Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica

The title doesn't have anything to do with this post beyond the fact that it is a collection of wholly unrelated things. Here be a hodge-podge of similarly unrelated things that I read today and found to be interesting/noteworthy.

Tom Friedman over at the NYTimes has an op-ed piece titled "Dumb as We Wanna Be" about how stone-cold stupid the USA's energy policy is. Here's the money quote:

This is not an energy policy. This is money laundering: we borrow money from China and ship it to Saudi Arabia and take a little cut for ourselves as it goes through our gas tanks. What a way to build our country.

He also talks about the current presidential race and alternative energy opportunities. Good read - go check it out.

An article from Astronomy Report details the first evidence of a supermassive black hole being kicked out of its parent galaxy due to a merger with another supermassive black hole. Interestingly, this appears to me to be evidence in support of the up-until-now purely theoretical gravity waves that events like black hole mergers are supposed to generate. The article doesn't mention the lack of evidence for gravity waves though, which is odd. We are actually working on building a gravity wave detector right now. It's called LIGO and it's pretty nifty. Works by detecting minute (and I mean minute) shifts in the time it takes a laser to travel a given distance.

Ben Stein has, sadly, gone off the deep end. He's now making claims that are very nearly asserting that all scientists are Nazis... Sad times indeed.

Another one of those "is the US losing ground in the Brain Power race" articles has cropped up. Let me make this short and sweet: YES. The state of US high schools is deplorable, and those students that do make it to college are having more and more trouble completing it on time. Then, those that do complete it are left with monstrous debt, often forcing them into seeking jobs based solely on pay, as opposed to piddling little concerns like interest in the field. Bah...

The Washington Post has a pretty long article on corn based ethanol production. Definitely worth a read. Here's my summary: Corn based ethanol is STUPID. It uses as much or more energy to produce as it provides in return. It's helping to drive up food prices. It's causing an increase in the amount of tilled land. It's a bad idea, and it needs to stop.

I can't summarize this article any better than the article does in its opening paragraph:

In the late '90s, pop-culture historian Bill Geerhart had a little too much time on his hands and a surfeit of stamps. So, for his own entertainment, the then-unemployed thirtysomething launched a letter-writing campaign to some of the most powerful and infamous figures in the country, posing as a curious 10-year-old named Billy.In the late '90s, pop-culture historian Bill Geerhart had a little too much time on his hands and a surfeit of stamps. So, for his own entertainment, the then-unemployed thirtysomething launched a letter-writing campaign to some of the most powerful and infamous figures in the country, posing as a curious 10-year-old named Billy.

It's a crazy idea and he got some pretty friggin cool responses. Click the link and check it out.

To wrap up, I googled "bears. beets, battlestar galactica." and I came up with a couple of interesting images. Here's my fav:

Test Your Awareness: Do This Test

Anatomy of Austrian "Cellar Father"s House

We all must remember not to judge what other people do. Especially one who would keep his daughter locked up for 24 years in addition to conceiving 7 children with her. But damn, it's so hard to resist that we might as well judge. This dude is messed up and deserves whatever he gets in jail.

The "Cellar Father," case is truly a sad case in addition to being bizarre to say the least. The guy's wife (who is also the mother of the daughter who was kept in the basement)had no clue what was going on in the cellar. In addition three of the children were raised by the Mr. Fritzl and his wife.

An interesting part of this case is the house in which the whole family lived together. To give you a short synopsis Mr. Fritzl(who is also a retired electrical engineer) built an underground dungeon with a 660 lb. door that could only be opened with an electronic lock behind a shelf in his workshop.

This is truly some scary shit. Thanks to Gizmodo for collecting this info and read there if you want to find out more.

BBC News

Great Headlines from Around the Web

I decided to collect some great headlines from around the world along with each article's introductory post. Going back to my absurd headlines from CNN post I tried to pull out the most interesting headlines in the last few days. Some are not as bad as others but the opening paragraphs definitely add to the unique nature of each article. Check it out:

Chinese children sold "like cabbages" into slavery - Thousands of children in southwest China have been sold into slavery like "cabbages", to work as labourers in more prosperous areas such as the booming southern province of Guangdong, a newspaper said on Tuesday

Penis theft panic hits city - Police in Congo have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men's penises after a wave of panic and attempted lynchings triggered by the alleged witchcraft.

It's a girl for scientists examining colossal squid (Extra) - Scientists examining the most perfect example of the largest squid ever caught make a disappointing discovery Wednesday: Their specimen is female.

Biggest-ever squid still just a kid - Scientists in New Zealand who today began examining the largest squid ever found say the 495kg whopper was not fully grown when it was hauled from Antarctic waters.

Albert Hofmann, father of drug LSD, dies in Switzerland - Albert Hofmann, the father of the mind-altering drug LSD whose medical discovery inspired — and arguably corrupted — millions in the 1960s hippie generation, has died. He was 102.

Worst of all worlds for Miley Cyrus - Another "wholesome" teen icon gone bad? Or was U.S. television star Miley Cyrus' blunder in allowing herself to be photographed wrapped only in a bed sheet simply a mistake that will be forgiven by her young fans?

Mr. Clemens your Mistress Left you a Facebook Message

There is nothing more silly than watching people make up excuses or hide what has obviously happened. Mr. Perjury himself Roger Clemens(I linked to his "make a pitch" foundation to be nice) is caught in another scandal. Apparently Mr. Clemens has been having a 10-year affair with the often troubled country singer Mindy McCready. The most interesting part about the 10-year relationship was that the country singer was 15 years old when it first began.

Melinda McCreadyAs a teenager apparently McCready met Clemens at a Fort Myers Bar(in Florida) called the Hired Hand....WAIT, what the hell was a 15 year old doing in a bar?

Clemens' lawyer Rusty Hardin(what a name?) denied the sexual nature of the relationship and said they were just friends. So I am assuming he took McCready back to a hotel while he was 28 and she was 15 and since they had so much in common they talked about school, boys, watched tv and braided each other's hair. It's really convenient that McCready claims that the relationship didn't begin after she was 18.

Roger Clemens and his wife are truly falling on hard times. It is widely known that he is dealing with all the steroid abuse investigations and it is even being claimed that his wife Debbie Clemens also took some steroids too.

Are they sure Roger was actually taking steroids because it seemed like his wife benefited the most.

Either way it seems like Roger Clemens, his wife Debbie Clemens and Mindy McCready are all headed for an all-star episode of Jerry Springer. This will be right before Roger Clemens is forced to go to jail for blatant perjury about steroid abuse...or not. We'll see how it turns out.

SFGate

Washington Independent

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bottom of the Glass

ROCK You know it's true.

What it's Like at Cornell

Oddly enough, I again haven't found anything particularly interesting to write about today. I'll therefore be digging up an old piece I wrote that I think is worth sharing. Here's an article I wrote for a journalism class I took at Cornell...

When people hear that I go to Cornell, they almost invariably ask me three questions:

  1. “Aren’t there a lot of suicides there?”
  2. “Isn’t that a really difficult school? Everyone there must be so smart!”
  3. “It must be really cold there, huh?”

In answer, respectively, not anymore, it depends on what classes you take, and yes, but the wind is the killer.

Conveniently, the fourth floor of the Class of 1918 dorm on West campus (the floor that I inhabit this semester) provides a wonderful microcosm of the rest of the university in regards to these questions, and even manages to address two out of the three! I suppose it could be said to address all three if you want to call the absence of suicides among my floor-mates evidence against the presence of suicides at the University in general, but that seems to be an awfully small sample size. Also, it’s just not a fun thing to talk about, so we’ll leave that whole bit behind now and move on to the more interesting stuff.

“Isn’t that a really difficult school? Everyone there must be so smart!”

Here’s the thing about Cornell, there are certainly plenty of smart people, but there are so many of us (over 13,600 undergrads last time I checked) that a few dull bulbs are bound to show up every once in a while. On my hall, two doors down from me, there are two brothers, transfers from Brazil, which fit the “dull bulb” category perfectly.

Just last night, in fact, these two strapping, dark, handsome, six-foot-something, tan college guys were in the floor lounge having an animated discussion about the extinction of the dinosaurs - so animated that it managed to piss off my roommate who was trying to get some sleep at the time.

I suppose it is a testament to the academic interest of those participating in the discussion that they would be loudly arguing about meteor impacts at 12:30 AM on a Wednesday night. However, the ideas and facts that were being tossed around could be debunked by any 7th grade science teacher (and hopefully their students, though I make no presumptions on that score what with public schools being as they are nowadays). There are just some basic facts around regarding the dinosaur extinction, things that everyone should know, and yet they failed to make an appearance last night. Well, that or they showed up but cleverly disguised (meteorites became comets, that sort of thing). While the discussion itself was of an interesting and academic sort, the brainpower being trained on the discussion was somewhat less than one would expect for Cornell.

On the other end of the spectrum, my roommate was so miffed by the whole debate outside our door that he started one in our room. We spent a solid 20 minutes talking about what killed a bunch of big lizards 65 million years ago. Two college guys, awake at midnight, discussing something other than sports or video games! He and I even checked our facts (though I’m the first to admit that our primary source is Wikipedia – not the most accurate but certainly the most easily accessible).

So, to rehash my above statement, there are lots of smart people here, but they are by no means the only sort of people you find at Cornell.

“It must be really cold there, huh?”

Yes. It’s pretty cold here. Leaving the windows open overnight once October 1st has passed means you wake up in the morning with your teeth chattering and your nose running. That said, it’s not the cold that really gets you. You can deal with cold by wrapping an extra scarf around your neck, putting on a hat, and throwing on a jacket. No, it’s the wind that really chills your bones at Cornell.

Returning again to my dorm, just last night (a night that, upon reflection, seems particularly well suited to provide examples for this paper) I was sitting at my desk and marveling at the howling sound my windows were making. After noting its presence, however, I gave it only marginal attention. I mean really, how long can you look at trees flapping around? As it turns out, the wind did a bit more than blow some leaves last night.

Sitting at my desk inside my dorm I thought I was safely hidden from the wind. I was wrong. Out of the blue there is a loud bang and my entire desk shakes. Upon investigation I discovered that the wind had managed to blow my 3 pound fan, which had been seated on the windowsill, right off the windowsill and into my desk as it plummeted towards the ground. Blowing leaves is one thing, but this was just too much – the wind had begun attacking my stuff! In my room! If I’m not safe from the weather in my own room, what hope is there?!

So that’s what I mean when I say the wind is a killer. It doesn’t just ruffle posters taped to the wall; it actually blows heavy objects about. Take that one logical step further and you’ll realize that when people, being little more than moving objects themselves, go outside they, too, will get blown. Once the standing temperatures drop down to below freezing the wind almost becomes personified in conversations around campus due to its amplification of the cold weather. “That wind is evil!” “Why won’t it just go away?!” “That damn weather-control device in the basement of Day Hall is a terrible, terrible machine. Why won’t they stop this wind?!”

Well, that last one is a bit different, being as how it refers to the legend of the weather control device in one of the Cornell administrative buildings. Regardless, you get the point – Cornell is certainly cold, but it’s that damn blasted wind that’ll really screw with you.

“Aren’t there a lot of suicides there?”

It’s unfair of me to mention the suicide thing and then not give it its own section, so here’s what I’ve got to say on that subject. In my time at Cornell I have not been made aware of any suicides. I know of a few deaths, but those are bound to happen just based on the sheer number of people around here (and the fact that they’re mostly 20-somethings who like to get drunk on Friday nights). Basically, they don’t happen here any more than anywhere else, and the reputation we have for suicides is both outdated and due to the spectacular nature of someone swan diving into a gorge.

-----------------

Suicide is not something I associate with Cornell very strongly at all, and it’s certainly not as prominent in day-to-day life as the weather or the caliber of intellectual discussion to be found here. So, next time you run into someone from Cornell, do them a favor – don’t ask about the suicides and don’t remind them about the weather. Ask about their favorite discussion section or their most entertaining professor. Those are the reasons I’m here, and those are the memories I’m taking with me when I leave.

Sucks to be Hamad Karzai

                  

It truly sucks to be Afghanistan's president who happens to be Hamad Karzai. Just this Sunday, he was subject to another attempted assassination. Read below to see a brief history of the dangers he has faced.

April 27, 2008 — Militants open fire with automatic weapons and rockets on a ceremony in Kabul marking the 16th anniversary of the fall of the communist regime in Afghanistan. Karzai, Cabinet ministers and ambassadors flee for cover. Nine people are wounded including two lawmakers. The Taliban claims responsibility for the attack.

June 10, 2007 — Taliban militants fire six rockets that land near a school yard where Karzai is meeting with local leaders and residents in Andar district, Ghazni province. No one is hurt. Karzai continues his speech despite the attack before returning to Kabul.

Sept. 17, 2004 — Militants fire rockets at an American helicopter taking Karzai to the eastern city of Gardez, in Paktia province, missing the chopper as it approached a landing zone. No one is hurt.

Sept. 9, 2002 — A former Taliban fighter dressed in an Afghan army uniform fires toward Karzai as he travels in a motorcade in the city of Kandahar. Karzai is unharmed but the Kandahar Gov. Gul Agha Sherzai is wounded. The attacker is killed by Karzai's American bodyguards. Two other people who tried to disarm the attacker are also killed.

International Tribune

Bottom of the Glass

Can you recognize the rapper?

          n4042.22

Nancy and Newt Sitting in a tree....

S-C-A-N-D-A-L....haha, if only it was true. Here is another one from Wecansolveit.org.

The best part is when Nancy says "We don't always see eye," and Newt in his worse and driest speaking/acting/commercial voice turns his head and sorts of smiles then says: "Nohh." It's a good video and I like the whole idea of people coming together to solve remotely unattainable issues because if they actually had to solve more current and pressing manners(GAS, IRAQ WAR, GOVERNMENT ENTITLEMENTS/WELFARE, HEALTHCARE, EDUCATION, ETC), this commercial would be a lot different and partisan.

Watch and discuss:

Bottom of the Glass

              Revenge of the Frist

Bottom of the Glass

       ghoul-cover

Gov Lov: The Eliot Splitz-Her Story

2008_04_24_goveluvbig_t It was only a matter of time before the porn world got their hands on the Eliot Spitzer story. I commend the writers and producers of the porn world for taking the initiative to create this masterpiece. I wonder if the writers of the porn world went on strike. Nobody thinks about their absence.

The cover of this reminds me of the New York Post. Does Rupert Murdoch own Hustler or want to buy it? I'm sure he could turn Hustler into a reputable magazine.

It seems like they took some time to actually make this kind of funny. The whole idea of Eliot "Splitz" her is kind of funny. This almost reminds me of Law and Order's whole shtick. The whole idea of ripping stories straight from the headlines for entertainment. Although, this sort of ripping is unique to say the least.

Check out the press release:

Mike Horner, who bears a striking resemblance to the former governor, eagerly places his order with the Pimperor's Club. As "Client 69," he agrees to fork over thousands for an all-expense-paid trip so that his mistress, Kristen, can meet him in Washington, D.C. Kristen, played by Cassandra Cruz, arrives at the governor's hotel to find him eagerly awaiting her arrival. Watch as the governor reveals his overzealous sex drive and gets sucked and fucked by his sexy mistress. "Client 69" is under the impression that he is going to get away with his sexcapade, but little does he know there are FBI agents on a stakeout in the next room. The agents, played by Van Damage and Veronica Jett, are so incredibly turned on by what they are overhearing in the governor's room that they decide to have some fun of their own.

The movie comes out May 27th so you should definitely be looking forward to this. Check out the trailer which is safe for work and class.

Thanks to Spike TV's Blog

Monday, April 28, 2008

Down, Down, Down

So I wrote this thing this one time. I like it. You should too. Here it is:

Down down down. Wait, no. I’m sorry. Down is so depressing. I think it would be better to rewind that sentiment. So there was this guy. I think his name was Joey, not sure though. Anyway, he was walking along down the road (or up, depending on your frame of reference) when he tripped. He didn’t do one of those half steps and then break into a jog though. He fell. He fell hard and cracked his head on the curb of the sidewalk. Those goddamn sidewalks, always out to get you. I bet poor Joey stepped on a crack recently. Well, that’s retribution for ya.

You may be wondering where I’m going with this. Well I’d tell you if I knew, but I don’t, so I guess you’re out of luck. Come to think of it, that whole first bit is pretty much useless and ought to be ignored entirely. No, again, that’s not right. Don’t ignore it. Learn from it! Nothing ought to be ignored or forgotten. You forget something and poof, it’s gone. That’s really sad, you know? I mean think if you were to be forgotten. Just ambling along down the road one day and then BAM! You just disappear in a puff of smoke and it’s as if you never were. Hey, that sounds like a really good plot for a movie!

I don’t know about you, but I’d hate to disappear like that. It’d be as if nothing you’d ever done mattered. Well, it wouldn’t be as if so much as it would be. That’d just suck. So, with that fear firmly planted in your head, here’s another curve ball for ya. If it would suck so much to disappear from the face of the earth (because you wouldn’t be remembered), then wouldn’t it also just suck even more to have actually existed but done nothing memorable?

Sometimes I can’t even recall what day it is. That’s ok, though, because the day I’ve forgotten doesn’t have feelings. I mean it’s not like it’d cry or come try to beat me up (though I could take any day of the week any day of the week) or anything. But for me, I dunno, I just like to think I’ve left my mark someplace besides the wall of a public bathroom. Speaking of vandalism, don’t take my sentiment as an excuse to do something stupid and awful to be remembered.

You don’t wanna go down in history as the guy who crapped himself while shaking the president's hand. Be remembered as the guy who did something nice for the person next to you at the movie. Be that person who got rid of that nasty stuff in the fridge that nobody else would touch. Be the gal who gave her Halloween candy to the kid with the broken leg who couldn’t go out trick-or-treating.

So there I was, stuck in the middle with you. Hmm, that reminds me of a song. I like music. Right now I happen to be listening to some, you’ll get a cookie if you can guess what it is I am listening to (and if I happen remember when you tell me). So anyways, I was someplace, presumably with somebody. I’m not entirely certain, but something was probably happening.

Wait, now that I think about it nothing may have been happening. That’s why I write this sort of stuff, anyways. Nothing is happening. I mean I hear explosions, gun fire, and laughter from the hall, but that’s normal stuff. Right. I was talking about Halloween candy last time… mmmm candy.

You know what’s awesome? Stories. And laughter. Those two things are awesome. Try to incorporate both into your life as often as possible. Those and cookies. Mmmm mmm cookies. Sorry, this one doesn’t seem as inspired as the last.

Wait a second, I’m not really sorry. The second one was just as good as the first, only different. However it appears that I went and removed the divider between parts one and two, and have neglected to include a divider between two and three. Heh, oh well. So, I haven’t done this in a while, but since I’ve lost interest in playing any video games right now, and feel that it is too hot for me to concentrate on reading, I guess it’s time to write a bit again.

What’s been going down lately? Lots of stuff. The date of this section is July 30th. I’ve been working, running, hopping, skipping, walking, and numerous other verbs of a similar nature. This sucks. I am lacking an element of madness/randomness that the prior installations had in abundance. I shall now retire from writing in this particular forum indefinitely.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

WE vs. WE

It's really unfortunate when two things share the same name. Case in point, Wecansolveit.org a climate change website focused on advocacy and getting out the word and WE the women's channel which is focused on women.

 

Men’s Fine Jersey We Tee5697-57

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Turkeys Flying in the Wild

I have never seen a turkey fly until now.

Boston is a Cool City

Just looking at this map makes me think about how cool of a city Boston is. I can't think of any other cities that has this many big universities all located fairly close to each other.

Image:Boston college town map.png

Friday, April 25, 2008

My World is a Happy World

So I was talking to a friend of mine today about a recent business trip I took (the reason for the absence of posts from me over the past few days). I was telling her about this place I went to called Steak N Shake where they had the best milk shake I've ever had. Here's why:

Do you see that? That is half banana, and half chocolate. It is gloriously delicious and your world will be a happier one once you accept it and acknowledge it. My friend doesn't believe that this thing exists. She's obviously wrong, as you can see above. Everyone needs to have one of these, and Steak N Shake needs to open up in New York so I can go back!

Al Sharpton is a Cunning Linguist

As you may or may not know a verdict was given in the Sean Bell shooting trial. Detectives Marc Cooper, Michael Oliver and Gescard Isnora were found not guilty. I guess others can debate this verdict but I intend to focus on a leading figure in the trial. Reverend Al Sharpton, the infamous political and civil rights/social justice activist, was of course involved in supporting the family and pushing for a trial. He was definitely not happy about the outcome and he had this to say about the case:

"What we saw in court today was not a miscarriage of justice,” he said. “Justice didn’t miscarry. This was an abortion of justice. Abortions are intended.
Miscarriage could be you couldn’t hold the baby justice, you couldn’t take care of baby or it was an accident. But this was no accident.”
I haven't heard of a legal metaphor like this. I am assuming that an abortion of justice means that no justice was ever intended to be served. However, I'm thinkin if the incident itself is an accident (arguably) and you don't want to have justice served because it may cause problems (NYPD looking bad) then an abortion may actually be the right answer.

What if the accident is the product of a failure to hold the "baby justice." As noticed in reports about the case, witnesses were inconsistent and not prepared for cross examinations, Sean Bell was incredibly intoxicated, and the prosecution read the grand jury testimonty of three cops into record preventing from exposing inconsistencies through cross examination.

So maybe while this case was "carried," a lot of bad things happened to it(justice). Who knows? But I definitely believe Al Sharpton's metaphor intelligently rephrases the case in an interesting and thought provoking way. Never-the-less this is still a truly sad case and I hope that something good comes out of it for the future. We'll have to wait and see what happens if this becomes a federal case.


New York Times
Daily News


American Gladiators is Funny Too

So why do people embarrass themselves on national television?

The Return of American Gladiators

I didn't know it came back and it looks good. I did not expect Hulk Hogan to be hosting but he fits with the show. A ridiculous host for a ridiculous show.

I always wished I could be on American Gladiators (in addition to being on every Nickelodeon competition show) but it never happened. Luckily, I can now watch other people fall and battle each other in barbaric sports for my visual entertainment. It doesn't get any better than this.

Will Arnett is a God or at Least Something Close To One

Will Arnett made a guest appearance on Thursday's episode of 30 Rock. Of course it was funny and it makes me wish he had a job on television regularly (hint: Fox should bring back Arrested Development).

My friend Keith works on the show Human Giant. Check out this good episode with Will Arnett.

Brian Greene Talks about String Theory

Check this talk by String Theorist Brian Greene. He uses a lot of helpful visuals to explain string theory. I think it's interesting and worth the watch.

He refers to the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) near the end which I mentioned in an earlier post this week. LHC may help support the idea of String Theory and in turn we may find some unseen dimensions. Watch and learn:


I can see why many people in the world of physics hate string theory. It's just that amazing (to some people) that if true it would make a lot of things clearer. That is definitely unsettling to a lot of people in the physics world.

via TED

Little note:

In way its almost analogous to Clinton and Obama's campaigns in a unique way.

In the Obama way its almost metaphysical and philosophical to refer to the idea of Hope. A lot of people are afraid of idealism or are just pessimistic about happy endings. String Theory has a sort of "Yes We Can," feel to how it gives life to the world of physics. It's appealing. We don't know what to expect but we have hope that it will open our eyes and our minds to a whole new way of thinking about physics. It's elegant and fits our intellectual mode of thought. Although we can necessarily see it, if we know it be true we can speculate about great it would be to learn more about it.

In another way it is very much like the Clinton campaign. It appears almost like a Solution to everyday questions in physics. Not that physics has everyday questions but there are some long standing theories that have yet to be tested in a physical sense. A lot of people don't understand how people can believe in it. String Theory turns what was once a dream into reality.We might know why the structure of the universe is as it is. In a sense well elegant, it also simplies a lot of things and creates a sense of order. It's almost a juggernaut of an idea and theory and may knock a lot of other ones. It's seemingly less pragmatic because it's full of holes, it's flawed and simply unbelievable but it seems to work it feels right, and when you think about it might just but a logical face on the largely untested world of physics.

Or maybe this is all talk....

By the way the way speaking of talk visit this web site: http://www.ted.com/index.php/, is amazing if you are lookijng for really good lectures, speeches or discussions on any number of topics.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another Short Conversation

[10:43 PM] Steve J: what am I posting again? I'm arguing against the existence of humanoid creatures
[10:43 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: i tried to post from the link to the Greene video down to when you said "u should"
[10:44 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: and yea... humanoid aliens aren't that likely
[10:44 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: if it was such a great form there'd be more than just one humanoid species on this planet already
[10:46 PM] Steve J: if there is an intelligent designer or designers maybe I could say humanoids but if not I feel like we would find straight up bacteria on other planets
[10:46 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: yeah
[10:46 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: man don't get me started on intelligent design...
[10:46 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: but yeah
[10:46 PM] Steve J: oh okay let me try it...
[10:46 PM] Steve J: ahahah
[10:47 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: there's no reason to think simple life is uncommon
[10:47 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: there's plenty of reason to think humanoid life is uncommon
[10:47 PM] Steve J: I'll get u started...but im thinkin of intelligent design/designers in the judeo christian sense but yeah
[10:47 PM] Steve J: yeah I keep thinkin we are uncommon
[10:47 PM] Steve J: like mad species had to die before we came around
[10:47 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: yep yep
[10:47 PM] Steve J: we are really really really rare....but not so rare that we were intelligently created
[10:47 PM] Steve J: in my opinion
[10:47 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: -nod-
[10:48 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: i don't buy ID for a whole mess of reasons
[10:49 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: just off the top of my head, it leads to a regression (who designed the designer), it's got no real experimental proof (it's essentially an argument against evolution, not for an alternative explanation), and it doesn't even attempt to answer the most important question it raises (just claims that the identity of the designer is beyond the scope of the theory, when it really ought to be an integral part of the theory).
[10:50 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: and then there's the mountain of evidence in favor of evolution...
[10:50 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: ID's a "god of the gaps" argument repackaged and rebranded...
[10:51 PM] Steve J: yeah...I always think the intelligent designer was designed by someone himself
[10:51 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: yeah
[10:51 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: it's that infinite regression problem
[10:51 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: either the designer was designed, as was the designer's designer and the designer's designer's designer ad infinitum
[10:52 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: or somewhere along the line something evolved
[10:52 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: in which case why couldn't we have evolved? much more parsimonious to think we evolved than to invoke some creative entity that evolved and then made us...
[10:52 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: man this is another post-worthy convo
[10:52 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: lol
[10:53 PM] Steve J: aahhah thats what Im thinking
[10:54 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: so we got one on LHC and one on ID
[10:54 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: this is quite a productive night!

A Short Conversation

[10:16 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/251
[10:16 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: check that out
[10:17 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: it's a talk by Brian Greene about string theory
[10:17 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: this guy's an excellent speaker
[10:17 PM] Steve J: fantastic four is such a terrible movie....if not for jessica alba being hot...I would not continue to watch it...in fact it made be too hard to watch
[10:17 PM] Steve J: im gonna check this out
[10:17 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: hahaha
[10:17 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: very true
[10:18 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: i kept hoping the second one would be good
[10:18 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: but then i talked to someone who saw it
[10:18 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: boy were my hopes dashed
[10:18 PM] Steve J: suposedly the LHC may or may prove the string theory wrong
[10:18 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: yea
[10:19 PM] Steve J: I feel like a lot of theories are riding on this one thing
[10:19 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: well, if it makes little black holes it'll provide strong evidence for one version of string theory
[10:19 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: if it doesn't make little black holes it'll disprove several versions of string theory
[10:31 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: Greene talks a little about the LHC at the end of that video
[10:32 PM] Steve J: but does it have to actually be able to make little black holes (that will destroy the earth) in order to prove it through?
[10:33 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: little black holes will almost certainly not destroy the earth
[10:33 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: the same theory that predicts their existence predicts their almost immediate evaporation into a bunch of other particles
[10:33 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: because of hawking radiation
[10:35 PM] Steve J: yeah I wrote about that in my post...with the crazy lawsuit
[10:35 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: yeah...
[10:35 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: Greene says there are other ways tho
[10:35 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: like if the measured energy of particles created by LHC collisions is less than expected
[10:35 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: it could be due to some particles escaping through those other dimensions that string theory requires
[10:36 PM] Steve J: hmm
[10:36 PM] Steve J: interesting
[10:36 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: but a little black hole would be a clincher for string theory i believe
[10:36 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: because the standard model requires energies much higher than LHC energies to make a black hole
[10:36 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: but if there really are extra dimensions, the force of gravity will be amplified on those tiny scales allowing for tiny black holes to be created at LHC energies
[10:37 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: I kinda want to post this conversation on the blog...
[10:37 PM] Awesome McSuper-guy: lol
[10:38 PM] Steve J: u should

Bottom of the Glass

LSD vs Alcohol vs Tree

You'll need to click the link to see the rest of the pictures, but here's the first one:

Funny Bone Action

Here are some things that tickled my funny bone today:

Astrology is bunk. Who knew? Apparently, only a small minority of Brits. I'd love to hear that this is not the case here in the good old USA, but I somehow doubt it. Let me make this abundantly, inarguably, absolutely clear: Astrology is bullshit. It's a scam. It's left over from a time when people thought they could transform lead into gold with magic (which is essentially all "alchemy" was). I know Newton was big on Alchemy, but you can't hit the bull's eye with every shot I guess.

I don't have a rant about this next one, I just think it's absolutely awesome. Unaltered headline: UK man dresses up like Darth Vader, beats up "Star Wars" nerds. I don't know who this guy is, but I want him patrolling my streets keeping them free of evil and... Jedi, I guess.

Now for another little rant. Apparently a couple of Chinese citizens are suing CNN for... not libel, not slander, no, for causing "mental harm" to the plaintiffs. Apparently they haven't been exposed to cable news before. If they had any previous experience, they'd be well aware that it causes mental harm to everyone who views it, regardless of race, creed, or whatever. You can't sue the news companies any time they say stupid things, or things you disagree with. They're protected by the First Amendment (or what's left of it after the last 7 years and a bit...).

 

Sorry for the rambling nature of this post. Here's a funny picture to make up for it.

Bananaphone

Eating Dogs or Pigs?

dog and pig

Which one is smarter?

I always thought dogs were smarter than pigs. When remembering Lassie and then comparing her(it is a her right?) to Babe, it seems like the dog was doing some bad ass stuff. Although Babe could talk, he or she had nothing of importance to say besides complaining about the farmer.

When I think about it I can't tell the genders of these animals by their names and I certainly wasn't watching the movies to catch their gender in between their legs. That would just be gross and awkward for anyone sitting next to me.

But the real question lies in the in the issue of intelligence. And furthermore animals rights as related to the consumption of animals. In Korea, 2 to 4 million dogs are eaten each year. That is about the same as the amount of people who turned out for Pennsylvania primary on Tuesday.

This stuff gets weirder as officials in Seoul will launch inspections of illegal dog meat restaurants even though the restaurants are themselves illegal.

Animal rights activists are planning to protest and their online campaign stuff to stop the Seoul government from reclassifying dogs as livestock.

What is odd about this to me is why this hasn't done for pigs who are known to be smarter then dogs. It's interesting that we are trying to get Korea to comply to Western Standards. Is it the ugliness of pigs or their unsightliness that makes them more edible? Granted, many cultures and many people do not eat pork in general but still.

Do we even care if pigs are intelligent? As one farmer from England explains, "we've been eating meat since we've managed to stand on hind legs...A natural part of being human is eat meat." This is probably true. The farmer also goes on to say that "it's natural to eat animals even if they're smart." I don't know about that one, especially if I saw some turkey typing on AIM or using facebook or if I saw a cow doing the dance to "Crank That (Souljah Boy)", I might seriously reconsider eating beef or turkey...for a day at least.

The farmers adds the animals would eat us if we didn't. I don't even know how to respond that. Considering we are the ones that keep them in captivity so we can breed them for food. It's interesting considering I've heard more about dogs attacking humans than pigs. I'm not advocating becoming a vegetarian, but I'm trying to question the logic(if such exist) of legalizing the consumption of dogs (despite their overall coolness and playful) or even criminalizing the consumption of pigs(despite their perceived tastiness to many people)?

ABC News

Slate

I Keep On Fallin...

In the spirit of yesterday's post about great things that happen on game shows I decided to add some more interesting clips.

And another one:

The best part about these things is that Bob Barker and the announcer both go "Ohhhh," at the same time, in the same game show host voice.

Sometimes the World is Scary

There comes a point in life when one must ask the very simple question of why? I can't go into much detail because to talk about this any further is to give it legitimacy and some thoughtful pause. I was hoping this was just a shock video like "2 Girls 1 Cup" but it seems really legit. Society sometimes throws a curveball. My boss says that this thing should have a shelf life because it just doesn't make sense

Some may laugh at this while others may cry....watch and you will understand:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Smart People on Wheel of Fortune

These are the geniuses that have made Wheel of Fortune the hit that it is.

Another genius doing some great work.

Smart people from college.

These people should have gone on jeopardy.

Thanks to PWN the Net

Krugman, Hawking, and Exoplanets

What do these three things have in common? They all pertain to one of my favorite things to think about: getting the hell off this rock.

The first link is to an article by Paul Krugman about how we're running out of resources. He considers the situation from a largely economics-based point of view (which makes sense, given his interests). Here's the last paragraph and change:

But rich countries will face steady pressure on their economies from rising resource prices, making it harder to raise their standard of living. And some poor countries will find themselves living dangerously close to the edge — or over it.

Don’t look now, but the good times may have just stopped rolling.

The second link is to an article from New Scientist magazine about Stephen Hawking's views on human space exploration. And now for the obligatory image of Dr. Hawking that must accompany any mention of his name...

Hawking argues that it is absolutely critical for mankind to expand beyond its current Earthly constraints. His reason for making this assertion is enormously compelling in spite of its straightforward nature:

The renowned University of Cambridge physicist has previously spoken in favor of colonizing space as an insurance policy against the possibility of humanity being wiped out by catastrophes like nuclear war and climate change. He argues that humanity should eventually expand to other solar systems.

A legitimate worry.

End of the World

Or maybe less so...

Pacman Hay

At any rate, the last link is to a website you'll want to keep your eyes on if you, too, want to spread humanity out into the stars.

If, after reading the above linked articles, you think we shouldn't be investing heavily in interplanetary and interstellar technologies, you've got a xenocidal streak in you and you're focusing it on your own species. Not the smartest move, if you ask me.

Bottom of the Glass

Via Mr. West

I be tellin yer future darlin’

Where is Ms. Cleo in the 2008 Presidential Elections when we need her? It seems that even with certain trends we just can't predict the outcome of anything. It's not even that we necessarily shouldn't be able to be predict the future or that life is full of surprises; it is something different.

I have to think that this election is the most interesting in a long time. Since I only remember the 1996, 2000 and 2004 election I may have a small number of memories to pull from but I do remember the 1996 election just because of how Silly Bob Dole was.

The New York Times had an interesting article a few weeks ago titled "A Scoreboard on Conventional Wisdom." It really goes to the heart (if such thing exist in this election) of how unique and oddly predictable yet unpredictable the 2008 election is.

I think the scariest thing about this is how fast November is approaching. I guess we'll have to wait and see if any of the recent predictions come true.

New York Times

The Particle Accelerator that will Destroy Humanity

As you may or may not have noticed Bryan has been away but he will return soon and we also have a guest writer named Katie. So we have a lot to look forward too. In the meantime we'll discuss what some believe to be a machine could destroy humanity.

The dreaded(by few) yet much awaited LHC or the Large Hadron Collider.

As the largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, the LHC may be the key to finding the Higgs boson, which is supposed to be the missing link in explaining how other elementary particles acquire properties like mass. Conversely, if it is not found (which is a possibility) it may throw the physics world into a state of flux.

In addition to finding the Higgs boson, scientist are looking to find such things as strangelets and micro black holes.  Surprisingly, the issue of creating a black hole has actually become a legal issue.

Two guys form Hawaii have filed a lawsuit in federal court in Hawaii asking for injunction against the collider because of a fear that it could create an Armageddon of sorts for the world. With the possibility of particle collisions at new and unexplored energy levels, some people have expressed fears that if a black hole is created(albeit a very small one),  than it will swallow up the earth and humanity and we'll all be gone. The idea of a DIY(Do It Yourself) black hole is interesting but luckily there is a low likelihood that it will destroy us all.

I wonder who these guys are and what they were thinking if they were thinking at all about the law suit they were bringing up. Here is a description of the two guys from a New York Times article:

"Mr. Wagner, who lives on the Big Island of Hawaii, studied physics and did cosmic ray research at the University of California, Berkeley, and received a doctorate in law from what is now known as the University of Northern California in Sacramento. He subsequently worked as a radiation safety officer for the Veterans Administration.

Mr. Sancho, who describes himself as an author and researcher on time theory, lives in Spain, probably in Barcelona, Mr. Wagner said."

This guy said..."probably." Luckily, the LHC does have a legal defense fund to deal with this, so this lawsuit may not be a big problem for now.

My friend Jonathan said this:

"Even if it magically did create a black hole that ended up destroying humanity, i think i would be amused, i mean that's a pretty sick way to go"

I kind of agree with this. I was wondering if we could watch other people fall into the event horizon which is the point of no return.

Unfortunately, I discovered that we would be swallowed up instantly, so there would be no free viewing of humanity's demise.

Either way this is definitely something to watch out for and not in the negative doomsday way but for the possibilities. The LHC may solve some of the biggest mysterious in physics and it just might be worth the .99999999% risk of Armageddon.

New York Times

Technology Review

Sancho v. U.S. Department of Energy et al

Bottom of the Glass

Animal Oddities

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bottom of the Glass

               Dog

Bottom of the Glass

The New York Post Wins in Absurd Headline Wars

In response to yesterday's post I forgot our favorite printed friend, the New York Post. Everyday a person can be lifted our of sickness, depression and the worst of what the world has to offer by simply reading a headline from the New York Post.

We salute the New York Post for their absurd efforts to be a legitimate entity.

Profiles in Geniusness

At NASA's 50th anniversary, famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking declared this:

"If the human race is to continue for another million years, we will probably have to go where nobody has gone before"

It is an interesting point to make. As he's emphasized in the past, the moon and mars should be the first place where we make colonies. Bringing these issues to light is an important thing. We've spent so much time focusing on Global Warming as an issue worth combating for the future, that no additional planning has been made for the placement of the human race in the future.

Understandably, these all seems like minor concerns compare to the U.S. recession, rising food prices, and global terrorism among other major issues,but there should definitely be more of a drive to pursue this idea.

In response to the concern for other major issues and wasting time on searching for a new planet Hawking says this:

"But we can do that and still spare a quarter of a percent of world GDP for space. Isn't our future worth a quarter of a percent?"

Although our future may be worth more than a quarter of a percent doesn't mean the human race wants to actually spend any money on what we are actually worth.

If this was the case I think people might actually spend money on healthcare for people. However, that maybe another debate or argument.

 

 

More than anything this is really a financial issue. Governments are just not willing to spend money on things like this that don't have instant returns. You know times are rough when the much talked about (but not cared about) International Space Station is actually just a bunch of scrapped ideas for space stations including the U.S. Space Station Freedom (funding was given a major blow), Russia's Mir 2, The European's Columbus and the Japanese Experiment Module KIBO.

Hawking We may need the billionaires of the world to put some of their extra money into these efforts. Only then can some real progress be made and some risk taken in a future that may provide so much potential and advantages.

If anything the one person on earth who could make space travel and colonization popular is no other than...

If one of her favorite things was buying land and a house on Mars you know the American housewives would scream in agreement and attempt to do the same. Our problem may be solved and in less than a year most of America's upper middle class families would have moved to Mars. Or not...

 

How do we get to realize Mr. Hawking's dream?

ABC News

Monday, April 21, 2008

A Closer Look at Fox New's Headlines

To be fair to CNN and MSNBC I had to go to Fox News too for some analysis. Here is what I found.

Mark Foley is actually a Republican.

I don't know. What is the fuss?

Could it have been avoided?

Scooter Libby was actually found guilty.

Which or what "media" entity made this up?

See more: Pottersville

In general I think we can draw some conclusions about cable news.

1. It is hard to accurately report news

2. It is even harder to create appealing yet normal headlines

3.  Cable News does not have any political slants....

4. One of the three statements above does not belong.

MSNBC also has Absurd Moments

norahwh.jpg

Absurdities from CNN

Who knew that CNN's headlines would be a treasure box filled with absurd, nonsensical and irreverent headlines. A friend of mine decided to write a letter to CNN expressing his thoughts about the descent of CNN's headlines into new depths of ridiculousness.

Luckily there are blogs out there devoted to monitoring this sort of thing. I have some excerpts right below.

Here is one:

Here is another one:

And another one:

Thanks to my friend Lincoln for bringing up this topic. You should definitely check out the blog called WTFCNN. You'll be laughing for hours. Maybe we should all turn to the fair and balanced network now that CNN's immaturity has been exposed. Or not...you decide.

Former CNN Anchor Bernard Shaw would not be proud.

Even more captions here: WTFCNN