Archive for July, 2022

The End of the Universe: No Light, No Heat, No Mass, No Life

July 27, 2022

I don’t know whether it is comforting or disturbing to realize the universe will die in the future. I’m entering the 4th quarter of my life, and I’ve been thinking about my end recently, but nothing lasts forever, not even the universe. According to the majority opinion of astronomers, the universe will die between 1 to 100 trillion years from now. Ironically, the death of the universe may be related to its birth. The theory of the universe’s origin most favored by astronomers is the Big Bang Theory–a slight misnomer because Big Expansion better describes it. About 13.5 billion years ago, all matter, time, and space were contained within 1 tiny singularity. Suddenly, everything expanded at the speed of light. Scientists don’t know what existed before this expansion, but it may be that time itself didn’t exist, and the beginning of the big expansion was literally the beginning of time. It took 300 million years for primitive stars to start forming from the hydrogen to helium nuclear fusion that releases energy. Stars evolved to become more powerful, and when they used up their energy, they exploded in massive supernovas, producing heavier elements such as iron that eventually formed the core of some planets. New stars and planets created from supernovas continued to spread in the ever-expanding universe. Solar systems are the ashes of old supernovas. 9 billion years after the big expansion, earth formed.

Evolution of the universe. The universe is still relatively young, but it won’t exist forever, according to most astronomers.
The first stars were short-lived, but they spawned longer-lived stars where more heavy elements were created from nuclear fusion, following supernovas.
The universe keeps expanding. Eventually, stars will be so far apart, the night skies will be dark. After a trillion years or more, all the energy in the universe will be expended, and there will be no light, no heat, no mass, and no life.

The expansion that created the universe will cause its death. Stars will move so far away from each other due to expansion that night skies on planets will be dark. Red dwarfs, the longest-lived stars, may survive for hundreds of billions of years, but they too will fade away. When this happens, there will be no light anywhere in the universe. The temperature of the universe will be -273 degrees F, also known as absolute zero. A related theory, known as the Big Rip, suggests even matter will break apart into self-destructing atoms. The universe will be a very cold, very dark, empty space. Of course, nothing could live here.

There is an alternative cosmological theory known as the Big Crunch. This theory posits the expansion of the universe will end and gravity will pull all matter together again into a singularity. A related theory, the Big Bounce, holds that after the Big Crunch, the universe will expand again in another Big Bang and alternating Big Bangs and Big Crunches mean an eternal cycle. Currently known scientific evidence doesn’t support this theory, and it seems to be based on wishful thinking. It is a difficult, disturbing concept to think someday there will be nothing…that the end of the universe is absolute death. Perhaps. the universe will reform again from nothing, but this would be via a process unknown to science.

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The First Nazi Criminal Extradited from the U.S. to Germany was a Friendly Housewife

July 20, 2022

I was speaking quietly to my friend in the school cafeteria at Washington Elementary in Niles, Ohio 53 years ago when Mrs. Yuhasz snuck up behind me, yanked me up by the back of my shirt, and nailed me on the butt with a club perforated with holes that reduced wind resistance. I was so startled; I literally pissed my pants. The elementary school shared the same building with the junior high, and Mrs. Yuhasz, the junior high counselor, demanded absolute silence because school kids chattering during lunch might interfere with junior high students concentrating on their scholarly studies. Mrs. Yuhasz often slammed her club on a table, transforming the chatter into sudden silence. On other occasions she’d shock the students into silence by beating 1 of us as an example.

5 years after the butt-beating, I had an appointment to see Mrs. Yuhasz while she was performing her official duties as a middle school counselor. She said she was “glad we got along now” as if we ever had had any interaction since she’d clubbed my rear. She remembered that incident, and this suggests to me that Nazi war criminals remembered every act of violence they ever perpetrated on their victims. Mrs. Yuhasz could be nice. I’m sure she baked cookies for kids visiting her house. But I remember her as a brutal woman, and I was reminded of her while reading a history of Nazi war criminals.

Much to my surprise, the first Nazi war criminal extradited from the U.S. to Germany was a woman, and this extradition didn’t occur until 1973. Her name was Hermine Braunsteiner-Ryan. During World War II she was a factory worker when her landlord suggested she sign up to be a SS prison guard. She worked at the Ravensbruck Prison, a concentration camp for women in northern Germany where an estimated 90,000 people died. Then she transferred to the Madjanek Camp in Poland, a slave textile factory with 7 gas chambers and 2 gallows. An estimated 78,000 people died here. Hermine wore hob-nailed boots and carried a whip. She kicked and/or whipped 80 starving women to death. In addition she threw 103 children onto crowded trains headed for gas chambers. She picked the kids up by their hair when she threw them on the trains. After the war the U.S. Army arrested her, and she spent a mere 3 years in an Austrian prison.

Hermine Braunsteiner-Ryan was the first Nazi war criminal extradited from the U.S. back to Germany. She kicked and whipped 80 women to death and threw (literally) over 100 children on trains bound for gas chambers.

Simon Wiesenthal, the famous Nazi hunter, never heard of Hermine until he was eating in a restaurant while on vacation in Israel during 1964. 3 women who served time at Majdanak told him about Hermine, and he went to work locating her. After her release from prison, she worked as a waitress and met an American construction worker vacationing in Austria. They fell in love and got married. They moved to Canada, then New York City. Wiesenthal assigned a New York Times reporter, Joseph Lelyveld, the task of tracking down her exact address. He found her and conducted an interview. He described her as a big boned blonde wearing pink and white shorts and a white blouse. She was in the process of painting the interior of her house during the interview. He informed her Wiesenthal was looking to bring her to justice. She said she’d already served time, but when the reporter told her that was for crimes committed at Ravensbruck and not Madjanak, she burst into tears and lamented that her life was over. Still, her husband supported her and claimed she “wouldn’t hurt a fly.” He crowdfunded her legal defense, and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service kept bungling the case. Hermine had lied on her immigration application about serving time in prison–grounds for immediate deportation. Nevertheless, it took 9 years before she was finally extradited to Germany. She stood trial with 14 other Nazi war criminals. The trial took 2 years, and she was sentenced to life in prison but was released 3 years before her death due to poor health. She had a leg amputated because of diabetes complications. How ironic. I wonder, if this was the leg, she used to kick women to death. Hermine died in 1999.

Of the estimated 10,000 Nazi war criminals who escaped to the U.S., only 128 faced legal proceedings, and of these just 67 were extradited. 28 of these criminals died while awaiting trial. It is shocking that just a fraction of 1% ever faced justice. The Red Cross and the Vatican actively helped Nazi war criminals escape to Argentina. I have no respect for either institution. Most Nazi war criminals have died of old age by now, but many likely served as teachers and school administrators who beat baby boomers with aerodynamically designed clubs when we were in school.

Reference:

Pick, Hella

Simon Wiesenthal: A Life in Search of Justice

Phoenix Paperbacks 1996

A Survey of Indian Massacres on U.S. Territory

July 12, 2022

The woke generation believes Europeans were always the bad guys, and American Indians were completely innocent in their historical conflicts. Many of the woke unfairly compare the U.S. government with Nazi Germany’s actions during the holocaust. This politically correct consensus is naive and untrue. The U.S. government never had a “final solution” policy to completely eradicate Indians. The conflict between Europeans and Indians was a war over land, and the Indians were the losers. Perhaps that is why they evoke sympathy, but there were genocides and atrocities committed by both sides. Some argue Indians were justified when killing innocent Europeans because they were defending their land. I reject this apologist reasoning. I also challenge anybody to show me a legal deed with a claim the Indians owned all of the Americas. Killing innocent people is never justifiable.

I surveyed a Wikipedia entry about Indian massacres, focusing on just those that occurred on U.S. territory. I wondered what the statistical breakdown would look like. The Wikipedia list of Indian massacres is not complete, and historians have discovered additional incidents, but the data I used was what was easily available to me.

Results:

From 1539-1700 there were 25 Indian massacres of white people and 21 white massacres of Indians. Between 1700-1800 there were 31 Indian massacres of white people and 16 white massacres of Indians. Between 1800-1911 there were 34 Indian massacres of white people and 79 white massacres of Indians. Between the time of initial European colonization and final defeat of the Indians there were a total of 90 Indian massacres of white people and 116 white massacres of Indians. Historians know of 13 Indian on Indian massacres during this time period, but undoubtedly there were many more. Most Indians never recorded their history.

Artist’s depiction of the Jamestown colony massacre. 1 scholar believes this was an act of genocide according to modern United Nations rules. Indians were not always innocent victims as many of the woke crowd on twitter believe.
I don’t believe the U.S. federal government had an official policy of wiping out Indians, but there were regional genocides, especially in California and Utah. Scholars debate whether a genocide against Indians occurred in California. In my opinion it definitely was a genocide. Local greedy businessmen wanted Indians off the land, so they could profit from the natural resources, and they saw them as nothing but potential slaves.

Hernando de Soto initiated the violence between Europeans and Indians in the south when he executed 200 Indians for not telling him where non-existent gold was. This is known as the Napitua Massacre. A few years later Indians avenged this massacre and wiped out most of De Soto’s party. However, in the north, the warlike Powhatan Indians drew first blood against the English when they murdered 50 starving colonists in 1609. During 1622 Powhatan Indians entered the Jamestown settlement in Virginia under the guise of offering to sell them food. They picked up farm implements and killed 347 innocent men, women, and children. Then, they blockaded the settlement all winter, causing the starvation deaths of 500 additional people. The English got their revenge the following year when they invited the Indians to a celebration and served them poisoned wine. 250 Indians died. In 1644 the Powhatan killed over 400 settlers. The Powhatan’s chiefs’ goal was to completely wipe out Europeans in America, and scholars do think this would be considered genocide by modern U.N. standards. While the U.S. Army was busy preserving the Union during the Civil War, Indians attacked settlers in Minnesota and killed over 800 people–another example of genocide when white people were the victims.

European treatment of Indians out West, particularly on formerly Spanish-held land, was brutal. Mormons in Utah were really bad. Brigham Young did order the partial extermination of Indians for stealing cattle, and he used them to attack non-Mormon settlers. The Indians were stealing cattle because Europeans eliminated their main food supply–bison. Another regional genocide occurred in California, though I don’t blame the U.S. government. In 1850 the California state government passed the Orwellian sounding The California Act for the Government and Protection of Indians. This law was an excuse to enslave Indians. Local greedy businessmen including farmers, ranchers, miners, and slave-traders killed 10,000 Indians in less than 2 decades. The U.S. government turned a blind eye to this genocide, but I think the effort to preserve the Union was sucking all the oxygen out of the room, and the government was unable to focus on anything else. Scholars debate over whether this was a genocide because 90% of the Indians died due to diseases for which they had little resistance and not direct violence. In my opinion it was a genocide. There were so many massacres of innocent people, disparagingly called “diggers” because they dug for edible roots, that it had to be a deliberate extermination campaign. The Emancipation Proclamation caused the California Indian Act to be repealed in 1863, but by then it was too late. The last white massacre of Indians occurred at Wounded Knee in South Dakota when 190 Indians were murdered.

There is no excuse for the federal government’s neglect of Indians since they’ve been put on reservations.

Reference:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Indian_massacres_in_North_America

They Yturria Ranch in Southeast Texas

July 6, 2022

Some of the best places to see wild megafauna are areas managed by humans. The Yturria Ranch, located in southeast Texas, is a good example of a wildlife haven enhanced by people. During 1849 Francisco Yturria inherited his wife’s land grant and became the owner of 312 square miles. He made a smart decision shortly after the Mexican War and sided with local white people (the winning side) in their dispute with Hispanic partisans who wanted to take land back for Mexicans. This cemented his claim on the land. Today, Richard Butler, a 5th generation descendent of Yturria, owns the ranch, though it has been whittled down to 22 square miles. Still, it is so big it has its own railroad stop. It has always been a working cattle ranch, but now much of the ranch’s revenue comes from offering hunters the chance to shoot exotic big game. The land here has been improved by wildlife managers to help support native species and the introduced populations of African and Indian antelopes that make the ranch an impressive refuge for megafauna.

Tractors are used to disc the land, a process that disturbs the soil and increases the variety of plant species able to thrive, thus providing a wide range of food for animals. Wells and manmade water tanks attract thirsty wildlife. And ranch managers are working to restore native Tamaulipas thorn scrub, a type of environment with dry soils high in calcium. Mesquite, plateau live oak, cenizo, acacia, Texas ebony, Texas persimmon, yucca, and a variety of unusual forbs and grasses grow on Tamaulipas thorn scrub land. Other environments found on the ranch include coastal savannah, live oak forests, mesquite groves, pastures, and wetlands.

The ranch is rich in native and nonnative megafauna populations. In addition to white tail deer and collared peccary, hunters seek out African waterbuck, oryx, and lechwe or Indian blackbuck and nilgai antelope. Feral hogs must also be abundant, though not advertised (hunters can kill them just about anywhere). Zebras roam the ranch too. Predators living on the ranch include coyote, cougar, bobcat, and ocelot. Ranch managers participate in ocelot conservation. This species is uncommon on this side of the Rio Grande. The ranch hosts more species of megafauna today than have been found here since the late Pleistocene, at least 12,000 years ago. The ranch supports healthy populations of turkey and quail. Caracaras, roadrunners, and species of birds that prefer scarce human populations nest on the ranch.

The Yturria Ranch is a vast wilderness.
Herd of endangered oryx antelope on the Yturria Ranch.
Blackbuck antelope, native to India, abound on the Yturria Ranch.

It costs $1500 a night to stay on the ranch, and there is a 2-day minimum. Hunters with the urge to kill exotic animals are probably the most frequent guests, but one doesn’t have to be a hunter to stay here. Guided fishing trips and bird tours led by professional ornithologists are offered. I’d be happy just to take a walk and photograph any wildlife I encountered. I briefly fantasized about living in the area. The ranch spans parts of 2 counties, but from a satellite view it looks like there is just 1 suburban residential development in the area, and shopping centers are scarce. However, San Antonio looks to be about an hour away, and Padre Island beach is about 30 minutes away. New Orleans is a day’s drive. Climate is subtropical and grapefruit are grown nearby. I wonder if beef prices are cheaper here because it is close to the source. I think this region is a pretty nice choice for retirees.