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|Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011|
|Sunday, August 14th, 2011|
|I guess we could just go back and ask Mr. Schroedinger
I have here a version of Schroedinger's box. I don't like killing cats, so I've stuck Hitler inside of it instead.
My box is configured so that sixty seconds after I start the experiment, there will be a 50% chance that Hitler will be dead and a 50% chance that he'll be alive. At that point, I'm going to open the box and broadcast the results to the world.
He's alive! OK, that concludes that experiment.But wait!
, I imagine you saying. I wanted Hitler dead!
Don't we all, my friend. Don't we all. But if you assume a model of time travel wherein the past can be changed, how about you just go back in time and so you can observe the experiment again?
So let's hypothetically say that you go back about a minute and a half, to before I've started the experiment. You don't interfere with the process in any direct way: you just quietly wait until it's completed and listen to the results again.
Will the experiment still be random, with a 50% chance of life or death? Does your mere presence in the past have the ability to alter the result, producing a potentially different answer this time around, despite the fact that you're miles away from me (and Hitler)? Or will the results now be guaranteed to be the same as your first observation? Has the probability waveform effectively been pre-collapsed before the experiment has even begun, turning a random event into a completely deterministic one?
Bonus question: What if you're actually out in space, exactly two light minutes away? You won't hear the results of my experiment until two minutes after I complete it (since it takes that long for my broadcast to reach you), so when you hear the results, you'll have to go back in time three and a half minutes in order to ensure you arrive before I actually begin. But then, if the results could be different this time
, would that imply that information of your arrival in the past had reached me in only thirty seconds, despite you being two light minutes away?
|Monday, May 9th, 2011|
If you kill somebody and go to jail for it for a while, and then -- via time travel -- you kill the younger version of them, should you be sent to jail again for it, or would that be double jeopardy?
And does it matter whether (in objective time) the second murder happened before or after the first?
Does it make a difference if you really just go back and set things up for the younger you to commit the second murder, so that you do it before you've ever killed the older version of the victim?
And does it change anything if that guy is Hitler?
|Sunday, December 19th, 2010|
|The Modern Stone-Age Family
If the Flintstones were being broadcast today, what sort of substitutes would they have for present-day technology?
|Saturday, December 18th, 2010|
|A random metaphysical theory
So here's a theory about the nature of the universe and religion and stuff that has just randomly crossed my mind. I don't necessarily believe it's true, but I'm also not assuming it's false (since my beliefs on the creation of the universe are basically "God did it, somehow, but I'm not going to jump to any conclusions on how"). I wouldn't be at all surprised if someone else has already had this theory more famously, and if so, I'd be interested to hear who.
Theory: The physical universe is inherently deterministic. God created it by creating a singularity with very precise, exact, and carefully chosen parameters, and then just let it run on its own for billions of years, so that it could explode and develop time and space and light and stars and planets and rivers and elephants, in a completely deterministic way that was pre-programmed into the original parameters.
Spiritual entities (such as God and angels and human spirits) exist outside of the physical universe, but can affect the physical universe, and are themselves not deterministic. About three million years ago, God selected several of the bipedal mammals which he had designed the universe to eventually produce and bound them to spirits which he'd created. And at that point, humans were created, complete with free will and the ability to alter the course of the otherwise deterministic universe.
Any thoughts or opinions?
|Sunday, October 10th, 2010|
Solipsexuality: A sexual orientation wherein an individual is not attracted to other members of either
gender. Rather, a solipsexual is attracted -- and only attracted -- to him or herself
Conveniently, even closeted solipsexuals find very little difficulty in meeting and forming a deep, intimate relationship with an appropriate partner.
|Friday, October 8th, 2010|
|A Rhetorical Question
Given that we have all of these silent letters that you can see but not hear, what happened to all of the invisible letters that you can hear but not see?
|Tuesday, September 28th, 2010|
"Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration." - Thomas Edison
"[J]ust a little theory and calculation would have saved him 90 percent of the labor." - Nikola Tesla
|Friday, July 30th, 2010|
|Monday, June 28th, 2010|
This is another idea that I'm posting here so I can point out that I thought of it first if someone else thinks of it later.
It's a thin, relatively flat object with pressure and light sensors on it. When you bring your laptop to a public place (like a cafe or a restaurant) to take advantage of the free wifi, you place this underneath it. If anyone tries to pick up the laptop without properly disabling the device first (probably via a passcode), it emits a loud noise alerting everyone nearby that a laptop theft is in process. Thus, you can safely get up from your seat and go up to the counter or visit the restroom without worrying about someone swiping your laptop and sneaking off with it unnoticed.
|Sunday, March 21st, 2010|
I don't think I ever got around to posting about the philosophy of Karmway. So let's do that now.
Its basis is a concept not entirely unlike karma: good and evil deeds affect the state of your soul, and the sum total of these deeds affects what will happen to you after death. However, an important principle in Karmway is the belief that if you lead another person to begin doing good, then you are indirectly responsible for the good deeds they then go on to perform. The more good they do, the more good karma you acquire from having converted them.
(The converse applies to converting other people to do evil, but it is generally assumed that good karma is preferable to evil karma.)
This continues on indefinitely: if a person you've converted to good then goes on to convert someone else who becomes a great exemplar of goodness, then you accrue good karma for having converted the person who converted them
. And so on and so forth: the successful adherent of Karmway is like the topmost point of an ever-expanding pyramid of good deeds.
Logically, this means that it's in your best interest to not only convince other people to be good, but to convince them to actively proselytize others into the philosophy of Karmway, so that they will in turn be motivated to convert others into the business of converting others to good. A purely utilitarian moral philosophy virally driven by unenlightened self-interest.
|Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010|
I'm coining the phrase "cargo cult pedantry". (Write that in your dictionaries now.) A cargo cult pedant is someone who has seen or heard other people being pedantic about something and decides to join in (so that they too can experience that sweet, succulent feeling of superiority that we pedants enjoy all the time), without actually understanding the thing they're being pedantic about
Example: Pedants know that the third millennium AD started in the year 2001. That's because the years 1-1000 were the first millennium, and 1001-2000 were the second. That makes 2001-3000 the third.
Some other folks heard this, and -- not quite understanding it -- extrapolated that this means that the new decade after the naughties (or whatever cutesy term you prefer to use to refer the period that ended with December 31, 2009) does not start until 2011. Despite the facts that A) any
ten years form a decade, regardless of when they start, and B) the decades in question are specifically identified by the second-to-last digit of the year (the 80's, the 90's, the 00's, etc.).
true that the two hundred and second decade AD hasn't started yet (and won't start until 2011). But how many people actually care about the two hundred and second decade AD? The rest of us are still busy trying to come up with the correct cutesy name for the 2010's.
Does anyone have any other good examples of cargo cult pedantry?
|Sunday, January 31st, 2010|
The Elemental Plane Of Orphans
|Thursday, January 21st, 2010|
|Writing Exercise Thingy #2: Result
Based on citizenpsmith
's suggestion here
Just listen to those violins. You can hear it in their voices: "We're the melody; we're the harmony. We matter. You don't. Nyeahhh!" They think they're so much more important than anything else in the orchestra. Whose idea was it to let such a whiny, egotistical, touchy, demanding, narcissistic and just plain irksome
instrument have the main parts? They would have been insufferable even if there were just two of them. But to have two dozen of them -- two dozen
! -- is madness. Pure madness.
Give me a cello any day. I have never met a cello who was anywhere near as high strung as your typical violin. Have you ever talked to a cello? I mean, really talked to one? There is depth there, my friend. Not like those shallow violins.
Remember the good old days? Back when "classical music" meant harpsichords? Well, alright, I admit neither do I. But it must have been glorious. I've always wanted to meet a harpsichord. I had been hoping that I might get to work with one this time around.
But no, what do I get instead? Violins. Violins, violins, violins. Throw them all out, say I! Replace them with woodwinds! Or brass! I'd even prefer a herd of pompous tubas (and truly, how can anyone be pompous when they're best known for playing "oom-pah-pah oom-pah-pah"? they're barely a step above accordions, and that's saying something) over these screeching banshees.
I have a dream, though. I dream that some day -- not necessarily right now, perhaps not even soon, but some day
-- there will be a piece written for us
. And it won't be the violins or the harpsichords or the tubas out there in front playing the main melody line. It'll be me.
I don't pretend it'll be easy! But I think, working together with my brothers and sisters, we might just be able to pull it off. And for now, we wait. We wait and dream and practice. We must be ready when the time comes for the "Concerto per il Triangolo".
|Writing Exercise Thingy #2: Prompt
Give me a short phrase (2-3 words -- preferably nothing too vulgar). I'll choose one and write a few paragraphs of prose that somehow incorporate it.
|Monday, January 18th, 2010|
|Writing Exercise Thingy #1: Result
Based on inkylj
's suggestion here
by Admiral Jota
A proton is a baryonic mass
Whose charge we classify with symbol "plus".
Electrons (which are in the lepton class),
Are opposite: that's negative to us.
Take one of each: an atom you'll create,
Called hydrogen (the simplest element).
Netrons are a means to add some weight,
But not its basic type to reinvent.
Inside the heart of any healthy sun,
Great pressures force two atoms to become
Alchemic'ly combined, a single one:
Great energy released, plus helium.
So on, so forth, from two to three to four:
Thus oxygen and iron and gold and more!
|Saturday, January 16th, 2010|
|Writing Exercise Thingy #1: Prompt
Name a topic. I'll choose one of the proposed topics and write a sonnet about it in a future entry. (Note: I make no promises about the quality
of the poetry. Only the format.)
|Games that were never made...
...but perhaps should have been:
Where in You is Carmen Sandiego?
Carmen and her gang have been shrunken down and injected into your body! Now they're zipping around your bloodstream, swiping pieces of you that you've never heard of. Fortunately, you have access to a micro-miniature remote-controlled robot that you can use to investigate the thefts and track her down. Advanced A&P instruction, in a style that's friendly to elementary school students.
|Thursday, January 14th, 2010|
Today, my car's gas tank was ripped apart from the inside by a tiny zombie dinosaur.
That's the last time I fill it with undeaded gasoline.
|Monday, December 28th, 2009|
|A Question About The Slingshot Effect (Not Related To Visiting The 1980's To Collect Whales)
The stuff I've read about using gravity assists say that you fly in close to a planet, and if your angle is right, you'll swing around in a hyperbolic orbit and fly off in the opposite direction. And they also say that the reason you don't break any laws of physics doing this is because you're stealing some of that planet's kinetic energy from its own merry orbit around the Sun.
So what would happen if you attempted a gravity assist using a body that was, for all intents and purposes, stationary?