Showing posts from 2012

Smartphone? Picard chooses Android.

I never get tired of this one...

What Would Jesus Do?


US "Toppler Radar" - Smashing Success?

Obama told a television interviewer that the North Koreans have “been trying to launch missiles like this for over a decade now, and they don’t seem to be real good at it.”
According to the piece, our president claimed North Korea's failed rocket launch shows that country is wasting money on rockets which "don't work", while its people starve.  In contrast, the U.S. wastes money on rockets much better at killing, kill more, more rapidly, and engender more fear and hatred on an unprecedented scale - while none of its people (who matter) starve.  OK, perhaps on that last point no one who matters to the North Korean elites aren't starving either, but perfect contrast sets are extremely rare in the real world.
But this post isn't to rag on Obama, it's to point out something I thought about when I first read a news story regarding deployment of the special, secret radar pictured above.  The first thing that was odd about the story was its basic plot: the fir…

Humanbirdwings Hoax

If you follow science & technology news like I do, you've received a half-dozen or more news blurbs hailing the breakthrough in human powered flight with links to the YouTube Videos.  Since the story seems to be spreading faster than one can produce individual explanations, it seemed like a good idea to put up one for everyone.

Given the floppy, high-drag wings, I could not understand how something with much less lift area than very efficient hang glider and paraglider wings could *flap* (quite inefficiently) and not just maintain, but actually *climb*...and he has no headwind!  With near perfect surface rigidity and wings of this size filled with hydrogen (or better for weight: a vacuum) maybe such a thing...
When receiving news of the breakthrough, I checked the "100 meters of flight" video, shown as number 14 out of 14.  I noticed a number of strange things:
1 - No witnesses: where were the millions who would want to see this event?
2 - Climbing on upstroke: the…

Road Spikes are the Last Straw for Me

People have rights, including the right to protest and seek redress for injustice from their government.  If all peaceful means have failed, certain kinds of violence may even be justified.  Our situation in Coyhaique is very different from that, however.
Last night, gangs of (mostly) young men covered sections of roads with these antipersonnel weapons (caltrops) capable of puncturing most vehicle tires, and kids on bikes could be easily maimed, crippled, or blinded by them.  At night, they are all but impossible to see unless under streetlights on light-colored pavement.  Such crimes have been recently excused by the claim that the government has forced protesters to such things. It was also proposed that the youths placing them were actually government agent provocateurs.  Admittedly this is a possibility, but very unlikely.  If any were exposed, it would bring down the government in a heartbeat, hardly worth the risk, and if the government wanted to use this as a pretext for viole…

Uncharted 3 Spanish 001

Uncharted 3 in Spanish is a great way for gamers interested in improving beginner's level comprehension.  While most practice will be with "Mierda!", there are lots of learning opportunities. 
Merely hearing beautifully pronounced español latino can improve our ear for the spoken language, even though the construction, grammar, and particular words may be unknown.
In the opening: Todos los hombres sueñan, pero no de igual manera.
Todo = all, and todos is the plural form used for countable objects, referring here to hombres (men).  Los is a the plural form of "the", while sueñan is the plural 3rd person form of of the verb soñar (to dream). Pero no de igual manera may be most literally translated as "but not in equal manner", but what conveys the meaning best might be closer to "not in the same way".  
The Spanish manera differs from "manners" in that it only refers to describing actions; it is not used for describing "bad tab…

A Response to Baptist Leader's Concerns

My email to First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey:
Good Day,
In a CNN piece, Baptist Church leader "Dr." Buster Soaries asks: "Are Christian people so desperate today that we are gullible en masse?"
Perhaps some are, but there seem to be much larger issues which make "desperation" a minor focus which seems to distract rather enlighten.
Perhaps reframing the question with normal, unbiased language might help us gain clarity:  Assume there is a group who believe that people become invisible zombies after death.  These "spirits" are not only immortal, but also are created by an infinitely knowledgeable, supernatural being with magic powers including telepathy capable of hearing mental conversations beginning with special words and if presented with the right attitude. 
Assume this group further believes that this telepathic being is incorporeal, yet male, and magically created a human son through a sort of rape of a phy…

Fresh from the Last Ice Age

The Institute of Cell Biophysics of the Russian Academy of Sciences has published this photo, which is too cool not to share; It's a sylene stenophylla.  The seed for this flower was recovered from a squirrel den dug into the Siberian permafrost 30,000 years ago!

Creating a New Copernican Revolution 001

What is the nature of the universe?  How many dimensions exist?  What is reality?  Although modern physics can explain many observations of time, space, matter, and energy, researchers have been investigating and theorizing various models which might provide answers to a wide range of puzzling anomalies.  The apparent expansion of the universe wherein new space is created, and observations suggesting vast distributions of invisible mass are two of the more recent observations resisting some of the longest investigations, using some of the most expensive instruments ever conceived, by the best educated scientists who have ever lived.  Still, they remain unexplained. A high-level government panel report entitled "Quantum Universe" presents an overview of mysteries currently confronting physics with recommendations on how they can be solved.
Why bother with such questions at all?  There are at least two kinds of answers: philosophical and practical. Philosophical answers are …

New Merit Review - Intro