The Unread Blog
03 Mar 2015
C Control is basically an arena combat anime, but it's an insidious sort of combat. The fights happen in a strange reflection of the city called the financial district, and the fighters can't be injured. When one of them gets hit, he literally bleeds money and the one who loses the most, when time runs out, loses the fight.
The twist is, the money you lose is loaned to you by the proprietor of the district, with your future as collateral. Lose the fight and you lose a piece of your future appropriate to the amount of money you lost. One guy goes bust and, when he gets home, finds that his three children never existed. Another loses a little and fails a test. Still another loses by just as narrow a margin and finds that his vaccine didn't save some people who should have lived... but it didn't affect his future much.
Of course, no one can force you to fight, but every fight you skip costs you half of your personal fortune, and the future that goes with it. All the while, black money, indistinguishable from the normal stuff except to the fighters, is pouring out of the financial district and into our economy, and every time a major fight occurs, changes happen in the real world, usually unnoticed by anyone except those involved.
26 Feb 2015
- In 1950, Alfred Gilbert, creator of the erector set, released this nuclear science kit for kids. Although giving uranium ore to children sounds scary, I doubt it was any more dangerous than any glow-in-the-dark toy. However, it was expensive and not very popular. Very cool though.
- Thermodynamics may require that life come to exist anywhere it's possible for it to exist.
11 Feb 2015
01 Feb 2015
- The future may or may not be alterable, but it is the direct result of our actions, so we might as well consider it to be unformed. However, the past is unchanging and as real as our existance in the present. The people we love don't cease to exist just because we've moved on into the future without them. Their lives are as real as the air we breathe and the world that we wander. If you look back, you'll see them, and they'll always be there for you as you move forward into the unknown.
19 Jan 2015
- For those who don't follow quantum mechanics, a CCD element from a camera will undergo energy fluctuations caused by quantum effects, and if that's the dominent force (for example, for a CCD in a vacuum, in the dark, and very cold) then it can be considered to have every possible image at once, in a quantum superposition. Of course that's neat, but having every great work of art is kind of pointless unless you can admire them, and as soon as you observe the image, the superposition collapses into one random state, probably not a work of art. As always, art is stranger than truth.
05 Jan 2015
- An actual physicist responds to the WSJ's bizarre editorial.
- Back it up or lose it... and stop clicking on links in random emails.
23 Dec 2014
- Once again, I am embarassed by having one of the most (willfully) ignorant senators in history represent me.
12 Dec 2014
- Lest you get too excited, this bill only cements an executive order started by Ronald Reagan (and approved by every succeeding president). The NSA has had free reign for three decades, but it's a shame that our congress is making it law now.
06 Dec 2014
- Kirk Cameron, notorious for his anti-science rants, has managed to beat Birdemic on the IMDB rating list with his latest movie. It's the worst movie ever made! (Yes, it even beat Under The Skin.)
04 Dec 2014
- Apparently the recent Sony hack is fairly extensive. It involved 100TB of data, which is an order of magnitude more than a lot of companies even have on their systems. I'm kind of shocked that no one noticed the extra bandwidth required. One of the items was a spreadsheet titled, "passwords." Heh. There are "some believe" comments (i.e. baseless rumors) about North Korea being involved. Couldn't happen to a nicer company... except maybe disney. Hopefully they'll be next
- Lawyer for stupid women urges Cosby to be stupid as well. I don't know if these women were actually raped or not, but generally you want to see a lawyer within, say, the first seven years after the incident. Failing that, their lawyer wants Mr Cosby to waive his rights so that she can prosecute him (or pay the women, including the lawyer, a lot of money). If anyone is in doubt, waiving ANY of your rights is ALWAYS STUPID
01 Dec 2014
- Scientists now expect to find giant stars moving at up to a third of light speed. Let's hope none are heading this way.
10 Nov 2014
My entries for the "secular alternatives to the ten commandments":
See things as they are.
Try to set aside bias, prejudice, and unnecessary assumptions. The universe is full of surprises—unless you've already decided that it isn't.
You are a remarkable creature. Never cease to be amazed by all the things you are and that you can do. On the other hand, remember that the rest of the universe is also amazing.
Every person, every creature, every place and time have a story to tell. Ask questions, look it up, or find the answers first-hand and tell others. Learning never gets old.
Don't cling to possessions.
People are more important than things.
Be free of tradition.
Listen to the advice and traditions you come across, but decide for yourself what makes sense. Never follow a belief or a person blindly.
Do what you can to overcome the challenges you face, but don't dwell on them or fret over things you can't change. Especially, don't worry about what people think of you. Do what's right and accept that some just won't understand.
Don't try to limit the best feeling of all. Love as much as you can stand to. Everyone is worthwhile.
Don't carry a weapon unless absolutely necessary.
When you expect a fight, you're apt to find one. When you're unarmed, you're less likely to take foolish chances. Use your head, either way.