Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

January 23, 2024

New research shows that Neptune’s color is more of a greenish blue than the vivid blue we associate with it

Filed under: Astronomy / Space,My Thoughts — Suramya @ 5:15 PM

When we look at the photographs of the outer planets in our solar system, the planet Neptune stands out because of it’s striking blue color as shown in the photos taken by Voyager 2 back in 1989. (See below)

Photo of Neptune as taken by Voyager 2
Photo of Neptune as taken by Voyager 2

In a new study just published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, researchers found that the color balance in Voyager was a little skewed that led to the planet appearing more blue than it actually is. Basically due to the way the images from Voyager were contrast enhanced to accentuate fainter features and better illustrate the atmospheric features of the planet the image released was bluer than what the planet actually looked like. They used observations of the planet taken from 1950 to 2016 along with data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Very Large Telescope to create a more accurate representation of the planet’s color which is closer Uranus’s color than the vivid blue we are used to seeing. (See below)

Panels a and b show early images of the visible appearance of Uranus and Neptune reconstructed from Voyager 2 ISS images in 1986 and 1989, respectively, showing Uranus to be pale blue-green, and Neptune dark blue (PIA18182 and PIA01492, credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech).
Panels c and d show more recent reconstructions of the true colours of these planets, showing them to be more similarly coloured (credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Björn Jónsson)

From the Paper:

We present a quantitative analysis of the seasonal record of Uranus’s disc-averaged colour and photometric magnitude in Strömgren b and y filters (centred at 467 and 551 nm, respectively), recorded at the Lowell Observatory from 1950 to 2016, and supplemented with HST/WFC3 observations from 2016 to 2022. We find that the seasonal variations of magnitude can be explained by the lower abundance of methane at polar latitudes combined with a time-dependent increase of the reflectivity of the aerosol particles in layer near the methane condensation level at 1 – 2 bar. This increase in reflectivity is consistent with the addition of conservatively scattering particles to this layer, for which the modelled background haze particles are strongly absorbing at both blue and red wavelengths. We suggest that this additional component may come from a higher proportion of methane ice particles. We suggest that the increase in reflectivity of Uranus in both filters between the equinoxes in 1966 and 2007, noted by previous authors, might be related to Uranus’s distance from the Sun and the production rate of dark photochemical haze products. Finally, we find that although the visible colour of Uranus is less blue than Neptune, due to the increased aerosol thickness on Uranus, and this difference is greatest at Uranus’s solstices, it is much less significant than is commonly believed due to a long-standing misperception of Neptune’s ‘true’ colour. We describe how filter-imaging observations, such as those from Voyager-2/ISS and HST/WFC3, should be processed to yield accurate true colour representations.

It is facinating how much more there is to learn in the cosmos even about our own stellar neighbors never mind the whole wide universe out there with its infinite mysteries and grandeur.

Source: Neptune is more of a greenish blue than is commonly depicted

– Suramya

January 20, 2024

NFTs, AI and the sad state of Thought Leaders/Tech Influencer’s

Filed under: Artificial Intelligence,My Thoughts,Tech Related — Suramya @ 11:59 PM

NFTs became such a big thing in last few years, going from millions of dollars to 95% of them being worth $0 in Sept 2023. The whole concept of a JPG of an ugly drawing never made sense to me but you won’t believe the no of people who tried to convince me otherwise.

Today I was watching Lift on Netflix and the first 20 minutes are this group of thieves stealing an NFT Oceans 11 style. It is one of the most ridiculous things that I have seen that someone would spend so much effort showing a NFT heist but the movie was scripted in 2021 when the NFT craze was starting to become insane. Haven’t finished the full movie yet and I doubt I will ever do so as it is very slow/corny and has poor acting and script (as if the whole NFT heist thing didn’t give that away).

It is interesting that all the folks who were shilling NFTs a few years ago have ‘pivoted’ to AI now. If you read the posts from Infuencers you will think that AI is the best thing since sliced bread. Saw the following in my feed and I did question the sanity of the person posting such ‘thought leadership’.

I can suggest an equation that has the potential to impact the future: E=mc?+ Al This equation combines Einstein's famous equation E=mc?, which relates energy (E) to mass (m) and the speed of light (c), with the addition of Al (Artificial Intelligence). By including Al in the equation, it symbolizes the increasing role of artificial intelligence in shaping and transforming our future. This equation highlights the potential for Al to unlock new forms of energy, enhance scientific discoveries, and revolutionize various fields such as healthcare, transportation, and technology.
Technology Consultant’s thoughts on AI

Each influencer keeps posting things like this to make them sound more technical and forward thinking but if you start digging into it then you will find out that they are just regurgitating a word salad that really doesn’t mean much but sounds impressive. Actually now that I think about it, they are just like an AI bot that sounds impressive if you are not experienced in the that area but when you start digging into it, you find out that there is no substance to what they are stating.

The current state of AI is basically a massive hype machine which is trying to get folks to buy things or invest in companies because they are working creating an intelligent entity. Whereas in reality, what we have today is a really good Auto Complete or in some cases really nice Machine learning system. It does some things quite well but is nowhere close to being “Intelligent”. What we have now is something that is really good at extrapolating and guessing which can reduce manual efforts in a lot of things but it is not the cure all that everyone is making it out to be.

For example, Github Copilot automates a lot of grunt work while coding allowing users to reduce the time spent of writing code, but in a recent study it was found that Users Write More Insecure Code with AI Assistants. Now this might change in the future with advances in compute power, data and something that we haven’t even thought of yet. But the problem is that in the short term these can cause immense harm and problems.

– Suramya

January 19, 2024

Why do folks keep insisting that only kids who like playing outside are ‘normal’?

Filed under: My Thoughts — Suramya @ 11:37 PM

There is a unfortunate trend and narrative that keeps repeating the trope that folks who are geeky or not interested in playing outside are somehow not normal. A good example of how that keeps coming up is the screenshot below where someone posted about a kid who started coding at a young age (10 years!) and asked what were you doing at his age and another person responded stating “Being a normal kid and playing outside??”

10 years old boy writing program in python...what were you doing at his age? Being a normal kid and playing outside??
10 years old boy writing program in python…what were you doing at his age? Being a normal kid and playing outside??”

Why is it that it is considered ‘normal’ to play outside but not normal to create something on a computer or compose music, or write a book or write poetry or any other creative activity? Both require skill but one is considered normal and the other is not.

Media plays a big part in it especially the US shows and movies where the geek is someone who is an outcast and is always picked on by the more popular kids who are usually good looking but otherwise have no redeeming qualities. They are loud, rude and obnoxious and for some reason everyone thinks that this is a good behavior pattern to emulate. The recent push towards becoming ‘manly’ or alpha or whatever they are calling themselves now is another reason smart folks are picked on because these ‘alpha male’ folks want to showcase how tough they are. Due to this push too many people think that being manly means that you need to behave like an ass or put another way they think that:

Being an asshole is all part of my manly essence
Being an asshole is all part of my manly essence

Obviously this is not a good approach and unfortunately for them they are usually whiny snowflakes who are threatened by everything. If you read the definition of what it means to be ‘a man’ you will be rolling on the floor laughing or be scared because they think that having literally any emotion other than anger is something that makes you less manly and if you happen to be a smart person it makes you ‘less manly’ because obviously the only thing that matters is physical strength. Here are some gems that have come up in my feed over time and I collected them as I wanted to put them on a blog post. There are a lot more but I decided to just delete them/block when they come up in my feeds.

These folks need therapy, not that they would ever agree to go for it.

– Suramya

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