Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Crackergate

I know the laws of the Blogoverse dictate that I’m supposed to feign unwillingness before kowtowing unabashedly to a popular controversy–citing, I dunno, journalistic integrity and civic duty? Sadly, I am no such hero. Because I just found this whole episode freakin’ funny. It provided many lulz, many in disbelief, most in hilarity.

Obligatory summary: Scienceblogger P.Z. Myers threatens a cracker. Turmoil ensues. Cracker gets poked with a nail. Epic anti-climax.

Survivors of the massacre

But this thing isn’t just crackers and circuses (see what I did there?). Yes, here’s where I pretentiously tell detractors of the kerfuffle that they don’t understand its subtleties. No, not really. But know that I’m thinking it. And feel scorned, won’t you please, in the process.

Seriously, though, (no not really) the only blameless people in this whole situation are those teasing P.Z. for claiming not to care about the cracker while devoting multiple posts to it. They haven’t yet figured out, poor souls, that web pages can be generated seamlessly via online user interfaces in mere minutes, and need not be coded painstakingly by hand in HTML anymore. And for that they deserve our collective pity. And a free Geocities account.

On a more important note, I get to leave work twenty minutes early today. Who’s jealous?

It’s Been a Long While, Internet

Hey there. I’ve been gone awhile, namely because I’ve become jaded about the topics of this blog. Atheism, skepticism, math, science.. I see a trend, I think. Barely anyone reads the math or science, and the atheism and skepticism posts receive Luftwaffe bombardments of stupid from crackpots and know-nothings (Godwined?). While the latter people were fun in their own right, they got kinda old. I am masochistic, though, so I might continue in that vein anyway.

Cheers.

What I Aspire To

I’m a stickler for Internet drama. It’s funny to me, really. What’s even more funny is when the drama is completely invented.

Take this particular blog. The blog author has decided it’s a good idea to edit and delete my posts. [EDIT: He even sent me e-mail! Yippee!] Well, you can go over there and decide for yourself if it was justified or not. If you’re too lazy, I can sum it up for you.

It goes a little like this. Blog author makes factual mistakes. Blog commenter corrects them. Blog author calls him a rude, arrogant buffoon, edits his posts, and then threatens to report said blog commenter for spam. Blog commenter points out the hypocrisy of the situation, having never insulted blog author once. Blog author deletes blog commenter’s posts.

This reminds me of a similar situation, on a different and unrelated creationist blog. There, too, my posts were edited and deleted. There, too, I never insulted the blog author. This seems, at the face of it, to be a trend. Pigeonhole dissenters as angry, rude, and insulting, and use that as an excuse to censor their responses. Nevermind, y’know, the actual content of their posts.

The Science of Avatar: The Last Airbender

One of the best American, made-for-TV cartoons out there is Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. It’s about a world in which certain people are born with the ability to control an element, either fire, water, earth or air, and a boy named Aang who is the reincarnation of the Avatar, master of all four elements.

The show’s really great. The animation, although choppy at times, is fantastic. The fight scenes are choreographed really well and seem very real. The story is awesome, the characters are funny and interesting. And on and on. Despite that, the show has some glaring quirks.

In the show, earthbenders can control pretty much any kind of rock or metal. Firebenders can shoot fire and lightning from their fingertips (and other appendages). Airbenders can control the air, and waterbenders control the water.

But how totally unfair is that? Metals make up about 75% of the periodic table. Which means that earthbenders get to control more elements than the rest of the benders combined. Waterbenders only get to control one element. Sucks for them. They can control the H2O molecule, but can’t control hydrogen or oxygen separately for some reason. Airbenders cheated the fuck out of the waterbenders there, sorry to say. And firebenders? They also control the air. Or at least oxygen. Because fire is just really quick oxidation. And lightning? Lightning is just electricity. Which means firebenders can control electrons.

New title for firebenders: Electron-benders.

Random Round-up

o The root of the word “president” is the verb “to preside”. Perhaps we should pick a different word, because they tend to do more than preside.

o I saw birds scavenging for food on a median strip on the way to class this morning. It’s interesting to think about that in terms of evolution. You have replicators (the birds) filled with replicators (parasites, etc.) standing on replicators (grass) eating replicators (insects). All are replicators, and yet they’re so completely different and specialized.

o Math can be horribly boring if you don’t find practical examples. Also if you only got four hours of sleep.

o This weekend I was at my parent’s house, playing the piano. For some reason it’s really easy to improvise in the key of D-flat major, but harder in C major. Hmph.

o Mulling over graduate school… Should I go? Where should I go?

o Passive-aggressive roommates who sigh and shuffle instead of telling you they want to go to sleep and to please turn off the lights are annoying.

o It’s harder to sing on key than to whistle on key.

o This weekend I went and saw Harry Potter. The entire time the screen was shaking ever so slightly. Fifteen minutes in, the projector began slowing down and then turned off. Thirty minutes in the lights randomly turned on for five minutes. Mediocre movie. Mediocre service. Go movie industry.

o My room has an air conditioner that points directly at my bed. I sleep on my back under a blanket, and every morning I wake up with a sweaty back. I can’t figure out why that is, though I have some theories.

o I read “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman” recently, which is a collection of some of Richard Feynman’s writings. It’s got to be one of my favorite science books of all time. Not so much science, really, but it describes perfectly what it takes to be a scientist, the frame of mind it takes. It’s incredibly inspiring, and funny, too.

o My brother, my sister, and I are all atheists. I think it has something to do with how we were raised. I don’t know about them, but for me it was incredibly easy to tell that my father doubted the whole thing somewhat and my mother saw it as a status symbol and a way to fit in.