Archive for June, 2008

PostHeaderIcon George Carlin (May 12, 1937 – June 22, 2008)

Warning: The following post is “indecent but not obscene” [US Supreme Court case 438 U.S. 726 (1978)]

 

 

Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, and Tits.

 

Rest in peace, man.

And thanks!

PostHeaderIcon Dogs attack alligator

 

Shamelessly stolen from, well, … actually, I forgot, but it’s all over the Internet.

Vicious Dog Pack Kills Gator in Florida

At times nature can be cruel, but there is also a raw beauty and even a certain justice manifested within that cruelty.

The alligator, one of the oldest and ultimate predators, normally considered the ‘apex predator’ in its natural eco-system, can still fall victim to an implemented ‘team work’ strategy made possible due to the tight knit social structure and ‘survival of the fittest pack mentality’ bred into the canines over the last several hundreds of years by natural selection.

Note that the Alpha dog has a muzzle hold on the gator preventing it from breathing, while the remainder of the pack prevents the beast from rolling and attacks the alligator’s soft underbelly.

See the attached remarkable photograph courtesy of Nature Magazine.

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PostHeaderIcon Elementary, Dear Data




In episode 29 of the Star Trek series “The Next Generation”, the holodeck computer generates a character from the Sherlock Holmes novels by Arthur Conan Doyle: the villainous Professor Moriarty.

The interesting twist is that this holographically created image, at some point, starts to realize that he, in fact, IS a computer generated entity, and not the actual human being he is supposed to represent.

A remarkable feat! Only outdone by his success in actually leaving the holodeck.

I found that a very interesting episode, mostly because I have often thought along those lines myself (and who hasn’t?) .. what IF? What IF we were just part of a computer simulation? Could it be we’re just somebody’s (cruel) science project? Could it be that the universe as we perceive it, is just a hologram?

As I recently found out, scientifically, this is maybe not such a crazy nutjob idea after all.

The idea more or less started when the Dutch physicist (and Nobel laureate) Gerard van ‘t Hooft proposed his holographic principle, which, simply put, states that all information in a three dimensional space can be mapped onto a two dimensional boundary surface of that space. Or, to turn that around, the information described on a two dimensional surface can be projected in a three dimensional ‘holograph’.

The American scientist (who started his career at age thirteen as a plumber) Leonard Susskind developed that idea further.  If you find the idea of a holographic universe intriguing, you may consider getting yourself his book An Introduction To Black Holes, Information And The String Theory Revolution: The Holographic Universe [Update: Disclaimer: This book is NOT exactly a ‘popular science’ book: it’s chockful of ‘higher’ mathematics! WAY over my head.].

Or, for a quick introduction, read the August, 2003 article in Scientific American by Professor Jacob Bekenstein.

Fascinating stuff, and I wish I would understand ten percent of it. [Update: Now that I have thumbed through the above mentioned book – that I no longer recommend for lay persons like myself – I have to humbly adjust that percentage from 10 to 1]

 

“Computer … resume program!”
 
[Update: Instead of the book mentioned above I WOULD recommend two of Leonard Susskind’s books that ARE written for the lay person. See below.]

The Black Hole War: My Battle with Stephen Hawking to Make the World Safe for Quantum Mechanics

The Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design

PostHeaderIcon Decade

 

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