Archive for the ‘Reference – Science’ category

Blog Notes: Another Short Day

December 18, 2008

Bleh. I’m not pleased by this. But an afternoon appointment looms.

When I get back, I hope to do the blog post for Leverage episode 3.

Meanwhile, the hell with global warming. Did you know our magnetic field is dying and we might turn into the next Mars?

GIVE ME MY TIME MACHINE, DAMN YOU!!

December 16, 2008

This is so important, I’m ripping off the entire news report.

Swiss watch found in 400-year-old tomb

Archeologists in China are baffled after finding a tiny Swiss watch in a 400-year-old tomb.

The watch ring was discovered as archeologists were making a documentary with two journalists from Shangsi town.

“When we tried to remove the soil wrapped around the coffin, a piece of rock suddenly dropped off and hit the ground with a metallic sound,? said Jiang Yanyu, former curator of the Guangxi Autonomous Region Museum.

“We picked up the object, and found it was a ring. After removing the covering soil and examining it further, we were shocked to see it was a watch.”

The time was stopped at 10:06am, and on the back was engraved the word “Swiss”, reports the People’s Daily.

Local experts say they are confused as they believe the tomb had been undisturbed since it was created during the Ming dynasty 400 years ago.

They have suspended the dig and are waiting for experts to arrive from Beijing and help them unravel the mystery.

Emphasis added by me.

400yearoldmicrowatch

There it is.

Proof time travel exists!

Now give me my goddammed machine so I can go back to 1960!!!

Quotes: Nikola Tesla In 1926

December 3, 2008

WHEN WOMAN IS BOSS: An interview with Nikola Tesla by John B. Kennedy

When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole. We shall be able to communicate with one another instantly, irrespective of distance. Not only this, but through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles; and the instruments through which we shall be able to do his will be amazingly simple compared with our present telephone. A man will be able to carry one in his vest pocket.

We shall be able to witness and hear events — the inauguration of a President, the playing of a world series game, the havoc of an earthquake or the terror of a battle — just as though we were present.

Emphasis added by me.

What would he have thought of the iPhone!?

And get this:

It is more than probable that the household’s daily newspaper will be printed ‘wirelessly’ in the home during the night.

He saw this in 1926!

That’s eighty-two years ago.

Can you see eighty-two years ahead?

Mark Jeffrey Knows Time Travel!

December 1, 2008

I was looking through the Books section of the iTunes App Store this weekend. It’s grown to twenty-four pages (of which sixteen are AppEngines eBooks!).

I came across the icon for Max Quick 2: The Two Travelers by Mark Jeffrey and clicked through to the description.

And was stunned.

First, the gorgeous cover, featuring the time traveler’s touchstone, the iconic Flatiron Building in NYC:

maxquick2cover

And then the part that stunned me. Read this:

maxquick2page

That is wonderful. He knows that the Now of back then is very different than our today Now.

Unlike them, however, my own bit of “time travel” was very pleasurable!

This book will go in my To-Read Endless Queue.

Previously here:

Writer Mark Jeffrey: Video Q&A
Writer Mark Jeffrey: Sony Reader eBooks!
Writer Mark Jeffrey Interview

No Frogs, No Bees … And No Acorns?

November 30, 2008

Acorn Watchers Wonder What Happened to Crop

The idea seemed too crazy to Rod Simmons, a measured, careful field botanist. Naturalists in Arlington County couldn’t find any acorns. None. No hickory nuts, either. Then he went out to look for himself. He came up with nothing. Nothing crunched underfoot. Nothing hit him on the head.

Then calls started coming in about crazy squirrels. Starving, skinny squirrels eating garbage, inhaling bird feed, greedily demolishing pumpkins. Squirrels boldly scampering into the road. And a lot more calls about squirrel roadkill.

But Simmons really got spooked when he was teaching a class on identifying oak and hickory trees late last month. For 2 1/2 miles, Simmons and other naturalists hiked through Northern Virginia oak and hickory forests. They sifted through leaves on the ground, dug in the dirt and peered into the tree canopies. Nothing.

Too early to tell what this means.

Have the frogs gotten better?

Have the bees returned?

Chronicles Of Depression 2.0: #441: Nash V. Smith

November 26, 2008

A Beautiful Mind (Adam Smith was wrong)

The blonde is all outstanding global debt: National, Corporate, and Consumer.

If everyone wants repayment, no one is going to get it.

Nations, societies, and the world we have known all fall.

If everyone ignores the blonde — all debt is forgiven — everyone prospers.

All Sink or All Swim in a nutshell.

This Is Your Sanity Prescription

November 23, 2008

brooding01

They all say freedom is at the end. But freedom is at the beginning.

— Krishnamurti

Two posts by others in the span of one week addressed a similar issue in different ways. With the second post, just today, I found myself wanting to rip out my hair. Because the confusion I witnessed was just so goddammed unnecessary.

The posts do not matter. The issue is knowing who you are.

Some people don’t.

For the longest time, I didn’t.

Some of us are not lucky enough to be have been born to parents with a large view of life. Some of us are born into families and neighborhoods where the biggest ambition is to be able to fill your belly and be grateful for having attained that basic goal.

Part of me really wants to rip into that, berating that narrow field of vision, but those people have been formed by their own experiences, their own disappointments, and even their own lack of ambition. The problem is that they pass that onto others as what is normal.

It’s not.

We are not educated to inquire. We are educated to conform.

— Krishnamurti

There is no “normal.”

“Christ,” Dickie muttered, scratching his greasy hair with the end of a ballpoint pen. “Another eccentric. What is this, are there more eccentrics these days or just fewer normal people?”

“There never have been normal people. It’s a myth,” I said as I reached under the sofa cushions looking for an antidepressant I might have dropped while I was opening the bottle. “Listen, Dickie, there are just crazy people and statisticians. Of course, there is some overlap.”

— The Music of What Happens by John Straley; pg. 25-26

Must I do the cliche thing and trot out the “crazy” to hammer home the point? Apple based an entire ad campaign on that theme!

I’m not saying other people of the same type of mind will rise to their prominence. What I am saying is that it’s critically important for one’s own life to recognize being one of them.

brooding02

I flailed for years and years not fitting into any corporate pigeonhole. Not understanding what was happening when Me encountered Them. They — to use that alienating term — are, for varying reasons, different than Us. That in no way makes them better than us — or us better than them. (Let me kill that poisonous Ayn Randian notion right now.)

But what happens on Our end is that We are made to feel deficient or defective or malfunctioning or — even — crazy.

Well, in three short words: Fuck. That. Shit.

It wasn’t until about ten years ago I was pushed to read a book I’d heard about but never had the impetus to investigate. It was, as Gulley Jimson said when he gazed upon a painting that opened up new artistic vistas for him, something that skinned my eyes. It was to me a religious experience. That book is my Bible.

It’s now the cornerstone of my Standard Sanity Prescription for people who don’t know who they are.

This is the prescription:

Two movies:
The Horse’s Mouth
A Fine Madness

Four books:
The Outsider by Colin Wilson
Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament by Kay Redfield Jamison
The Price of Greatness: Resolving the Creativity and Madness Controversy by Arnold M. Ludwig
Limbo: Blue Collar Roots, White Collar Dreams by Alfred Lubrano

I’m not providing links for the books because I want you to do some minor work to investigate them.

But don’t click around and have them filtered through the eyes of others (one description I’ve just looked at of The Outsider is frighteningly misleading). Read them for yourself.

In fact, just frikkin buy them. You’ll want to keep them.

The Outsider is my Bible. I saw myself on just about every page of that book.

Limbo is essential if you come from that socioeconomic background and might also be otherwise useful if you did not.

This, it seemed to me, is the basic difference between human beings. Some are perfectly satisfied with what they have; they eat, drink, impregnate their wives, and take life as it comes. Others can never forget that they are being cheated; that life tempts them to struggle by offering them the essence of sex, of beauty, of success; and that she always seems to pay in counterfeit money.

— The Outsider; Twenty Years Later addendum, by Colin Wilson

brooding03

Know who you are and no one, no thing can conquer you.

Forces of containment
They shove their fat faces into mine
You and I just smile
Because we’re thinking the same lines

— “I Like You” by Morrissey

Previously here:

How Writers Write Writing
Some People Ignore Hints
Microsoft Is Dying On Its Own
Never Ask
It’s Not For You To Know, So Don’t Ask