Dark energy always struck me as a rather odd idea. Now an alternative hypothesis explaining the nature of the cosmos has been released: leaking gravity.
We all know from our lessons in string theory that gravity is a very weak force in the dimensions that we can observe. (Try this: Drop something. Which force wins? The gravity pulling the object toward the earth or the electromagnetic force holding the tiny bits of floor together?) So if gravity is actually the same type of force as everything else, it is therefore acting in dimensions we cannot observe.
This leaking gravity idea says that with extreme distances, more and more of the gravity goes off into these other dimensions. And this explains why the universe is accelerating its expansion.
So why is this so much more believable to me than the dark energy theory, which says there's negative mass-energy pushing the universe apart with anti-gravity? Because I'd really like to believe in anti-gravity. That'd be cool. I got a bunch of uses for it. (Although the anti-gravity shoes might be difficult to walk in. I always end upside-down in my test-runs.)
Monday, February 28, 2005
Dark energy always struck me as a rather odd idea. Now an alternative hypothesis explaining the nature of the cosmos has been released: leaking gravity.
Did you know that they make staplers that, while seeming innocuous and ordinary, actually shoot out the staples like a staple gun? I discovered this fact yesterday afternoon. My thumb is still sore.
When I got myself in the palm with a regular stapler ten years ago, it never hurt. Then again, neither did the 1/8"-diameter nail I impaled into my palm six years ago...
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Two news stories I saw recently, School Board Bans Photo Of Girl Wearing Tux and Condoleezza Rice's Commanding Clothes, bounced off each other in my head. So perhaps the tux was just too sexy for some of the school board members...
In the first one, a high-school senior's picture was yanked from the yearbook because she wore the tux that was required attire for the boys instead of the gown-and-pearls uniform for the girls. The school claims it's just because she didn't follow the rules, but the girl thinks it has more to do with her being a lesbian. My conservative father saw the story and didn't see anything wrong with the girl in a tux. He suggested that the school was either caught up in their own power, or else they were afraid that the boys would start wearing the gowns and pearls. Which you know some would, just for the shock value.
But the Rice story brought another possible explanation to my head. It discussed how Rice, on her trip to Europe, didn't wear the bland, pastel suits of other female dignitaries such as Albright, but instead wore all black: high-heel boots, a short dress, and a long jacket (cue Cake here). Here's the paragraph that linked the two articles:
But the sexual frisson in Rice's look also comes from the tension of a woman dressed in vaguely masculine attire -- that is, the long, military-inspired jacket. When the designer Yves Saint Laurent first encouraged women to wear trousers more than 30 years ago, his reasons were not simply because pants are comfortable or practical. He knew that the sight of a woman draped in the accouterments of a man is sexually provocative. A woman was embracing something forbidden.
So perhaps the tux was just too sexy for some of the school board members...
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Diversity, preferences and the race/class debate
Here in Washington, we had an initiative back in '98 that banned the use of "race" in selecting students for state colleges. So the colleges switched to using other factors, such as family income and whether anyone in the family has gone to college before. Interestingly enough, the colleges managed to keep almost the exact same balance between the "races" as before the initiative. But what has changed is that middle-class minority students are going out-of-state for school and they have been replaced by poor minority students.
But now, the colleges are trying to get a bill passed that would let them consider "race" when selecting students after all.
So basically, the colleges want to keep the same balance between the "races," but not necessarily help the poor, which is what affirmative action should really be about, don't you think? The way the colleges want it, they'll be able to accept a whole bunch of middle-class, well-studied "blacks" and "hispanics" instead of poor, underprivlidged "blacks" and "hispanics." If the colleges have their way, every student will be rich or middle-class, no matter their "race."
Because, after all, the poor can't give them any money. And plus, it looks bad to have your good students leaving the state to go to college.
Monday, February 21, 2005
Scientists warns against depriving youngsters of meat: A United States Government scientist says pregnant women who are vegetarians or vegans could be seriously harming their unborn babies. She says there is growing evidence to suggest that a lack of those nutrients could affect a child's development. "I would go so far as to say it's unethical for parents not to provide their children, their growing children, whether it be in the uterus or after they're born with animal source foods that are so clearly required for their normal development," she said. Her comments are based on the results of a study of poor children in Kenya which showed that providing small amounts of animal-based food was substantially more effective than artificial supplements.
Who'd've guessed that we omnivores needed to eat meat?
Dr Lindsey Allen, a nuritionist, has also told the American Association for the Advancement of Science that putting young children on a meat-free diet is unethical because they are not getting all the nutrients they need.
A United States Government scientist says pregnant women who are vegetarians or vegans could be seriously harming their unborn babies.
She says there is growing evidence to suggest that a lack of those nutrients could affect a child's development.
"I would go so far as to say it's unethical for parents not to provide their children, their growing children, whether it be in the uterus or after they're born with animal source foods that are so clearly required for their normal development," she said.
Her comments are based on the results of a study of poor children in Kenya which showed that providing small amounts of animal-based food was substantially more effective than artificial supplements.
Friday, February 18, 2005
I just read a news article that proclaimed Scientists say global warming is undeniable. And then they say that without a doubt, "climate change is being caused by human activity."
But then I read the article further and found that statement of blame to be lacking any real support. The best they got is that they ran some computer models of natural solar and volcanic warming and those didn't account for the data they collected.
So, they ran *computer models* which didn't match the data and they automatically assume that their computer models are correct! And they have the audacity to talk about "rational people"! A rational person would come up with the idea that perhaps the computer models are inaccurate. Those things are always wrong. Have you ever trusted a weatherman's predictions?
I'm not arguing that global warming isn't taking place. These scientists have taken millions of measurements and got lots of proof. But I balk at them saying that human beings are the cause of this warming. The global climate has taken many wide swings through the centuries and millenia without mankind's help, so it makes sense to *this* rational person that the global climate could be taking an upswing all by itself.
And if the proposals in the Kyoto Protocol are any indicator, we have absolutely no chance at stopping nature from doing what it wants to do. The ocean levels are going to rise and the best we can do is get the Dutch to start building dikes in Bangladesh.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
I am not immune to the evils of tv. I turn it on just to give myself something to keep my attention while I eat dinner and I end up leaving it on until it's time to go to bed. I lie down on the couch and stare vacuously at the magical glowing box.
I should be doing something productive instead. I have so many ideas for novels that I can stay busy writing them for many years to come. If I ever want to see one published, I need to *work* at it. But no, I lie back and take my entertainment passively.
And now to get to the title of this post. If a society gets their entertainment and food every day, they won't think it's so bad. It's how the Roman Empire lasted so long with such a disparity between the wealth of the few and and poverty of the many: the poor had bread to eat and circuses to attend. In America, we have tv and so much more mindless entertainment; we have more food than anyone should or could eat. We're a bunch of passive, fat lemmings.
The revolution will never come from within. The masses are just too content. *I* am just too content.
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Today's a rather odd day to be discussing love, what with it having been beaten to death in the month leading up till yesterday, but it's on my mind, so here goes.
Near as I can see it, love comes in three parts: liking, caring, and lusting. Well, if you leave off the last one, you still have love -- it's just brotherly love, like they got in Philly.
When you like someone, you enjoy being around them and want to be around them at every opportunity. You respect them as a person and value their opinion. You can't see how anyone wouldn't appreciate their out-going, easy-going personality, or whatever.
When you care about someone, you only want the best for them. Their happiness is more important than your own. You start to worry when they're five minutes late, because maybe they've been in a car accident or something and they're always on-time so it can't be that they're just running behind schedule, could it? You acknowledge their bad habits and want them to stop doing it -- not because it annoys you, but because it's not good for their health or well-being.
When you lust for someone, they caught your eye from the first second. You see nothing less-than-perfect about their body and get carnal urges just seeing them fully-clothed. Their face is the most beautiful in the world.
Just two cents from a man who's done more thinking than loving...
Friday, February 11, 2005
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Read this question, come up with an answer and then read the comments for the result. This is not a trick question. It is as it reads. No one has gotten it right -- certainly not me! (-;
A woman, while at the funeral of her own mother, met this guy whom she did not know. She thought this guy was amazing, so much her dream guy she believed him to be just that! She fell in love with him right there, but never asked for his number and could not find him. A few days later she killed her sister.
Question: What is her motive in killing her sister? (Give this some thought before you answer.)
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Here's a wonderful quote I found today. It's from Mogens Lykketoft, the leader of the Danish Social Democrat party, who just lost their national elections. Actually, it's from his "concession" speech.
"It's a very unreasonable and unfair result and it pains me that we have to deal with the centre-right government, supported by the DPP, for another four years."
"Unreasonable"? "Unfair"? How absurd can you get? I don't think he is declaring a fraudulent election, do you? He's just a sore loser!
Anyway, it made me smile. Silly humans.
The AFP story.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Our President has given a budget to Congress that makes numerous draconian cuts, but still doesn't get the thing balanced. That's rather absurd, in my mind. Why not go all the way? If the budget is $2,570,000,000,000 and the deficit is only $427,000,000,000, I'm sure we can find some more programs to cut.
I remember a budget-balancing method that P.J. O'Rourke suggested: imagine somebody holding a gun to your kindly grandmother's head (or kindly relative of any type, if holding a gun to your grandmother's head would be grave-desecration) and then you have to decide if what's in the national budget is worth seeing your grandmother killed. So let's go through several departments...
Defense? Maybe we can trim a little pork fat, but, "Sorry, Grandma. It's for the good of the whole."
Veterans Affairs? They put their lives on the line for us, and now it's grandma's turn.
Education? ... I think the states will have to take care of this one. Grandma lives!
Transportation? Amtrak dies, not grandma, but how about those freeways and airports? Hm... Let's throw it back to the states, too. Grandma lives!
Housing and Urban Development? You gotta be kidding me. Grandma lives.
Interior? What do they do, anyway? Grandma lives.
Well, that's only a handful of the departments, and I already shaved $161,200,000,000 off that deficit! Now if we could just round up all the relatives of every congressperson...
Monday, February 07, 2005
The phrase "anal retentive" should be hyphenated when used as a modifier, but not hyphenated when not used as a modifier.
For example, it's hyphenated in this sentence: "He is an anal-retentive person." It is not hyphenated in this sentence: "He is anal retentive."
Saturday, February 05, 2005
Teens fined for late night cookie drop
Some girls decided to give gifts of fresh-baked cookies to their neighbors. One of them got freaked out and went to the hospital, thinking she had had a heart attack. She sued the girls and the judge ordered them to pay her hospital bill. The judge "did not think the girls had acted maliciously but that 10:30pm was fairly late at night for them to be out." Apparently everyone else their age in the town was at "a dance where there might be cursing and drinking." Go figure.
So, under-age drinking is okay, but gifts of cookies are BAD. Remember that, next time you're in rural Colorado.
Happy Naraka Day! Today is the 213th anniversary of King Furoíso the Elder's embarkation on his overland journey from the city of Sírépaga to the city of Rízhoso'ono with the intention of uniting all Narakans into one land. Thusly, it is the thirteenth anniversary of the ascension of King So'osolopo the Younger to his glorious and god-given role of King of Naraka.
It's also, by coincidence, the seventh anniversary of when I sent an email to email@example.com declaring my sovereignty over the sixty-two (or was it sixty-one?) counties between Seattle and Houston. I told him that if he agreed with my demands, then he didn't need to reply to my email. He didn't reply, so I've had no recourse but to assume that the United States of America willingly ceded to me the territories in question.
...I wonder if the FBI has a file on me now?
Friday, February 04, 2005
I went to the symphony last night, and instead of railing against people who sit next to you and rustle their programs and breathe quite loud in fits and starts, I shall quote an interesting bit from that very same program:
The name "Miracle," by which Haydn's Symphony No. 96 has long been known, derives from an incident at a concert during the composer's celebrated visits to London in the 1790s. A contemporary account describes the following:
When Haydn appeared . . . to conduct a symphony himself, the curious audience in the parterre left their seats and crowded toward the orchesetra, the better to see the famous Haydn quite close. The seats in the middle of the floor were thus empty, and hardly were they empty when the great chandelier crashed down and broke into bits, throwing the numerous gathering into the greatest consternation. As soon . . . as those who had pressed forward could think of the danger they had luckily escaped and find words to express it, several persons uttered the stated of their feelings with cries of "Miracle! Miracle!"
It turns out that the work Haydn presented on that occasion actually was his Symphony No. 102, but the "Miracle" designation became erroneously attached to his Symphony No. 96.
Great story. I love how it raises as many questions as it answers. Namely, how did they forget what symphony they went there to see?
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Paper recycling strikes me as rather odd. We waste a whole bunch of time, money, energy -- Resources -- to reuse something that grows back naturally, given time. If you want to recycle something, focus on materials that are harder to reproduce: metals and plastics. Even glass and aluminum recycling strike me as a bit odd, since silicon and aluminum are two of the three most common elements in Earth's crust.
But the real issue here is property rights. Yeah, you heard me. The City of Seattle is forcing people to recycle ($50 fine). For now, I think it's just businesses, so you won't get too many complaints, but it can't be too much longer before they make everyone recycle. But I say: I bought the piece of paper, I can do with it whatever I want! The city is hauling away two dumpsters from my building anyway. It shouldn't matter to them which dumpster I put that piece of paper in.
Also, the State of Washington has a long-standing law requiring every vehicle to have a litter bag ($250 fine). Once again: it's my car, it's my trash, I can store it however I wish. It only starts infringing upon others' freedoms when it gets chucked out the window. And I ain't gonna do that. So lay off, Olympia!