Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Thursday, May 18, 2006
that black holes are the simplest objects in the universe. you can describe one completely by just its mass, spin rate, and electric charge.
in contrast, to completely describe a dust mote you're have to specify the position and state of all of its atoms, taking at least 10^16 numbers.
that's 10,000,000,000,000,000 numbers.
black holes can do some very strange things. for instance, if you were very close to one, so close that it bent visible light, you would be able to see the back of your own head.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
stock up on plenty of cheese. you never know when the minister will strike…
i thought this was a joke when i first came across it on the internet. sad.
"Ever wish your life had its own special soundtrack? Want to introduce your friend to new tunes? Easy, just make a mix tape or CD! Whether it's a gift or just for you, read on for simple tips on how to be your own mixmaster.
Before you begin, you have to know the purpose of the mix. You might need music you can dance to for a party. Romantic grooves might be in order for that special someone. Maybe you just want a mix that you know will cheer up a friend who's down in the dumps. The mood you want to set influences the songs you'll pick
We can't cover every type of mix here, so we're going to concentrate on making a great dance tape. Click the button for our how-tos.
Before dubbing, you should plan out what songs to include, and the exact order you want them to go in. To make a successful mix, you have to create the perfect mood to draw in your listeners and make them beg for more! Here are some guidelines:
1. Start with some big hits that people will recognize. This will get them into the music and onto the dance floor. Examples include; "Independent Women, Part I" by Destiny's Child, or Madonna's "Music."
2. After you've won over the crowd with some smash hits they love, put in a few songs that are older, but still great to dance to, like Jackson 5's "ABC."
3. Now that the crowd is groovin', hit them with YOUR personal favorite tracks. For Channel One's Music Supervisor Brian Miller, that would mean "One More Time" by Daft Punk, or "Freedom" by Bob Sinclar.
4. The next to last song of the mix has a special purpose. That's where you make YOUR STATEMENT. You can teach the listeners something, express a particular feeling or just plain rock the house! Brian's picks for "statement tracks"? Alice Deejay's "Better Off Alone" or Stardust's "The Music Sounds Better With You."
5. The very last one is the decompression song. It switches the tempo down since everyone kinda beat but not ready to stop. You still want to pick a relatively popular song, but with a different beat, like Joe's slow jam "I Wanna Know."
· Try to keep the tempo the same throughout the mix. This will keep the crowd on their feet and dancing. Only on the last song should switch tempo.
· Unless you have two CD players and a mixer, or two turntables and a mixer, you can't really control where one song fades out and the other begins, so don't worry about that.
· Funky re-mixes of current songs, like 'N Sync's "Pop," are a fun way to spice things up. The words of the song are familiar, but you still get to introduce different beats and sounds.
· Have fun! The more you energy you put into it, the more enjoyment you and your friends will get out of the mix when it's done."
and don't blame me if there's a sudden, unruly cheesy disturbance at your party...
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Monday, May 15, 2006
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that's scary...it's in red!
it's hard to know where to begin with this site, but i guess if you live in kansas, this is what the kids are being fed as "science".
"If we trust the Bible as true, and accept theories compatible with scripture we will never have a problem." (this means that any theories not compatible with scripture are automatically rejected from consideration) doesn't sound very scientific to me..
"You can learn more about dinosaurs from 2 hours of reading your Bible, than man has learned on his own in the last 150 years of studying their bones. " (i would say that the vast literature produced by scientists from all over the world over the last 150 years of studying dinosaur bones might disagree with this) exactly what would you learn about dinosaurs from a 2 hour reading of the bible?
No Scientist was there when the earth was formed or when life began. So any ideas they currently have are only educated guesses. (i guess all the phd paleontologists are in complete agreement) i think their contribution is more than only educated guesses.
The only way to learn the truth about how and when life began is to read the testimony of the only one who was there, God himself. (so don't ask any awkward questions, such as why can't i challenge anything in the bible...)
We must believe by faith, the uncompromising Word of God as our source of information. Therefore, knowing and believing that the Bible is true, we can conclude that all land animals were created the same day as man. (that's quite a scientific statement...)
Instead Satan uses dinosaurs as a tool of deception. There is no better animal for Satan to use against the very God that created them, than the animal that represented the very power of God himself. (you're losing it big time, dude)
"Dinosaurs and man DID live together. There is plenty of ways to prove this." (uh huh) there is plenty of ways? no excuse for bad grammer. oh, and how about that proof?
But most importantly from scripture we know that all animals were created to live peacefully with man. (i think we're all fully aware of the cave paintings where sabre-tooth tigers are depicted just chillin' peacefully, in harmony with the cave dudes round the camp fire while they all hang around, waiting the odd hundred thousand years or so for the bible to be written)
for scientific theories to be accepted, they must stand up to close scrutiny and criticism from all others. theories must agree with all observations, and when specific observations are in doubt, then the methodology of how that data was collected, and the accuracy of the results must be shown to be in agreement within the parameters of standardised methods.
real science always advances. take the ancient greeks, who gave us geometry and the pythagorean rule (which today every physics student has to learn). man can do many things, but turn the clock back on the progress of science is not one of them.
i can't wait for this site to be updated when life is discovered elsewhere, either in our solar system or from beyond.
the universally accepted view is that the theory of evolution is almost as successful as the theory of quantum mechanics, the most successful theory in the history of mankind. quantum mechanics just doesn't make any sense, and yet it's importance cannot be overstated. both theories are far from complete, but that doesn't imply that these theories are just ideas, as relevant to us as others with absolutely no scientific merit.
that is surely the triumph of science over reason. ask your doctor what is missing from a complete understanding of the human mind and my guess is that he'll be able to rattle off a list a mile long. ask that same doctor if he thinks that our current scientific understanding, while lacking in detail is completely wrong, and will be eventually overturned by a biblical interpretation, and i think you'll make him look up at you...
there are many things i don't like or agree upon. science, the very backbone of modern human history cannot be one of them.
i'm reminded of the lunar landing conspiracy theorists. show them compelling evidence, data from the mcdonnell observatory, for instance, that seals the deal, and they stick their collective heads in the sand and either refuse to accept it or discount it as part of the conspiracy.
if kansas is unhappy with a scientific theory, how come they're just singling evolution out?
just imagine for a moment that the creationists had their way, and children around the country were taught the following:
1) the earth is 6,000, to 10,000 years old.
2) all life was created in 6 literal days.
3) death and decay came about as the result of adam & eve's fall.
4) geology must be interpreted in terms of noah's flood.
5) there is literally a place that is heaven, where only peace and harmony exists, and hell, where all us sinners are gonna end up. it's not enough to die, i, along with all my friends, have to listen to all the terrible things we've done, and then we'll be sent to satan himself for perpetual eternal agony. - and this is the work of a supreme being? praise me, sacrifice yourself mentally, or suffer eternal damnation forever.
i reckon it boils down to this: truly mind-numbingly cheery, clap-your-hands, christian songs of praise, or some full-on blokey drum n bass.
Friday, May 12, 2006
THE usefulness of scientific theories, like those on gravity, relativity and evolution, is to make predictions. When theories make practicable foresight possible, they are widely accepted and used to make all of the new things that we enjoy — like global positioning systems, which rely on the theories of relativity, and the satellites that make them possible, which are placed in their orbits thanks to the good old theory of gravity.
Creationists who oppose the teaching of evolution as the predominant theory of biology contend that alternatives should be part of the curriculum because evolution is "just a theory," but they never attack mere theories of gravity and relativity in the same way. The creationists took it on their intelligently designed chins recently from a judge in Pennsylvania who found that teaching alternatives to evolution amounted to the teaching of religion. They prevailed, however, in Kansas, where the school board changed the definition of science to accommodate the teaching of intelligent design.
Both sides say they are fighting for lofty goals and defending the truth. But lost in all this truth-defending are more pragmatic issues that have to do with the young people whose educations are at stake here and this pesky fact: creationism has no commercial application. Evolution does.
Since evolution has been the dominant theory of biology for more than a century, it's a safe statement that all of the wonderful innovations in medicine and agriculture that we derive from biological research stem from the theory of evolution. Recent, exciting examples are humanized antibodies like Remicade for inflammation and Herceptin for breast cancer, both initially made in mice. Without our knowledge of the evolution of mice and humans and their immune systems, we wouldn't have such life-saving and life-improving technologies.
Another specific example is resistant bacterial infections, one of the scariest threats to public health. The ones that are resistant to antibiotics are more reproductively successful than their non-resistant relatives and pass the new resistance genes on to more offspring. Just as Darwin said 150 years ago.
The creationists have devised a tortuous work-around for this phenomenon, which endorses natural selection and survival of the fittest, but says that evolution doesn't explain the original development of species. The problem is, there are hundreds of genes that occur in both bacteria and humans. It's hard to see why a designer would do it that way, since having the same genes in bacteria and humans makes infections harder to treat: drugs that act on bacterial gene products act on the human versions as well, so those drugs could kill both the bacterium and the human host. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
So evolution has some pretty exciting applications (like food), and I'm guessing most people would prefer antibiotics developed by someone who knows the evolutionary relationship of humans and bacteria. What does this mean for the young people who go to school in Kansas? Are we going to close them out from working in the life sciences? And what about companies in Kansas that want to attract scientists to work there? Will Mom or Dad Scientist want to live somewhere where their children are less likely to learn evolution?
One Kansas biology teacher, a past president of the National Association of Biology Teachers, told Popular Science magazine that students from Kansas now face tougher scrutiny when seeking admission to medical schools. And companies seeking to innovate in the life sciences could perhaps be excused for giving the Sunflower State a miss: one Web site that lists companies looking for workers in biotechnology has more than 600 hiring scientists in California and more than 240 in Massachusetts. Kansas has 11.
In his most recent State of the Union address, President Bush mentioned our problems in science education and promised to focus on "keeping America competitive" by increasing the budget for research and spending money to get more science teachers. I hope he delivers, but we can't keep America competitive if some states teach science that has no commercial utility. Those smart youngsters in India and China whom you keep hearing about are learning secular science, not biblical literalism.
The battle is about more than which truth is truthier, it's about who will be allowed to innovate and where they will do it. Sequestering our scientists in California and Massachusetts makes no sense. We need to allow everyone to participate and increase the chance of finding the innovations to improve society and compete globally.
Where science gets done is where wealth gets created, so places that decide to put stickers on their textbooks or change the definition of science have decided, perhaps unknowingly, not to go to the innovation party of the future. Maybe that's fine for the grownups who'd rather stay home, but it seems like a raw deal for the 14-year-old girl in Topeka who might have gone on to find a cure for resistant infections if only she had been taught evolution in high school.
Holden Thorp is chairman of the chemistry department at the University of North Carolina.
We have a great Drum & Bass night coming up on Saturday night, May20th with Tiernan and Big Bud spinning on the decks at Science club.
Big Bud who was formerly on LTJ Bukem's label "GLO," now has his own label "Soundtrax" and will be promoting his first album off the label. It is called the "Fear of Flying Tour" and DC has been
recently added as the last stop. This is a rare occasion to hear
this guy spin so I urge you all to check it out.
For those of you who have not been to Science Club, we have room for
the people that like to chill and for the people that like to shake.
There is a great vegetarian menu for the starving and there is plenty
of room to sit, drink, and chill on any of the four floors. On the
dancefloor there is a heavy sound system for the Drum & Bass purists.
This party should rival some of our old bangers at Red with plenty
of attractive blokes and birds, good tunes, and debauchery. We would
love to kick the summer off strong with all old and new crew, so come
out and lets make DC dynamic and cutting edge!
P.S. - Feel free to forward this on to anyone who likes good drum &
bass or is simply down for a good bender:)
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
rising gas prices. you can't get away from the subject. you'ld think that by now, someone, anyone, would have stepped up and told the truth, how the present system should be changed, and just what unpleasant dose of medicine called reality it will take to turn a corner and display a plan and vision for the future, instead of being shackled by present practices. in short, it's time to get tough, because unless you do so now, it's gonna' be a lot tougher when you might not have quite so many options to choose from.
let's see how this government has responded to the present dilemma.
1. a $100 check. the idiot(s) who dreamt up this economic tour de force should be fired because:
a) they are stupid, short-sighted, passing the buck, incapable of insight, evil. (pick one, or more)
b) suspend or reduce the federal tax on gasoline. that's great, except what are you going to do, if/when prices still rise? very difficult to re-implement a tax. it also does absolutely nothing to solve the problem, except in the months leading up to an election that is...
this is great, guys...here's old nutty's quick fixes:
1) claw some of the ridiculous tax-payers subsidies back from the oil companies and hit them with a windfall profits tax. what are they going to do? stop selling gasoline?
2) invest all the tax revenues raised through oil and gasoline, and instead of building more and more roads, actually come up with a plan to invest equally in roads, public transportation, and alternative fuels. it's called hedging your bets and not keeping all your eggs in one basket - stupid, i know...
3) pass legislation that directly and adversely affects the sale of gas guzzlers. not just a single one-off tax, but a yearly scalable sum depending on just how fuel-inefficient these present behemoths of the highway are. that should make the auto manufacturs scuttle to the autocad, especially if this yearly tax was to be split 50/50 between the owner and manufacturer.
f) pass legislation that directly provides incentives to auto manufacturers to produce ever-efficient vehicles, and not just the trendy media-grabbing hybrids. i mean all small, fuel-efficient vehicles. come on america, make small interesting, cars that are actually fun to drive.
g) pass legislation that provides tax incentives (yes, i said it) to oil companies who earn an increasing share of their profits and income through the sale of alternative fuels and energy sources. the oil industry seems to be extremely well merged and vertically integrated, why cannot this immensely profitable industry succeed horizontally as well? there won't be any 'oil' companies in the distant future, so the shareholders and executives shouldn't be too alarmed at this suggestion if they want to survive. i have no objection to these companies making huge sums of money, but let's see some real long-term vision, combined with action and responsibility to the environment in doing so.
in 100 years from now, if we have managed to survive mankind's best efforts of screwing the planet up, how will the text books cover this period for american students learning about their current energy and transportation needs. it's impossible to answer, of course, but i bet it will be very different from today's b*****ks coming out of the mouths of fat, overly-lunched politicians, who display an amazing ability to talk a good show and yet do nothing at the same time, all in the sole interest of not representing their public, but rather in maintaining their own status quo.
perhaps this attitude will change once america is no longer number 1 in the world. i believe that that historically significant moment will come to pass in a lot less than 100 years.
america will have to get used to the idea of having to change its ways. it may be a very bitter pill to swallow, but does anyone actually believe that we can continue to bury our heads in the sand and instead look to poiliticians to come up short, and wheel out band-aids as a way out without anyone sacrificing something?
all that and global warming, too! the planet 100 years from now will physically be a very different place than it is today. that $100 check looks even more stupid than it did before i started writing any of this.
you may think i'm a bit of a hypocrite as i have no problem watching racing 230+hp motorcycles that weigh less than the average adult that frequents mcdonald's, race around circuits. well yes i am. but i also know that for the 100,000 fans and spectators who make their way home from such races, what they ride or drive has a far greater impact tahn the 22 riders on the grid.
and just to give you a feel for the difference between cars and motorcycles, the current top sportsbike, the suzuki gsx-r 1000 costs $10,500, will hit 0-60 in 2.9 secs, 0-100 in 5.50 secs, 1/4 mile in 10.10 secs at 143mph, top speed 180 mph, and deliver 40mpg.
it's called power to weight ratio, and it demonstrates that there is no getting away from the laws of physics. there isn't a single standard for-sale, anyone can afford one, car on the planet, that can come anywhere close to this set of figures.
Sunday, May 07, 2006
world superbikes at monza. what a first race. wow! bayliss won, but what a battle for 2nd between barros, corser and haga throughout the whole of race 1.
i will never understand why nascar is so hugely popular. it guess it doesn't help that none of the networks show any motorcycle racing. thanks, fox, nbc, abc. you do a great job on nascar, golf and ice figure skating.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Friday, May 05, 2006
managed to grab a decent look at saturn through the telescope a couple of nights ago, and could easily make out the cassini division in the rings, plus the moons titan, dione, and rhea.
any ballerinas planning a solar system performance amidst the jupiter clouds had better be prepared for a slight weight adjustment. a 110lb ballerina on earth would weigh in at some 280lbs on jupiter (i pity the poor guy that has to catch that one). better off going to the moon, love. at 18lbs, your leaps will be spectacular!, and your male counterpart will be able to catch you with one hand.
and for all you golfers out there, just think how far tiger woods could drive a golf ball! (without any calculations, i'd estimate he could drive the ball a couple of miles before it plopped down into the lunar soil).
gravity; there's no getting away from it. it stops people from falling off the earth at the south pole, to us at least. (there is no such thing as up or down in space, only direction). it holds the earth and all other solar system objects in orbit around the sun. it holds our galaxy, the milky way together. it holds all the galaxies (including ours) that make up what's called the local group together. it holds entire groups of galaxies together, called galactic structures, and it holds all these super galactic structures together.
if you were to take the highly educated, highly paid lawmakers out of the equation in finding answers to these factors, and were to set a class of high school students a group discussion on what to do about this mess, what do you think they would say?
1. do you think any of them would suggest a $100 check?
2. do you think any of them would say to leave things as they are and hope that everything returns back to normal?
3. do you think any of them would say that big, heavy, non-commercial vehicles should not be accordingly penalized?
4. do you think that they would say, smaller, lighter, cars make more sense, and people should be financially encouraged to do so?
5. why only offer tax incentives to hybrids? all fuel-efficient vehicles should be treated the same. hybrids are a special case and should be treated as such.
6. do you think that any of them would say that the government is doing all it can for their future energy needs?
7. what is the government doing to encourage poor people to drive fuel eficient cars? where are their incentives to get these old, heavy polluters off the road?
8. if a single oil company can afford to pay $400 million in compensation to 1 individual, why shouldn't it pay a windfall profits tax?
9. just why were the oil companies allowed to merge, further limiting competition in the domestic marketplace?
10. how many in the class think that drilling for oil in the arctic refuge is a good idea?
11. how much money the government receives from gasoline tax is spent on investment in public transportation?
12. hands up class if you think the people currently in charge would really listen to what you have say if you were old enough to vote?
place your bets.
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
i'm a little confused. according to the full-page ads taken out by america's oil & natural gas industry. it claims that your gasoline dollar is consumed by the following factors:
1. 55% the price of crude oil.
2 26% refining, distribution & service stations
1. so each dollar you spend at the pump is the direct result of the price of crude oil. on the world markets, yes. in america, i find that a little rich. the price of crude oil is determined by OPEC. the members of this nice little cartel are:
Algeria, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
the united states is not a member of opec. there is, however, a very strong incentive (profits) for oil producers to keep their prices in line with OPEC. since OPEC has freedom to raise or lower the production of crude, and the price of crude oil, exactly why, if exxon/mobil, et al, are producing and selling crude to america, why is it doing nothing to ease the current situation? if OPEC can change their prices, so can american producers to american buyers (you).
2. refining, distribution, and service stations are all controlled by the respective oil companies. in economic terms, this is known as vertical integration. this means that for an oil company extracting oil from the ground, they also own the businesses that take that raw product and deliver it to the point of sale (service stations). the same company does the lot. thus, it doesn't pay anybody else's costs or profits.
3. taxes. i would love to see a breakdown of just how these taxes are spent by the government. to make things really fair, perhaps they should have included a figure on all the subsidies and tax breaks received.
i love the sentence on the ad that goes: "to learn more about fuel prices, what the oil and gas industry is doing and what you can do, visit www.api.org." org?! why is this an org?
well, i think we know what the industry is doing. what we can do? is this a joke? i tell you what we can do. we can elect officials that will put an end to this cosy little club. we can elect officials that make it law that this country is entitled to national referendums on critical choices facing its future. we can force changes that will forever prevent the oil and gas industry from deciding on this country's energy policies, no matter which political party is in power.
hopefully, there is someone amongst the 'we' that has the courage to stand up for what's right, and run on that platform for office, and not what just sounds right. having a senate comprised of individuals that require substantial sums to run for office in order to be elected would be a good place to take the broom and sweep through changes, making it possible for ordinary citizens to have a chance at higher office, and not be automatically limited because of wealth, to 'just' reside at local politics.
there are 260 million people in this country. being in touch with some of their lives, and not just the wealthiest, wouldn't go amiss. who wouldn't vote for that?
oh, by the way, how's bush's $350 billion dollar tax cut working out for everyone?
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Former Open champion John Daly believes he has lost as much as £33m in the last 12 years through heavy gambling.
apart from an addiction to alcohol, he firmly believes that he simply wasted the rest of his money...
when asked by reporters if he considered himself unlucky, he responded by saying "oh no; it could be a lot worse. imagine if i was fat or ugly!"