.


Children are incredibly skilled at understanding their parents' moods and motives; they know when they're being treated fairly or unfairly, and they have a tendency to remember for a long, long time when they get treated unfairly.

A key is to, as you say, love your children and discipline them in as calm of a manner, internally, as possible.  If you truly love your kids (meaning you're willing, and even eager, to sacrifice for them) they'll probably come out remarkably similar to you.

Great point on reasoning with a three year old.  My first daughter (second, actually, after my step daughter who's fifteen) is three next month and I find myself trying to reason with her more than I should.  Just the other night I had the exact same crystallized thought you just described so accurately: it's unfair to expect a three year old to reason with me in any meaningful fashion.

An eager, willingness to sacrifice for kids seems the best path to providing them with a great formative experience.


Contact is a terrific read.  I actually read it in one sitting, finishing about 4 in the morning.  Only book I ever read without a break.

But I would consider Sagan's "The Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence" as his masterpiece.  I read it neary 40 years ago, probably in '78 or '79, and still have that copy.


So I shouldn't have spoken out of turn about what his masterpiece was or wasn't.  Thanks Keith-O :- )


And I'm not a literary snob but thought that in this case, the book was quite a bit better.  

Sagan's inherent kindness showed up in his friendly treatment of the religious people, and in the 'hot seat' he put Jodie Foster* on.  But the pastor who dated Jodie Foster, in the book, the arguments that Sagan/Pastor framed against himself were (eye roll) quite weak.  Sagan wouldn'ta lasted a minute on SSI

;- )


Bugs, Moj?  Man, you've got the wrong movie!  :)

Those space marines in Starship Troopers did a number on the bugs!


Contact = Movie was good:  Book was WAY better...for sure.

The Dragons of Eden is very good stuff, Doc.  It may or may not be more of a "masterpiece" than Contact.  Your mileage may vary.

Broca's Brain was toop notch, too.

Loved Cosmos when it was on the tube, as well.


Most people here would agre, I think, that we ARE the universe made (dimly) self-aware.  So when we recognize patterns in the nature of the universe, aren't we automatically validating at least some portion of the authenticity and meaning of those patterns by simple virtue of having made them?  This is something that has forever furrowed by brow when certain people far-too-quickly invoke 'coincidence,' or claim that 'you're just seeing what you want to see' when something like the beauty Doc outlines above is laid before you and you rejoice in the way it moves your consciousness.  

If we ARE the universe given form and consciousness (and that's a fairly easy idea to sell, even to someone who has never given the question a moment's tought) then our observations of everything around us actually DO determine, to some extent, the meaning of the things we observe.  Even quantum physicists will grudgingly concur that observation is required for reality to even be a theoretical possibility, let alone...well, let alone to become REALITY. (Schroedinger's Cat is one thought experiment, and there have been actual experiments carried out recently which support the idea that until it's been observed in some sense, nothing has actually happened)

It truly does seem to me that our (dim) self-awareness isn't just a gift; it's the purpose of the cosmos.  Or, if not the purpose itself, then a requisite component of that purpose.

"He who does not know how to be silent will not know how to speak." - Ausonius

Whenever people become shrill in their assertions, the primary thing I can conclude is that they haven't listened hard enough to reality to actually know what they're talking about.  Once a person listens -- really listens, as Doc has done with the number 2.73 -- the truth becomes a lot easier to discover.

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